Scott Reimers is co-owner of Reno Magick and a priest of the Temple of Growth Advancement, an interfaith temple serving the Reno area. Every year, Reno Magick sponsors a summer solstice celebration at Washoe Lake. This year’s event is from June 23-25.
How long have you been having solstice festivities at the lake?
I think eight years now.
What kind of activities do you have planned for this weekend?
Right now the Greek and Norse temples are the most active. So, we actually have a guest from the Bay Area. Yeshe Rabbit is a high priestess at the Come As You Are Coven. And she’s going to be coming into town, and we’re going to be doing a pretty big Greek-Aphrodite thing. And then we have a cycle-of-the-year festival dynamic. It’s very common for pagans to celebrate different high holidays. And this high holiday, the celebration is of the dynamic of the light reaching it’s peak, and then we’re headed into the dark times—a.k.a. winter. … So we actually have a celebration. We basically have competitions, and the winners of those competitions are the bright king and the dark king. We do this game where the bright king’s side and the dark king’s side, they battle with fake weapons, and we have people who are healers. They resurrect people who’ve been killed with the fake weapons. And this game goes on for a while until we decide it’s time, and then the light side stops resurrecting their people until, finally, the dark king is victorious. It’s a game. It’s a battle, a competition—some fun.
So a bit like role playing, but the goal is to celebrate the solstice, the time of year when we have the most light?
Yes. It’s common myth that you have a king that’s born at the winter solstice, that comes into his power … at the summer solstice. And at the summer solstice, the dark king comes in and takes over and reaches the peak of his power at the winter solstice. So we’re just kind of playing that out in a game.
So some games, some ritual. Who is the event for? Is it kid-friendly?
It is a family-friendly thing. If you’d be uncomfortable camping with other people, you should probably just come out during the day. Day [visits are] fine. Camping itself is definitely fine—so anybody who’d like to, camp.
How should people go about getting involved or learning more?
Probably our Facebook is going to be the best bet. It would be facebook.com/RenoMagick/, and we’ve got stuff posted there. … Being involved—the Greek temple and the Norse temple of people wanted to volunteer and help out. And that’s definitely there. But, realistically, it’s just showing up. This is one of those events where, you know, it’s less about the prep and more about us having a good time and enjoying each other while we’re there.
Cool. So, for people who are looking to learn more about pagan faiths and the temple here, how would you recommend they get involved? Is the event a good introduction? Or a temple visit first?
Pagan is a very big, broad term. We’re a couple of different flavors of a couple of very local versions of pagan. So, I’d probably say taste it all. Find out what you like. Find out what works for you. … This is a good event to come and try and check out—very low prerequisites.