Many thanks to Alex, Sarah and Ryan for these great photos of our January adventures!
Pagan Collective of Victoria
Meeting Minutes 20/8/2017
Present: Josie, Ryan, Carrie, Nickole, Geoff, Elkie, Dean, Alex, Fran, Mark, Dorian, Lucas, Sarah, Seamus
Apologies: Shaz, Ang
Meeting Location: The Last Jar, Melbourne
Meeting Open: 1.05 PM
- President’s Report –
It’s been another great year, the meetups have really flourished and grown, the calendar is our most visited page on the website and the feedback has been really positive overall. We are now moving into our fourth year as a successful not-for-profit and it is exciting to see it continue to grow and flourish.
- Vice-Presidents Report
It has been an exciting year full of challenges. We have faced them head on, made hard decisions and come out stronger and better off for having dealt with these challenges head on. Very happy to see the PCV continuing on to new and better things.
- Secretary’s Report –
Memberships have continued to climb in a fairly even fashion over the year, we now have over 340 registered members out there and over a thousand Facebook likes. Pretty exciting, some of the members are even from other states and countries.
- Presentation of Accounts (Treasurer) –
Apart from the Spiral Dance/Kc Guy concert there was not really any financial activity, at least on the income front. We still have the usual costs of website, annual fees to consumer affairs etc. which are covered by donation from committee members (Josie and Ryan). Currently we have $142.70 in the bank.
- Meet-up Reports
It is worth noting that the PCV has done around 100 free events (just PCV and affiliates alone) in the last 12 months. In addition to this we advertise even more events on our calendar (paid and free) from non-affiliates.
We have had a lot of interest in how we do things in The Pagan Collective of Victoria from across the globe, apparently we run a model that other people think works really well.
The Hills as usual continues to grow, amaze and flourish. It has a really warm open atmosphere that encourages people of all walks to attend. It is currently a victim of it’s own success. For the colder months advertising of the event has had to stop because more attendee’s than the venue can handle are turning up. In the warmer months they will be able to expand out into the front garden and comfortably accommodate the numbers they have been getting.
The possibility of having a new Hills event that takes place mid-week has been raised and will be explored further if there is sufficient interest to attend/run it.
There are a lot of people attending every month, the venue is dealing well with the numbers (on average 14 – 20). This meet continues to follow the same model it has of general chatter, then once all anticipated attendees are there a discussion topic is presented and everyone has a chance to have their say. This continues to run for 11 months of the year.
Continuing to have attendees that haven’t come before attend them, it seems to be growing quietly, still on a quarterly basis. It has been heartening to meet so many different pagans from around Central Victoria.
These meets continue on with some growing interest, Dorian is happy to keep hosting these events quarterly.
Redbubble has been discussed previously as a potential place to sell merchandise for the PCV and it’s meet-ups.
Sarah has kindly offered to design merchandise and is in the process of adapting the logo etc. for use on the Redbubble account once it is set up.
For the new members – the reason the Redbubble was suggested over another form of merch was that there is little to no outlay that would have to come out of donations from the committee and people are able to just order what they want from our store.
Dorian is also offering up some of his artwork for use on items in the Redbubble.
The aim is for January next year to the time that we go live with the Redbubble store, allowing time to set everything up correctly so it runs smoothly.
7. Mount Franklin
It would be great to have a display this year at the Gathering with flyers etc. advertising the groups, probably similar to the one from Pagan Pride Day. Also to have the PAN community safety flyers.
The PCV has been asked to run the children’s May Pole this year, our intrepid committee member Alex has offered his services for this job.
A core group from the Hills are running the ritual this year and may need some assistance at some points prior to the Gathering which we will happily provide.
This event is going to be a family friendly event held at Fairy Park in Anakie, attendees will need to buy a ticket from Fairy Park to get in, however apart from that it is running as a free event.
The event is on FaceBook already with details on there for people interested.
According to the staff at Fairy Park the venue is accessible for people with mobility issues but they may need some assistance.
The event will be BYO own food and drinks (non-alchoholic only!)
The date is the 25th of November
9. Witches of Oz Movie Night
The proposed venue at present is the Tin Shed in Belgrave, however this event still needs more research which Fran has kindly offered to do. The proposed movie is Practical Magic.
It has been suggested that the PCV run a Patreon as a way to cover some of the costs that it incurs annually, without having to become a organisation that charges its members fees every year.
To this end the proposal at this point is that we consider starting a Patreon that only has a $1 reward (this doesn’t stop people from donating more). It is of course completely voluntary for our members to support us or not as they chose.
Some reward needs to be offered for supporters, after all everything we do now is free anyway, to this end it is suggested that some backer content be made, proposed ideas are a free workshop for backers and some live video etc. content only available to backers.
Action – Josie will put together and present a proposed Patreon, and appropriate rewards etc. at the next committee meeting and this can be voted on then.
11. Trivia Night
This could be a really fun way to get a variety of members and non-members together for an evening of fun and games. It could be a great night.
Action – Nickole to come up with a plan, possible date, venue and other details to be presented at the next meeting.
Will be held on Sunday the 24th of September under the Silver Birch Grove banner. It is going to have a Heathen tone and will be organised via FB.
13. 2018 Planning
Next meeting will be the meeting to set a great deal of the dates for next year so please bring your dates, diaries etc. so we can get the plans rolling.
14. Blog/Social Media
People are welcome to help with both of these things. Read that as please help committee!
15. Other Business
Swinburn Uni Student Pagans Group – contact has been made with Swinburn by Alex and discussion is ongoing with the possibility that they will get some club funding/space to run their gatherings etc in.
A history of Druidry project is underway, Elkie has been sending out questionnaires etc. to people and is compiling a history of Druidry in Australia with some assistance. We may be able to help in some small way as and when is needed.
Thank-you all and welcome to the new committee!
Meeting End: 1.45 PM
This article by PCV committee member Dean is from the 2017 Summer edition of Oak Leaves, the quarterly international publication of ADF.
The June Solstice is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. South of the Equator the seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. For ADF members in Australia then the short answer is to simply flip the Wheel of the Year so that we celebrate the High Days in accordance with the seasons here. Australia is a country, an island and a continent. It ranges from tropical rainforests near the Equator to vast wetlands and deserts, spinifex plains, saltbush scrub, mallee, dry open eucalypt woodlands, mountains ranges, cool ferny forested gullies and Mountain Ash forest – the largest flowering trees on Earth, all the way to the icy sub-Antarctic islands. Most parts of Australia have anywhere from 2-10 seasons reflected in Aboriginal knowledge and modern ecological understandings of the cycles at work within various ecosystems.
So what’s an ADF member to do for their personal or Grove High Day observances? We have to think about what the High Days mean to us as individuals and Groves. We have to think about the ADF Core Order of Ritual, the traditions of our Indo-European Hearth Cultures and balance that with what is going on in the local environment in which we live, work and come together for ritual. The Solstices and Equinoxes are astrological fixed points that do affect the amount of daylight, heat and behaviours of flora and fauna and the Cross-quarter days still hold traditional significance even if they have little agricultural basis in Australia. A sense of tradition, personal and/or ancestral connection to Indo-European Hearth Cultures is often a substantial factor in what draws people to Neo-Paganism and to ADF in particular here. Attunement with what is happening in nature, through ADF practices and simply spending time regularly in the local environment provides ample opportunities for observation of what is happening at different times near you, whether it is the oak shedding its leaves or the blue gum shedding its bark, or the flowering of daffodils or banksia trees.
Silver Birch Grove is my local Grove in Melbourne. It is Celtic in Hearth Culture, while my own Hearth Culture is Norse. Yule (in June) is my ritual new year, and my favourite High Day! When I lead a ritual for our Grove’s Yule celebration I try to incorporate traditions from the Norse into our High Day. There’s no snow, but morning frosts and the chance of cold rain…which always seems to stay clear while we hold our rituals. The creek is flowing higher with rain water, the damp earth of the nemeton has sprouted winter grass, while the eucalyptus and wattle surrounding our grove are lush and green. It is actually safe for us to have a ritual fire in our portable fire pit (fire is banned over most of Summer) for our Yule log. People bring holly, sprigs of pine and pinecones as well as native foliage from their gardens to add to the altar. The local blue-tongued lizards have gone into torpor. The calls of Australian magpies, little ravens and cockatoos as well as Winter visitors from the hills like currawongs and yellow robins rise through the air.
Last year at Yule we had Thor as our deity of the occasion. We usually tell a story of the deity of the occasion and last year I told the story of Thor and his goats visiting a family at Yule. The poor family had no food to offer their guest hospitality so Thor revealed himself and killed his goats to feed them and provide a feast with ample leftovers for the coldest nights. In the morning, he resurrected the goats from their bones with his hammer Mjolnir and continued on his way. We had a special imported beer with a goat on it as a perfect offering in addition to our usual offerings. When it came to the waters of life, I work in a sumbel, for Yule is traditionally a good time for one. As I bring my drinking horn filled with more mead than usual, participants are invited to make a boast, a toast or an oath. Yule being an especially auspicious time for oaths. We do three rounds for people to reflect on the past year, the present and the future. The ritual went well, Thor seemed pleased and the folk seemed jolly as we finished the ritual and had our own picnic feast.
For those of us in Australia the challenge is to find relevant meanings in our High Day celebrations that bring together aspects of traditional Hearth Cultures within very different environments. It’s still something that is unfolding and perhaps with more ADF members in time we will see a diversity of new expressions of old Hearth Cultures honouring the Kindreds Down Under.
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.