Gathering in the centre of Nottingham, a group of strangely dressed people.
Colourful clothing, make-up, robes and flowers in their hair. Banners held aloft, drumming and folk songs being sung. The smell of cooking flesh from the nearby flame grilled fast food stall – it seems a fair had come to the centre of Nottingham – and no, not us, an actual fair!
This is Pagan Pride 2011.
It began three years ago, with a small picnic for roughly 80 pagans. In its second year, about 600 people showed their proud faces to the public in Nottingham, and marched through the streets. This year, there were over 1000 of us, chanting “We are Pagan, We are Proud!”, “We all come from the Goddess and to Her we shall return” and “We all come from the God and to Him we shall return”!
Traffic was stopped. Bus and Taxi drivers watched with seeming indifference, perhaps enjoying the break in their normal day. Crowds of people on pavements were taking photo’s, perhaps never having seen a gathering of this nature.
The police guided us on our route, and were there to ensure that no violence broke out. I know that no Pagan being in the march would have started any violence, after all it is in our Reede to do no harm. The worry of harm, would be from any other person, with a belief or misunderstanding of our ways. Perhaps wanting to burn us at the stake?
But the march was peaceful and happy. I was moved to tears at times, feeling the loving energy from the people around me. All of us there to celebrate our belief in the Goddess and God. To educate the masses and perhaps to show that we are proud of our beliefs.
The march reached its final destination, the Arboretum, a park in the middle of the City. How beautiful it was to see the green park filled with Pagans from all faiths – Witches, Wiccan’s, Druids, Shaman, Heathens, Light Workers, and loads more – Covens, Moots, Groups and Solitaries, all come together to show our solidarity.
Upon reaching the park, Esme and John opened the afternoon with a Blessing, which was wonderful! Then, it was time for the entertainment. Some of the bands who played were 3 EYED FOX, Northern Oak, Cryptic Age, TREEBEARD and DYONISIS, with Belly Dancing Troupes in between. Children were entertained in the Fairy Land and there were many stalls selling Pagan wares as well as tasty food. A Moot tree, allowed Pagans running groups or Moots to gather and promote their areas, inviting along all who are interested. There was also the Green Man Tree as well as the Speakers Forum.
What a wonderful peaceful day it was. No violence or rioting broke out.
I was even talking to an Octogenarian, who, seemed to know me, and we had a lovely discussion. It was almost as if I had perhaps met him in a previous life, as a teacher or master. He was telling me about how he came to Nottingham many, many years ago…
It was wonderful to have such a broad spectrum of people and age groups around us, all celebrating the Goddess and her amazing energy!
No longer shall we hide our faith from the Muggles of normal society! We are Pagan! We are Proud!
Thank you to Sam Cat for the use of the Photo’s!