MOON MEET: Call for workshop proposals

If you’re coming to Moon Meet and would like to present a workshop, please contact me ASAP at atheopagan [at] comcast [dot] net to present your idea and start a discussion.

[NEW EDIT]:  Please submit workshop proposals by March 20, so I can publish the event schedule thereafter. Thank you!

There are three workshop slots at the gathering, each an hour and 45 minutes long. I hope to have at least two workshops in each slot, so participants can choose what interests them.

Possible workshop subjects include (but are not limited to):

Drumming
Ritual songs and chants
Spoken word in ritual
Movement in ritual
Focus building
Creating sacred space
Meditative/contemplative techniques

Or any other ideas you may have!

Children in Circle

Recently, there has been some discussion in the Pagan blogosphere about children in ritual circle: whether and when they belong there, what the considerations are.

Those of us with experience circling in Pagan ritual know that this can be an issue. A crying baby, an ebullient toddler, a sullen, checked-out teenager who just stands there and refuses to participate…these are all distractions that can make it hard for a ritual to bring participants into the Ritual State* (also known as Presence, Trance, or Flow).

I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve been in rituals that were pretty much ruined for me by kids. I’ve also been in rituals where the presence of children has been a delight, an adorable reminder that our religion is a multi-generational thing; that, though most of today’s Pagans are converts in adulthood, this will not be true in future decades.

My feelings about disruptive children in circle have varied widely. Sometimes I’ve felt stabs of impatience. Sometimes I’ve felt a sinking disappointment that a moment which could have been fervent and meaningful has been scrambled by childish cries or banter.

And then, as I said, there have been the waves of fond warmth.

When I feel kindness and indulgence and familial about children’s inappropriate behavior in circle, it is because I feel connected with them in community. Because I understand that they are just doing what they have to do at their stage of development, and I feel caring for them.

And that’s why we must continue—most of the time, anyway—to indulge children in our circles. Even if it sometimes diminishes our own experience. Because a central aspect of why we circle is to build connection with one another: to create, deepen and grow community.

Recently, I’ve begun work on organizing Moon Meet, the first Pagan gathering specifically for nontheist Pagans and those who are interested in what we do. I’m excited about it, and for exactly the same reason I don’t get upset at children doing what children do when I’m in circle: because it will build community. And that’s a big chunk of what religion generally—and our religion specifically—is about.

Yes, there are times when its inappropriate to have minors at a ritual. When that’s the case, don’t have them there. In some cases, it may be optimal to have separate activities for children. But when celebrating most reasons for rituals, I say let ’em stay if they want to. Parents, carry out your responsibility to shepherd them, but don’t feel shame when they act like the children they are. Goes with the territory.

We should let our kids turn the wheel of the year with us. Let them be a part of naming ceremonies and weddings and memorials with us.

Who knows? Perhaps many or most of them won’t want to be Pagans when they’re old enough to choose.

But in my experience, most of them will. And the community will grow, and healthy values will spread. The world will be a better place.

And by the time they’re grown, they’ll be terrific ritualists.

It’s not about us. It’s about something larger.

It’s about the future.

 

 

*For more about the Ritual State, see the Atheopagan Ritual Primer.

Moon Meet REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

I have found a venue, and Moon Meet, the first nontheist Pagan festival, is going to happen!

Moon Meet is a congregation of Atheopagans, non-theist Pagans and others interested in our paths, to be held from Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, on private land on a redwood-covered mountain near Healdsburg, in the beautiful wine country of Sonoma County, California.

Moon Meet—named because we will hold it during the weekend of the full moon—is a group camping gathering; a few indoor sleeping locations will be available for those who are disabled or coming from distance and unable to bring their gear along.

We will share meals and workshops, hold a community discussion about how our Atheopagan community is developing and how best to move forward, and design and celebrate rituals together. We will share songs, poems and our creativity around the fire. And there will be time for hiking in a beautiful setting, or excursions to nearby wineries and historic sites.

The event is $90 for the weekend, which includes five meals. This is the minimum necessary to defray expenses–I am not making any money on the event, I just want it to happen!

To register for Moon Meet 2017, click HERE.

Moon Meet grows out of a frequent request in the Atheopagan Facebook group, that we find ways of physically convening as well as virtually gathering online. My hope is that it will become an annual event which will grow in size and complexity in subsequent years.

Details on the schedule of events will be available soon. If you would like to present a workshop, please contact me now! Use the form on the blog’s “Contact” page.

I hope to see you there