I had glitter. I had a circlet on my head. I was wearing my cloak, and fairy earrings, and a cheap essential oil called Egyptian Goddess. Not to mention anklets and a belt with bells on them, and a safety-pinned nametag with my "Seekrit Spirit Name." I also had a butter-knife "a-THAYME" which I told everyone I had gotten from a very spiritual man on the Internet.
This was an interesting costume for me. I tried to be not just wearing it but also acting it. It wasn't all that hard - I remembered what it was like to have spiritual path NRE, when I first became a pagan. My first cloak was blue flannel - "a training cape" as gentlescholar put it when I mentioned this last night. My first pentacle was bigger than a quarter. I loved to talk about paganism all the time. I felt an immediate kinship for and trust of other pagans, though this trust was sometimes misplaced. And it's true, I knew very little about paganism. Everybody starts out not knowing anything, right?
(Now, though, I've spent more than half my life in the Craft. I don't feel I need to tell everybody about this religion so they can join it, anymore. I know now that a lot of people don't need a spirituality, or that other paths speak to them more. My beliefs are still really strong but I no longer have to make a big deal out of them. It's less like a crush and more like a long-term partnership. I still talk about it if I'm asked a relevant question, like "What winter holiday do you celebrate?" but most of the time it's just an understanding and connection that infuses my life.)
I found wearing this costume to be a mind-expanding experience. I made a point of not making fun of anything I don't believe in myself. It was fun to remember the sweetness of having so much trust in the universe, seeing everything as a sign or a blessing. It was also really neat to decide to just be in character and believe and agree with what other people told me, to be trusting in that way. I doubt I would have enjoyed the costume quite so much if it were not for how delighted other folks seemed to be by it. One person said she loved it, another was cracking herself up asking me if I wanted to tell her about the Burning Times, if my aura had been read recently, et cetera. A third spent at least half an hour telling me outrageous things that I played along with, which I think was great fun for both of us. (I managed to stay in character until he brought up Atlantis, and then I couldn't help giggling.) And finally, a friend and I sat on her couch and played "flaky pagan girls" for a while. "My athayme is better because it was expensive!!" "Oh, no, I missed the secret ritual??" "Does everyone have that chakra?" and so on.
It was kind of a fun combination of snarky and vulnerable. Vulnerable because - I was in character enough to be acting a bit flaky. I missed a bus stop, for example, and I mixed up a conversation I had with one person with one I had with another - things I wouldn't normally do. But when all your attention is focused on "goddess wow" there's not a lot of space left for practicality. And snarky because it was a satirical costume - whenever I needed to explain it, I had to say some things about the concept. If anyone was offended they didn't mention it, but I do sincerely hope no one's feelings were hurt. I just thought after all this time, maybe it would be okay to not take my religion so seriously, at least for one night.
Have you ever worn a costume that made you think differently, or brought you to a new realization? Inquiring minds want to know.
*"Fluffy bunny pagan" is a disparaging term for someone in the pagan community who doesn't know very much, is extremely trusting, and sees everything as full of white light.