Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day, August 11, 2013 – a review

Or, hell yes RIPPD

Ginandjack and a RI PPD Program

Ginandjack and I were running late. Having both slept in a bit more than we had planned, I swung by his place to pick him up and grab some breakfast at Dunkin Donuts (which is so very Rhode Island I can’t even). ย A quick visit to the ATM and a hustle back to my house to stock up the Hakuryuu the Jeep before heading out.

Water was loaded up by the metal container into the cooler alongside a simple pasta salad, homemade pastries, and a pair of peaches. Finally, we doused ourselves with lemongrass and eucalyptus bug spray and 70+SPF sunblock.

As no one contacted me for a lift to the event I hadn’t bothered putting the rear seat back in. The truck was filled with our cooler, some emergency supplies, the speaker, a blanket, and Nella, the citronella plant I intended to plop on the table during my workshop so I would a) have a prop and b) won’t be attacked by insects in the near-swamp.

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The road facing away from the Sportsman Club and towards the Wampanoag Trail.

RIPPD was being held in our hometown. It was easy for us to rumble and rattle our way down the Wampanaog Trail to the nearly hidden street of Mohawk Drive (or Sportmans Drive. Depends on who you ask.). Narrow and broken, we slowed to a roll and parked alongside the road. We decided to leave most of our crap in the Jeep and took only our wallets with us.

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The view of the Sportsman Club and the event site, plus a glance of the Jeep from the road.

The first thing we saw was the Noble Knots food truck, a coffee truck who’s name escapes me, and the RI Blood Bank truck. (Later, we ended up having to move the Jeep to a small field because the blood truck had to leave and the cars were blocking the way. Oops. Poor planning on their part.)

The building itself is a single floor with three steps up (a side entrance for the physically imparied with a ramp). White and narrow, the inside was two rooms, plus a tiny hallway with bathrooms and the kitchen. I don’t have images of the inside, but they were mostly small table full of jewelry, some cloaks, and Familiar Spirits, the state’s only New Orleans’ style Hoodoo shop. The Witches’ Almanac was also inside, which I adore and highly recommend for folks who are looking for an alternative to the Llewellyn almanacs available.

We made our way to the Welcoming Tent where I was immediately recognized by Dayna, the workshop coordinator (also, an absolutely adorable and sweet person.) Once I got my program and name tag (which I refused to wear. It’s a thing.) Ginandjack and I started to wander and see what there was to see.

The location was gorgeous and larger than we imagined. The workshop tents were on separate corners of the little field behind the building, past a cement patio with a fire pit. There was plenty of space for large rituals, which was where they were also held. In the distance, you could see the marshy waters of the river opening up to the sea and hawks flew high above, circling in their habitat. The Sportmans’ Club is down the street from a wetland bird sanctuary, often used for hiking and relaxing by locals.

I think my only complaint about the grounds were the rampant amount of poison ivy, cut down but still present and the lack of seating. Other than the ground, there were no seating arranged unless you snag a chair from the workshops. Likewise, there were only tables to stand at. This sadden me because unless I plopped down on the grass, I couldn’t chat or do readings on a whim as I would normally do at get togethers. Perhaps next time. It was the first time at this location so live and learn.

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Vendors 1, including a patch of signs that may or may not leave to Night Vale.

On the other side of the building, past the food trucks, were the tents for vendors.

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Second image of the vendors. There’s more along the right but you get the idea.

The vendors themselves were mixed. A lot of jewelry, a very nice booth with stones, some mish-mash witchy stuff, soaps and aromatherapy, a few information booths, herbal products, handmade mirrors, and some statuary. It’s pretty much as you’d expect. I didn’t end up buying a thing as either I could make the things offered or they didn’t appeal to me. Gin picked up a few things here and there. For each of the purchases we strolled back to the Jeep to stow it securely in the Jeep’s lockbox before heading back in.

Unlike other Pagan Pride Days, there was a definite lack of entertainment. No music was played outside of the occasional snippets of song by a person or during ritual. It was peaceful but I’ve come to expect some music for PPD, and all events really, but since I couldn’t come up with any local entertainment either, I can’t really complain about what can’t be found.

We arrived during the Wiccan Opening Ritual performed by a group from the Stang and Cauldron shop. Since Wicca is neither Gin nor my own bag of tricks, we watched, commenting politely and quietly to ourselves, before making another series of rounds bout the vendors.

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The mid-day ritual by the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan.

Eventually, we got to chatting with the local Hellenics since Ginandjack is a Hellenic and Dionysian. By Hellenics, I mean not just a random group but of Hellenic but theย Hellenic Temple of Apollon Zeus and Pan. A Kemetic also hung out with her “Hellenic cousins” and was quite fun to talk to. We enjoyed their company and spent a good hour or so talking with them, if not more. The Hellenics were also doing the mid-day ritual, which I didn’t participate in due to being secular. I did, however, shoot a few photos and watch. If Ginandjack writes up a thing on his experiences during the ritual, I’ll link it.

I didn’t get close because not only did I not want to be involved, but because I don’t want to mess them up. (If you’re wondering why that might be, well, secrets and spoilers).

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Ginandjack came to find me under one of the tents where I was sitting quietly, watching. The Kemetic we had been talking to came over too, to talk and chat about seers and seership.

Ginandjack and I snagged some water and fruit before hitting the vendors again and discussing what we’d seen and experienced. We said hello to those we passed and wandered about.

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Ginandjack with Nella the citronella plant. Because we don’t mess around and always bring protection.

My workshop on secular witchcraft was at three, so we spent a lot of time wandering until then. Towards quarter of, we meandered back to the Jeep to collect Nella the citronella plant and my notes and handouts.

RIPPD ran two workshops at a time and I was, unfortunately opposite of Raven Morgaine, the owner of Familiar Spirits, whom was talking about Shadow Work. His workshop was packed, of course, but about a dozen people showed up for my own. A dozen people was about average for a workshop at RIPPD so I was pretty happy with the turnout.

Th workshop itself went well. While some of the attendees went away with more questions than answers (which is totally unsurprising since no one except Ginandjack I had spoken to knew what secularism was at all) but all of the attendees were interested and many actively engaged. A few stayed after for discussion before moving on to other things. It was a good hour, in my opinion.

Ginandjack and I talked to a friend who stopped by for a little while before grabbing something else to eat, making a final round of the vendors who were slowly packing up, before scooting out ourselves to hit the beach before the sun set.

I might post my “notes” here so others can see what the workshop entailed, roughly, if folks are interested.

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