What is ‘The Pagan Fringe?’

 

15541953_602028436670287_645502483116857434_nYou 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.

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!

 

What is Samhain?

Are you wondering what Samhain is about, and why we’d want to tour cemeteries and boneyards and hear stories of ghosts of those long departed?

Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’) is halfway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It’s a Gaelic festival marking the last of the Harvest festivals and leads a quiet time moving toward Winter.

 

From Wikipedia 

Samhain is believed to have Celtic pagan origins and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times. The Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithicpassage tomb at the Hill of Tara, is aligned with the Samhain sunrise.[1] It is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them.[2] Like Beltane, Samhain was seen as a liminaltime, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed.

This meant the Aos Sí, the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies‘, could more easily come into our world. Most scholars see the Aos Sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. At Samhain, it was believed that the Aos Sí needed to be propitiated to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter. Offerings of food and drink were left outside for them. The souls of the dead were also thought to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Mumming and guising were part of the festival, and involved people going door-to-door in costume (or in disguise), often reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way of imitating, and disguising oneself from, the Aos Sí. Divination rituals and games were also a big part of the festival and often involved nuts and apples. In the late 19th century, Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer suggested that it was the “Celtic New Year”, and this view has been repeated by some other scholars.[3]

In the 9th century ADWestern Christianity shifted the date of All Saints’ Day to 1 November, while 2 November later became All Souls’ Day. Over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ merged to create the modern Halloween.[4] Historians have used the name ‘Samhain’ to refer to Gaelic ‘Halloween’ customs up until the 19th century.[5]

Since the later 20th century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Samhain, or something based on it, as a religious holiday.[6] Neopagans in the Southern Hemisphere often celebrate Samhain at the other end of the year (about 1 May).

The experience of Samhain in Australia is quite different than you might expect in England, Ireland, Wales or Scotland. For many, me included, the days leading up to April 30th are just as poignant, specifically ANZAC Day on 25th April.

So what do we do at this time of year in Australia?

  • We honour our dead, our long departed ancestors and personally, in our family, we also remember all soldiers who have served, who continue to serve and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Personally I attend Dawn Service on ANZAC Day every year.
  • On Samhain, depending on my plans, I attend a ritual circle with friends and we host a ritual and afterwards we feast to remember our dead and prepare for Winter.
  • This year, I will be visiting a local boneyard on the night when the veil is thin.

If you’re setting up an altar to honour the spirit of Samhain, you might want to consider adding a photo of one your ancestors who has passed, and perhaps lighting a candle for them. Leave food and drink out for them as well. This should not be consumed later on, rather offered to the earth the next morning.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Lughnasadgh 2016

Happy Lughnasadagh! The Pagan Fringe is a loose collection of pagan and magical folk who live on the edge of Sydney, mostly based in Western Sydney from Blacktown, to the Hawkesbury, out to Penrith and the lower Blue Mountains.

If you’d like to catch up, I’ll be celebrating the harvest by attending the first Glenbrook Fine Food Markets of the year on Sat 6th Feb. Let’s catch up for a coffee from 8:30am if you’re interested in putting a face to these posts 🙂

  • When & Time: 08:30am Sat 6th Feb
  • Where: Glenbrook Infants School, Ross St Glenbrook NSW
  • Who: All welcome – the markets are child and dog friendly.
  • More info: http://glenbrookrotarymarkets.com.au/

 

2015 = Ten. More to come!

It’s almost the end of the calendar year. Again. Where has 2015 gone? I had big intentions this year of running lots of events and rituals. And I get to the end of the year and feel like not much has happened, until I review what we *did* do. 10 events, and only one cancelled due to rain.
Let’s do a quick review of what events we’ve run this year.

  • Feb 22 – Initial Meet & Greet – Emu Plains
  • Mar 29 – Lunch at The Alroy – Plumpton
  • Apr 4 – Blood Moon Rising – visit to local observatory – Werrington
  • Apr 18 – Pagans at Ironfest – Lithgow
  • May 3rd – The Last Harvest – Leura – cancelled due to rain
  • Jun 6th – Winter Coffee Catch Up – Glenrbook
  • Jul 12th – Lunch at The Jamieson – Penrith
  • Aug 1st – Imbolc morning meet – Glenbrook
  • Sep 26th – Sustainability Festival and Farmer’s Market meet up – Seven Hills

And….a new date for a December Summer picnic to be confirmed soon.

I’m also trialling a few local spots for ritual locations as well. We spoke earlier in the year about running rituals other than full moons, so stay tuned for some announcements for early in 2016. I’m also keen to host a family friendly picnic as well.