Witches gather in New York City in an annual street fair. We take a look at images of a Neolithic tomb through the ages. And Crystal Blanton considers the importance of maintaining a diverse and welcoming Pagan community. Today is Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news related to the Pagan community's past, present, and future. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Welcome back to Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment where we take at news affecting the Pagan community and other religious communities around the world. This week we explore a variety of subjects, from upcoming Pagan festivals to an old 1970s hippie commune to a modern-day witch hunt. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
The Pagan Festing season generally runs from May until October and usually takes place in campgrounds that are reserved for this purpose for anywhere from a weekend to a week. In Ontario, notable campgrounds that host Pagan Festivals include Raven's Knoll,Mythwood, and Whispering Pines.
Some of these Festivals feature Clothing Optional areas so that people have the option to be naked if they so wish. This is because some Pagans like to cast-off their wrappers and be caressed by the sun and the wind, while others consider their nudity to be part of their sacred relationship with the Gods and a Pagan event is a place where they can feel comfortable enough to explore that relationship.
However, because not everyone is comfortable with that, Clothing Optional areas can be restricted to certain areas, including:
The important word in "Clothing Optional" is the term "Optional". A Clothing Optional area is not zoned as a Strip Club. You have the option to be as naked, clothed, or a variety of both as you wish and it's nobody else's business.
I cannot believe I must state this so blatantly, but this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked. No one has the right to tell you how naked or dressed you must be based on other people's decisions to be naked or dressed. No one has the right to express opinions about your character, your values, or your sexual identity. No one. No exceptions.
Now I know that sometimes people can unintentionally cross this line. In their minds, they want you to know that you are beautiful and valued and they want you to know that they are not judging you for any reason, so if you want to strip down, they are ready to support you in this decision. The problem is that it's very difficult to express this idea without it sounding like they are pressuring you into coming to this conclusion.
A person's state of nudity is NEVER an invitation for people to touch, stare, or make sexual references about. EVER. A person's nudity can be an expression of their relationship with the Gods, but it is not meant to be a show for other people to ogle or make snide remarks upon. However, if you want to quietly appreciate the beauty of the human body, that can be okay, but you need to be subtle in your appreciation.
Unwanted, unwarranted, unasked, uninvited contact with a person in a state of undress can constitute assault or sexual assault. The fact that the person is naked does not justify anyone's actions without EXPLICIT permission being given. It also does not give you the right to pressure anyone into being more naked or less naked, for any reason, even in jest. If you think you have accidentally crossed this line, take the person aside (probably better when they are dressed), apologize sincerely, and then learn from it.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, here are some statements you should NEVER make to someone about their state of dress or undress:
One of the funnest parts of being in a community is celebrating with friends and family. This week for Watery Wednesday we take a look at festivals, gatherings, and all the other ways communities come together to celebrate something. Read about what it's like to celebrate the Solstice at Stonehenge, how to find a sober space at Pagan festivals, and the many ways that Pagans are coming together on Tumblr. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
It seems that festival season is upon us once again, and lots of other folks are listing Pagan festivals you can go to (thanks Jason Mankey and Heather Greene)! Both of them mentioned some of the stuff going on up here north of the 49th Parallel, and I would like to thank them for that! But this blog is about Canadian Paganism, so I'm giving you a list of ALL the Canadian Pagan festivals I know about, whether I've been there or not. Contrary to popular belief there's lots going on and not all of it is in Ontario or Alberta! If you know of a Canadian Pagan festival I'm missing, please let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to add it to the list, no matter how small. Share the list around!
As you can see, I'm not committed to anything this year except Gaia Gathering, which is already passed. So if anyone wanted me to come . . . Just sayin'. ;)...
Lots of fun community news in today's Watery Wednesday edition of the Pagan News Beagle. Paganicon guest Lupa; a new Druid college; staying well at festivals; Morning Glory Zell (Memorial Foundation) news; Between the Worlds.
Upcoming Paganicon guest Lupa Greenwolf is featured in this interview by PNB-Minnesota chapter.
Interested in becoming a druid? This new three-year apprenticeship program by the Druid College might be of interest....