Monthly Archives: June 2013

Solstice Celebrations for All

Photo courtesy of Damiana Fortune

There was a time – not so long ago – that the advent of the winter solstice was for the most part ignored in Australia. In recent decades, I recall a couple of times when others pointed out that the shortest day of the year was coming up, but that was about it. Winter came and went each year, and for most non-pagan people it was cold and dark and frosty, and then it wasn’t.

This year, I am pleased to report that I was spoiled for choice over what to do for the longest night, and the invites weren’t just coming from pagan folk! As well as the usual Yule celebrations held by dear pagan friends, we have started to hear about all kinds of interesting things.

Inner Melbournians were treated to the Inner Light Festival at Federation Square. Participants enjoyed a lantern procession, dancing and a culturally diverse feast.

Further North, the Blue Mountains Winter Magick Festival saw artists, musicians, dancers, drummers, choirs and community flock to Katoomba. According to the website, the streets are annually “lined with market stalls and everybody who attends is encouraged to dress in costume”. Similarly, many other local communities (like this one) put on dinners, dances, movies and more. By all reports these were attended by local people of all ages and walks of life.

Photo courtesy of Damiana Fortune.

This letter in the Albury-Wodonga Border Mail reports a far more sombre affair put on by the twin cities – an event for survivors of suicide. To me, this shows that non-pagans are beginning to experience more deeply the different facets of this time of year, and are using this darker period to remember and reflect upon dark times, those fallen and those left behind.

On top of this, the shortest day and longest night now set the stage for icy-cold swims, fun runs and special snow events.

Underlying this wide range of events is a strong theme of community. And while some maintain that this relatively newfound secular interest in the solstice is nothing more than a greenie fad, I choose to believe that people are waking up to the world around them again, and are actually giving a damn about the place where they live.

– Galloway.

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Doreen Valiente Blue Plaque Unveiling

Doreen Valiente, a woman considered to be the Mother of Modern Witchcraft, and who died in 1999, has been acknowledged with a blue plaque upon the block of flats where she lived in Brighton. This is the first blue plaque dedicated to a member of the Wiccan community, and also the first plaque to grace a block of flats.

plaque unveiling

photo courtesy of badwitch.co.uk

People, witches and pagans from far and wide arrived in Brighton for the midsummer unveiling of the plaque, and to celebrate afterwards. The Pentacle Drummers were there creating atmosphere and something to dance to, as well as John Belham-Payne, Rufus Harrington and the Mayor of Brighton to give speeches and unveil the plaque. Look like it was an enjoyable day!

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photo courtesy of Philip Carr-Gomm

Doreen Valiente Foundation – http://doreenvaliente.org/

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Britain’s Wicca Man – A documentary about Gerald B. Gardner.

‘But the single most powerful idea I take away from wicca is this – Where as other faiths say “This is what you should feel about the divine.” This one says… “This is how you can feel divine…”
~ Ronald Hutton

Hosted by Ronald Hutton

This is brilliant, I very much enjoyed watching it.

I’ve met Ronald Hutton and also been to Atlantis bookshop in London, meeting Geraldine Beskin as well. I love that they mention the Cone of Power from 1940, I think it’s such a fascinating, forgotten and ignored part of the Battle of Britain’s history. John Belham-Payne has done a wonderful job guarding Gerald’s rituals tools.

~ DARACHA~

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