TAPA helped out with pre-PPD set-up on Friday, then after last minute errands and planning, we showed up at the fairgrounds in Raleigh to set up our table, our altar, and to go over our agenda for the day. This was TAPA’s first year tabling at PPD. So much has changed since last year, when we were busy meeting-and-greeting groups and individuals, trying to get interest for an Alliance of Triangle Pagans.
TAPA’s theme for this past year has been SPIRITS OF PLACE, and we reflected this in the communal altar, offered at our table. It featured local and handmade materials: hand-knit scarves, locally grown fruit and vegetables, handcrafted pottery and metalwork, found items from our favorite places in North Carolina, and many more fun and beautiful items. The altar was a big hit, and we were honored to share the gift of sacred space with you!
After setup, two members from TAPA’s steerage committee facilitated a workshop on the history and precedence of the SPIRITS OF PLACE. This was very well-attended, and we switched off for part two, which focused on the practical aspects of the SPIRITS OF PLACE. We were asked many great and thought-provoking questions, and were given great insight and feedback in regards to others’ experiences with the SPIRITS OF PLACE.
We had just enough time for a quick bite to eat, a few smiles, hellos, and greetings, before we were moving our altar into the center ritual space in preparation for our afternoon ritual! TAPA facilitated the main PPD ritual on Saturday afternoon, and we were thrilled to share sacred space with such a large and gracious crowd!
TAPA’s ritual structure is a unique blend of traditions. Our goal is to include elements that hopefully everyone will find familiar, while at the same time offering new experiences. We honored the spirits of the space (the Raleigh Fairgrounds), the Earth Mother, Sky Father, our ancestors, other local spirits, and the Shining Ones, our beloved Deities, Gods, and Goddesses. The directions where honored, and people were invited to participate throughout this whole process, calling out those names, things, and places of what is sacred to them.
We then began our Thanksgiving Litany, a call-and-response moment for us all to show our gratitude and thanks for the gifts of the season.
For the crunch of apples and the crisp taste of fresh-pressed cider, we give thanks!
For the dew-traced webs shimmering in morning sunlight at the end of spider-season, we give thanks!
For the sweet taste of muscadines ready for harvest and scuppernongs warm in the sun, we give thanks!
For the fresh greens flourishing again in the cool weather - spinach, lettuce, spicy mustard greens - we give thanks!
For an earthy, autumn flush of mushrooms, we give thanks!
For the last tender zucchini, the new butternut and acorn squash, the growing pumpkins and the gifts they promise, we give thanks!
And after the litany, our Champions and Fire Keepers, chosen at the beginning of the ritual, came forward while the people poured their blessings and love into the flame and the offering. This was a lovely moment full of devotion and gratitude, and it was an honor to witness the community coming together in the Mabon spirit of thanksgiving.
After the ritual we settled back down at our table and greeted people as they came to our table, answering questions about TAPA and hearing all about your beloved Pagan communities and your homes. Thanks to all who came out to talk to us! It was great meeting so many really cool people, and we hope that we see you guys again soon!
TAPA would like to extend a special THANK YOU to Tanaria of the South Wake Spiritual Community. Tanaria helped us with our ritual (we couldn’t have done it without you!) and also hung out with us at the TAPA table all weekend. The goals of the South Wake Spiritual Community are very similar to those of TAPA, and we’re very thankful for our partnerships and collaborations. Tanaria facilitated a workshop on Elders and as a result has helped begin the NC Pagan Elder’s Council. Stay tuned for lots of great things coming from the South Wake Spiritual Community and the NC Pagan Elder’s Council!
We’d also like to thank our Champions and Fire Keepers for their participation in our ritual. Your communities should be proud of you, and the spirits, ancestors, and Gods are thankful for your offerings and blessings! Tanaria wrangled up some drummers for us for the ritual, and you guys were awesome! Your drumming talent really added to the energy of the ritual, so thanks to you, too!
Thank you to the Pagan Pride staff who invited TAPA to attend, who gave us water and treats, who communicated with us and who were very helpful throughout this process. You guys do a great job, and North Carolina is lucky to have you!
And finally, thank you to everyone who came by our table, to those who attended our workshops, and to everyone who participated in our ritual on Saturday. THANK YOU. Without you, our beloved community, TAPA wouldn’t have a reason to exist. Thank you.
Brightest blessings and see you next year! (or hopefully sooner!)
Your friends at the Triangle Area Pagan Alliance