The Pagan Pride Project What is the Pagan Pride Project? We foster pride and acceptance in Pagan identity through education, activism, charity and community. Our goal is that no one should be afraid to express their faith publicly anywhere in the world without fear of reprisal or retribution. Why Support the Pagan Pride Project? Through education, activism, charity and community, the project promotes tolerance and understanding between people with different belief systems. If you are a Pagan, the project can help you find pride and confidence in your path. If you are not a Pagan, the project can help you understand your Pagan friends, coworkers, and family members. When Did Fort Collins Pagan Pride Start? 2016 is our first year of operating the Fort Collins Pagan Pride Day. We feel that the diversity and make up of our community will be a good place to support our message of acceptance, communication, and education. Isn’t the Name Pagan Pride Confrontational? Some have said the term “pride” is confrontational, as if we are saying we are better than anyone else. That is not the case. That term would be ‘power’. Pride is used to say that we take pride in being Pagan, we are not afraid to say that we are Pagan, and that there is nothing wrong with being Pagan. Nobody really knows who first used the term “Pagan Pride”. In name, it owes its origins to the Gay Pride movement, and certainly it is a term that reaches far beyond any single organization. What happens at a Pagan Pride event? At a minimum, the Pagan Pride celebration in your area will involve three main activities: Public ritual — A public gathering where Pagans can network with each other, non-Pagans can come and meet their Pagan neighbors, and all can enjoy a free exchange of ideas on what it means to be a community of faith. Food drive — A food drive to share our abundant harvest with others in need, and to make a clear statement to those who have misconceptions about Paganism. We know that our ethics, based on concern for ecology, personal responsibility, and individual freedom, mean that we feel strongly called to actions of social responsibility. It is important for us to highlight our similarity to other religions in that regard. Press releases — Press releases and media coverage of our events in order to present the truth about Paganism to our communities, refute common misconceptions, and draw political attention to Paganism in order to try to prevent legislative discrimination against Pagans. Is Pagan Pride Day a Charity/Non-profit Organization? Yes, the Pagan Pride Project and the Fort Collins Pagan Pride chapter are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. If you wish to make a tax deductible donation please contact our organizers here, or you can do so directly on our webpage here. It only take a minute to process through our website. Thank you in advance for your generous donation. How Can I Help or Get Involved? There are a number of ways to get involved. The simplest is to attend our event, this year it is Saturday August 20th from 10am – 5pm at Civic Center Park in Fort Collins. If you would like to volunteer or do more you can contact the organizers here for more information. Thank you for your support. About Paganism What is a Pagan? The term Pagan has many definitions. For our purposes we use the definition that a Pagan is a practitioner of an Earth-centered faith that has a celebratory cycle based on solar, lunar or agricultural occurrences. That includes … Witches. Druids. Folkish Asatru. Norse. Wiccans. Gardenarian. Dianic. Alexandrian. Stregharian. Discordians. Taoists. Shamans from any indigenous culture. Solitary practitioners of any of the before mentioned Faith Paths. Any one with the bumper sticker ‘Tree-hugging, Dirt-worshipping Hippie’. And that’s just to name a few. Never mind the many mixtures and Eclectics who draw their own tradition from Earth-based faiths to form a Spiritual Way that makes sense to them. So What do Pagans Believe? Just as there are many types of Pagans, there are many specific beliefs within the Pagan umbrella term. This is akin to how there are many forms of Christianity, and the details they will disagree on. Pagans too will disagree on the details. But a good general understanding is that we believe in an earth based faith, with cues and examples taken from nature, following the cycles of the earth including seasons and astrological signs, to find a deeper connection to both masculine and feminine divine energy. Do Pagans Worship the Devil? No! In fact most Pagans do not even believe in the devil’s existence. The devil is a Christian concept and most Pagans do not recognize such constructs. So this claim is a bit like saying don’t Atheists worship the devil? Most Pagans don’t even have a devil like figure that they believe in at all, let alone worship that devil like figure. This is a common misconception that was spread long ago in order to convert the Pagans in lands where Christianity had already made inroads. By spreading this false story they could scare Christians, who then in turn applied peer pressure on their neighbors and surrounding areas to convert to the new Christian faith. Since then most Christian faiths have acknowledged that this is indeed false, but there are still those that believe that Pagans are devil worshipers. Do Pagans Believe in Many Gods / a Pantheon of Gods? Again the details will be different for each Pagan. But there are some who believe in a pantheon of Gods, some who have no pantheon but do believe in multiple Gods, others who believe in just two Gods as a duality – a God and Goddess, and still others who don’t call the divine Gods but instead consider it an energy or divine consciousness that does not really have form the way we usually think of a God. Are Pagans Witches? The term witch is somewhat tricky. Pop culture has told us that witches are evil female spell casters who want to eat children. This is not true, a witch is a Pagan term for someone who does magic, either male or female. And magic is not what we generally think of from pop culture either. There is rarely a cauldron filled with mysterious stuff bubbling over a fire. Magic is often much more like quiet contemplation, meditation, or prayer. Magic is seeking to make change in our world through energy rather than physical actions. So every time someone prays for peace it can be said they are attempting magic. Having said that, yes, there are Pagans who consider themselves witches. But there are also many who do not. And no respectable witch tries to harm or coerce with magic spells. In general a magic spell will be used for personal gain or greater good like praying for peace, or a “please let me get a raise this year” spell. Are Pagans All in a Cult? Technically the definition of a cult is a group of people who blindly follow one human leader. By this definition most Pagan faiths are not cults. In fact most Pagans and Pagan faiths encourage exploration and understanding of faith. The personal empowerment of the individual to explore and learn, making direct connection with the divine without the need for any human intermediary, is extremely important and integral to most Pagan faiths. So in reality most Pagans practice almost the opposite of a cult religion. Do Pagans Have Ritual Orgies in the Woods? While most Pagans love the outdoors and our own bodies, this is a rumor that is a wild exaggeration. It stems from our general lack of taboos about love and sexuality. There are very few Pagan faiths that have sexual taboos, people are free to be themselves and love their bodies, all bodily functions and sex. Pagans have less hang-ups about being free to experience sex, as long as it is an entirely consensual situation. From a Puritan viewpoint, this appears that we as Pagans are very sex driven. This misunderstanding of our values has lead to some prejudice and denigration of our character. Each of these answers is simplified for outreach purposes. Please come to the Pagan Pride Day event to speak with real Pagans and get more in depth answers to your questions.