Student on a spiritual mission to start pagan group

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By Maureen Rice

A Ryerson first-year theatre student has a spiritual proposition.

Peter Tretter, 19, is trying to starting up a pagan group called the Ryerson Alliance of Pagans.

Dictionaries describe pagan as a person not subscribing to any of the main religions of the world.  Pagans tolerate all gods and identify divinity or spirituality in nature.

Paganism can be broken down into sub-groups, two of which are druidism (a Welsh and Celtic sub-religion) and wicca (a form of witchcraft).

Tretter’s mission is to have his pagan group recognized by RyeSAC.  New groups need 20 signatures and an approved list of the club’s proposed activities and objectives to be considered for approval.

The proposal must then be passed by the student group committee and RyeSAC’s board of directors.

Since September Tretter has signed two members on and drafted a constitution.  He has also set up a website for the group (http://welcome.2/reyap), and posted ads around campus.

Community outreach “really is a test of the individuals and their organizational ability,” said Leatrice Spevack, RyeSAC’s campus groups administrator.  Spevack said the group’s unusual nature makes the venture even more difficult.

Tretter said he knows he ahs a tough road ahead of him.  He said the biggest hurdle so far has been trying to get the 20 members needed.  Another obstacle is paganism is a religion few Ryerson students are familiar with.

Dora Huang, a second-year business student, said she isn’t familiar with paganism.  “I don’t know what it is.  Maybe I would be interested in it though, to meet more people or to experience a different kind of religion.”

Dispelling myths about witchcraft is also one of Tretter’s priorities.  Spevack said she wants to make sure the group is on the up-and-up.  “If it’s wicca I don’t have a problem with it.  I do have problems with devil-worshipping,” she said.

Tretter insists devil-worshipping isn’t what his pagan group is about.  But he admits he isn’t sure if he’ll be able to overcome all the hurdles necessary to get the group going this year.

“I have no idea how many pagans there are at Ryerson, so I don’t know what to expect.”

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