September and October are prime months for Pagan Pride events. If you’re organizing, or planning on attending, one, I have a recommendation for you: Make a list (well ahead of time) of what makes you proud to be a Pagan. What Pagan accomplishments make you proud? Which of your (your coven’s, your grove’s, your circle’s) accomplishments will you be celebrating on Pagan Pride Day?
There’s a difference between, on the one hand, being proud of something and, on the other hand, not being ashamed. And within that difference lies the foundation for good framing.
Too often, IMHO, events that are labeled “Pagan Pride” aren’t so much about pride as they are about not having anything to be ashamed of. (I did it; I ended that sentence with a preposition. It’s not something of which I’m proud. ;)) And I think that the failure to recognize the difference and to spend some time thinking about why you’re proud to be a Pagan may be part of what leads to the far-too-common framing mistakes we see whenever Pagans communicate with the media about Pagan Pride events. You know what I mean:
The organizers for Sandy Point Pagan Pride Day say that they want to dispel misperceptions that some people have about Pagans. “We don’t worship Satan or cast evil spells,” said Wendy Wiccan. “People discriminate against us because they don’t understand us or because they think that what we do is evil,” added her co-chair, David Druid.
I imagine there are hundreds of reasons to be proud of Paganism and that different groups might list very different kinds of achievements. Coming up with that list, though, is part of the groundwork for good framing, just as working hard on your intent for a magic-working lays the groundwork for successful magic. Once it’s refined, that list would make a great handout to accompany your press release. It would be useful to post on your website. It would be a good thing to hand out to everyone who attends the event. It might make a great t-shirt. Maybe you could put up poster board and ask attendees to list their own reasons. Seeing what your attendees say could lead to an interesting post-event debriefing and be the basis for planning next year’s event. But most of all, it will give you a good opening paragraph for your press release and a great fall-back in case you get asked questions you hadn’t anticipated. It will (hopefully) keep you focused on what you want to achieve (just like in a good spell) and not on what you want to eliminate. Power follows attention.
So spend some time coming up with your list. I’ll start with some examples; feel free you add your own in comments or at your own blog.
I’m proud that Pagans invented: art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, agriculture, religion, ceremonies for the dead, architecture, astronomy, philosophy, democracy, metallurgy, medicine, pottery, jewelry, clothing, sewing, weaving, net-making, law, mathematics, roads, aqueducts, calendars, cooking . . . .
I’m proud that Pagans recognize the divine feminine.
I’m proud that modern Pagans are coming to recognize the divine QUILTBAG.
I’m proud that Pagans worship Nature and help modern people to connect to Nature.
I’m proud that Pagans respect diversity, including religious diversity.
I’m proud that my coven does political magic focused on our local biosphere.
I’m proud that I’ve been growing as a Pagan for over two decades.
I’m proud that my own practice has come to focus more and more on my own landbase.
I’m proud of the work that Pagans do as healers, lawyers, teachers, parents, authors, musicians, bloggers, first responders, farmers, artists . . . .
Picture found here.