What Witches Want

Image-1We had our second Pub Pagan Social meet up last night at Seven Hills. The topic for discussion was ‘Samhain’ however we quickly dealt with that and moved on to discuss next fortnight’s topic of ‘Community’ and what that might mean to those attending. Don’t worry, we’ll continue the conversation next fortnight too!

In short, what we discovered is that for many of us, our idea of what the pagan community’s need (and yes, there are multiple because it’s not just one community anymore), is dated. Many of us have been in private practice or well out of public circulation for many years so we figured what we need to do now is listen. We need to listen to what  *you* want.

So, what *do* you want in a pagan event in Western Sydney? What will inspire you to attend something in the flesh? What’s important to you? And why?

A few factors which might inspire your response:

  • Location – close to home or easy to get to? Need public transport?
  • Cost – free or low cost?
  • Child or family friendly – do you want to bring your kids? Or ensure that there won’t be any children attending?
  • Specific approach or path? Witchcraft, Egyptian, Heathen, Occultist, Ceremonial Magick, Wiccan, Eclectic Pagan?
  • Accessibility – for many reasons, is the venue accessible?
  • Public or Private location – maybe you’d feel more comfortable in a public location? Or private?
  • Lack of familiarity – new to the scene, don’t know anyone…
  • Opportunity to learn something unusual or something that just cannot be taught from a book
  • Celebratory – I want to celebrate the Sabbats with someone!
  • Etc etc etc – what will inspire your response?

How do I make my voice heard?

  1. Contribute to the Facebook discussion over here
  2. Email us! paganfringe@gmail.com
  3. Leave a comment here on the blog
  4. Phone us! Yes, we mean it. Maybe pop us through and email and we can arrange to give you a call and we can chat.
  5. Come and see us face to face at one of our events. The Coffee Collective or the Pub Pagan Social would be best for these kinds of discussions, but really, anytime, anywhere is good. Just reach out and make contact. We want to hear from you!

Come along and join us at the next Pub Pagan Social 4th May 6:30pm-8:30pm Hotel Seven Hills.

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Approaching Winter

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.

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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 🙂

Chai

Ingredients

  • 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.

Method

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

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.

 

How do I find a coven?

John_William_Waterhouse_-_Magic_CircleThere’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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Ask
    • 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!

 

More regular events in 2017

We’ve been thinking about how we can structure our events in the new year to make it easier to connect. So, we’re introducing a new monthly catch up over a simple coffee. And it’ll be the last Sunday of every month. Keep it free in your calendar and if you can’t make it one month, won’t be too long until the next scheduled meet up 🙂

The first one is set for Sunday 29th Jan 1-3pm. Please join us!

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Spring Magick

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This dark moon/new moon this weekend combined with some wild winds over the last few days in addition to the secular alteration of the clocks in New South Wales, has lead to a rather beautiful time to consider some spring cleaning/new beginning sort of magic making.

Sometimes magic isn’t all about the arcane or astrological timings and influences. Sometimes it’s using the pragmatic, the mundane and the everyday markers in time and space to carve out something otherworldly.

This has been a perfect approach for me this Spring season. How is it working out for you?