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attending first pagan gathering

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, I just let the Imbolc ritual sponsored by our UU church CUUPS go by because I was too nervous about going. It hasn't bothered me to try other churches but for some reason I feel nervous about going to one of these for the first time, even though I would really like to.

So I guess I'd like to hear how anyone else got over being nervous about attending a ritual for the first time. Also, the announcement asked participants to "wear ritual clothing." What would be appropriate for someone who's just checking things out? Also, this particular ritual was also open to children, does anyone ever bring young kids to public rituals?
post #2 of 7
No real expereince to share since I'm solitary, but some ideas. Do you attend the regular UU services and the regular CUUPS meetings?? I'm guessing that if you knew the CUUPS members better you would feel more comfortable attending.
post #3 of 7

Re: attending first pagan gathering

Originally posted by cielle
does anyone ever bring young kids to public rituals?
cielle, I have been taking my oldest, now 7, to ceremonies and gatherings since she was about 2 1/2- old enough to use the potty and mind me somewhat in public
I find that anything that is open to kids, has a relaxed atmosphere about it and it is fully expected that kids loose interest or do their own thing. Usually, at circles, my DD just hangs outside the circle playing in the sand and is free to join in as she wishes. This has been the case at every gathering I have been to in many different communities. Many times there is drumming involved, so bring the kids a small drum or shaker.

Ritual clothing...hmmm, guess that would depend on what sect or specific group it is... I would think dress in earth friendly clothing, perhaps mono-colored - and likewise on the kids. When I take DD, Sleeping Beauty jumpsuits are out kwim?

BTW, I am not UU or CUUPS, but many of the mamas at the gatherings I attend are
post #4 of 7

Well dh went first then I went with him to CUUPS

I met one or two that I clicked with a little bit. We took our 9 yr old dd to Yule and it was like we had done something wrong. I was a bit annoyed because if you are going to raise them that way or at least let them see so they can choose later they need to be there right?
Ritual clothing is left to the individual.
However there are some nice people in there -they just don't know what to do with kids or why kids even though a majority of them have them. And they are uptight I guess because they are "official"
That said I will occassionally still go with Dh there since different people come different times.
I found a group that dh didn't use to like but now does LOL called Open Circle. They are much more child friendly and ENCOURAGE kiddos in the circle. And some are other AP'ers !
Don't let that discourage you from CUUPS though! many Many People have GREAT FANTASTIC CUUPS group.
I think ours may just have growing pains
Call the contact person and ask what they would consider for "someone just checking things out" attire wise.
post #5 of 7

From my experience, all open Circles are different. I agree with KeysMama that if the Circle says it is open to children then it is usually pretty lax. Also, with open Circles, it is usually perfectly okay to just go and watch. Let them know you are interested but that it's your first ritual and you would like to watch just outside the Circle.

If a Circle makes you feel uncomfortable or is too clique-y go with your instincts. Some Circles although open, have had the same people in them for too long and they have forgotten what an "open" Circle is all about. Don't let that get you down, there are plenty of great open Circles out there.

Good luck for Ostara!
post #6 of 7
I was raised pagan. My parents did most of their rituals at home until my sister and I were elemntary school age, at which point we were allowed to attend rituals with them if it wasn't a school night and if we felt like it and if the host permitted it.

In my experience "wear rital clothing" generally means "dress like Stevie Nicks" (nothing wrong with Stevie -- no offense intended) or "wear a long cloak."

I'd talk to the person organising the ritual beforehand to clear up your concerns. Find out how long it wll be, will it be appropriate for children the ages you have (one guy my parents did ritual with scared the heck out of my sister becuase his rituals included a lot of bladework and the dagggers ans swords freaked her out until she was about 11), clarify the dress request.
post #7 of 7
If you don't have ritual clothing, just wear what you would wear to regular UU services: in other words, presentable street clothes.

Whether children are welcome often depends upon the activity. The seasonal circles at my UU include meditations, usually, so when I had my 2yo niece with me I had to take her to the nursery until that part was over out of courtesy (it's hard to follow a guided meditation w/ a 2 year old making noise). But her presence certainly didn't offend anyone, and one of the organizers commented that my niece was more in touch with the point of the meditation than most of us adults were, just by virtue of her youth.

In short, it might be a good idea to give the organizer a call and ask before bringing small ones, but it's likely they'll be welcome as long as you're willing to retreat in an uninterruptive fashion if they become truly disruptive. If they're a young nursling, or old enough to at least sit quietly or play in the next room by themselves during parts that don't interest them, it shouldn't be a problem.
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