Multi-award winning Pagan band Spiral Dance is returning to Melbourne in July 2018, thanks to the Pagan Collective of Victoria.
Late 2017 saw the arrival of a new member of Spiral Dance! Alice, a virtuoso violinist and talented flautist and pianist, adds depth to the melodies as well as considerable experience with musical arrangements.
Back the PCV on Patreon before May 1 and save 50% off your ticket! www.patreon.com/pagancollective
Spiral Dance’s new album, Land and Legend, on sale now!
Hills Pagan Weeknight Dinners
The PCV’s Hills Pagan Monthly Coffee Meets have become so popular that it was decided a second Hills Meet was needed! To give our lovely host café a bit of space and offer those who find their weekends eclipsed by other commitments a chance to attend, a weeknight dinner event was established. In October we met for the first Hills Pagan Monthly Weeknight Dinner in the eclectic and charming ambiance of the Micawber Park Tavern in Belgrave. The tavern sits nestled among lush treeferns and surrounded by towering mountain ash forest. Beside the tavern a stream dances among the rocks, and if you are quiet and lucky, you may see a platypus before it disappears leaving only ripples behind. Inside traditional protective amulets – horse brasses lay on the cottage-like exposed beams, while an assortment of steins, tankards, lead lights lamps, old oak barrels and images of knights dot the interior landscape.
We had a fine old wooden table in an open room to ourselves. Naturally a lot of discussion began with plans and excitement for the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering. It moved in turn to swapping travel experiences about Iceland, Scandinavia, Scotland and even Antarctica. The new meet also saw initial Spring plans hatched for a Hills Pagan Writers Bootcamp. We chatted about gardening, elf stones and whether three or more Pagan events on the same day is too much. A fine tavern dinner, in a splendid setting filled with bright and bubbly Pagan banter was enjoyed by all. We’re already looking forward to the next one!
Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets
To say that October has been a massive month for the Hillsmeets is a little like saying the ocean is a bit damp; it’s November now, so it’s technically impossible to cram any more into October, but the last four weeks for the Hillsfolk have included:
*our regular Sunday meet at Earthly Pleasures – and the first one for the Spring that has been warm enough for us to gather outside in EP’s beautiful gardens;
*the second of our ongoing monthly weeknight dinner meets at Micawber Tavern, which was well-attended and is going to continue being a lovely, relaxed get-together in extremely pretty surroundings;
*the first of our ongoing Writers’ Workshops, hosted by published author (and witch) Helen Patrice, who offers prompts, inspiration, and guidance in writing around pagan themes;
*and last but not least, the culmination of weeks of hard work, as the Hillsmeets hosted the Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering’s Beltane Ritual. The MFPG is in its 36th year, and it was an honour to be part of such a long and beautiful tradition. With an attendance of nearly a hundred people, the Beltane ritual was somewhat of a baptism of fire (if you’ll excuse the metaphor which is simultaneously very appropriate and also not at all) for the Hills group, who had not previously done any ritual or magical work together (unless you count sitting around having coffee every single month for nearly three years and still really enjoying it an act of magic), let alone any public work, and had no opportunity to get together for even one rehearsal before the big night. But we are nothing if not intrepid, and our faith in ourselves, each other, and the divine was rewarded, and the ritual went beautifully; the weather was perfect, the fire roared into blazing life, the May Queen and her King were crowned, and a very tangible sacred space was shared by everyone.
The Hillsmeets group would like to extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the MFPG organisers and all who attended, and I would like to express my love and thanks to the ritual group who were absolutely magnificent, not to mention unfailingly positive, supportive, helpful, and brave. Alex, Dean, Fran, Seumas, and Veronica (in alphabetical order because I can’t type you all in simultaneously; it would be the sort of typographical nightmare that summons demons or looks like a black metal band logo) – you are amazing, with a special mention to Ro, whose humour, support, and the fact she’d thought of absolutely everything that could possibly be needed, kept us all going. You’re all amazing.
Our beautiful little community keeps growing and getting lovelier, and long may it flower.
And may November be comparatively peaceful, and filled with cake.
Silver Birch Grove Druid Coffee
Silver Birch Grove ADF held it’s Druid Coffee on Sunday 22nd of October. We had a good crowd for a cold Sunday and we were happy that we had a table in the front room again. As always the service and food at The Peacock Inn hotel was wonderful and I enjoyed a great lunch with copious amounts of coffee.
We were able to begin organising ourselves for the upcoming Mt Franklin Pagan Festival, making sure we all had the camping equipment we would need and worked on a little bit of a meal plan. For those that know me that meant I had to work out how much bacon we would need.
There were many varied conversations over lunch. We had a chat about modern Heathenry, some interesting reading suggestions and a fascinating conversation regarding the current Marriage Equality survey with other interested attendees. We found that we had all sent our surveys in already and are hoping the outcome is a positive one.
I got to talk to one of our regulars about his upcoming trip to Las Vegas. While we will be camping, he will be jetting off to the US. He thought it was a shame he would be missing Mt Franklin this year but I’m pretty sure he was just being polite.
Druid Coffee is a great way to meet your local ADF Druids. We hold it on the 4th Sunday of each month at The Peacock Inn Hotel in Northcote. We hope you can catch us at the next one.
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.
What’s Next for the PCV?
Dates for your diary…
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
All PCV members are welcome to attend and have a say in the direction of the Collective and its initiatives. See the Facebook Event Page for more information. Free event.
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.