Crystal Ball celebrates 10 years of pagan group with tarot, tunes

Steven Harbaugh

Katie Fallsgraff, freshman geography major, listens as Matthew Myers, sophomore English major, has his tarot cards read at the Crystal Ball. The ball was held last night in the Ballroom. Maryam Fazl, senior computer technology major and vice president of

Credit: Andrew popik

We are young, heartache to heartache we stand…

No promises, no demands…

Twirling capes, a sea of black corset dresses, tarot card readings and Pat Benatar belting out “Love is a Battlefield” on the speaker system.

That was the scene at the Kent Neo-Pagan Coalition’s first annual semi-formal Crystal Ball last night in the Student Center Ballroom.

The event was organized to coincide with the pagan holiday Imbolc, a celebration to welcome the coming of spring and new hopes for the coming summer months.

The dance also was held to celebrate the student organization’s 10-year anniversary, said Maryam Fazl, vice president of the group, who was circulating throughout the dance giving tarot card readings. There was also food, black tree decorations with lights wrapped around them and a silent auction with items ranging from Miss Cleo tarot cards to decorative picture frames.

This is the first dance the group has organized, said Dave Saunier, who has been adviser to the group for six years. Approximately 30 people attended the evening’s event.

“What attracted me to this group when I was advising PRIDE!Kent was that they had a lot of crossover members,” Saunier said. “They’re a fun, friendly, diverse group. I like the diverse students the best. They’re the most interesting and they throw the best parties.”

The event is the first in a series this semester that the group is using to reach out to the community, Fazl said. The group will soon start volunteering at Kent Social Services, and members plan to coordinate with the Circle of Living Spirit off-campus pagan group in Kent.

“It’s also a good way to unwind after having such a harsh winter,” Fazl said about the dance.

The group’s members and those at the dance were a miscellaneous array of religions, with members ranging from Wiccan to pagan to Christian, according to Colleen Chitty, freshman fine arts major and the group’s “Treasurer-In-Training” or “T.I.T.” as she called herself.

The group encourages exploring the complexities of religions and is typically pro-choice and pro-gay rights, Chitty said.

“Sex doesn’t have any rules in our religion,” she said.

The group is mostly open-minded, according to Heather Croyle, sophomore psychology major, but there are some members who are more moderate.

“You’ll always run into those people in every religion,” said Meredith Wheeler, sophomore business major. “But most are very open to growth.”

Wheeler, who was outfitted in a wine-colored dress with a lace-up corset back, said there are a lot of stereotypes that outsiders of the religion believe about pagans.

These stereotypes include that all pagans are Satan worshippers and perform animal sacrifices and weird spells with weird ingredients. These stereotypes have been perpetuated by TV shows like “Charmed” and “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer” and movies like The Craft and Harry Potter.

“We actually get together and celebrate our pagan holidays like a family would, as opposed to a coven,” Wheeler said.

Chitty described the group as typically informal and accepting of all people.

“Paganism is very unorganized,” Chitty said bluntly.

“No, no, no. I would say unorthodox,” Croyle replied and laughed.

Contact religion and culture reporter Steven Harbaugh at [email protected].