Pagan Manners

Planning to attend a Pagan Event or Ritual?
If so, here's some "common sense" manners about
what's okay and what's not.

(Note: I found the following article , "Pagan Manners", on the web about ten years ago and felt it really covered the basics as far as "common sense" goes for Pagans. If you know who the author of this article is please let me know so I can give credit where do.

Pagan Manners

1. Never assume that you are invited to a ritual or a nonpublic gathering just because your friend is invited. Have your friend call the group doing the event and ASK! (or call yourself).

2. When participating in a ritual led by a group of which you are not a member, ask ahead of time what will be done. Should there be something in the explanation, or in the set-up of the ritual area which bothers you, just quietly don't participate in the ritual.

3. Ask the person(s) officiating at a ritual before you place anything in the ritual area, wear clothing or tools which might be considered unusual; or add private energy workings to the ritual being done.

4. Never just walk out of a cast ritual circle. Ask someone in the group sponsoring the ritual to cut your a door if your really and truly absolutely have to leave.

5. Don't make comments on the ritual, its leaders or the amount or quality of the energy raised during the ritual unless such opinions are asked for by the leaders. Save it for your friends, privately, after the ritual is over.

6. Vegetarians, Vegans, Strict Carnivores, Diabetics, and any others with very strong food preferences; no one minds your asking quietly and politely "Which dishes have meant (sugar, spices, hot pepper, etc.) in them?" When planning a meal for Pagan/Wiccan groups, it is strongly suggested that at least some of the dishes be vegetarian, sugar-free, relatively non-spicy etc. At all times, within and without the ritual context, always provide an alternative to alcoholic beverages.

7. While many people have become far less secretive about their membership in a Pagan group, it is never, EVER, permissible to "blow someone's cover". Do not ever call a friend or acquaintance by their Pagan name or mention their membership in a mundane situation. It is also bad manners - and a symptom of social climbing - to call an individual by his/her mundane name in a Pagan situation. It always reminds me of an extra calling John Wayne "The Duke" at a local bar.

8. Whether you drink, take drugs or indulge in other similar behavior is completely your own business. It is always wrong to urge such behavior on any other individual. The majority of serious Pagan groups absolutely do NOT allow anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to participate in ritual. Do not be offended if you are turned away for this reason. If you are taking a psychoactive drug for a medical reason it is very wise to check with the ritual leader(s) so they will understand and can advise you if they feel the ritual might be harmful to you.

9. Just because most Pagans/Wiccans are under 40 and in reasonably good physical condition, never assume that everyone is. Rituals and gatherings should be planned so that those with physical problems are not barred totally from participation. Particularly in ritual, be aware that many more people than you might think are "mobility disabled." Group ritual should take place in an accessible area and some thought should be given to designating a safe place for those not taking part in dancing to stand or sit. Please be alert to anyone to whom help would be welcome. Help them to find a campsite which minimizes walking to the ritual area, to the privy's, to the eating area - whatever. Help them pitch their camp. Don't make them feel unwelcome - most handicapped people have worked extra hard on their magickal skills and may be able to add a great deal to the power in ritual and to the success of the gathering.

10. When at any sort of gathering, please be thoughtful. Particularly please observe true quiet after midnight. No one minds if you and others want to stay up all night talking or whatever. Everyone else minds a great deal if you stay up talking and laughing loudly and/or drumming. Those hosting a gathering should take the responsibility of keeping the noise level very low in at least some of the sleeping areas - and designating it as a quiet area.

11. Do not allow yourself to get the idea that you know the One True, Right and Only Path! Even if you really do have the conviction that what someone else is doing is "wrong", "incorrect", "Left-hand path" or whatever, just don't talk about it. It is perfectly permissible to refrain from participating in the activities of those with whom you cannot feel comfortable. It is not acceptable to express the idea that they "shouldn't" be doing it. This is not to say that if you know of criminal behavior on the part of a so-called Pagan/Wiccan group you should not report it. We must also be responsible for cleaning up our own act.

Paganism is glorified by its diversity. Please do not allow yourself to express judgment by categories. Whether or not you like or dislike blacks, Indians, Homosexuals, women, men, or whatever, keep it to yourself! If you really and truly cannot feel comfortable taking part in a ritual which isn't conducted according to the tradition you follow or if you cannot be pleasant in company mixed with groups you disapprove of, please just stay home.

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Last updated April 8, 2012

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