By Steffy VonScott, Dec 12 2019
The Scottish Pagan Federation are officially launching their official tartan in 2021 to coincide with their 50th anniversary celebrations.
The Scottish Pagan Tartan is now almost here. We are just awaiting the first shipment arriving. We would like to give a massive thanks to our Team Creative Lead, Thomas Lanting and our Scottish Tartan Historian, Bren MacNeil for working hand-in-hand with our Presiding Officer, Steffy VonScott on this fantastic Project, with many thanks to Gemini Aspect for partnering with the Scottish PF on this wonderful work.
The idea of a specifically Scottish Pagan tartan was originally conceived towards the end of 2019 and was born from SPF’s active role in interfaith discussion where it was observed that other faith communities were launching their own tartans (for example, a Scottish Muslim tartan).
Steffy VonScott was quoted as saying Towards the end of 2019 everyone in interfaith were talking about faith reprentative tartans. There had been a Muslim tartan launched several years earlier, alongside the launch of a Sikh and Jewish tartan, with several other faith tartans already in existence. At that point my initial discussions around creating a Pagan Faith Tartan became more about religious equality than creating an actual valid product. Yet within a year we would have not only a Tartan that embodies so many paths, strands and aspects of Paganism, but a thing of absolute beauty. I am truly honoured to have been part of this project.
At that time Steffy VonScott (SPF’s current Presiding Officer) decided to put together a team consisting of Bren MacNeil (one of SPF’s Local Officers for Glasgow with a keen interest in the history of tartans) and Tom Lanting (SPF’s LGBTQIA+ Officer who also had a background in Pagan clothing design).
The team started off by considering the other tartans and the values symbolised by the colours chosen for those patterns. They took into account the traditions surrounding the origins and history of tartan, plus how tartan could be used to communicate a sense of belonging to a specific community, tribe and lineage.
The SPF tartan was designed to reflect the eclectic nature of all Pagans within Scotland whilst also being a tartan that Pagans all around the world can wear with pride. The creative talent for the design came predominantly from Tom Lanting through his experience with Gemini Aspect.
Gemini Aspect are Master Wand Makers, cloak fitters and Pagan clothing designers based in Scotland's Capital City of Edinburgh. They are run by both Tom Lanting and his Husband Iain. Both Tom and Iain are highly respected members of the Pagan Community both here in Scotland and further afield, touring the U.K, Europe and the United States, selling and speaking annually at many different Pagan events, from Witchfest, to Pagan Pride, to Pagan Federation events, and more, touring all over the World, as well as being privileged in doing memorable events for both Patricia Crowther and Doreen Valiente. Because of his background in Gemini Aspect, Tom was able to bring his years of extensive knowledge and experience of design and textiles to the team. Tom went on to be given the role of Creative Lead Designer for the Project.
After some initial experimentation with design, it was decided to incorporate colours which would represent the seasons of the year and the tree of life. Palette wise, these colours were also traditional to the most ancient plaids, which were used as inspiration for the finished design. Steffy set the design brief at that point, discussing many of the aspects of Paganism he wished to see woven into the strands of the tartan, from colours representing the many Pagan Paths, to the colours of the five elements, from the Sun and Moon, to Goddess and several other thoughts on that the tartan should encompass, and gave the team plenty of creative freedom to experiment.
Tom Lanting was especially keen that the tartan’s symbolism would focus on concepts of ancestry and the common roots which drawn us all together. Thus, the blue was chosen to represent the Picts whilst the white was for their priesthood, the early druids. The yellow and white lines around the blue were designed to draw a link to the past, present and future of all Pagans, together with the yellow representative of the sun and white for the moon - these being shared themes that most forms of Paganism use within their practice. The five elements of earth, air, fire, water and spirit are also represented by their traditional colours.
Following public consultation with the Pagan community via social media, the specific shade of blue was decided upon and the SPF’s purple and green were also added. The symbolism was then extended further with the additional green representing nature, the land, and the natural world, whilst the purple represented Scottish heather, alongside its even deeper symbolism within magic, wise women and folk healers, while combined both colours are representative of Scotland’s national flower: the thistle. The final blue, which completes the tartan and ties all these elements together, represents Scotland’s lochs, rivers and watercourses, many of which were, in ancient times, worshipped as Goddesses.
The SPF’s 100% wool tartan has now been officially registered as such. A length of material has been purchased which will be creatively transformed into tarot bags and altar / tarot cloths, which will be created in partnership with Gemini Aspect, given their experience in the field. Gemini Aspect will also be offering SPF tartan trimmed cloaks and robes available on pre-order via their website, alongside having the Pagan Tartan available in a range of officially SPF branded fabrics which will be sold by the metre. The tartan will become available in a range of other hand-made products, and will be able to be pre-ordered as a kilt from the official SPF website.
At the time of writing this article the Scottish PF have already been approached by companies from all over Scotland, Europe and the Americas, and from as far away as New Zealand and Australia, both asking for us to begin supplying the official Pagan tartan by the metre.
Team Creative Lead, Tom Lanting wrote I feel privileged to have had the ability to design something unique that I hope Pagans around the world will find an affinity with. It was great to be able to work within a great small team, but to also to have the input of public response on the shades of colours. I am excited that the final layout has been greeted in such a positive way and that as part of Gemini Aspect, the honour of being able to not just be part of the design team but to create the first products out of it.
The Scottish Pagan Federation would like to thank everyone who was involved in this project and we hope that all Pagans will gain a sense of community when wearing our Pagan Tartan with pride.
Steffy has been a Pagan for more than twenty years and regularly speaks at Pagan events across Scotland. He is heavily involved in Interfaith dialogue and had the immense privilege of giving the welcome addresses for Scottish Interfaith Week in 2017.
He has also been recognised for his contributions to the Sumerian Reconstructionist and Revivalist movement within the Polytheist and Pagan community worldwide. His first book on the subject: Walking the Sumerian Path – Reconstructing the Sumerian Religion: A Guide for the modern practitioner is due out in late 2019.