Debbie Broderick is the Creator and Organizer of the Utah Pagan Markets in Ogden, Sandy, and Orem Utah. She is also a Business strategist specializing in small business success and marketing.
The Utah Pagan Markets take place monthly on the last Sunday of every month, with the exception of October because she the markets are hosting a big event for Samhain at an amusement park.
We sat down and had a chat with Debbie to learn more about the markets and the event.
MT: Hi Debbie, it’s great to get to speak with you. Thanks so much for being with us. Can you tell us a little about you and how you relate to the Pagan Community?
DB: I have been a member of the pagan community officially for only a short 5 years although I always had a fascination with the occult and witchcraft. Unknowingly, I now realize witchcraft has always been a part of who I am and comes as second nature. I have a passion for the Pagan Community and providing a safe space where we can be ourselves and meet others of like mind.
MT: We think a lot of people who are just coming into the pagan community have really been into craft of some kind for a long time. We are glad you are part of it. Can we ask what you love most about being Pagan?
DB: I love the freedom within Paganism to be a solitary practitioner. To learn and feel out my spirituality firsthand. Paganism is a large umbrella, covering many beautiful ancient traditions and belief systems. Many of which are nature centric, acknowledging and respecting the life bringing and creative energies that surround us. Finding the pagan path is what accelerated my spirituality and understanding of how this beautiful universe in which we exist, actually works. Humanity, life and love are central to all my magickal practices. This is where I willingly choose to stand, and paganism is the container that enables me to practice my beliefs freely.
MT: What a beautiful perspective of Paganism. We love it for all these reasons too. We have to ask though, is there anything you dislike about being Pagan?
DB: That there is no real support within the community for pagans. Although it is recognized and protected as any other religion, little is known about paganism and a lot is misunderstood or taken out of context. Many pagans don’t feel free to be genuine. They feel the need to hide their true self for fear of prejudice. The biggest tragedy is when an individual has to hide who they are from their own family. I have experienced this personally. It can at times be a painful place to be, when one has to choose between a relationship with their family, and being true to themselves.
MT: We hear that a lot really. It’s part of what drives and motivates us to support causes and events that allow people from all walks and journeys to feel safe and a part of something. If you could do anything to fix the world’s problems, what would it be?
DB: Increase tolerance and acceptance for individuality through education. We are all human, there is no need for prejudice, at the end of the day we all have the same fundamental needs to survive.
MT: Amen! Couldn’t have said this better ourselves. Thank you for being frank with us. We love it!
We hear you host Pagan events. Can you tell us a little about them? What kinds of events are they and where do you hold them?
DB: Certainly. I hold two types of events. One is a small monthly local market where Pagans can regularly gather and meet other local pagans. These events are currently ongoing in Ogden, Sandy and Orem Utah, all of them taking place at small local businesses. This provides a regular meeting place for pagans to gather in a safe and spiritually promoting atmosphere. It is also a main supporter of local small businesses, making the resources that these businesses offer more visible and available to the public.
The other type of event is a larger bi-annual pagan festival, one falling on Beltane, and the other falling on Samhain. Currently the only location hosting this event is in Pleasant Grove Utah at a renaissance style theme park called Evermore Park. At this gathering we lean heavily into the culture and tradition of Paganism. We host public rituals, open discussions about multiple paths, and have open house style meet-and-greets with local covens, collectives and clans. We try to represent as many pagan paths as we can from Wicca to Norse tradition paganism. These festivals also serve as a culture fair, so to speak, open to the public and encouraging the general community to come and gain a clearer understanding of what paganism is and have the opportunity to have any questions answered.
MT: We’ve been to a couple of the markets. Being in Utah, we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout. Are turnouts higher or lower than you expected?
DB: We always have a high turnout. Pagan gatherings in the state of Utah are few and far between. There is a real need for a safe gathering place in our community so not many miss the opportunity to attend. Our events are also open to all faiths, and people. Many that attend our events are curious about paganism and want to learn more about what it is we do. We love to see open minded people coming to learn and experience our traditional practices.
MT: Curiously, do people that you had no idea were even interested in Paganism come and pleasantly surprise you?
DB: I have not seen anyone that I know outside the pagan community attend unless I already knew they were pagan. But my favorite thing to see is someone attending the Utah Pagan Market, who has clearly been hiding their beliefs. They come into the market, timid, quiet. Sometimes approach me and will quietly ask if there are any other people in attendance that follow the same path they find themselves quietly walking. I have seen some of the most incredibly beautiful connections occur at our markets. People finally connecting with others of like mind. It is validation for the soul, like finding your long lost home and realizing you are not alone.
MT: That alone is truly one of the most beautiful things a person can see, isn’t it? The motivation to do things that make those connections possible is motivating beyond words. So, what and when is your next event?
DB: Our upcoming event is our largest by far, “Samhain Festival 2022” at Evermore Park (easily found on Facebook under Utah Pagan Market @utahpaganmarket). This event has been more than six months in planning and was a long standing dream of mine for years. This will be our first annual Samhain Festival and we hope to see all walks of paganism feeling supported and welcome.
Tickets are available now and are $3 off if you get them through the website, https://utahpaganmarket.com/event/samhain-festival-evermore-park/.
MT: Debbie, it has been great having you join us and hearing about your events for pagans in Utah. Thanks so much for being with us.