By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC
As is my wont, on the first Saturday in June, I saunter over to nearby Tower Grove Park to check out the Pagan Picnic with its colorful, aromatic booths lined along one of the winding roadways.
More than once, some people have raised their eyebrows and asked why I’d consider such a venture.
First, it’s fun; secondly, the people are fascinating, thirdly, it expands my mind, spirit, and world. The picnic isn’t a religious event, and even if it were, I’m curious enough to want to witness a ritual, even though I have a different belief system.
It’s a fun, joyous affair with its collection of left-over hippie types, New Age seekers, black-clad Goths, people in search of a Renaissance fair, and the rest of us who aren’t in those categories. The art work, jewelry, books, and food enhance the atmosphere; drummers and dancers cavort nearby on one of the playing fields. The ambiance seems more whimsical than religious, and the people are friendly and gentle.
It seems to me that pagan can be a politically incorrect word today. Although that’s the word the group uses to identify itself, they stress a grouping of spiritual paths, traditions, and religions.
Who am I to judge their sincere way of seeking the Transcendent? If I were to have a lengthy conversation with a person staffing a booth at the festival, we’d probably have points of agreement and divergence.
Will a stroll through the picnic turn me into a practicing pagan? Hardly! But I walk back home smiling at the intriguing folks whom I just saw and thinking about different world views and ways to be earnest seekers.