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A Pagan Gathering for Australia and the world

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Beltane People

When I agreed to help initiate this weblog I had spent a pleasant afternoon chatting with Linda and Michel about the old days at Mount Franklin and, inevitably, the talk turned to people of Beltanes past. Beltane has always been about people and regardless of whether you attend one or twenty-nine, it becomes a part of you and you indelibly become a pert of it too. I have brought many friends to Beltane, my sister Susan was handfasted at Mount Franklin and a swarm of friends came to share in it. When I see these (non-pagan) friends now, years later, they still remember their Beltane and the people that they met there.

Some, like my sister, are no longer with us, and Beltane has missed the contributions of David O’Conner (remember his fire walking?) or Simon Goodman who guided the organizers in the early years. One who I particularly miss is Leon, the country boy from Gordon who was the most natural-born pagan that I have ever met. Leon was the first to jump up for a job that needed doing and the last to leave when the clean-up crew were done. I miss him at the mountain and I am sad that I won’t hear him growl a greeting at me again (in this life).

Others have drifted away, like Gary Trevers who loved the music of the weekend. I also miss seeing Jerry & Carol who have wandered away now but were once regular and enthusiastic attendees. And, over the years, there have been those who have drifted through and gone, taking something of the Beltane spirit with them. There was Michael Jackson (I kid you not!) who helped me to spit roast a goat for the handfasting feast. That same year, Susan’s friend Dave Munday burned his bum on the bonfire, after the main ceremony, trying to jump it after Linda told him that it would increase his virility!

But, I think that the most memorable character for me was the Lady Tanith who flew to Victoria from Perth one year for the weekend. She was a grand old dame and, I am sure, a fine witch. We escorted her (and her po-mouthed assistant) to and from Mount Franklin, ran her errands and generally indulged her for four days and, as she left, she gave me a very generous gift of Frankincense oil (which Cazz may still have! Ha Ha!). She was great fun- and a real character too, and I always hoped that she remembered her Beltane at Mount Franklin with affection.

by David Mattichak


  1. Yeah, I remember Tanith too, I was kinda friendly with her assistant, Sarah, as well. I think I do have that frankincense oil... somewhere deep in my magickal tools suitcase. Linda may have told Dave he'd increase his virility by jumping over the bonfire, but she sure didn't tell him to jump over it so many times he ended up falling in it! That was his own idea! Which reminds me... that's not the first time I've seen fire jumping misfire (so to speak), like when people crash mid-air, or when an exceptionally large bit of horizontal tree trips someone up. What's happened to Carol and Gerry (or Jerry? can't remember), I haven't seen them for so long.

  2. Whoah, check this Halloween ritual out, performed by a hunt club. I'm sure Tania will like it.


  3. Oh crikey, I read this and had a brilliant but long forgotten memory of the smallish truck that Leon used to turn up in every year..one wet year I remember what seemed to be about 10 or 12 people crammed into the back of that truck all getting merry with goblets of wine and mead...lol

  4. Wow! love it Caz, just my kind of ritual -puts me in mind of Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival.

  5. Oh, that Edinburgh festival is *just amazing*!