Every year for longer than I've been attending PantheaCon
, the American Magic Umbanda House
has put on a Devotional ritual for Pomba Gira. The last several years, I have been the lead singer for that event.
I have received quite a few compliments on my singing, for which I am deeply grateful. Every year I have been involved in the music we have worked very hard to make it the best we can for that year, and even better the next, so I am grateful when feedback reaches me that tells me we are succeeding, or how to succeed even more.
For a few years before I took up the singing, I helped coordinate the event and ward the ritual. We made many adjustments, some subtle, some blatant, to the balance of the ritual structure in order to better serve the needs of everyone involved. I don't think people realize how much we take to heart the critique we receive both directly and indirectly. We search for reviews of the Devotional and look at what people liked and didn't like, and more importantly, why
they did or didn't like it.
We have put a lot of work into making the ritual structure more supportive for the inexperienced, while still being a positive, exciting experience for those who return each year to dance with us, and of course a pleasing offering for Pomba Gira Herself.
There are a few complaints I hear every time, and I want to address them now.( Why is the music so repetitive? )( Why are the lights so bright? )( Why are cameras not permitted? )( Why are alcohol and other intoxicating substances not permitted? )( Why is ID required? )Seriously.
Yes, some of our rules are more strict than may seem necessary in any given moment. We need rules that we can apply safely regardless of the context in which they arise. It might be safe to dim the lights for you, and let you and your friends photograph only each other. You might only be a little buzzed. Maybe you're obviously of age. It's not just about you.
It is NOT safe to dim the lights for the newbie soft head who has never attended before or to allow cameras in the hands of those who won't respect privacy. Not everyone is obvious when they're too compromised to be safe in a trance ritual. It's not up to our warders to determine the individual experience level and ethical basis for each attendee.
I don't think due caution is too much to ask for a couple hours once a year, for the mutual benefit of all.
Onward!( Can I have a necklace? )Got a question about the AMUH Pomba Gira Devotional at PantheaCon?
Ask, and I'll see what I can do to answer you.