Information for Seekers in Western Australia

This blog is a record for our coven to keep track of our doings, but also an opprtunity to express our creativity through writing if we feel the need. Because we maintain a semi-active looking blog (well I did say semi!) we get a lot of people finding our site who live in WA, seeking teachers, circles and points of contact for those who are interested in pagan spirituality, Wicca, and witchcraft in the Perth area.

We found that opening our close-knit group to seekers doesn’t work for us. A coven is like a family and as such we are not really ‘open for business’. This is true of many covens in Perth (and yes, they are out there!) so we understand that for a seeker, it can be very difficult or even frustrating to find a group or even an event where they can connect with like minded individuals.

Here are a few contacts and links to help get you started in the pagan community in WA and a little information about them:

-Combined Covens Social Club – this group runs a couple of events a year which can provide a good opportunity to meet like minded souls. A particular highlight is the Fete day at Spring Camp where a lot of witches, pagans, occult workers and pagan-friendlies come out of the ‘woodwork’ and can be seen soaking up the atmosphere. These events are usually held on the long weekend of the Queen’s Birthday public holiday.

-theCollective – the aim of this initiative is to connect all pagans in WA and provide a point of contact and a network. They now release a New Moon Newsletter filled with all the current events and articles for local pagans. This is an amazing resource and if you’re looking for general public events of all description this is the place to get your info.

- Pagans in the Park WA – enough said really, this is a new initiative but is a promising pledge to start up a regular gathering similar to ones held in other parts of the world.

- Pagans in the Pub Perth – this is a long running event where a few people gather for a few drinks and a chat. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at Durty Nelly’s, on Shafto Lane. Email Perthpagans@yahoo.com for more details.

-WA’s social group for Witches, Wiccans and pagans alike – this is a FB group that while not particularly active, you are bound to find information about upcoming events and other things and get any questions you might have answered.

Perth pagans mostly keep to themselves and you will find the scene mostly apolitical and there are no ‘loud voices’ which can make it seem fairly quiet. There is a lot bubbling beneath the surface though and plenty of nice people to make you feel welcome. We are reluctant to list covens as most are fairly private but if you dig, you will find them… or they will find you!

There is also nothing wrong with starting your own discussion group or book club. Be prepared to travel to meet like-minded souls. Our coven members are scattered between Mandurah and Midland. You will not find a coven lurking in its entirity in a suburb, waiting for you to join.

Take care on your journey.

 

 

The Force of Sisterhood

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Since our founding in 2007, SCOTIF has undergone many evolutions.

In the past month, with great joy we formally welcomed our beautiful dedicant Sarah into our fold as she underwent her first degree initiation.

And this past week, we have farewelled our High Priestess Ethony as she embarks on an amazing adventure and chapter in her life overseas.

The bonds of sisterhood do not so easily break, however. To work magically so closely with a small group of people forges links that are as close as, and sometimes closer than, family.

I am not sure such an experience, such a circle, is something any of us expected before we came together as something to happen in our lives. But we feel ever so grateful to have it.

We support Ethony and Sarah as they embark on the exciting new chapters in their lives. And here’s to a path of inspiration and intellect, breath, smell & song; passion, desire & creation; tears, purity and life; and continued growth, foundation and nourishment.

May the circle be open but unbroken;

May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart.

Merry meet, and merry part,

And merry meet again.

First Circle of 2013; Setting Out With Purpose & Love

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And we’re back.

It’s been a little quiet in these parts; SCOTIF experienced a more ‘inward’ year in 2012 and like all things, it is okay to observe a natural ebb and flow within coven workings. We have been circling together for seven years now and a (healthy) pattern is beginning to emerge. 2013 promises to be an exciting year for all of us as we build our capacity to strengthen connections within ourselves and continue forging the path that has served us so well, so far. As we spiral ‘outwards’ we continue to consolidate our friendships and sense of wonder, magic and love that is fostered within our circle :)

This year we have established a new way of conducting our circling. We are ‘turfing’ the ‘Wheel of the Year’ in the traditional sense and instead employing a structure that involves monthly sacred space. Each member will take responsibility with one or more months in the year and write a ritual, hold space, or facilitate a workshop or activity as suited towards the vibe of the month. We are really excited and invigorated as we plan around this format.

This month was my turn, and a patch of grief led me to facilate something more informal than what I initially planned, and I got the oven cranking with cupcakes as we decided a spot of high tea and a little goal setting was in order.

Ethony came up with the idea which she successfully used in 2012 and served her well- come up with 3 words which would serve as a focal point to the things we wish to achieve and manifest in our lives. She said that the words acted as powerful reminders, like keystones to touch upon to assist in the manifestation.

Here are some of the words we declared within sacred space, as we also vowed to support each other in the realisation of these touchstones. (Ethony also made the pretty graphic!)

ScotifWords

As we went around our circle and discussed our chosen words, we noticed a lot of similar themes- many of us are keen to outfurl and give back to our friends, family and community, and we are all keen to be in touch with our bodies and our hearts, and reignite a sense of wonder in a magical sense. Essential things when one has spent a year turning inward or focusing on mundane goals. 2013 is going to be for growth, connection and magic!

We also declared:

If you get an item or are gifted an item, we are going to give something away and pay it forward.

If we say yes to something, we have to say no to something else (this is because most of us take on way too much, balance y’all)

February is going to be a love-fest! I look forward to the future circles, as I always look forward to when my sisters and I hold space.

Samhain 2012 Post!

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Last weekend saw our circle’s celebration of Samhain on the Full Moon in Scorpio.

A thorough cleansing and smudging and a meditation was followed with a walk through the labyrinth, repeating last year’s tradition. Labyrinths are fun to create, and what looks like a mundane series of markings and rakings in the afternoon transforms in the twilight and into the evening with the addition of candlelight and the amazing energies supplied by the thinnest veil between worlds, the light of the full moon, the presence of Hecate who was felt by us all, and the cauldron which sparked and crackled as we manifested and cleansed ourselves in this magical time… the witch’s new year.

 

 

 

Around and Around and Back Again

Like all circles, SCOTIF is ever moving forward, and changing.

To reflect our individual changing practices, our coven is changing and adapting too. We are feeling the flow, creating a more nurturing environment, and cultivating our spiritual practices in a way that our previous format just wasn’t meshing with. We seek to find a new balance and create a deeper connection with the seasons of the land, Spirit, and each other.

As such we will be cutting away some of the dross- and making way for the new. A truly progressive practice that builds on our strengths and fosters an inclusive community. Our first of these circles was held today and while I look forward to sharing and documenting our circles, how this will take form on this blog- I’m not quite sure (yet!). In the meantime I have begun a blog of my own which you can follow here at The Chaos Witch.

A Faery Nice Day… or, A Litha Picnic

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Today was our Summer Solstice Celebration. We decided to make Kings Park our venue and invite some new and old friends, and some could actually make in amongst the silly season! *waves to new friends!*

It was such beautiful weather and a generally lovely day- we agree our favourite Summer Solstice to date, as it is normally oppressively hot this time of year. We dressed in a little faery finery and enjoyed an awesome picnic afterwards.

Sarah looking pretty pretty special

Gaia Mara / Teneal striking a pose

The Midsummer delights that were quickly scoffed

The Summer Solstice altar!

There's always one!

A Year With an Eclectic Witch Coven: Video

Well as 2011 draws to a close, I was reflecting on just how much we’ve done with the Sacred Circle of the Inner Flame in the last 12 months. I decided to make a retrospective video to show just some of the activities we have done within our group and within the wider Perth community. With bonus dot points summing up just how much we’ve accomplished!

 

  • Our 1st degree Priestesses have been studying in earnest towards our 2nd degree. This has mostly consisted really walking our paths and further engaging with the local community in varying ways. It has been both a challenging and rewarding journey.
  • Our seeker, Sarah, has spent a full year with us studying for her 1st degree initiation. It has been so wonderful having her with us and she is doing so well! She is certainly a bright spark, that one.
  • After years of talking about it, we finally went camping together! We celebrated Samhain in the forest and while it was way too cold and we weren’t allowed to have fires due to the fire ban, we still had a great time.
  • Some of us donned our glad-rags and rocked out at the Combined Covens Social Club’s Harvest Ball.
  • We saw the rise and consequential sad disappearance of the Sacred Grove Spiritual Centre, which gave us an opportunity to meet and develop friendships with some amazing people and allowed some of us to facilitate workshops for the community. Hopefully Perth will see a facility servicing the pagan community in such a capacity again.
  • We attended several gatherings held by other people and groups, such as a Yule festival and drumming circles.
  • The best of those being the ‘Shake Your Wicked Hoof’ dance night! What a fantastic night was had by all. We would love to see this event happen again, although we know how much work is needed to make something so cool happen!
  • We continued to celebrate our own rigorous esbat and sabbat calendar, and we are really developing our sense of the role of the elements in circle in addition to the relationship of feasting to ritual.
  • We consolidated our logo and got tshirts made! What nerds! The blog also got a facelift and is looking pretty spanking by now if I do say so myself.
  • The Spring Camp run by Combined Covens was another highlight, which I have already expansively posted about here.
  • Ethony recorded a CD series on the Craft, and we all participated in providing chants and drumming for the soundtrack! I have previewed the CDs and they sound amazing, hopefully we will have details on this blog of what these are and how to purchase soon.
  • We opened the group to the general public to Seekers for the first time. We recently met a couple of you and definitely look forward to working with you in the near future!

So here’s to the year behind and the year forward! We are halfway through the Wheel of the Year, and the peek of the silly season is about to commence. Stay safe and warm/cool, whichever hemisphere you find yourself in! Blessed Be.

Combined Covens Spring Camp 2011 Wrap-Up

What a great camp it was this year, thanks to the hard work and efforts of the Combined Covens Social Club!

Combined Covens is a politics-free social opportunity to attend public pagan gatherings in Perth. It is the only organisation of it’s type in WA and offers a valuable resource to the WA pagan community. Every year they hold a spring camp where pagans from all over celebrate together in a beautiful setting in the Perth Hills.

This year our circle facilitated a few workshops and we also prepared the feast. On Friday after arriving early to stock the fridges, we then set to making masks during a workshop run by the amazing, wonderful Tree who also happens to be the forerunner of the Combined Covens committee. That night there was a meet and greet followed by a quiz night. The nerds in our group tried not to be bitter that our correct answers were not enough to win a quiz whose winners were determined by bribery and collusion! The square witchlets tried not to flounce (too much!) and lots of fun was had by all.

Early Saturday morning it was time for Tarot Talk with Ethony. Ethony discussed the court cards and intuitive reading methods. I never tire of tarot workshops and readings with Ethony- which is a good thing considering she is my High Priestess and a smidgen obsessed with tarot!

Healthy eating with SCOTIF!

After a brief break which consisted for me of mostly chopping vegetables with Amanda, who was busy in the kitchen readying the curry for the night’s feasting, it was time for my own workshop on Deity in Popular Culture. I have given more informal workshops at Spring Camp before, but this time was special as it consisted of a PowerPoint which I had somehow managed to weave Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Madonna into rather comprehensively. I got a lot of positive feedback on my lecture which was great- but after working on the thing for 6 months I was mighty relieved when it was over!

Then it was back to the kitchen for me to continue to help with feast preparations, while other camp-goers enjoyed the other workshops on offer. Amanda held a workshop in the afternoon which shared her methods of weaving intention and elemental awareness into ritual food preparation- a technique which she has perfected with her experience with raw food and preparing food for a coven (and coven-friends) who have special dietary requirements including veganism, gluten intolerance and nut allergies. In addition to this there were garlic and strawberry allergies amongst camp attendees making the task of preparing a satisfying, healthy and Beltane-inspired feast somewhat challenging! The feast menu included hearty curries, mixed salads and incredible desserts bursting with berries, chocolate sauce and love.

Spring Sprout Salad

Before we could chow down though, it was time to get ready for the night’s ritual, a highlight of camp. Coven Fintan ran this year’s ritual which included weaving a web and focusing our energies on fertilising positive intentions for the times ahead. Then it was time for the feast and merry-making for all as we were treated to a musician playing many favourite tunes and a belly dancing display where we could all get up and have a turn at shimmying our stuff into the night.

Sunday is fete day where the camp grounds are open to the general public. From what I could tell the stalls were better than ever this year, with an increase of handmade goods showing off the talents of many pagan creatives. Teneal ran an informative talk on the similarities between Yoga and Witchcraft, largely informed by her own personal practice. It was an insightful workshop which everyone walked out from feeling more enlightened and armed with tools for more effective meditation and communion with spirit.

So much sister love!

I feel this was one of my favourite Spring Camps to date, I haven’t mentioned many of the other great workshops and happenings- it’s always so jam-packed. Even though SCOTIF was so tired from running around like headless chickens over the many things we we had volunteered for over the weekend, we were so pleased to share our way of making food and ideas associated with our individual practices with those who attended our workshops. Now it is my intent to collude Teneal, Ethony and Amanda to make a blog post on the topics in their workshops… until then, we hope to see you at next year’s camp!

Surviving Beltane for the Solitary Pagan

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Today is October 31st, and in the Southern Hemisphere many witches celebrate Beltane. Spring has well and truly sprung and Summer is making it’s presence felt. Traditionally, Beltane is a pretty important sabbat as it is one of the two times on the Wheel of the Year that the veil is at it’s thinnest (the other, of course, being Samhain). The exact date of Beltane falls halfway between the equinox and the soltice- this year, on November 7th-8th. Covens and solitary practitioners celebrate it at varying times.

If you’re not able to celebrate it with a coven or a ‘special someone’, Beltane can potentially be depressing. What if you are single, or a solitary witch without the bonds of coven sisterhood/brotherhood to give you a little lift? I know, I’ve been there!

The thing is, you might think Beltane is for lovers. Traditionally it is a fertility festival, celebrated with couples copulating on fields and merry skyclad dancing around bonfires. The maypole is a famed symbol of Beltane with distinct phallic connotations. For a single neo-pagan it might be a cause a little angst, but I’m here to argue it needn’t be! Here are my tips for single witches on Beltane;

  • Flowers! Beltane should be a flower-filled festival so go into your garden and see what’s up. Pick some flowers to put in a vase or on your altar. They can instantly lighten up a room, and your mood. If you are flower-deprived, you could by yourself a bunch of flowers or a pot of colour from your local nursery.
  • Watch out for faeries! The veil is at it’s thinnest this time of year and Beltane is reknowned for faery sightings. You can honour the fae with an offering inside your home or your garden to keep them appeased.
  • Alternatively, you can do a fairy meditation to get you in touch with your inner fae. Or look up your favourite faery artists and enjoy their work- Brian Froud is one of my very favourites. Research fairy tales, especially the darker, older ones.
  • Make a pair of faery wings! This is my favourite tutorial courtesy of Emilie Autumn. Be inspired on what the fae energy can offer you!
  • Treat yourself. When I was single I co-opted Valentine’s Day as ‘Single’s Awareness Day’ and I do the same sorts of things for Beltane. Single or not, a little self-love NEVER goes out of fashion. Beltane has a distinct love-themed flavour so you should do nice things for yourself. Bake chocolate goodies, enjoy a nice glass of wine, buy a beautiful punnet of in-season strawberries, or run a bubble bath and soak. To make your bubble bath extra special, add rose petals or essential oils. Play yourself some romantic music- whatever you choose- and drift. Lush is my favourite store for bath-time treats.
  • Beltane is a fire festival so light some candles and practice some candle meditation. Focus on the flames and the way they dance or waver. Every time a distracting thought enters your mind, imagine the flame burning it away into a puff of smoke.
  • You could even try a bit of divination with flames, known as Pyromancy. As the veil is very thin, it is a perfect time for divination! Still your mind and observe the flames and see if you can interpret shapes, symbols, faces or letters. Write them in your journal. Our coven practiced wax divination during Imbolc, and even though our interpretations made no sense at the time, when I looked over my journal notes I noticed how all of the odd symbols, characters and signs that we observed in my lump of wax actually did come to pass for me! The moral of this story is- always write your divinations down, as what might seem nonsense may make sense later on.
  • Start your own mirror book, if you don’t have one. Find a journal or diary and decorate the front page or cover with images that resonate with you. Consecrate it in a small ritual and use it to write divinations, dreams, meditations or journeys.
  • For a bit of fun, watch witchy documentaries and video blogs on Youtube. Ethony linked us to this one today. Take or leave what you view with a grain of salt though!

That’s it! If you can think of anything else to add for solitary pagans on Beltane, be sure to comment with your ideas!

The Balance of the Spring Equinox

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Lee's Outdoor Altar in Spring

Lee's Outdoor Altar in Spring

The Earth renews herself with much vigour come the dawning of the Spring Equinox, when the night and day are at equal lengths, and the Spring rains bring much needed refreshment and renewal as we emerge out of Winter. After a week of rain here in Perth, today the sun came out for a beautiful Spring day, just in time.

It is an important time, as the air is zinging with potential and anticipation. It’s a wonderful time to stop a smell the roses- literally if you have any early Spring buds- and if you’re taking a look you’ll notice that nature is certainly moving. Flowers are out in abundance, and if you can, a fantastic Spring activity is to enjoy the local wildflowers (which Western Australia has in abundance) or look into your own garden, if you’re lucky to have one, and notice the colourful changes. Unfortunately it does mean that I have to mow my lawn more often as the days get longer! Baby animals are in abundance too, and things start getting a little more frisky. It is also a really good time to shake off those WInter cobwebs and do a little Spring cleaning!

According to the six seasons of the Noongar people, our ideas about the Western Spring Equinox are echoed in their season of Djilba, which is represented by the colours pink and purple; and heralds the growth of wildflowers and plants following the replenishing rains.

We will celebrate Ostara, as denoted on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, with an outdoor ritual in the hills followed by a picnic. In our ritual, we will go back to nature and use our energies to send healing back to the land. The equinox is about balance- we will do our small part to help restore the energies of this balance back to the land we tread upon. We will also use the balancing energies to help restore peace and equilibrium to our lives.

May the balance of the Equinox bring balance to your life!

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