The Burbank Mariott is home to many conventions, and walking into Pagan Day Fest, one may think that it’s small compared to other events, but like many magical artifacts, looks can be deceiving. Sure, there aren’t throngs of people elbowing eachother to get from one side of the hall to the other, but that’s what makes the Pagan Day Fest far more charming and people were able take the time and answer my naive questions. Soon, before I knew it, the day was up and there was still more to see.
As I walked though and introduced myself to the various vendors, I first got a sideways glance, ‘why is a horror site covering a pagan festival?’ It’s simple really: education.
Ever since the old Universal monster movies, there has been some kind of occult undercurrent that runs through a lot of horror films. From the Romani fortune tellers of The Wolf-Man to the psychic abilities of the Warrens in the new film, The Conjuring 2: there's a lot to learn from the people who practice these religions, who can separate the fact from the fiction. And there is plenty to learn.
The Pagan Day Fest, which has been going on since 1999, starts each day with an opening ritual, which opens the gates to the event. There are altar displays and artwork; there are screenings of documentaries that also help dispel the rumors and untruths about the neopagan religions; there are workshops where one may learn how to decorate a sugar skull, how to run a magical group, or learn to belly dance.
The Parry’s are a husband and wife team that combines Michael’s mediumistic abilities with Marti’s psychic artistry and together, they put together a heartwarming experience. There was a moment when Michael was communicating with the relative of a woman in the front and he softly asked her if she would ‘accept an apology’ from that person. The woman broke down and the connection she had was felt throughout the room. I hope that she has had some healing from this and she is able to move on, relieved of any past burdens.
The Pagan Day Fest boasts that it's a celebration of ancient religions and it does just that. Jyme Darling has done an amazing job coordinating one of the largest and most encompassing festivals in Southern California and I have to say, I can’t wait for next year.