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A Pagan Gathering for Australia and the world

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the Eve of Beltane

So we have come to the eve of Beltane again this year and all of the preparations are in place for a great celebration. Tomorrow afternoon the good Pagan folk will begin arriving at Mt. Franklin and the crater will be full of life for another celebration of Summer. From all of the responses and RSVPs this year it is shaping up to be a Sabbat that we will remember for years to come.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has contributed to this blog with photos and stories of their time on the mountain. I have re-connected with many long cherished friends and made many new friends to enjoy in the future. Without your help this forum would be filled with only my meagre offerings. I hope that you have all enjoyed this blog and that we can all use it to continue to make Beltane at Mount Franklin better and better with the passing years.

See you all at the mountain!


David G Mattichak

Friday, October 22, 2010

Permit Details for Beltane 2010

Just to clear up a few queries, the situation re the permits for Mt Franklin is as follows: We-the Organisers of the Gathering, have a permit for 80 people. Brian Head ("darkwolf") has a permit for 30. Both lots of permit holders have to be clean and tidy, bring our own toilet paper and firewood, and clean up the mountain after our camping is over. Brian and his followers have to stay at least 30 metres away from our folk. What Brian unaccountably failed to mention was that we, the Organisers of the Gathering, have exclusive access to the ritual area from 12.30pm on Friday, to 12.30 pm on Sunday. We also have a permit for a ritual fire.

Over the years we have shared the mountain with an amazing variety of folks who have all been lovely in their own ways. The Daylesford Baptist church 100 year reunion, Scouts, Girl Guides, a busload of geology students,a wedding with horsedrawn carriages, the Winnebago group (boy can they party). The only exception has been the group calling itself the "trolls". Everyone knows about their anti social behaviour, so I don't have to go into details. If they had been as pleasant and co operative as all the other groups, and genuinely dedicated to Pagan ways, rather than their own egos, they would be as welcome as anyone. Sadly this has not been the case.

We are greatly looking forward to this weekend, to positive Pagan networking and planning for next year, a happy ritual and a good time to be had by all. We welcome all good pagan folk to this Sacred Mountain. Blessed Be, The Organisers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What is Beltane?

Beltane ('bεltən) [Adopted in Lowland Scotch from Gaelic bealltainn, bealtuinn (in Irish bealltaine, Manx boaltinn, boaldyn) the Celtic name of the first of May, the beginning of summer.- O.E.D.- 2nd Ed. 2009

The Wiccan Sabbat Beltane has its roots in an ancient Celtic festival held on the first day of May when bonfires were lighted on the hills. Originally, on May Day, the Druids are said to have alighted two fires between which they drove their cattle to protect them from disease. The practice of lighting fires on Beltane continued on in the Scottish Highlands and Beltane became one of the Quarter, or Term, days of Scotland that divided the legal year and upon which rents and interest on loans were due and when servants were hired and paid. Although the dates have been shifted, these Quarter days survive to this day and were regularized by the British Parliament as late as 1990.

Since 1998 the tradition of lighting fires on Beltane has been revived in modern Edinburgh where the Beltane Fire Festival continues the ancient celebration of the beginning of summer. Whilst many of the celebrations are based on the traditions, the organizers do not claim that it is any sort of continuation of the old Gaelic Beltane; rather it is a modern recognition of the day and its cultural importance to the Scots.

Regardless of the question of the traditional roots of Beltane, Pagans observe the Sabbats as the celebrations of the passing seasons and the long history of the celebration of Beltane makes for a renewed and continued significance in the traditional festival of the beginning of summer.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Chart of the Heavens over Mt. Franklin for Beltane

Beltane 2010- October 30 2010 7:30 EDST

P 14°52’   b

A 06°51    h
B 05°00’    e
C 15°18’    h
D 04°21’    h
E 01°30’    i
F 24°12’ R  l
G 11°18’    g

H 27°25’ R  l
K 25°55’ R  k
J 03°24’ j

L 05°36’ j
M 05°36’ d

MC 22°54’k
IC 22°54’e
PF 13°01’k

I just thought that everyone might be interested in the astrological arrangements for the evening of the Beltane ceremony on the mount. I had a look at the fall of the planets and jotted down a few quick notes as best as my meager astological talents allow:

Sol in the first decan of Scorpio indicates the beginning of a period of awareness of change. i.e. winter to summer.
(note: in the Northern Hemisphere Sol is in the first decan of Taurus implying an awareness of the endurance of nature.)

Luna in the first decan of Leo shows a gradual growth towards a period of strength and prominence.

Mercury in the middle decan of Scorpio indicates a magickally transformative period.

Venus in the first decan of Scorpio shows this Beltane will be a celebration of the enjoyment of love and friendship. It also indicates a successful consecration!

Mars in the initial decan of Sagittarius has us at the beginning of a period of more evolved state of affairs, but not without some friction.

Jupiter in the final decan of Pisces indicates a time that is on the verge of a greater fortune yet is held back by the retrograde motion of Jove.

Saturn continues to creep through Libra bringing a period of adjustment, co-operation and egalitarianism (also restriction by natural law).

The outer planets, show this period to be one that is on the verge of important and lasting spiritual change in the world although ambition drives this generation and this time.

The Head of the Dragon in the first decan of Capricorn indicates a period when it will be fortuitous to pursue ambitions or secretly held plans, but the Tail of the Dragon in the first decan of Cancer balances this out as these ambitions will not come to a triumphant end.

The Part of Fortune for Beltane falls in mid Aquarius showing good fortune in matters of spiritual insight.

The conjunction of Sol and Venus makes this day about the awareness of the importance of friendship and of love. It marks this day as one of fellowship.

Luna is square to Venus causing tension between the emotions and intuition and spiritual insight/awareness. whilst Sol being also square to Luna shows a tension between inner and outer consciousness for the day.

If anyone out there would like to add their own interpretation of this chart to the blog please e-mail us at mountfranklinpagans@gmail.com and I will get them up (comments are also appreciated but have a strict word limit).

David G Mattichak jr

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A History of Mt. Franklin

Six or seven million years ago Central and Western Victoria was covered by a broad basalt plain created by the lava flows of ancient volcanoes such as the Bacchus Marsh Volcano which had erupted some 45-50 million years prior. During the Pliocene age Victoria’s 200 or so conical scoria volcanoes gradually emerged across these basalt plains, beginning as a small vent and rapidly growing into steep sided mountains. Towards the end of this six million year period, about 470,000 years ago, Mt. Franklin was born in a fiery eruption, rapidly growing to stand next to Mt. Tarrengower and Mt. Alexander to tower over the surrounding rolling plains of Central Victoria. Although considered by volcanologists to be extinct, the last eruption of Mt. Franklin may have occurred as late as 5,000 years ago and there is evidence that the local aboriginals were witness to it as they enshrined the story in their oral histories and myths. It seems likely that this would have been the eruption that breached the conical wall of the volcano and thus opened the interior to easy access.

Mt. Franklin is classed as a prominent, breached conical scoria cone with a deep crater. The breach in the south-eastern side of the crater is most likely the result of late-stage lava flow breaking through the lower part of the cone and earlier flows were predominantly to the north and the west. Mt. Franklin is a major megacryst site with some of Victoria’s largest known examples of megacrysts of augite and an orthoclase. The coarse ejecta exposed around the summit also includes red and green olivine and megacrysts of high-temperature and orthoclase (to 7 cm long) and augite (over 9 cm long). Lumps of Ordovician sedimentary and granitic bedrock also occur in the ejecta and small basalt blocks contain cores of crazed quartz. On the western slope is a parasitic scoria mound referred to as ‘Lady Franklin’ but which remains officially un-named. The summit of Mt. Franklin is 635 m high, beginning from a base of 185 m above sea level, making the cone 450 m tall, and covered by extensive pine plantations whilst the interior of the crater is currently an arboretum containing many exotic species including an impressive stand of Californian Redwoods that were planted after a bushfire denuded the area.

The aboriginal name for Mt. Franklin is Lalgambook and the native Gunangara Gundidj clan of the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe have used Lalgambook for corroborees and other tribal ceremonies. Some of the original white settlers in the area were allowed to attend these corroborees and, early on at least, there seems to have been a willingness on the part of both parties to share the mountain. Attesting to their long occupation of the area, there have been many fine examples of aboriginal artifacts found in and around Mt. Franklin, many of which are now in the E S Parker room of the Daylesford Museum. When the white settlers did finally arrive intent on mining and farming the area the conflicts with the native population that ensued inspired the Victorian Government to send Edward Stone Parker to establish a protectorate for the indigenous people in 1840. Unfortunately this proved to be little more than a camp on the slopes of the mountain and by 1841, Parker reported that he could only count three members of the Gunangara Gundidj clan left in Franklinford. Disease and murder had accounted for the majority of their tribe. Tourists have visited Mt. Franklin since 1867 and in 1875 the local citizens rallied to ensure that Mt. Franklin was protected from the encroaching farmland. Today Mt. Franklin is administered by Parks Victoria who maintain a picnic area and camping ground there ensuring that the site remains a popular destination for day trippers to the Hepburn-Daylseford region of Central Victoria.

I would like to acknowedge  Alanna Moore and Geomantica magazine for many of the details in this essay- see http://www.geomantica.com/geom25.htm for more. Also, for the official Parks Victoria notes on Mt Franklin go to http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=59 to download the PDF.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Words: Ken Mansell, September 2000.
( optional tune: 'Tour of the Dales' ( trad. Yorkshire ))

Come with me people and I'll read you a book
That has been passed down - I'm the great ''Lalgambook''
For millions of years, from the earth's molten core
A good deal of lava pushed up through my floor.
Oh I fought Tarrengower and I fought Moorookyle
With slingshot and boulder - and a scoria pile
I fought other mountains, exchanged many blows
Then lay down to sleep when my last blood had flowed.

Chorus: Come to me, come to me - and hear of my heritage, and all of my strange history.

The clans known as ''Dja Dja'' were drawn to my charms
Fished in my rivers, danced in my arms
Larnebarramul Swamp was a camp and a home
And they left their stone axes deep down in the loam.
The emu, echidna, the wombat and 'roo
Sought my green forests, danced with me too
For 5000 years I lay still asleep
Then along came John Hepburn - and the baaing of sheep.

Hepburn re-named me - from a song, did you know?
And so very briefly I became Mount Jim Crow
Hepburn would visit when he felt like a ride
And soon there were squatters on every side.
With dogs and disease and the whitefella gun
The ''Dja Dja'' were moved from their place in the sun
Oh Edward Stone Parker came serving the Lord
And established a church that he called Franklinford.

John Franklin retired from the vice-regal role
And went into training to claim the North Pole
He climbed to my crater, good Lady in hand
And he said ''Now I'm ready for icy Greenland''.
They'd stolen my name, but my secret of old
Unknown still remained - ancient rivers of gold!
Where aboriginal farmers had dug only seeds
The white men came seeking deep underground leads.

And soon there were shafts all along the road line
The Shakespeare, Leviathan, Robbie Burns mine
From Dry Diggings township to Shimmins's Reef
And Rees was the butcher who slaughtered the beef.
These miners from Wales took up land for to till
Building stone fences, an old Celtic skill
Today at Mount Franklin, Welsh settlers are rare
But I know for a fact that the Powells are still there.

And when Swiss-Italians discovered the spa
Horses and buggies drove to Lithia
The wealth of these waters far richer than gold
And Bill Liversidge dowsed for the rivers of old.
For millions of years since Lalgambook's birth
The eucalypt forest trees grew in my earth
But then the great bushfires, '44, '69
They swallowed the forest - now I'm covered with Pine.

© Ken Mansell

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beltane Photos 2000-08 by Tania Poole








Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photos from Beltane 2005- Del Boy

Stupid Hat Day


Thanks to Del Boy for the great pics!

What a weekend!- Gary Q, Witches of Melbourne

It was my first visit to Mount Franklin at all, but I had Howie as my guide, and
Zoe with me to provide encouragement...

Pitching the tent in the dark was the first challenge, which was eventually
completed to the satisfaction of all, and then it was time to head to the
nearest glowing fire pit to find Morphix, Jim, Nikki, Brian, Silkin, Taliesen
and many others gathered. We borrowed a flat surface for our cooking pot and
joined the conversation. My efforts in the kitchen were rewarded with
'surprisngly good' from Anna and Zoe - leaving me relieved as I had promised to
be the chief cook (and bottle washer, as it happened)

Friday night was red wine night, and in true Pagan style we started with the
best bottles first - no point keeping the best til 'can't remember' time...
The drumming called us and we wandered over to another encampment where an
impromptu jam session was in swing. I became the first casualty when I tripped
over a tree stump in the dark, on a mission for another bottle of red. I mean
really, who expects to find a tree stump in a forest glade?

Saturday morning dawned bright, and depending on your constitution, early. I was
up and about and had the bacon and eggs going on one end of the communal table
as Pyretta (I think!) whipped up the endless pancakes from the other end. After
a brief sojourn around the campsite, Zoe, Anna and I headed into Daylesford for
some 'ishing' (the first and last shop we encountered opened at 10ish) amongst
the sundry and various junk shops, new age and crystally shops and the 50s
kitsch emporium. I came out clutching a Barbarella mouse mat and the girls added
various bits to their collections.

The town was over run with scary pentagram wearing witchy types. It was enough
to give a poor boy the vapours.

Back to the campsite and it was time for a snooze, and then a walk to the
summit. What a view. The carpark on top of Mount Franklin is well worth a visit
if muddy car parks are the thing you yearn for. Depending on who you asked, the
walk down was easier than the walk up - but that is possibly because none of us
had enough breath to talk much on the way up.

Zoe met a familiar face from her days in the Adelaide Hills (Eamon?) who had
been to Mount Frankling before, and they nattered about mutual acquaintances
until it was time to prepare for the circle and ritual. In next to no time we
had made ourselves beautiful and Zoe produced her scented oil for annointing. We
made our way to the ritual space and joined the throng. A little deft juggling
of places allowed Anna to join the spiral dance - it would have been like
watching Tinkerbell dying to see her face if she hadnt been 'chosen'.

Zoe and I took our places in the circle and the ritual commenced... the bonfire
was lit and the dance commenced, to the beat of drums. We were visited by a
troupe of revellers and a hobby horse who caught unsuspecting maidens under his
skirts... who knows what fertility rites were enacted before the giggling girl
was thrust back into the open...

The Goddess and God were thanked for providing the energy to the members of the
circle, and for the coming year. Wine and bread were passed around the circle
and the inspired took the chance to leap the bonfire - with almost no
spectacular tumbles.

The bubbly and drinkies were opened as the rain began with a little more
seriousness. Cooking garlic steak in the dark by lamplight was an excercise in
hoping for the best - I couldnt really see what I was doing, but I believe
everyone survived the experience. Some of us *cough* didnt last the night
through and were tucked up in bed around midnight, but there were some who
managed to keep the fire stoked throughout the night.

Sunday morning was a noticeably slower start, but the breakfast still had to be
made and Morphix pulled out a giant tin of coffee that had Anna and I grinning.
The hardships of camping pale when holding a hot coffee. Anna thought I was
being very considerate in remembering that she likes it black with no sugar, but
the truth is I just put in a spoonful of coffee and hot water and passed it
over. Blind luck disctated that I got it right.

The morning market was a quiet affair, but enough coin and shiny things changed
hands to make everyone happy. The maypole was danced a second time (the first
effort by various little ones was deemed unsuitable and the ribbons were
unravelled amongst much good natured cursing...). The actual dance was
accompanied once again by drummers, and the singing of Summerisle (from the
movie Wicker Man)

In the woods there grew a tree
A fine, fine tree was he

On that tree there was a limb
And on that limb there was a branch
On that branch there was a nest
And in that nest there was an egg
In that egg there was a bird
And from that bird a feather came
Of that feather was a bed

On that bed there was a girl
And on that girl there was a man
From that man there was a seed
And from that seed there was a boy
From that boy there was a man
And for that man there was a grave
From that grave there grew a tree

In Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle

On that tree there was a limb
And on that limb there was a branch
On that branch there was a nest
And in that nest there was an egg
In that egg there was a bird
And from that bird a feather came
Of that feather was a bed

In Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle, Sumerisle

On that bed there was a girl (Sumerisle, Sumerisle)
And on that girl there was a man (Sumerisle, Sumerisle)
From that man there was a seed (Sumerisle, Sumerisle)
And from that seed there was a boy (Sumerisle, Sumerisle)
From that boy there was a man (Sumerisle, Sumerisle)
And for that man there was a grave
From that grave there grew a tree

Zoe showed me how to break camp and we had the tent folded up into the smallest
bundle I had ever seen it in. I think the manufacturers could learn something
from her. I could have fitted two tents into the bag in the end.

The car was much lighter without the wood and water, but somehow we still
managed to fill it to the roof line. Next time we may have to be more strict
when we cull the things we bring. The fondue set seemed like such a good idea
at the time...

The journey home was, of course, much quicker than the way there... we discussed
what were our various highlights of the weekend... Zoe and Anna talked about the
cameraderie, the sharing and respect that we all had for each other... I got a
giggle when I said my highlight was having two red headed witches along with me
who actually liked each other. Coulda been a disaster, I tells ya.

Pagans is good people - we'll be back next year!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some Pictures from Mt. Franklin of Years Past


Camping Out 83

Celebrations 92

Gary Trevers 87

Handfasting Altar 87

Handfasting Bride Susan 87

Spit Roasting 87

Setting up the Feast 87

Keeping Warm 87

Relaxing with Friends 87

          Thanks to Tim Watson and
    Linda & Michele Marold for the photos


Inside Mt Franklin