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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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.

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?

Review: Blacktown Medieval Fayre

 

What an awesome day! We had a blast visiting this very well run event, completely FREE and 100% sponsored event hosted by Blacktown City Council. I have to say, it’s so incredibly wonderful to see events like this being hosted in Western Sydney with this level of support from the local council. It’s really encouraging and something that I think residents of the area, and those visiting, were really appreciative of.  There were people from our event page who had travelled all the way from Newcastle to attend! That’s impressive!

We caught up with a few folks who met us at the meeting point near St John’s ambulance stand between 10-10:30am and then headed off for a tour around the Fayre itself. What a great event in today’s sensational sunshine!

Something I’ve noticed over the last few meet ups is that we’re meeting some beautiful and genuine folks who are looking to learn and connect with others in an open and authentic way. It’s incredibly inspiring! If you’re wanting to get to know others in the pagan scene in Western Sydney, well I can tell you, you’ve found the right bunch of folks on this end to achieve that!

Stay tuned for future events with a focus on a few of us more experienced practitioners sharing our knowledge in a friendly and accessible way.

See you at our Yule event in June! 😀

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!

 

5 awesome things about practicing witchcraft on The Pagan Fringe of Sydney

Here are 5 awesome things about practicing witchcraft on The Pagan Fringe of Sydney.

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  1. A small, but active group of other pagans, witches and occultists to connect with at various events like full moons, meet ups, sabbats and other regular catch ups. And a great diversity of people practicing all different kinds of magick in different ways; from Wiccans to kitchen witches and ceremonial magicians; those meeting in small covens or solitary folks and a real mix of experience too, from people new to their path to those with 25yrs+ experience. You’re bound to meet someone interesting along the way!
  2. Plenty of space to explore the natural world surrounding Sydney – waterfalls, swimming holes, natural bushland and plenty of bush walking tracks to enjoy. There are also heaps of open space parks that are well maintained to picnic in with friends and family. I’ve also found it easier to find great outdoor spaces for ritual, without disturbing other people whilst escaping artificial light and sound of a modern city. And if it’s still too urban for you, it’s quicker and easier to make your escape to the West, North or South of Sydney to explore further afield.
  3. Connections to the land via the food you can eat – it’s easier to visit your local farmers market, or head to the edges of Sydney to pick your own fruit in Autumn. I also enjoy local honey from my area too
  4. Some places are dark enough to see alot more stars at night, especially during the cooler months in the Nepean region. If you head further West over the Blue Mountains you can see even more of the Milky Way during the best viewing season (Feb-Oct to see the galactic core from the Southern Hemisphere). Hint: pick a dark moon night, which is typically one of the three nights leading up to the New Moon.
  5. Plenty of sympathetic events running in the Western Sydney area which attract other pagans or like minded people – medieval fairs, indigenous art festivals, sustainable living and gardening workshops – these kinds of events can also provide a great opportunity for you and your coven to meet up and do things together outside of your usual time together.

I hope you’ve found the following list useful and inspiring!

Things to do in Autumn

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Are you a pagan family looking for things to do in Autumn, in and around Western Sydney? Here is a short list of things to consider:

  • Go fruit picking with your family or coven
    • Check out this list here of places to go within a short drive from Richmond NSW. Teach your kids that fruit doesn’t come from the shops! 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.
  • Pretend you’re in Scotland for a day
  • Or the middle ages
  • Attend an Autumn Harvest Festival
    • Check out Leura Harvest Festival  early in May or get your foodie hat on and explore some of the region’s finest at Rouse Hill farm at the end of May – maybe pack a picnic?
  • Get cooking or baking at home
  • Play in the Autumn leaves
    • 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.
    • Spend some time meditating amongst the trees and take in the cool Autumn air.

Hopefully there are some fun ideas here for you and your family. Happy Autumn!