Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day 2014

Sunday August 16th, was Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day (RIPPD). For those of you who don’t know, last year I presented a workshop on secular witchcraft at RIPPD. This year I didn’t present or vend because I didn’t have time to get something together before the event given the severe resurgence of my sleeping disorder beforehand.

Anyway, a friend of mine was vending his spa products so I had a definite reason to make an appearance. More than that, I believe in supporting my local community – not just for the vendors but also the local pagan community.

For those who visited RIPPD last year, know it was far smaller this year. Which saddens me. It’s really hard to support the local community when the community is so disorganized that major vendors don’t want to participate.

I happened to visit a major new age store the day before RIPPD to pick up herbal supplies. The owner of the store was manning the counter and when asked if she was going, she told us that she has issues with RIPPD and one of them was the location. RIPPD isn’t held in Providence but an out-of-the-way place in East Providence. Previously to that it was held in Bristol. Not only is the location a problem but RIPPD is, apparently notoriously disorganized.

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).  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 the 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.

Workshop at Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day!

It’s official. I’ll be doing a workshop called Witchcraft Without Gods: Secular Witchcraft at Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day (RIPPD) this year on August 10th at 3pm at 1 Sportsman Drive/ 1 Mohawk Drive, East Providence, Rhode Island. RIPPD starts at 10am and runs till about 5pm. However, the party can carry on elsewhere, if we are so inclined.

Now to answer some questions some folks have. Answers quoted from coordinator Dayna

1) there is no entrance fee for PPD. We do collect non-perishable food for the RI Food Bank, so if those attending would like to bring a canned good it would be greatly appreciated. There is no fee for attending workshops.

2) Those attending are free to come and go as they please. Our location has a field for vendors and the workshops and an indoor space for those vending items that might be damaged if there is inclement weather.

3) We are happy to have Noble Knots selling food all day at the event and will be creating a dining area with picnic table and chairs outside. People are welcome to bring their own food and drinks. We do ask for no alcohol simply for insurance purposes.

4) Because of the indoor space, we do not have a rain date. In the past we’ve had PPD during a tropical storm and had fun!

5) There is space for people to get together and chat 🙂

6) Pets are welcome outdoors, but not in the main building. The main building does have bathrooms 🙂

Now for me to ramble on a bit.

Pagan Pride Day (PPD) is part of Pagan Pride Project which is a network of these sorts of events. You can find your own nearby event by going to the “where we are’ section of the above link. This is not the only PPD I will be attending this year. I will most likely attend at least one of the Massachusetts ones as well.

Some followers have expressed interest in coming from far away. If you do intend to come and need a ride and/or place to crash, contact me privately.

Transportation: I’ll likely make a stop at Kennedy Plaza in the morning before PPD to pick up anyone who needs a lift to the event. Alternatively, you can take RIPTA bus 60 which will drop you off in front of the side street the event’s being held on. If you’re coming in by train/plane, this can also be arranged. PPD isn’t far from Providence, about fifteen minutes away, so taxis and the like are available. I do recommend carpooling if possible. I’ll double check the location later this month but from what I recall it’s a narrow street and the building doesn’t have too much parking (I really don’t recommend parking on the Wampanoag Trail/Route 114. It’s a heavily traveled. If you intend to carpool and you need a place to leave your cars. My house is also available. I live on a corner so there’s plenty of places to leave your car, especially with the cul-de-sac nearby.

If you’re looking for crash space, my house is open to you. I only ask that you let me know ahead of time. Bringing your own food and booze is perfectly acceptable and I recommend some pocket money in case we all dine out. Remember, I have three cats so you must be able to handle being around them. Similarly, let me know of any allergies you have that I should know about (in case I make food or grow something I can warn you of). The spare bedroom is tentatively claimed, but I have two couches, two chairs, and a lot of floor available. If you’re looking to come a day or so early before the event or stay after, that’s cool too. There’s always a lot of fun things to do in the area. Parks within walking distance, beaches to visit, and if we feel really adventurous, we could travel up to Newport and hit the beaches there. Or whatever.

About the location: I haven’t been in there before but the link has photos. Bring bug repellent. There’s marshland and wetlands all along the Wampanoag Trail/114 which is the road you’ll be traveling. It’s a two-lane, heavily traveled road with a median separating both sides. There are about five turn offs. When traveling, don’t worry about feeling like you went too far. Unless you hit the big white church across from a school and the water. Then you went too far. As noted above, we can’t even decide what road it’s on. 1 Mohawk Drive and 1 Sportsman Lane are the same street. The location itself is called the Sportsman Club and there’s a relatively small white hanging sign indicating as much. It’s the street directly after the apartment complex entrance on the right. If you see the radio towers you’ve gone too far. This is directly next to Seekonk, Mass. (historically, this area has been traded back and forth between RI and MA up until the early 1800s) so don’t panic if you see signs for entering MA. I do 90% of my shopping in MA because of it’s locale.

If you are coming then let me know. We can trade phone numbers/emails to coordinate. Ginandjack will also be in attendance for sure. Don’t be afraid to show up even if you aren’t pagan. It’ll still be a lot of fun. I really hope to see some of you there!

Ahhh I’m really excited!

Plan on coming and want to connect? Need a place to crash/a ride? Contact me!