This lovely piece by Viv was originally published in our old newsletter, Spokes of the Wheel (Mabon 2015 – volume 2 issue 3). Feature photo by Mark Hayes.
The sunlight is golden treacle
I can see it just over the rooftops
And I wait here in the cold, with my blankets
Woolly jumpers and artificial sweeteners
As morning plods on
As the sun rises
And by 10:30 it has hit our yard
And the oak trees sing
The air warms, and everything breathes again
Remembers that summer isn’t that long gone
As winter draws nearer, the days will be filled
With a thousand tiny deaths,
One hundred compromises.
But right now the autumn sun is dappled on my skin
There are still tomatoes on the vine
Occult Church of the Covenant Noetica
Hawthorn bushes are fit to bursting at this time of year! Dean found this cracking Haw Jelly recipe here.
You will need:
- Hawthorn berries (haws)*
- Juice of one lemon
- Remove all stalks and leaves. If you roll a handful (stalks and all) between your hands, the haws should come away easily.
- Wash and drain haws. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour, mashing every twenty minutes or so with a potato masher.
- Strain the mixture through some muslin overnight. Do not squeeze the bag, just let it drain naturally.
- In the morning, for every 700ml of liquid you have, measure out 500g sugar.
- Stir the sugar and the juice of one lemon into the mixture. Bring to the boil.
- Rapid boil for 10 minutes until the jelly has reached its setting point.
- Skim foam off the top of the mixture, and pour into warm, sterilised jars.
*700 grams of haws = 1 jar of Haw Jelly
Agenda: PCV Committee Meeting in Ballarat, 8/4/17
- Pagan Pride Day
- Spiral Dance
- Community Safety Month
- WWC Cards
- Redbubble Account
- Morris Report
- Yule Dinner
- The PCV at Mount Franklin
- Social Media
- Any Other Business
By Josie, Sarah, Dorian and Ryan
We said at the beginning of the year that this March would be Mad March, and we weren’t wrong: Community Safety Month, Pagan Pride Day, the Spiral Dance Concert, Guest Speakers and more on top of our usual meetups made for a very busy month with the very best company.
Community Safety Month
March has become Community Safety Month for the PCV. Creating and maintaining safe and inclusive spaces to gather and worship was the key topic of all our meetups in March, and some excellent and insightful conversations sprang from this. The product of these conversations was our newly-formed Values, which have been added to our Mission Statement page after being collated by our most eloquent committee member, Sarah:
The PCV holds regular gatherings by area all over the state. These meets, moots, and gatherings are hosted by various members of the PCV but all are united in upholding the following standards:
- We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional caretakers of the land we meet on. The gatherings we enjoy so much are held on land they lived on for thousands of years before white settlement. We pay our respects to their elders – past, present and emerging – and acknowledge the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the community.
- We stand with the LGBTQI+ community; PCV meets are queer and trans-friendly spaces. We are intersectional, inclusive, and we will use whichever pronouns you prefer. Our community is diverse, supportive, and nurturing, and we love it that way.
- We welcome people of all paths and levels of experience, people of all genders and sexualities, of all races, skin colours, cultural identities, and of all abilities.
- Accessibility information will be provided for all venues. If you have any questions about venue accessibility or will need assistance, please contact the meet host. *PCV meets do not tolerate sexual, racial, religious, cultural, abled, or gendered discrimination, bigotry, harassment, bullying, or non-consensual sexual behaviour. We reserve the right to ask attendees to leave if they do not behave in a manner conducive to the wellbeing of the group or in contravention of any of the above standards.
- We are committed to creating safe, welcoming spaces where pagans of all paths can meet and enjoy their community. If you have an issue at the meets, our hosts will listen to you and take your feedback seriously.
Other happenings during Community Safety Month include more undersigned joining our Statement to the Public about notorious paedophile Robin Fletcher (which as of April 2017 has more than eighty undersigned Pagan groups and individuals), and the snap community information meeting we held when he was released.
Pagan Pride Day
On Saturday, the 18th of March the Victorian Pagan community came together to celebrate our first annual Pagan Pride Day and Equinox ritual. The day was a huge success, with Pagans of all walks of life attending, and most of the state’s active traditions represented.
You can read more about Pagan Pride Day in Alex’s article.
Spiral Dance and KC Guy Concert
On the night of Pagan Pride Day, we were treated to an amazing, uplifting and highly danceable concert by Spiral Dance and KC Guy. This was a perfect way to round off an excellent day of Pagan goodness, and really brought everyone together.
More details and photos in Josie’s article.
The Frankston/Cranbourne pagan meet convened at Groove Train once more, enjoying the gorgeous Autumn sun out on the promenade.
Looking forward to the next meet at the end of May.
Monthly Hills Coffee Meets
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.
You can read more about the Hills Meets in this month’s feature article. For upcoming event details, see the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets Facebook page.
CBD Pagan Pub Moots
The March CBD Pagan Pub moot was joined by a special guest, Dr David Waldron, who was kind enough to be our first guest speaker. Dr Waldron captivated the room with his fascinating talk on Witches’ marks, concealed objects and magical folk practices in colonial Australia.
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).
Oak, Smash and Thorn Pagan Morris
Our little Morris side keeps chugging along, even with one less dancer due to Alex’s knee injury. Get well soon, Alex! This month we were treated to a Morris workshop with our friends Adrienne and Paul, of Spiral Dance and Hot for Joe Border Morris fame. This cracker of a workshop and Paul and Adrienne’s invaluable advice helped us polish our very first dance and get that little bit closer to being able to perform!
If this wasn’t memorable enough, the Edinburgh Gardens were the site of the Australian Naked Bike Ride that day, with around four hundred naked cyclists crashing our rehearsal. Our interstate guests took it all in their stride and promised they’d be back soon.
A million thankyous, beers and sweaty Morris hugs to Adrienne and Paul. 🙂
PCV Diary Dates:
- Saturday, 8th April: PCV Committee Meeting (Ballarat)
- Saturday, 8th April: Central Victorian Pagans and Heathens in the Cafe (Ballarat)
- Sunday, 9th April: CBD Pagan Pub Moot (Melbourne)
- Sunday, 30th April: PCV Public Samhain Ritual (location TBC)
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.