It’s funny, the ‘dark half’ of the year in Australia isn’t that dark. Sure, the weather cools (a little), however in Sydney at least, it’s not the harshness of a Northern hemisphere Winter. For me, it’s a time of renewal and rest. Sleep is easier to come by, and cooking doesn’t feel like it’s a chore on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Here are a few things I’m looking forward to:
- marking Samhain this year – last year was raw with another recent death and upheaval in our household. This year will be easier and more fitting to honour my family who have passed.
- celebrating Yule with my family and friends with a feast.
- meeting new people at a few of the events we’ve got coming up around the Western Sydney region. There’s a lot happening, and we’re really feeling a renewed sense of energy and interest in what we’re doing. It’s a good feeling and is helping to build a solid little community.
What are you looking forward to this year? What inspires you at this time?
Even if you’re not looking to cook a massive pot of something delicious in the oven, this stove top chai recipe is incredibly satisfying, very tasty and will fill your kitchen with the most delicious scent. Enjoy 🙂
- 2 Teaspoons English breakfast loose tea or x1 teabag
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 3 Cardamom pods
- 2cm knob of fresh ginger – sliced
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Black peppercorns (whole)
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon of sugar (or more to taste)
- 400mls whole fat milk (dairy milk works best as the sugar will help the recipe to reduce down) You can use almond, soy or other non dairy milk, however the recipe will not reduce to a thick consistency. If using non dairy milk, steep the tea and spices separately for 30-45mins and then add the non dairy milk of choice.
Put English tea into a small saucepan.
Break up the cinnamon stick, bruise the 3 cardamom pods and add to the saucepan along with the 2 cloves, ginger, sugar, pepper and bay leaf. Add the milk.
Boil and reduce down to thick syrup, reducing the liquid by half (being careful not to let the milk catch on the bottom of the saucepan). Strain. If using non dairy milk, you should end up with thick aromatic syrup a similar consistency to condensed milk.
Adapted from this recipe
We had a wonderful evening at our first pagan pub social in Seven Hills tonight. Four of us met for dinner, and we brainstormed what sort of topics we’d like to debate or discuss in future.
Look out for topics like:
- ANZAC Day & Samhain
- Building Community – how, and what do we need?
- Should Paganism be taught in public schools?
- Age diversity and pagan practise
- …..and more, but we don’t want to ruin any surprises 🙂
I suspect there will be a strong theme of social justice given the interests of those who attended tonight, and I’m really curious to see how that will develop. So, come along and have a meal with us. We’d love to meet you and have a good chat.
There’s a lot out there on the internet about how to find a coven. Most of it seems to be quite US centric with the occasional UK resource thrown in. Here’s an Australian version and perhaps one that might be more suited to seekers on The Pagan Fringe of Sydney. I’ve also used the word coven here, although it’s typically used to refer to a group of witches practising together. The group you’re looking for might not involve witches or witchcraft at all, however it might be anything from ceremonially focussed group doing magick, a general earth centred pagan group marking the seasons, or maybe a discussion group or a study group focussing on a particular topic or genre of research/writing. Not everyone needs a coven, however these are some good tips to start with if you’re considering group work of some kind.
- Do some research
- Have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, and your reasons why. At the very least have an idea of the style of paganism that you’d like to explore further. Then you can start to ask the right questions of who you’d like to meet. Asking everyone you meet that you want to meet ‘some witches’ is far too vague.
- Get out to face to face events
- You may find a contact point for a coven or group online, however it’ll be in person where you’ll find valuable connections that you can deepen further if it feels right. Attend whatever local groups and meet ups that you can, even if they’re social meet ups. Especially if they are social meetings, you might score yourself an invite to something else if you get to know a few people.
- Have a look here for more info on what to do if you’ve never attended a pagan event before. Here are some suggested events and ways to find them:
- The Pagan Fringe – we tend to attract people who don’t attend larger or more public events. We’ve met coven leaders, members, occultists, and seekers in the short time we’ve been hosting events since 2015.
- Regular public full moon rituals in Seven Hills. There are regular announcements at these circles about other events coming up.
- Join a Facebook page like Sydney Pagans – it’s a well networked group, particularly in Western Sydney and you might find something relevant to you.
- Use your manners and think about your motives
- Think of it like you’re applying for a job and there is a screening process before you even get to the interview stage. Be polite, demonstrate that you’ve thought about what kind of group you’d like to meet, and have a think about what value you can add. Be upfront and honest.
- Understand the time commitment
- Have a think about how much time you can realistically commit to group or coven work and how that best fits in with the rest of your life. Being a member of a coven is starting a new relationship, with not one, but an entire group of people all at once. It will typically last years and will require regular attendance and contribution. Are you ready for it? Is there space in your life for this? Conversely, taking on a new student is no small task for a coven or a teacher. It’s a massive time and energy investment, so it needs to appear worthwhile for everyone.
- I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say ‘when I’m ready, my teacher will appear’ No, no they won’t. Teachers do not go out of their way looking for new students. See my comment above about time and energy commitment. There may be a study group that will advertise their courses and you can join them, however that’s not a coven environment. A teacher (worth learning with) will not *ask* a student to become their student.
As always, keep an open mind and learn to recognise what’s a good and healthy environment or people to get involved with. The following resource is a helpful one when considering working with a new bunch of people.
Best of luck on your journey!
Here are some ideas of what you can do to celebrate the season:
- Go fruit picking with your family or coven
- Check out this list here of places to go within a short drive from Richmond NSW. Most places are free entry and they then charge you per kg for the fruit that you’ve picked. Try apples and chestnuts and bake them up when you get home into delicious Autumn dishes.
- Create an altar
- You can use your usual altar or create a makeshift altar space anywhere in your home. Choose somewhere that won’t be disturbed by animals or children, and set out images of Autumn and the Harvest. If you don’t want to do anything too complex, you could simply light candles and give thanks for blessings of abundance in your life.
- Listen to Mabon themed music
- There are some interesting suggestions here with over 93 songs on their playlist. Something is bound to catch your interest
- Look to the skies
- The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular this time of year. Check out the brilliant blog posts on the March night sky here. The following excerpt is from their post:
Highlights for March 2017
First quarter Moon is on Sunday the 5th at 10:32pm
The Moon will be full on Monday the13th at 1:54am
Last quarter is Tuesday 21st at 2:58am, and
The New Moon is on Tuesday the 28th at 1:57pm
The autumn equinox is Monday 20th at 9:29pm.
One of the nicest vistas will be on March the 1st looking west shortly after sunset. The constellation of Pisces will host Venus which is very bright but it sets at 8:28pm less than an hour after the Sun, Mars which is not bright and the young crescent Moon (~9%). By the 2nd the Moon will have moved from below and to the left of Mars to above and the right.
- Spend some time meditating amongst the trees and take in the cool Autumn air. Not quite Western Sydney, but a short drive to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Everglades is truly spectacular in Autumn and is easy to access with kids and prams. Focus on balance and internal contemplation as we move deeper into darker half of the year.
Later in the season you could check out a community festival. Towards the end of May there is the Autumn Harvest Festival at Rouse Hill – it always looks like fun!
And lastly, come and join us for a coffee on either 26th March or 23rd April at The Church Specialty Brew Bar in Glenbrook (Ross St, Glenbrook NSW) from 1-3pm.
On the suggestion of one of our regular attendees, we thought that we’d start something casual, and on a weekday and see if it gathers much interest. So we’ll just kick it off! Come and join us!
Pagan Pub Social
This is a casual social drop in session to meet other pagans in the Western Sydney area – maybe pop in on your way home from work, grab a tasty meal from the bistro and catch up for a chat.
We’ll introduce regular topics and additional dates if this is well attended. Potential to expand and rotate to other locations around Western Sydney pending feedback.
What: The Pagan Fringe hosted social meet up
Where: Hotel Seven Hills
When: Thurs 6th Apr 6-8pm 2017
Who: All welcome
Cost: Free to attend, all meals and drinks at your own expense.
Kid friendly?: yes – there is a play area for 3-10yr olds adjacent to the bistro tables, however given the timing, we don’t expect many children to attend with their parents.
Contact: 0473 467 685 or 0411 525 413
Hi! We’re almost up to our 3rd meet up for the year, and it’s coming up in a few weeks!
- When: Sunday 26th March 1-3pm
- Where: The Church, Specialty Brew Bar, Ross St Glenbrook NSW
- Contact: Kerrie 0473 467 685
- Facebook event here
You might be wondering – who are The Pagan Fringe? What are you on about? Why the goat skull? Read on!
Who are we?
We are The Pagan Fringe. We are the pagan folk who live, work and play on the fringe of Sydney. Based in Western Sydney, we find ourselves meeting others in the Lower Blue Mointains, Nepean, Blacktown and Hawkesbury regions and beyond, stretching North, West and South. We’re also fringe-dwellers when it comes to our religious and magical practice. This is an effort to create and in some cases revive old connections of witchy/pagan/magical folk in this region in Sydney, NSW Australia.
When do you meet?
Regularly, once a month or so. In 2017 we’re starting a new regular meet up called “Last Sunday Coffee Collective’ to be held on, you guessed it, the Last Sunday of the month. Sometimes we’ll change this if it clashes with something like Samhain in April.
Like our main page on Facebook The Pagan Fringe for further updates!
So, why the goat skull? We typically bring a goat skull to our events so we’re easy to find in a restaurant. There’s no mistaking him. We also like the imagery of the goat (related to the goat-foot God Pan) and also associated with hardy survival in tough terrain. Pagans don’t tend to stay pagan for very long without some thick skin in that regard 😉
Who can attend?
Generally everyone, we run family friendly events too. Most of our events are free to attend, or may have the option for you to purchase your own drinks or meals.
Are you affiliated with any other organised groups? Do I have to ‘join’ you?
No we’re not a part of other groups and no, there’s no requirement to ‘join’ anything other than us for a drink/chat.
We’re primarily a social group, however we may facilitate introductions to covens, teachers, share information about upcoming workshops or host the delivery of learning or training opportunities.
Who will I meet?
Witches. Occultists. Pagans.
Many of us are experienced practitioners who have spent time teaching, presenting, running groups, events, circles and covens over the last 20yrs. Combined, we have well over 50yrs+ experience practising magic and witchcraft.