Archive | March 8, 2013

Even pagans need the 10 Essentials – a Pagan Blog Post

Even pagans need the 10 Essentials and even pagans, wiccans and druids can get caught in the wilds and have accidents. There are no excuses for not being prepared because your patron deity may decide you need to be more practical or at least use your brain and not intervene. The Goddess gave you a brain and expects you to use it not to beg for help after you have an attack of the stupids.

Everybody at some point who spends any significant time in nature will have cause to use something on this list. Hopefully, not everything on one trip but it’s better to have it and not need it than to go out and need it and not have it.

When I was doing a lot of Girl Scout backpacking we always made everyone carry the 10 essentials plus a few that we thought were musts.

We made everyone carry all of them because one doesn’t know if something will happen to yours or someone else’s supplies or if you are going to get lost or separated from the group. Shit Happens and it’s best to know that Murphy’s Law is ever vigilant and I still carry them in my car at all times. I also still sleep with my shoes, a flashlight and a pair of pants at the end of my bed like we had to do every night at GS camp. I’ve had lovers laugh at me for that but every time there was an earthquake I had my stuff.

Anyway here are the 10 Essentials plus a few necessary extras. And Day hikers need to carry them to because you just don’t know.

1. Map and I don’t mean cheating and using a GPS locator only. What if the batteries die or you drop the thing in the stream. Learn to be a competent map reader. It really isn’t that hard.

2. Compass – Do not use near a car. It will think the car’s engine is north. I once watched a bunch of GS leaders set up an orienteering course before everyone got there and laughed my butt off when they had laid it through the parking lot.

3. Headlamp/Flashlight and extra batteries. Can be used as a distress signal, you can shine it straight up at night and since it looks like a fire someone will come to investigate. And with a wrapper from a stick of gum can start a fire in an emergency.

4. Extra food – well duh.

5. Extra clothing – yes if it’s hot it will be a pain to carry but do it anyway. You can get one of those foldable rain ponchos in a pouch and just stick it in a pocket and forget it til you need it.

6. Sunglasses – This is one I have trouble with. I’m always losing them and since they are clip ons, it’s a pain in the rear.

7. First Aid kit – Carry at least a small one. I always add a few things like change for a pay phone (if you can find one). A large menstrual pad. (It may sound gross but they are the best pressure bandages around and tampons can stop a nose bleed that’s really bad.) Meat Tenderizer (the absolute best thing for dealing with bee stings, wasp bites and any other creepy crawly that has something like bee venom.) The snake bite kit you can probably leave at home even if you are bitten it might do more harm than good.

8. Pocket knife – Me loves a Swiss Army knife. Make sure it’s the kind with tweezers and the toothpick. They can be useful at the oddest times.

9. Water Proof matches – and wind proof if you can find them. You can water proof some wood matches by sticking them in clear nail polish or parafin. Put them in a metal container like an Altoids box, and if you want needle and thread can be stuck in there too.

10.Fire starter. If it’s wet you will need it or a pink lady candle (these are gross but edible if you had to.

Extras – Water bottles and water, personally I think this should be in the 10. and for backpacking, water purification tablets too. Water is probably the heaviest thing you can carry but if you don’t you could be very sorry. Dehydration can set in even if you are cold. If you have a cell phone you might want to download a dehydration chart so you can tell how dehydrated you are.

Whistle – you can hear one of these a long way in the wilderness.

Insect repellant or long sleeves and long pants. Be careful of the colour. Bees are attracted to yellow, reds and oranges and if you are allergic you might not want to wear them. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours like dark brown, blue and green.

Sunscreen – everyone needs it at high altitude not just red headed white people.

Bandana – You can do all sorts of miraculous things with just one bandana, It can be a sling, hold a bandage, hold gear together, cover your head, cover your face in a sudden dust storm or smoke. Signal your preference on the gay hanky code, just kidding.

Cell phone – in this day and age it couldn’t hurt and it certainly helped the people lost on Mt Hood a few years ago.

I’d personally add a book because I can’t be alone and not read, and paper and a pen for notes.

So next time the coven, grove or group is out for a ritual or walk in the wild, please be prepared.