When you think about Pagans, you generally think of weird naked people dancing around a bonfire cutting people up and making sacrifices, but there’s a whole bunch of different types of pagan out there and French photographer Charles Freger was inspired by their ‘beautiful’ traditions and outfits to travel the world taking snaps of them.
Freger focussed on the winter rituals that were prevalent and similar in so many of the Pagan tribes all over the world that he visited, photographing the ceremonies and costumes in explicit detail. He found that even though the communities had little else in common, they all shared the same themes for their costumes often creating them out of animal pelts, branches from trees, horns and bells to look like animals. Freger explains the thinking behind it:
It is not about being possessed by a spirit but it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.
Uh yeah, OK sure. Anyway, get a load of these costumes – Freger might think they’re beautiful but I think they’re completely freaky and they would scare the absolute shit out of me if I ran into these guys in a bonfire in the middle of the woods. See what you think:
‘Festival of Bears,’ France
Pyrenees ‘bear’ costume
Yeah, like I said whilst they’re kind of enchanting/otherworldy, I’m still probably more likely to be absolutely sacred shitless of them rather than found admitting them. Not really sure how Fregger managed to keep it together when he was photographing them to be honest. Weird.
For more Pagan rituals, check out these incredibly dark photographs from a German Pagan festival. Creepy.