Writing yesterday’s blog post it dawned on me that I don’t write urban pagan much. I grew up in the Cotswolds, and now live in a Midlands town. I’ve stayed in cities – usually weekends spent visiting people. A weekend is about enough for me. I could try and claim it’s about writing what I know… only I have no problems writing city dwellers, when they don’t happen to be pagan.
I’ve been pondering this. My one pagan city dweller – Tamarisk, I placed in Bristol, but within walking distance of the Downs, a big green area. But then, A Gift of the Goddess has a lot of the action in Avebury, so I wanted my character to live in that part of the world. There’s very little city paganism in the story.
As far as I can make out, Wiccan and wiccan-style ritual lends itself to working indoors. If you want to go skyclad in the chilly UK, indoors is essential! However, I’m a Druid. We do it outside, if we possibly can. I’ve attended very few indoors rituals, although I know they happen. I find it very hard doing ritual without trees, earth and sky.
Druids do open air rituals in green spaces, a lot of the time. That might mean high profile sites like Avebury and Stonehenge. It might mean meeting in an urban park, or someone’s large garden (as in The Warrior Vision ) but often it’s an out in the woods thing (as with my own working group.)
Reflecting my own spiritual experiences, pagan activity in my tales tends to happen out of doors. It’s not just about my personal preference for being outside though. It’s also about stepping away from ‘normal’ human-centric life, to connect with something other than ourselves. With the security and comforts of urban spaces, tarmac roads, coffee shops, public toilets, and the like nearby, it’s easy to stay in the ‘normal’ mindset, bogged down by noise, advertising and materialism. For me, the countryside means tranquillity, a change of pace, a chance to stop and think. It’s easier to be open, spiritually, with the earth below and the sky above.