The Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering was held to celebrate Beltane on the weekend of the 29th-31st October 2010, making this the 29th consecutive year of the festival.
Friday morning Central Victoria was bathed in warm sunshine as the Pagan folk assembled at the mountain and set up their campsite in the north-west corner of the park, making a neat little village for the weekend’s social activities.
After weeks of fretting over the Eclectic Witches coming up and repeating the bad behavior of past years, in the end only a small, quiet group of them actually came to the mountain this year and, after a bit of quarrelling amongst themselves and meeting the Daylesford constabulary late on Friday night, they proved to b less than an annoyance and the Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering camp reveled happily into the night in spite of the inclement weather that had blown in on Friday evening.
Saturday rained all day, which kept the numbers of visitors to Beltane down, but by late afternoon sixty or so hardy Pagans had gathered to celebrate Beltane and in fine Mt. Franklin tradition the heavens cleared as the crowd was called by the sound of a drum for the ceremony.
To begin the ceremony we all were faced outwards in the circle, joined hands and did the Spiral Dance which ended in us all facing inwards. The High Priest circumambulated and then the High Priestess called the Elements, the Wind, Fire, Waves and Stone, to attend the rite.
Next, the High Priest faced the south and invoked the Horned God who entered our circle dancing, accompanied by his attendants, and carrying a torch that he used to light the Bonfire. As the flames took hold the congregation chanted to “Fire” before the High Priestess called to the Triple Goddess who entered the circle from the west as a flock of birds, come to consummate the yearly union with her consort and to beget the bounty and fertility of the summer season.
Following this, the wine was blessed by the High Priest and Priestess in the north, who then passed the brimful horn of wine around the circle for us each to take a sip and receive and then give the blessing as we passed it on, all the while singing the songs of Beltane. Finally, when the congregation had all partaken the High Priestess refilled the horn and made with it the offering of wine to the Mother Earth before announcing that we had successfully celebrated the Sabbat of Beltane and giving us all the charge to depart in peace.
With the ceremony done, the good Pagan folk gathered around the Bonfire and began the Beltane revelry in earnest with wine and a song for Bacchus, and later with a lamb on a spit as the centre of a fine Pagan feast along with the enjoyment of the good company, ensuring that the celebration went on for the remainder of the night. As in years past, the Pagans of Mt. Franklin didn’t allow the weather to dampen their spirits and Beltane 2010 was a genuine celebration of the new summer season once again.
David G Mattichak jr