Some pet peeves, a meme, and ‘pagan standard time’

In my experience with pagan communities, we are seen (and often see ourselves) as irresponsible, unable to be on time [pagan standard time, anyone?], with this sort of ‘hippy dippy’ culture. This isn’t something to be proud of, in my opinion. We have the power to affect great and real change, but we can’t even get to a workshop on time nor have we managed to create established churches, seminaries, or land spaces except for the rare few. It’s so frustrating that ‘calendaring’ seems to be a foreign concept, and I so appreciate events like Pantheacon that specifically say “we do not run on pagan standard time”.

In the same vein, this graphic that I saw reposted on Facebook had me rolling my eyes so hard they about fell out:

First, my literal, fore-front Self was like: “’Just meet me under the sky somewhere’? Do you have any idea, conceptually, of how large an area that is on this planet or how many people I would have to sift through to find you?? The surface area is 196.9 million miles squared. I’ll assume we aren’t talking about inside of caves since they’re not within view of the sky. There are 7.5 billion people alive right now, so we have a 1 in 7.5 BILLION chance of meeting each other. What. The. Fuck. If you don’t make specific plans, then, clearly, the chances of us showing up at the same time in the same place are infinitesimal.”

Obviously my second thought was that this couldn’t possibly have been meant literally. It’s figurative, more metaphorical in nature. Let’s not have an itinerary and a plan and a reason, let’s just get together at a predetermined time and place and then ‘go on an adventure’ and ‘experience life’. Yea… that’s some trite, romanticized bullshit is what that is. It literally means nothing. You don’t even practice yoga without setting an intention for your practice, so don’t tell me to go out somewhere random to breathe the air.

Are we going out to meditate? To specifically have an adventure? To talk and share hopes and dreams? AWESOME. Let’s go. Want to go nap somewhere? I’m down! But this phrase of go “somewhere and be alive”? Like, as opposed to be dead? What do you mean ma’am? Be impeccable with your word!

Don’t think I forgot the first sentence. You aren’t good at making plans? That’s why we invented calendars, date books, phone apps, and a general sense of standardized time telling. Write it down. Record it. Do that 2 or 3 times if you need to, so that it sticks. Wear a watch that gives you digital calendar reminders. Anyone can do it, with perhaps a bit more effort depending on your situation. Making an excuse like that is ridiculous and makes you sound painfully lazy.

This weird belief that setting goals, making plans, creating intentions, and then actually following through on them somehow makes you less pagan or less witchy drives me batty. Where in the hell did it come from? Why are people so surprised when someone is successful and they’re told it wasn’t just a passive ritual for abundance but a ‘beat the pavement’ mentality that got shit done? You can’t win the lottery if you don’t even buy a ticket… People ask published authors how they ‘did it’ and are actually bemused when told to write as if it were a full-time job, with no time or patience for silly things like ‘writers’ block’. You have to put in time and effort!

People who can’t commit, who are habitually late…*incoherent sound of frustration and rage*. It doesn’t appear to be generational or gender related, so why this insane lack of disrespect for others’ time? Why do you not value the 5-10 minutes I am habitually waiting for you? Do you genuinely think I have nothing better to do or that you’re that important? The sheer arrogant entitlement of why some people think it’s OK to walk into ritual late & disrupt the process, or expect it to start late because they weren’t present – blows my mind.

I’ve been guilty of being late, of course! I think we all have. But I don’t make a habit of it, and more than that, I feel truly sorry that I’ve kept someone waiting or disrupted an event. If you aren’t the sort who makes it a habit to be late, or who claims they can’t calendar and that’s why they didn’t show up at a friend’s wedding, or never keeps plans with friends because it’s ‘too structured’ – well, this wasn’t aimed at you. I’m sure some of you are guilty of this stuff on the regular, though, and you may or may not be offended. I’d be open to a discussion if you want to leave me a comment! And hey, if I’ve given voice to some of your pet peeves in this little rant, comment and let me know that too!

And now, we can all continue on our merry way being on time, calendaring appropriately, following through with plans, and making shit happen.


About the Author

Grace is an avid reader, geek, and gamer living with anxiety and fighting against depression. She volunteers when she can, in as many avenues as possible. Grace loves attending cons and festivals, but also values her time at home with fur-babies and her books. An eclectic pagan since childhood, Grace has studied as a Chakradance facilitator, level 2 Usui Reiki healer, and has been a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon since 2012. She credits Phyllis Curott and Edain McCoy with her introduction to Wicca, and The Chalice & The Blade by Riane Eisler as her introduction to historical concepts of paganism. Other inspirations include The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Red Book by Sera Beak, and Avalon Within by Jhenah Telyndru. Her (current) greatest shero and ladycrush is Michelle Obama <3. Facing hard topics dead on is Grace's signature, asking the questions no one wants to hear, and rustling the jimmies to get Change made. It has often said that you never have to wonder what Grace is thinking! She is currently fleshing out several writing projects, and hopes to pitch those soon.

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  1. HI. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard I feel this. If you’re interested, I could link you to a blog post where I vent about a similar issue. Being Pagan does not give us a free ticket to be irresponsible. UGH.

  2. Back in the mid 90’s my husband and I along with a friend hosted open circles on Salem Common during Haunted happenings. I had just gotten out of the military, my husband was still active duty, and our friend was had served in the Air Force. With all three of us being military when we said “admittance ends at 6:45pm and ritual starts promptly at 7” we actually meant admittance ended at 6:45 and ritual started promptly at 7. Rituals were pretty basic (circle casting, invocation, general blessing, closing circle) and so generally lasted no more than 20 minutes. The first year we did this we had people strolling in as late as 8:00-8:30 wondering when ritual was supposed to start. Most were pretty pissed to learn they had missed it because they didn’t believe we actually meant what we said. We even had some specifically ask “what about Pagan Standard Time? Doesn’t that mean add one hour?”

    Umm… no.

    But they weren’t as bad as the ones showing up at 7:10-7:15 demanding to be let in after the circle had already been cast because they were “real Witches” and deserved to be admitted.

    Umm… no. Real Witches or not, if you wanted to participate you should have been there at the posted and announced time. The next year, people started showing up at 6:30 because they didn’t want to be left out! 🙂

    1. Nicely done! I’m a USMC brat myself so the military adage of ‘if you’re early you’re on time and if you’re on time you’re late’ rings true!

    2. Oooooh that is irritating! @)(**@^% Pagan Standard Time.

      I just moved to Salem! Are you still here? This is going to be my first October and I’m a little scared. XD Well, intimidated is the word I’d really use… but well no, scared is also appropriate.

      1. Sorry about the late reply! Yes, we still live in Salem, but we haven’t done open circles on the Common for years. Back when we were hosting circles on the Common Haunted Happenings was a much smaller affair. Then the three of us were basically footing the bill for everything but tent rental, which the Haunted Happenings committee donated to us. When that stopped, and Haunted Happenings went from a couple weekends to an entire month, we just didn’t have the time or resources to continue. Have to admit, though, that sometimes I still miss it. Haunted Happenings can be crazy and hectic, but it’s still a lot of fun.

  3. All of this. Pagan Standard Time causes problems for many people, including those with various disabilities (such as chronic fatigue, conditions that require strict medication schedules, anxiety, autism, limited ability to wait around in an outdoor venue without heating or seating, etc), folks with trains to catch, parents and carers who need to get back to relieve a sitter, and more. Of course disabilities, care responsibilities and public transport snafus can also mean that plans to turn up on time are thwarted, but that should at least be your intention.

  4. While there’s truth in this essay…..and clearly some blowing off of steam…..there’s also a HUGE dose of judgementalism. Flexibility has value as well.

    So, if you’re running something…..start it as you will. If it’s someone else’s event, they’ll run it as they will. And hopefully compassion for the other folks at the event will also happen.

    1. Admittedly a little rant-y. 🙂 To reference a previous comment, though, parents with sitters, working professionals, etc. can’t afford ‘flexibility’ at the end of an event based on unplanned delays at the beginning. If the organizer builds in that slush time, as you say to run it as they see fit, then thats grand for their group!

    2. There’s flexibility and then there’s catering to people who think they’re allergic to being on time for anything because somehow being Pagan makes them immune to responsibility. People who do this–who say they run on “Pagan Standard Time” and think it’s appropriate to show up late for every event–are acting not only irresponsibly, but completely without regard for others. “Pagan Standard Time” is a separate thing from being late due to personal and/or unforeseen circumstances… and ultimately is selfish and entitled.

  5. Humans find ways to be on time for work, doctor appointments, court, etc. There is no excuse not to apply the same discipline to arriving on time for Pagan events. I want more communities to announce and enforce start times and end times. No one is expecting perfection, but it’s not too much to expect some effort, respect and common courtesy.

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