On Saturday the 22nd of February three WildWooders attended the 2nd installment of the Pagan Community Weekend (PCW) – run and organised by the Ostarian Grove (www.ostariangrove.net), a Sydney-based eclectic Pagan group. The Pagan Community Weekend happens over two days – Saturday and Sunday – and is a community-inspired and derived experience in which a number of Pagan groups and individuals come together to share knowledge, experience our sacred lore and truths together in a place of perfect love and perfect trust, and ultimately to celebrate each other.
I was the first workshop-presenter of the day, and though I usually talk on topics that are beyond 101, I was asked to present a beginner’s lecture on Witchcraft. However, because I experience and live the Craft very differently from what is generally presented in the handbooks my talk was on Witchcraft as I experience and thus define it – Ecstasy-Driven, Earth-Based, Mystery Tradition/s. We spoke (together, in a discussion format) of how Witchcraft derives from a synthesis of the various European-shamanic traditions and how its rites, techniques and methodologies create altered states of consciousness and dissolve ego. Thus, this leads to ecstasy (from the Greek ek stasis – to stand outside; of oneself) and bliss and oneness with the All that is Nature and the Mystery. The teachings of the Craft also encourage and imply closeness and conscious-attunement to/with Nature and the Earth. We become aware of the natural tides, cycles and rhythms and gain spiritual insight from our ‘riding the Wheel’. The Goddess, She who is the Conscioussness of Life, is central to this, and an understanding of her sovereignty is paramount to the Witch. It’s also important to know the Horned One who dances Life, Death and Rebirth. He is the very expression of the unfolding of Life’s yearning to know itself. Of course, to round this all up the subject of Magick and Interconnection can not be omitted. This is our truest and most powerful principle of Mystery. We then spent the last half-hour in Circle with a ritual to ground what we had absorbed. It was a simple Craft rite, but one that flowed beautifully from person-to-person around the Circle as we shared Elemental blessings and raised and released power to “understand the mysteries of the Craft more deeply, and to revel and rejoice in them”.
The PCW workshop-format generally has two workshops running at the same time. On the first day, at the same time as my workshop was Gray’s ‘Become a Warrior, not a Worrier’ presentation. After the first break Stacey DeMarco did an amazing, inspiring and energy-filled talk on ‘Weaving Witchcraft with Work’. Simultaneously, Kris from Ostarian Grove (OG) did a workshop on ‘Writing Guided Meditations’. The last workshops of the day included an awesome percussive/drumming session (how to aid in ritual and magick) and a practical and grounded talk on ‘To Make or Buy: How to Shop with a Pagan Eye’.
After the workshops, and the breaks and socialising, each of the Pagan organisations present had a chance to talk briefly about who they are and what they do before the info stalls were set up. The Pagan Awareness Network (PAN), Spheres of Light (SOL), the WildWood Tradition, the Church of All Worlds (CAW) and the Ostarian Grove (OG) all spoke.
To wind down and finish off the day a Nordic-inspired, folk band entertained us and we all had the chance to peruse the information stalls of the various Pagan groups and to buy whatever caught our fancy!
It was a great event and I can’t wait to attend the next one! Kudos to the OG team for all their glorious efforts and contributions to the Australian Pagan community.
For more information visit the OG website provided earlier in this blog!