Thankyou to Alex for photographing our antics in February!
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Membership to the PCV is free, and we want to keep it that way. We don’t believe access to one’s local community and the potential support network and friends therein should be put behind a paywall and limited to those who can afford it.
With that said, as the Collective has grown in popularity so too have our costs. When we first started out, costs were covered by a small group of founding members. Now that we have grown much larger, we’re hoping that our community can help us out with some of these costs via a small monthly contribution, and maybe help to fund some exciting future projects, too!
Paganism is a lot of different things to different people, we all bring different skills, values, and viewpoints to paganism and often derive different things from our practice both in a community setting and working solo.
Recently several friends and I decided that it was time to do the Goldfields track, a walk that starts at the top of the picturesque Mount Bunninyong on the edge of Ballarat and ranges across the countryside through forest, bush, farmland and a number of rural towns. It terminates in Bendigo some 210kms from its start.
What does this have to do with paganism you might be asking yourself? The short answer is everything and nothing, depending on what you bring to it and what you take away from the experience. For me, as someone who identifies as a Druid, my connection to the land I live, work and practice paganism on is important. In ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship) we are encouraged to understand the land we live on, in a real, meaningful way.
Living in rural Australia you find that you often drive everywhere, and glimpse only but the tip of what is around you. Since I moved back to small town living I’ve spent the time exploring patches of what is around my new home and getting to know the land on my terms. Now as we trek through the many legs of the Goldfields track, I am being exposed to things I didn’t know where there, learning about the history around me, connecting with the land and its spirits and being shown things about myself, my companions and the world I hadn’t expected.
As I write this I am sitting in front of a fan on a scorching summers day five legs into this adventure, contemplating what to write about our experiences so far and how to describe them. I guess I’ll start with one of the things that has impressed me the most. How resilient nature is, there have been sights along the way that illustrated this perfectly even as it broke my heart to see how careless in general we humans are with nature and our surrounds.
We’ve found waterways running clear and beautiful where it seemed so unlikely, animals living in places that seemed so befouled by human interaction, plants reclaiming what used to be theirs, and a strange kind of harmony that has been reached between introduced species and native flora. While this resilience exists, it is not ideal that we go about our lives not thinking about how we impact the planet we live on.
Something else surprising was the discovery of places and spirits that demanded attention along the way, these took place in the form of offerings mostly – a few fresh snap peas and some fresh water here, some almonds and fruit elsewhere, since we were traveling light we gave what we could spare. It did not go unappreciated. While these interactions were startling, enjoyable and I think positive on both sides it left me with an unquiet sensation, a series of thoughts that I could not hope to put together in this article about our responsibilities to this land we call home.
One thing about the area we are walking is there is still a heavy presence of the history of mining throughout the region. You cannot go far through the bush and forest here without seeing subtle signs of the deep scarring that the land here felt during the gold rush (and beyond in some places). It doesn’t matter how tall the trees, how many birds, lizards and kangaroos you see. It cannot hide the capped mineshafts, damaged waterways, remnant structure and deep slices into the earth are everywhere here.
I’ll leave you for now with some photos from our journey so far, and would encourage others to try this in the area they live in.
2017 is well and truly over, and as we recover from the silly season and bask in the long, hot summer days, we can’t help but start looking forward to what we have planned for the coming year.
Meetups: Last year we hosted more than 50 meetups across the state, giving Pagans of a wide variety of locations, traditions and walks of life the opportunity to come together and socialise over a cuppa (or beer!). This year, our meetups will continue apace, with Melbourne Pagans in the Pub in the CBD, the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets in Belgrave, the Frankston Pagan Meets and the Central Vic Pagan Meets in Creswick and Castlemaine. This year, in conjunction with Druids of Victoria, we will be co-hosting Wandering Druid Coffee Meets in many different locations around the state. If you are a Druid or interested in Druidic practice, take a look.
As always, all our Meets are held according to the Standards laid out in our Mission Statement. Our community is diverse, supportive, and nurturing, and we love it that way.
At present, all our Meets are adults-only. Please do not bring children. If you are a parent wanting to run family-friendly Pagan events, get in touch with us and we’ll help you get started.
Public Rituals: Once again we will be co-hosting free public sabbat rituals with a range of groups and individuals from across our diverse Pagan community. Coming up next weekend is our public Lughnasadh ritual, which will be co-hosted by the Hills Pagans in Belgrave.
Future public rituals include an Imbolc ritual co-hosted by Silver Birch Grove ADF, an Ostara ritual co-hosted by the Sovereigns of the Golden Path and a Midsummer ritual co-hosted by the Melbourne Grove of OBOD.
Patreon: In the very near future we will be launching a Patreon page, where anybody interested can support the PCV with a small monthly donation.
Membership the PCV is free, and we want to keep it that way. We don’t believe access to one’s local community and the potential support network and friends should be put behind a paywall and limited to those who can afford it.
With that said, as the Collective has grown in popularity so too have our costs. When we first started out, costs were covered by a small group of founding members. Now that we have grown much larger, we’re hoping that our community can help us out with some of these costs via a small monthly contribution, and maybe help to fund some exciting future projects, too.
Our Patreon backers will receive exclusive backer-only updates, free entry to our workshops, and discounts for a range of our other initiatives.
Redbubble: Also coming soonish is our Redbubble store, where our friends and supporters can buy groovy PCV merch. We’re currently working on organising a discount for our Patreon backers – watch this space.
Community Safety Month: March will once again be Community Safety Month for the PCV. We will be sharing valuable resources across our online and social media platforms, and discussion topics at our March meetups will be geared towards keeping the Pagan community safe, inclusive and nurturing for all.
Pagan Pride Day: After the huge success of last year’s inaugural Pagan Pride Day, we will be doing it all again in April this year. Pack a picnic and come along for an afternoon of connecting, sharing and celebrating with your community. We will have guest speakers from Victoria’s active Pagan traditions, a ritual and more. There are even rumours of a witches vs druids kubb game being planned.
Community Calendar: We are putting the finishing touches on our 2018 Community Calendar. This calendar contains information about all Pagan events in Victoria and is a valuable resource.
This year, we have made important changes to our calendar policy: “In accordance with Victorian law, groups and individuals running ‘family friendly’ events will need to supply copies of Working With Children Cards for all organisers and volunteers in order to see their event included on the Community Calendar”.
Workshops: We have a number of workshops planned which will be offered free to our Patreon backers. Watch our Facebook Page for updates.
Phew! 2018 is already looking jam-packed with fantastic offerings for the Victorian Pagan community. And with such a wide variety of events and locations, there is sure to be something to suit everyone.
See you there! ❤
We are finally picking ourselves up out of a heap after another great Beltane at the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering.
Sarah and the crew from our Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets hosted this year’s ritual, delivering a fantastic rite that we felt privileged to be a part of. PCV committee member Alex was also a huge help all weekend, most notably running our children’s maypole event on the Sunday.
This year’s maypole was kindly donated by S, who crafted it from scratch! This will be outlined in another post, coming soon. 🙂
Many thanks to the Hillsfolk, the Organisers, and to everyone else who made this year such a huge success! ❤
Hills Pagan Weeknight Dinners
The PCV’s Hills Pagan Monthly Coffee Meets have become so popular that it was decided a second Hills Meet was needed! To give our lovely host café a bit of space and offer those who find their weekends eclipsed by other commitments a chance to attend, a weeknight dinner event was established. In October we met for the first Hills Pagan Monthly Weeknight Dinner in the eclectic and charming ambiance of the Micawber Park Tavern in Belgrave. The tavern sits nestled among lush treeferns and surrounded by towering mountain ash forest. Beside the tavern a stream dances among the rocks, and if you are quiet and lucky, you may see a platypus before it disappears leaving only ripples behind. Inside traditional protective amulets – horse brasses lay on the cottage-like exposed beams, while an assortment of steins, tankards, lead lights lamps, old oak barrels and images of knights dot the interior landscape.
We had a fine old wooden table in an open room to ourselves. Naturally a lot of discussion began with plans and excitement for the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering. It moved in turn to swapping travel experiences about Iceland, Scandinavia, Scotland and even Antarctica. The new meet also saw initial Spring plans hatched for a Hills Pagan Writers Bootcamp. We chatted about gardening, elf stones and whether three or more Pagan events on the same day is too much. A fine tavern dinner, in a splendid setting filled with bright and bubbly Pagan banter was enjoyed by all. We’re already looking forward to the next one!
Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets
To say that October has been a massive month for the Hillsmeets is a little like saying the ocean is a bit damp; it’s November now, so it’s technically impossible to cram any more into October, but the last four weeks for the Hillsfolk have included:
*our regular Sunday meet at Earthly Pleasures – and the first one for the Spring that has been warm enough for us to gather outside in EP’s beautiful gardens;
*the second of our ongoing monthly weeknight dinner meets at Micawber Tavern, which was well-attended and is going to continue being a lovely, relaxed get-together in extremely pretty surroundings;
*the first of our ongoing Writers’ Workshops, hosted by published author (and witch) Helen Patrice, who offers prompts, inspiration, and guidance in writing around pagan themes;
*and last but not least, the culmination of weeks of hard work, as the Hillsmeets hosted the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering’s Beltane Ritual. The MFPG is in its 36th year, and it was an honour to be part of such a long and beautiful tradition. With an attendance of nearly a hundred people, the Beltane ritual was somewhat of a baptism of fire (if you’ll excuse the metaphor which is simultaneously very appropriate and also not at all) for the Hills group, who had not previously done any ritual or magical work together (unless you count sitting around having coffee every single month for nearly three years and still really enjoying it an act of magic), let alone any public work, and had no opportunity to get together for even one rehearsal before the big night. But we are nothing if not intrepid, and our faith in ourselves, each other, and the divine was rewarded, and the ritual went beautifully; the weather was perfect, the fire roared into blazing life, the May Queen and her King were crowned, and a very tangible sacred space was shared by everyone.
The Hillsmeets group would like to extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the MFPG organisers and all who attended, and I would like to express my love and thanks to the ritual group who were absolutely magnificent, not to mention unfailingly positive, supportive, helpful, and brave. Alex, Dean, Fran, Seumas, and Veronica (in alphabetical order because I can’t type you all in simultaneously; it would be the sort of typographical nightmare that summons demons or looks like a black metal band logo) – you are amazing, with a special mention to Ro, whose humour, support, and the fact she’d thought of absolutely everything that could possibly be needed, kept us all going. You’re all amazing.
Our beautiful little community keeps growing and getting lovelier, and long may it flower.
And may November be comparatively peaceful, and filled with cake.
Silver Birch Grove Druid Coffee
Silver Birch Grove ADF held it’s Druid Coffee on Sunday 22nd of October. We had a good crowd for a cold Sunday and we were happy that we had a table in the front room again. As always the service and food at The Peacock Inn hotel was wonderful and I enjoyed a great lunch with copious amounts of coffee.
We were able to begin organising ourselves for the upcoming Mt Franklin Pagan Festival, making sure we all had the camping equipment we would need and worked on a little bit of a meal plan. For those that know me that meant I had to work out how much bacon we would need.
There were many varied conversations over lunch. We had a chat about modern Heathenry, some interesting reading suggestions and a fascinating conversation regarding the current Marriage Equality survey with other interested attendees. We found that we had all sent our surveys in already and are hoping the outcome is a positive one.
I got to talk to one of our regulars about his upcoming trip to Las Vegas. While we will be camping, he will be jetting off to the US. He thought it was a shame he would be missing Mt Franklin this year but I’m pretty sure he was just being polite.
Druid Coffee is a great way to meet your local ADF Druids. We hold it on the 4th Sunday of each month at The Peacock Inn Hotel in Northcote. We hope you can catch us at the next one.
CBD Pagan Pub Moot
With Spring having sprung, a small band of Pagans gathered in a cosy nook of The Last Jar Irish Pub. In that shadowy corner our dark purpose was to summon a few pints of Guiness. The previous few CBD Pub Moots had been quite gregarious. This time however, with the AWC and several other competing events on during the same weekend, we had a smaller turn out. This quieter and more relaxed atmosphere turned out to be perfect for some new people to ask some questions of some Pagans who had been practicing for a longer time and all had many experiences to share.
What’s Next for the PCV?
Dates for your diary…
Saturday, November 18th: Central Victorian Pagans and Heathens in the Cafe
Sunday, November 19th: CBD Pagan Pub Moot – November
Saturday, November 25th: PCV Summer Picnic 2017
Sunday, November 26th: Bi-Monthly Frankston/Cranbourne Pagan Meet
Sunday, December 3rd: December Committee Meeting
Sunday, December 3rd: Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets – December