This will be the first time I'm using this blog for its intended purpose, which is to accompany videos by containing more information to go along with what you see! I'm uploading the video from this past Saturday's craft show right now. It was actually a small festival hosted by a diner, and there was food, music, a dunk tank, a bouncy race game, and just three stands of vendors. It was such a small festival that not many people even came by for the first three hours. But once evening hit, my mom (Rev. Rose) made a few sales. I ended up selling one pair of earrings, because mom convinced someone she knew to buy a pair for their girlfriend. But more than selling any of my items, the conversations our handiwork sparks are ever-intriguing.
There is a lot about this that is hard to explain because you all don't actually know me, and you're not in my everyday life, so I can't trust that you'll know my exact feelings on things I want to say and I don't want to seem harsh or overly-cautious because I'm talking to strangers. So I'm just going to have to say whatever I want to say, and trust that you'll remember that since I'm not telling you and you haven't been here, in my daily life, you don't know the whole story. Please do not assume that you do.
There is something to be said for both flaunting your spirituality, and for keeping it toned down. On the one hand, remaining proud and showcasing your faith through jewelry or dress but in a small way can allow you to be noticed by like-minded folk while not frightening away anyone who might otherwise come to your stand and buy things from you. This is the route I chose, figuring that my handmade items would give it away anyway, since I make a lot of things with pentacles and other symbols, and even the words "Goddess" and "Witch." On the other hand, one may choose to broadcast the tenor of their stand by hanging up large pentacle items for all to see. This is the route my friends chose for their stand right next to us. This may frighten away potential buyers who may be interested in your other wares, but as it proved, would also serve to draw any other pagans immediately to you. This is what ended up happening.
My friends, because of their hanging professions of paganism and my one friend's pagan themed tattoos, had several people come up to their stand throughout the day looking for pagan stuff. I heard a couple walk up to them and begin talking about paganism, sharing tattoos, and so on, and then they walked away without even glancing at my stand, which has more to do with paganism. Just because I didn't look like it from afar, people skipped over me, and my friends didn't send anyone my way like I always did for them.
An hour or so later, a man was admiring Rev. Rose's wood-burned plaque which features an intricate pentacle holding a crescent moon (a popular symbol you've probably seen) surrounded by an earth-centered quote. The man told me it was very nice work, and I said that my mom had made it. He then perked up and asked, "Oh, so is your mom pagan?" I told him, "I am. My mom is spiritualist Christian. But we share a lot of beliefs and she is supportive of it so she makes some pagan-related things." And he said "Yeah, I do some of that, too" and then walked away. He wasn't the only person that day to be interested if my mother was pagan, but not if I was, and that confused me.
A while later, a woman my mom and I have known for years showed up. I pointed her out right away and we couldn't remember her name, but knew her. She spotted the big pentacles on our friends' stand and ran over to them, saying "Ooh, I see pagan stuff!" She immediately grabbed my friend's card and then took off, without glancing our way. Mom grabbed her attention and said, "Hey, aren't you going to come say hello?" and I said "Hey, chick!" to which this woman just stared. Mom and I removed our sunglasses, which had prevented several people from recognizing us earlier, but she still didn't know who we were and said hi and gave my mom an awkward hug, but ultimately just walked away.
Then a really nice biker came into our stand and talked to us for a while. I mentioned him in my video. He asked me about my products that said "Goddess" and "Witch" and wondered if there were a lot of pagans around. I told him that I was, and our friend at the stand next to us as well as her fiancee who wasn't there at the time, and a couple other people I know of who live nearby. He asked if we were a group or separate and I told him that no, even though I know a couple pagans right around where we live, we unfortunately don't work together. Mom told him about our past fellowships and spiritualist churches, and I told him about Unitarian Universalist churches, which I've attended in the past as a guest but not yet regularly. He was very interested and very nice, and said he hoped to see us around.
Then our friend who didn't recognize us came back in and said she remembered us but couldn't think of when or where we had met. I didn't remember either, honestly, but my mom did. We all met at meditation circle that our friend Rev. Jenni used to run in the co-operative shop that we were a part of. That was years ago, but I recognized her right away. Then I think my mom said "I didn't know you were pagan!" because she said "Oh yeah, I'm highly pagan" (what does that even mean? Can one be mildly pagan?) and showed us her pentacle/moon themed tattoo. "So is he," she said, referencing the long-haired man at her side. My mom told her, "Well you know I'm not, I'm Christian but you know I do a lot of that stuff, but Cara is pagan." And again, she didn't seem to care. My pagan identity mattered so little, in fact, that later on, she asked my mom if she was going to Pagan Pride this year, to which my mom responded "No, I'm not Pagan. Cara is probably going; she went last year." Turns out she had also been there last year but I didn't see her because I was there for literally about ten minutes. We had gotten lost on the way and that took up time, and we had to be back at a certain time, so I didn't stay there long at all. I told her she might see me there this year.
All in all what stuck out to me was how the few pagans that seemed to be at the festival flocked toward the obviously pagan tent while never even noticing my items or saying hello (and you don't even want to hear me rant about how looks do not necessarily reflect practice or knowledge, especially in this case, so just know that some "highly" pagan folks don't broadcast it, so you may want to look around further to see what you can't see from far away), and how when people asked me about pagans I included "my friends at the tent next to us" whereas when pagans talked to said friends, they did not extend that grouping to me so that I, too, could make new, pagan friends. It all comes down to the main issue that's been bugging me for years--I have "pagan" friends and they won't take part in community with me. Lack of love, lack of trust. So no, friendly biker man, we do not work in a group. But that is no fault of my own.