The veil is thin

I play this every year at Samhain. Wendy Rule is an Australian artist who was most popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I’m not sure if she’s still performing much these days, but this is a classic.

As I sit here and reflect on Samhain, the sky is a brilliant azure blue, the sun shines high and clear, and the evenings have just started to cool enough to put a heavier blanket on the bed. The weather on The Pagan Fringe of Western Sydney at the end of April doesn’t exactly scream WINTER to me just yet.

With that in mind, how will you celebrate or mark Samhain? Remember, the veil is thinnest at Samhain and Beltane, so take advantage of that if you’re looking to do some magick.

Here are some other suggestions:

Feast of the Dead: Prepare a Samhain feast with fresh local seasonal produce – look out for kumera/sweet potato, it was a good price last week (18/04) Perhaps make a pot of roasted sweet potato soup? Set at an extra place at your table and provide a portion of your food aside (that you don’t eat) to honour your ancestors. Invite them to dine with you. After the meal, leave the food outdoors and if necessary, thoughtfully dispose of in the morning.

Visit a cemetery: Visit the graves or places of remembrance of your loved ones. Leave flowers or an offering. If you don’t have any relatives close by, visiting a cemetery close to Samhain is still a beautiful and peaceful thing to do. This is probably most relevant for me now. I’m at a stage in my life, where sadly, I have lost more of my family than I have left. But as I was reminded during a memorial service for a friend last week, they’re not gone. They’ve just moved on and are still mostly able to be contacted. That’s what we mean when we refer to the veils being ‘thin’. Reach out now if you need to.

Moon watch: Observe the new moon setting in the west. The dark moon was yesterday, quite fitting on ANZAC Day, so look to the Western sky over the next few days approaching sunset and look for the sliver of the moon as it sets. Watch it from now until Sunday and each day reflect on what Samhain means to you.

This looks like an excellent recipe for roasted sweet potato soup. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Pub Pagan Social – with bite

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.

 

5 ways to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox

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Here are some ideas of what you can do to celebrate the season:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.

  5. Meditate
    • 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.

Pagan Pub Social

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!

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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

Event review: Samhain 2016

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our first Samhain event! It was in two parts – a drinks and nibbles meet up in the early evening and then the ghost tour following at St Bartholomew’s Church as Prospect.

We started off with dinner in The Piano Room, which incidentally is the most haunted room in the venue! How fitting! When our group got too large for the limited seating in there (there’s only room for 12), we relocated outside to the beautiful beer garden to continue chatting and socialising in the mild Autumn weather.

Following dinner, those who had tickets continued over to meet up at St Bartholomew’s Church at Prospect for the evening’s ghost tour.

It was quite a mixed group with almost 40 participants (including 16 of our own) and the trout as run by a rather eccentric and very passionate volunteer by the name of Hazel. She had many a story to tell (some tall you might say) about the hauntings and apparitions that have been experienced at the location. In addition to the paranormal reportings, Hazel was also full of loads of facts and info about the history of the church and cemetery.

If there’s interest, we may book another private ghost tour later in the year.

Thanks to everyone who came along and made it a great night. We look forward to seeing you at our next event in May!

 

Autumnal Equnox Picnic

The weather has really turned in the last week! To celebrate, we gather together for a wee picnic on the banks of the Nepean River.

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Weir Reserve – Penrith NSW

What I’m really enjoying the most is establishing the building blocks for a lovely little pagan community in Western Sydney. So many people are solitary, or aren’t entirely comfortable turning up to a time and space for ritual with others, so what we aim to offer is social events and opportunities to mix with others, without the pressure of taking part in ritual.

It doesn’t mean that we won’t offer rituals or other events like that in future, however what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s a slow process to build a cherished bunch of people who are comfortable to gather under those circumstances.

Amongst us as it is, we have a small coven, some solitary folk, incredibly experienced teachers with over 20yrs experience, and others who are just finding their feet. Come and join us at one of our future public events 🙂