In 2006, I was introduced to Earth day by the now late Jean Williams, Wiccan HPS & pagan elder. It was a park tidy up and eco ceremony in Queen’s Woods. I took up the cause, thinking, surely we have to do more..and bring more awareness and celebrate it. The following year (2007) I organised the first `Gaia convention’ (called Gaia-3) for PF-London. It was followed by PFL Gaia-Fortuna, and PFL Gaia-Sol conventions in 2008 & 2009. Friends & I also started `Gaian Times Magazine’ 5 years ago.
And so this year..2017 marks 10 years of me organising and facilitating Earth day events..in various guises 🙂 Thank you Jean Williams.
And it is with mixed feelings that I now announce that this is where I bow out on these big Earth day events. I had that feeling when i set off yesterday morning carrying lots of heavy bulky things.. feeling tired, saying to my self (like that hobbit Frodo once said..), `I can’t do this anymore..’ . And last night I got home and did a quick tarot to ask some divine advise.. and indeed my original intuition was correct. The cards say it is time.
But I am content and happy that we have had the highest number of children attend an Earth Day.. but there was no Eco ceremony. I felt that ..as I watched everyone socialise and play.. that `Life itself on the body of Gaia is a divine ceremony’ (so long as we are aware and mindful of it).
Am also aware that now in London.. others are organising big Earth Day events (indoors). It remains my cause to keep getting Pagans out into the parks and woods.. which I will carry on in other ways and other events.. such as meditative events, walks in woods, and Eco-Healing work..
Thank you all who have come to the many Earth Day & Earth Hour events I have facilitated and participated. Thank you to all my friends, family & Tribe who have helped me with organising these events and supporting them. And thank you wonderful humans, children, and animals ..for attending and enjoying the events. Together we are Gaia.
When the Pagan Federation discontinued its National Conferences after the one of 2004, many wondered what will happen. Many of the districts of the PF began to hold local district conferences. Following suit, PF London also held its district conference in 2007. Instead of calling it just a district conference, I took the initiative (as the then PFL Event Manager) and gave it a name and an identity – `Gaia3 convention’ and a tag-line, `Earth, Environment, Kinship’, for that’s what the Convention was all about! This was done to bring additional awareness to ecological matters, because I had observed, at the time, that pagans in London seem to talk a lot of honouring and worshiping the Earth and natural world, but didn’t seem to put the kind of emphasis on such ecological matters – that far less earth-centred companies or other non-pagan groups were doing. It was crazy that there had never been an Earth-themed conference of any sort – not at least in the previous 12-15 years (to my knowledge).
I was new to convention organising, but did my best, with the help of the PFL Events Team and my District Manager Jean Williams! PF London didn’t have more than a few hundred pounds of funds, so an idea was conjured up – to seek temporary `loans’ of small amounts (£25-£50 ) per person from willing volunteers of the pagan community. And we raised over £500 – enough to put a deposit for the hiring of a large hall at ULU (University of London Union). The PF itself saw our efforts and gave us an equal amount as a loan also. Needless to say, we had a good ticketed turn-out of attendance, and covered all costs, and paid all the people back their `loans’. It was all informally and efficiently done. In essence, it was a Convention funded by the people!
At Gaia3 convention of 2007, we had several interactive features, such as a `Wyrd-Wall’, `Walking Witches & Wizards’ and `Pandora’s Box’. In the first, convention goers tied a small string with their thoughts/ intents, onto a `wall’ to make a random and complex web of strings. (These were used in the 4th Convention in `Wyrd-i’ in 2010). The Walking Witches were Stewards who went around befriending new comers and making them comfortable, and the Pandora’s box was a feed-back box ( a reverse of the concept!). There was also the `Copper exchange’ where each person had 5 small coins (1 penny coins) and through out the day, each person would `exchange’ his or her coins with another convention-goer. All coins were collected and magically committed to the river Thames at the end of the Convention. It symbolised the exchange of energies (and a reason to interact with one another).
There followed 2 further annual conventions. In 2008, we had the `Gaia-Fortuna Convention’ probably another first (using a double-barrel name of 2 Goddesses). It took place around the Autumn (harvest) time, and concentrated on Harvest and good Fortunes; The 3rd in the series was at Midsummer in 2009, and suitably named `Gaia-Sol convention’ , with a focus of integrating the masculine fiery energy of the Sun wit Gaia.
Year 4 saw the idea of kinship and interconnectedness evolve- and there was only one way it possibly have moved towards – to the concept of Wyrd. This is the magical web of Fates that connect all of us. So it was called `Wyrd-i convention’. People asked me what the `i’ stood for, and wondered if it meant the roman numeral 1? Maybe, or maybe it stands for `imagination’, because creative imagination is key to the working of magic!
Last year, there were no Gaia-related conventions, because the Pagan Federation held a national major conference in London to celebrate its 40th anniversary! However, last year, on the new moon of Aquarius (star sign with humanitarian qualities), we finally formed `Gaian Times’, to continue the magical and sociological work initiated by the Gaia Conventions.
Below are a full list of Speakers, Experts, Workshop facilitators and Performer – who participated in the 3 Gaia conventions, and supported its objectives.
Contributions to Gaia3 Convention 2007
Adrian Harris & Jacqui Woodward Smith
What’s special about the PF?
Magical London in the Victorian, Edwardian and Inter-War Years of the Twentieth Century
Jacqui Woodward Smith & Hilde
The Sacred in the City- workshop
Shamanism, Gardening and the Earth Spirits
performance & talk
Urban Shamanism- Goose and Crow and the Cross Bone Portal
Us and Them: Listening to the more-than-human majority
The Deer Goddess
Orianna & Indigo
Court cards- Tarot
Alan & Mani
`Temple of the Four winds’
Contributions to Gaia-Fortuna Convention 2008
Fortuna Opening Ceremony & Talk’
35 years and counting! – positive changes in the pagan/witchcraft communities since the 1970s
Making friends with fortune: how to weave the thread of fate and change your destiny
talk, demo and mini-workshop
Gothic Bellydance (Raqs Gothique!)-
Spirit in the City – The Earth We Walk On
Ritual Dance within the Temple
“All Acts Of Love And Pleasure Are My Rituals”
The Poet as Magician
Bachus Border Morris
Ed & April Richardson
Sounding the Runes
Talk with video clips
‘Gods of the Future?’
The Bee Goddess: the Hive of Community and Justice in the Workplace
John Constable aka John Crow
The Goose, The Crow and the Cross Bones Portal
‘Hoodoo, The Blues and Robert Johnson
Hern’s Tribe & Tribe of Avalon
Contributions to Gaia-Sol Convention 2009
Tribe of Avalon & Jacqueline Anne Woodward-Smith
The Stag Horned God’
Paganism and Sex’
Emma Restall Orr
Paganism in a Modern World’
Myths and legends of Midsummer’
members of the PF committee
PF: “Story Time: How the PF Bug Got Me.”
‘Dancing hands, dancing drums
Chakra sounds meditation’
Bacchus Border Morris
performance & workshop
Gaia, the Goddess of nourishment and Earthiness’
`Getting in touch with your inner Goddess/God through Gothic Bellydance’
`WolfTurtle’ (Mani) & Friends
Gaian Times calls these wonderful individuals, to support the work of Gaian Times, and contribute feature articles, and share with us their ongoing Earth-centred works.
In view of recent Eco-protests and resulting connections with fellow supporters, I’ve been thinking about Eco-campaigns.. What gets us all down?
It’s not the hardships of fighting..demonstrating.. campaigning.. that is the difficulty which many Eco-Warriors face.. BUT it is the despair of it sometimes.. that it might be a loosing battle.. as everything else seems overwhelming..!
We make slow but sure progress.. some MP’s listen.. a government or a country bans wild life trade.. burns its stash of apprehended ivory and animal products.. sends a clear message to poachers!
But despite this.. elsewhere.. poachers get in to protected wild life parks in African lands, and kill protected Rhinos..or Elephants.. That is sad, frustrating, and demoralising.. It can even loose hope in the hearts of the Campaigners!!
While am at it, another point of despair for me personally is seeing the `lack of numbers’ of Pagans/Magicians who turn up at these protest & campaign events! Yes, everyone says they worship nature, and they do magical work for the world and animals.. but I am not seeing much talk about it..or evidence of that kind of activity.. Raising a pint of beer and wishing for animal wellbeing is all nice and well.. but when do we re-start doing serious Eco-magical rituals..in parks and woods..and public places.. and start thrusting that energy deeper into the human collective? (Dragon eco-magical group, established by Dr.Adrian Harris have been doing it for decades.. But who else?)
A magical call for Hope
So with that in mind, I shall call on my fellow pagan/ shamanic/ magical people…to do some eco-magical workings.. simply..to keep all us Eco-warriors positive..hopeful..and confident!!
So..We shall invoke Cernunnos.. an ancient shamanic/horned deity.. who is the `Lord of all beasts’ (animals).. !
May Cernunnos protect all the wild beasts, and instill power and strength in those of us who fight to protect those wild beasts!!
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