Pub Moot Guidelines

The following is from the Pagan Federation's guidelines on how to run a Pub Moot. We've had a fair number of e-mails from people and organisations wanting to set up their own moots, so here are some handy tips based on what we do.

So you want to host a pub moot! These guidelines will be a word to the wise, and hopefully make it easier for YOU. Playing 'facilitator' of a moot is a vital role - this will be many people's first contact with both Pagans and Paganism. Remember that you can always ask others hosting moots for advice, and that the Pagan Federation will always give its members support. But these moots do not belong to any one Pagan, path or organisation - their existence depends upon a variety of Pagans being made welcome, and encouraging people to feel that they can contribute something.

Good luck!

Pub Moots and Setting One Up

Choose a pub where anyone can feel comfortable. Pubs displaying "smart casuals over 21" signs are an obvious one to avoid. As are those catering to any one sub-section of society, e.g. Irish pubs, Elvis theme pubs, etc. Unless of course your area has a high proportion of that section, e.g. bikers.

Pick a venue and night for the moot, then stick to it! Changing these details once published proves difficult. Check out in advance the pub on the particular night that you have picked to hold the moot on. Choose a quiet night and the landlord will be happier to see you. Avoid quiz nights and intrusive piped music; but especially avoid clashes with other regular Pagan events and moots (PF, Paganlink, whatever) - it's not a competition.

Try for a location central to your region with reasonable transport access and be cautious if arranging lift shares. Make sure you know the person and don't send anyone off into the night with a complete stranger! Alternatively you may wish to offer floor space to people overnight.

All this may seem obvious, but there will always be exceptions, and what suits your regional membership, and you as facilitator of the moot is important.

Pub Moots or Hearth Nights?

You may find it easier to host a moot in a private house. A 'hearth night' is great if your region is, for example, rural, or you are happy to be that open with people. A hearth night might be by invitation only, or grow out of a pub moot to cater for a sub-group with special interests. However, you may not wish to be so open with people that you don't know well; or need to keep your home address secret. Also people may feel nervous about going into an unfamiliar person's home. But it's whatever works best for you and your local Pagans that will decide this.

Pub Moots Are Monthly?

Pub moots are usually held in the neutral territory of a pub or bar, or in the upstairs room of one if you are lucky. If the landlord realises, or has it explained, that his takings significantly rise on what would otherwise have been a 'quiet' night, he may offer this facility free of charge! People can relax at these informal gatherings and drop in and out as they please.

Moots can be monthly social events, or have a more structured talk approach - if there is an obvious gap in your region. This can take the form of a structured approach with talks/discussions on set themes - or a mixture of the two, according to the needs of your region. Perhaps some of your members/moot goers could give a talk or hold an open discussion. In Britain, your PF Regional Co-ordinator can also suggest speakers, as may representatives of other Pagan organisations in your area.

Pub Moots On A Saturday Lunchtime?

A Saturday moot can be an option. Useful in order to include those who work in the evenings, fear travelling alone, or live in areas where evening transport is poor. Similarly those with partners hostile to Paganism can make more believable excuses, or in remoter areas people can make a day out of it and still get transport home.

Pub Moots Are Only For Members Of My Organisation? (PF, Paganlink, etc.)

Not if details have been advertised in Pagan Dawn, or another magazine received my members and non- members alike. The moot details can be duplicated in many other publications. If you wish a 'closed' moot, place minimal details and advertise within a regional, members-only newsletter.

Making non-members welcome helps to attract new faces and fresh skills to the organisation. The PF finds this essential as the membership grows both larger and more diverse. So take some introductory leaflets to hand out to interested parties, but don't push them or leave them lying around at the end of the night.

You may wish to list a contact number with the moot details. You can use a pseudonym and list a phone number only if you wish. Look in Pagan Dawn for examples of how to advertise a moot (and inform the Editor as soon as the moot changes date or location, etc.). Also consider advertising in other Pagan magazines. This will all help newcomers to check that a moot is still going and get involved. They will also be able to introduce themselves which helps to "suss out" newcomers if this worries you.

Pub Moots Must Exclude Non-Pagans?

Again, if a moot is advertised and in the public venue of a pub or bar, then exclusivity isn't wholly practical. Those new to the moot, or not wishing to travel alone at night, will want to bring a friend. This may be someone who, if not Pagan, is sympathetic, which can have useful interfaith and anti-defamation implications.

Pub Moots And Pagans Of All Varieties?

Pagans come in a wide assortment of paths; not to mention shapes, sizes and modes of dress. Keep an open mind - if you can't, then think twice before organising a moot.

Pub Moots And Caretaking Them?

If you are hosting a moot. or 'caretaking' one for someone else, then do turn up and stick around - even if noone else 'seems' to have turned up. This is obvious but can break down. People may be coming distances to the moot, or from work, or hover nervously - so give them a chance. Take a book, take a friend, and the waiting won't seem so long. Have a copy of Pagan Dawn or PF badges obviously displayed so that you can be spotted as the moot.

Pub Moots And Conversation?

Talk about anything! Forthcoming events, open rituals, conferences, camps and interfaith, etc. Make newcomers feel welcome and included, introducing them to your regular mooters. This may be difficult with four people trying to talk to you at once! Also keep an ear on the conversation in view of the PF's anti-defamation and interfaith work. It is a public place, so ears will twitch!

Hosting a pub moot can be great fun, and extremely rewarding for the work put in. Meeting and making new friends being the greatest reward of them all.

Last Modified 02/02/2000 by Vinnie