Heading Message

A Pagan Gathering for Australia and the world

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My First Mount Franklin

Photo: by Simon Goodman.

In 1986 I was 20 years old. Me and my then boyfriend – the person who introduced me to magick – David Mattichak, had been together for two years. Living in inner city Melbourne, we had somehow come across copies of the alternative farming publication, Grass Roots magazine, and we liked what we saw. We subsequently made a pact to move to the country no matter what, and later that year lugged most of our gear to Central Victoria where we knew people: Linda and Mischael Marold. 
Linda and Mischael were (and still are) experts in all things alternative, from farming, to gardening, to crafts, and to alternative lifestyle festivals. Speaking of which, October eventually came around and it was time for the 1986 Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering. David and I had never been there before and so did not really know what to expect. It had been quite a hot day, back at home in Guildford, and I did not see any reason to bring warm clothes – or even shoes – with me up to the mountain. I can’t remember what I did bring, but it seemed to have involved at least a tent.
It was much colder at Mount Franklin than it had been down on the plain. So cold that I had to borrow a blanket from a guy to wear during the day (you can see me wearing it in this photo). Unfortunately he wanted it back that night, when it was even colder! So I had no warm clothes and no shoes... Then it started raining. Our tent had no side ropes holding the roof part away from the tent walls, so every time we lent on the tent material from the inside, it became wet and the water seeped through.
I’m not sure whether we had any blankets, pillows or other types of comfort, but I do recall being freezing and having hardly any sleep because of it. Nor can I remember whether this Mount Franklin went for one or two nights but at some stage, at night, there was a large group ritual. I recall that this ritual crystallised for David and I our identities as Thelemic ritual magicians, rather than Wiccans or Pagans – an identification that I, at least, have modified somewhat over the subsequent years – as we realised how stylistically different this sort of ritual was to what we had been doing.
I did not know anyone except the Marolds at the 1986 Mount Franklin, although I’m sure people who I would later become good friends with – and who were famous long-time attendees – were there. I do recall that Simon Goodman took the photo of David and I, but that’s about it. I’m sure we had fun though, despite my foggy memory, because I subsequently went to eleven more Mount Franklins, and because this blog is making me nostalgic, am considering returning there again.
By Caroline Tully.


  1. Great contribution Caroline, thankyou! Be great to see you return to the mountain. I think an interesting point that you made is the clarity of the direction you were heading, with the Mount Franklin gathering acting (at least in some part) as a catalyst for that. Over the years of my attendance, the array of rituals have been outstanding-from all manner of folk involved in Mysticism, Witchcraft eclectic and Traditional, Ceremonial, Paganism. I've loved that sense of inclusion and acceptance. When others request to run the ritual, I know its always been to the Organisers delight! The Geelong Pagans ran a great ritual a few years back, 2008 the Asatru folk conducted a lovely celebration, the list goes on. We all learn something from these differing styles and points of view, we all take something of value home with us afterwards. Thanks again, another lovely memory shared.

  2. Indeed, and my interest in Mount Franklin now is really in regards to sacred groves, which I'm studying for my PhD. I mean I'm interested in Mt Franklin _as_ a sort of sacred grove, or 'high place' (Bamah in Hebrew), as this is what I'm looking at in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean - Greece, Crete, Cyprus and Israel. Mt Franklin is very tree-d after all, and is also a high place, but a high place with chthonic overtones, like the peak sanctuaries of Minoan Crete.

  3. Yes I do remember that Beltane was something of a catalyst for you to decide that Wicca wasn't the way for you, or Thelema either- oh well. Interestingly, this year, L & M have been talking to me about doing a Thelemite ceremony for Beltane so perhaps I will be joining Mel's list (if I can get some helpers). I too am glad that Cazz has contributed as she was an integral part of the early gatherings at Mt Franklin.

  4. Well, I wouldn't say that it _caused_ me to decide that either Wicca or Thelema weren't for me, rather that the group ritual at that '86 Mt Franklin _showed me_ how different ritual that I had been doing - with you - was from what they were doing on that night. Not structurally different, Wicca and Ceremonial Magic are cousins after all, but the expression of that structure. While I did identify more with Ceremonial Magick at that time, I would say that since then I have found that I like more than one type of magick style, more than one type of Paganism, more than one type of Witchcraft. I have explored many styles and either abandoned or retained parts or the whole of them, depending on how useful I found them. I don't think this interest in various - as opposed to one single - type of 'occultism' is really a problem. There are so many good points to various styles, I don't see why I should settle on one. It's a means to an end after all, not an end in itself.