Magic and Community in the Pacific Northwest

Magic comes in a variety of forms, just like community. Going to events won’t give anyone instant community, especially not for a perennial loner like me. I do, however, attend events to feed my intellectual curiosity, fill my social needs, see who else in my area is doing what, and to support other magic workers.

Alliums in Olympia

I live in Olympia, Washington, a place which feels the most ‘Pagan’ of all the places I’ve lived. It’s the state capital and near to two major military bases, so there are plenty of more ‘mainstream’ people here. The Evergreen State College, a college that doesn’t give grades, is here, though, and that attracts a certain kind of free-thinking person, mostly skewed toward hipster hippies (yes, that combo can exist!). Olympia, like it’s big sister Portland, also has a strong anarchic, queer, feminist streak. I’m not sure if there are lots of practicing Pagans (I’m employing the wide umbrella term here), but many people seem to have what I call ‘Pagan-ish’ values. This makes Olympia a really comfortable for me and my family, but certainly doesn’t fill my need to surround myself with people who practice their craft and worship their gods. (We’re talking about practice.)

In an effort to promote magic, community, and practice, here are some things happening around the PNW.

  • The Dandelion Seed Conference I attended this last year (read my description to get more of a sense of what this conference is about) and I loved it. It’s not explicitly Pagan, but there are magic workers teaching and selling their wares. This is an herbalism conference that holds something for just about everyone on the fringes of modern society. I recommend it and I’ll be attending again this year. [October 17-19, 2014, Olympia WA]
  • Esoteric Book Conference This conference focuses on books, art, and performance of a highly esoteric bent. Some magic, some polytheism, some history…. it’s a wonderful blend of ideas and topics. Last year I only attended the public portion of it: the book and art rooms. The line up is often too esoteric even for my tastes (I didn’t know that was possible…). I may or may not be attending this year. [September 6-7, 2014, Seattle, WA]
  • Benjamin Pixie is a local bee keeper, leather worker, herbalist, and all around wild man living in Olympia. He makes excellent honey. He teaches workshops on bee magic and sells his wares at various places around the PNW. Click here to find out where he’ll be. Looking at his links will also let you know of other events in the wider PNW region.
  • Our Lady of the Earth and Sky This is a non-denominational Pagan church in the greater Seattle area. They do classes in Seattle and workshop/rituals in Redmond. I have never attended anything they’ve done, but it might be a good resource for those in their areas.
  • Olympia doesn’t have a Pagan Pride event, but neighboring Tacoma does. Central Puget Sound Pagan Pride Day is October 4th this year. My family may check it out.
  • Edited to Add: I can’t believe I nearly forgot the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of North America!! It’s one of the only Shinto shrines outside of Japan. I haven’t gone yet (it’s about 2 hours from where I live), but I have plans to make this a family outing sometime soon.

As you can see my definition of magic is wide open. Pagan events don’t always have a lot of magic in them, and plenty of other gatherings are full of it. If you know of something the region that fits into Pagan, magic, community building, and/or would appeal to those who exist on the fringes of society (whatever that means to you), please let us know in the comments!

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