I had such an amazing time this past Saturday at the Central New Jersey Pagan Pride event, there is no way that I’d be able to share all the wonderful things I did and people I met in one post (well I could, but you’d be reading for hours!), so I’m going to break it down into a few posts through the week. Up today: the amazing folks who put it all together! My sincere apologies to anyone that I leave out – so many people put so much work into the day and you are all amazing!
First of all, I want to say what an amazing job was done by the Central New Jersey Pagan Pride Project, Inc. and all the volunteers. They did an amazing job of organizing this great event, keeping everything running smoothly and making everyone feel welcome. As my friends and I trucked all our (and by “our” I mean mostly mine!) stuff up to the event site, a box full of supplies fell and spilled out onto the grass. Two people immediately came running over to help pick up and greet us. One of these two was the amazing Rev. Matthew Bartky, pastor of Sacred Wind Sanctuary, that hosted the CNJPP event. We received a very warm welcome and it was on to the events and vendors (which will be covered in coming posts!). I could never say enough about the great job these folks did!
Another high point of the day was the fire lighting ceremony that was conducted by the Northern New Jersey Pagan Federation. An intricate ritual including forming a circle, calling the quarters, lighting the fire pit and taking incense to the 4 ends of the area of the park, the audience of the ritual was given print outs to the words of the chants included so that we could join in. It was a very intense ritual – I got goosebumps on my arms and could feel the energy being raised. It was an real experience to get to participate.
A bit later, Red Oak Grove, ADF conducted the main ritual for the CNJPP. I’ve never participated in a Druid ritual before, and I was so pleased to get the chance! What a great experience it was! There was singing, young girls skipping around the circle sprinkling the participants with blessed water, a few flubs that had us giggling (I love when that happens in ritual – I think it adds such a great element of joy to the event!), and I can say I learned so much about the Druid faith (and that I want to learn more!). Again at this ritual, those who came to participate were invited to sing and get involved in the ritual. It was just a wonderful, beautiful thing to have experienced.
I can’t wait to share more about this event with everyone – the workshops, the vendors, all the online friends that I finally got to meet in person! It was truly one of the best times I’ve had in ages!!
P.S. A big thank you to Marcela Horacio-Diaz, of Wyked Wyks for letting me share some of her wonderful photos!