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.
Hosted by Silver Birch Grove & Heathens: See the Pagan Collective of Victoria Facebook event for more information – Free
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.
We will be celebrating another turn of the wheel of the year, Sunday 18th June at 1pm.
Find us at our usual spot at Rushall Recreation Reserve, by car, parking at the end of Holden St, Brunswick, walking under the railway bridge and just past the stone spiral or a short walk from Rushall Station.
Silver Birch events are family friendly, inclusive and reasonably accessible.
We are a Melbourne based congregation of Neopagan Druids serving the greater Melbourne Area. We are proud to be affiliated with the international organization Ar n Draiocht Fein (www.ADF.org).
Any questions? Feel free to either post your question on our page or send a PM if you would prefer.
We look forward to seeing everyone.
See the Facebook event page for more details.
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.
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.