Spring is here! Here in Victoria we have celebrated the equinox surrounded by beautiful blooms.
PCV Ostara Ritual
Today Silver Birch Grove Hosted Ostara/ Spring Equinox for the Pagan Collective of Victoria. Dean and Mark led a Norse Rite Honouring Freya and Frey and of course the goddess of Springtime, Eostre. The sky was looking ominous as we arrived, but the weather prevailed with no rain eventuating for the ritual. Following the core order of ritual with Heimdall as our gate keeper, we honoured the Earth Mother, the Land Wights, Gods and Goddesses of the Aesir and Vanir and the Ancestors. Many chose to make their own offerings to bring abundance into their own lives and as we gathered to celebrate in joy the signs of spring and lift our voices in song the fertility of the land around us was very apparent. Dean took the omen using the runes which were past-Berhana, birch, growth new life, the grove. Present- Dagaz, day and night in balance, future- Wunjo joy, blessings, happiness. We shared the waters of life and as we departed from our worship with inspiration in our hearts and minds to enjoy the bounty of our picnic lunch and wonderful company.
Thanks to Dean and Mark for the ritual Shaz, Ang Callum, Alex and Geoff for their parts in our wonderful rite.
CBD Pagan Pub Moot
With Spring having sprung, a small band of Pagans gathered in a cosy nook of The Last Jar Irish Pub. In that shadowy corner our dark purpose was to summon a few pints of Guiness. The previous few CBD Pub Moots had been quite gregarious. This time however, with the AWC and several other competing events on during the same weekend, we had a smaller turn out. This quieter and more relaxed atmosphere turned out to be perfect for some new people to ask some questions of some Pagans who had been practicing for a longer time and all had many experiences to share.
Monthly Hills Coffee Meetups
We’ve been a little quiet on the Hillsmeet updates front, though the Hills gatherings have continued as they do, with their regular mix of sorcery and caffeinated shenanigans. I’m not sure if anyone has missed my waffling updates about how jolly lovely it all is, but we haven’t been idle during the radio silence. Nope, like some sort of Jim’s Witchcraft, we have franchised, and now have night-time meets during the week as well, and other exciting plans for more goings-on once the weather becomes less like the Northern third of Westeros.
The October meet on Sunday 1st saw 17 people or thereabouts, and one gangling and gorgeous wolfhound puppy and the world’s softest pug, talking about herbalism and sacred woods (the humans, not the wolfhound and pug), and Druidry, and old family traditions, and rune-reading, and everything else under the sun, and as usual, at least three people complained that their faces hurt from too much happying, and also as usual, our incredibly-patient café hosts finally asked us politely to leave half an hour after closing time so they could go home, and we stood around talking in the carpark for ages. We love our Hillsmeets; they’re community at its warmest and loveliest, from our lovely venue, to our regulars and the new visitors who become regulars.
As usual, I totally forgot to take photos, which is a pain because there was some sterling sparkly-owl action going on, two incredibly nice dogs, and a cupcake with superhuman powers, and any of those things would have made for excellent photos, so just imagine them and it’ll be like you were there. Maybe one day, you will be.
Coming Soon: Hills Pagan Weeknight Dinners
A New Choose Your Own Adventure from the folks who brought you A Lot Of Pagans In A Café.
Imagine, if you will, an old-world tavern on the edge of an ancient forest. Tall trees loom above it, the smell of dark, damp fern-fed rainforest earth and wildflowers hangs in the air, and a creek sings as it winds its way around the building lit golden from within. A lyrebird sings a short way off; a dozen different bird-calls tumbling from that plain brown throat, well-hidden amongst the trees. Inside, surrounded by images of medieval knights, and polished horse brasses gleaming on the walls, and wine barrel tables, followers of the Old Ways gather around a table by the window. It’s covered in glasses of ale and plates all but licked clean.
The followers of the Old Ways are pissing themselves laughing. One of them just quipped about slow omens foretelling stuff that had just happened, and that got riffed on and then somehow Moon Moon the wolf meme got dragged in and now a bunch of very silly pagans are giggling helplessly and nearly choking on their beer. It had all started out as a discussion about how different paths interpret and enact the Wheel of the Year, and which deities accorded with the festivals, and what auguries one might take at the various times…but what’s deep and profound spirituality without a few laughs, hey? And after composure had been regained, the discussion flowed on, like the creek just outside.This was the trial run for a new, ongoing Hills event, to be held monthly in Belgrave. The Hillsmeets at Earthly Pleasures were proving so popular and addictive that there had been some talk about doing them more frequently – but we couldn’t impose on our lovely hosts more than we already have been. They’ve been absolutely amazing about an increasingly-large bunch of assorted Paganfolk stealing all of their tables, constructing a shanty-town out of them, and digging in for five hours, but it’s a lot to ask. Then Hills-regular Veronica had the marvellous idea of trying an evening moot during the week. And here it is! The first one was a joy, and the second will be held at the Micawber Tavern on Wednesday, the 11th of October, from 6.30pm. Find the event page on the PCV calendar for more details. Turn up early and take a saunter through the forest that really is right next to the tavern. If you tread softly, the lyrebirds will sing.
What’s Next for the PCV?
Dates for your diary…
Wednesday, October 11th: Hills Pagan Weeknight Dinners – October
Sunday, October 15th: October Committee Meeting
Sunday, October 15th: CBD Pagan Pub Moot – October
Sunday, November 5th: Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets – November
Saturday, November 18th: Central Victorian Pagans and Heathens in the Cafe
Sunday, November 19th: CBD Pagan Pub Moot – November
Saturday, November 25th: PCV Summer Picnic 2017
Sunday, November 26th: Bi-Monthly Frankston/Cranbourne Pagan Meet
Sunday, December 3rd: December Committee Meeting
Sunday, December 3rd: Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets – December
Featured photo by Ang.
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
Happy Solstice from the PCV! June featured a beautiful Solstice Ritual alongside the usual meetups and mayhem.
PCV Yule Ritual
On Sunday the 18th of June, the Druids of Silver Birch Grove ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship) hosted a public and inclusive Winter Solstice ritual in collaboration with the PCV. I thought it might be a good idea to write a little bit about the ritual for posterity…and this blog. After all, I just so happened to be the one who led that ritual.
Druidry tends to draw together those with a more Celtic inclination and emphasis on nature. ADF encourages it’s members to explore one or more of the related Indo-European hearth cultures. As a practioner of both Ásatrú and ADF Druidry it was only natural that I would write a ritual for Yule bringing together Norse traditions in the context of an ADF ritual. Yule is a favorite High Day for me and is one of the most jolly and sacred times of year: the Norse New Year.
The weather was cool but a clear day. We were fortunate to have 20 attendees, from a diversity of paths, backgrounds and walks of life. We formed a procession into the circle of stones, surrounded by the sacred grove, with the rhythm of Geoff and Mel’s drums. We gathered around the cairn of stones, with a guided meditation as the creek flowed over the rocks nearby. We followed the ADF core order of ritual, hidden in plain sight within a pocket of urban bushland. Heimdall warded the ways as the gate keeper, Bragi was implored for inspiration. By a good fire, a silvered well and a sacred tree we welcomed, honoured and gave gifts to Jord (the earth mother), the ancestors, the land wights and the Gods. Our deity of the occasion was Skadi, fierce goddess of winter, the mountains, the wild, archery and skiing. I told an ancient myth of her time with Njord by the sea. I had carefully crafted an arrow from fragrant mountain cedar wood and knapped an arrowhead from some bluestone I found on a trail in the Hills. I carried the arrow around the circle and past the altar as the drums intenaified and cast it into the fire as a sacrifice. Others than made their own offerings, inclueding Mark’s carefully made Yule goat. Sad to see such pieces invested with such time and care turn to flame and smoke, but that was part of the point after all.
The spirits were thanked and merrily the ritual drew to a close. The drums sounded once more as the procession left the circle. Afterwards there was a festive picnic feast as people enjoyed and afternoon of conversation and laughter.
Dean has written more about this rite in this week’s feature article.
Monthly Hills Coffee Meetups
The July Hillsmeet was quieter than June’s with only 19 people showing up for the shenanigans, and frankly, we are so happy and proud to be able to say that “only 19 people” came to our monthly gathering (and all of them are lovely, too – what are the odds?) because that’s a lot of pagans, and we’ve been talking about having to open our own cafe, because we end up building a shanty-town of tables in Earthly Pleasures and the staff are so nice about it but honestly we make their cafe look like the aftermath of The Tetris Wars. It’s great that we’re still growing, and that the EP staff have said they actually look forward to seeing us each month, despite the havoc we wreak upon their lovely venue, because we may be the weirdos mister, but it turns out that the weirdos are awfully nice.
This month, we had the added bonus of a gifted tarot reader who kindly offered free readings for those interested and shared some very useful advice with a young student (and some of us not-so-young folk who also have a lot to learn), the usual exchange of gifts, because witches like sharing books, plants, nice jars, stuff we’ve made, and interesting things we found at the op-shop (note: prospective newbies, this isn’t mandatory, it’s just a nice organic thing that’s sprung up as part of the group, and it’s just become inevitable that *someone* will show up with a bag and hand it to someone else with a “oh, I saw this and thought of you”, or “here’s some of that lemon balm I promised you last month”).
It’s always rather nice watching the conversations eddy and flow around the table; there are usually two or three going on at any given time, with vastly different topics that seem to be able to be brought together when someone up one end of the shanty-table arrangement catches a snippet of something down the other end, and you get the whole group being drawn into a conflation of Druidic medicinal plants and protection charms, and weird housemate stories, the history of wooden wheel construction, and that time someone left jam out for a ghost (you all know who you are).
We also saw two of our regulars level up in the writing department, with one now published by The Wild Hunt blog as their Australian correspondent, and another published in the ADF’s international journal, Oak Leaves. Congratulations Josie and Dean! Richly-deserved recognition for your work and your expertise. We are really lucky to have such a diverse and talented group.
Once again I forgot to take photos (I did it last month; you can’t expect me to be organised two months in a row, surely); fortunately Dean took some lovely shots of a magpie who wanted to come and hang out with the cake-eating pagans.
The next gathering is on Sunday, August 6th, from 12pm. Come along. There will be cake.
What’s Next for the PCV?
Dates for your diary…
Saturday, 15th July: Central Victorian Pagans and Heathens Social Meetup
Sunday, 16th July: CBD Pagan Pub Moot
Sunday, 30th July: Bi-Monthly Frankston/Cranbourne Pagan Meet
Saturday, 5th August: PCV Public Imbolc Ritual hosted by the Melbourne Reclaiming Community
Sunday, 20th August: PCV Annual General Meeting
Sunday, 20th August: CBD Pagan Pub Moot
Featured photo by Ang.
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.
See the Silver Birch Grove Facebook group for more information – Free
See the Silver Birch Grove Facebook group for more information – Free
By Alex and Josie
On the 18th of March The PCV hosted our first Pagan Pride Day, in Edinburgh Gardens. It was an amazing day filled with amazing people and a great sense of community. The event started at 12pm. People started arriving and what was initially a small amount of people grew: we ended up with around 50 people attending.
At 2pm the talks about the various paths started. Our first speaker was Shaz. She spoke about ADF Druidry and Silver Birch Grove. Josephine talked about Alexandrian witchcraft, and we then had Dean who spoke about Asatru (Norse paganism), followed by KC guy who spoke about OBOD Druidry. Next, Fio Talked about the Reclaiming path, then Luca Talked about Wildwood, and Dorian Talked about Chaos magic.
After the talks on the different paths we moved on to our ritual for the autumn Equinox which was run by Josie and Ryan in a Alexandrian inspired style. The quarters were called by Fran (Air), Sarah (Fire), Alex (Water) and Mark (Earth). It was a beautiful ritual that included a meeting dance and lovely music.
After the ritual we moved on to our second session of talk which were about the different meetings and gatherings around Victoria we started off with Ryan talking about the CBD pub moots, then Sarah talking about the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets. Next was Mark who talked about the Central Vic meetups, and we then had Dean who talked about the Heathen meetups, which include a ritual. This was followed by Nickole talking about Earthsong Witchcamps. We then had Dorian who talked about the newly started Frankston/Cranbourne Meetups, and Shaz then talked about Druid Coffee. The Queer Pagan Men’s meetups where then talked about by Buck, Michel then talked about the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering, and finally we finished off with Seline talking about Into Me I See.
It was an absolutely amazing day filled with friendship and community spirit. As a fairly new member of the Pagan community I found it to be a great way to learn more about what is available in Victoria and also to meet more like minded people. I would also love to thank the amazing PCV for running the day especially Sarah for being MC and making sure everything ran smoothly. I would also love to thank all the speakers and those who ran the ritual and finally thankyou to everyone who attended as without you it wouldn’t have happened.
“I just saw a Reclaiming witch, a Druid and an Anarchist eating grapes together. And they were LAUGHING.”
– overheard at the Pagan Pride Day picnic
After a busy and marvelously social day at Pagan Pride Day, we headed on down to Bar 303 in Northcote to see Spiral Dance and KC Guy live in concert, presented by the PCV.
This concert was the perfect way to finish off a day of the Pagan community coming together. KC Guy’s voice is truly enchanting, and just what we needed to chill out and lose ourselves. Spiral Dance has a decades-long track record of bringing Pagans together with their beautiful and very danceable music, and dance we did!
The hot, sticky night didn’t stop any of us from busting out our best daggy Pagan dance moves to tunes like The Quickening, Faerie Tale and our favourite, Black Annis.
By the end of the night our throats were raw, our clothes were heavy with sweat and every last one of us were wearing enormous watermelon-slice grins as we exploded out into the cool night air of High Street.
A million, squillion thankyous to KC Guy and Spiral Dance for travelling from South Australia to perform for us and provide the perfect ending to a perfect day. Thanks also to Bar 303 for having us, to everyone who helped out on the door, and to Mark Hayes for his beautiful photos of the night.
You can download a copy of the Pagan Pride Day Flyer here: PPD 2017
Photo Reuse Policy: You are welcome to use these photos for *personal use* on social media, etc, but please credit/tag the Mark Hayes Photography Facebook Page when you do.
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.
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.