Are Pagans Outdoor Phobic?

Reposted from Rhi’s blog:

10230_1163998074235_1656374645_422567_6157211_nI was sitting and thinking the other night about ritual. I’m going to be running a class on writing rituals in a few months in the pagan shop where I work, so I was trying to think of examples of the best rituals I have been to. I realized that fully 70% of them were held outdoors in some location or another. They range from small, intimate rituals to more public affairs.

Now, I get it. I live in Canada. No one one wants to go out in the middle of a snowstorm to celebrate Yule. In fact, Yule, Imbolc, and Ostara (if there is snow) are often the only few I CAN see being indoor rituals because, let’s face it, it’s cold. What I can never understand is the need to have rituals indoors when it is perfectly nice outside. Ostara muddy? Wear some goddamn rubber boots. Chilly Samhain? Wear a scarf and quit bitching.

We’re supposed to see the earth as sacred and divine – how are we accomplishing that when we are separating ourselves from it? We’re almost divorcing ourselves from the concept of earth reverence, because we’re putting all these modern conveniences between ourselves, and the earth, watering down devotion so it ‘suits us’. Let me tell you this: in ancient Greece, do you really think the temple priestess would have said ‘oh, it’s raining a bit, let’s just skip this because we might get wet’? HELL NO. They had the ‘fear of God(s)’ instilled in their bones. You did what they Gods wanted, and that meant rain or shine. I guess they realized that you wouldn’t melt if you went out into the rain. Nowadays, they have these wonderful inventions called raincoats and umbrellas and they keep you dry.

I’m not advocating running out into a blizzard with -20 C temperatures in a robe to run a ritual last a few hours, or out into a field at night to get devoured by mosquitos. I’m not stupid. Sometimes, in our climate, it necessitates us to remain indoors for the safety of the group. Sometimes, the ritual is set up in such a way that being inside is necessary. So many of us, though, are so afraid to get dirty or uncomfortable. Here’s a newsflash – nature ISN’T comfortable. Nature is full of prickly, itchy, cold, wet, muddy beauty. That doesn’t mean we should dive straight into the poison ivy bush – but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go out into the woods and enjoy the beauty as it is, with a deep reverence and respect (and a little healthy fear). I will never understand someone being able to connect to the strength of an oak in the middle of my living room – there is too much between me and that tree that it become too jarbled. It’s the worst game of telephone.

I guess it’s a big pet peeve for me because I DO plan a lot of rituals, and I try to plan as many of them outside as possible. Quite frankly, I have no patience for whiners complaining about every single thing while outside (it’s too cold, it’s muddy, there’s too many rocks, wah wah wah) doing a ritual. Perhaps it’s my Aries energy, or my lack of patience for immaturity and stupidity.  The earth is covered with concrete, sidewalks, cars, and people-pollution. The most sacred place to honor someone is in their own home – I don’t see the earth as any different. Have a little respect, because this is OUR home.

To read more from Rhi’s blog, go to this link:


3 thoughts on “Are Pagans Outdoor Phobic?

  1. Fallon Wilson

    Our Druid grove here in Ontario hold ALL our rituals outdoors. We’ve had it inside on yule once when it was a downpour of freezing rain. That sacred fire sure keeps a group warm if they huddle in close lol. My spouse and I are moving to the NS and we’ll be in the area this spring scouting out locations for our farmstead. Love your page it is now in my favs list 🙂

  2. Justin

    I live in the Philadelphia suburbs. Here I have found a puzzling disconnect between practicing the “old ways” and living in concert with nature. The local Pagans I know never get outside except to participate in rituals, and for the most part don’t practice sustainable living. Some do, but I think they are the exception. On the other hand, the hikers/backpackers I interact with do not view nature as sacred, and though they do tend to support environmentalism in a more or less active way, they do not see themselves as part of it, but passing through it for recreational purposes. As someone who attempts to practice sustainable living while practicing the “old ways” I have found this disconnect disconcerting.

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