Tuesday 22 September 2020

Social Distancing Rules and Pagan Rituals in England

As today is the Autumn Equinox and many pagans are taking part in Wheel of the Year celebrations today or over the next week, I am sharing a message from the Police Pagan Association regarding social distancing rules in England. I should mention that this message was sent out a few days ago, so things might change again at any moment:

"The Police Pagan Association, along with representatives of several other faiths, have approached the government seeking a definitive statement with regards to the rule of 6 and the exemption for religious gatherings. In short, we have been told that a response will not be forthcoming anytime soon, and that the rules do not require clarification.
"As it stands religious gatherings are exempt from the rule of 6 and, as Paganism is a recognised religion in the UK, any upcoming Mabon / Harvest rituals should be accommodated under this exception. There is, of course, the ongoing requirement to abide by social distancing, the use of masks and hand gel, and additional advice pertinent to Pagan rituals specifically with regards to not passing round a communal cup of mead or bread, for example. The additional risk that we, as Pagans, face is that we may be celebrating outdoors – albeit off of the beaten path – and may therefore be more likely to be challenged that those who are worshipping indoors.
"The exemption for religious gatherings has been well documented and circulated, and any queries should be directed to this legislation in the first and, in the unlikely event that Pagans are approached by the Police, the PPA is happy to be contacted directly if required to restate the status of Paganism as a religion, and the exemptions that comes with it. In the absence of a definitive statement for the government, please feel free to use this correspondence accordingly.
"Brightest Blessings to You and Yours Sgt 1158 Andrew Pardy Founding Chair, Police Pagan Association"


Lauren Raven said...

I have a horrible feeling that most police will try and issue fines :/ my local groups have stopped all events anyway for the time being. I hope you're safe and well!

Badwitch said...

Lauren, I agree with you. Earlier this year at the start of lockdown the police were searching people's shopping and confiscating Easter Eggs for no good reason. I'm not personally taking part in group events at the moment either. I shared the information because it is useful for those who do want to meet up, but I would recommend caution.