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A Pagan Gathering for Australia and the world

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering 25-27th October 2013

Spring flowers courtesy of Mel's garden

Hello all, soon we will come together at beautiful Mount Franklin and join together in the celebration of our Sacred Festival of Beltane. We are so privileged this year to have the lovely Seline Cardamon-Cairns and Hawthorn facilitate the ritual with friends. this is the chant that we will be chanting as we enter the circle as we each make our way in with the Spiral dance. To assist them and to be inclusive of the ritual please find following this the words to the chant that we will be using during the ritual. If you could familiarise yourselves with them that would be sincerely appreciated.Last year we held a torch making workshop and, as it proved to be highly successful we will again be running another this year. To make your own torch you will need to bring and provide the following items:Kerosene, and strips of old bedding/materialA metal tin/container deep enough to leave your torch to soak in the kero-don't try plastic please! 


Balefire 2012 courtesy of R McLeod


Finally just a few reminders:
  • You must bring  your own firewood to the crater! You are not permitted to cut wood for fires at Mount Franklin either, so please leave chainsaws, handsaws, bush-saws and light-sabres at home. You can purchase firewood from a property at the foot of Mt. Franklin, just on the Castlemaine side. There is a large sign advertising firewood for sale and if you cannot bring your own that would be the first place to look.
  • You must also bring your own toilet paper! Parks Victoria keep the toilet blocks supplied but that is not sufficient for our Gathering's needs so please, bring your own! Don't expect to rely on there being paper provided, so bring your own to avoid being caught short.
  • The "Mount Franklin" brand of spring water you can buy at the shop does not, in fact, come from Mount Franklin. It is owned by Coca-Cola Amatil and they say the water comes from a variety of natural Australian water sources. The water you will find at the campsite is untreated and therefore unsuitable for drinking. It's very important that you plan ahead and bring plenty of drinking water with you to the campsite. 
  • ALL rubbish created, must be taken back. Including-general refuse, doggy doo, nappies, cigarette butts etc. Please do not throw bottles, tinnies, etc into fire places. Take them home for recycling-we advise some garbage bags to cart home all rubbish.
  • Please take note of our No Weapons Policy and courteous conduct expectation of all attendees
    Anyone deemed intoxicated will not be permitted to partake of the Gathering ritual for Beltane. No exceptions.
    Designate a driver if you plan on staying off the Mount.
    Drink responsibly.
    MFAPG Inc. Takes no responsibility or liability for those that cause problems or concerns across the Gathering weekend. Any troublemakers will immediately be pointed out to the local constabulary. We also take this opportunity to point out that attendees are expected to exercise magical hygiene and self responsibility.
  • Beltane Ritual Chant 2013
  • Ritualists lead the Spiral Dance into the circle area and Chant –
  • WE ARE THE PAGANS TURNING HAND IN HANDWE PRAISE THE POWERS AND THE SPIRITS OF THE LANDSPIRIT OF THE PAGANS, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHTSPIRIT OF THE PAGANS, JOIN OUR BELTANE RITE

    This is the 2nd chant as we raise the Beltane energy...

    When they have done so the Ritualists continue –

    NOW TURN AND FACE THE OUTER CIRCLE


    When they have done so the Ritualists continue –


    WE CALL ALL THOSE WHO DANCE BETWEEN TO DO SO IN LOVE AND JOY


    Hawthorn leads call and response chant –

    I AM THE LORD COME DANCE WITH ME.

    Seline leads call and response chant –


    I AM THE LADY WILD AND FREE.


    Hawthorn & Seline lead call and response chant –WE DANCE IN BELTANE ECSTASY




    Torches 2012 courtesy K McCredie

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Dates....

    Gathering.......


    Hello one and all! We hope you are all keeping warm and toasty and are enjoying the wintery months. We are loving the crisp frosts, warm fires, good companionship and ease with which life has granted us. As usual we hibernate during this time and keep busy with all the usual commitments as well as crafts, markets, shared cups of tea and great get togethers.

    Once again the wonderful folk from Hepburn Relocalisation Network asked us to host the Winter Solstice Ritual. It was a beautiful perfect Yule night, filled with warmth, good food, new friends and stirring music. We thank you all for joining with us and allowing us to share with you all.

    More can be read here:

    http://relocalisehepburn.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/winter-solstice.html

    Slowly as befits this time of the year, we begin to wind our organising up in the leading months prior to the Gathering. We have had many emails enquiring about the Gathering this year and confirm the following dates for your diaries!

    The Gathering is always held on the last weekend of October regardless of whether that weekend leads into November. For 2013 the dates are from Friday the 25th October to Sunday the 27th October.
    Once again we remind those wishing to participate that we have a capped level of attendees that can be covered under our event insurance. You may still camp at the Mountain of course but we cannot include you in any insurance unless you have registered your legal names with us.

    Over the coming weeks we will post once again the handy list of things to bring and what is and is not permitted.

    We are very pleased that this year we get a year off (woot!) and the ritual will be hosted by the very lovely Seline Cardamon-Cairns.

    Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering welcomes all pagan practices, so if you (or you and your group) wish to host a ritual please stick your hand up at the Sunday Moot to do so. The only requisite is a bonfire-of course!

    Happy days with Imbolc approaching fast...not long to go now :)

    MFPG Inc

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    STUFF!

    Updates here, there and everywhere!



    It would seem that everyone has been busily sorting the wheat from the chaff, the shit from the sugar, the good from the bad! Here at MFAPG HQ we seem to have emerged into the Winter months feeling the benefit of reflection and discarding of what has been and what is unnecessary to move solidly into the future. We come to our first AGM shortly and its been one amazing journey that has been supported solidly by the core group and everyone in the public for who the gathering has made a home in their heart and minds. Once again we are bginning preparations for this years event, this year the ritual will be hosted by the very beautiful and fabulous Seline Cardamon-Cairns. We are enormously excited to be a part of Seline's path and we may also have another announcement to come to add to this but we are still waiting on confirmation of details.

    As always the Gathering could not take place without the wonderful support of SHARE-Hepburn Sustainability Group. You can find out more about the great work they do in the community here: 
    http://share.asn.au/ 

    We also could not function without the continued support and input from Parks Victoria and the wonderful rangers who liaise with us regularly regarding MFAPG.

    http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/

    For the last few months we have been busy monthly with the markets and these have continued to grow each month. Our aim is to give back to Mount Franklin in terms of preservation, heritage and improvement.

    We also could not manage without you! Those wonderful people who come and celebrate in the spirit of friendship, companionship and likeminds. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support given to the Gathering by all of you.

    In the community there have been some great new enterprises running such as:

    http://lilithsherbgarden.bigcartel.com/

    Catherine has been an avid supporter of the Gathering for over 20 years so the least we can do is show her and Verity's new venture off!

    "Once upon a time in the land of Melbourne there were two women who met by chance and became friends. They were both wives and mothers; one of them was a herbalist (that's Verity) and one of them was an acupuncturist (that's Catherine). One fine day they decided to pool their passions for herbs, natural healing and working in harmony with Nature and Lilith's Herb Garden was born.
    Lilith's Herb Garden is a place where you will find an eclectic mix of herbal teas and energetic medicines, as well as healing ointments and balms. All products are handmade by us, using organic ingredients wherever possible"

    "The Green Man Quarterly is a new Australian magazine taking a deeper look into Witchcraft, Paganism and the Occult" 
    William is the editor of the new magazine and has been a great supporter and attendee of the Gathering for some years now. We wish him well!

    Exciting news aas Seline and hawthorn once again take up the Euphoria mantle once again for those familiar and not familar please check the following group page for more information!

    As the wheel ever spins, enjoy this gorgeous time of the year and more news to follow! Next up Midwinter!!

    From all of us at MFAPG HQ-Merry meet and merry part.







    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Ever Changing...

    I drove into Mount Franklin during the school holidays for a visit recently and found a great change to the area. The large Scots Pine that sits next to the clearing on the west of the crater, where the organisers and registration is situated, has been cut down. I've not tried to find out why, but I'm sure Parks Victoria had their reasons (and I am naturally assuming they are responsible). All the branches with its needles are now gone, but its large trunk sit forlornly nearby. The crater has changed so much over the years - trees being planted and others cut or fallen down, droughts, roads mended, fencing areas off for safety and preservation etc, so we should expect a bit of change now and again. A part of it may have broken or fallen, so cutting it down may have been the safest thing to do.

    Still it's sad, not much we can do about it now, it will be strange to not have the pine there anymore. It was such a great tree!


     
     
     
     
    Josie standing on the stump




    Pic of the tree from Beltane 2012, only 6 months before.
     


    Another one from 2012 Beltane - No more shade!
     

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    The Mount from a Tower


    On the Chillout Festival Weekend, in early March, my friend Lee and I walked up the towards Wombat Hill (on a very warm day) and went into Convent Gallery to see the artwork on display.

    We ended up climbing to the roof where the old infirmary was, and then into the bell tower. Here is the view of the surrounding landscape from the top of Convent Gallery. When I saw Mount Franklin (to the right of the centre in this picture) I remember saying out loud 'There's Mount Alexand...' and stopped myself when I realised that it would actually be our fair Mount Franklin and that Mount Alexander, further north, might not even be easy to see from there, and on such a hazy day! How silly of me not to realise straight away that it was Franklin!

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    A Paganesque Moveable Feast - Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

    A run-down of the pagan gatherings and pagan-like festivals from other parts of the world.

    By Tania Poole

    Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is believed to have been running since the Barthelmy Fair, granted to the Abbots of Burton by Henry III in 1226, celebrating Bartholomew’s Day – August 24th. The changing of the Julian Calender in 1752 has moved the Fair to the beginning of September, and the Fair became one day, rather than three days. Yet the horns have been dated to centuries before - the 11th century – and being reindeer antlers, they obviously came from Scandinavia, probably down the River Trent and into the Staffordshire region.

    The Horn dance day is always held on a Monday – Here is how you remember which day it is on. It’s always ‘the Monday following the first Sunday after the fourth of September’ – remember that folks, many a person has turned up on the wrong Monday and been disappointed…..

    So I managed to go to the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. My friend Steve goes every year, and has done since 1989. So when I thought I could go, I emailed Steve about it, he told me he could not go, but told me how much it was going to cost me to go via public transport. It did not seem worth it, considering if I had to travel there myself, funds were low, and I had plane tickets to buy.  But then Steve changed his mind, saying he would be able to go and help me pay for my travel there. Suddenly that was it – I was going! I also have a new friend that I met only this year. Shamus, an accordion player who plays for the Black Pig Border Morris Team, and is also dating my friend Angela. Shamus has played accordion for the Horn Dancers for over 2 decades now! It's all about who you know!!! 



    I met Steve at Wakefield station at 10am, and we made our way south to Derby, then to Uttoxeter where a cab driver was waiting for us – Steve books him every year, so he knows him personally. From there, the village was about a 15 – 20 min drive away.
    In Abbots Bromley, you found yourself in a relatively untouched village – a typical Staffordshire village at that – with not much changed. Some of the buildings here still are certainly medieval. We were dropped off at the Buttercross – a hexagonal shaped building near the green that was used for market day over many centuries – I’ve seen one other like it in Bungay. This one is more medieval looking, the Bungay one looks Georgian. Someone there that day told me what a Buttercross was – at market, it was where people bought butter, milk and eggs.
    We visited a pagan art stall – a longhaired, bearded attractive man named Chris Bell, selling his pagan art (mostly green men) in the market and I bought a few as gifts for people back home. After that we had our first pint at the Goat’s Head pub, and met some of Steve’s pagan friends there. Great chats with people I’d just met, who had good stories to tell. Even Steve had stories to tell about his annual jaunts to Abbots Bromley. As he’s been coming since 1989, he had a few tales, and I think, could write a book about the goings on that he had witnessed over the years – the pagan camps, the large and small crowds, the popularity of the event, and how they’ve evolved. One story he told was about how he and his pagan friends were sitting in the pub or somewhere and a tradesman came along and asked them about runes – he had seen some around the village – under the tiles of the old roofs and houses – dating back centuries, probably even the middle ages. They had been scratched into the architecture of the old buildings – some of these probably not repaired for many centuries. Sketching the runes for the pagans, the tradesman was told they may have been symbols of protection upon the house. Kind of reminds me of the concealed shoes superstition. Now THAT would be good article.
     
     
    After our pint, we went to the old Church House – that is certainly medieval or even later, but definitely one of the oldest houses in the village. They put on a great spread there – sandwiches and cakes to eat, and endless tea – we had our lunch there – well, a small lunch, we also ate more later on.

    The Old Church House where we had lunch
     
    Steve took me to the St Nicholas Parish Church to see where the horns are kept. I could tell by looking at it, parts of it were Saxon, and like all Saxon churches, had been added to over the years, especially in the Norman times. Saxon and Norman buildings go together a lot here. This one was quite a lovely church. The bars that hang the horns up are there, and even the old hobby horse from years ago – I’ve seen old images from the 70’s of that hobby horse being ridden about the place – it says that the horse is from the Middle Ages – could it actually be that old? I often hold doubt of things like this – what looks medieval, could have been made as recently as the nineteenth century. They use a new one in the dance now. There were also glass cabinets holding the regalia and costumes of horn dancers past.
     
    There was also a story from Steve about the pagans who actually came to church services in previous Horn dance weekends, in their velvet robes and pentacles, and sat in the front row, much to the annoyance of the vicar. The Christian locals preferred to sit up the back as far away from the pagans as possible. Would have loved to have seen that.
    In the churchyard, the ground surrounding the church was raised, as if it was small pre-Christian mound. It makes us wonder if indeed a Saxon church was here, maybe something before it existed. Steve also showed me a headstone, belonging to a man that was once a leader of the horn dancers – and it says that on his headstone. He belonged to the Fowell family, and they are the official horn dancers – their family and another one are the only members that are allowed to dance, and have been for many, many generations.  Steve also told me about another friend of his and a visitor to the Horn Dance day would spend the night in the graveyard because he had nowhere else to sleep. And people and locals did not mind – he was just the ‘guy who slept in the graveyard.’ Oh Boy! The characters you get at these events.
    We walked up the street to the Bagot Arms, passing some of the places where Steve says the dancers stop for a pint, or food. In the Bagot Arms, Steve and I had another pint and we chatted about many other things – pagans in the UK and Australia, folk dancing, horse brasses, and many other things that crossed our minds. I kept seeing more and more people walking past the pub window, as I realised the tourists were arriving. It was probably about 3.00 - 3.30pm by now, and the dancers were due to arrive in the village. After a toilet run, I went outside to find Steve standing there, prompting me along. As I looked west down the road, I saw the dancers skipping along the road with their horns. I got really excited here – this was it! I was finally going to see this horn dance. It all dawned on me where I was when I saw them. I began to not believe that I was here!
    As they came along, they circled around each other, and I saw my Staffordshire friend Shamus playing the accordion, who acknowledged me and gave me a head bow. I began to take some short footage of the dance, and Angela, the leader of my border morris team back in Yorkshire, was in the background. She saw me and came around to give me a hug. After this dance the dancers went under an arch and out into the backyard of one of their friends who had put on a bit of food. Steve suggested we walk back into the village, and before we walked off, Ang invited us out the back with the dancers to hang out with Shamus. The four of us got some group photos together and then went further out the back to the lawn to watch some of the dancers dance with some locals. They are a more open folk dance than I thought. You think about Padstow and how only locals can go to the May Day Festival because the tourists ‘clogged the village.’ And the Morris Ring who have men-only sides who refuse to let women join, but here in Abbots Bromley, they let locals dance and WOMEN too! What a nice bunch of people! Not superstitious about a woman holding the horns let alone having a dance!
     
    
    Me with Shamus and Angela, who is the
    squire of my morris team
     
     

     

    After that, we followed the dancers out to the street again and walked along as we watched them head to the Bagot Arms back towards the village. At this car park, Shamus dragged me over to where the horns were laid on the ground, and shoved a set of horns into my hands. I was holding the lighter horns that were damaged in the mid 70’s and the broken bit was dated to have been from around 1060s. I made sure veteran attendee Steve got to hold them as well.


    me with some horns
    Steven with the horns
    We headed back towards the Buttercross, running into more pagan friends of Steve on the way and stopping for chats. At the Crown Pub, we went inside to see the new d├ęcor of the renovated pub – all modern and new, and saw the Horn Dance paintings done in the 1940s. Then we went round the back of the pub and visited the pagan camp site up the back – I saw Nick from the Black Pigs Border Morris and went to say hello to him by his hearse. Then we got a hotdog outside the front of the Crown and then stood with more of Steve’s friends, Cathy and Robin. It was now when the horn dancers had made their way down into the village and arrived outside the Goat’s Head and held up the traffic doing their road-hogging dance. Then they rested by the Goat’s Head and let friends dance with them.


     
     
     
    I chatted to friends Ang, Fran, and Shamus, and Steve and his friends joined us. I visited the stalls again and bought some Horn Dancer pins. Then the dancers went out the back of the Goat’s Head and posed for photos. We stayed back there in the large beer garden until about 6pm, then headed back to the Crown. It was time for Steve and I to get back to the station, so we looked for our cab. I could not find Ang or Shamus at all, so never got to say goodbye. It was the last time I saw Shamus too. Our cab was waiting when it started to rain again. We got the train from Uttoxeter to Derby and then caught one home to Leeds - finally on our separate ways home, and with a few train cancellation issues, Steve and I made it safely home.
     
    I had an awesome and memorable day at Abbots Bromley and am very glad I got to go. It was magic! And brilliant to witness such an old dance and finally see how it was conducted, especially since I have been going to folk dances all year. Getting to know so many people apart from Steve in England has been wonderful, meeting Shamus in March and becoming friends with him, and then learning that he was the accordion player for the Horn Dancers absolutely blew my mind! What are the chances of such a meeting! I had such a wonderful day!
    Even now, after six months, I am still reeling from the experience. I had always dreamed of going, and never thought I actually would! Thanks to Steve Jones, Shamus O'Blivion, and Angela Boycott-Garnett.



    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    Harcourt Market


    The Market will resume as usual after the Applefest which has just passed. The Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering Association will be at the market as usual plying our wares! Its a great thing to be a part of and contribute to in our local communities. More details about the market can be found here:

    http://harcourtmarket.blogspot.com.au/

    A timely reminder that the Castlemaine State Festival kicks off on the 15th March with an amazing-balls list of things to do, see and be a part of! For more info check out the site at:

    http://castlemainefestival.com.au/2013/

    April 7th also sees the Farmers Market return to the cnr of Midland HWY and Blackjack Road Harcourt/Barkers Creek details here:

    http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=15513

    And for other fab info about what happens in and around the beautiful Central Victorian landscape go to:

    http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Goldfields.aspx

    Who knows you might even run into this person somewhere around the traps :)



    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Harcourt Market



    Harcourt Market Sunday February 17th 2013

    10am to 3pm






    Right in the centre of Harcourt next to the ANA Hall you will find the market full of wonderful items made by local and cnetral victorian makers, bakers and growers. Hope to see you there!

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Alicia writes.......

    Between Siblings

     Alicia 2012
      
    Those of us here at MFPG Inc wish one and all a very happy Lammas and hope that the harvest may be bountiful and that the shadows that will now begin to stretch and weave across the land bring both illumination and understanding for all that has past and all that is to come. We present now an further article written once again by Alicia.

    It is useful to remember the ties that bind us and is food for thought when contemplating working with others or indeed becoming spiritually related to them. The act of ritual forms bonds which are absurdly subtle yet potent, few think to discuss the relationship that develops and what happens once the bonds are formed. Alicia once more,  puts ink to parchment and notes her thoughts based on her observances of these issues after decades of involvement in Craft.

    But does this only relate to the world of Craft? It would seem that at least some of these thoughts are fully applicable within general society where millions of people have lost the art of communication and expression. We are now a community of people hiding eternally (or so it would seem) behind the cold, one dimensional face of social networking, the internet and text messaging. Relationships built and ended through text, email and the internet. Social courtesy, norms and mores lost in a personal, emotional and spiritual cost saving endeavour. So what that you shared poignant moments, expressed your dreams, fears and cried with those you loved and cherished? What did any of that mean when you find yourselves drifting after a cursory text, a returned letter, an end email or blocked facebook? Regrettably it shows more about the emotional intelligence and development of the other person but as Alicia writes, the consequences can be heartbreaking for all involved.

    Rather than reducing these ideas to some repugnant pseudo christian ideals, or 'love and light' brigade, it is standards of behaviour and understanding which are desperately lacking. Witches are not in the business of turning the other cheek but surely, if we seek to understand what is around us and work within the shadows and the light and all that lies between, we must know ourselves.

    Read on:

    BETWEEN SIBLINGS by Alicia
    As anyone who has ever been involved in a coven will be aware, such a grouping of passionate, independent and opinionated folk is like a box of wet gelignite, emotionally speaking. It only needs a little spark and KABOOM!
    To want to be witch in the first place probably means you are something out of the ordinary in the way of an individualist. You have probably already spent years in researching – and rejecting – many different spiritual paths. But something pulls you onward until finally you find the Craft, and with a big CLICK it all falls into place and you are home!
    Suddenly a whole new universe of possibilities and people opens before you. You are in love with the Old Ones, you begin to devour books and can hardly wait to be initiated, to be one of the in-group. You want to belong, completely and utterly. And it’s at this point the problems begin.
    Virtually none of the books give you any clues about the minefield you may be just about to enter. Plenty of advice may be offered about carefully choosing a coven (and this is useful in avoiding problems at the beginning) but after that – nit! Authors cheerfully document solemn and powerful rituals and give you almost no information about what happens to you after you perform them.
    It is a solid and verifiable fact that people who work ritual together form close and deep bonds, the kind of bonds that are ill to loose. Break ups of groups that have been together only a short time are ugly enough, but the negative disintegration of a coven of even a few years standing is horrible to contemplate.
    Part of the problem is, I think, that in this secular society we are just not prepared for true, deep bonds with others that are not spouses, family or friends that we ourselves choose. Would-be witches are unprepared – to say the least – for the ritual and magical bonds which form all too quickly within a working group. We continue to treat each other as casual friends and are completely without the skills to manage magical relationships with the care, respect and commitment that they – and you – require.
    When you vow “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” you put yourself and your fellow initiates into a position of extreme vulnerability. The gates are open, the drawbridge is down. No matter what form of ritual is used at initiation a profound link is formed. If one continues to work in the group one begins to share etheric energies and contribute to the group “egregore”, the shared pool of energy that is available to groups that work together regularly. These natural magical processes mean that any problems that arise will deeply affect all members of the group.
    It is therefore vitally important that members of a coven are consciously aware of these processes. If problems occur in the group relationship, these must be as carefully handled as in any other important bond, such as marriage.
    The kinds of problems that arise often seem to be the common, ordinary sort of things that occur in all small, tight knit special interest groups. However the consequences of these may not be so matter of fact. Coven members are astonished at how hurt, damaged and hysterical you can become over relatively minor problems. Get the message! You simply cannot afford such behaviour in magical groups, with the pressure and energy you have all built up just waiting to spill over into emotional crises.
    I am often shocked at stories of squabbles and petty shit fights within covens, types of behaviour that should be avoided at all costs. Lifetime enmities are generated where once all was love and friendship. And here is the clue! Magical bonds continue and whether the relationship is negative or positive the energies will pour on through, causing either joy or distress in equal volume. And this will continue, sometimes forever. Potential initiates need to be given a lively awareness of these facts as a basic part of their training.
    So what are these problems, petty or otherwise, that plague our covens? They are as many and varied as humans can make them, and highlight that coven members cannot be too careful over who is accepted. Long apprenticeships are vital and a good protection for both candidate and coven. Some examples of common problems I have observed are:
    • Incompatible lifestyles outside the coven. Witchcraft attracts folk from all walks of life and it is not inconceivable that staid professional folk and radical greenies may need to share ritual space. Tolerance and an awareness of a higher purpose are the keys to avoiding trouble here.
    • Sub-groups forming and causing jealousies. Tricky, but best dealt with by complete openness and extremely good manners. If everyone is on best behaviour at all times situations like this rarely arise
    • Inappropriate sexual attractions. Clearly stated behavioural standards, that are expected and explained well before initiation, are indispensable. This is a fertility religion and sexuality is both implicit and explicit within the body of our ritual. All must be aware of this and the potential dangers discussed. We rarely accept married candidates whose spouses are not willing to be involved. Such people may wish to find a working partner and then it is only a matter of when, not if, the natural deep link seeks the expression of sexuality. It is possible to have a working partner with whom you are not physically involved, but it is difficult. It is not fair for first degrees (and their uninvolved partners) who are, after all, only just beginning to learn how the energy moves. Senior members, with greater experience, must be responsible for setting the “tone” and must live up to their own standards!
    • Power plays between coven members. This can include such unpleasant behaviours as senior priesthood using their position to coerce junior members, blatant ego tripping, and the telling of big fat lies about the history, background or authenticity of the tradition being taught. All these are a formula for spiritual and emotional bankruptcy. Once again long apprenticeships will allow both coven and candidate to sum each other up. Personal standards of truth and honour and a true love of the Way will protect you against such deadly situations.
    • Lack of commitment-think about that word and how many areas it is applicable to
    Once a culture of respect and self-discipline is engendered within a coven, then love and trust will flourish. The group energy of such a coven is immediately obvious. They are at ease with each other and it will be difficult to tell who are teachers and who are students. They all have their own lives and interests, but form a solid unit when together. They share deep friendships but don’t live in each other’s pockets. They support each other in bad times and celebrate in good. Problems and questions are freely discussed and sorted out before tensions arise. They treat each other with love, respect and above all, honour, for all their sakes and the sake of their shared task.
    The Craft is a difficult and exacting Path, with access to life-changing energies. Once begun, our Path demands standards of behaviour that can be difficult to maintain. There are many positive, joyful and life-enhancing benefits to be gained by entering the Craft, but it is essential that these be understood in the context of “side-benefits” and not at all the point of what we all do this for! These benefits are to be used in our unending Service to the Mother and are used for selfish ego- based purposes only at our peril. This is not some soppy, moralistic theory, but cold hard fact
    Witches may not, they must not succumb to the petty garbage of small group politics or personal power trips. Such actions not only alienate your ritual siblings but in sober fact open up your aura to attack by the lower levels of astral nasties, which feed eagerly and continue to lower resistance to dangerous reactions. The channels of power, once opened at initiation, do not close easily and will as readily be filled with negative as with positive energy. The choice is yours. The results of such choices, both good and otherwise, can be easily observed in the Pagan community.
    Our Mother needs us all, few as we are. Does She not deserve that which is our highest Ideal and our Heart’s Desire?

    Is this not part of our Gods path?





    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Craft....(unfortunately) For Sale....

    Here is an article written by one of senior members of the MFAPG.  We hope it provides some food for thought :)


    CRAFT FOR SALE? By Alicia 1995/2012

    Introduction

    When I originally wrote this opinion piece the whole New Age money machine was just getting into gear.
    Sad to say not much has changed. I make absolutely no apology for having high ideals and trying to stick to them. After thirty years in the Craft I’ve never regretted having high standards, but I have been done over, spiritually speaking, after relaxing these standards. No one is perfect, but don’t let your eagerness to belong blind you to the many shady operators still lying in wait for the credulous.
    And if you do fall foul of an unpleasant experience don’t give up and think we are all tarred with the same brush. The universe will put you in the way of what you need, but it’s up to you to develop the first and most important of all the magical virtues – discrimination.

    I put pen to paper once again with a deep sense of foreboding. In the way that I was taught witchcraft, straight and old fashioned as it was, you did not sell what you were taught,
    just as you did not pay to learn it. This was a fundamental bottom line so basic that the
    idea of money never entered into it. Trust, love, a personal dedication to the service of the Old Ones – all these things were demanded and freely given, but money? Hardly!

    If witchcraft, and its less demanding sister neo-paganism, are ever to be taken seriously by the general public and move out of being seen as lunatic fringe cults, into the realm
    of a legitimate minority religion or practice (as it must if we are ever to be safe again)
    then a lot of people who presently gain large remuneration from the desires of unwise and eager seekers had best have a really good think about their motives.

    Prosperity Consciousness” – what a disgusting concept this has become when applied to the buying and selling of spiritual guidance or development – a truly obscene practice.
    Solid work, by many dedicated witches and pagans, has been done over many years to
    provide a base for the consolidation of all that is good and spiritually sustaining in our Path.
    This is now in danger of being grossly undermined and contaminated by the poisonous
    greed of commercialism.

    I am quite nauseated by the glossy flyers that advertise “ A weekend workshop in Genuine Shamanism”. O please, spare me! Or we can choose from any one of dozens of combinations of crystal-head pseudo-philosophy, or ill-understood Native pathways that have been pruned and sanitized for suburban consumption. Or perhaps you would prefer a quick course in do-it-yourself witchcraft that can have you running your own coven in six months (with 28 initiates) – always provided you can cough up the necessary cash. It’s like a nightmare supermarket, something for everyone and always with a hefty price ticket.

    Just remember the Mystery is not now and never has been for sale, neither is the key to the Otherworld. Those people who seek to avoid commitment by turning the learning experience into a business transaction are exactly those who are grossly unsuitable for entry into the Craft.

    Being a Witch is something that occupies your whole life. It is that thing by which you approach the universe, full of joy, wonder and desire. It is a brilliant, passionate, wonderful spiritual Path, a love affair with the Universe. It is emphatically not expensive weekend workshops, tacky, glossy brochures or questionable DVD’s.

    A witch should live with joy and dignity in the world, doing clean, honest work, teaching those students the Gods send to her, loving our Mother Earth and serving Her in the best way possible. I was taught to aspire to a life of constant learning and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing a worthwhile task as well as you can.

    And those relationships that develop between teacher and student, between initiate and initiator should be like shining stars of experience – not the grubby, commercial, limited production-line feed-out of bought and paid for rituals.

    I have heard it argued that if this truly deplorable avenue of buying the Craft was not available then many people who want knowledge would be unable to get it. Well, if that’s true, then so be it. But of course it’s a huge lie and a ten cent photocopy on A4 paper, covered in a sensible booklist, would more than adequately cover most information that is to be found in print. As these so-called teachers well know, as it is usually their own source of income. Which is why good booklists are conspicuously absent from most so-called and very expensive witchcraft courses.

    The Craft is a Mystery Religion. It is not suitable in any way to mass appeal nor was it ever meant to be. It is a religion without congregation, where priestesses and priests celebrate the Sacred Year in intensely joyful and secret rituals, far from prying eyes. Neo-paganism is much more suitable for a greater number of people and is far easier to approach – there are heaps of books available. It, too, approaches the Mystery but is much less demanding of time and commitment.

    Nobody whom seeks need remain in ignorance. Compared to even twenty years ago the amount of information available in print is overwhelming. There are public gatherings which can be found, and, as always, there is nothing to prevent people who feel the need of fellowship from forming their own groups for study and ritual.

    If our religion is to survive and continue as a force for balance and harmony in the world, we must reject the temptation of monolithic organizations and the pursuit of money. Our self-declared rivals and enemies have this area very well covered. If we try to play the game by their rules we shall surely lose – relegated to the lunatic fringe as we would deserve. Our strength is our diversity, our ability to bring joy into the world, our Will to serve the Mother - not our own egos and pockets.

    Think well siblings, Wise and Blessed Be.