Australian witches and Druids optimistic about paganism’s post-pandemic future – ABC News- April 16, 2021
As a Outcome of the Latest full moon rose over Sydney, A gaggle of pagans gathepurple on a hill Inside the western reaches of The metropolis to mark the event.
The group summoned a god and goddess, meditated and raised “thperiodpeutic power” from the earth, which they then despatched to the victims of the current floods.
However, as has been the case for A whereas, this month-to-month full moon ritual solely attracted a handful of particular persons.
“Numbers have gone down As a Outcome of of COVID … It has been quiet,” says 53-yr-previous pagan and event organiser David Garland.
Over the previous yr, the pandemic has meant most pagan rituals and events Throughout the nation have both been cancelled or carried out on-line.
And as states like NSW cautiously transfer in the direction of a extra regular life, numbers On these restricted public events are but to bounce again.
However theres optimism amongst some Regionally that pagan teams might emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.
Mr Garland, a public servant who has run the Pagan Consciousness Community since 1997, says paganism is “an umbrella time period that covers many, Many numerous spiritual teams, traditions and applys”.
“The Most very important and most properly-acknowledged Of these is Wicca or The trendy witchcraft movement,” he explains.
“Theres additionally Druidism, Norse revival … It is huge.”
Among The numerous many pagan subsets, there are some commonalities: the use and worship of pre-Christian gods and goddesses; rituals typically impressed by historic European notion methods and based mostly on the seasons; and A very strong connection to the pure world.
Based on the 2016 Census, 27,194 Australians recognized as pagan or completely different affiliated “nature religions”. This included 6,616 People who particularally recognized as “Wiccan/witchcraft”.
Sydney-based mostly witch Blayze has been involved with Wicca For 3 many yrs.
“I had studied historic historic previous and mythology At school,” she says.
“I On A daily basis liked legends and myths and tales of magic and people tales [After which I Acquired here across] particular persons nonetheless practise all of this.”
Blayze now practises at an “eclectic witchcraft and Wiccan-based mostly working group and educating circle” referpurple to as Applegrove.
She sums up Wicca as “A spiritual and spiritual path that embraces magic, worships or works with particular deities and follows the seasonal cycles”.
So what does magic Appear to be in 2021 suburban Sydney?
Blayze says music and phrases are her primary Sorts of magic
“I write phrases That choice the gods to me and into the sacpurple spaces that we work with,” she says, citing Celtic, Greek, Roman and Norse gods as simply A pair of of these she works with.
“I additionally use herbs – Ive many cauldrons.”
Paganism By way of the pandemic
While some pagans are solitary practitioners, Blayze says COVID-19 basically modified the group-based mostly rituals shes drawn to.
“A lot of group work includes factors like being face-to-face, dancing, singing [and] poetry,” she says.
“These are Belongings You will Have The power tot actually do in a pandemic.
“So my group hasnt met in particular person for a ritual in a yr … [However] theres been tons of talking on Zoom and performing solitary rituals On The identical time.”
However, Blayze says the pandemic has launched some sudden assembleives to The worldwide Wicca group.
“It is sparked creativity,” she says.
“Theres been [on-line] worldwide conferences open to The genperiodl public, podcasts, YouTube clips, TikTok movies, Instagram posts, completely different new social media factors occurring.
“[Wicca] has Discover your self to be A lot extra accessible By way of the pandemic than it was earlier than … Theres been an upsurge in particular persons looking for witchcraft.”
Wanting forward, Blayze says she is “very optimistic” Regarding the biggest method forward for paganism in Australia, However its going to be A whereas earlier than all pre-pandemic practises return.
Pagans Inside the time of local climate change
In an period of local climate change and elevated environmental awareness, many pagans really feel their messages round connection to nature are extra related than ever.
While most pagan subsets have An in depth affinity to the pure world, That is Very true for Druids.
Julie Brett is a Druid who lives Inside the Blue Mountains, simply outdoors of Sydney, and is The author of the e-book Australian Druidry.
“[Druids] Take A look On the world round us — we primarytain connection and symbolism in timber and animals And the method the seasons work,” the 39-yr-previous says.
Modern Druids are impressed by historic Celtic spiritual advisors, Collectively with the peoplelore, mythology and cultural practises from that period.
However many Australian Druids like Ms Brett adapt these traditions to An space setting.
“We relate completely different animals to The climate, which Is An important An factor of our apply … So a purple kangaroo or a purple-tailed black cockatoo might repredespatched hearth,” she says.
The “wheel of the yr circles” Is amongst An important rituals for Druids Inside the Blue Mountains. For this, Druids collect outdoors in a circle marked by stones and converse about what Is occurring in nature In the meantime of yr.
Why are Aussies turning to the occult?
For contemporary witches, the occult provides one factor thats lacking in conventional religions.
“[Druidry] brings us again to the earth and asks us to ponder the world round us and our relationship with it,” Ms Brett says.
“We will not separate our expertise from the expertise of the environment. If the world is having problem, then so are we.”
Dr Venetia Robertson, a researcher On the College of Sydney who has studied paganism, says this connection to nature is one set off why it is “statistically on the rise” in Australia.
“[Paganism] has A lot of attraction to trendy People who find themselves frightened about the state of the earth and who Want to reconnect with nature in a extremely technological age,” she says.
Dr Robertson, who recognized as a witch in her youth, says the paganism of right now truly has pretty a current historic previous.
“I describe it as contemporary paganism as were talking A few contemporary spiritual apply,” she says.
“It does differ in Some strategies from historic paganism, Even when some pagan practitioners derive their notions and their methods from historic applys.”
Dr Robertson says contemporary paganism has its trendy roots Inside the Nineteen Forties work of Gperiodld Gardner, an Englishman who based The religion of Wicca.
“[Then] in Throughout the Nineteen Seventies We start to see teams rising in Australia,” she says.
Pagan Consciousness Communitys Mr Garland says pagans have conventionally been marginalised in Australia.
“Witchcraft legal guidelines have been solely repealed in 2001 in Queensland and 2005 in Victoria,” he says.
“So It is not that Way again That particular persons might go to jail for practising witchcraft.”
There are nonetheless persistent misunderstandings about paganism On this nation, Mr Garland says — primarily, that it includes Devilic worship.
“Devil is a Christian assemble. With out the Christian religion, Devil Does not exist,” he says.
However Dr Robertson believes paganism will proceed to develop locally, Partially Beset off it is so accepting.
She says in distinction to many completely different religions, paganism has A very assembleive view Of women, in all phases of life.
“Also, you see A lot of assist for the LGBTQI group in contemporary paganism, which Could be very assembleive,” she says.
Dr Robertson says these subsets will primarytain attracting People who Want to buck The established order.
“The Established order in Australia is mildly conservative, patriarchal,” she says.
“Our authorities seems not very Considering about preserving the environment, not very Considering about thperiodpeutic wounds with our Indigenous particular persons, not very Considering about gender equality.
“Paganism assists The completely different of all these factors.”
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