Pagan Studies

Pagan Scholar seeks to examine particular topics within Paganism through the various lenses of philosophy.
Also, I make goofy vlogs and review books.
Formerly, A Pagan Aesthetic.

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"For Entertainment Purposes Only"


"For Entertainment Purposes Only" Or "I Went To A Psychic Fair & No One Knew I Was Sad"

In an attempt to develop some investigative reporting skills and connect with my local community, I attended the "Holistic Festival of Life and Wellness" today. 

This was a big deal for me. I do not typically hear about events like this (sparse as they are in Texas) until after the fact. I had picked up a free magazine that caught my eye (I don't pick up magazines often) last minute exiting a grocery store (one that I don't typically shop at), and discovered that in only two days (today) there would be a local fair for people kind of like me not even 30 minutes away from my home. 

Kismet right? 

I rose early enough to be in line with the vendors setting up before admission, but instead of doing that I went and did laundry with my boyfriend. That, however, ended up being the most fulfilling part of my day. 

One of the appeals for the festival/convention was a health and wellness coach that makes youtube videos that are actually very hilarious and potentially offensive to people that can't laugh at the absurdity that is our pagan/new-age/Aquarian what have you culture. Upon arriving at said festival/convention/social anxiety center I was informed he was a comedian. Well sure, he makes jokes, but just because he can laugh at himself doesn't mean he's not a councilor right? No. He was promoted as a comedian. That sort of set the tone for the event. "We are so authentic. We are so aware. We are so serious. Take us seriously. You obviously arent awake if you don't take us seriously. " Followed by "Oh hey you need to buy this crystal/massage/past life regression experience." There was to be no in between. You were either a comic, or a guru. There were no laughing Buddhas.  

There were quite a few different branches of alternative spiritual (and some not so spiritual) services offered: Tarot readings, Oxygen therapy, Aura Photography ::shudders::, Lipstick impression reading (palm reading for your smacker), Orgone therapy? (in which you sit in an iron sphere with a blind fold and noise cancelling headphones), and other "readings" which consisted of people looking at you with a wistful or concerned or probing stare and told you something about you that you wanted to hear told you a facet of your personality that was just so, damn, uncanny!  with how spot on they were. 

Traversing this carnival of metaphysical delights, I thought to myself; surely, someone here has to be genuine. Texas is a big place and events like this draw a fairly wide swath of attendees. I wouldn't be surprised if someone drove all the way from Abilene for an event like this (roughly a 4 hour drive away). Amongst all these booths, all these traditions, possibilities, alternatives, and potential vibrations of harmonic spirit or whatever, surely, someone could prove themselves genuine. 

So I decided to do an experiment. I decided to be sad and see if any kindred spirit would pick up on the "lowered vibrational frequency of the energy around their booth". And not one vendor did. 

Ok, ok, I know this is unfair. There is a lot going on at a convention; you have to watch your product, you have to sell your product - "Of course this pendant of glass is worth $40, it enhances your throat chakra!" - you have to count change or tap in billing zip codes or say "no mam we don't accept checks". But that's what the assistant are for. The big shots, the names on the banner, the lady on a banner in a power suit pointing at you and smiling a tough love smile that says "YOU TOO CAN LEARN THE POWER OF NO", she's not counting change. She's the one radiating serene confidence and empathy and sooo much patchouli. Her job is to feel the distress crossing the layline boundaries of the crystal grid ward she set up around her booth. It's their job to sense people in pain.

 Also, how does one decide to "become sad"? It's not like it's a switch. 

Actually, it's quite easy to become sad. When you've lived against your demons long enough, they sort of turn into lovable enemies. Not only can you hear them approach like a distant storm, you can also summon them if needs be. And so, I dwelled in sorrow, inviting her into my heart like a friend over for coffee or wine. Her totems are my student loan debt coupled with the fear I'll never be smart/rich enough for grad school, my fathers death, and the knowledge that it really always will be my fault. Her mantra is simple enough: "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to fix this." Her presence is felt by the simultaneous need to clutch and fold into myself, coil tight as carbon, and the stabbing need to scratch myself out of my skin, to break free of this angular prison of ill suited flesh. Dear friends, in the house of Travis, sadness is on tap. 

 I read a woman's sign saying she was clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient. So I stood around her booth for 5 minutes screaming my heart out in my head, emoting. Maybe it was the 8 hundred singing bowls constantly cleansing the civic center that overpowered my existential howls and pleas for witness. She did not ask me if I needed assistance. But she did tell the gentleman passing her table that he had some issues with his past self that needed healing.   

Out of the some 30 or so psychic readers/intuitives/aura-spying snake oil mystics, there were three people who not so much heard my  spiritual distress but realized how uncomfortable I was. One was a chiropractic intern who wasn't selling anything. She was just really excited about becoming a chiropractor and wanted to help people. One was a lady who laughed when I said I was overwhelmed and agreed there was way to much going on. And one was the assistant to the aforementioned power of no business suit woman. She asked if I had found what I was looking for. I told her I didn't know. Then a belly dancer walked by carrying a snake and we talked about the difference between venomous and constricting snakes. It wasn't much, but it was a moment where the sales pitch dropped and we were just aware of the fact that this was all just so absurd, so crazy, and what the hell that snake could just reach out and bite somebody!  

I'll be the bad guy on this one. Maybe they all had their psychic shields up. Maybe I shouldn't invoke negativity into my life. Maybe I shouldn't play reverse emotional vampire or something. But going to this event, I was guaranteed people would be able to sense what was going on in my head, in my aura, in that sinking feeling in my chest. I opened myself up, I made myself vulnerable to the empaths to reach out with their emotionally sticky germy fingers and root around my skeletons and baggage and dirty laundry. And I left the event untouched. 

Because like the bottom of every sign read:    "*for entertainment purposes only"

Video footage of the event to follow and be posted on my youtube channel Pagan Scholar. The video is not really as despairing as the blog post. 

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An unpublished writer but a published poet, Travis writes in the hopes that he can actually use his philosophy degree for something other than grad school. He finds pleasure in working uncommon words into his lexiconic exchanges, discovering work cited lists in religious studies books, and in general pretending his life is not dissimilar that of a 50's Parisian beatnik (ennui: check). He practices what essentially boils down to Wicca with influences from his studies in Philosophy of Hermeneutics, Existentialism, and Mysticism.


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