Reconciling Pagan and Indigenous Culture in Australia

This article by PCV committee member River Fireseed will appear in the next edition of our newsletter. We have posted it here as National Reconciliation Week begins today.

I write this on the eve of National Reconciliation Week sitting on land of the Wurrundjeri people of the Kulin nation (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) who were the original custodians of this place and who are still workingand waiting for us to catch up, so that we can reconcile our injustices towards the many nations of this land.

The maxim of Reconciliation Australia is “Reconciliation is at the heart of our nation’s future”.

As witches and Pagans in Australia, we were born, we live, and we practice magic on stolen land. (Some of us migrated here, but we still practice magic on stolen land),

So how do we reconcile that?

We know that the bones of our ancestors older than 200 years are all buried on far flung lands. Most of them in Celtic (and I use that term broadly) or northern European lands. We also know the bones of the ancestors of the people of this land for upwards of 50,000 years lie here in this Southern land.

Many in the Pagan community are humbled by that knowledge and wish to find a way to work toward a deeper appreciation of the past so that healing and true reconciliation can begin. There are some in our communities who are uncomfortable with hearing the truths because they or their familial line wasn’t directly involved with the atrocities of the past- believing we need to move on and stop being ashamed of our past.

Whilst it may be true that we need to move on -it is the privilege of the oppressor that makes us able to say that.

Many of us have growing edges around accepting that we are born of privilege. For no matter how diverse our genders may be, how economically, socially and educationally deprived we may feel, or indeed how hard it was for our parents or our parents’ grandparents to struggle to make it in “The Lucky Country” we still have privilege.

We can acknowledge the mythos of the very hard lives that some of our ancestors had; be they convicts, farmers, merchants, fortune hunters or the religiously persecuted- often economic refugees-all escaping to find a dream where gold, food, amnesty, religious and economic freedom abound-if you work for it.

But we have difficulty acknowledging that even our oppressed ancestors were more advantaged than the Aboriginal peoples of the many lands we now call Australia.

Until we have a deeper understanding of the truth of our past and come to terms with the fact that our recent forefathers and foremothers symbolically, and sometimes literally, were involved in genocide of the original people and the theft of their land and culture, there will always be a skeleton in the closet. It is only our privilege that gives us the luxury to ignore the past.

The notion of cultural non-appropriation is close to the hearts of many members of the Pagan community. It is important that we always acknowledge the people whose land we work on in our public rituals. Some of us have sought permission from elders to practice magic on their lands- which thankfully has always been given.

When we work magic on indigenous land (remembering that all of this land we call Australia was Indigenous land 220 years ago- Terra nullis was and is a myth to ease the heart, minds and legalities of colonisation); we need to be respectful of the people whose land it is. In all my rituals, public and private, I acknowledge the ancestors of this land, as well as the ancestors of blood and the ancestors of the craft.

Indigenous people of this land always proudly state where they were born and where their father’s and mother’s ‘countries’ are. So perhaps we also need to learn to acknowledge our own heritage, where we were born and where our parents were born, using the indigenous name of place if we know it -or researching to find it out. As Pagans we know there is power in a name and power in the spoken word. I believe that when we acknowledge who we are and where we come from with compassionate understanding of our own rich heritage we won’t need to appropriate the culture of a living people.

That being said we do need to build bridges between our communities, but not on our terms. We need to take the time and make the effort to build relationships. Perhaps we need to find an indigenous fund that we can donate a tithing to from any magical workshops we have on indigenous land. Perhaps we need to be prepared to share something of our culture instead of expecting Aboriginal people to be the ones who always share their culture. Perhaps in reconciliation week we could make an effort to recognise indigenous people, or recognise an indigenous person, knowing that Aboriginal people are not recognised in our constitution.

As Australian pagans if we desire a connection with the knowledge and magic of the first culture, we must learn to find a way to align our magic to the magic of this land and to begin to build relationships with Aboriginal people, that are not conditional on what we receive from them.

River Fireseed

 

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Agenda – March 2016 Committee Meeting

The Pagan Collective of Victoria, inc

Meeting Agenda 05/03/2016

 

Present:

Apologies:

Absent:

 

Meeting Location: The Wesley Anne, Northcote

Meeting Open: 1pm

President’s Report – Josie

Secretary’s Report – Mark

Treasurer’s Report – Ryan

Announcements – All

  • Deepest sympathies to Melbourne Reclaiming, who lost one of their own in tragic circumstances recently.
  • Meeting quorum policy
  • Other Policies
  • WWC Cards
  • PCV Committee Facebook Group
  • Public Sabbat Rituals

Memberships – Josie

2016 dates – Josie
Confirmed dates:

Sat, 19/3 – Mabon Ritual

Sun, 20/3 – CBD Pub Moot

Sun, 27/3 – PitP Ballarat

Sun, 24/4 – PitP Ballarat

Sun, 15/5 – CBD Pub Moot

Sat, 28/5 – Pagans in the cafe Central Vic

Sun, 17/7 – CBD Pub Moot

Sat, 6/8 – Pagans in the cafe Central Vic

Sun, 18/9 – CBD Pub Moot

Sat, 19/11 – Pagans in the cafe Central Vic

Sun, 20/11 – CBD Pub Moot

Proposed/tentative dates:

Pagans in the Park – Sun, 23/4

Yule Dinner – Sat, 18/6

Meeting Dates – Sat 23/7 (inc. AGM), Sat 10/9, Sat 26/11

 

Mabon Ritual 2016 – Josie/Ryan

Samhain Ritual 2016 – Seline/Ryan

Pagans in the Park 2016 – Ryan

Yule Dinner 2016 – Josie

PCV Crafts – Mark

Pagan Expo 2016 – Seline/Ryan

Any other business

 

Meeting End:

February 2016 Update

Happy Lammas!

Our calendar is now live! Click through to see the dates of Pagan events happening across the state this year.

The Lammas newsletter should be out later today for members.

There is a PCV Committee Meeting on the 5th of March. All are welcome to attend and have a say in the direction of the Collective. An agenda will be published shortly. This will be the meeting that we secure dates for the rest of the year, so please bring your diary. 🙂

Bright blessings,

Your PCV Community

 

 

June 2015 Update

Brrr! We hope you’re all keeping warm on these long, cold nights and frosty mornings! We’ve been in recovery mode after the Yule Dinner, but the CBD Pub Moot saw us swing into action once again. 🙂

CBD Pub Moot – We had a rocking good time at the Melbourne Central Lion Hotel yesterday, and the turnout of 20 was far more than we expected! It was lovely to share a drink and discuss our different paths with old friends and new in such a relaxed atmosphere! Thanks very much to everyone who came along!

The first CBD Pub Moot, June 2015. Photo courtesy of Mark.

The first CBD Pub Moot, June 2015. Photo courtesy of Mark.

AGM – There is less than one week left to nominate for the AGM. If you would like to join the committee (whether it’s as a general committee member or in an exec role), you will need to email us before midnight on the 3rd of July. This is a great way to get involved with community building across Victoria, and to have a say in the direction of the Collective. We have only four committee meetings a year, which is not a big face-to-face time commitment!
The AGM itself is taking place on the 18th of July at Stuzzi in Northcote. Click here for more information.

Imbolc – Our Imbolc Ritual will be hosted by Melbourne Reclaiming. A Facebook Event has been set up for it over here.

Hills Coffee Meetup – The next Hills Coffee Meetup is taking place on the 12th of July at the Magpie Cafe, Upwey. Newbies and any/all branches of Paganism are welcome – this is a friendly, inclusive meet-up, and a chance to connect and chat with other Pagan folk on a variety of paths. See the Facebook event page for more information.

Yule Dinner – The Yule Dinner was a fantastic success! We shared a sumptuous meal, laughed and enjoyed some stellar live music. Catching up with old friends and making new ones, we bid farewell to the longest night and looked forward to good things to come.
Congratulations again to the recipients of the 2015 PCV Awards:

Ben F – The Keen Bean Award (for a member under 25 who has made great contributions to the Collective).

Sarah M – The Most Active Member Award (in recognition of Sarah’s support of the PCV since the very beginning, and of her tireless work organising and facilitating the Hills Coffee Meetups).

Kacey – Most Distance Travelled (Kacey came from Adelaide just for us!)

Seline C – PCV Lifetime Membership Award (in recognition of Seline’s long-standing contributions to the Victorian Pagan community, and of her support of the PCV since its beginning).

 A huge thankyou to everyone who helped to make the Yule Dinner happen. This was the PCV’s first large-scale event, and its success is due to the many people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
Thankyou to Mark H and Belinda L-J for the beautiful photos! There will be even more up on the website shortly. Hugs, gratitude and wishes of safe travel to Kacey, who flew over from South Australia to share his wonderful music with us. Thanks also to Mei and Mark for the decorations and party favours! A big thankyou is also needed for River, Nickole and Sarah, who helped us promote the event to their wide networks of contacts. And finally, thank you to everyone who came along on the night! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
There have been a number of photos from the night published in the Yule newsletter. We will have a full set of photos here on the website in coming weeks. 🙂

Newsletter – The Yule newsletter is out now. As well as photos from the Yule Dinner, it includes a summary of the results of the members’ survey, and article about the Wildwood tradition and more. Members, please get in touch if you didn’t receive your copy. 🙂

What’s on in Victoria? March 2015

The Victorian Pagan Scene seems to be getting busier each month! See our Calendar for more events coming up near you. 🙂

4th: Full Moon Circle at Seline’s Temple (Plenty)
For details visit the What’s Brewing Now? Facebook group.

5th: Date of Full Moon

7th: Pagans in the Pub Melbourne (Fairfield)
For details visit the Facebook event or call Philippe: 0402 437 086

7th: Earthsong Monthly Coffee Meetup (Northcote)
Topic: Stories of Initiation. For details visit the Facebook event.

7th: Wendy Rule Melbourne Concert (Northcote)
For details visit the Facebook event.

14th: Submissions close for Mabon issue of Spokes of the Wheel
Please send your articles/artwork to pagancollectivevic@gmail.com

15th: PCV Monthly Hills Pagan Coffee Meet (Upwey)
See the Facebook event for details.

21st: Mabon

21st: Melbourne Heathen Moot (Clifton Hill)
Asatru/Heathenism. See the Facebook page for details.

27th– 29th: Seven Sisters Festival (Mount Martha)
See the Seven Sisters website for more.

28th: Creating Ceremony: The Art of Ecstatic Ritual (Brunswick)
Hosted by Melbourne Reclaiming. See the Facebook event for details.

WhatsonMarch15

Meeting Minutes, February 2015

Many thanks to Mark for preparing these minutes. 🙂

Pagan Collective of Victoria

Meeting Minutes 21/2/2015

 

Present: Ryan, Josie, Mei, Mark, Sarah, River, Nickole

Apologies: Cosette, Bret, Brett, Hawthorn, Lisa, Fiona, Seumas

Absent: Rosanne, Allison

Meeting Location: Magpie Cafe, Upwey

Meeting Open: 1.17PM

 

  1. Presidents Report – The collective hit one hundred members this month, that’s really exciting given how long we’ve been running. The coffee meet ups have been going fantastically, with lots of new faces young and old.

 

  1. Secretary’s Report – Due to some issues with the stickers for the membership packs the posting out of membership packs is slightly behind. The new stickers have now arrived and look great, so we can resume sending out membership packs to everyone again.

 

  1. Treasurer’s Report – The incoming and outgoing for the collective has still been $0, everything has been donated by Josie and Ryan so far. The collective bank account hasn’t been set up yet, however with no immediate income expected there isn’t an urgent need. Josie and Ryan will set one up with the Bendigo as previously agreed, it will be a standard not for profit account.

 

  1. Memberships – 47 new members have been approved for the Collective

 

  1. Newsletter – As always we are looking for people to write new content for the newsletter, submissions will be the 14th of March and hopeful send out will be the 21st. Mark volunteered to look into writing an article.

 

  1. Coffee Meet Ups – The coffee meet ups have been successful with good attendance, lots of diversity of attendees and amazing levels of enthusiasm.

The potential of a metro meet up was proposed with Sarah offering to help Ryan get it up and running and provide advice. The specifications/concerns people had were that the venue was not too loud/busy, that topics of discussion were provided each meet up and that it didn’t clash with the times Melbourne Pagans in the Pub meet up.

The action decided was that Ryan and Sarah would attempt to get one running before next meeting.

The possibility of a Central Vic meet up was raised with a few locations suggested – Hepburn Springs, Bunninyong and the Botanical Gardens in Ballarat.

The action on that was that Josie, Mark and Mei will look into setting up a meet up before next meeting.

Sarah raised the problem of exposure for the meetups, Facebook Pages and Groups struggle to make it into newsfeeds under the current format. The solution decided was that if people could try and like and share events to help everyone reach a decent audience it would be greatly appreciated and help ensure the success of the events having a good turnout.

 

  1. Samhain Ritual 2015 – Selene is available again for Samhain Ritual, the dates will be discussed with her as well as what she requires (bring a plate?, materials, etc.).
  2. Yule Dinner 2015 – The venue that looks best from the research Ryan did is called The Last Jar, it is located at the Carlton end of the CBD so is fairly accessible. It has an upstairs function room they would be willing to let us use. The food would allow for a vegetarian option that would also cover vegans.

Ideally the collective would need 30+ attendees to make it worth The Last Jar’s time.

The date for the dinner was tentatively set as the 13th of June with the venue being The Last Jar.

Awards to be decided on for giving out at the dinner, examples – most distant member, most active, young persons award, daggiest witch etc.

River has offered to help promote the event.

A sub committee consisting of Ryan, Josie, Mei and Mark was formed to meet a few times before the dinner and continue working on the event. The first sub committee meeting was scheduled for March 14th.

 

  1. Members Survey – The survey for the collective was discussed with Mark presenting the brainstorming for questions ideas that occurred between meetings. People were happy with the proposed questions and added a few more to the list.

It was proposed that a breakdown of the survey information be published (all members details to be kept confidential of course) because there would likely be interest in how our community looks as a demographic.

The membership survey was approved and Mark and Mei will to set it up, a link to it will be sent out once it is up.

 

  1. Changes to committee – Charlie T’s official resignation was given to the committee and accepted.

 

  1. AGM – The collective needs to hold an AGM mid year, the date the committee decided was the 18th of July at 1PM and the proposed venue (TBC) was Stuzzi. Nickole offered to book the venue.

The offices up for vote will be President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary. Again general committee positions will be available.

 

  1. Proposed Membership Fees for 2016 – So far the collective has run as a free organisation, however running the organisation has costs and these have been getting covered by Josie and Ryan. A comparison of other groups fee structure and services was looked at and the breakdown of predictable costs for the organisation were discussed. The categories of membership were proposed as singles, joint/family, Interstate and International. The exact costings will be decided after more research into the issue and cost of insurance.

 

  1. Insurance – Josie needs to talk to a few more people about the possibilities and costs for insurance and present the findings to the committee.
  2. Dates – Dates for the remainder of the 2015 meetings were discussed with the following outcome:
  • Sat 9th May 1PM (city, venue TBC)
  • AGM Sat 13th June 1PM (Stuzzi TBC)
  • Sat 12th September 1PM (rural, venue TBC)
  • Sat 12th December 1PM (Cafe Magpie, Upwey TBC)

 

  1. Imbolc Ritual 2015 – The date for Imbolc is tentatively the 1st with the venue proposed as the Darebin Parklands.
  2. Annual Ball – Sarah proposed the idea of an annual ball, with the proposed first one being in 2016. The idea of it being at Samhain with a suitable theme was suggested as the tentative date.

The ball will be an adult oriented event with music, dressing up and drinks (licensed venue).

Sarah will check with Philippe and Selene to make sure they do not have an issue with a ball running at that time and to ensure no clashing with events they host.

 

  1. Meeting Locations – The proposal that there be more CBD meetings was raised by River. Sarah volunteered to look for a suitable city venue for the next meeting, everyone agreed to let her know if they heard of anywhere suitable in the meantime.

 

  1. Skill Sharing Across the Pagan Community – Nickole discussed the idea of skill sharing across the community and the possibility of workshops being organised (and better promoted). Possible workshop topics would be skills, ritual, spell and traditions. With the idea of making it more accessible for people to gain cross tradition knowledge and skills.

It was decided to wait until the survey results are in to see what sort of traditions members follow and if there were people willing to run workshops and share skills before more action is taken.

 

  1. PCV Crafts – Mark proposed the idea that the PCV start to assemble bunting to have at events it was at, to give more exposure but also as a community exercise. It was decided that bunting will be made up, blank and taken to meetings, coffee meet ups and other events where members can grab one to decorate in a fashion that reflects them or their path, with the final product being returned to us and being attached to the community efforts. Hopefully this will be a nice reflection of the positive community that is in Victoria and will look fantastic at events such as Mount Franklin.

 

Misc. –

  • It was proposed and accepted that the PCV logo should be made up into a digital pack that is available for use in a variety of formats -jpeg, gif, black and white/grayscale etc. This will make it easier for other people that want to promote the PCV.
  • Earthsong will send a details pack to the PCV so they can receive advertising through the collective.
  • To ensure the community (PCV is fine but if you feel ok with it sharing other groups too it would be fantastic) is getting decent exposure please make sure to like, comment and share events and posts that are advertising events and announcements.
  • The idea that once paid memberships become a thing in 2016 that the PCV have membership giveaways on Facebook was proposed, to be looked at once its applicable.

 

Meeting End: 3.38PM