March is Community Safety Month for the PCV. Throughout this month we will be promoting safe, sane and inclusive Pagan community for all through the sharing of information, discussion topics and more.
We decided to start by sharing advice and information for people new to Paganism. These articles have been shared daily on our Facebook page.
PAN Safety in Circle Pamphlet: This brochure, by our friends at The Pagan Awareness Network, is essential reading for any Pagan new to face-to-face events and groups. It covers basic personal safety within the Pagan community and what to do if you witness or become the victim of illegal or unethical behaviour. PAN is one of the longest-running groups dedicated to Pagan networking, fellowship and education in the country, and we are proud to share this as the first of our Community Safety Month resources.
The Pagan Community – A Survivor’s Guide: In this piece, UK musician and storyteller Damh the Bard offers some pearls of wisdom for those new to the Pagan community. He also discusses the ideal motivations for seeking community in the first place.
Truth and Tales about Paganism: This is another excellent brochure from our friends at The Pagan Awareness Network. This one busts some commonly believed myths for newbies to Paganism and Pagan Community.
Pagan Pathways: Continuing on with our overview before we delve into more complex subjects, this brochure by the Pagan Awareness Network explores and demystifies many different Pagan traditions. Essential reading for anyone new to the community or to Paganism in general.
Wicca and Witchcraft – Which is Which?: The last PAN brochure we looked at explored and explained a variety of Pagan paths. This one sets out to define the differences between Wicca and witchcraft, which are two very different labels that are often confused with one another.
Paganism for Beginners – Controversies: UK Wiccan Yvonne Aburrow’s Paganism for Beginners pieces are all wonderful, but this one is especially useful to anyone just discovering the Pagan community and all its intricacies.
Sacred Ground and Acknowledgement of Country: Pagans in Australia are practicing on a land already rich with spiritual history. In this brochure, the Pagan Awareness Network discuss the importance of acknowledging the land’s traditional custodians, as well as other ways we as Pagans can show respect.
Sacred Knives: Athames and other sacred blades are used in rituals by some Pagans. But what are they used for exactly? Is it legal to carry one or use it in a public place? Our friends from the Pagan Awareness Network have got the answers in this handy brochure.
Five Things I Wish I’d Known as a Beginner: In this article, US author Thorn Mooney has some great advice for anyone new to Paganism or the Pagan community.
Skyclad – the Bare Facts: Some Pagans practice naked, or Skyclad. This brochure from the Pagan Awareness Network contains important information about the whys, the hows, the shoulds and the should-nots of ritual nudity.
Pagan Collective of Victoria
Meeting Minutes 14/01/2018
Present: Josie, Ryan, Elkie, Alex, Mark, Sarah, Elkie, Shaz, Ang, Fran, Seumas
Apologies: Nickole, Dean, Dorian
Meeting Location: Earthly Pleasures, Belgrave
Meeting Open: 11.07 AM
- President’s Report –
It was a really great year. The PCV ran 57 events last year which is unbelievably good, especially considering we have come from a small hard to locate community to a well networked community where it is very easy for people to find other like minded pagans, whether it is at a PCV event or one of the other events run by other individuals and groups who advertise on our community calendar.
- Secretary’s Report –
The memberships have been slow recently, not surprising given the time of year it is, however the social media has continued to have a lot of interaction and messages which means that people are still engaging with us. The database overhaul is a slow process due to lack of time but will continue to be worked on in 2018.
- Presentation of Accounts (Treasurer) –
We’ve not spent or earned any money in the time since we last met, largely this is because we don’t charge for events and we try to keep the overheads low. We’ll be linking the Patreon to our bank account soon so will have more to report from now on.
- Meet-up Reports
The Hills are amazing and vibrant, the meetup for today had 54 people RSVP’d and the events are frequently larger than can be contained by the venue. The event will evolve to suit this as we progress. The Hills weeknight dinners will resume again soon too, they’ve been popular in their own way and a great event. The writers are still meeting too ostensibly under the Hills banner and seem to be having a good time, how this event will evolve we don’t know but it will continue on into 2018.
The CBD meet-ups continue to be one of our larger regular meet-ups and are going to continue on into 2018 under the custodianship of Ryan. The first one for 2018 will be Sat 20th of Jan.
The Central Vic meet-ups have continued to have fresh faces turn up (two to three new people most meets), they’ve been small and enjoyable. Ballarat meet-ups will continue on in 2018, possibly under a new direction.
Unfortunately Dorian isn’t here to discuss the Frankston meet-ups but from what people have heard they seem to be doing well.
Swinburne now have a Pagan group thanks to the efforts of Alex and are having their first meet-ups this year.
Druid coffee is looking to improve its attendance this year and are getting some advice on running social media to help to this end. We will continue to advertise for them of course and help in any other way that we can.
On the topic of meet-ups this year can we please make sure that the name of every PCV run event has PCV in the name and preferably the month too. This will do two important things, first it will help people tell the difference between the events we run and those we advertise for people. Second it will make it a lot easier for the event wrap-up writer to find all the events each month and make sure that they are covered in the wrap-up.
5. Morris Report
Oak, Smash & Thorn are continuing into 2018 as a side and are planning to travel to South Australia again, in May this time. They’ve been learning to do dark Morris and are going to be learning new dances and sticking this year too.
Patreon will be launching in a few weeks, the campaign having been previously outlined before. It will be linked to the PCV bank account and the campaign clearly outlines what the money can/will be used for. We are currently looking at how to effectively capture audio of workshops for Patreon.
The PCV is going to be running six workshops in 2018, they will cost little ($5 – $10) for the public and will be free to patreon backers. To stop there being pagan burnout for organizers they will be tacked onto meet-up days, running before the meet-up and so that people can leave when it is over or stay for a meal and socialize with others as they choose.
The dates for the workshops will be worked out in the committee group.
The volunteers to run a workshop are – The Hills (topic to be decided)
– Silver Birch Grove (Ogham)
– Linda (Charms)
– Ryan (Divination/Incense)
– Josie (topic to be decided)
It was thought Dorian was interested in running a workshop but we will need to confirm with him before proceeding down that line any further.
- Social Media/Blog
Moving forward into 2018 we are adding the following people to our FB admin team: Alex. We are also adding the following to our Blog/Webpage admin team: Alex and Sarah.
For the monthly meet-up wrap-ups we are looking at moving to a photo based wrap-up with minimal text for ease of publication.
Committee reads may be going to a bi-monthly format with a change to being committee reviews and using themes. Sarah is going to let us know what direction she wants to go when she has had a chance to look at it.
We are adding a new piece to the blog probably titled ‘Walking the Walk.’ which will be focusing on what people are doing to connect more with nature, their path, etc. Mark and Josie will be contributing their Gold Fields Walks to this and when the Hills get their 2018 sorted will be contributing some articles too.
We are still waiting on some WWC checks for some people. We will be discussing some other WWC stuff when we get to community safety.
Need to check in with Seline to see if she is still happy to run Samhain 2018 or whether her other contributions are going to make this too hard.
- Social Media/Blog
The blog is continuing to be a great asset to the PCV along with the calendar and as mentioned the duties have been divvied up so that it can continue to run smoothly and not over-whelm anyone.12. Midsumma
We will be looking at whether or not we can/will run a stall at 2019 Midsumma with the Queer Pagan Men Australia group and what will be needed etc. for that.
- WoZ Movie Night
It was decided that with everything already on the table that this might not be something we continue to pursue at this point.
- Spiral Dance
Coming again in 2018 sponsored by the PCV, no dates have been set in stone yet but it will probably be April-ish at this stage. It won’t be run the same day as Pagan Pride Day this year because it was deemed overall too much for people.
Still planning to get this running in 2018 now that the crazy December January period is coming to an end and the annual PCV hiatus for the committee is over.16. OBOD Summer Solstice 2018
The Melbourne Grove are excited and nervous to run this ritual, it is going to be a first for them. The date for it will be Sunday the 23rd of December and they will let us know if they need any kind of assistance from us.
The Sunday Druid Coffee clashes with this date so Silver Birch are going to cancel so that there is no conflict with them.
- Pagan Pride Day 2018
The date previously discussed was not working out well clashing with other events. The date therefore is being moved to April the 7th. Due to how far from the equinox that puts it we won’t be hosting an equinox ritual as part of the day but instead will be hosting a welcoming ritual designed to appeal to people of all paths.
- Pagan Census/Survey
It has been a few years since we last did a survey to try and get a clear picture of the Victorian community and their needs so we will be conducting another one in 2018, with people’s identities being anonymous again, so we can hopefully get an honest response. Once again we will publish final results for people to view. We ended up with some great data last time. This will also provide people a chance to provide feedback.
The questions will be vetted in the committee group before it goes up. Josie, Ryan and Mark will be conducting this.
- Mental Health Support Group Advertisement
We’ve been contacted by a person wanting to advertise a pagan mental health support group that they have set up. We are going to discuss what questions we have in the private committee group and send them to them as soon as possible. They will cover topics like ‘emergency response plans’, format etc.
If we are happy to go ahead and advertise this we are going to need a well written disclaimer since they are a third party that we don’t have representation on there to make sure it is all running ok.
Fran is also going to get us the details for a legally/professionally sanctioned peer support group to let people know about as well.
While we are on the topic of this it is probably worth considering putting together some resources in a easy to digest format such as lifeline etc, for people to access if they are in distress.
It is also worth considering having a list of pagan friendly professionals available too, lawyers, psychologists, etc.
In 2018 we will be requiring all events we advertise that claim a family friendly status to prove that they have Working with Children checks (current) for all people running the event, workshop, etc. If they refuse to provide this proof or can’t then their events will not be shared by the PCV and will be deleted from any groups we moderate because there is no way to make sure that they are ok otherwise.
We are going to start sharing and reminding people of our community safety policies (and others) since it is a new year, we will be doing this a little at a time so people aren’t getting overwhelmed.
In March we are planning to share a resource a day around community safety and be gearing our discussion topics to focus on this as well.
We would like to have a chance for the community to have their say too as part of this initiative and will be working on that in the near future.
Changes to Committee
As we move forward into 2018 we are saying goodbye to one of our committee members Carrie. We would like to thank her for her time and effort on the committee and hope to continue to see her at pagan events.
It has been suggested that currently the PCV could be perceived as being a shadowy organisation due to our emphasis on community and events and not highlighting who the committee are and where they are from (so to speak).
We will be updating the webpage with bio’s, something short is fine, just so that people have an idea of who we are.
It was suggested everyone check out the Tasmanian Pagan Alliance website for their committee bios and personal bios for inspiration because they are apparently well done.
Young People – Safe Spaces
It was raised that we really need to find better ways to communicate with younger pagans to ensure that they are finding their ways into safe places in the community and aren’t being groomed by shady or dodgy people.
Ryan is going to be running four Ballarat meet-ups in 2018, dates to be discussed in the private committee group.
Pagan Alliance of South Australia
By now everyone has probably seen the announcements by the Pagan Alliance of South Australia.
What can we do to help? Financially if everyone signed up for their newsletter (It is $10 a year) that would help and we can encourage other Victorians to do so too.
Contact has also been made asking them if anything else can be done by PCV to help them, so far nothing has been suggested in this regard but we will help them however we can because it would be a shame to see our South Australian friends lose such an important resource.
Meeting End: 12.07 PM
By Josie, Sarah, Dorian and Ryan
We said at the beginning of the year that this March would be Mad March, and we weren’t wrong: Community Safety Month, Pagan Pride Day, the Spiral Dance Concert, Guest Speakers and more on top of our usual meetups made for a very busy month with the very best company.
Community Safety Month
March has become Community Safety Month for the PCV. Creating and maintaining safe and inclusive spaces to gather and worship was the key topic of all our meetups in March, and some excellent and insightful conversations sprang from this. The product of these conversations was our newly-formed Values, which have been added to our Mission Statement page after being collated by our most eloquent committee member, Sarah:
The PCV holds regular gatherings by area all over the state. These meets, moots, and gatherings are hosted by various members of the PCV but all are united in upholding the following standards:
- We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional caretakers of the land we meet on. The gatherings we enjoy so much are held on land they lived on for thousands of years before white settlement. We pay our respects to their elders – past, present and emerging – and acknowledge the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the community.
- We stand with the LGBTQI+ community; PCV meets are queer and trans-friendly spaces. We are intersectional, inclusive, and we will use whichever pronouns you prefer. Our community is diverse, supportive, and nurturing, and we love it that way.
- We welcome people of all paths and levels of experience, people of all genders and sexualities, of all races, skin colours, cultural identities, and of all abilities.
- Accessibility information will be provided for all venues. If you have any questions about venue accessibility or will need assistance, please contact the meet host. *PCV meets do not tolerate sexual, racial, religious, cultural, abled, or gendered discrimination, bigotry, harassment, bullying, or non-consensual sexual behaviour. We reserve the right to ask attendees to leave if they do not behave in a manner conducive to the wellbeing of the group or in contravention of any of the above standards.
- We are committed to creating safe, welcoming spaces where pagans of all paths can meet and enjoy their community. If you have an issue at the meets, our hosts will listen to you and take your feedback seriously.
Other happenings during Community Safety Month include more undersigned joining our Statement to the Public about notorious paedophile Robin Fletcher (which as of April 2017 has more than eighty undersigned Pagan groups and individuals), and the snap community information meeting we held when he was released.
Pagan Pride Day
On Saturday, the 18th of March the Victorian Pagan community came together to celebrate our first annual Pagan Pride Day and Equinox ritual. The day was a huge success, with Pagans of all walks of life attending, and most of the state’s active traditions represented.
You can read more about Pagan Pride Day in Alex’s article.
Spiral Dance and KC Guy Concert
On the night of Pagan Pride Day, we were treated to an amazing, uplifting and highly danceable concert by Spiral Dance and KC Guy. This was a perfect way to round off an excellent day of Pagan goodness, and really brought everyone together.
More details and photos in Josie’s article.
The Frankston/Cranbourne pagan meet convened at Groove Train once more, enjoying the gorgeous Autumn sun out on the promenade.
Looking forward to the next meet at the end of May.
Monthly Hills Coffee Meets
The Hills Meets continue apace. March saw me finally make good on a threat I’ve been holding over everyone’s heads for a few months now: Sparkles, the Disco Owl. A few people have mentioned, over the last couple of years, that our little mascot is subtle and hard to spot across a crowded room. Sparkles is neither of those things. Sparkles is nearly a foot high and covered liberally in white glitter, which he sheds over everything he touches, and came from a local $2 shop, and I’ve been promising to humiliate all of us by bringing him along to a meet for ages now. Sparkles is the Maxwell Demon of the owl world.
You can read more about the Hills Meets in this month’s feature article. For upcoming event details, see the Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meets Facebook page.
CBD Pagan Pub Moots
The March CBD Pagan Pub moot was joined by a special guest, Dr David Waldron, who was kind enough to be our first guest speaker. Dr Waldron captivated the room with his fascinating talk on Witches’ marks, concealed objects and magical folk practices in colonial Australia.
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).
Oak, Smash and Thorn Pagan Morris
Our little Morris side keeps chugging along, even with one less dancer due to Alex’s knee injury. Get well soon, Alex! This month we were treated to a Morris workshop with our friends Adrienne and Paul, of Spiral Dance and Hot for Joe Border Morris fame. This cracker of a workshop and Paul and Adrienne’s invaluable advice helped us polish our very first dance and get that little bit closer to being able to perform!
If this wasn’t memorable enough, the Edinburgh Gardens were the site of the Australian Naked Bike Ride that day, with around four hundred naked cyclists crashing our rehearsal. Our interstate guests took it all in their stride and promised they’d be back soon.
A million thankyous, beers and sweaty Morris hugs to Adrienne and Paul. 🙂
PCV Diary Dates:
- Saturday, 8th April: PCV Committee Meeting (Ballarat)
- Saturday, 8th April: Central Victorian Pagans and Heathens in the Cafe (Ballarat)
- Sunday, 9th April: CBD Pagan Pub Moot (Melbourne)
- Sunday, 30th April: PCV Public Samhain Ritual (location TBC)