Greenbelt Interfaith News
    Washington Feature

    November 1997

    Virginia Pagan from Coven Hallowsdale

    Ron Scruggs holds the banner of his coven.

    A Merry Meet in D.C.
    How to Be a Polite Pagan
    Photograph by John Wallin
    Greenbelt Interfaith News

    These instructions were given to Pagans attending the Halloween gathering in D.C.

    Take a deep breath, ground and center, and see your true self. Then see yourself as others see you.

    While we're all here to celebrate, honor our dead, do some good things for this city, and make friends, we're still in mundania. We still have mundane concerns and must follow mundane laws.

    You cannot carry an athame [ritual knife], a sword, or in most cases a staff about the city. (This includes getting to the Ball.) Nor is skyclad [ritual nudity] going to be acceptable anywhere but a hotel room. Burning things such as sage in public may be unacceptable as well.

    Please be peaceful and respectful of all others. Each of us will be viewed as a representative of all pagans while we are in DC.

    You may notice guards eyeing you, or they may even ask you to move your group a bit because you are blocking something. Please do so kindly. These guards are here for the comfort and protection of all, and they aren't picking on you. Be mindful of the job they have in an often volatile setting.

    This city attracts all kinds of folks, not just revelers. Watch out for your own safety, as in any other large city. Never leave your bags unattended. You may come across some negative energy pockets. There's no need to take on that negativity – simply shield yourself or move on.

    You will notice folks with blue and gold armbands. These are the marshalls, there to help you if you are in need. If you see a potential altercation, please find a marshall immediately. If you are hurt or ill, contact a marshall – they will have a medic to you quickly.

    Remember always that you are in a powerfully mythic and symbolic place, a city torn by racism, conflicts of justice, thwarted hopes and dreams. If you can help that pain pass on to be purified into peace in the Great Mother's cauldron, you'll have worked great magick.

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    Photograph © 1997 John Wallin
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