Pagans come out to Pagan Pride Day LA/OC despite heat
Despite temperatures that reached nearly 106 F Sunday, 1269 people came out to enjoy rituals, workshops and shopping at Pagan Pride Day LA/OC at the Whittier Narrows recreation area in El Monte.Pagans and people curious to know what it is all about walked around the large area filled with merchants and spiritual organizations. Many took cover under big trees or lay prostrate on the cool grass.
At one point the direction of the stage was changed so chairs could be moved to a shady spot. Belly dancers in elaborate costumes danced to gothic rhythms by Kardia Mortis, the League of Vampiric Bards shared their poetry, and Devon Kouadio danced for the ocean honoring Yemaya.
The main ritual called “A ritual for Global Transformation and Healing” by Raven’s Cry Grove drew a large crowd. They helped many connect to the earth and took worshippers on a trance journey to help to heal it.
Merchants, like the Little Old Bookshop and Witchcraft Music, said they didn’t do as well this year. They cited the economy as a factor as well as the extreme heat. The blazing temperature was helpful to one merchant, though. The food booth sold out of many flavors of snow cone flavoring.
Over all, people seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was only one incident due to the heat. One woman fainted during the opening ritual, but recovered in the shade with water and rest.
Total weight for the food donations is not available yet, but Gina Leslie, President/Volunteer Coordinator of Pagan Pride LA, Inc., said that the food filled up the back of a pickup truck. The parks employees took the food back to their office to await pick up by the LA Food Bank. Martha Moreno of the LA County Parks and Recreation Department coordinated the department’s support efforts. Gina said “the people who work with her are so good to us! We've been doing our event there for 8 years and they really help us out during the day, emptying the trash bins and keeping the restrooms clean and stocked with paper. When they have time, they even shop our vendors and talk to people to find out what we're all about.”