Pagans living around the New Braunfels area want their neighbors to know one thing; Pagans are not bad or evil — just different.
This was the message the group hoped to perpetuate through a Full Moon Awakening Ritual performed in New Braunfels earlier this month.
Dressed in everyday uniforms, business attire and street clothes, a group of six local Pagans circled around a small table on top of which five colored candles, a bundle of sweet grass, a box of matches and a basket of wildflower seeds were arranged.
Addressed by her magical name, Chol Roman started the ritual first by stating the purpose of the meeting.
“The purpose is to awaken positive communication and understanding in those who have closed hearts and minds about people who are different,” Roman said. “We want to encourage an energy for education and understanding that pagans are not bad nor evil, just different.”
The ritual, called a star ruby ritual, then proceeded to call upon energies from each compass direction and of different makeups before each member of the circle passed the smoldering sweet grass bundle around one another to clear each other’s auras.
“We are practitioners of paganism and no two of us practice the same,” Roman said. “Each of us, in our own way and with a brief moment of silence, will ground, center and shield ourselves.”
Each member of the circle paused with closed eyes.
“The purpose for this is to align our energies with the earth which gives us life,” said a pagan who goes by the magical name Florence. “Just as a lightning rod channels energy, so too can we as we stand upon our earth and visualize connections.”
Throughout the ritual the pagans honor the moon, light, nature and each other’s energy. The ritual concluded with each taking a packet of wildflower seeds to plant somewhere.
As a priestess in Lician Wicca, Seshen Wolfsong said only when we all look at the whole picture can we understand each other’s commonalities.
“We are not bodies that have a spirit, but spirits that have a body,” Wolfsong said.
As an Eclectic Pagan, Roman recalls growing up in a Christian home but found she connected more to paganism.
“I still value many of the Christian morals,” Roman said. “I believe in the inherent dignity in every person and want peace and liberty for all.”
As a priestess who practices ceremonial magic and Ordo Templi Orientis, Florence said she believes in sending good energy to those in power to help them make a choice on an issue.
“Pick an issue, any issue, and draw energy from the earth and send it to someone to help,” Florence said.
As a perennial philosopher, a pagan who goes by Sage said he also believes in sending energy and in giving advice when asked.
“We are a piece in a larger picture,” Sage said.
Wanda said she wants to tell everyone she is a grandmother, a friend, neighbor and mother.
“I am still a pagan, but I believe in being helpful and kind, and rather than burying our differences we should become more tolerant,” Wanda said.
Pagan Renasa said she is a Celtic Wiccan and believes in promoting love and harmony.
“I’m grateful to have found the path,” Renasa said.
Roman defined “pagan” as anyone outside of the main world religions.
“I tell people to go on Google and type ‘pagan’ and read it to me,” Roman said. “That is the exact definition, anything outside of the main Abrahamic faiths.”
Every pagan is different, said Wolfsong.
“If you ask five pagans a question, you’ll get 17 answers,” she said with a laugh.
A common misconception is pagans are interested in dark things, said Renasa.
“Don’t trust anything you see in Hollywood,” Roman said.
Most magic is performed on one’s self, explained Sage.
“We believe in karma, and for any bad thing you’d wish on someone, it would hurt you three times more,” Florence said. “We believe in being nice and kind to others.”
Everything from science to cooking is magic, Florence explained. This was how Christians defined anything they couldn’t explain early on.
“Physics is magic, many of the holidays celebrated today — from Christmas which was Yule and Easter which was a fertility holiday — were first pagan holidays,” Florence said.
While San Antonio is surprisingly pagan friendly, New Braunfels is still catching up in many ways, Wolfsong said.
“We are often able to buy tools or herbs we need in San Antonio, because of the strong Hispanic culture there,” she said.
Local pagans hope they can one day have their own congregating space, a goal for when the area becomes more open to the idea, Roman said.
“We are spiritual beings, here to learn and love,” Roman said.