We had a wonderful meet up for our first coffee meeting of 2019.
Maybe it was the Lunar New Year and the growing of the crescent moon in the Western sky, however, we certainly attracted a beautiful bunch of new folk to our humble little coffee collective. Thanks for an awesome Sunday!
If you missed out, please join us next month: Sunday 10th March 2019, 1-3pm The Church, Ross St Glenbrook NSW
Can you tell I used to be one of those corporate folk? ‘Second quarter review’, some habits die hard I suppose. But here we are, and a little late for writing this. The time period covering April, May & June simply flew by and looking back on what we did, we were busier than what we thought! 8 catch ups in total!
April – 4 events/meetups including Ironfest.
May – 3 events – pub and coffee meets
June – only the one coffee catch up. I guess we got a little into the hibernation energy of Winter.
Since June, we’ve met up 3 times including a catch up at Winterfest in the Hawkesbury.
Well, it’s nearly the end of the first quarter of the calendar year. Where did the time go? The weather is finally shifting toward feeling more Autumnal in the Western suburbs of Sydney. This is excellent! Evenings are cooling down and whilst the days are still bright and sparkling, mornings are fresh and cool.
We’ve been hosting our coffee meet ups for just over 12mths now and have hosted 3 this year already. They’ve been a really beautiful space in which to connect with others in a casual, relaxed environment. I’d suggest they’re our most successful series of events we’ve run over the last 3yrs.
As for pub meet ups, we’ve held two in Springwood in February at The Royal Hotel, and we’re yet to host any in Seven Hills as the bistro was closed for an extended period over the Dec/Jan holidays whilst new owners took over, introducing a new menu. Keep an eye on the FB page for info about pub meets when we set them up.
We are returning to the Autumn and Spring picnic ideas this year with our dates already locked in for March (Richmond/Hawkesbury River NSW) and September (near the Nepean River, Penrith NSW)
Is there anything else you’d like to see us offering? Let us know and come along to get involved 🙂
Hi there! Our Facebook page is the best way to stay in touch with what we’re doing and for all event invites. The majority of these events are public, however from time to time we may host private or invite only events as well. These will be published on our group (linked to our page)
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: Observethe 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.
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 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.
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.