Atlanta Pagan Pride Day will be celebrated in Decatur on Oct. 20
By Sara Amis, contributor
Atlanta Pagan Pride Day 2018 will be held Saturday October 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Decatur Friends House 701 West Howard Avenue in Decatur. Attendees are requested to bring non-perishable food which will be donated to the Atlanta Area Food Bank.
The Atlanta event is an affiliate of the national Pagan Pride Project and has local sister events in Athens and Savannah. Pagan Pride events on a national scale began in 1998 and were modeled after LGBT Pride. According to the national organization’s website, “If you are a Pagan, the project can help you find pride and confidence in your path. If you are not a Pagan, the project can help you understand your Pagan friends, coworkers, and family members.”
Lady Arden is the Matriarch of the Unicorn Tradition, a Wiccan organization founded in Atlanta in 1979, and she is the local coordinator for Atlanta Pagan Pride.
“I feel like in Atlanta people kind of know we’re here and who we are, so my focus is more on helping people make connections,” she said.
She added, “Our community and our food drive are our main focus.”
“Pagan” or “Neo-Pagan” is an umbrella term used by a group of religions that are influenced by or reconstructed from pre-Christian indigenous religions, mainly though not exclusively those historically located in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. Most overtly Pagan organizations were formed in the last 50 years, and as a religious movement it has experienced a dramatic expansion in recent decades.
According to the most recent detailed survey released by the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life, in 2008 there were approximately 1.2 million Pagans in the United States.
That year Atlanta Pagan Pride recorded 200 attendees. Lady Arden said, “Although our counting system was kind of rudimentary. We were using yarn for wristbands and trying to count out how many were in a skein. We had no budget and were trying to get it done with whatever we had.”
“We’ve grown a little bit every year. Last year we gave out over a thousand wristbands, and donated 1,046 pounds of food. In general, my goal is to donate a pound of food per person, and we fell a little shy of my goal, but that was a lot of food,” she said. “We were afraid it was going to overload the capacity of the truck.”
The event was originally held in a Decatur city park but moved to the Friends House for logistical reasons the same year Lady Arden took over as coordinator.
“They’ve always been very good,” she said, but admits that parking is a constant issue and, “we’re about to outgrow the space.”
The event traditionally includes workshops, information tables and rituals run by local Pagan organizations, as well as vendors, artists, and musicians. This year’s scheduled performers are Arthur Hinds & the Round Table, Light Matter, Spiral Rhythm, and The Mechanist & the Star Goddess.