The most interesting thing about the Lafayette pagan scene is the people who are currently practicing in the local area and their unique practices and paths. A popular local activity that is starting back up is the Sharing Circle, in which local pagans (and those who are curious about pagan practice) get together once a month to discuss a prearranged topic. October is the first month in years they have gotten together. It used to be a very popular event up until right around the time of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. At that time, everyone seemed to scatter and go into survival mode; trying to take care of necessities and family came before social life.
However, people have bounced back, new people have moved into the area, and enough time has passed that a new generation of pagans is starting to emerge. This generation, and the ones who never left, are starting to enliven the pagan scene again with regular meetings, social events, blogging, other writing, connecting with other groups around the country, and more public sabbats.
The current Sharing Circle topic is “my path,” and Jarred Breaux has started the group off with questions to guide the discussion. The first Sharing Circle went off well. They got through probably the first four questions, with more to be discussed next month. As months and Sharing Circles go on, the topics will change and be voted on. They decided to go with a more structured approach to begin with, since that seems to mitigate any shyness and lets people come prepared to talk and educate others.
Since paganism is not a one-size-fits-all path, at one gathering a person can sit next to a Druid, at another, perhaps next to a Buddhist-influenced pagan or a traditional Wiccan who works with a coven. Sharing Circle allows these disparate influences to socialize and enjoy each other in a respectful, friendly manner. This all sounds more serious and educational perhaps than it is in practice. People also go because it is fun to get together and talk openly about things that may not be quite accepted in a locale that is overwhelmingly conservative and Catholic.