Many years ago, while living in San Diego, there was a young man who would visit an occult shop where I was working about once every two or three months. He lived over a hundred miles east, in the infamous “middle of nowhere,” and rarely had a chance to meet and talk with people of a like mind. But he did read books! He would tell us of how he was doing rites from a certain book. Unfortunately, he had never heard anyone pronounce the word “rites” and he would say the word so it sounded like “ritz,” as in the old song, “Putting on the Ritz.” He was such a nice and friendly guy that nobody bothered to correct his use of language. I have no doubt he would have been highly embarrassed to learn of his error, and nobody wanted to embarrass this gentle person.
And in my opinion, if he had regularly met with other like-minded people, nobody would have had to correct him. He would have heard “rites” pronounced properly and changed his pronunciation. The advantage, then is meeting with other people.
Pronunciation is not the only reason to meet with other magicians, Pagans, and occultists. The truth is, in many areas concepts of deities other than the most popular one, magick, divination, rituals, etc., are ignored, mocked, or feared. As a result, part of what has become our very being has to be submerged. We smile when others mock our hidden beliefs to protect our jobs, our position in local society, and perhaps even the safety of our homes and family.
That’s why I am a strong supporter of getting together with others. Not just by letter. Not just by email. Not just on internet forums. All of those ways of communication are valuable, but in my opinion, none is more important than actually meeting with other people in person.
Over the years, I have attended festivals and conventions from Hawaii to New York, from Washington State to Florida, and even in Europe. In the remaining months of this year I’m scheduled to attend Pagan Pride Days in California and the Florida Pagan Gathering. Recently I’ve attended a convention held in San Jose, California (Pantheacon) and a festival in Indiana (Babalon Rising). At all these events I get to meet other people who support my beliefs. Sometimes they don’t support specifically what I believe. Rather, they challenge me, resulting in clearer thinking and new ideas on my part. I welcome it all.
Humans (and in fact, all mammals) are social creatures. We need other people to support us. We need friends and acquaintances. We need to meet new people. We need people with whom we can share our hopes and dreams. We need people we can laugh with and cry with. We are better for knowing and being with other people.
I would take this a step further. I believe that there is an energy that extends from person to person. When we allow our energy to extend out to othersâ€”most often friends and familyâ€”and at the same time we allow their energy to come into us, it enhances our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being. But when that energy comes from people who disagree with our basic beliefs, it harms the free flow of our energy and literally diminishes us. We need to be around other people. More, we need to be around people with whom we can be intimate, sharing our true feelings. Without that our health suffers.
Therefore, I would urge all of the people reading this blog to attend a festival of some kind over the next six months. You’ll get to meet many people who think and believe in ways similar to your thoughts and beliefs. You get to support our greater community. You’ll find things you might choose to purchase that fit your magickal needs. And most importantly, you’ll get to meet, talk, and be around people you can call friends!
If you come to an event I’m attending, please know that I love to meet and talk with people. Feel free to come up and say, “Hello.” In fact, I hope you will.
In the meantime, what has been your favorite experience at a festival or event?