Introversion is generally defined as the need to withdraw from people to recharge. It can be debilitating, especially at large pagan events when there’s not a lot of alone time or space. After speaking with a lot of pagans, I realized I’m not the only introvert. A lot of us feel the need to recharge, especially if it’s combined with shyness or social anxiety.
Because now is the season when many people are planning to attend some awesome pagan events, I thought I’d put together a list of my methods for recharging and having fun at pagan events while still respecting my somewhat introverted nature.*
Here’s how I navigate the realms of socializing and space.
1. Establish a grounding ritual
Maybe you hold a hunk of hematite to ground yourself, or maybe you listen to a certain relaxing song. Maybe you inhale jasmine oil, or call the quarters and imagine roots growing deep into the earth. Or maybe you imagine clearing your energy field, or rattling off a couple of “om”s.
Whatever it is, establish a practice that works before going to a gathering. This will be your rock for whenever you need to reconnect and recharge.
2. Recharge your energy before the event starts
As soon as I pay for an event, I mark the days of the event on my calendar. I also write “make no plans” on the calendar, for two or three days before the event. This means I don’t accept any invitations unless they’re crucial. I minimize my responsibilities to others as much as possible during this time.
On those “no plans” days, I rest up. I read, write, clean, pack, and spend time with my cats and husband. That way, when I arrive at the event, I have more energy to meet people and be social.
I also mark the calendar with “make no plans” for two or three days after the event, too, so I can unpack and recharge and process. Planning ahead like this works wonders for me.
3. Consider camping (or getting a room) in the quiet area
A lot of events have a quiet area, where people pipe down at a somewhat reasonable hour. You can look into this beforehand to know what your options are. Sure, you may be farther away from the raging bonfire, and the Mead King may not gift you a bottle of cizer at midnight, but you’ll have more peace and quiet. It makes socializing more on-your-terms.
Of course, some events aren’t highly social to begin with, either. Ask someone who has been there before so you know what to expect.
4. After setting up and checking in, escape and experience space
After I arrive, I always need to shake off the journey. For me, this can look like a lot of things. Sometimes I close myself inside my tent and read a book, or don headphones and play inspiring music, or take a walk in nature, or maybe I’ll do some yoga. I try to limit conversations until I feel more grounded, refreshed, and ready to socialize.
5. Don’t go to every class, workshop, and meeting
“Aim for one workshop a day” is a good maxim. If I feel well enough to go to more, great! If not, one workshop usually provides enough information and interaction, and leaves me with enough energy for the night ritual.
6. Split whenever you want
One cool thing at gatherings is that you don’t need a good reason to leave a conversation if it’s overwhelming. If someone or something is too intense, feel free to leave. “I gotta run. See you,” is sufficient.
7. Keep good boundaries
It’s so fun to meet new people, and I love mingling with my neighbors, but sometimes, I need to be alone. Usually, going in my tent, closing the flap, and listening to music is enough to allow me space to re-expand. Friends may call for me, but I’m in my private space recharging, and I don’t answer them. Those times, I need to recharge more than I need to socialize.
This doesn’t just pertain to tent-time, though. This also has physical space implications. Just as someone shouldn’t enter your tent without your permission, you don’t have to hug anyone if you don’t want to. This doesn’t come up a lot — in my experience, most people at pagan gatherings are respectful of space. However, if someone’s coming in for a hug and you’re not feeling it, hold up your hand and say, “no thanks.” Keep those good boundaries, and you’ll feel better.
8. Avoid weirdos and energy suckersEvery festival has them — 100% extroverts who babble constantly and want to hang out 24/7. If you’re anything like me, after a while, you can feel your life-energy slipping away, like a dementor sucking your soul.
It’s just a matter of recognizing what’s happening and side-stepping them. Be brave enough to speak up for yourself in a kind manner. Sometimes, merely saying, “I’ve got to run,” will be enough to escape. Bonus: if you can limit your interactions with them in the future, you’ll have more energy for other things.
My last tip is highly personal. I love wearing sunglasses, both in regular life and at festivals. I realize not everyone likes them, though.
Well, I don’t care of people don’t like them, because sunglasses help me filter both light and emotions. As a highly-sensitive witch, I’m a psychic sponge, sopping up all the emotions, if I’m not careful. Whenever I make eye contact with someone, I can access that person’s greatest sorrows and joys. Their entire emotional spectrum is visible. Yes, that’s overwhelming. And it’s even worse if I’m feeling zapped. I think that’s one reason why I’m an introvert. But sunglasses help limit the amount of psychic energy I pick up on and keeps my personal energy field stronger.
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My last tip, if you haven’t done so already, is to figure out your social : space ratio. For every hour of social experience, how much time do you need to be alone to feel recharged? For me, it’s about 1:1 in regular life, and a little less at festivals, because I’m not working, and the energy is so buoyant. Yours may be more or less, and can depend on several factors.
We all have our own unique ways of dealing with the world as introverts. I hope this article was helpful to you. If you feel moved to do so, pease share it with your introverted friends, especially those on the fence about going to a pagan event. Introversion shouldn’t hold us back from having a great time at pagan events.
If you need any more reasons on why you should go to a pagan event, check out my other article — 9 Reasons Why You Should Go to a Pagan Festival, Even If You’re Solitary.
By the way, if I see you at any of the multiple pagan events I’ll be attending this year, please say hello! It would be nice to meet a fellow introvert. I’ll probably be wearing sunglasses. 🙂
* Point of clarification: I say I’m “somewhat introverted,” because whenever I take a Myers-Brigg test, I’m in the smack-dab in the middle of the scale, leaning a little more toward the introverted end.
If you believe an introvert is defined by the need for alone time to recharge, well, that’s me! However, I’m not shy, I’m modestly confident, I’m friendly, and I love performing, which gives me a more extroverted score. Tests can be confusing. I wrote this article for the recharge-introverts like me, but I hope anyone who reads it could take a morsel of advice from it.