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Summer Pagan Festivals: What to Bring (& What NOT to Bring)

Whether you’re packing for a day trip, or a hopping a plane across the world, there are few ways to connect with your global pagan community than to participate in a summer festival.

To get you started on your journey, I’ve assembled a list of things to consider taking with you.  Welcome to: Packing Tips for Your Pagan Summer Festival

We’re assuming here that you have the basics of travel packing down. Hopefully, you haven’t reached this crossroads in life without knowing you need underwear, a toothbrush, clothing and your inhaler.

But there are a few things specific to pagan events that are nice to have along.

Here are six things to bring, and six to leave at home (or at least in the car!)

What to bring.

Tarot Cards. Even if you don’t read them fluently, at least 100 other people will. Tarot cards are a great way to get to know people, start conversations and generally break the ice.

A paper journal or Book of Shadows. Rediscover the lost art of handwritten journal entries.  Press flowers in them, take notes at workshops, draw whatever inspires you and write down spells and recipes you learn in your time there.

A lantern. The soft light of a lantern at night really warms up any outdoor space, encourages others to gather around you, and sets a lovely mood for spontaneous discussions.

A good bottle of red wine (and a corkscrew!). Here’s one heavier item that’s worth the weight! If you’re traveling from a far away land, bring something local from your home region to share during cakes and ale. Some people like to bring liquor because it’s less bulk, but I’m not a fan of the hard stuff. Red wine is usually served at room temp anyway, so there’s no need to keep it on ice, and you can drink it straight from the bottle like a hobo in a pinch. You will thank me for this.

A sturdy basket. I always bring a basket to carry around my random daytime stuff. You can use a backpack, but the baskets are so much more charming! Just make sure it’s high quality enough to withstand a beating. If you don’t have a good one, odds are there will be at least one artisan basket maker there, so treat yourself to a nice one.

A few of your most used tools. You can’t pack the whole sacred playground. Choose tools that are light, versatile and easy to carry.

Tea candles. Candles are infinitely useful at festivals or any pagan event. Our kind just can’t seem to function without them. But pillars and jar candles are bulky. Tea candles are lightweight. You can bring 50 without much trouble at all.

pagan packing tips

What NOT to bring.

Your smartphone and/or tablet. Just . . . leave it. If you really, absolutely must get online for some reason, someone else will have something you can borrow. You’re here to connect with nature. In our modern world, part of this is disconnecting from the internet. The experience of this alone is its own kind of vision quest. Be present.

Excessive makeup, jewelry and other fluffery. I’m not saying you can’t get all dolled up for the nightly bonfires. But you’ll appreciate the lighter load if you can at least pair down your usual repertoire. A good rule of thumb is to take half your usual cosmetics and toiletries. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Or, try the challenge of bringing only natural personal care items like essential oils, handmade soap and sea salt scrub.

More than one book. Trust me. You won’t read them. One is more than enough, and you probably won’t read that one, either. It’s just extra weight.

Your dieting rules. With all the walking and the physical activity, you’ll really appreciate why our ancestors didn’t have to watch their weight.

Your vice. Pick something. Anything. Then aim to go without it. Kind of like a mini New Year’s resolution.  It’s easier to give up almost anything with the change of scenery and all the other over-stimulation.

Your personal limitations. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself. Go to workshops about things way outside your comfort zone.

Better yet, teach one.

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