Column: Spirit is Free, but Community Priceless

DARLINGTON, Md. –Free Spirit Gathering is one of a growing number of festivals which has been held for more than 30 years, making it a touchstone for Pagans and polytheists seeking to connect with like-minded people. That kind of longevity also means that loss is part and parcel of the community. After several beloved members left this life behind in a short period of time, this year’s coordinators sought a ritual team specifically to aid in the grieving and honoring of those blessed dead. I always go to festivals with my reporter’s pad at the ready, but I attended this one of several priests from the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus and Pan who were tasked with providing an opportunity to venerate community ancestors, including those freshly minted.