This is the 5th day of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto. Gypsy and I are having an amazing time! Connecting to so many people; fantastic workshops and panels, but even more significant are the conversations we get into with folks sitting around in the little conversation areas scattered throughout the convention center.
Since I’m wearing my Pagan and Wizardry ritual regalia, I attract a fair amount of attention. People want to know what religion I am, and when I tell them I’m a Pagan, they’re generally quite interested in learning more. Likewise, when Gypsy tells them she’s a Witch High Priesstess, Many already have a pretty good idea of what Paganism is–a food vendor outside the hall even said, “Oh, the Old Religion!”
Laney Goodman and her Mother Drum presentation invited Gypsy up onstage to sing with them–invoking the Four Elements, engaging all to drum and chant, blessing Mother Earth and the work of the Parliament. Their company included Imani, ALisa Starkweather, Kathleen Rouleau and others.
Much of the programming has to do with dealing with global climate change. But there are a lot of programs about women in religious leadership, including a panel on Priestesses, with Selena Fox, Dierdre Pulgram-Arthen, Angie Buchanon, Inija (Romuva HPs from Lithuania) and other Pagan Priestesses. Dierdre even gave a presentation on the main stage of the Plenary, where many individual religious leaders made short speeches.
There was also a gratifying amount of talk about the Goddess–particularly Mother Earth. Various indigenous American tribes were represented in a continuing series of talks by Elders in the large constructed Longhouse and tipis, and they were all about Mother Earth, Mother Nature, etc. All were extremely concerned, sharing warnings about the dire fates of the 4-legged, 2-leggeds, and their ancestral lands, urging us to act now to stop the tides of destruction that threaten all life.
At one presentation by indigenous people on prophecies of this time, I got to make a statement that in my travels throughout the world, I’ve spoken to indigenous shamans and elders of Australia, Peru, Guatemala, Hawaii, Siberia, North America, Nigeria, etc. And from all these conversations, a single word has emerged that I felt commissioned to bring here: “Awakening.” This is the Time of the Awakening. And all agreed enthusiastically.
Yesterday Belladonna Laveau of ATC (Aquarian Tabernacle Church), Andras Corban-Arthen of EarthSpirit and I had lunch together, and Andras and I had a pretty fierce argument over the capitalization of the name of our religion–Pagan. He refuses to capitalize it, insisting that Paganism isn’t really a religion, but merely a category of religions, like animism, monotheism, etc. I, however, maintain that several million of us identify our religion as “Pagan,” and to not capitalize it is a grievous insult. We’re not done with this…
At 4:30 in the afternoon, we had a “flash mob” spiral dance, chanting “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.” The spiral opened into a snake dance proceeding up and down escalators, throughout both convention halls, and we were joined by many others, including Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.
Last night Belladona and her ATC crowd took us back to their B&B for a fantastic home-cooked dinner and conversation that is going to have significant results down the line…stay tuned!
Today Gypsy and I will be meeting with Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the meeting will be filmed by a company that’s doing a documentary on her.