Antipodean Witch: Weaving the craft down under

General Blog Description: Exploring Southern Hemisphere neo-pagan practice and culture from the point of view of a progressive witch living south of Perth, Western Australia.

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Lee Pike

Lee Pike

Lee is an artist and witch hailing from Western Australia. Her practice is one woven from both an intiatory eclectic Wiccan circle and a rigorous solitary practice that is heavily coloured with chaos magic and probably too many unicorns. Sarcasm, dry wit and Happy Squirrels are par for the course.
Beltane... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
The full moon in Taurus has come and gone, and wasn’t it lush? Last weekend I celebrated the festival commonly known as Beltane with my coven, and today I go to a wedding… ’tis the season for all things love and an interesting time for witches of all stripes as Halloween is a spectre making itself being felt with more an more presence in Australia despite it being a point on the calendar not traditionally observed. But I digress – I am here to ruminate about Beltane.
 
The full flowering of Spring is truly upon us. The native plants are humming with energy and to the Noongar people, the traditional custodians of this land, the season is known as Kambarang, the season of wildflowers. Fruits and nuts are collected. The first summer fruits make their blessed appearance, and while they do not always taste as lush as the last fruits, they are a delight to re-introduce to the table. The jarrah tree is in full flower and you can hear bees humming when you pass beneath the boughs. Beauty is everywhere.
  
 When considering this mood with the ‘flipped’ Southern Hemisphere Wheel, it is not entirely at odds with the fire festival of Beltane, which brings connotations of fertility and is often seen as a festival of love. It is high wedding season as the weather starts to warm and our cardigans are shed to bare our skin to the first careless sunburns of the season, and more time is spent outdoors underneath perfect blue skies. The birds and the bees are literally out and about making full use of the nectar and fruits that are making themselves available. Conversely, the land is also starting to brown and a dying off of the winter green can be felt. I used to dread summer at this time along with the drag of Christmas but I have made a Pinterest board to sweet talk myself into actually enjoying summer as so many seem to do.
 
 
 
Our coven’s celebration of Beltane does not usually subscribe to dancing around a May pole (I think we’ve given it a crack once or twice), but it is a lovely time to court creativity and resonate with the energy that can allow for flourishing of personal projects, preparing for the heat ahead, and celebrating the furling out of the self and sealing the connection of the working group. In my own (work in progress) rendition of the Wheel of the Year, I have called it ‘The Radiance’ but I have also seen it referred to as Flowering Earth and Rosemas in other Australian groups who have forgone the name of ‘Beltane’ for their seasonal Wheel.
 
  
beltane2014cOur altar was festooned with flowers and fruits.
  
 
beltane2014a
A lovely opportunity to charge objects with solar energy – which we were definitely feeling on that day!
  
 
beltane2014b
 
During ritual we used chants, drumming, rose petals and ribbons to raise a cone of power to charge our rite, which was dedicated to celebrating our collective energy and also blessing the land with cooling healing if it should need it in the warm months ahead.
  
 
beltane2014d
 
A basket of flowers from our gardens and a jug of water, ready for charging and blessing.
 
 Our feast included sparkling wine with hibiscus flowers, fresh salads, and berries dipped in raw chocolate mousse and chocolate hummus! Yum!
 
 
I hope you are experiencing a lovely season or simply a beautiful weekend.
 
This post originally appeared on my main blog over at The Chaos Witch.
 
 
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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Hock-deep in Samhain up here in the Northern Half, and with 10 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow, it's nice to be reminded tha
The Element of Earth: Deep Connection and Foundation

This is the fourth in my series of posts on how I connect to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere, living on the western coast of Australia. This time, I turn to the South where I contemplate the element of Earth. Previously, I called on Air, in the East; Fire, in the North; and Water, in the West.

Standing in the South urges one to contemplate a deep, dark and quiet part of the self. To the South lies the lush forests populated by the majestic Karri, Jarrah, Tingle and Tuart trees which don't grow anywhere else in the world, and green fields used for farming and vineyards. This makes it a tourist destination and to go "Down South" in Western Australia means you are escaping the suburbs for peace and tranquility. Even further south lies Antarctica and the South Pole, and weather patterns from the Southern Ocean bring the cold fronts in Winter that hit the coast line sometimes with a great deal of power.

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  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    Gorgeous post. I'm privileged to live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and I feel the same sense of earth-connection the farther north

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The Element of Water: May You Never Thirst

This is the third of a series of posts about how I relate to the elements in the Southern Hemisphere living on the western coast of Australia; this time, we are going To Dare and explore the element of Water. Previously, I called in Fire, in the North.

I've always wanted to be a mermaid. There was just something so appealing about it. I never actually watched The Little Mermaid as a child, weirdly enough as a kid who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, that boat sailed right by me. However I have always been enchanted by the 'seaside', and I have lived within a short drive or a short walk away from the beach my whole life. I am lucky enough to be on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean, and have ready access to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. I used to run down to the beach in the hot summers as a lanky 14 year old with my body board in tow and the waves I used to catch when I was by myself makes me shake my head with bewilderment today. Somewhere I found my fear as an adult; perhaps it was one too many times getting dumped by the waves into the harsh sandbar.

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The Element of Fire: Passion, Creation and Ignition

This is the second of my series of posts on how I connect to the elements from a Southern Hemisphere perspective living on the western coast of Australia. Previously, I called in Air, in the East.

I now turn to the North, and call in passion, creation, desire, heat: I call to you, o Fire! Standing in the circle, we have already established a sense of presence in the breath of life, the whisper is on the winds, the intention is set, the inspiration has arrived. Fire is called next as it now has the Air to breathe, to ignite a sense of drive into what we do in this space, a flurry of sparks: let's turn that whisper into a roar. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Pike, I always appreciate to read about the Pagan sense of place, and how it affects local reverence for the Gods and spirits
6 Reasons Why The Wheel of the Year is Still Valid

The longer I spend online browsing blogs, lurking in discussion forums and generally talking to other witches and pagans, the more often I see the comment that many people do not celebrate the Wheel of the Year as they have decided the dates as they are traditionally understood in contemporary practice as simply not being a fit any more for their own practice.

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I spent a bit of time in my garden yesterday, and one emotion overwhelmed me more than any other: despair, and yearning.

Well, that’s a bit dramatic. But I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about the Wheel and how it relates to my practice, and the seasons too, and this season is definitely my least favourite. For me, the seasons are intrinsically connected to my practice, which is indeed earth-centred and intimately connected with the land. Working with, and not against, the land can be a challenge at times. Especially when the seasons turn harsh and the spiritual struggles that accompany, particularly the sense of ‘waiting’ can be the bane of the more impatient amongst us!

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Sorry for the sloppy communication, Lee; in my case, at least, I was referring to ME as the whiner - not you. As I was here in th
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Yes, Greybeard, as a Phoenician I was thinking the same thing. My wife and I have lived here for 30 years - and yes, Lee, I unders
  • Lee Pike
    Lee Pike says #
    As much as this post is a 'whine', it has been confirmed the hottest summer on record for Perth, Australia, including the hottest
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Shift that 6 months and your weather sounds a lot like Los Angeles, California, and much of the SW US. Phoenix, Arizona is actual

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