Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pagans and Pride go together like Bees and Honey

Midsouth Pride 2011

Me, and some of my closest witchling friends speak of life as not “spiraling out of control” but “spiraling back around”.  This phrase to us is like when you find yourself in a moment in life and you realize that everything you have ever worked for and believed has led you to that spot.  It’s your witchy “aha!” moment.  It makes you get all goosebumpy, and choked up you feel glorious and thank-full.  You experience many times like this in a lifetime, but strangely enough they outweigh the normal every day “aha” moments you get while fixing the plumbing under the sink! This Saturday was one of those glorious “I felt it” “I knew it” and felt “exhilarated” moments. 

When you are younger, you might have it in your mind that you have reached the pinnacle of ethics for your life when what you “say you believe” you “walk”.  That was a decision I made for myself and my family when I was in my twenties.  Sometimes, I have missed the mark.  Sometimes I have not liked the “physical requirements” or “long reaching results” of played out ethics but as you grow older you choose how to invest your time more wisely.  As a Pagan it is really hard to “choose” to come out to your friends and family.  I have done both, some with great results others not really smashing but either way I made that choice and found liberation in it.  

I am a Libra.  I am telling you this for a reason, while I claim it has little to do with my day to day life it has a lot to do with how I see and approach the world.  I was a student of the humanities (Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology) that got fed up when I realized I was being trained to espouse and promulgate theories for other people to act upon.  Something about that rubbed me the wrong way, until the day I turned in my resignation from graduate school.  I told them I wanted to live out my theories on the best way to live my life.  Pagan, Wiccan, Witch was one of them the other was acting and doing something about the world we lived in.

I believe helping co-found the Temple with Amos Kelley, Brian Miller, and Allison Hancock was just that acting on my Pagan principles and offering to others a “umbrella” of protection so that they could worship in a safe environment without worries or fears.  It developed into being a home for people that fit no where else in the communities.  It developed into a Temple full of people that have political and social ideas that feel strongly about them that wanted to do something in the real world.  

One year ago my members participated in Midsouth Pride 2010 and had a blast.  I stayed at home with a new born; and the rest of the Temple went to Festival of Souls in the woods.  When my members came back they were determined that the next year we would fully as a Temple participate and put our actions where our words were.  We would march, we would have a float, we would have a booth and I agreed to the idea.  For two years now we have happily supported the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community center sending them food for the pantries and clothing for those in need.  The Temple and the MLGCC has slowly but surely formed a bond that has grown stronger every month.  I am proud of this accomplishment but I wanted more.

I have no idea how to build a float.  I am not really gifted in crafty areas, but several of the people in my Temple are.  I do hair, I build wigs, I paint canvases on people, I have a way with color, and I am a great decorator---but I have not built a float.  Quickly my members brought me stacks of forms to fill out, I did.  Quickly they went to meetings and listened and paid for our spaces.  Quickly they volunteered and went to float building classes.  Lists were made, Ideas were drawn out, materials were acquired and we went to work.  Two weeks, every night after they were out of work and some after their night shifts people came over.

First we painted a canvas in swirling colors.  Next we painted and traced Temples from various civilizations on the back, the Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Greek Parthenon.  Then we paper- mached the Goddess.  It took two layers, we had to wait for her to dry.  Then we painted her with a kilz coat, it dried and the next morning I repainted her with help from Michelle.  Then, Allison and Katie painted her with vines and flowers.  Angela and I and everyone made letters with aluminum foil cardboard, tissue paper….TEMPLE OF THE SACRED GIFT, and TSG for the back of the float.  We cut out cardboard for the sides, front, back, to cover the wheels.  We constructed a way to hang the tarp out of pipes (thank you Dwayne) he also devised a way to bolt her into the trailer!  We covered the boxes with table clothes, we pasted the letters on one by one.  We took a trellis and cut it to size and then wound fabric and vines on it.  We made an altar, and glued candles incense holders and vines around it.  I made a head out of a wig model, painted it, gave her a beautiful wig and headpiece with feathers and we glued it onto her head.  We made arms out of chicken wire and paper mache.  We cut and painted pentagrams to go in each hand.  We made a rainbow out of construction paper and painted it. …and each night as tired as we were.  No one bitched, no one snapped, everyone was happy and worked.  One night Katie says, this is cool because you know tonight we are all connected to everyone else doing this tonight for a general purpose; and I knew we were.

I have never worked so hard on something that I knew had no monetary return!  Yep, that is right…never.  Allison designed and made beautiful bright orange handbills with our Temple website on it and a large pentagram, we made brochures, printed more tee shirts.  In the end we were ready to go.  8-am we set up our booth, and filled it with incenses and crystals, and necklaces, and athames and candles with our Temple flag hanging up proudly right next to the Human rights Campaign booth.  10-am we were putting together the float in the parking lot.  12-30 we were eating quickly.  1-pm we were lining up with baskets of candy and handbills.  The parade began to start, and we marched!  

I have never had such a moment where I knew I was doing the right thing!  I have never had such a moment where I was so proud!  I have never marched in a parade, I have never had so many hug me and tell me “how proud they were of us!”.  I have never had so many people say “I had no idea that you had a legal organization out there for us!”  As we marched, we all smiled and laughed and hugged people we knew on Beale Street.  We all looked so proud, we were in our element.  We were coming out as the rest of the people were coming out!  We were marching for equal rights for everyone understanding that this is something dear to the Pagan’s heart.  Many people say they are open to “sexual orientation” but few will get out there and show their face and say I AM FOR THIS. I did that, and I am amazed at myself and comrades for doing it together...we grew into our heroes!

The single most important thing I feel I have ever done with the Temple is work my butt off for a float.  I do not care that it cost more than it will ever make in money.  I care that we in that moment came together and showed our city that we feel this way about this issue.  That we not only talked the talk but walked the walk; I pray that you too have moments in your life when you realize that sometimes being public and taking a stand is what is needed for this world.  Adopting dogs is great, organic gardening is fantastic, giving food and clothing to charities is applaud able, but sometimes we need to do more.  For the Temple, we did more and for this reason I am proud to say I have helped co-found the most instrumental thing in my life that has helped me grow and dismiss boundaries in my life.  Thank you Isis for sending me here!  Thank you Isis for everyone you sent to my life!  Thank you Midsouth Pride for treating us so wonderful!

Next year…we are going to win a float trophy!  Just you wait and see!  What have you done, that you are proud of that gave you that AHA moment and made you realize you were WALKING YOUR TALK?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! I'm glad you got such support from parade attendees too!