Britons Hold Largest Pagan Gathering "Since the Romans"
The Pagan Federation (UK) National Conference, billed by its organizers as "The largest gathering of Pagans since the Romans built the Coliseum," was declared by participants to be a major success. More than 1700 Pagans from all over the United Kingdom and Europe descended upon Croydon, London, on the 22nd of November for a day of talks, music, workshops and general socialising. The conference was organized by the Pagan Federation, an umbrella organization for Pagans in Britain and parts of Continental Europe.
At the conference, talks were given by Freya Aswyn, a leading light in the Northern Tradition; Phillip Shallcrass, a well-respected Druid; and Doreen Valiente, one of the first people to bring Wicca to the public with her books on the subject.
While people were not listening to talks or immersed in workshops, they were visiting the stalls spread out over three floors, selling everything from incense and herbal tea to full ritual regalia. As one observer said, if you could not find what you were looking for here, you would probably have to make it yourself.
The Wild Hunt Bedlam Morris performed their famous "Green Man Cycle" dance to an audience that appeared spellbound.
At the end of the day, the Pagan Federation South Ritual Team performed the closing ceremony, exploring the aspects of the Goddess and the passing of the seasons.
Whilst this was the end of the day, it was not the end of the festivities. In the evening, several bands performed in the main hall, and a Folksy Karioke played in one of the side rooms for those who preferred their music a little more mellow. And for those who didn't care about any of the music – well, the bars were still open.
Ming is a regional co-ordinator and the Internet co-ordinator for the Pagan Federation (UK).
© 1998 Iain Menzies-Runciman