Yesterday morning happened to be my couple of hours in the store. It also happened to be May 1, which many Pagan-type folk know as Beltaine.
Which means that yes, the media got hold of us at the store and asked us (a) if there were any public rituals going on last night, and (b) what the staff was doing to celebrate when they got together.
Now, most Pagan-type folk still live in a world that doesn’t understand why they’ve chosen the path they follow, and what mankind does not know it generally fears, resulting in oppression and/or ridicule. Hence most Pagan-type folk don’t really bruit it about that they’re Pagan-type folk. Makes work environments safer, and family gatherings less violent.
What does this have to do with it being Beltaine? Well, it means that the media is decidedly not welcome at a ritual, because you never know what sound byte/camera shot might reveal your voice or face to those watching or listening. People’s lives have been ruined, jobs lost, their places in the family disowned because of this. Religion is the one undefinable thing that runs so deep that it causes brother to turn against brother and nations to go to war, all in the name of their vision of deity.
So I’m afraid I annoyed the media representatives who called by telling them that there was no ritual available from which they could gather material. I wasn’t lying, either. Most rituals are going on this weekend, and they needed material right away. (Pagan-type folk are practical people. They know that people are more likely to be free on a Saturday than a Thursday night.)
The whole popular misconception that the staff of a metaphysical shop worships together is amusing too. I must perforce shatter any romantic illusions my readers might have formed and say that in reality, we work together, and that’s it. I mean, really. Do you go out with your entire staff to synagogue, to church, to temple, to mosque? No, I didn’t think so.
As for the whole not celebrating on the actual holiday issue, I’m used to it. My father was an airline pilot, and when I was a kid he often wasn’t home on Christmas Day. No problem; we’d either celebrate early, or the first day he was home after the 25th. It’s just a day, after all. The important part of it revolves around family, and being together, and sharing. Ironically enough, that’s what most Pagan holidays are about too: community, being together, and marking the seasonal changes. Yes, the media representatives were miffed that no one was celebrating Beltaine on Beltaine. I’m just glad that Beltaine gets celebrated at all. In the rain, or otherwise.
Besides, I think they would have been a little taken aback to hear how I was spending Beltaine eve. Home-made chicken fajitas, a TV double-header of Buffy and Angel, a bottle of Taylor Fladgate First Estate port, a lap full of cats, and the company of my husband. Hardly the stuff of legend.