I’m exhausted.  That is how I felt at the end of yesterday.  The day had moved quickly, never was there a dull moment, I was in constant motion, and I had no idea that I could be so tired by just talking to people!

I had started the day simply, I was going to drop off some items to a friend, have lunch, and then go to the Chapel.  No big deal and not stressful.  I was able to do all that I had planned, lost some time and gained it back arriving on campus when I had planned to.  That’s when it happened; the students began to show up.

You see, the media pointed out that “there are only 11 registered pagans” at the University.  To put that statistic in perspective you need to understand that it is determined by students voluntarily filling out a demographic form that does not require all questions to be answer.  So, if you have 50 percent of the student population completing them you are lucky, even luckier if all 50 percent put down a religious affiliation. I knew the statistics were wrong, pagans will often fly under the radar if they don’t believe they are in a safe environment. 

As I opened my laptop and started it up the first student walked through the doors, looking around as if he were lost.  In a soft voice he asked if I was Mary and then he asked if I had time or if he was intruding. He wasn’t and I assured him on that point.  He wanted to know about Ásatrú (Norse tradition) and was hoping I could help. All he had to go on was the internet and knew that there was more than what he was finding. We talked and I told him I could help him find the information he was looking for.  By the time we finished, no more than 10 minutes, there were two more students sitting quietly across the room.  When the first student left, the next one sat down.  He was interested in learning more about paganism in general.  He was searching for spirituality without religious dogma; he thought that paganism may be where he needs to be for the moment.  And so my day went.  One after another, a steady line of students wanting to talk, wanting information, wanting to connect.  They sought what they didn’t have before: a place where they could explore alternative spiritual paths in an open and accepting atmosphere.

There may be only 11 registered pagans on “the books” but what I knew would happen has.  The unregistered pagans, seekers, and curious are coming forward and saying “I’m here, I do exist.”