Monday, February 28, 2005

Shiny Things & Dealing with Negativity

Well....that was fun! And we made a lot of money, too.

The Pagan Garage Sale was last Saturday and it went really well. Our people love shiny things. They especially love shiny things on sale.

I loved working with Molly& Wyrd Sisters. Molly is so organized and she' great fun. The room really looked great. Molly and I both use Office Depot as our Church of Choice. We firmly believe that if you have enough color coded stickers and paperclips, the universe will finally make sense.

For sale that we were CD's, Ritual Items, Jewelry, Costumes & Clothing, Nicknacks, Puzzles, Crafting Supplies, Incense & Candles, Sculpture & Art, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Housewares, Paperbacks & Pagan books. Really great stuff, overall. (1)

It went so well, that we are doing it again. And this time, we will sell one or two tables to other groups.

People were at the door before we even opened, and we stayed longer to accommodate them all.

The one thing we had to actively prevent was negativity. When Pagans come together (which for some Solitaries, is very seldom indeed), they often like to gossip and bitch about this Coven or that Priestess. It's a very human thing to do, but it does make for a negative room and it's no fun for any of us to be around. So whenever the staff heard someone airing their dirty laundry, we gently interrupted them and asked, "Tell us what you liked about that group/person/experience?"

That often caused these folks to pause - their minds needed to make a left turn. The answers were sometimes long in coming, but we did get answers from them. These were very often enlightening.

"Well then," we said, "what can you do to re-create this or find it somewhere else?"

Again, the answers that came were interesting for us, and (hopefully) empowering for them.

We felt that it was important to turn conversations from something negative to something more positive whenever we could. This is a small space, after all, and grumbling can really bring down the room. People came to shop and enjoy themselves, not listen to Pagan whining. Frankly, when the gals from Wyrd Sisters and I get together to put on such an event we don't want to listen to it, either. We've worked hard for weeks to make something like this, and we are excited about the event and meeting new people. We can hear Pagan shit anytime. Too much of it, in fact. (2)

Can you image if you are new to Paganism and you walk into a room full of Pagans bitching? Here you are, fresh as a daisy and just that vunerable to trampling. You show up wanting to meet these new and amazing people, and all you encounter is kvetching and moaning and complaints. I wanted to spare the new people that. So, we kept the conversations positive and light hearted. If someone really has a problem (and not just some silly Witch War), I send them over to Dj at Spiral Steps.

We've had the same challenge at PantheaCon every year we've gone there. When certain people find out that we are with FCE they take this as their big chance to complain, not about us, but about other groups! Very strange. (and who, I wonder, died and made us Goddess?).

Other people want only to talk gloom and doom politics, or spread nasty gossip around (all of which we've heard, thank you, and we keep this stuff to ourselves unless we need to directly intervene between parties.)

We go to Pagan Conventions to see our friends and find our true Tribe, and we're not looking to find yet more flakes, big egos or bitterness. So, we've all gotten really good at changing the subject.

However, there is a certain type, a damp washcloth of a person, who just comes and lays their negative/needy energy on top of anyone who will stand still. This sort of person isn't negative in an active way, they are negative the same way a black hole is negative, and they can suck all the energy out of a room. If that type walks up and begins to jabber, suck or seep, my colleagues and I make a polite excuse and leave the area, thus removing the temptation for them to go on and on and on. That way, we haven been rude, but we haven't been victims of their personal problems, either.

Overall, everyone who came to the Pagan Garage Sale was pleasant, courteous and good to be around. I especially enjoyed seeing the children there, and all of these kids were very well behaved.

Only two people really stood around complaining, and they quickly turned the conversation to a more positive note when I asked them two. (I like both of these women and they "got it" because they are both smart - it's a hard habit to break, after all.)

Only two real "Problem Children" showed up (out of 60+ people) and we kept their energy from hurting the room. One of these was a new guy who felt that he had found at last found "the Truth" in Wicca. Now he wanted to share his knowledge with everyone else. More than that, he wanted to question the staff about their practice. I guess he wanted to get all the "right" answers from the source.

He was very sure that there was a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Basically, he'd been a fundamentalist Christian, and now he wanted to be a fundamentalist Wiccan. The poor guy was rather put out when the Eclectic types and the Kitchen Witches told him how they did it. The idea that you could a spell without all the trappings really seemed to bother him. I gave him some contacts that would suit that mindset, and he went away happy.

Meanwhile, I've sent this note over to Snakemoon for the newsletter.

Pagan Garage Sale:

Wyrd Sisters would like to thank those friendly folks who came out for the Pagan Garage Sale last Saturday. We all had a great time visiting and shopping. some of us left with new friends and contacts, many found new treasures. Some of the newcomers also got some practical advice and the email address for our Networking Coordinator, Scoutghost.

The room looked lovely and was very well organized, which made shopping pleasant and easy. The doors opened at 9:45 to an Early Bird crowd (early for Pagans, that is) and it stayed busy for most of the day. Overall, we made over $400 for Full Circle. This money will go to pay for the FCE website and office costs.

We had so much fun that we are going to do it again in May. At that time, other groups, circles or Covens will be able to purchase a table and clean out their own closets. It's fun and it leaves your house oh-so-much neater.

Stay tuned for more information from Wyrd Sisters, our organizing group.

Full Circle
Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Create the Future


(2) Mind you, I can bitch with the best of them. But I do it quietly, out of the public eye and with a select group of wise friends who know what's going on and can give me a reality check and grounded advice. Every Pagan Organizor needs to know the Pagan Gossip Of The Day - how else will we avoid the Problem Childen? - we just don't need to pass it on.

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