Well met fellow pagans! We would like to talk to you about our annual Gather of the Tribes. This gathering offers the chance to express our individual religions without fear. It is a time to celebrate and embrace the ancient ways of the spirit and nature.
This Gathering of the Tribes is religious retreat traditionally held in May on public land near Waterloo, Iowa. The gathering is a community event that is designed for pagans of all different faiths. It will be open to followers of all different faiths who are respectful other beliefs.
The Gathering of the Tribes creates a open place for pagans of all faiths to compare the similarities between their traditions and beliefs. It is a place where everyone is free to express their personal beliefs and and traditions. All who attend share a common belief in the sacredness of life and what they hold dear in their different belief systems.
A nightly drum circle and bardic songs will be played to help celebrate this gathering of all different people. During the celebration there will be singing, dancing, and total enjoyment of the natural energies surging up from the Earth. The entire Gathering will help us celebrate the old ways of nature and spirit.
More importantly the Gathering of the Tribes is a way to celebrate the brighter things in life at a time when people are having a hard time seeing through the darkness. Events like these are important for us to remember what is important in life and to reconnect with the roots of our faith. Gathering of the Tribes will be similar to many other pagan events that have been held through out the centuries.
In fact the Gathering of the Tribes is similar to other modern pagan gatherings such as the Pagan Spirit Gathering that celebrates the Summer Solstice. There pagans of all different faiths come together for drum and dance rituals, rites of passage, rituals celebrating masculinity and femininity. This gathering also brings together pagans of all different faiths to celebrate their common beliefs and ritual systems.
The similarities between the Gathering of the Tribes, the Pagan Spirit Gathering, and other modern pagan gatherings is no coincidence. As we said before these modern day meetings draw much from the ancient gatherings of druids and other pagans. Hearkening back to time when pagan religions like witchcraft were the dominant belief systems in the west. Where tribes from all over would come together to celebrate nature at a special time or place.
Pagan gatherings in ancient times may have even been the basis for other festivals and traditions that the average person knows today. Summer fairs and winter festivals where families come together for rides and other fun all have roots in pagan gatherings. So the Gathering of the Tribes and the Pagan Spirit Gathering are not as strange as they might first appear to people outside the pagan belief system.
When trying to describe pagan gatherings to people outside the faith this might be the best place to start. Explaining that they are similar to the family style festivals and fairs that they have come to know. The only difference being that these gatherings are focused on the community of different pagan faiths in the world. All of whom are coming together to celebrate both their uniqueness and the similarities with ritual.
You may even find that your non-pagan friends and family will be interested in joining you at a Gathering. In that case it is always best to educate the non-pagans accompanying you about to expect and what might be expected of them. Starting with explaining the type of rituals that will be performed at the gathering; especially if their will by adult rituals performed such as anything skyclad.
Its important they know what will be happening and that they have a choice about how involved they get. If its their first time at a pagan festival it may be best for them to simply observe from a distance rather than try to get involved. Yet any non-pagans who are attending should still be encouraged to get involved in the festivities to learn about the different faiths in attendance.
As fantastic a way for pagans of all different faiths to come together at gatherings they are also an amazing way for non-pagans to learn. Meetings like the Gathering of the Tribes can wash away huge amounts of the mystery and fear surrounding wicca or other pagan religions. It will be difficult for anyone to maintain prejudice or ignorance towards any pagan faith after attending a gathering for even a short while.
The immense chance for teaching non-pagans at these kinds of gatherings is why we encourage any member of the public to attend pagan gathering. Of course they should always ask the organizers or people attending the gathering for permission to attend if its not publicly advertised. As we said above it also doesn’t hurt to know a person who is attending to learn what to expect, which is doubly important if you will be bringing children.
In the end however the most important thing to remember is that pagan events like the Gathering of the Tribes, the Hawkfest Drum and Dance, or the Phoenix Phyre Gathering of Pagans are about community. People of all different faiths and practices coming together at a special time to celebrate. So no matter your beliefs you will be welcome and able to join in the celebration.