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.
This is the no-nonsense recipe I use every year when we’re inundated with tomatoes in our garden. The trick to it lasting for seasons to come seems to be to sterilise your jars really well beforehand.
2kg ripe tomatoes
4 brown onions
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tbsp. mustard
Dried Chilli and cayenne pepper to taste
Cut tomatoes and onions to thumbsized
pieces. Sprinkle with salt
and stand overnight in a covered
glass or ceramic bowl. The next day,
drain off the liquid and tip the
chopped onion/tomato into a pot.
Add sugar and enough vinegar to
cover. Boil for 5 minutes, then add
other ingredients and boil for 1
hour. Bottle when cool (seal in jars
that are sterilised!).
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.
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(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.