This has taken us a while to write; how do you wrap words around what is happening around Australia at the moment? The land we love, that we are connected to, is burning. Thousands of people have lost their homes, some in our community. At last estimate over one and a quarter billion animals have died, many thousands more are injured, and the survivors face homelessness and starvation in a blackened land.
For so many of us as Pagans, our connection to nature is a huge part of our life and our practice. So many of us have lost sacred spaces as well as homes and livelihoods. The grief for the land is ever present now, and it will be with us for a long time.
Our hearts go out to those affected; both within the Pagan community and without, for we are a country united by the horror of this now. Our hearts go out to the First Nations people who have lost so much, and whose connection to Country runs many thousands of years deep, for whom this land is home to culture, history, spirits and family and language. Especially now, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands that have burned and are burning. They managed this land using fire guided by ancestral knowledge for millennia, and now watch it in agony.
Our hearts go out to the animals and birds, reptiles, insects, plants, fish, fungi, and all of the non-human creatures who share the varied and beautiful environments of this country, who have died or been injured, or who survive to face new challenges in a land without food, shelter, or water.
Our hearts go out to the spirits of the land.
It is easy to feel helpless in the face of a catastrophe so enormous. Perhaps we all do, to some extent. The numbers we hear are almost hard to comprehend; millions of hectares destroyed, hundreds of homes burned, over a billion animals dead. It’s a tidal wave of information, and it is overwhelming, especially when you feel the loss so deeply.
So what can we do? Below is a list of reputable charities to which we can donate. Even a dollar here and there, the price of a cup of coffee, a little small change, adds up. It all helps. There are some well-known charities we have left off this list because of their attitudes to the LGBTQ+ community, with whom the PCV always stands in support. Try to give to the organisations that view us all as equally human and equally worthy of help.
While the PCV does not usually get involved in secular politics, believing as we do in the separation of church and state, we now urge you to step up for the sake of the land. Lobby for better environmental policies, lobby to cease native animal culls in the aftermath of the fires, be the voice of the land, for all of those who cannot speak, but whose presence we have been enriched by, and whose country we share. Be a strong voice, a loving and compassionate voice, an angry voice if you must. Speak up for the land. Give help as you are able.
And at this time, when it is easy to feel shattered, overwhelmed, grieving and helpless, remember your community is here. You’re not alone, and the company of fellow Pagans is a good place to share your feelings about what’s going on, to work out how to help, to find support and care; practical and emotional and spiritual. Get in touch, come to a meet, come to a ritual, and connect. There is beauty and comfort to be found among like minds.
We hope, and pray for an end to the fires, for rain where it is needed, and for regrowth and rebirth from all these ashes. We stand with those who have lost what is precious, and those who are grieving, and those who are fighting to save what is left. There is not enough gratitude and admiration in the world for our incredible firefighters (professional and volunteer, and those who have come from overseas to help), and the first responders, animal rescuers, and all involved in saving lives and keeping survivors safe.
From all of us at the Pagan Collective of Victoria, may you and your loved ones stay safe, may we all work to heal the land and those who live on it. Blessed be.
Animals Australia is helping distribute funding to rescue organisations around Australia as needed and funding vets to travel to fire affected areas.
The Rescue Collective is a group of rescue organisations, banding together to work wonders with bushfire survivors in Qld and NSW. They’ve done incredible work so far!
Wildlife Victoria is helping animal victims of the Victorian bushfires.
WIRES is helping animal victims of the NSW bushfires.
SAVEM is a group of SA vets working to save the animal populations of devastated Kangaroo Island. They do not have external funding and are relying on donations to help save these threatened populations.
To help people affected by the fires across Australia:
GIVIT facilitates the donations of items to people who need them, for those who wish to donate goods instead of cash:
The Pagan Collective of Victoria join our voices with those of spiritual and religious organisations around the world, in condemning the abhorrent acts of terrorism in Christchurch, and in offering our love and support to the Muslim communities in Christchurch and worldwide, affected not just by this horrific and tragic act of violence, but also by the daily onslaughts of bigotry and prejudice they endure.
We see you. We grieve with you. We are so sorry.
This attack did not occur in a vacuum; vilification of Muslims and people deemed “other” has increasingly become a political staple and a sad and shameful part of our society, and we do not accept it. We stand against hate speech, bigotry, violence, and divisiveness in our community. We may have different paths, and different gods, but we share a common humanity, and we are committed to a community in which compassion and understanding are paramount.
We, and our representatives in the Victorian Heathen community, abjure the use of Heathen imagery by these terrorists in justifying unjustifiable acts. The hijacking of sacred iconography to attempt to validate heinous acts of hatred and cowardly violence is deplorable and in absolute opposition to both our spiritual and social ethos.
You should have been able to pray in peace. You should be able to live in peace. There are people who should be here today, who are not, because of prejudice and hatred.
To the fallen, the injured, and their families, friends, and communities, we offer our deepest condolences and sorrow. We join our prayers, our wishes, and our actions, with those of everyone striving for a better world, who know we can be better than this.
Peace be with you. Peace be with us all.
We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting the 35th annual Australian Wiccan Conference right here in Victoria!
This year’s conference will take place from the 13th to the 15th of September, 2019. Our theme is by magic of old, be it done.
Keep up to date with all our AWC announcements on the AWC 2019 Facebook Page.
See you there!
– Your PCV Committee
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.
Pagan Collective of Victoria
Meeting Minutes – 26/02/2017
Location: Peacock Inn Hotel, Northcote Start Time: 11.42AM
Attending: Luca, Sarah, Shaz, Josie, Ryan, Nikole, Ange, Mark, Alex, Dorian
The PCV has gotten off to a bumper year with a busy start, there have been a lot of new faces appearing at events, it seems that there is success in creating a safer community. We have already had a fantastic public Lughnasadh ritual. With Pagan Pride Day coming up there is a lot to be excited about at the moment as we continue on into the year.
We have such an exciting month coming up in March with Community Safety Month being rolled out and Pagan Pride Day as well as the concert. The community continues to grow and come together and it is an exciting time for the Collective as well as to be a member of the community.
The accounts are currently sitting at $25.60 in the bank account and a further $18 in the PayPal account.
Ryan recently paid for our Annual Statement to Consumer Affairs, part of our ongoing obligations as a Not-For-Profit, which was about $55 and the cost is a donation from him.
We have about $300 odd in ticket sales in the Eventbrite at present from ticket sales for the Spiral Dance/Kacey Guy concert, tickets are selling very well at the moment and will continue to do so.
There isn’t a lot new to report on this front, memberships continue to grow; we now have over 340 signed up members and over a thousand FaceBook followers.
The meets keep getting bigger, newbies every time and there have been about 15 or so people at each one, always really positive attitudes and discussions. Everyone is happy with them and the café loves having them there.
These meets are now on average getting 20 – 30 people every month. The venue likes us, as they are quiet on Sundays so they are getting better business on the Sundays that we are there. There are some really good discussions going on, had a great community safety discussion at the last meeting with lots of input from the community which is fantastic and people are really positive in general.
Due to having to cancel the first one there hasn’t been a meet-up in Central yet, the first one is happening in April. As a result there isn’t much to report here yet.
We had the first one at Groove Train and there was at least one person Dorian didn’t know, the turnout was reasonably good and went well, looking forward to the next one and it looks like it will be quite a success.
Due to circumstances beyond control, the location for the meet-ups have had to change a number of times in recent months and this seems to have caused some disruption to the meet-up. It looks like it will be able to stay at the Peacock Inn, which will help to have a stable venue again. They would appreciate some assistance in advertising to help spread the word of the event to help get it back on stable footing. Mark has offered to ask Julie if it is ok to share the event in Druids Down Under and other such groups, in addition to the PCV sharing the event.
The Morris Side is now at the stage with the dance they are learning that they can start learning a second dance. They are looking forward to getting to the stage where they can dance with other groups, as well as being able to accept and train new members. They are also looking forward to their upcoming workshop with members of established Morris side, Hot For Joe. They are feeling more confident and are in the process of joining the Morris Ring and will get their first year free, which gives them insurance for things like injuries of the dancers or others such as audience. They have had semi-permanent loan of Morris Bells and Sticks to help them with getting off the ground. The source of the loan has also offered to give a workshop on Morris and loan a Obby ‘Oss. The Side has got a growing following within the community which seems to be somewhat interested in the antics of the Morris Dancers.
Pagan Pride Day
Edinburgh Gardens confirmed as the venue, with the list of participants and the ritual confirmed, and a timeline pencilled in. Speakers to be contacted to provide details for the flyer, and traditions who have not confirmed speakers to be followed up in the next couple of days for confirmation.
Confirmed that the PCV’s Mabon ritual will be run at this event, and that it will be a Wiccan-style ritual
Spiral Dance/KC Guy
Transport and accommodation costs for the musicians have already been covered; at this point in time the event will break even, but further promotion would definitely help. Posters have been delayed due to printing issues, but internet promotion is going well. Josie, Alex, and Nickole volunteered to assist with door staffing; Mark will be official event photographer.
Recent Public Statement
The PCV statement in response to the impending release of sex offender Robin Fletcher was released on the 10th of February and received a flood of positive responses from the wider Pagan community, with 80 groups and prominent individuals co-signing the statement, and many more expressing support and appreciation for it and the PCV’s condemnation of child abuse, non-consensual sex, and violence.
Looking forward, we are collating educational resources as part of further community support; these will be distributed both on and offline, to promote awareness of safety at Pagan events. Statements from local groups are also in the process of being collated, and it was agreed that the convenors of the various meets, moots, and gatherings around Victoria should have a safety policy as part of their basic information. All group hosts present agreed.
As a knock-on effect of the statement, we have had more people coming to PCV events specifically because they have seen that community safety is a priority. This is incredibly heartening, and something we wish to work further towards.
It was suggested that the PCV website and Facebook be updated to reflect the diversity and commitment of the committee, as it is comprised of people from many different traditions, practices, and backgrounds, working towards a common goal of building a supportive, safe, and healthy community.
It was also proposed that with this in mind, a media liaison group for the PCV may be a good idea. This will be discussed further, as will further support structures for a safer community.
Review of Business Promoted
The community calendar has grown so much of late that it is now a herculean task currently maintained by only a couple of people. in order that our committee be able to maintain their jobs and relationships, it was unanimously voted in that we will no longer chase up events, and will rely instead on event organisers providing us with information. This may mean that some events are no longer advertised but on the plus side the committee will be able to spend time with their families.
In the light of our focus on safe spaces, this may also change our advertising policy but at present none of the events we advertise have been flagged as potentially problematic, so we will implement the new calendar policy as previously described.
The public PCV Samhain ritual is being hosted by Seline and it is going to be on the 30th of April. At the moment that is what is known, more will be put in the committee later and can then be spread on the event page and advertising later.
There is a slight clash of dates for committee members, Nikole is going in an official PCV capacity and possibly Luca.
Blog and WordPress Workshop Day
The blog is going on really well, we are scheduling items ahead of time so that we have stuff going up every week, on time, every time. We are getting a lot of hits on the articles, which would indicate that this new format seems to be working
We are happy to show other committee members how to use WordPress so that more people can use it. So if people are interested in this contact Mark and Josie and we will set up a date once we have an idea of numbers of people and can work out a venue.
When we had the last meeting we didn’t have anyone to run Imbolc, but the Reclaiming community has kindly volunteered to run it on the 5th of August in the Darebin Parklands, Nikole will liaise with us and let us know what Reclaiming needs from us and any other details that come up so we can advertise and help in whatever way is needed.
It has been a requirement for some time that all committee members hold current Working With Children Checks, and in light of our focus on community safety, it was agreed that copies of all committee members’ WWC cards be kept on file (which will not be made publicly available as the cards contain personal information), so that the PCV can rest assured that all members of the committee have passed a WWCC.
Working With Children Checks are a pre-requisite for being on the PCV committee, and all committee members’ cards will need to be on file before the next AGM. it was also suggested, with full committee agreement, that anyone running public rituals for the PCV be required to have a current WWCC. This refers to the main ritual organiser, though of course if others involved also have WWCC, that is an advantage.
This is a way of maintaining community safety in relation to minors in the community, and also to improve confidence in public ritual spaces in the eyes of the community.
An idea has been presented that we need a welcoming committee, at events have people that go out of their way to make sure new people feel welcome and safe and to answer any questions to help make sure that the community continues to encourage the open and safe nature of PCV events, it is an idea at present but there is no set way to do it yet. Possibly will include having an event once or twice a year, informal, new people are invited and we present information and have an informal dinner and chat sort of thing.
It was proposed that we could possibly have some dates that happen at meet-ups where we encourage new people to attend and run the event so that it helps them to feel welcome. We shall continue to discuss this on the FB group due to time constraints today.
Possibly we should consider having ‘Newvember’ and have a newbie month or perhaps ‘NeoVember’ where we make sure that we run stuff that is ultra-inclusive as part of this.
It looks like it might be at the Last Jar on the 24th June, probably 2 courses to cut costs and make tickets more affordable.
A subcommittee shall be formed to help organize – Sub-committee – Ryan, Alex, Sarah, Josie, Mark (decorations), Ange (decorations) and shall liaise further to get this rolling.
The community expects more than sausage. They want custard or a Chikko Roll.
Meeting End: 12.49
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.