NPPD News and Notes

The Saga of the Stage

Today I have a story, The Saga of the Stage.

Once upon a time there were 2 Granny Witches who organized Nashville Pagan Pride Day every year. There was food, there was shopping, and there was wonderful, awesome music. One thing that wasn't there was a stage for the wonderful, awesome musicians to perform.

The 2 Granny Witches said "No problem, we have picnic shelters. We can move the tables and benches out and the musicians can perform there."

So the Granny Witches persuaded some strong and hearty menfolk (they were family members who couldn't say no to Mama) to move the tables and benches every year. This was no easy feat since the benches were attached to the tables and the tables were bolted together. Nevertheless, the strong and hearty menfolk moved the tables and benches out of the picnic shelter at the beginning of the event and back into the picnic shelter at the end of the event. And they did that every year.

Finally, the strong and hearty menfolk went to the Granny Witches and said "This is getting ridiculous! The tables and benches are really heavy and hard to move. We get sore muscles and back strain every year, and none of us want to risk getting a hernia."

So the Granny Witches checked with the Metro Parks and discovered that they had a magical mobile stage called the Showmobile that they could bring to the park for the wonderful, awesome musicians (and belly dancers! They will be here this year!) to perform on. Oh happy day! Callooh! Callay! The Granny Witches were ecstatic! But then the Metro Parks reminded the Granny Witches that there was a rental fee for the Showmobile.

The Granny Witches crossed their fingers and reserved the Showmobile for Nashville Pagan Pride Day.

So now we need a little help to put a "and they lived happily ever after" to our story. We have a GoFundMe running to pay for the Showmobile. If ya'll could throw in a buck or two you will help us get the magical mobile stage, help the strong and hearty menfolk avoid back strain and hernias, and give the wonderful, awesome musicians (and the belly dancers!) a place to perform.

Please click on the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/showmobile-stage-for-nppd-2018

What a Long Journey it's Been

I can’t believe it’s 2018.  Mary Hawk and I became Co-Local Coordinators for Nashville Pagan Pride Day in June, 2012.  Mary called on the good will of several friends and we got to work raising funds are creating an event. I am still a little agog that we managed to pull it off in just 4 months!  We arranged with First UU of Nashville for the use of the Morgan House, the main building and the parking lots.

We had 311 people attending, with 22 vendors, 10 workshops, 7 groups on Community Row and several entertainers.

In 2014 we realized that we were getting too big for First UU so we moved out to Two Rivers Park next to Wave Country.  This was the first (and only) time we had rain at Pagan Pride Day, and while attendance was down we still had nearly 300 people come out.

In 2016 we were visited by some rather loud and rowdy street preachers.  They were incredibly rude and annoying, but our community took them in stride and did not let them ruin our day. I guess they decided that we were a lost cause because we didn’t see them in 2017.

Speaking of 2017, we had an awesome crowd!  The day was beautiful, and 900 people joined us in the park. The music was great, the food trucks kept us well fed, the community groups and the workshops were interesting and informative and the vendors (40 this year) made us wish we had more money to spend.

I think that 2018 will be our best year yet!  We hope to see you all out on September 29th!

Blessings,

Lucy Jameson and Mary Hawk


PUBLICLY PAGAN Or: Coming Out of the Broom Closet | Nashville Pagan Pride Day

Originally Published June 30, 2014

I wrote this essay to fulfill part of a requirement for my 2nd degree with Three Maples Coven in Dayton, Ohio.  The theme for Nashville Pagan Pride Day 2014 is “Say it Loud! Pagan and Proud!”


PUBLICLY PAGAN

Or: Coming Out of the Broom Closet  

By Zorya Evenstar


Pros and Cons about being publicly pagan in a non-pagan culture


You’ve found it! The most wonderful splendiferous belief system ever. Spirituality you never, ever, thought possible. And who would have thought there was really a (whisper) Goddess. It’s too big, too amazing to keep to yourself. You just shout it to the world, “I’m a Pa...” - wait a minute. Let’s think a bit before we rush into something here. Before you dance on your burning bridges, let’s talk about why one should or should not be publicly pagan.


So why should one be publicly pagan? One reason is that staying ‘in the broom closet’ can take a heavy toll on a person. Hiding your beliefs can be very stressful, both physically and emotionally. Mentally, it forces you to disconnect your spirituality from the rest of your life. Spiritually, hiding your beliefs implies that they are wrong, evil, invalid or shameful. By extension, this implies that you must be wrong or evil, too. Playing ‘let’s pretend” with something as integral as your spiritually is not

particularly healthy.


How does one go about revealing that they are a pagan? You certainly can’t take out an advertisement in the local paper and announce “I’m Lady MoonBlossomMyst, a pagan and I dance with the fairies!” Well, you could, but that is very inadvisable. But close to one way to be publicly pagan:


1. Flaunt it. I’m talking all the bells and whistles. The witchiest clothing you can find. Highly symbolic tattoos. Enough occult jewelry to burn out a metal detector. Necklace with a pentacle the size of a hubcap. Yeah baby!


This rather flamboyant method does have its benefits. First, it is very empowering. You are no longer living a lie. Second, it is a strong, albeit flashy, method of mitigating the negative aspects associated with hiding one’s beliefs. Third, it paves the way for future believers to go public. In a way you are a pioneer for social acceptance.


Now for the downside of flaunting your beliefs. You run a very real risk of turning people off, particularly if you tend toward the overboard side of flaunting. Some people will feel that you are shoving your beliefs in their faces. There is also a risk that you will reinforce negative stereotypes. Our culture has a variety of boogymen, from the evil wizard to the wicked witch, and an over-the-top presentation could very well evoke fear rather than understanding and acceptance. You could also alienate people who are near and dear to you. Finally, flaunting your paganism could hurt financially, specifically in potential promotions, not to mention current and future job security.


2. Mouse it out. Hint about your beliefs obliquely to a few trusted friends. Put out some feelers with your co-workers and/or family. Get the lay of the land, so to speak, before you strike out and make the big reveal.


This method has the benefits of not outright alienating friends and families if you are discrete enough. A little bit of information doled out at intervals can make the concept more palatable to those who would otherwise reject your beliefs outright. It also allows you to “stand in the closet door” with the option to close it again if the prospect of being public becomes too uncomfortable.


On the downside, this method may feel a bit too fugitive for some. It still has aspects of hiding an important part of your life from those whom you hold near and dear. We want people to accept us exactly for who we are, and this is most true in our relationships with family and close friends.


3. Don’t worry - be yourself and go with the flow. Share the knowledge as it naturally would come up in your daily living.


After all, pagans don’t proselytize. We have no need to convert others to our beliefs. Without the imperative to “bring people to (insert god here)” there is no pressure to “come out” to everyone. You can reveal as little or as much as you choose. This approach also helps you define what things are necessary and what are just trappings.


The downsides to this approach are similar to flaunting your beliefs. There will always be someone who will be uncomfortable with the idea of working or living with a pagan.


So are there any reasons not to go public? Well sure.


1. I’ve got a secret!  Why should you tell anyone? Just hold that knowledge to yourself and not tell any of the mundane people around you. Secrets can be fun. Secrets can be empowering. Secrets can confer a sense of superiority, particularly if you are really good at what you do.


2. Sometimes being public can be problematic. If you are live in a large city or a loosely organized community people tend to be less intolerant and more accepting. However, small, insular communities are not very accepting to differences. Religious bigotry can be a powerful and dangerous force. Moreover, hostility toward you can spill over onto family members.


3. Not everyone feels that it is necessary. Although in a world where putting your life out on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram is becoming the norm rather than the exception, some people don’t see any real reason to put the entirety of their lives on display to others. Nor is there any reason that they should feel pressured to do so.


Ultimately, going public is not a decision to enter hastily. Whether you go public or not and how you do so is up to you. Broomclosets are safe and secure, but stepping out of one does have its benefits as well as potential hazards. Understand the ramifications of your decision before you act on it.

The Quest for the Perfect Cheeseburger | Nashville Pagan Pride Day

Originally Published July 11, 2014

Merry Meet Everyone! Mary Hawk here to tell you about the Quest for the Perfect Bacon Cheeseburger, Two Middle-Aged Grannies on a Mission!


Lucy Jameson and I decided to go check out the Bacon Nation Food Truck today since they will be at Pagan Pride Day 2014 from 11 to 2. Little did we dream it would be such an epic quest…..


Lucy picked me up and we headed downtown. She had just said that we needed to run some food to her son when WHAM! We were t-boned on the passenger side. We are both ok, but her truck took a bit of a beating. We calmed down the young woman who hit us (note the irony here) and waited on Metro. After the police report was done, Lucy drove a little to determine the truck was still driveable and we proceeded to McDonalds to pick up chicken nuggets for her son who is at driving school today (more irony).

When he came out to get his food, he yelled, “My truck, what happened to my truck?” He was also concerned about the red on the door, but we assured him it was red paint from the other car and not blood. Lucy told him it was a prime example of distracted driving.


So we went on to the food trucks that were on Deaderick St today. We parked at the Music City Center garage on the 4th floor and took the elevator to the third floor to pay. When we got to the pay kiosk, we could not remember what our space number was, so we went back up to 4 to get the space number. Just a little post trauma amnesia.


We paid for parking and decided we needed a restroom. We took the elevator to 1 for the waiting area, but the door only opened on the entrance to the street, not in the waiting area. So we went around to the door. After we looked all over the first floor, someone kindly told us that us that restrooms are on the second floor. So we went back up to 2 to use the restroom. Finally we were on our way to eat!


We lined up at Bacon Nation. Lucy and I decided to split the 1/3 lb 50/50 burger and an order of bacon cheese fries. It was awesome! I usually don’t care for bacon cheeseburgers because they tend to be greasy, but they mix ground bacon with ground beef and it absolutely rocks! The bacon cheese fries were excellent! The fries were perfectly cooked without being greasy and covered in creamy cheese and bacon. Yum!


As the Quest for the Perfect Bacon Cheeseburger came to an end, we decided the food was worth the quest to get there. After all, how often do two middle-aged grannies have such adventures just heading out to lunch?



Why Pagan Pride? | Nashville Pagan Pride Day

Originally Published June 25, 2014

© 1998 Cecylyna Dewr. Permission to use in connection with Pagan Pride specifically granted


Job discrimination. Difficulties with landlords, neighbors. Harassment, up to and including assault and battery. Parents disowning their children; family members turning away. Awkward pauses in conversations. "Why don't you ever come to the office Christmas party?"


Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it does to many people. And each issue listed above is too often faced daily by people of "different" sexual orientations, and "different" religious beliefs.


Like gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, Pagans cannot always live their lives openly and honestly because of the fear that surrounds them. Because the issues and goals are similar -- to reduce societal xenophobia until no one needs to hide his or her "difference", whether that be who he loves or who he worships -- when I wanted to start a movement to promote understanding and acceptance of Pagan spiritualities, the phrase "Pagan Pride" came immediately to mind. 


Far from trying to either steal from or invalidate Gay Pride, Pagan Pride owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Gay Pride movement for its achievements. We hope we can improve attitudes towards earth-based spiritual practices as much as Gay Pride has towards sexual orientations. Through our information resources, public events, and media contacts, we hope to challenge intolerance through education.


We wish not only to reduce discrimination against us, but to present the value that our paths can bring to society, while emphasizing that we do not seek converts but ask that each person honor the Divine in the manner that seems best for him. Major corporations are adding diversity statements and programs to their human resources areas. 


They aren't just being tolerant - they are learning to value plurality of opinion, background, and viewpoint, especially in an increasingly global community. But there are still people who would never make a racial slur, or discriminate based on gender, but who still discriminate on the basis of religion, because they believe that there is only one valid religion, or because they simply are misinformed about other religion's practices.


Too often valuable contributions are ignored because of misunderstandings - mistaken beliefs that Pagans sacrifice people or animals, that Pagans practice nothing more serious than wild orgies and debauchery, that Pagans are out to steal souls. In fact, members of modern Pagan and NeoPagan religions tend to value ecology as an extension of their view of the Earth as sacred and all life as interconnected; hold a paradigm that embraces plurality, supports civil rights, and advocates personal freedom; hold ethical standards that require personal responsibility; be well-read and interested in learning; focus on self-help, emotional and psychological growth; and be keenly aware of each person's right to believe as he chooses, believing that to impose one's beliefs on another is harmful.


While some people feel that the phrase "Pagan Pride" is too confrontational, the result accomplished through the word "Pride" in the gay/lesbian community states to me that it is an effective phrase to communicate how we feel. We will not hide in the shadows any longer, practicing our spirituality privately because we fear reprisals from members of monotheistic religions. We are not ashamed of the Gods we reverence and the ways we celebrate! We are coming "out of the broom closet". Ours is not a path for everyone; you are encouraged to practice what spirituality you will. But we now claim the right to take pride in what we practice.

Originally Published July 11, 2014

Merry Meet Everyone! Mary Hawk here to tell you about the Quest for the Perfect Bacon Cheeseburger, Two Middle-Aged Grannies on a Mission!


Lucy Jameson and I decided to go check out the Bacon Nation Food Truck today since they will be at Pagan Pride Day 2014 from 11 to 2. Little did we dream it would be such an epic quest…..


Lucy picked me up and we headed downtown. She had just said that we needed to run some food to her son when WHAM! We were t-boned on the passenger side. We are both ok, but her truck took a bit of a beating. We calmed down the young woman who hit us (note the irony here) and waited on Metro. After the police report was done, Lucy drove a little to determine the truck was still driveable and we proceeded to McDonalds to pick up chicken nuggets for her son who is at driving school today (more irony).

When he came out to get his food, he yelled, “My truck, what happened to my truck?” He was also concerned about the red on the door, but we assured him it was red paint from the other car and not blood. Lucy told him it was a prime example of distracted driving.


So we went on to the food trucks that were on Deaderick St today. We parked at the Music City Center garage on the 4th floor and took the elevator to the third floor to pay. When we got to the pay kiosk, we could not remember what our space number was, so we went back up to 4 to get the space number. Just a little post trauma amnesia.


We paid for parking and decided we needed a restroom. We took the elevator to 1 for the waiting area, but the door only opened on the entrance to the street, not in the waiting area. So we went around to the door. After we looked all over the first floor, someone kindly told us that us that restrooms are on the second floor. So we went back up to 2 to use the restroom. Finally we were on our way to eat!


We lined up at Bacon Nation. Lucy and I decided to split the 1/3 lb 50/50 burger and an order of bacon cheese fries. It was awesome! I usually don’t care for bacon cheeseburgers because they tend to be greasy, but they mix ground bacon with ground beef and it absolutely rocks! The bacon cheese fries were excellent! The fries were perfectly cooked without being greasy and covered in creamy cheese and bacon. Yum!


As the Quest for the Perfect Bacon Cheeseburger came to an end, we decided the food was worth the quest to get there. After all, how often do two middle-aged grannies have such adventures just heading out to lunch?



Originally Published June 30, 2014

I wrote this essay to fulfill part of a requirement for my 2nd degree with Three Maples Coven in Dayton, Ohio.  The theme for Nashville Pagan Pride Day 2014 is “Say it Loud! Pagan and Proud!”


PUBLICLY PAGAN

Or: Coming Out of the Broom Closet  

By Zorya Evenstar


Pros and Cons about being publicly pagan in a non-pagan culture


You’ve found it! The most wonderful splendiferous belief system ever. Spirituality you never, ever, thought possible. And who would have thought there was really a (whisper) Goddess. It’s too big, too amazing to keep to yourself. You just shout it to the world, “I’m a Pa...” - wait a minute. Let’s think a bit before we rush into something here. Before you dance on your burning bridges, let’s talk about why one should or should not be publicly pagan.


So why should one be publicly pagan? One reason is that staying ‘in the broom closet’ can take a heavy toll on a person. Hiding your beliefs can be very stressful, both physically and emotionally. Mentally, it forces you to disconnect your spirituality from the rest of your life. Spiritually, hiding your beliefs implies that they are wrong, evil, invalid or shameful. By extension, this implies that you must be wrong or evil, too. Playing ‘let’s pretend” with something as integral as your spiritually is not

particularly healthy.


How does one go about revealing that they are a pagan? You certainly can’t take out an advertisement in the local paper and announce “I’m Lady MoonBlossomMyst, a pagan and I dance with the fairies!” Well, you could, but that is very inadvisable. But close to one way to be publicly pagan:


1. Flaunt it. I’m talking all the bells and whistles. The witchiest clothing you can find. Highly symbolic tattoos. Enough occult jewelry to burn out a metal detector. Necklace with a pentacle the size of a hubcap. Yeah baby!


This rather flamboyant method does have its benefits. First, it is very empowering. You are no longer living a lie. Second, it is a strong, albeit flashy, method of mitigating the negative aspects associated with hiding one’s beliefs. Third, it paves the way for future believers to go public. In a way you are a pioneer for social acceptance.


Now for the downside of flaunting your beliefs. You run a very real risk of turning people off, particularly if you tend toward the overboard side of flaunting. Some people will feel that you are shoving your beliefs in their faces. There is also a risk that you will reinforce negative stereotypes. Our culture has a variety of boogymen, from the evil wizard to the wicked witch, and an over-the-top presentation could very well evoke fear rather than understanding and acceptance. You could also alienate people who are near and dear to you. Finally, flaunting your paganism could hurt financially, specifically in potential promotions, not to mention current and future job security.


2. Mouse it out. Hint about your beliefs obliquely to a few trusted friends. Put out some feelers with your co-workers and/or family. Get the lay of the land, so to speak, before you strike out and make the big reveal.


This method has the benefits of not outright alienating friends and families if you are discrete enough. A little bit of information doled out at intervals can make the concept more palatable to those who would otherwise reject your beliefs outright. It also allows you to “stand in the closet door” with the option to close it again if the prospect of being public becomes too uncomfortable.


On the downside, this method may feel a bit too fugitive for some. It still has aspects of hiding an important part of your life from those whom you hold near and dear. We want people to accept us exactly for who we are, and this is most true in our relationships with family and close friends.


3. Don’t worry - be yourself and go with the flow. Share the knowledge as it naturally would come up in your daily living.


After all, pagans don’t proselytize. We have no need to convert others to our beliefs. Without the imperative to “bring people to (insert god here)” there is no pressure to “come out” to everyone. You can reveal as little or as much as you choose. This approach also helps you define what things are necessary and what are just trappings.


The downsides to this approach are similar to flaunting your beliefs. There will always be someone who will be uncomfortable with the idea of working or living with a pagan.


So are there any reasons not to go public? Well sure.


1. I’ve got a secret!  Why should you tell anyone? Just hold that knowledge to yourself and not tell any of the mundane people around you. Secrets can be fun. Secrets can be empowering. Secrets can confer a sense of superiority, particularly if you are really good at what you do.


2. Sometimes being public can be problematic. If you are live in a large city or a loosely organized community people tend to be less intolerant and more accepting. However, small, insular communities are not very accepting to differences. Religious bigotry can be a powerful and dangerous force. Moreover, hostility toward you can spill over onto family members.


3. Not everyone feels that it is necessary. Although in a world where putting your life out on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram is becoming the norm rather than the exception, some people don’t see any real reason to put the entirety of their lives on display to others. Nor is there any reason that they should feel pressured to do so.


Ultimately, going public is not a decision to enter hastily. Whether you go public or not and how you do so is up to you. Broomclosets are safe and secure, but stepping out of one does have its benefits as well as potential hazards. Understand the ramifications of your decision before you act on it.

Originally Published June 25, 2014

© 1998 Cecylyna Dewr. Permission to use in connection with Pagan Pride specifically granted


Job discrimination. Difficulties with landlords, neighbors. Harassment, up to and including assault and battery. Parents disowning their children; family members turning away. Awkward pauses in conversations. "Why don't you ever come to the office Christmas party?"


Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it does to many people. And each issue listed above is too often faced daily by people of "different" sexual orientations, and "different" religious beliefs.


Like gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, Pagans cannot always live their lives openly and honestly because of the fear that surrounds them. Because the issues and goals are similar -- to reduce societal xenophobia until no one needs to hide his or her "difference", whether that be who he loves or who he worships -- when I wanted to start a movement to promote understanding and acceptance of Pagan spiritualities, the phrase "Pagan Pride" came immediately to mind. 


Far from trying to either steal from or invalidate Gay Pride, Pagan Pride owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Gay Pride movement for its achievements. We hope we can improve attitudes towards earth-based spiritual practices as much as Gay Pride has towards sexual orientations. Through our information resources, public events, and media contacts, we hope to challenge intolerance through education.


We wish not only to reduce discrimination against us, but to present the value that our paths can bring to society, while emphasizing that we do not seek converts but ask that each person honor the Divine in the manner that seems best for him. Major corporations are adding diversity statements and programs to their human resources areas. 


They aren't just being tolerant - they are learning to value plurality of opinion, background, and viewpoint, especially in an increasingly global community. But there are still people who would never make a racial slur, or discriminate based on gender, but who still discriminate on the basis of religion, because they believe that there is only one valid religion, or because they simply are misinformed about other religion's practices.


Too often valuable contributions are ignored because of misunderstandings - mistaken beliefs that Pagans sacrifice people or animals, that Pagans practice nothing more serious than wild orgies and debauchery, that Pagans are out to steal souls. In fact, members of modern Pagan and NeoPagan religions tend to value ecology as an extension of their view of the Earth as sacred and all life as interconnected; hold a paradigm that embraces plurality, supports civil rights, and advocates personal freedom; hold ethical standards that require personal responsibility; be well-read and interested in learning; focus on self-help, emotional and psychological growth; and be keenly aware of each person's right to believe as he chooses, believing that to impose one's beliefs on another is harmful.


While some people feel that the phrase "Pagan Pride" is too confrontational, the result accomplished through the word "Pride" in the gay/lesbian community states to me that it is an effective phrase to communicate how we feel. We will not hide in the shadows any longer, practicing our spirituality privately because we fear reprisals from members of monotheistic religions. We are not ashamed of the Gods we reverence and the ways we celebrate! We are coming "out of the broom closet". Ours is not a path for everyone; you are encouraged to practice what spirituality you will. But we now claim the right to take pride in what we practice.

© Nashville Pagan Pride Day 2018