This new academic year has begun and freshers has now passed. It was a hectic time for me and the other society council members as we put on the events and met the new pagan students of Falmouth Uni. By the end, I was asleep by 8pm and felt like death, narrowly deflecting Fresher’s Flu.
I had a hard think about what would be useful to the freshers. Being Pagan has a diverse meaning so we needed to cater to everyone. I recently saw an article about how freshers is all about drinking and it excludes new students, but that wasn’t the case at our uni, nor can I imagine that was the case at all. Our first event was a tour of the groups magickal, mystical and natural spots. I was pretty nervous throughout freshers as the society wasn’t really successful last year and I’d grown comfortable with the group. This year, we had freshers to get through and attract as many people as possible. The tour went well and lit up the imaginations of five freshers. We visited places such as The Grotto, a pond in the shape of a star with a war memorial near by, built by American Soldiers, surrounded by a tall wall of bamboo and near by a stream; a fertility statue built into a wall, hidden by trees, The Walled Garden, which encompasses an orchard; Tremough House Garden, a lovely italian-style garden which accompanies the old convent, and we ended with the Chaplaincy cottage, the hub of inter-faith relations.
The second event we’d put on was a gathering for the Eclipse. I really did not expect 20-30 students to turn up, most of them with no idea on what was expected of them. I have never led a ritual for any more than three, so it was incredibly daunting and I didn’t intend to, as I’d written on the event ‘individual ritual/meditation’ so when everyone asked me what they were doing, I could have died. I did not come prepared, but I should have expected lots of non-pagans with no experience, really. The numbers after that fell, unsurprisingly. I apologise to those that thought I was going to lead a big dramatic ritual, with drumming circle, passing round a shisha pipe, chanting under the eclipsed moon, or whatever it is people do at festivals. In my mind, it was going to be something much more quiet and personal. The energy that was invoked however was amazing, a few other freshers picked up on it. I guess there really is strength in numbers.
The last freshers event we had was our Mabon feast. Mabon is the second harvest festival, a time for reflection, giving thanks and wining and dining yourself before winter comes around. It was a lot of fun. We went to Zizzi’s as it was easy, provided for lots of different dietary requirements and preferences and was no-fuss. We’d under booked.
As time goes on, as president I’m seeing a lot of pressure on me, again it was something I should have expected but coming from an ‘easy’ year or desperately trying to pull in members and not putting on any big events because of this, going from one extreme to the next was quite maddening, to fulfil spiritual duties. As president, everyone looks to you for advice and wisdom, something I’ve not before experienced. It was lovely though to see so many people interested in Paganism. Especially when I was told during my time as a fresher that it would not be popular. I’m having a lot of fun with this though and I’ve made a lot of new friends. It’s everything I was hoping for when I was a fresher.