Denton’s first Pagan Pop-Up creates safe space for believers

Denton’s first Pagan Pop-Up creates safe space for believers

Denton’s first Pagan Pop-Up creates safe space for believers
January 29
22:12 2019

Patrons of Armadillo Ale Works were greeted with the gentle aroma of herbal remedies while browsing through items for spiritual cleansing. Guests sipped their beers and enjoyed live music while purchasing ceremonial tools made from porcupine quills and raccoon bones. 

The first ever Pagan Pop-Up event was held from noon to 8 p.m. on Jan. 27, inviting  locals to unite in a safe space where people of all faiths are accepted. The event was hosted by Brujaus, Armadillo Ale Works, Horror Freak and Marrow & Moss and featured more than 20 vendors, live music and food. Attendees participated in a silent auction and had their tarot cards read while mingling with other members of the community.

Two Pagan Pop-Up attendees inquire about a wet specimen at the Horror Freak booth. Horror Freak, Brujaus, Marrow & Moss and Armadillo Ale House presented the event that was created as a way for pagans to feel at home. Image by Adriance Rhoades.

Among the vendors were Wendy and Bear Griffin, owners of Artio Artisanals. Both were quick to express their passion for holistic healing and their commitment to the craft.

Artio Artisanals sells handcrafted items, including jewelry, essential oils, stones and ceremonial tools for shamanic healing. Their  smudge fan, for example, has multiple spiritual uses.

“I’d say it’s more of a ceremonial tool, but we use it to carry our prayers up to the gods,” Wendy said. “[It can] cleanse this space, purge out any negative energy and bring in blessings.”

The couple from Fort Worth turned their hobby for holistic healing into a business in 2017 when Wendy resigned from her teaching job, and Bear retired his tattoo shop. Wendy said their shop teaches people how to heal themselves and provide them with the tools to do so.

“If you go to holistic care, there’s usually reiki healers, or you might have somebody do acupuncture,” Wendy said. “I think the thing we try to do is get people access to those tools so that you can do that [healing] yourself.”

Wendy said the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about paganism is honoring both old and new views. Her biggest belief, she said, is that no one is wrong for what they believe in, and she herself actually believes in “a little bit of everything.”

Bear said paganism is having an understanding that humans are all connected and all looking for the same answers. When looking back at the origins of religions, he said, most of them all have the same underlying theme: Be good to those around you. He said while belief systems fall under different names and hold different rituals, he believes they all have the same answers.

“People are realizing that the answer everybody’s looking for is right inside you and all around you,” Bear said. “If we’re made from the same thing as stars, the earth, the moon and trees, we’re part of the same system and made of the same ingredients. The answer’s the same for everyone.”

Wendy said people do not have to be full pagans to come to pagan events and purchase items. She said the community is accepting and even those with little to no experience in paganism are welcomed.

“It’s definitely the most open-minded community I’ve ever been a part of,” Wendy said. “People embrace each other and support each other.”

Another pop-up vendor present was the new Cicada Song Studios, emerging from the partnership between Marrow & Moss and Robyn’s Nest Artwork. UNT psychology senior Haley Justitz, creator of Robyn’s Nest and partner of Cicada Song Studios, said the studio specializes in both pen and ink and charcoal art prints. They also collect bones to use in the displays they sell.

“We’ve never really had anybody else to express these things because they’re a little weird and some people don’t like to talk about death, or they don’t see that as beautiful,” Justitz said. “What we try to do in our displays is turn something that you wouldn’t expect to be beautiful.”

Justitz said that while she is relatively new to the pagan community, she believes events like Pagan Pop-Up help provide a sense of belonging for both those new to paganism and long-time believers.

Video by Jessika Hardy

“This [event] kind of brings a lot of people out and kind of shows them, “Hey, you’ve got a community here,’” Justitz said. “‘We’re not weird, we’re normal people. We just have different beliefs. Let’s hang out. Let’s have a beer.’”

Pagan Pop-Up also hosted vendors like Horror Freak, which sold items outside of holistic healing. Fort Worth resident and Horror Freak owner Eric Dallof created the first full horror shop in Dallas-Fort Worth with the opening of his Hurst location in June 2018. Dallof’s table featured prints and figurines for horror fans.

Pagan Pop-Up combined the opportunity for pagans to meet others in the community with the opportunity to serve it. The event raised money for the Presbyterian Children’s Home in Denton, and by the end of the night, they raised $730 in donations.

The pop-up also facilitated relationship building with local vendors and fostered support for small businesses, something Wendy stressed the importance of. Many holistic products have recently been adopted by larger chains, with companies like Urban Outfitters selling crystals and incense bundles. Bear said mass-producing, larger corporations do not put the same heart or care into making and selling their products as local vendors.

“I think it’s a lot like your food,” Bear said. “I mean, the fewer people that touch your food, the healthier it is. This is just science and nutrition for your soul.”

Bear, Wendy and Justitz all said they were surprised about just how successful Pagan Pop-Up was as a first-time event. People who missed out on its first run don’t have to worry though, as it was advertised as a “Volume 1.” Replying to a Facebook post on the pop-up event’s Facebook page, Brujaus said there are plans to hosting another event in the summer or fall of this year.

Featured Image: A Pagan Pop-Up attendee views wet specimens at the Artio Artisanals booth run by husband-and-wife team Bear and Wendy Griffin. Image by: Adriance Rhoades. 

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Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

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1 Comment

  1. Haley J.
    Haley J. February 01, 21:21

    This is the best article I’ve read so far! Thank you soooo much!

    Reply to this comment

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