Ruby Sara at Pagan Godspell asks “I wonder why we can’t have a little gospel action, a little old fashioned tent revival, get a little Spirit, have us a little rock and roll.”
I grew up in a small Baptist church. The theology was awful and the politics were worse, but boy could those people raise energy! I can remember a few great sermons (and a lot of really bad ones), but most of it was done with music – good ol’ Southern Gospel. Can Pagans (or even more unlikely, UUs) do the same thing? Of course we can. We just have to not be afraid to “let the Spirit move us” and not overintellectualize everything.
Mainly, though, we need circle/ritual leaders who know how to facilitate a religious experience. No priest or priestess can force-feed the Spirit into a participant, but the good ones know how to make the conditions favorable for that to happen. Atmosphere, music, drumming, drama… not to mention being on a first-name basis with the deities you’re trying to invoke.
I’ve had some success leading mystical rituals… I’ve also had some notorious flops. I’m still working on it. Never tried a Pagan tent revival though.
I think I’ve found a new challenge…