Content Warning: Mention of Sex Offender
On the 8th of February 2017, the Herald Sun reported that sex offender and “witch” Robin Angus Fletcher is likely to soon be released from a supervised facility and into the community.
To this day, Robin Fletcher – who has also been known as Timothy Ryan, The Red Druid and Balin – claims that his belief in witchcraft justifies his many heinous crimes. It simply does not.
Fletcher’s monstrous acts, which include child sex abuse, rape, forced prostitution, torture and abduction, have shattered the lives of his victims and their families. Our thoughts remain with all of those who have been affected so horrendously by his actions. These actions have also left shockwaves throughout the wider Pagan community, which are still felt decades later.
Paganism as an umbrella term covers hundreds of separate religions and belief systems, including but not limited to Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidry, Heathenry, Neopaganism and Pantheism. The vast majority of these focus on nature worship and/or reverence of ancestors. Child sex abuse, non-consensual sex acts, substance abuse and violence play no part in modern witchcraft or Paganism.
As such, the Pagan Collective of Victoria and the undersigned groups, individuals, organisations, groves, hearths and covens would like to emphasise that we have no affiliation whatsoever with Robin Fletcher. We find both the man and his acts utterly reprehensible, and will continue to actively condemn illegal and degenerate behaviour committed in the name of spiritual or religious beliefs.
The Pagan Collective of Victoria
Alexandrian Tradition – Australia
Ashley A. Kallady
Caroline (Cara) Denigan
Central Vic Heathens
Central Victorian Pagans
Circle of the Sacred Grove
Delphic Sisters of Olde
Daylesford Tarot Readers
Druids of Victoria
Frankston/Cranbourne Pagan Coffee Meets
Galloway and Friends blog
Gliding Seal Events
Golden Wattle Seed Group (OBOD)
House of Hexenn
Ly De Angeles
Lyceum of Heka (Fellowship of Isis)
Melbourne CBD Pagan Pub Moot
Melbourne Heathen Moot
Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets
Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering, inc
Muses of Mystery
Mystical Dragon, Seaford
Oak, Smash & Thorn Pagan Morris
Ordo Templi Crux Ansata (Australian Praeceptory)
Pagan Awareness Network Inc.
Pagans in the Pub Melbourne (Philippe Duquesnoy and Kathy Norman)
Phoenixfire (Glen Smeaton)
Queer Pagan Men Australia
Sandra of Macadamia Grove (OBOD)
Seline Ines (Into Me I See, Serpent Circle)
Southern Hemisphere Pagan
Silver Birch Grove (ADF)
South Bay Pagan Kids (San Jose, CA, USA)
Tara Tucker and family
Tasmanian Pagan Alliance, inc
Temple of the Morning Star
The Assembly of Light Bearers
The Hedgewitches’ Grove
The Melbourne Grove (OBOD)
The Serenity Oracle
Victorian Reclaiming Community
Viking Mystic Rune Readings
Witches and Pagans Victoria
Witches of Oz
Witches of Victoria
Young Pagans of Adelaide
Australian Pagan Groups and Organisations, please contact us if you would like to be added to this list of undersigned.
For anyone experiencing distress as a result of the contents of this post please know that assistance is available. See http://www.sacl.com.au/ or make a free call to the Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The PCV’s public Lughnassadh ritual was this year hosted by the always welcoming folk of Silver Birch Grove ADF. Thankyou again for such a lovely and meaningful ritual to celebrate the first harvest. 🙂
By Ang Bausch
On Sunday we arrived at Rushall Reserve to celebrate our Lughnassadh ritual. It was a very steamy day and the water in the creek very low.
Laughnassdh 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.
Shaz first offered small apples, her first harvest and then we showed our skills and offerings. Then our senior Druid Shaz, took the omen with the ogham cards. Alder was the card chosen- meaning a shield, guidance and protection. The group took this to be a good omen.
Shaz’s skill was her story telling of Lugh at the gates of Tara, Callum showed his skills in creating our circle, Dean offered his herb smug stick to the fire. Cole offered Obsidian to the grove treasures and an athame he made with birch wood by hand. I offered a poem written for Lughnassdh, Mark offered his herbs and rhubarb, Josie offered her zucchini slice made with her own garden vegetables , Ryan offered us his hand made incense bags, Sarah offered us a beautiful horse shoe, Alex offered his herbs to the fire.
Thank you to all those who attended today and took part in our ritual. We ended our rite with our usual picnic lunch.
The PCV in January 2017
By Josie, Ryan, Sarah and Dorian
We hit the ground running (and jingling!) this year, with coffee and pub moots happening in the Melbourne CBD, Belgrave and Frankston, as well as the very first rehearsals of our brand spankin’ new Morris side, Oak, Smash and Thorn.
Below is a visual wrap-up of the PCV in January.
Hills Pagan Coffee Meet
We started the year off with our perennial favourite, the monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meet. We had another bumper group attending, with faces old and new coming along for a chat and a cuppa in the beautiful setting of Earthly Delights Cafe, Belgrave.
Oak, Smash and Thorn Pagan Morris
Our newest initiative this year is Oak, Smash and Thorn Pagan Morris. This began as the brainchild of committee members Sarah and Josie. Rehearsals started in January (on a forty degree day, because we are very sensible), with plans already made for a dance out at Beltane this year! It’s all very exciting, and the support from both the Pagan and Morris communities has been overwhelming. The team is still very green, but will be opening rehearsals up once they find their (tinkly, jingly) feet.
CBD Pagan Pub Moot
This was our biggest Moot yet, with organiser Ryan reporting more than thirty attendees taking over the beer garden of our new venue, The Last Jar. We also celebrated Dean’s birthday with cupcakes and a silly hat. Happy Birthday, Dean!
Bi-Monthly Frankston/Cranbourne Coffee Meets
January also marked our inaugural Bi-Monthly Frankston/Cranbourne Coffee Meet, hosted by committee member Dorian.
The first Frankston/Cranbourne area meet was a success with a small but lively group, good food and excellent conversation. The staff at Groove Train were lovely and accommodating. Hopefully word will spread and the next meet in late March will see the meet grow to be even better.
What’s Next for the PCV?
To see more of what’s coming up in the PCV and in the wider Pagan community, visit our Community Calendar.
By Shaz Lizzy
The Pagan Collective of Victoria’s public Lughnassadh ritual will be hosted by Silver Birch Grove ADF on the fifth of February, 2017, and is open to all Pagan and likeminded folk. Below is a re-post of a very informative article about the Grove, which is just one of the many active and friendly Pagan groups open to the public here in Victoria. 🙂
Silver Birch Grove is a member Grove of ADF. The full name of our organization is Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid fellowship, Inc. The first part, pronounced arn REEokht fane, is modern Irish for “Our Own Druidism” (or “Druidry” or “Magic”) and that’s what we are — an independent tradition (denomination) of Neopagan Druidism. Since many people have trouble pronouncing and spelling our Irish name, we usually just say “ADF.”
ADF is working to combine in-depth scholarship with the inspiration of artistry and spiritual practice to create a powerful modern Paganism. We’re researching and interpreting sound modern scholarship (rather than romantic fantasies) about the ancient Indo-European Pagans — the Celts, Norse, Slavs, Balts, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Vedics, and others. Upon these cultural foundations we are working to build a religion that these ancient people would appreciate and understand yet one which has depth and power for modern people. We’re developing genuine skills in composition and presentation in the musical, dramatic, graphic, textile and other arts. We’re bringing together people trained in ritual, psychic skills and applied mythology to bring the remnants of the old ways to life. We’re creating a non-sexist, non-racist, organic, flexible and publicly available religion to practice as a way of life and to hand on to future generations.
Silver Birch ADF is a Melbourne based congregation of Neopagan Druids serving the greater Melbourne Area. Silver Birch Grove primarily focuses on the Celtic hearth cultures. We are a growing group of friends who enjoy studying the mythology, archaeology, and anthropology of the Indo-European cultures. We also honour our Ancestors and the Deities associated with these cultures by celebrating the high days in public rituals. Our religion is a way of life. As such we believe in following the 9 virtues of Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Hospitality, Moderation, and Fertility. We also meet for study, hiking, arts/crafts, culture, meditations, blessings, and community works.
We are working together to research and revive the practices of the Old Ones in a way that makes sense for the modern world. We are striving to create a spiritual environment for the community where each member can grow spiritually, artistically, and intellectually, where we all achieve greater communion with Mother Earth, the Nature Spirits, our Ancestors, and our Deities. We hope to continue to grow and serve the community both spiritually and materially through rituals, workshops, and public works. Membership is open to all who wish to honour the cycles of Nature, and revere the Ancestors and Deities. Any Druidic ritual has as a primary intention the re-weaving of the links between human-kind, the natural world, and the God/desses and Spirits who support both. For thousands of years human culture lived in more or less intimate communion with the unseen worlds. Over the centuries of European culture these ties have been weakened, until our modern materialism is endangering the very air and water that sustains our life. We work to reconnect with the powers of Land, Sea and Sky, honouring the spirit that is in them as well as their physical realities. As with any religious path we also seek blessings for ourselves, our families and communities. We open our hearts to the flow of divine blessing that comes from our God/desses. We seek also to awaken that same divine spark in our own souls, so that we can bless the world in return.
At Beltaine 2015, the folk of Silver Birch Grove and the Warrior women and friends gathered to celebrate in a public setting. We were excited to be given the opportunity to run our ritual at Mt Franklin. We were also delighted to have our Vice Arch Druid in attendance and all the way from America.
We offered a ritual that follows our core order. The ritual that we offered is similar to what we would have held at our home nemeton in inner Melbourne, just with more people! Our ritual began with a spiral danced led by Linda and then Dale talked about the lands and the people of the land. We Began with the purpose of the ritual by Ang, then Shaz announced our intent to honour gods, goddesses, ancestors and spirits of place. Maree honoured the earth Mother, Callum made our offering to the out dwellers and Andrea honoured our Bardic deities, Julie honoured the nature spirits, Curtis the ancestors, Dean the gods and goddesses and Ang the deity of the occasion, Danu. Shaz then proceeded to the praise offering and Drum took the omen for the blessing using Ogham, which was: ur- Heather/ Mistletoe, healing by looking inside. Phagos- Beech, old knowledge and old writing, oir- spindle, sudden de-light after a long process. So the story tells us that through the old knowledge and writ-ings we will be able to look inside ourselves to gain healing. Shaz then received the blessing of the gods and spirits through the waters of life. Deb and Rowan asperged all in the circle and at the close of the ritual we asked all to join us for a shared meal. What a great weekend. Thanks to all those who participated, organised and came from far away.
So, now with our sights firmly fixed on the summer days to come, the earth is again green as we have been promised. Warmed by the power of the Sun and the Waters’ cool strength, shoot has become bud and the promise of abundance to come is visible all over the land. It is now that the Nature Spirits truly come alive, and as we honour them, we also give thanks to the Kindreds that guide us, and to our Ancestors who walk with us. Now we rejoice in the warmth after the cold winter and welcome the spring.
If you would like to know more about ADF please visit ADF.org
For more information about Silver Birch Grove ADF visit our Facebook group.
(Some material from ADF.org)
This article originally appeared in our old newsletter, Spokes of the Wheel (volume 2 issue 7, Spring 2015). Photo: ADF Archdruid Drum at the 2015 Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering. Supplied by Kylie Moroney Photography.
Just as we used to do in the old newsletters, our lovely and bookish committee will be posting here on our new blog a monthly roundup of what we’re reading (or re-reading!)
A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones & Nigel Pennick
This book takes you on a fascinating journey through European history and how different cultures and religions affected each other and the influences and practices that carried through and the role they played.
A Suggestive Inquiry Into The Hermetic Mystery by Mary Anne Atwood
After re-reading Lyndsay Clark’s wonderful novel, “The Chymical Wedding” recently, I finally picked up the work which inspired it. Published in 1850, “A Suggestive Inquiry” is notable not only for being a seminal work on alchemical philosophy, and for being written by a woman in the 19thC, but also for its back-story; it was written as an introductory companion volume to the intended magnum opus of Atwood’s father, and he published it without reading the manuscript first. When he finally read the published book, he claimed that it revealed too many Hermetic secrets, and withdrew or purchased back every copy of the book, and burnt them all, along with his unfinished great work. Only a handful of copies survived, and it is from these that the book was finally reissued, nearly 70 years later. Not just a fascinating book but also a marvellous piece of alchemical history.
Pagan Portals: Australian Druidry by Julie Brett
A succinct look at adapting our craft to the Australian seasons and how. It looks at the wheel of the year, cycles and ways to be more in touch with the Australian landscape in our practice. It proposes new ideas for Australian practitioners and explores issues that I’ve seen posed in many an online forum.
Pagan Portals: The Morrigan – Meeting the Great Queens by Morgan Daimler
Morgan examines the aspects of Morrigan drawing upon academic texts (providing plenty of references) and historical sources and discusses the aspects of the Morrigan, the mythology and symbology behind them in a modern context using accessible language.
Her book is aimed at providing clear information for readers of all levels, and providing a source of information that is readily available.
At just on one hundred pages, it is not a long read by any stretch of the imagination but Daimler crams an awful lot into those pages and I feel that I got value from the $4 I paid for it on the Kindle store.
Someplace to be Flying by Charles De Lint
Urban fantasy mixing Celtic and native American mythology; taxi driver Hank is drawn into the world of the Animal People from the dawn of time, after rescuing photographer Lily from a mugging one evening – they are both rescued in turn by ‘The Crow Girls’, and their reality will never be the same.
I have a love-hate relationship with De Lint; so much irks me about his writing, but I still somehow really enjoy his stories. This is probably the best-written, in my opinion, of the ten or so of his that I have read, and the story, cast of characters, and the world in which it is set (it’s one of his Newford books) are engaging and involving. A lovely, relaxing, escapist holiday read.
The Virgin in the Garden by A.S.Byatt
I’m less than 100 pages into this, but I’m enjoying it. I loved Possession and liked Angels and Insects and this is classic Byatt; filled with sly asides, literary allusions and metafictional devices. A little drier and more domestic (so far) than the other two mentioned above, but clever and a pleasure to read. It’s the first of Byatt’s “Frederica” quartet, and centres around a play written about Queen Elizabeth I, in the same year Queen Elizabeth II is crowned; those involved orbit each other with a mixture of tensions, both personal and aspirational.
The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle Day Two by Patrick Rothfuss
In the sequel to the acclaimed Name of the Wind the reader continues to follow the tale of Kvothe on his adventures, learning more of his past and how he came to be an innkeeper in a small village in the middle of nowhere after being such a famous adventurer.
Lughnasadh or as it can be known to Heathens Loaf-fest, Freyfaxi or Hlafmaest is a time of bounty, summer bearing crops are ready to harvest, the first loaves since grain stores ran empty are baked and ale and mead is brewed.
During this time it is only right that we share our bounty with the Aesir and the Wights as thanks for a good season, free of storms, vermin or disease to ruin the crops. It is also a forward payment on the next harvest too.
For modern heathens there are many interpretations of how to celebrate this time, however grain, bread, and ale are all good suggestions for things to offer at Loaf-fest, although if you are looking for more to offer consider using some of your harvest from your garden (or for those without a garden an offering of something that is in season where you are currently). Some of the more commonly praised gods and goddesses at this time are Thor, Freyr, and Sif.
It is also thought that this is a good time to make a corn dolly to sacrifice to the fire as part of your celebrations, the dolly is though to aid in warding of storms and vermin.
Some heathen scholars also argue that this is a good time of the year to bless wells and waterways, to keep the waters clean and pure, as well as warn of floods. They suggest giving the corn dolly to the waterway instead of the fire, however, there is nothing stopping you from making two and offering one to each. Just remember that anything you are offering to the waterway needs to be completely natural and biodegradable, you don’t want to pollute your local creek or river (or add to the pollution).
In my mind I’m doing my best Nigella Lawson impression as I sit here and write out the recipe to use cherry plums to make jam that I used to make with my mother and grandmother. A note on playing out this impersonating Nigella – don’t stick your finger in the hot jam, there is nothing sensual or fun about scalding oneself fiercely on molten fruit and sugar.
So if you have a cherry plum in your backyard you will know they produce a tart fruit that isn’t much chop to eat as is. However, there are options available to using them, my favourite being to make jam. For the new jam makers, there are some notes at the end of the recipe you should read before making the jam, although if you are experienced at jam making you probably know these notes already.
Cooking time for this should be about 20 – 30 minutes.
For this recipe you will need:
- 550g of Ripe Cherry Plums (not overripe/rotting because they will make your jam go off too quickly)
- 450g of Sugar
- Up to 4 Tablespoons of Water
- 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
- Sterilized Jars for Storage
- A Large Pot or Saucepan
- Wooden Spoon
- Slotted Spoon
To start, gently wash and drain your cherry plums, discarding any that are turning/going to rot or have any damage from birds or insects.
Put the cherry plums in the pot on the stove and add the water, if your fruit is really firm you may need to add a 5th tablespoon of water. Then bring the water and fruit to a gentle simmer, cooking until the fruit goes to a pulp and the skins separate.
With the masher, gently squish the fruit to help loosen the stones. Then making sure the jam doesn’t run dry (it is ok to add another tablespoon of water at this point if it looks too dry) simmer the mixture and with the slotted spoon fetch out the stones as they float to the surface. Gently agitating the mixture during this process helps them come to the surface.
Once all the stones are removed add the sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Keep it at this heat until it reaches the setting point (thickens nicely and passes the wrinkle test).
Wrinkle Test (Testing if the jam is ready to set)
Once you think the jam has gotten to setting point spoon a little on a cold saucer or plate, allowing to cool (you can cheat by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes to bring the temperature down). Then gently push the edge of the jam and see if the surface wrinkles when you push it into itself.
If it doesn’t wrinkle or only sort of wrinkles heat the jam further and repeat this process until it wrinkles. Often it will only take another minute or two of boiling to achieve the desired result.
Sterilising the Jam Jars
Any good cookbook that deals with jam or a Google search should show you a number of options for sterilising your jars.
I used a microwave method, after washing the glass jars I intended to use in hot soapy water and rinsing all traces of soap off I put them in the microwave (still wet and without the lids which were metal) and baked them on high for three minutes. They were then ready to use (but very hot! make sure to use an oven mitt, tea towel or something else to protect your hands from burns).