Atlanta Pagan Pride Day

I have to say, somewhat disappointingly, that it is exactly what I expected it to be. An old friend and I were the only Ásatrúar / Heathens there. We had been hoping that a local group would be there but after I was on site I looked at their Facebook page and noticed that they had scheduled something else for this day. In years past, there had been other reconstructionist faiths there as well as at least one group representing Ásatrú. Those days are clearly long gone and this event really was for the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan crowd. While I was there I saw things that made me want to rush home and smash out a post about why they get no respect and why no one takes them seriously. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to rip on someone else for what they do. So, instead, I’m going to try and turn this into something a bit more constructive and see where it goes.

My friend expressed to me his frustration in trying to get Neo-Pagans to understand that what we do is unique and different from what they do. This got me to thinking about the reality of the situation. They don’t have the concept tools to follow where we are going. Some of this is their fault but some of it is ours. The very lack of any presence by anyone in our entire and rather broad spectrum of religious traditions shows just how far our communities have drifted. Yes, we find a lot of what they do annoying but the reality is that most converts come from Neo-Paganism, not somewhere else. If we find them frustrating or annoying because of their ignorance of us then that is our fault because we haven’t done ecumenical work with them. That’s right, I said a dirty word right there. Ecumenicism is necessary if we are going to teach them to respect our traditions. Yes, we do run the risk of someone snapping up something and running off with it, but that risk exists no matter what. As it stands, we scare them away by being jerks. What’s that gotten us?

We need to do a better job reaching out to the Neo-Pagan community because we will find more allies there than enemies. We also need to reach out to them and work to address the reality that we do have to deal with the issue of racism but that it does not define who we are and that racism is not what we represent. One of the things I got tired of hearing when I did work with some part of the Neo-Pagan community in the Atlanta area years ago was hearing that they thought we were all a bunch of Neo-Nazi morons because they only ever saw the scum who abuse our faith and heritage to mask their agenda of hate. We can also teach them to respect our traditions and that it would be better not to copy them because it is both insulting to us and something they don’t really understand the ramifications of. In truth, we need to work towards dialogue with the Wiccans and Neo-Pagans, even if it drives us nuts. They aren’t going to come to us so we need to go to them.

I desire a day when Pagan Pride Day lives up to the claim of representing the diversity of traditions rather than the diversity of Wicca knock-offs in Atlanta. I would actually like to see us lead an interfaith blót, maybe to FreyR for frith, at one of these events. Yes, it does require us to turn an eye to “showing off” our religion and that is something that a lot of us aren’t comfortable with. It does require that we work to break down a self-imposed restriction built from frustration and irritation. If we don’t then we run the risk of becoming truly isolated and that will work against us. There are more of them than there are of us. We need to be on good terms with them because we want them to have positive opinions of us and to send people to us that might otherwise be lost or missed.


Comments

Atlanta Pagan Pride Day — 9 Comments

    • I understand why there is ambivolence on the part of Ásatrúar to attend events like this. We have very little in common with the Wiccan / Neo-Pagan community. I’m not advocating for being involved in their community but I do believe that events like this should be best looked at as a “marketplace of ideas” where we can set up an information booth abd answer questions for people who want to talk to us. It gives us a way to communicate with others who should be more receptive to us than other groups might be. It also allows us to educate them and reduce some of the reasons for the ambivolence. It doesn’t do us any harm to show up to things like this a couple times a year but our absence can continue to perpetuate stereotypes.

    • I’m hoping to be able to make it different than 2012 in this regard. We need to have a presence there and I’m working on having one.

  1. As Troy wrote, I am also looking for a way to learn more about Asatru. I live in Atlanta and was not aware of any Heathen presence here at all. My background is Wiccan/Neo-Pagan, but I have a hunger to find a path that is true for me. At this point, I am too ignorant to know if Asatru might be that home for me or not.

    • Hi Sherry. Heathenry in Atlanta is pretty removed from the Neo-Pagan community but we are here. I’ve been thinking about doing a few posts regarding “The Basics” because of some requests for it. Please keep an eye out for them.

  2. As a newly transplanted Heathen in the Atlanta area, I will attend the 2013 PPD. The only way things change is being active, and seen. Hope to see some people there. Michael

  3. The Atlanta Heathens will have an informational table at the Atlanta Pagan Pride Day event. It will be again at the Atlanta Friends Meeting House in Decatur on Saturday, October 5th from 9 am – 6 pm. For more information check out the Atlanta Pagan Pride website.

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