Amanda Hyde admits it was the spells and rituals that drew her to paganism as a rebellious teenager. But more than a decade later, that shock value has long subsided.
“There are a lot of misconceptions,” she laughed.
For 10 years now, Hyde has organized Pagan Pride Day in Hamilton as a chance to celebrate their beliefs and give outsiders a glimpse into their lifestyle to dispel the myths.
“A lot of people think of pagan people as fringe folk. But you come here and you meet teachers, police officers, government workers…” she said of the volunteer-run event.
T-shirts and jeans outnumbered robes and staffs at Gage Park Sunday afternoon as 500 or so members of the pagan community strolled through a market of vendors straight out of a scene from Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.
Amidst a hot dog stand and ice cream truck, artists and artisans had booths selling all kinds of specialized goods; animal skulls, crystals, incense. There was even a Wizard’s Shop.