By Sarah and Alex
The Hills Meets continue apace. March saw me finally make good on a threat I’ve been holding over everyone’s heads for a few months now: Sparkles, the Disco Owl.
A few people have mentioned, over the last couple of years, that our little mascot is subtle and hard to spot across a crowded room. Sparkles is neither of those things. Sparkles is nearly a foot high and covered liberally in white glitter, which he sheds over everything he touches, and came from a local $2 shop, and I’ve been promising to humiliate all of us by bringing him along to a meet for ages now. Sparkles is the Maxwell Demon of the owl world.
March was Sparkles’ Big Day Out; I mean, sure, we looked like a table full of loons congregating around an altar of Mystical Nature-Kitsch, but no-one had difficulty locating our table, and everyone took a little bit of Sparkles home with them, because glitter is a gift that keeps on giving whether people want it to or not.
This is Sparkles, posing with our regular, barely-discernible mascot, and our patron saint, Caffeine. I’ll now hand over the reins to one of our more recent regulars, who has definitely become part of the family, and who kindly agreed to talk about his experience of the Hills Meets (thanks for making us sound good, Alex; the cheque’s in the mail).
The Hills Meets – A Newbie’s Tale
I have been attending the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets now for about eight months. They are a lovely event, and I have felt like I belong at the event since I first attended. It has been lovely to see the different types of people who come along, with a large amount becoming regulars and others just popping in every now and then to say hi and catch-up.
One of the many aspects that I love about the meet is that conversation flows freely and touches on many subjects, from Paganism to gardening to tarot reading to just general life. It’s always great to hear what people have to say, as everyone has something new and interesting happening in their lives. Often, someone will say something and it will make you think about something in a new light. I love attending these meets and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. I really hope to see more new faces, even if it is only to pop in occasionally and see how everyone’s going.
Our Hills Meets occur monthly in Belgrave, and have become one of our most popular events. To find out when the next one is, visit our Community Calendar or the PCV Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets Facebook page.
Even amidst the madness that has been March, we’ve somehow found time to read! Welcome to the March edition of Committee Reads. 🙂
A Book of Beasts by Nigel Pennick and Helen Field
I have to admit I’m a bit of a sucker for anything Capall Bann publishes; this is another of Nigel Pennick’s “overview” books (I reviewed his “Book of Primal Signs” last month). As an overview of animal lore, it’s one of the best books I’ve seen, drawing on more interesting folklore, historical practice and myth than the usual books of its kind.
Personally I’d have liked a bit more detail, but it feels a little churlish to be peeved about that because it *is* an overview, rather than an in-depth study of specific animals, and it does do what it says on the box – and provides some interesting directions for further study. 217 pages long, with 11 chapters on topics such as: Medieval bestiaries, Beasts and the Gods, Animal Powers, Ritual Guising, Beasts in European Fighting Arts, Witch Animals, Animals as Mantic Assistants, and Remedial Beasts, plus others. If you’re interested in animal lore, this is a cut above what’s generally available, and Pennick includes a seven-page bibliography of primary and secondary source material to guide further reading.
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson
One of those personal accounts of suffering used as a vehicle to make a point, it gives the reader that perfect blend of schadenfreude humour and feelings of solidarity.
It’s a rambling mess of a book peppered with a few genuinely valuable insights about radical self-acceptance, journey, and growth. No naff exercises to ignore or cures to try, just perspectives on how to learn to live with, around and in anxiety.
The kind of book to read in the bath while trying not to panic over all the things one should be doing instead of taking a bath.
How to Make and Use Talismans by Israel Regardie
(ISBN: 0 85030 093 2)
At 63 pages, this little text is a nice introduction to talismans from a Ceremonial Magic perspective, written by one of the greatest authors on the Golden Dawn (and intimate of Aleister Crowley). Chapters include: 1. Origin of Talismans; 2. How To Overcome Unfavourable Aspects; 3. Words of Power; 4. Talismans of the Five Elements; 5. A Practical Example; 6. How To Charge The Talisman. It’s short and sweet; this is a subject to which thousands of pages can easily be devoted, but this is a good introduction to the basics, clear and brief, but not lacking in serious content.
Rockspider by Vikki Petraitis and Chris O’Connor
**Content warning**: this book contains discussions of some of the most vile paedophile cases in Australia.
The author of this book Vikki Petraitis worked closely with Dective Senior Sergeant Chris O’Connor from the Child Exploitation Squad who is considered a national and international expert on the subject matter.
In this book she has achieved a harrowing insight into how these predators work, the tools they use and how to combat them. As a teacher part of her goal is to arm parents and guardians with the knowledge to protect their loved ones from behaviors such as grooming.
What is good about this book is the way that at the end of each chapter Vikki and Chris have what they call an ‘In Context’ section where they talk about aspects of the MO of each offender and what has been done since to try and fix the problem but also suggests things to consider keeping an eye out for to protect loved ones.
Why did I read this book? To be honest I read this book because of the chapter called ‘The Satanist’ which refers to a case close to our own community and to understand how it was viewed and dealt with by law enforcement professionals at the time.
What is bad about this book is the depth to which that it pushes you out of your comfort zone, the fact that each chapter is dedicated to a real life case from Australia, and the nauseous feeling that I had everytime I picked it up.
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Not really Pagan, but it’s been a huge month for the PCV and even we need a break from Paganing. This one had been languishing in the tsundoku pile for an awfully long time and was finally liberated on the grounds that I needed the literary equivalent of a nice cup of tea – and I loved the BBC adaptation of this book, with its quietly stellar cast led by Judy Dench.
Originally published in 1853, Cranford brings to life an imaginary mid-19thC English country village and its mostly-female population, with deft, economical prose and affectionate wit. Gaskell was a revolutionary at the time, writing about matters of class and social divisions, and devoting much of her life to humanitarian work. Her writing is no less engaging for this, and Cranford is a sometimes-sharply loving portrait of a disappearing rural way of life, populated with characters as warm as the candlelight they live by. If this sounds like your literary cup of tea, read it and watch the series. It’s a gem.
Layla, Queen of Hearts by Glenda Millard
Again, this book is not especially Pagan per se, but I am in love with this series and would recommend it as a warm, nurturing bedtime story for people of all ages. Just like the preceeding book, The Naming of Tishkin Silk, Layla: Queen of Hearts is written in Millard’s signature whimsical style and revisits the wonderfully unconventional Silk family and their rambling rural property, known as The Kingdom of Silk. Even though this is a book written for young people, the author does not shy away from themes of love and grief, exploring them in a mature and accessible way. The small-town setting and descriptions of rolling hills, orchards and the red dirt of back roads were very familiar to me as someone who lives in rural Central Victoria… So much so that I was hardly surprised when I later learned that the author is from here originally.
The Orphan’s Tales: in the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente
(ISBN: 0553384031 )
I was brought to the attention of the work of Catherynne Valente by two of SJ Tucker’s albums where she reads excerpts and sings songs based on the tales in this book (and it’s sequel In the Cities of Coin and Spice). The excerpts and songs were so captivating, alluring and evocative that they bought so many highs and lows of emotion that I had to try the actual source material.
In the Night Garden introduces us to the world and concept of the interconnecting tale, a story within a story.
Valente paints such vivid pictures in her tales of characters, locations and draws us into a place of pure imagination, where we cannot help but feel connected to the tale and see and feel the story unfold before our eyes.
The tales hold a beautiful link to mythology and are so beautifully written that it is a pleasure to read.
I cannot recommend this highly enough, nor listening to the works of SJ Tucker that are drawn from this source material.
When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Winner of two prizes at the Premier’s Literary Awards earlier this year, When Michael Met Mina tells the story of Michael, the son of a right-wing anti-Islam spokesperson and Mina, who fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. While this premise has the potential to produce two-dimensional characters and a formulaic storyline, this novel really hits hard, with a beautifully complex investigation of the characters’ fears and hopes, and a very relevant look at the reception different cultures and religions receive in Australia today.
By Alex and Josie
On the 18th of March The PCV hosted our first Pagan Pride Day, in Edinburgh Gardens. It was an amazing day filled with amazing people and a great sense of community. The event started at 12pm. People started arriving and what was initially a small amount of people grew: we ended up with around 50 people attending.
At 2pm the talks about the various paths started. Our first speaker was Shaz. She spoke about ADF Druidry and Silver Birch Grove. Josephine talked about Alexandrian witchcraft, and we then had Dean who spoke about Asatru (Norse paganism), followed by KC guy who spoke about OBOD Druidry. Next, Fio Talked about the Reclaiming path, then Luca Talked about Wildwood, and Dorian Talked about Chaos magic.
After the talks on the different paths we moved on to our ritual for the autumn Equinox which was run by Josie and Ryan in a Alexandrian inspired style. The quarters were called by Fran (Air), Sarah (Fire), Alex (Water) and Mark (Earth). It was a beautiful ritual that included a meeting dance and lovely music.
After the ritual we moved on to our second session of talk which were about the different meetings and gatherings around Victoria we started off with Ryan talking about the CBD pub moots, then Sarah talking about the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets. Next was Mark who talked about the Central Vic meetups, and we then had Dean who talked about the Heathen meetups, which include a ritual. This was followed by Nickole talking about Earthsong Witchcamps. We then had Dorian who talked about the newly started Frankston/Cranbourne Meetups, and Shaz then talked about Druid Coffee. The Queer Pagan Men’s meetups where then talked about by Buck, Michel then talked about the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering, and finally we finished off with Seline talking about Into Me I See.
It was an absolutely amazing day filled with friendship and community spirit. As a fairly new member of the Pagan community I found it to be a great way to learn more about what is available in Victoria and also to meet more like minded people. I would also love to thank the amazing PCV for running the day especially Sarah for being MC and making sure everything ran smoothly. I would also love to thank all the speakers and those who ran the ritual and finally thankyou to everyone who attended as without you it wouldn’t have happened.
“I just saw a Reclaiming witch, a Druid and an Anarchist eating grapes together. And they were LAUGHING.”
– overheard at the Pagan Pride Day picnic
After a busy and marvelously social day at Pagan Pride Day, we headed on down to Bar 303 in Northcote to see Spiral Dance and KC Guy live in concert, presented by the PCV.
This concert was the perfect way to finish off a day of the Pagan community coming together. KC Guy’s voice is truly enchanting, and just what we needed to chill out and lose ourselves. Spiral Dance has a decades-long track record of bringing Pagans together with their beautiful and very danceable music, and dance we did!
The hot, sticky night didn’t stop any of us from busting out our best daggy Pagan dance moves to tunes like The Quickening, Faerie Tale and our favourite, Black Annis.
By the end of the night our throats were raw, our clothes were heavy with sweat and every last one of us were wearing enormous watermelon-slice grins as we exploded out into the cool night air of High Street.
A million, squillion thankyous to KC Guy and Spiral Dance for travelling from South Australia to perform for us and provide the perfect ending to a perfect day. Thanks also to Bar 303 for having us, to everyone who helped out on the door, and to Mark Hayes for his beautiful photos of the night.
You can download a copy of the Pagan Pride Day Flyer here: PPD 2017
Photo Reuse Policy: You are welcome to use these photos for *personal use* on social media, etc, but please credit/tag the Mark Hayes Photography Facebook Page when you do.
1 and 1/3 cups of honey
3 cups of flour
125 grams of butter
Melt honey and butter together and add to flour.
Mix well then break in both eggs. The cake should be at dropping consistency.
Put mixture into a prepared square loaf tin and cook in a medium oven for about an hour.
Contributed by Alex.
MacArthur, M. (1994). Earth Magic: a seasonal guide to the old religion. London: Capall Bann.
Join us for a night of myth, music and magic, proudly hosted by the Pagan Collective of Victoria.
Icons of Australian Pagan music, Spiral Dance and KC Guy will be playing their only Melbourne show on the 18th of March. Be sure to get in quick – tickets are selling fast.
Date: Saturday, March 18th
Tickets: $25 Full and $20 Concession – Tickets Available Here
Location: Bar 303, High St, Northcote
Doors open at 8pm
Community Action Meeting Minutes
Held on 12/03/2017 at Saff’s in Castlemaine
What is known about the individual known as Robin Fletcher, Tim Ryan, Balin, The Red Druid and Robin Slater:
He was released from custody on Friday into the community, being stated as not being at any more risk of reoffending than any other sex offender.
He is believed to be a former member of the seminary of Corpus Christi just outside of Monash, of which he was thrown out of in 1979 for magical practices.
He has known associations with the Church of Antioch in Alphington (there is still information about him on their website currently).
It is believed that he became affiliated with the Golden Dawn at Monash in the 1980’s and there met some of the people that would later act as emissaries for him.
He is said to have later became involved with individuals that founded the New Varangian Guard a community that at the time was strongly linked with the magical community, where he became involved with the Riders of the Mark and started his Red Druid practices.
There is a book that has a chapter dedicated to him, written by Vikki Petrias & Chris O’Connor called Rock Spider, that describes some of his known behaviors, including the way he operates as a spider in its web, pulling the strings.
It is known that he is well read, has a near eidetic memory and is quite knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics. He has written a number of papers and acts as an authority on these matters.
The first jail term he served was for library book fraud, because it was the only thing that could stick at the time.
In the 1980’s Tim Ryan decided that a young man had information that he wanted and orchestrated his abduction and subsequent torture via two of his acolytes. The young man was later dumped naked on a rail line and tied to the boom gate. When he was freed he went to a friend for help, who immediately took him to the police. This friends testimony destroyed his career.
These crimes had a lasting effect on the community for years to come.
As the scene recovered a publication known as The Who, What, Where, How Directory started up, the Directory would later play a role in helping provide evidence of Tim Ryan’s criminal actions to the police. In the early 1990’s a woman came to members of the Directory and said that there was a man trying to force her daughter into prostitution. These members took this information to the police, who then placed him under observation, to try and gather solid evidence of his misdeeds. During this period of observation, they found proof that he was prostituting the girls, using them as drug mules and that his wife at the time had tried to recruit a hitman to kill the girls.
He was arrested for a final time in 1996 on charges related to these crimes and served an eight-year sentence. He was used as a trial for keeping sex offenders locked away from the community under supervision.
Where does/can the community go from here?
The community has a large element of vulnerable people, that could fall prey to people such as Tim Ryan. Community education is a key way to help protect these people, this education needs to come from the community as a whole.
To this end greater communication with pagan businesses on this front would be beneficial, providing them with flyers such as the one provided by PAN would be a great idea, a lot of new seekers come to businesses such as this as the first point of contact.
Hosting events for new practitioners to meet others, gain access to information and to help answer some of their questions in a safe, public venue is also an idea that needs to be considered.
The PCV in February 2017
By Josie, Ang, Sarah and Ryan
The long stretches of hot weather certainly didn’t stop us doing what we wanted to in February, with meetups, meetings and a cracker public Lughnassadh ritual.
Public Lughnassadh Ritual
On Sunday the 5th of February we arrived at Rushall Reserve to celebrate our Lughnassadh ritual, hosted by Silver Birch Grove ADF. It was a very steamy day and the water in the creek very low.
Lughnassdh is a day where we Honour Lugh by show our skills or make meaningful offerings. Silver birch grove followed the core order of ritual, our deity of the occasion was Lugh.
Thank you to all those who attended the day and took part in our ritual. We ended our rite with our usual picnic lunch.
Monthly Hills Coffee Meets
It’s hard to keep writing about the Hills meets, really, because I’m pretty sure I’ve used most of the adjectives signifying “super-good and fun”, and am going to have to switch into hyperbolic mode or egregious overuse of exclamation marks to keep reports fresh. On the other hand, there’s the danger of sounding like I’ve joined a cult. Are cult founders supposed to join their own cults? Are they supposed to have this much fun? No idea, but the Hills Meets keep getting bigger as new visitors turn into regulars, and they only seem to get more enjoyable. The cafe staff actually enjoy having us occupying their table space for five hours straight and are astoundingly kind to us, and all in all it’s really rather good.
The next one is on the 5th March. See the PCV Community Calendar, or the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets Facebook page for more upcoming event details.
In the absence of a picture of our grinning faces, here is a photo of our owl mascot (she has been coming along since the very first meet), and a gorgeous handmade goat that one of our lovely first-timers bought at the market next to the cafe, at the February meet.
CBD Pagan Pub Moots
We kicked off Community Safety Month early at the CBD Moot, having a round table discussion about strategies to create and maintain safe spaces for Pagans in Victoria, and how to make the community safe and welcoming for newcomers. Next month we have something rather exciting planned. We will have a special guest Dr David Waldron talking about colonial Australian folk magic; witches Marks, concealed objects, witch bottles and banshees. Dr David Waldron is a lecturer in History and Anthropology at Federation University Australia based in CRCAH (Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History) with a research focus on folklore and community identity. He is the author of “Sign of the Witch: Modernity and the Pagan Revival” (Carolina Academic Press 2008), “Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay – a Case Study in Local Folklore” (Hidden Press 2010) and “Snarls from the Tea-Tree: Victoria’s Big Cat Folklore” (Australian Scholarly Publishing 2013) and editor/contributor of “Goldfields and the Gothic: a Hidden Heritage and Folklore” (Australian Scholarly Publishing 2016).
We look forward to seeing you all there!
PCV Committee Meeting
Our first committee meeting for the year was held on the 26th of February. To see what was discussed and what we have planned for the year ahead, check out the minutes.
Pagan Collective of Victoria
Meeting Minutes – 26/02/2017
Location: Peacock Inn Hotel, Northcote Start Time: 11.42AM
Attending: Luca, Sarah, Shaz, Josie, Ryan, Nikole, Ange, Mark, Alex, Dorian
The PCV has gotten off to a bumper year with a busy start, there have been a lot of new faces appearing at events, it seems that there is success in creating a safer community. We have already had a fantastic public Lughnasadh ritual. With Pagan Pride Day coming up there is a lot to be excited about at the moment as we continue on into the year.
We have such an exciting month coming up in March with Community Safety Month being rolled out and Pagan Pride Day as well as the concert. The community continues to grow and come together and it is an exciting time for the Collective as well as to be a member of the community.
The accounts are currently sitting at $25.60 in the bank account and a further $18 in the PayPal account.
Ryan recently paid for our Annual Statement to Consumer Affairs, part of our ongoing obligations as a Not-For-Profit, which was about $55 and the cost is a donation from him.
We have about $300 odd in ticket sales in the Eventbrite at present from ticket sales for the Spiral Dance/Kacey Guy concert, tickets are selling very well at the moment and will continue to do so.
There isn’t a lot new to report on this front, memberships continue to grow; we now have over 340 signed up members and over a thousand FaceBook followers.
The meets keep getting bigger, newbies every time and there have been about 15 or so people at each one, always really positive attitudes and discussions. Everyone is happy with them and the café loves having them there.
These meets are now on average getting 20 – 30 people every month. The venue likes us, as they are quiet on Sundays so they are getting better business on the Sundays that we are there. There are some really good discussions going on, had a great community safety discussion at the last meeting with lots of input from the community which is fantastic and people are really positive in general.
Due to having to cancel the first one there hasn’t been a meet-up in Central yet, the first one is happening in April. As a result there isn’t much to report here yet.
We had the first one at Groove Train and there was at least one person Dorian didn’t know, the turnout was reasonably good and went well, looking forward to the next one and it looks like it will be quite a success.
Due to circumstances beyond control, the location for the meet-ups have had to change a number of times in recent months and this seems to have caused some disruption to the meet-up. It looks like it will be able to stay at the Peacock Inn, which will help to have a stable venue again. They would appreciate some assistance in advertising to help spread the word of the event to help get it back on stable footing. Mark has offered to ask Julie if it is ok to share the event in Druids Down Under and other such groups, in addition to the PCV sharing the event.
The Morris Side is now at the stage with the dance they are learning that they can start learning a second dance. They are looking forward to getting to the stage where they can dance with other groups, as well as being able to accept and train new members. They are also looking forward to their upcoming workshop with members of established Morris side, Hot For Joe. They are feeling more confident and are in the process of joining the Morris Ring and will get their first year free, which gives them insurance for things like injuries of the dancers or others such as audience. They have had semi-permanent loan of Morris Bells and Sticks to help them with getting off the ground. The source of the loan has also offered to give a workshop on Morris and loan a Obby ‘Oss. The Side has got a growing following within the community which seems to be somewhat interested in the antics of the Morris Dancers.
Pagan Pride Day
Edinburgh Gardens confirmed as the venue, with the list of participants and the ritual confirmed, and a timeline pencilled in. Speakers to be contacted to provide details for the flyer, and traditions who have not confirmed speakers to be followed up in the next couple of days for confirmation.
Confirmed that the PCV’s Mabon ritual will be run at this event, and that it will be a Wiccan-style ritual
Spiral Dance/KC Guy
Transport and accommodation costs for the musicians have already been covered; at this point in time the event will break even, but further promotion would definitely help. Posters have been delayed due to printing issues, but internet promotion is going well. Josie, Alex, and Nickole volunteered to assist with door staffing; Mark will be official event photographer.
Recent Public Statement
The PCV statement in response to the impending release of sex offender Robin Fletcher was released on the 10th of February and received a flood of positive responses from the wider Pagan community, with 80 groups and prominent individuals co-signing the statement, and many more expressing support and appreciation for it and the PCV’s condemnation of child abuse, non-consensual sex, and violence.
Looking forward, we are collating educational resources as part of further community support; these will be distributed both on and offline, to promote awareness of safety at Pagan events. Statements from local groups are also in the process of being collated, and it was agreed that the convenors of the various meets, moots, and gatherings around Victoria should have a safety policy as part of their basic information. All group hosts present agreed.
As a knock-on effect of the statement, we have had more people coming to PCV events specifically because they have seen that community safety is a priority. This is incredibly heartening, and something we wish to work further towards.
It was suggested that the PCV website and Facebook be updated to reflect the diversity and commitment of the committee, as it is comprised of people from many different traditions, practices, and backgrounds, working towards a common goal of building a supportive, safe, and healthy community.
It was also proposed that with this in mind, a media liaison group for the PCV may be a good idea. This will be discussed further, as will further support structures for a safer community.
Review of Business Promoted
The community calendar has grown so much of late that it is now a herculean task currently maintained by only a couple of people. in order that our committee be able to maintain their jobs and relationships, it was unanimously voted in that we will no longer chase up events, and will rely instead on event organisers providing us with information. This may mean that some events are no longer advertised but on the plus side the committee will be able to spend time with their families.
In the light of our focus on safe spaces, this may also change our advertising policy but at present none of the events we advertise have been flagged as potentially problematic, so we will implement the new calendar policy as previously described.
The public PCV Samhain ritual is being hosted by Seline and it is going to be on the 30th of April. At the moment that is what is known, more will be put in the committee later and can then be spread on the event page and advertising later.
There is a slight clash of dates for committee members, Nikole is going in an official PCV capacity and possibly Luca.
Blog and WordPress Workshop Day
The blog is going on really well, we are scheduling items ahead of time so that we have stuff going up every week, on time, every time. We are getting a lot of hits on the articles, which would indicate that this new format seems to be working
We are happy to show other committee members how to use WordPress so that more people can use it. So if people are interested in this contact Mark and Josie and we will set up a date once we have an idea of numbers of people and can work out a venue.
When we had the last meeting we didn’t have anyone to run Imbolc, but the Reclaiming community has kindly volunteered to run it on the 5th of August in the Darebin Parklands, Nikole will liaise with us and let us know what Reclaiming needs from us and any other details that come up so we can advertise and help in whatever way is needed.
It has been a requirement for some time that all committee members hold current Working With Children Checks, and in light of our focus on community safety, it was agreed that copies of all committee members’ WWC cards be kept on file (which will not be made publicly available as the cards contain personal information), so that the PCV can rest assured that all members of the committee have passed a WWCC.
Working With Children Checks are a pre-requisite for being on the PCV committee, and all committee members’ cards will need to be on file before the next AGM. it was also suggested, with full committee agreement, that anyone running public rituals for the PCV be required to have a current WWCC. This refers to the main ritual organiser, though of course if others involved also have WWCC, that is an advantage.
This is a way of maintaining community safety in relation to minors in the community, and also to improve confidence in public ritual spaces in the eyes of the community.
An idea has been presented that we need a welcoming committee, at events have people that go out of their way to make sure new people feel welcome and safe and to answer any questions to help make sure that the community continues to encourage the open and safe nature of PCV events, it is an idea at present but there is no set way to do it yet. Possibly will include having an event once or twice a year, informal, new people are invited and we present information and have an informal dinner and chat sort of thing.
It was proposed that we could possibly have some dates that happen at meet-ups where we encourage new people to attend and run the event so that it helps them to feel welcome. We shall continue to discuss this on the FB group due to time constraints today.
Possibly we should consider having ‘Newvember’ and have a newbie month or perhaps ‘NeoVember’ where we make sure that we run stuff that is ultra-inclusive as part of this.
It looks like it might be at the Last Jar on the 24th June, probably 2 courses to cut costs and make tickets more affordable.
A subcommittee shall be formed to help organize – Sub-committee – Ryan, Alex, Sarah, Josie, Mark (decorations), Ange (decorations) and shall liaise further to get this rolling.
The community expects more than sausage. They want custard or a Chikko Roll.
Meeting End: 12.49
This meeting will be held on Sunday, the 26th of February in Northcote. See the Facebook Event Page for more details.
Thankyou to Mark for putting this together.
Pagan Collective of Victoria
Meeting Agenda – 26/02/2017
- President/Vice-President Report
2. Treasurer Report
3. Secretary Report
4. Meet-up Report
5. Morris Report
6. Pagan Pride Day
7. Spiral Dance/KC Guy
8. Recent Public Statement
9. Review of Businesses Promoted
12. WordPress Workshop Day
15. Welcoming Events
The February edition of what the bookish, bookly booknerds of your committee have been reading. 🙂
The Book of Primal Signs by Nigel Pennick
There are plenty of books of symbols out there, mostly very similar and simply covering the basic appearance and meaning of symbols of various cultures. This isn’t one of those. Pennick, an academic and prolific occult author, explores the historical and occult use of 39 specific glyphs in some depth, explaining their evolution and their place in the Western Mystery Tradition. Illustrated with over 300 pictures, and extensively referenced, this is a good volume for further reading on specific symbols, and a pleasure to dip in and out of, as I have been doing this last month. Symbols covered include: House Marks, Craftsman’s Marks and Sigils, the Tree of Life, the Rose, the Heart, the Hexflower, Plaits and Knots, the Eye and the Peacock, the Sigils of Mammon, the Eight-Spoked Wheel, and many more.
The Real Witches’ Garden by Kate West
This month I am re-reading a Kate West book, a fairly prolific UK based author on Witchcraft who has written a number of other books in The Real Witches’ series including – The Real Witches’ Kitchen, The Real Witches’ Coven and The Real Witches’ Book of Spells and Rituals.
Kate has not laid out a tome of how to garden, filled with methods of composting, times to prune and plant, etc. Instead what she has done is provided a method of activating the imagination and realising a way to work a bit of your tradition in to your life and your garden.
The book takes a look at a variety of styles of garden and lifestyles and discusses ways to incorporate a bit more craft into these. She strives to offer a practical approach for everyday pagans, whether they are renters or home owners, living in a small apartment or a larger allotment.
One of the things I really like about this book is the realistic approach she encourages to cultivating your own witches’ garden. Kate encourages people to factor in their time commitments, and lifestyle, rather than shooting for the idealistic thatched roof cottage with a large rambling garden filled with various plants that can be used for healing, or other aspects of their path.
For beginner gardener’s this might need to be followed up with some books from the Diggers Club range or something similar. While it isn’t an instruction manual of how to get from point a to point b, what it does is kindle the imagination and give ideas for the reader to get started, a launching pad if you will into the realm of possibilities.
The Saga of the Volsungs translated by Jesse L Byock
For mythology fans, Heathens and fantasy lovers this is a fantastic read. The Saga of the Volsungs is one of the sources that has inspired generations of creators with its high fantasy seeming elements.Some of the notable inspired creators are – Wagner when he composed the Ring cycle in the 1800’s, and William Morris and JRR Tolkien in their writing works.
It is a compelling tale that spans about 76 pages, however, depending on the copy you buy you get a nice introduction giving you history and background of the area, time and the writings as well as pages of endnotes that provide valuable clarifications.
If you like epic feats, dragon slaying and magic artifacts in your stories then this is probably for you.
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
This is a fantasy novel I’ve felt compelled to revisit for some years now, and I’m glad I finally made the time. Holdstock’s exploration of psychological and mythological themes through the fantasy genre will intrigue anthro-nerds and Pagans alike. While this may be a fantasy novel, Holdstock certainly considers ideas such as how mythology, folktales and more contribute to collective and cultural consciousness – ideas which easily translate to the modern Pagan egregore.
Tales round the Cauldron by Paddy Slade
(ISBN: 186-163 0468)
Back in my teens, I got my first book on Paganism – Slade’s “Natural Magic”. A beautifully-illustrated gem of a “Pagan 101” book, it basically changed my life, since for the first time I found that a lot of the belief system I’d cobbled together from folklore, history, and mythology was a real, living, vibrant thing, practised by people all over the world. I hung on every word, bought more books, and proceeded down this path – and I can’t thank her enough.
Slade’s writing style is informal, conversational, but full of love and joy for what she does, and for the land she lives on. Whilst it sounds ridiculous in this day and age, when we can get a writer’s entire bibliography from one click, it never occurred to me to see if she had written anything else. So it was with a squeaky, nostalgia-soaked excitement that I found this because a friend was getting rid of it. Most books about Paganism are how-to, non-fiction books about witchcraft and/or spiritual practice; this is a collection of stories, parables and pathworkings, written from within the craft, and in Slade’s warm, fireside-tale authorial voice, making the title very apt.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to settle down somewhere cosy and immerse yourself in a few quiet moments, listening to a witch talk to her fellow witches, conjuring the sight of a fox in the moonlight, the imposing yet comforting presence of the Horned God, the feel of a plant coming into flower, then this may just make you very happy.
The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson
I read a lot of YA novels as part of my job, and none have stood out recently as much as Lili Wilkinson’s tale of a young girl seduced into joining a dangerous cult. Well-researched and thrilling, this story had me guessing right until the last chapter, and Wilkinson’s cult leader, “Daddy”, is particularly disturbing but extremely well written.
It was interesting to read later that the author grew up in a family with ties to Scientology. She presented her research to this book in a YouTube series titled Let’s Talk about Sects.
The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery
The third novel by the bestselling French author (and professor of philosophy) , this is a novel about the connections between mankind, art, and nature, in an ethereal fairytale set in Burgundy, Italy, and the elven world called “The Pavilion of the Mists”. It follows two young girls with elfin blood, raised by humans; Clara, who possesses considerable musical and clairvoyant gifts, and Maria, whose gift is communication with nature. Both are being prepared for the war that will follow the rising of a great evil.
Despite the fantasy-staple subject matter, this is far from cliché; Barbery’s language is exquisite, her musings on art, nature, creation and destruction are thoughtful and complex. It’s a beautiful read if you have time to allow yourself to be fully immersed, steeped in a very distinctly European magic-realism.
You may miss your stop if you’re reading it on the train. You may not care.