E.C.P.C. Group Gathering and Ritual Etiquette
1. While many people have become far less secretive about their membership in pagan groups, it is NEVER EVER permissible to blow someone's cover. Do not ever OUT anyone; do not call a friend or acquaintance by their pagan name or their affiliation with their pagan group when in a mundane situation. Please be aware that some people have serious reasons to be sensitive about being known as pagans. Don't mention that someone was at a ritual or is a pagan w/o their permission. Many cannot afford to be open about their religious preferences; never give out this or other personal information about another without their O.K.. "Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here."
2. For many pagans their ritual tools and instruments are very special items, which in some cases, may never have been touched by any other person. If you see anything interesting lying around or on the altar, make sure to ask permission before handling it. Never touch or take something without the owner's permission. Tarot cards, drums and other musical instruments may be ritual tools. Again don't handle other people's items without permission. Do not assume because you have not been either told "not to " do such a thing that the person, whose items you have taken it upon yourself to examine, is not upset. Many Pagans find it just as impolite to have to tell someone not to do something, as it is for the person examining the item to do so without permission.
3. Guests who are non-pagans or new pagans have special needs. Be sure that you talk to them well before the ritual about what they'll be seeing there. Explain the theme of the holiday, make sure they understand what will be expected of them, and take some time to verbally walk them through a ritual. And remember, once you are at the ritual, stay close to your guests and make sure they're O.K.. Be sure they know it is not acceptable to get up and leave in the middle of ritual beforehand. Introduce them around. Lend them a drum or a rattle if need be. And teach them about grounding if they don't already know how; they'll need it.
4. When participating in any ritual of a group, ask ahead of time what will be done. Should there be something in the explanation, or in the setup of the ritual area, which bothers you, you can quietly not participate in the ritual. If a ritual is facilitated as skyclad be sure to announce this detail in advance. If you are not comfortable with participating in a skyclad ritual please feel free to choose not to participate rather than interrupt the rhythm of the energy setting with clothing. Also, you might ask your facilitator if “sheer-clad” is an option.
5. Never proselytize your beliefs to others no matter what the situation. There is no "One true and only Path" in paganism. Refrain from criticizing others paths and never insist that everything must be done your way. If you feel uncomfortable about doing something, quietly refrain. If you don't understand, politely ask. Even if you really do have the conviction that what someone else is doing is "wrong", "incorrect", "left hand path", or whatever, just don't talk about it. It is perfectly permissible to refrain from participating in the activities of those with whom you cannot feel comfortable. It is not acceptable to express the idea that they "shouldn't" be doing it.
6. Ask the person officiating at a ritual before you place anything in the ritual area or wear clothing or tools which may be considered unusual, or add private energy workings to the ritual being done.
7. Never just walk out of a cast ritual circle. Ask someone in the group sponsoring the ritual to cut you a door if you really and truly absolutely have to leave. If you are leaving because you do not like some aspect of the ritual: You should have understood the ritual beforehand and quietly refrained if you were not comfortable with some aspect of it. If one must use the bathroom remember again that when you are going to participate, it's best to make a 'bathroom run' just before starting.
8. If your child is being disruptive you should have explained to them beforehand that this is not acceptable behavior and is seen as disrespectful and rude. It is preferable for you to remove your disruptive child as explained in #7 than to stay and possibly ruin the ritual for all the other participants.
9. Many groups have a potluck after the ritual. It is courteous to find out whether you are expected to bring something and what that might entail. It is unacceptable to go to a potluck either empty handed or with just a bag of chips, bag of cookies, a bottle of soda or some other such item. Many people have taken the time and made an effort to prepare something worthwhile to share and if you are going to partake of their hard work the least you can do is put the same effort into your offering. Please remember to take your pots and cooking utensils with you when you leave; don't leave dirty dishes for others to take care of.
10. Vegetarians, vegans, strict carnivores, diabetics, and any others with very strong food preferences. No one minds you asking quietly and politely what dishes have meat, sugar, spices, hot pepper, etc. in them but loudly proclaiming you "Simply can not eat________" or that there is "Nothing you would possibly see as fit" for yourself is grounds for you becoming the next meal---- not really but, well, you get the idea! If it is a potluck, bring along a dish that fits your diet. At least you will have one thing to eat. For hosts: When planning a meal for large pagan groups, it is strongly suggested that at least some of the dishes be vegetarian, sugar free, relatively not too spicy, etc.
11. Whether you drink, take drugs, or indulge in other similar behavior is completely your own business. It is also always wrong to urge this behavior on another person. ECPC absolutely does NOT allow anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to participate in family gatherings or rituals. Never bring anything illegal with you; this is to protect you and the community and it is rude to do so in someone's home. If you are sponsoring an adult gathering or ritual please remember to state it clearly as an 'adult' function and have a non-alcoholic alternative for non-drinkers.
12. Rituals and gatherings should be planned so that those with physical problems are not barred totally from participation. Particularly in ritual, be aware that many more people than you might think are "mobility challenged". Group rituals should take place in an accessible area and some thought should be given to designating a safe place for those not taking part in dancing to sit. Please be alert to anyone that would welcome help. Assist them to find a campsite or area that minimizes walking to ritual areas, to the bathroom, to the eating area, or whatever. Don't make them feel unwelcome. Most handicapped people have worked extra hard on their magickal skills and may be able to add a great deal to the power in ritual and to the success of the gathering. Also if you are in need of special arrangements made due to physical limitations, please let the people planning the ritual you will be attending know ahead of time.
13. Paganism is a wonderfully diverse religion and in that we revel. Please do not allow yourself to express judgments by categories. Whether or not you like or dislike African Americans, Native American Indians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, homosexuals, women, men, or whatever, keep it to yourself! If you really and truly cannot feel comfortable taking part in a ritual that isn't conducted according to the tradition you follow or if you cannot be pleasant in company mixed with groups you disapprove of, please just stay home.
14. Whether you are new to Paganism or not, it is ALWAYS proper to thank your hosts.
15. Never name-drop during a pagan gathering. It's just considered tacky and a sign of social climbing.
16. Psychic Vampirism or astral traveling to another person without their permission is a major no-no. It is one sure way to never be invited to any pagan gatherings or to make others avoid you entirely.
17. Being barefoot is not necessarily always required in circle, but definitely polite. In some traditions one goes unshod in respect of sacred space; and besides being respectful of others' beliefs, you're less likely to hurt someone by stepping on their toes if you're not wearing shoes either. This applies to indoor rituals and to those held outdoors during good weather. Again it is preferable to check with the person performing the ritual ahead of time.
18. Don't make comments on the ritual, its leaders or the amount or quality of the energy raised during the ritual, unless the leaders ask for opinions.
19. Depending on the ritual setup, it can take a while for everyone to process in. This extra entrance time should be taken as a gift to more fully center and prepare oneself. Remember that the ritual is supposed to be outside of time - chill out and take the time to just be where you are. Please do not distract others by talking, etc. during the procession.
20. Some local traditions include a talking stick (or other item). The holder of the talking stick is allowed to say their piece without interruption, and everyone is expected to listen to them. How/when the talking stick is passed from person to person may vary. If you are given a talking stick and don't have anything to say, you can usually just pass it on.
21. Many pagans can be touchy-feely in a loving, caring sort of way. This can be immensely comforting; however, each of us has a different level of comfort with the extent of touching. If you are uncomfortable with how someone else is touching you please don't hesitate to communicate your feelings. Conversely, those who on the giving side of embraces, etc. should be sensitive to the feelings and reactions others. Communication is vital.
22. Watches may be frowned upon in ritual by some because the circle is supposed to be outside of regular time and space. (And, of course, it's rude to keep checking the time.) Best to leave these in pockets. Cell phones should also be turned off during ritual.
23. If you see someone you don't know, make an effort to welcome him or her. Don't assume they are with someone; their sponsor may be talking to someone else, or they may be alone. If you are new, and no one is talking to you, try to find a couple, or someone who's alone; it's a lot harder to get noticed in big groups. Don't assume you are being snubbed deliberately - some folks are simply shy about talking with newcomers, others are truly oblivious and eager to talk with old friends they may not have seen in a while; it's a very human reaction.
24. If a group or person is sponsoring a ritual you can rest assured that they had expenses. It is polite to offer a few dollars to help cover the costs.
25. The ritual fire is sacred. Please do not throw litter into it or light cigarettes with it.
26. Observe the property of the group or person sponsoring the ritual as sacred ground. Do not litter. If you smoke, please make sure that your cigarette butts do not end up on the ground.
Standards of Conduct
“Since this is a public forum, may I post freely and say anything I want to?”
1. While this forum has been created to exchange ideas and share information (networking), we do expect a certain standard of courtesy, politeness and respect from ALL members. The Emerald Coast Pagan CommUnity encourages everyone to post freely while keeping in mind the following.
2. Staff members reserve the right to remove any message posted to the list. The Staff members and moderator team decides independently about matters of moderation. If you wish to repost something you find on this site to use anywhere else, you must have written permission from the author of that post.
3. While we respect everyone’s right to free speech and voicing their opinions, etc., please remember that no one here has the RIGHT to post anything – Groups.Io PRIVILEGES us all to be posting here. Abuse of these features can spoil it for everyone. While playful bantering may be amusing to some, it may not be to others and there will be 0% tolerance for anything posted that demeans or degrades another member or otherwise speaks of violence, hatred, homophobia, etc. Any such messages will be removed at once from the message boards and your membership will be moderated. If the problem continues then the member/poster will be removed from the CommUnity list.
4. Anti-Harassment Policy
Harassment definition: “Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose. These acts may be verbal or physical; these acts could occur in person, online, or other communication methods; these acts could be sexual harassment, racial harassment, or just plain harassment; in person, via phone, via Facebook Messenger, or via Email.
ECPC will utilize the current State of Florida statutes for the full definition seen here: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html
Reporting: If any Member feels harassed by another Member, please contact any member of the ECPC Staff. This can be done in person, via phone, via Facebook Messenger, or via Email at:
Review: Reported harassment will be reviewed by the ECPC Co-Leaders who may, at their discretion ask for input by our Senior Advisors. We will ask to meet with the Member reporting the harassment to better understand the situation. We may at our discretion ask to meet with others separately including the Member allegedly doing the harassing.
a) Physical Violence: Any physical violence will immediately result in the suspension of all posting privileges for the injuring Member. Within 72 hours of being notified ECPC may, at its own discretion, ban the injuring Member from our Official Membership, from our Facebook Page, and any other social media.. ECPC will respect any legal restraining orders.
b) Sexual Harassment: Any sexual harassment will immediately result in the suspension of all posting privileges for the injuring Member. Within 7 days of being notified, the ECPC Co-Leaders will review the occurrence, meet with the parties involved, and meet with Senior Advisors. ECPC may, at its own discretion, ban the injuring Member from our Official Membership, from our Facebook Page, and any other social media. ECPC will respect any legal restraining orders.
c) Racial: Any racial harassment will immediately result in the suspension of all posting privileges for the injuring Member. Within 7 days of being notified, the ECPC Co-Leaders will review the occurrence, meet with the parties involved, and meet with Senior Advisors. ECPC may, at its own discretion, ban the injuring Member from our Official Membership, from our Facebook Page, and any other social media. ECPC will respect any legal restraining orders.
d) Verbal, Emotional, Other Harassment: All other harassment will immediately result in the suspension of all posting privileges for the injuring Member. Within 7 days of being notified, the ECPC Co-Leaders will review the occurrence, meet with the parties involved, and meet with Senior Advisors. ECPC may, at its own discretion, ban the injuring Member from our Official Membership, from our Facebook Page, and any other social media. ECPC will respect any legal restraining orders.
5. LIST HARVESTING or SOLICITATION and SPAM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!! If you are found in violation this rule, your membership will be revoked. If you believe your address has been harvested (solicited) please contact a Staff member. Suspected violators will be immediately moderated until Staff is able to determine if the rule violation has occurred. List harvesting/solicitation is defined as pulling member email addresses off of the list for solicitations to join another group or for advertising and solicitations of commercial sale or gain.
6. Please join with only one Identity, persona, etc. and please make sure that the profile you join us with is safe for underage viewers (no naked pictures or references to other adult natured subjects please). We have teens and pre-teens on this list and while we are not prudes by any means, we do ask that you have a ‘clean’ profile to join with. What you do in your personal life is none of our business at all and please note that we are not judging you or your lifestyle in any shape, form or fashion. If it is discovered that you have joined under multiple aliases, you will be removed from the list.
a) If any non-member posts to the list through a member’s account or log-on:
· The member’s account will be moderated for 30 days – 1st offense
· The member’s account will be revoked – 2nd offense
b) If any member posts to the list under another member’s account or log-on:
· Both members account will be moderated for 10 days – 1st offense
· Both members account will be moderated for 30 days – 2nd offense
· Both members account will be revoked – 3rd offense
Please protect your IDs and Log-on passwords and this will not happen even by accident!
7. The subject of politics can be especially sensitive to members so we have asked that this subject be avoided on the list except in VERY light passing. In-depth opinions and disrespect of others political opinions are a no-no; your account WILL BE MODERATED if you are found in violation of this rule.
8. Please keep posts or invitations that refer to outside organizations or groups limited to those with a pagan theme or interest. If you are not sure if your post appropriate or would be considered relevant, please send it to a Staff member and ask before posting to avoid any confusion, thanks!
“May I post pictures in the photo section of the group webpage?”
9. Yes, all members are encouraged to post art, pictures, etc. We only have a limited amount of space so we may have to be creative and link to pictures already online if our storage space becomes compromised. If you are going to do that, please make sure the photo is uploaded to your own server space (website) and link to the image from there. If you link from somewhere else, this is bandwidth theft and is considered a no-no! The line between art and pornography is a fine line that our Staff will judge and determine. If you have a doubt as to whether or not your picture crosses that line, please ask a Staff member about it before posting it to the photo section. Any photographs deemed inappropriate by the Staff will be removed from the site.
“May I bring my children, family and friends to group functions and gatherings?”
10. In most cases... YES! The Emerald Coast Pagan CommUnity encourages everyone to actively participate both online and off. While some events may have certain restrictions, these are clearly noted and specified online.
11. Members are ALWAYS expected to clean up after themselves at any facilitated function. Clean up your food, your drink cans, your trash, your cigarette butts, etc. When asking for ritual and event volunteers, include asking for volunteers for a "clean-up committee." Any member may be asked to help clean up after an event. Please take home any leftover feast contributions. It is impolite to the event host to leave behind leftovers and packaging.
12. When attending events, activities and gatherings that are sponsored and presented by affiliated groups and organizations, PLEASE, maintain the highest standards of courtesy, politeness, and respect as CommUnity members.
13. All parents are responsible for maintaining supervision of their own children at any gathering or function.
14. If you choose to invite or bring a guest to any of our functions, public or private, please make sure that your guest has been apprised of the rules and etiquette beforehand. You will be responsible for their actions.
15. In the case of overnight campouts, all attendees who are under the age of 18 MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PARENT OR GUARDIAN! NO EXCEPTIONS!
“May I bring my favorite beer, alcohol and herbal smoke mixture?”
16. NO! Events labeled as ‘family gatherings’ will tolerate NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS!!! These events may have children and teens in attendance. We don’t want to set a bad example or be arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The exception to this rule would be wine or mead for the adults only, and included as part of the ritual itself.