Pagan pride event set for this weekend

The Topeka Pagan Pride Board has announced that it is holding the annual celebration of Pagan Pride Day this weekend.

The celebration will begin at noon on Saturday, Oct. 25 at Unitarian Universalist Church located at 4775 Southwest 21st Street. The event will be held in conjunction with other Pagan Pride celebrations across the country.

The international Pagan Pride website – made a statement in regards to the event:

“We foster pride in Pagan identity through education, activism, charity, and community.”

In 2013, 98 celebrations were held worldwide, with an attendance of 65,717. Pagan Pride Day hosts multiple charity events. Last year 39,962 pounds of food and $6,918 were collected to be given to multiple charities, including the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Topeka Pagan Pride Board plans to donate food and money collected on Pagan Pride Day to Positive Connections, a charity dedicated to managing the medical cases of victims of AIDs and other various STDs, as well as raising awareness on prevention.

Topeka Pagan Pride Board Chairwoman of Charities and Fundraising Events Sage Nelson has high hopes for the celebration that day.

“The goal of Pagan Pride Day is to educate the public on what we are and what we are not,” said Nelson. “We want to take away that stigma that it’s about devil worshiping and evil, because that’s not what we are.”

Washburn alumni and president of the Topeka Pagan Pride Board, Liz Scribner, is also confident that the event gives a much more positive and realistic connotation to Paganism.

“Paganism has such a dark cloud around it,” said Scribner. “We’re really not what people think we are. It’s [the event] to help two groups out: One to get rid of a dark stigma, and two to help a community charity that needs it.”

There will be a multitude of activities for attendees of all ages. A Kid’s Corner, which will feature coloring and crafts, and multiple vendors. Chain mail artist Jeramy Matyak, will be on hand selling professionally-made crafts.

Papa Joe Credit, a Pagan folksinger and recording artist, will also be in attendance at the event. Credit will spend the day serenading the crowd. Later on in the day, a drum circle will be held. Local belly dancer Kyle Wilson will perform as well.

Pagan Pride Day will also host a main ritual in the evening, followed by a community potluck dinner. The ritual is open to the public, and is meant to give attendees an idea of true Paganism.

The Topeka Pagan Pride Board secretary and co-coordinator for workshops, vendors and the Children’s Corner, Izabellsa Phoenix, helped explain the variety the ritual will have.

“It’s going to be a very interesting and hands-on experience, because with this ritual each of the different members from their own path use it.”

The ritual can be an individualized experience, where one person can gather something entirely different from it than another.

“There could be three Pagans in a room and I can promise you, none of them believe the same,” said Scribner.

Topeka Pagan Pride Board chairman of entertainment Kyle Wilson delved further on the idea of individualized practice.

“It’s actually recommended so you can pour your own energy into it,” said Wilson. “Anything that allows you to really put your passion in and connect with it, because that’s how the magic happens. That’s what makes it unique, and a powerful spiritual experience.”

The Topeka Pagan Pride Board asks that attendees bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Positive Connections, and food or beverages, if interested in the taking part in the community potluck dinner.