Pagan Standard Time

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Show up on time! Being late is disrespectful. Image by Natalie Faye/Image Source/Getty Images

Pagan Standard Time, or PST, is the practice often found in Pagan communities of people showing up anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes late for everything, and it's considered rude by anyone who's trying to organize event or host a ritual. While people joke about PST, those who continually show up late may find themselves no longer invited to attend events, workshops or celebrations.

While people may laugh about the concept of Pagan Standard Time, arriving late is not a habit you really want to fall into.

If you show up late for a ritual or event, in addition to being rude, it's disruptive, and can throw off the energy of a ceremony or class already in progress. Obviously, there are some things we have no control over which may cause tardiness - there was heavy traffic, your car wouldn't start, or whatever, but when possible, try to be punctual for any sort of event you may be attending.

One of the basic guidelines in any sort of festival or event etiquette is that you should make your best effort to show up on time. Certainly, everyone understands that things happen on occasion, and those things can't be helped. However, there are some circumstance when a late arrival is not just rude, it's disruptive.

Shalleen is a Reiki practitioner, Pagan priestess, and event coordinator in Florida. She says, "A lot of times, when I plan a public ritual, or one that is an open circle sort of thing, we begin with a guided meditation.

This gives everyone a good ten minutes to get grounded before we start the actual ritual itself. When someone comes sauntering in halfway through the meditation, it really throws everyone off kilter. There's a sense of breakage that happens when I've got a dozen people standing in a circle, getting themselves focused, and two new arrivals come barging into the middle of it, usually talking and laughing and completely disregarding that there are people already doing things without them.

It's incredibly disrespectful, not just to me, but to the people who bothered to show up on time."

From a magical perspective, in some traditions it's a big no-no to just step into the middle of an active circle. If the group is one that casts a sacred circle before beginning a ritual, often someone will have to ceremonially cut an opening into the circle to allow new people to enter.

What should you do if you arrive late to a ritual in progress? Thorne, a Wiccan from southern Ohio who often leads public rituals, says, "The best thing you can do is be as unobtrusive as possible. Stand off to the side, out of the way enough that you won't interfere with the energy of the group that's already in progress. If you can catch the eye of the High Priestess, or whoever is leading the ritual, do so, but for crying out loud, do it discreetly and quietly, and once they've acknowledged you, just wait. Keep silent until that portion of the ritual is over, and wait for the person in charge to get to a good stopping point, so they can welcome you in at a time that's not disruptive to everyone else."

If you happen to arrive late to a workshop or class, slip quietly into the back of the room or workshop area if at all possible.

Don't interrupt people who may be speaking. If you need to get caught up, wait until there's a break in the discussion to ask what you may have missed. Above all, be sure to offer your apologies to the person leading the group, and let them know that you'll make sure it never happens again - and then be sure it doesn't.