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.
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.
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.