Monday, October 1, 2012

Pagan Pride Day...2012...

This past Saturday (September 29, 2012) was the 10th Annual Savannah Pagan Pride Day Festival. I had been looking forward to it for several weeks, for a few reasons. Firstly, it was an opportunity to meet a blogging friend (Adrianna) face to face. She also lives in Savannah. There had been a previous event (a fundraiser for the festival) that I had planned to attend, but for a couple of reasons I ended up not being able to go.

(Emmet Park)
Second, there were going to be various vendors there selling pagan related items. When I was living in Los Angeles, I frequented a metaphysical shop, “The Psychic Eye”. They sold just about anything you could want or need. They also taught various classes of a metaphysical and pagan nature. It was great. Here in Savannah it’s a different story. Not a metaphysical shop anywhere. I’m kind of stumped as to why there isn’t even one. The vibe/energy of Savannah has a very mystical side. It boasts to be the most haunted city in the United States. There is a very reputable art school here, SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design)…most of the artsy types I have known have been among the section of society that possesses an open mind, and leans more towards things ‘pagan’. I think a shop would do well here. It has been suggested to me that the citizens of a more ‘organized’ mind would probably complain. What a shame.  I feel sorry for them. A closed mind shuts one off from so much that is positive and full of light. That topic is a whole post in itself, so I’m going to move on…

Third, I would be getting out and meeting new people. Many of them with interests/beliefs like mine. For many years now I have considered myself to be Pagan. There is so much about it that makes sense to me. Lots of love and light in Paganism. Maybe I would learn something new.

On the day of the festival, I was pleased that my RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) was giving me a break. The Festival was in Emmet Park, on Bay Street right above one of the main tourist attractions, River Street. I was not looking forward to the prospect of finding a parking space, it being a weekend. I ended up having great parking Karma, and found a space just a couple of blocks down Bay Street. Then I learned that I wouldn’t need the quarters weighing down my purse for parking charges. Apparently, meter parking is free on Saturday’s. My day was starting well.

I arrived at roughly 2:30 PM, and there were a number of people milling around, checking out the wares for sale. It wasn’t packed like other festivals I have been to, but I didn’t figure that it would be. A Pagan festival in the Bible belt…nuff said. As time passed, the crowd did grow a bit. Wielding my “Fourth Eye” (camera), I started checking out the various booths, snapping a picture here and there. All of the vendors were so nice. Very pleasant. The overall energy/atmosphere was so welcome. Right away I felt myself start to decompress. 

A DJ was playing a mix of upbeat music that filled the area. The center of operations was by a war memorial that sat in the center of a fenced in pool of water (didn’t notice which war, but it was definitely of more modern times than “War Between The States” era).

I was there for an hour or so when I noticed a man pushing a young girl in a stroller. I immediately recognized them as I have seen him a few times, and the girl a bunch of times. It was Adriana’s husband, and one of her daughters. (Adriana has a great blog that she has received several blogging awards for. A photographer, she posts a lot of her photos, and writes about her life. She is very talented. Here is a link to her blog page:  It’s definitely worth checking out.) I approached him saying, “I recognize both of you.” He obviously thought we had met before as he responded in a familiar way. “How have you been”, or something to that effect. I’m sure that he meets a lot of people, as I would learn that Adriana is a busy lady. I explained that I knew Adriana from blogging, but we had yet to meet. She was on a break at that point, so I killed some time until she was back. Killing time was very easy. Chatting here and there; shopping; people watching. I remember looking across the tent covered portion of the park, and thinking how it was the perfect place for the festival. Old Savannah trees fill Emmet Park, creating a thick canopy of limbs and leaves overhead. It was very hot and humid (I love the shirt I wore, but quickly learned it wasn’t the best one for hot weather as the fabric was not the kind to breath), but some breezes would blow up and through from the Savannah river. The shade helped to an extent, too. 4:00 rolled around, so I made my way to the front table by the main entrance.

Adriana is one of the nicest people. I was greeted with a hug and a smile. She radiates so much positive energy. Her whole family is nice. So glad I finally got to meet her. As the program above states, this year was the 10th anniversary of the festival. Adriana had started the festival ten years ago, and this year she is retiring. Putting something like that together is a lot of work, so I can understand how she’s ready to pass the torch. Hopefully, someone will come forward to take it. It is uncertain as to whether or not there will be a festival next year. It would be a shame for it to stop.

I hadn’t grabbed a program, so Adriana got me one and showed me the list of workshops offered. She showed me where I could catch the end of “The Magic of Healing”, taught by Belladonna Laveau, Archpriestess of the Aquarian Tabernacle church, Intl. It was to be followed by a workshop called, “Defense Against the Dark Arts” (I know…I’ll cover that in just a sec). The healing workshop was wrapping up, so I decided to catch “Defense Against the Dark Arts”. No, neither professor Lupin nor professor Snape arrived to conduct the workshop. The speaker was an extremely nice guy named, Dusty. He would talk about protecting one’s self. He broke things up into two sections. 

The first was about protecting yourself from others, and outside forces. He covered a number of ways to protect your home from negativity. Some I already knew, but I learned a few new ones. The second section was about protecting yourself from YOU. The stronger one gets, the more careful one should be. Whatever you send out will come back at you. All very interesting. Adriana had introduced me as a “newbie” (although pagan, I am not “practicing”…if that makes sense), so Dusty chatted me up a bit before he started. He stopped a little early, so he could get ready for the Ritual they were holding (he was a part of the drum circle).

(Honey Bear)
At the end of his talk, Dusty asked if anyone had any questions for him. After a few moments, a young girl (looked 16-ish) stepped forward to ask him about some recurring dreams she had been having. She was visibly nervous. Dusty has a dog (golden retriever), who had been laying off to his side opposite of where the girl had sat. All of a sudden, Honey Bear (the dog), stood up, calmly walked to the girl, and gently nuzzled her. Dusty said that Honey Bear sensed her nervousness and came over to comfort her. I was blown away. Animals are so amazing in how sensitive and attuned they are. The girl was able to relax, Honey Bear's mission successful.

(Bottom left: Circle Participants; Right: Belladonna Laveau)
Now for the ritual. Although I know what a Circle is, and what ‘Calling the Quarters’ is, I have never been a part of a ritual before. Belladonna Laveau called everyone to the circle, and asked for the four individuals who would be ‘Calling the Quarters’ to take their places. ‘Calling’ involves the four directions (East, South, West, North), and the elements associated with each (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). Wording might differ slightly from caller to caller, but each will say something like this:

  • “Guardians of the East, Powers of Air; you who are thought and the wind upon my face.  Winged eagle of the skies who is the morning breeze and the wrath of storms, I call upon and invite your presence to witness this rite.”

The ritual starts with “East” being called, followed by the other directions in the order I stated before. Then at the end of the ritual, it is necessary to 'Dismiss the Quarters', starting with the North and working through the directions in the reverse.

  • “Guardians of the North, of Earth, I thank you for your solid presence here tonight. Stay if you will, go if you must. Farewell and Blessed Be.”
Talk about some great energy. Whether you are of the pagan mind or not, there is something very moving and powerful about people coming together like that. The only other experience I have had that comes close is when I attended a “toso” (Buddhist meeting for chanting) with a friend. There were easily 200 to 250 people in attendance. The power in a room filled with all of those people rhythmically chanting ‘Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo’ is indescribable. The Circle at the festival was also powerful.

Following the circle, they called Raffle numbers. I had purchased a ticket, but didn’t get picked. That’s okay. I’m sure the moolah went to a worthy cause. After that a belly dancer performed. I took the opportunity to snap a number of pictures, seeing what sort of shots I could get of a person/object in constant motion. Just an observation, but she was the thinnest belly dancer I have ever seen. Belly dancers always seem to be a bit thicker, bordering on rubenesque.

It was 6:30-ish when I left. A band performance was one of the things happening that night, but I was pooped. The Sun (who I do not get along with on any day) had sapped most of my energy, and my joints were starting to stiffen a bit having been on my feet 85% of the time. After saying Goodbye to Adriana, I headed to my car and home. The end to a great afternoon.

I did make a few small purchases during my visit. A purple fabric scarf with crescent moons on it; handmade candles for Samhain ~ one orange, one black; a silver Hamsa charm ~ shaped like a hand, it is used to ward off the Evil Eye; a small silver pentacle charm; a pair of silver earrings depicting the 'Tree of Life.'

I’m so glad I went. I hope someone takes up Adriana’s mantel for next year. I know the majority of the vendors were from out of town, but it’s nice that the pagan’s who do live here had something geared towards them.

As for next year's festival, que sera sera...

(Upper left: Dusty, in beige shirt)


  1. what a beautiful review thanks so much for sharing. I have ben reading now your blog for an hour because is really that good specially the October posts. So much knowledge and amazing info. I have shared this post with PPD site. ;)

    1. Thanks, Adriana! It was such a wonderful day and experience. :)

  2. Love the review. Yes Adriana is a wonderful person. We all love her work and fallow her. As like you I hope someone will do Pagan Pride next year. I look for word to it every year. Could you send me the photos you took of me dancing? Love to add them to my page.

    1. I'll be happy to send them to you. They should be in your e-mail in the next day or so. :)

  3. This is Dusty! What an amazing Article! Just to let you know, Honey Bear has her own FB page, so if you come online, and look me up, I can get you hooked up ;) Also, do you have any photos of Bella, myself and Honey? I would love to have them, and I would love to talk to you about reproducing this wonderful article, with links back to your site, on the Aquarian Tabernacle Churches online zine: Panegyria. You can get a hold of me through my FB:
    Thank you for the wonderful words, hope to hear from you soon, and Happy Samhain!

  4. Sounds great. I have been to one Pagan Festival with a Pagan priest many years ago. I live in Phoenix, Arizona now so maybe in the the future I will have the opportunity to go to another one here or in a nearby city. Blessed Be and Love and Light, Divinia