It’s easy enough to understand the phrase “Pagan Pride Day” by just breaking it down into its elements.
- Pagan is the trickiest part to define. A religion can be considered “Pagan” if its roots predate Christianity, if it has an Earth focus, or if it entails the worship of many gods. Not everyone who follows a system like that uses the term “Pagan” (it’s polite to ask!) but we’re trying to cast a wide net and welcome people from many minority traditions.
- Pride is what we want Pagans — and those who hang around them — to be able to show. Most Pagan religions don’t involve proselytizing or witnessing, and many practitioners are solitary. Pride is about expressing that we are part of society, and it’s also about finding out which of your neighbors might also be Pagan.
- Day is the “when” part of this equation, as in when Pagans are being asked to publicly show their pride. This is about being in public, and exercising our First Amendment rights of assembly, speech, religion, and the press (because we will be inviting reporters from local newspapers and television stations to cover the event).
There have been Pagan Pride days in the United States for decades, with rumors of Pagan Pride events as early as 1992. Many of them are organized under the auspices of Pagan Pride Project, which gives event planners an umbrella nonprofit to help get all the administrivia addressed. That’s why most of them around the United States are harvest-themed with a food drive.
Public outreach is another important part of any Pagan Pride Day, particularly at a time when there is a high level of misunderstanding and suspicion regarding minority religious practices. We want non-Pagans to 1) recognize that Pagans are positive additions to the local faith community and 2) be able to get their questions answered, as a curious onlooker or as a potential seeker.
The New Paltz Pagan Pride committee is thus far sponsored by the Church of the Eternal Circle, the members of which have provided meeting space, technical and financial support to the effort. Their assistance is appreciated.
Organizers of the New Paltz Pagan Pride Day want to know: are there authors, local to the Mid-Hudson Valley, who have written books of interest to the Pagan community?
It is sometimes said that it is wiser never to ask a question to which one does not have an answer. The answer to the above question is, “Yes.”
The next question — for which the NPPPD organizers do not yet have an answer — is who among them would like to meet potential readers and fans in New Paltz?
A local Pagan Pride Day provides an opportunity to get in front of Pagans without spending a night away from home. This could take the form of a book signing, answering questions before an audience, or leading a related ritual or workshop.
If you are such an author, or you are the fan of one, fill in the form below.
There are Pagans in the Mid-Hudson Valley. There are Pagans in New Paltz. Not all of us are private about our religion, but one thing that might be a common thread among the many Pagan paths is that there’s no particular recruitment requirement. Without that, it’s easy to slip into the shadows, unnoticed.
Being able to talk with other members of minority faiths is generally a good thing, even if one doesn’t choose to worship alongside of them. One of the benefits of a New Paltz Pagan Pride Day will be to get local Pagans to recognize each other, and possibly build relationships.
However, there’s no need to wait for that. There are various groups on meetup.com that arrange social events in the region, and there’s also the Facebook group Mid-Hudson Pagans. (If you wish to join, expect to be challenged if there’s nothing blatantly Pagan displayed in your profile and you have no friends presently in the group. It’s just a precaution.)
Reach out to find local Pagans. Connect. Conspire. This is your moment.
Work has started on putting together the first-ever New Paltz Pagan Pride Day! A lot of information is still tentative, but there’s an answers page which will be updated as often as necessary. If you don’t see a question that you believe needs answering, go ahead and ask away! This event will serve the Pagan community throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley if all goes well.