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.
This month we thought we’d share some of our finds from the 2017 Clunes Booktown Festival and elsewhere. There will probably be more detailed reviews of some of these in coming editions of Committee Reads, but for now take a peek at the most recent editions to our reading piles…
Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey – This book came highly recommended by members of the community, so I caved and purchased a copy.
Asimov’s New Guide to Science by Isaac Asimov – Asimov is a freaking genius and this was $2.
Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford – Got this signed by Clementine Ford, reason enough.
Pagan Consent Culture: Building Communities of Empathy and Autonomy, edited by Christine Hoff Kraemer and Yvonne Aburrow – This is a recent release, and in the light of the recent discussions on community safety and consent in occult and pagan practice, it seems like a very interesting read, exploring different traditions’ philosophies of consent, as well as sexual initiation, community responses to abuse, education of children, mental health issues, and much more. It clocks in at over 500 pages and was very reasonably priced for all that. I’ve enjoyed co-editor Aburrow’s previous books, so this seemed like a must-read.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction, to give you an overview of the contents:
“We have divided this anthology into three parts. In ‘Developing Pagan Philosophies of Consent’, the reader will find both tradition-specific and personal approaches to consent-based ethics. These essays show how Pagan lore and liturgy shape our writers’ understandings of consent, as well as how their ideals translate into real-world practice. Writers also tackle complex issues such as consent in a power differential, the ethics of sexual initiation, negotiating rape culture in traditional myths, and understanding sexual relationships with the gods.
Section Two, ‘Responding to Abuse and Assault’, focuses on the narratives and needs of survivors. In addition to personal narratives of abuse and healing, writers examine the kinds of situations that can hide abuse, as well as the circumstances under which whistleblowers may be disbelieved or ignored. These essays outline policies to help prevent sexual abuse and assault and to effectively respond to it when it occurs, as well as considering how abuse survivors might be better accommodated in community.
Finally, in ‘Building Communities of Autonomy and Empathy’, our writers provide resources for teaching and practicing consent culture. These essays include reflections on consent culture parenting, curricula and exercises for children and adults, practices for sacralising pleasurable touch in both groups and on an everyday basis, ethical approaches to teaching sacred sexuality and sex magick, and more.”
Pagan Rituals: Scripts and Inspiration for All Occasions by Willow Polson – In recent times it seems I’ve become a collector naff books of ritual. I am oddly okay with this.
Seed Collection of Australian Native Plants by Murray Ralph – This was essential.
The Art of Urban Sketching by Gabriel Campanario – I’ve always been a fan of this style of sketching and wanted to understand the principals better so this was an easy choice.
The Kabbalah Tree by Rachel Pollack – An introduction to the Tree of Life and the Sephiroth, by the author of ‘Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom’, and featuring art by Hermann Haindl. I’m not a serious student of Kabbalistic philosophy, but it is fascinating and profound, and this seems to be a decent exploration for someone with no background in the culture or philosophy.
Walking a Sacred Path by Dr Lauren Artress – This was a second-hand cheapie, and I’m wondering if it’s going to be a bit naff, but it has decent reviews from respectable publications, and I thought it might be worth a go, because labyrinths are interesting, ey.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin – This was another $1 Booktown bargain find. I bought it for my friend Kylie, who has been wanting to read the series for a while. I just love the eighties cover art.
Bottersnikes and Gumbles by S A Wakefield – Although I’ve been a fan for a long time, this edition has illustrations in it that my other edition did not.
Palimpsest and Deathless by Catherynne Valente – I bowed to peer pressure after a brilliant blog post by a friend, the constant rave reviews by people whose tastes I trust, and a song by SJ Tucker that made me cry. I’m almost scared to actually read them in case I can’t leave the house for days and can’t work because I’m lost in Valente’s worlds, but hey, I can always get another job, right?
Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar – I normally couldn’t give a toss about vampire fiction, being of the firmly-held belief that it reached its peak with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But with tales of vampires born from the wreck of the Batavia crashing a modern-day Australian music festival, I found it hard to turn this one down.
The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A McKillip – This one was a gift from a friend this month. So far it’s strong, rich fantasy full of archeology and lyrical descriptions. Just my bag.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – The author of the marvellous ‘Remains of the Day’ has set a novel in just-post-Arthurian Britain, featuring at least one knight of the Round Table. What’s not to love?
The Chosen by J R Ward – I bought this because I’m obsessed with the Black Dagger Brotherhood and this is the latest book in the series. BDB are one of my guilty pleasures. 😉
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper – I picked this up for $1 at Booktown. It was a great bargain and an edition/cover I hadn’t seen before.