Revivals Needed?

I’m tired today. I finally finished a project that has consumed so much of my time you’d think it was some kind of chrono-cancer. I’m worn out, stressed and desperately in need of revival.

Our body, mind and spirit need revival. Our lives are cyclical, and like the earth we sometimes need a chance to restore and renew ourselves. To reach towards the source with joyful song. Yet, revival doesn’t come unbidden like the spring. Revival requires work on our part. We have to seek it, create it, plan for it and commit to it.

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As I sit here lusting after a long nap on clean sheets, I’m a bit surprised at the positive responses I got from my posts on reclaiming Appalachian culture. Revival and renewal are big in Appalachian religion. There are lesser revivals or local regular worship and the bigger, less frequent revivals that last days. I’ve been thinking about the revivals coming up in my life. Beltane. Pagan Spirit Gathering. Maybe others as I work out my schedule.

I think revivals are good and needed. The ancients had them in forms of festivals. Our ancestors had them in the holidays of their faiths. Pagans need to cultivate these immersive, social and intensely celebratory events of renewal and purification. We need time free of our daily stresses and responsibilities, connect to the sacred and “get happy” as tent revivalists sometimes say.

Blessed Be!

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About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

    I just realized Kenny Klein’s “Herne” is to the same tune as “Cukoo” and that is just so appropriate to the American folksong tradition.

  • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

    I just realized Kenny Klein’s “Herne” is to the same tune as “Cukoo” and that is just so appropriate to the American folksong tradition.

  • Sunweaver

    I have wanted to do an old fashioned Pagan tent revival for so long.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      The Ol’ Fashioned Feri Tent Revival event at PantheaCon every year for the past few years has been pretty popular…never been to it myself, but nonetheless, it is there…!

      • Sunweaver

        If I were on the Left coast, I’d be there. Perhaps I can talk my cohorts here into it, but it’s doubtful. Being in the Bible Belt, some might react poorly to a revival.

  • Sunweaver

    I have wanted to do an old fashioned Pagan tent revival for so long.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      The Ol’ Fashioned Feri Tent Revival event at PantheaCon every year for the past few years has been pretty popular…never been to it myself, but nonetheless, it is there…!

      • Sunweaver

        If I were on the Left coast, I’d be there. Perhaps I can talk my cohorts here into it, but it’s doubtful. Being in the Bible Belt, some might react poorly to a revival.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    I love the revival of Beltane (the promise of which has been percolating since Imbolc). I’m a little wary of aping Christian culture. I say that because we have plenty of excellent traditions of our own and because cultural misappropriation can too easily become a cheesy caricature of something.

    Not that I’m squeamish about a bit of mockery about anyone’s religion, including my own or others on our spectrum. (I joke with one of my OTO buddies that he should become a street preacher, telling people it’s “time to get right with Horus”! But I keep that apart from ritual.

    I guess I see the connection insofar as pagan worship is and ought to be ecstatic and we share that with the pentacostal/tent revival wing of Christianity more so than their mainline denominational cousins. On the other hand, tent revivals traditionally had much to do with winning converts, reinforcing the idea that we are all fallen and at risk of Hell etc.

    Still, we do a lot of appropriation of pantheons and ritual elements from a lot of sources, and it can be done well.

    I guess the bottom line is that paganism has a lot of room for experimentation, and I know you’re on an Appalachian kick lately, so see how this works out and let us know.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      It’s Appalachian culture, not Christian culture, I’m interested in. Appalachian religious expression, which did not always express itself through Christianity, fascinates. There are plenty of unrepentant heathens in them there hills, and for many folks revival is the kick-off of jamming season.

      There’s a great documentary with a fiddler who refuses to attend church. He says they all claim they are right and just in case he chooses the wrong one he thinks it’s safer to remain unaffiliated. Like many country folkways/cultures, there is a Christian veneer, but how thick it is varies from person to person.

      I don’t think Pagans should set up tents and hyperventilate behind a pulpit, but I think it’s worth looking at this “spiritual technology” and see if it’s useful to adapt it to us.

      • Byron Ballard

        Star, I’m a mtn woman many generations back, a traditonal witch, a Wiccan and a hillbilly rootwoman. I’d love to talk more about this with you. My family have been self-identified witches–and Methodists–back reliably 6 generations. There is a Christian veneer over what I believe to be English/Irish folk magic practices–not unlike the African diasporic trads. And we’ve been talking about some sort of revival-type event–’cause I am one Hel of a preacher, if I do say so myself. :>)

      • Anonymous

        This was an interesting post. I’m very much interested in Appalachian culture, but that interest comes to a dead stop when it comes to revivals, and this from someone with family roots there (Kentucky/West Virginia). I found the ‘Feri’ tent revival video to be more than a little embarassing, particularly since I think it misrepresents the tradition entirely. Cloning Christian traditions seems a little silly to me and a type of cultural appropriation of a different form. The other video was a good representation of bluegrass modified with a pagan theme. It got my foot tapping.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jenya.t.beachy Jenya Turner Beachy

          Sista Jenya here for the Feri Tent Revival~  I just found this!  Cool!  Thanks, Star, for posting our video!  The piece of info that’s missing here is that this video comes from a presentation we did at the UU Fellowship.  Several of the UU folks from that group had been at the Pantheacon where we first introduced the Revival, and they convinced their minister to invite us.  We talked it over and decided to pursue this opportunity, because, after all:  We think our Word is Good.  We want to spread it, not to convert anyone, but to open some eyes, make people think.  It was interfaith work and it was very well received.  People who’d never stood up in church before got up and clapped their hands and sang along.  We led them through an energy raising and sending, talked about how we are all Kin, us Seekers.  It was a great event and we’ve been invited back several times.  When we go there, we cast circle, call quarters, invite our Gods (very interesting to see how people react to that!)  We don’t put videos of the invocations on YouTube because it just feels inappropriate.  But suffice to say, it’s juicy ritual, designed to be accessible to those who aren’t of a common faith.  

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            Are you coming back to PantheaCon? This looks like great fun and I’d love to check it out!

          • http://www.facebook.com/jenya.t.beachy Jenya Turner Beachy

            Yes, ma’am. PCon 2012 is still in the tricksy process of scheduling, so they’ve asked presenters not to announce things quite yet, but I’ll give you the secret scoop:  We shall certainly be there, with the edgiest Revival yet!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

    I love the revival of Beltane (the promise of which has been percolating since Imbolc). I’m a little wary of aping Christian culture. I say that because we have plenty of excellent traditions of our own and because cultural misappropriation can too easily become a cheesy caricature of something.

    Not that I’m squeamish about a bit of mockery about anyone’s religion, including my own or others on our spectrum. (I joke with one of my OTO buddies that he should become a street preacher, telling people it’s “time to get right with Horus”! But I keep that apart from ritual.

    I guess I see the connection insofar as pagan worship is and ought to be ecstatic and we share that with the pentacostal/tent revival wing of Christianity more so than their mainline denominational cousins. On the other hand, tent revivals traditionally had much to do with winning converts, reinforcing the idea that we are all fallen and at risk of Hell etc.

    Still, we do a lot of appropriation of pantheons and ritual elements from a lot of sources, and it can be done well.

    I guess the bottom line is that paganism has a lot of room for experimentation, and I know you’re on an Appalachian kick lately, so see how this works out and let us know.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      It’s Appalachian culture, not Christian culture, I’m interested in. Appalachian religious expression, which did not always express itself through Christianity, fascinates. There are plenty of unrepentant heathens in them there hills, and for many folks revival is the kick-off of jamming season.

      There’s a great documentary with a fiddler who refuses to attend church. He says they all claim they are right and just in case he chooses the wrong one he thinks it’s safer to remain unaffiliated. Like many country folkways/cultures, there is a Christian veneer, but how thick it is varies from person to person.

      I don’t think Pagans should set up tents and hyperventilate behind a pulpit, but I think it’s worth looking at this “spiritual technology” and see if it’s useful to adapt it to us.

      • Byron Ballard

        Star, I’m a mtn woman many generations back, a traditonal witch, a Wiccan and a hillbilly rootwoman. I’d love to talk more about this with you. My family have been self-identified witches–and Methodists–back reliably 6 generations. There is a Christian veneer over what I believe to be English/Irish folk magic practices–not unlike the African diasporic trads. And we’ve been talking about some sort of revival-type event–’cause I am one Hel of a preacher, if I do say so myself. :>)

      • sindarintech

        This was an interesting post. I’m very much interested in Appalachian culture, but that interest comes to a dead stop when it comes to revivals, and this from someone with family roots there (Kentucky/West Virginia). I found the ‘Feri’ tent revival video to be more than a little embarassing, particularly since I think it misrepresents the tradition entirely. Cloning Christian traditions seems a little silly to me and a type of cultural appropriation of a different form. The other video was a good representation of bluegrass modified with a pagan theme. It got my foot tapping.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jenya.t.beachy Jenya Turner Beachy

          Sista Jenya here for the Feri Tent Revival~  I just found this!  Cool!  Thanks, Star, for posting our video!  The piece of info that’s missing here is that this video comes from a presentation we did at the UU Fellowship.  Several of the UU folks from that group had been at the Pantheacon where we first introduced the Revival, and they convinced their minister to invite us.  We talked it over and decided to pursue this opportunity, because, after all:  We think our Word is Good.  We want to spread it, not to convert anyone, but to open some eyes, make people think.  It was interfaith work and it was very well received.  People who’d never stood up in church before got up and clapped their hands and sang along.  We led them through an energy raising and sending, talked about how we are all Kin, us Seekers.  It was a great event and we’ve been invited back several times.  When we go there, we cast circle, call quarters, invite our Gods (very interesting to see how people react to that!)  We don’t put videos of the invocations on YouTube because it just feels inappropriate.  But suffice to say, it’s juicy ritual, designed to be accessible to those who aren’t of a common faith.  

          • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

            Are you coming back to PantheaCon? This looks like great fun and I’d love to check it out!

          • http://www.facebook.com/jenya.t.beachy Jenya Turner Beachy

            Yes, ma’am. PCon 2012 is still in the tricksy process of scheduling, so they’ve asked presenters not to announce things quite yet, but I’ll give you the secret scoop:  We shall certainly be there, with the edgiest Revival yet!


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