Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big, Broad, Flexible Religion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," contrarian politics and mish-mash religion since 2005! I'm Reverend Annie, senior minister. Pass the plate.

In just two days my daughter The Spare and I will embark for the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. If you live near Baltimore, Washington, York, PA or in that vicinity, won't you come and see us there? I am Leader of the Mountain Tribe.

The Maypole Ceremony begins at noon, so please come by 11:00 so we can all march in together! Dress like your favorite fairy, wear your kilt, bring your dog, smile, smile, smile! I can't wait to meet you!

The first year we attended the Fairie Festival, my daughter, my niece and I had to pass by a group of Christian protesters. They were loudly predicting hellfire and damnation for Pagans. Indeed they went so far as to say that anyone who entered the gates of the festival would surely fry. They were not numerous, but they were loud. And they had signs.

I remember one of them shouted: "May Day! May Day! That's what pilots yell just before they're killed in a crash! And that's what's gonna happen to you!"

Spare and I shrugged this off as pathetic. But I could see it bothered my niece, who is a quiet girl encased to the eyebrows in the Roman Catholic Church. Niece goes to Catholic school, where she is no doubt told that she'd better watch out for Pagan activities and avoid them like the swine flu.

My mind keeps wandering to these protesters as I prepare to take a role in the May Day ceremony at the festival. Make no mistake, that ceremony is Celtic, no trace of Christianity to be found whatsoever within it.

When the weather is nice, more than 10,000 people come to the festival each day. Quite a number of them are Pagans of one practice or another. But if all of them were Pagans, and all of them practiced the same Craft, that would just be astonishing. Even the people who gather at Stonehenge on the Solstices aren't all of one mind.

Looks like a job for "The Gods Are Bored."

I want everyone who joins the Mountain Tribe, whether they be Roman Catholic like my niece, Pentecostal like my sister (yes, WOW! She's coming!), or eclectic Druid, like Nettle, (who coincidentally has a terrific post up right now about the blending of religious practices) to feel welcome. And so, while preparing liturgy, I will be mindful that this is an opportunity to witness for the bored gods, but not at the expense of the busy ones.

What service will I perform for my deities or myself if I belittle anyone else's faith? I'll be no better than those misguided protesters by the entrance gate.

My Tribe's direction is North, and our holidays are Samhain and Yule. So we're going to sing "Deck the Halls." 'Tis the season to be jolly, not to play "my deities are better than yours."

It's my feeling that most people who attend festivals bring their religions with them, already formed. Those who don't have a religion may find one, those who don't like their religions might change to a new one, but this must be an organic matter between the individual and his or her conscience. Besides, this is a fun event. Actually, the fact that it is a fun event, with no religious coercion, probably works strongly in favor of the bored gods.

So join us, won't you please? Still wavering? You should see the awesome dragon who landed in the back seat of my car this afternoon! His name is Big Red, and he's going to the festival with us. I'll tell his story another time.


Lavanah said...

SL and I really wish we could be there, with you and the Spare and the rest of the Mountain Tribe. But alas, we are at the far north end of NJ-and our younger daughter has the thrice curst SATs on Saturday.

Sarita said...

A big red dragon showed up? Hmm...maybe a mutual friend...

I'll be thinking of you all, even though I can't go. Enjoy yourselves! :)

Alex Pendragon said...

If I lived anywhere near there, you bet I'd be there!

yellowdog granny said...

i'd love to be there. think of me when you get a moment..

Mama Kelly said...

Your protesters made me remember a Ren Faire I went to years and years ago (I believe it was the first year of the NJ Ren Faire) which was graced with protesters who came bearing a life sized cross and their thoughts on the sinfulness of live steel and Pagan folk.

Suecae Sounds said...

Sounds like a good chance to meet new people. But alas, I live to far away. Tolerance and diversity of faiths can never be wrong. :)