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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Australia

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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PaganNewsBeagle Watery Wednesday Community News August 20

Today's Watery Wednesday emphasizes community news from all over our wonderful movement of Pagans, Heathens, Witches, Wiccans, and polytheists. Lots of things moving and shaking today!

On the Norse Mythology blog, we hear from Master Sergeant (MSgt) Matt Walters, who led the campaign to convince the US Air Force to include Ásatrú and Heathenry as options in its religious preference list.

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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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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The magnificent rock paintings of the Kimberly range in northwestern Australia are among the most ancient in the world, going back tens of thousands of years. Radiocarbon dating of a fossilized wasp nest built over one painting places the nest itself at more than 17,000 years ago, so that the painting must be older -- possibly much older -- than that. Aboriginal people in this region call the paintings, or rather the Beings in them, Gwion Gwion, Giro Giro, and other names.

While making my Woman Shaman dvd, I did a lot of research on rock art around the world. These paintings grabbed my attention, not only because of their tremendous beauty, but because they show dance and ceremonial regalia. Aboriginal tradition says they represent ancestral Beings of the Dreamtime. Because human ceremony celebrates these beings, and reenacts their primordial creative acts, we come around full circle to a likely reflection what extremely ancient rites might have looked like. But from North America it was next to impossible to find Aboriginal testimony about these paintings.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_cowslip.JPGUpon my first flush of dedicating myself as a witch, the very first sabbat I celebrated as a solitary practitioner, before I had found my coven, was Imbolc. I had done enough reading of neo-pagan literature after poaching the stacks in my local town library and I was keen to get my Wheel of the Year on. Bright eyed, and very bushy tailed.

It was most of a decade ago now, but I remember the little ceremony well; it involved a small paper clay boat with a ram's head that I had carved and fired, dipped in a golden butter-coloured glaze that seemed to perfectly suit my purposes. In the boat I placed some offerings for the sabbat; there were some white chocolate dipped raspberry licorice bullets, some sprigs of red geranium, and a splash of strawberry port from a berry farm in the south. I 'launched' my boat into my front garden which had been freshly planted with some baby rosemary and sage and protected with moonstone which glimmered in the early morning sunlight. I burned candles and meditated and felt a flicker of something that has stayed with me and returns every August. My practices ever since then have always been as eclectic, and sometimes just as elusive: but the whimsicality and solemnity of the ritual permeates my memory.

The return of Spring is not felt with obvious sign or herald in my home country as it is in other lands. The climate here is Mediterranean and warm most of the time, and the temperatures on a sunny August day could possibly be mistaken for a heatwave in some Northern Hemisphere climes. This year, thankfully, we have received some rain and Winter feels like she has finally 'arrived' after a long, and dark, wait. There is certainly a change to be felt in the air, though. A Quickening. The land stirs beneath my feet with a note of potential that was not there before, and the feelings of dormancy have been banished as the downhill push into warmth begins. Nights will be cold, if not the coldest, of the year, but there is still a sense of 'spring' under the earth and birds begin to be a little bit more noisy than usual. The rains have freshened the landscape and weeds and winter grasses are flourishing with abandon. Very soon, the land will burst forth with every colour of the rainbow as if the rainbow snake of ancient dreaming has pierced some crystal somewhere and has shattered into a million pieces and scattered across the land. The magic will sing again, but until then, we wait. And watch.

Photo credit: Cowslip orchard from Western Australia, retrieved from http://ournomadicways.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/wildflowers-of-wa-part-3.html

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    I appreciate the metaphors. Happy Imbolc to our Australian friends!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Meet the Pagan Bogan, or, the 'Pogan'

Before one decides to make the big leap and attend their first pagan event, one's imagination conjures up all sorts of images about the sorts of people they will meet and the experiences they will have. If you're prepared to eliminate any romantic notions and be realistic about the people you might meet, you will do well. An open mind and tolerant spirit is the best attitude to adapt as there are going to be people who, regretfully in some ways, snugly fit into stereotypes which might be a little too familiar. For the Australian pagan that stereotype is going to be: the bogan. Bogans love witchcraft, Wicca and paganism and are drawn to it, like moths to a flame. Because of this, you might find you are swamped by bogans at pagan events, a horrifying prospect for an inner city, soy-chai-latte-sipping hipster witch.

Bogans are firmly entrenched in Australian culture and their kin are the 'rednecks' in the U.S. or perhaps 'chavs' in the U.K. They are symptomatic of middle-class white cultural cringe but mostly I think bogan identification is harmless and taken with a good shake of humour. The Things Bogans Like website tells us that "the bogan today defies income, class, race, creed, gender or logic". The negative aspects of the stereotype, such as willful lack of education or general racism (in the form of cultural appropriation) and bigotry, unfortunately does make an appearance in the pagan bogan, or as very artfully coined by Galloway of the excellent blog Galloway & Daracha, the 'pogan'.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for writing this! I'm always fascinated to read about the Australian Pagan subculture.
  • Ethony
    Ethony says #
    Great article. So many specific references. Love to the Pogan
  • Galloway
    Galloway says #
    I can't believe I forgot the "Magic Happens" stickers!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Quest for Connection Down Under

For many witches and pagans, one's practice is deeply connected to the land. It is in this that the oft-used, and sometimes contested moniker of 'earth-based spirituality' originates, and whilst I have a lot more to say about the idea of what 'earth-based' actually means in the context of witchcraft, for many, it has literal interpretations.

The turning of the Wheel and the observations of the Sabbats as framed by contemporary neo-paganism is one that links in movements that are both solar and earthly. Cultures live and die by the weather and the elements, even today in our world of modern conveniences, and this is something that many neo-pagans seek to tap back into, in order to weave meaning into our lives and to join in the dance that strums throughout the All. We gather on the Sabbats to celebrate the changes and to honour the deities who stride the land with us, and we feel and honour a connection that is deep and sacred. The waxing and waning of the planet matches the waxing and waning in both our lives and in the cosmos; in the Beyond, and Between. As the veils shimmer and lift, rise and fall, we dance in our circles and break bread with each other and with our Gods, however we view them to be.

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