I’m constantly astounded at how big Indianapolis’s Pagan Pride Day is. I believe it’s something like the third largest in the country? Absolutely crazy. I think part of why I’m always amazed at this festival has to do with the infrequency with which I run into other pagans around these parts. It seems like in the Pacific Northwest, every third person you ran into was Pagan or Pagan-ish. Here? I ran into one the other day and we both raved at each other like we were water in the desert.
As always, one of the bigger features of Indy’s PPD is the amount of vendors and local organizations that come to represent. While I didn’t do that much shopping (seriously, I just bout a small gift for someone), I was impressed by several of the vendors. My favorite was one I’d never seen before: New Moon Oils. The owner, Austin Brewer, hand blends essential oils into sweet almond oil within a day of shipping. I was rather impressed with his blends and would have loved to buy his Oud (Agarwood) oil, but it had sadly sold like hotcakes. Luckily for me, I can order online and follow him on Facebook.
Unlike in previous years, the 19th annual PPD did a pretty great job at announcing rituals and workshops. Every ritual or workshop area had a big chalkboard proclaiming the schedule for the space, and the offerings looked pretty great. There were workshops on Vocal Magick, Chaos Magick, Mead Making, Leadership, the history of contemporary paganism, rune magick, and being a better LGBTQ Ally. I went to the mead making one…and if I didn’t live alone in a small 3rd-floor walk up apartment with zero pantry space, I’d be headed to the brewshop this afternoon.
I was also pleased to see rituals promoted and attended. There hadn’t been an opening ritual scheduled until a couple weeks ago, but some members of Novices of the Old Ways stepped up and pulled together a simple energy raising. I really do love the meditations they use to cast a group circle–it’s very colorful! (Literally!). I was right after the leader of the spiral dance…and let me tell you, I was thoroughly winded after that. I think I need to step up my cardio game. The Anabasis Camp, the local O.T.O. chapter, led a ritual for Pan, which looked wonderful, but I did not attend. Then Novices of the Old Ways did a sort of Oracular Seidh where one of their priestesses invoked Hecate. Attendants could go up and ask the goddess a question. The White River Protogrove, part of the A.D.F., was also scheduled to do a ritual, but I left before that. I’ve got to run up north for my own coven’s Harvest Home ritual tonight and needed to get ready.
My favorite part of the whole day was Novices of the Old Way’s oracular seidh. I did have to leave the ritual pretty early. Truth be told, I’m not doing so well with self-care at the moment despite a slightly easier work schedule. I had forgotten to eat dinner last night as well as breakfast this morning, and found myself very lightheaded after the goddess was invoked…so I left to bolt down some shawarma and the best dang baklava I’ve ever had. While I don’t have any idea on how the ritual ended, I was really impressed by the start. Members proceeded in, marching to a drumbeat and dressed in white togas and carrying staves and a stuffed snake they had made. As they marched, they chanted “Hekate, Keeper of the Crossroads. Hecate, Holder of the Flame. Hecate, Wisdom in the Darkness. Guide our way, guide our way!”
It was darn impressive.
Unlike other public rituals I’ve taken part in, NOW does a great job explaining what they will do and how everyone can participate before the ritual begins, so it seemed to me like everyone was pretty on point. They also use simple quarter calls with lots of real-life visuals which makes things plenty engaging and really hard to screw up.
I, however, was most impressed by their invocation of Hecate. One of their priestesses and priests did a really visually-compelling “Chalice-and-Blade” joining. They sat together in a yab yum tantric pose (pictured above). Attendants handed them the cup and blade, which they joined. The priestess then drank, and they kissed before rising. He also did such a loving five-fold kiss on her–I have to admit, I got a bit teary-eyed. And man, did they ever go all out creating that whole red tent and platform set-up for the goddess? You really can’t fault NOW for making something really cool to watch.
I wonder what next year will bring?