`The veil between the world of men and fairy (or spirit) is said to thin twice a year, at Beltane and at Samhain, which are on opposite points of the year wheel. At Beltane (May eve) the land is at it’s most lush and green, and fertile. If Spring Equinox is the time of fertility and mating in the animal kingdom, then Beltane is one of courting couples making commitment to one another- and Handfastings! In the God-Goddess myths, this is when the playful God is said to commit to the Goddess – which is symbolised by the Sacred Marriage! The Maypole dance that is traditional at this time symbolises the fertile powers of the masculine, penetrating the land, and the ribbons danced and woven around it lock that power! A ring of flower at the tip of the Maypole signifies the feminine. Magical working with the Fay (Fairies) is an important feature at this time, in contrast to the magical work with the departed spirits at Samhain, the opposite point’ (taken from http://www.WitchcraftandMagic.uk )
Before `Pagan Frontiers of London’ ..there existed and still does.. The Pagan Federation: London, where I held the post of Events Manager for some 7 years (2004 to 2012). I organised & ran open rituals, masked balls, Gaia conferences, created and ran PF: London website, and even started the facebook page & groups for PFL that still continues (just seen my old events art work in there that dates back to 2009 or something).
After stepping down from the PFL Events Manager post ..to seek out new pagan worlds and boldly go to new magical frontiers (am a Star Trek fan), I started `Pagan Frontiers of London’ as a gateway site fit for the glitzy colourful event-driven social media era – to share info, events and my own service to the Pagan community.
Even in the wilderness years (2013 to 2015), when I had minimal contact with PFL events, I was very much supportive of PF and PF: London (how can I not…half my friends and Elders are still within it).
In 2018, I re-joined the PFL events team again, and as of January 2019, now hold the post of `PF London Social Media Officer’. This is a great honour and a thrill.. to be part of the Pagan Federation (I’ve been a member since mid 90’s..). I cherish the knowledge that back in 1970’s several Wiccan Elders got together to start the Pagan Federation.. (and I am of their wiccan lineage). So the PF is `family’ to me in more ways than one.
And as always, I fondly remember the late Jean Williams, who was `my’ District Manager in those days, who taught me much about serving the community in PF, and tempered my wild ways (well a little). I remember her every week as I pass by the hospital in Highgate – even now- the place where I used to visit her in her last few days.
So many others have stood by my side or behind me and supported me since I began serving the PF in 2004. My ritual group Hern’s Tribe, late Maureen Brown (High Priestess), Chris Crowley (prev. PF President), Vivianne Crowley (High Priestess & my Craft Elder), Mike Stygal (prev. PF president), Rufus & Melissa (prev. PFL events managers), Caroline Westbury (High Priestess & friend), Christina Oakley (Treadwells bookshop), Geraldine Beskin (Atlantis bookshop), Luthaneal Adams (prev. DM for PFL), Paul Newman (PFL Treasurer since 2004), Andrew T (PFL events team), Jeremy Morgan (Druid path), Geoff Miles (Heathen path), Philip John Parkyn (Heathen path), my sister Vathani, my prev.magical partner April, Reggie, Paul Harvey, Rob T, Marcus Lee (technomage) …to mention but a few.
I have never been alone. And always stood on their strong shoulders, and been nurtured by their affections.
And beyond them, there are my Gods & Goddesses and my faith in them – and they do put me through my paces, but also offer inner-strength. Because this work is never easy.. being in spotlight, running events, accepting good & bad projections from people, and still finding the light within to help them.
So my admiration and respect goes to any and all people who stand in spotlight, take all the likes & hates, and still get on with serving the Gods, the land and its people.
Dear all, join me for this great annual event in Central London! I have been attending these for many years, and have helped out/ carried Giants/ been appointed as one of the `Guardians’ of this event by original organiser Jeanette Ellis. So it thrills me to announce the ongoing success of this.
• Bring your drums
• Bring Banners
• Wear masks & Colourful Pagan costumes
• Carry Staffs (no sharp weapons/ swords!!)
• Make `Giants’ and bring them..
See you there
———info below from the PF-London event page—-
Pagan Pride Parade London 2015!!!!
Gather with us in London, for this year’s Pagan Pride Parade. (organised by `Pagan Federation London’)
Break out your broomsticks, don your floral crowns, hold the heathen hammer high and bang your drums proudly – because we’re taking to the streets to fly the Pagan flag and celebrate the freedom of our faiths.
Drummers, Banners Holders, Parade Giants, Fairies, Floats and Pagans of all stripes, join us for a day of fun and festivities.
We’ll be gathering in Russell Square and then marching our parade through the streets, before returning back to Russell Square for a communal picnic and frivolity.
Gather at Russell Square from 11.30am for the start of the parade at 12 midday.
Bring your own food and drink for the picnic or get your food on the day from the Russell Square cafe.
Russell Square is in the heart of Bloomsbury, close to the British Museum. It has a central plaza and water feature, which has become a popular place for Pagans to dance and make merry, year after year.
There is a cafe which is open all year round and expansive lawns and vibrant floral displays.
`Why do you come? To kill the King. Why? His blood feeds the land! ‘ And so begins many a traditional ceremony for Lammas.
The Hanged Man of Tarot – Odin’s sacrifice, the cutting down of Corn King, and the ritual suicide of Hern the Hunter all get played out one way or another in our lives. Join Hern’s Tribe on the eve of a Blue Moon, for resolving these painful cycles, and come together for a joyous celebration of Lammas – time of great Harvest and for reaping the rewards of your hard work. Bring your masks & drums and join in this tribal jollities.
Hern’s Tribe has facilitated several Open rituals for PF London in the past (between 2005- 2012). And we are thrilled to have been invited by PF London to facilitate this ritual. It’s a welcome return after a 3 year gap.
May Hern protect us
——–Info by PF London————-
Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London.
Entry fee: £5 (for PF members & concessions), £6 for all others.
Time: 7:30 – 10:00 PM Arrive from 7.30 pm for pre-ritual socialising in the foyer. Ritual starts at 8 pm and usually concludes before 9 pm. Feasting and socialising follow the ritual until 10 pm.
Please do not arrive before 7:30 PM. If you are early, please utilise one of the nearby pubs, cafes or gardens to sit and socialise in.
Please switch off mobile phones before going into the ritual.
No photographs or video are allowed during the ritual.
Please bring a little food & drink to share during the feast after the ritual.
This feature`Children attending Pagan Rituals’ was originally written for and appeared in the September 2011 Issue of `Gaian Times Magazine (Eco-Spiritual). It was written after the topic was discussed openly in one of the Pagan groups that I was a member of. Only sections of the article are reproduced here for further debate. The Full article is still available in the Gaian Times magazine #2
What must be held in mind is that .. while voluntarily working as the `Events Manager’ for the `Pagan Federation ‘ ( London District), some pagan parents brought up the issue of them being unable to bring their young children to any Open rituals that were being held in London. They had been discouraged from doing do by others in the past, it would seem. So I began to make a special effort to change that situation, and actively started encouraging parents to ring their children to open rituals. (Unsupervised Children were not allowed. Parent/ Guardian supervision was required). I went as far as to even ask and then encourage one pagan friend to have her young daughter be in a grand closing Ceremony of a Conference.
It’s quite `normal’ now (here in the Year 2013) to see Parents and children taking part in or just watching open rituals and pagan Ceremonies. But some 7-8 years ago, that just wasn’t the case. It was a very rare occurrence, and even then, in some outdoor ceremony in a park. I guess the Organisers of such events were nervous about allowing such things, as the media was already full of pagans being persecuted. And Pagan parents were equally probably wary of being at the receiving end of any such antagonistic approaches by ill-educated members of general public (or a thrill-story weaving Journalist!).
————————-Feature written by Mani Navasothy. Edited by April Jonquil.——–
What are your opinions on children in ritual? Is it good to be inclusive; bad to bring young children when they don’t have a choice; distracting; informative? Is ritual a place for children?
These are issues that will continue to have a big influence in pagan communities! Any person(s) who have been a practicing pagan (attending rituals, ceremonies in public or at home) is going to face these issues when they themselves become pregnant and prepare to have their own children. No such Pagan is – under normal circumstances- going to give up their pagan beliefs or practices, and so sooner or later, will wish to attend a ceremony, be it public or private. And it’s highly likely that when they do, they will face the matter of either taking their child to the event, not taking their child, or wishing to take their child but finds that the event does not allow children in it!
As a result of that `public discouragement’, those pagan parents who wish to go to rituals are going to find themselves in serious difficulty, and their only option may well be that of not attending any rituals for many years.
One male began the discussion by stating, “there should be something appropriate for children. Children are a very beautiful quality to any event or ritual but great care must be taken to make it inclusive for the children so that they do not feel excluded. So a large amount of attention needs to be given, and when more adult themes are being used, then children should not attend.” He go son to point out that we were all children once. “They hold beautiful gifts which we should all cherish and nurture ourselves.”
This same message came up in the tone of another response, this time from a lady, “Children are our future, we are their past; our lives are intertwined. To isolate them away from this vital environmental upbringing is almost denying them of their religious heritage…” Heritage is a theme we shall focus on a little further in this feature. This lady goes on to clarify that it’s the parent’s decision on reserving judgment on how disruptive their children could get in a particular situation, and so holds that supervisory responsibility in that environment for those children.
Another mother (of three grown up children) stated that, “we appear to be the only culture where children are thought of being in the way, or an irritation. This is due to adult intolerance and selfishness. Children should be part of our religion and our way of life.” She makes a witty remark that there is no need for children to be, “ not left at home in their Wellies, along with organic compost, until the age of 18 years!!!” By this she means that Children are not some inanimate objects that should be left out till they are ready and turned adults. In response to a suggestion that children may be becoming `indoctrinated’ if they come to pagan rituals, she firmly said, “We are not brain washing as other religions do, merely celebrating the love for nature. That under any heading is healthy for a child. To sing, dance and share love, no brainwashing!”
Another mother (one with younger children) sought to compare Paganism and Christianity in their respects of including Children. “ Sunday mornings are generally family services, specifically aimed at all ages with some provisions in place for small children (crèche, crafts and stories), while Church services during the week and evenings are kept for more ‘serious’ worship.” This mother asked the question, “Why can’t Pagan rituals be the same? If it is on an afternoon/evening, then perhaps as someone suggested, keep the earlier part more ‘family friendly’ and the evening for serious and adult orientated part of the ritual?”
One lady contributor was in agreement with the views of the famous author Richard Dawkins when she responded earlier in the debate, “There are no Pagan children, only the children of Pagan parents. While inevitably the parents beliefs will rub off a bit on children, I’m of the opinion that they should be protected from indoctrination until they are old enough to make their own decisions”.
To this strand of argument, another male added, “If people are coming to do serious magical work, I do not think it is appropriate to have children there. Someone/all would need to keep an eye on them and it would be a distraction”. Then he went on to add, “But if it is just a light hearted celebration of festival, then why not. It all depends on the content!”
Appropriateness of a ritual was discussed by many, and nearly all participants of the discussion agreed that it’s not always appropriate for children to be at a particular ritual. She explained that she had been to rituals where children were not given something else to do (while ritual was going on) and so they have been very distracting. She points out a valuable thought, that as adults people can easily assume incorrectly he length of time for which a child might remain calm in a group setting. .
Another mother with grown up children was against the notion of children in pagan rituals. “My own view, based on having been the parent of small children who are now not so small, is that not every occasion is suitable for children”. It’s a statement that resonates with the majority of contributors……. The Full article is still available in theGaian Times magazine #2
-What are your thoughts on this matter? Please leave a comment below so we can continue to explore this delicate but important topic.
Here’s the screen shot of the `new look’ of the Pagan Frontiers of London. This website has been active since October 2006, and currently serves over 42,000 visitors now!
Pagan Frontiers of London – is the community gateway for all Pagans, Magicians, Wiccans & Witches, new comers, students & media people. It is here to provide networking platform, as well as Information, Advise & Guidance on Pagan events & activities in London. Open rituals, Courses, Ritual groups, social moots & talks, Conferences, conventions, Eco-magical activities, festivals, pagan community organisations, eBooks, pagan products & holistic professional services …are all FREELY publicised in this gateway site.
Between 2006-2012, it held the `official site’ position for the London District of The Pagan Federation. Created, registered and maintained pretty much every week by myself, the site became disassociated with any one pagan organisation and global in October 2012 – following my own stepping down from the Pagan Federation’s London District Council. Since then I had been quite busy with finishing several of my book writing, and finally had a few days to re-design the site, as I had wanted to for many months. Am confident that the look and feel is settling – as I’ve started to build in flexibility for many new features (oh, it’s all technical behind the scene stuff – though on the surface that’s not quite evident yet. As each new feature is brought online over the coming weeks and months, the site will expand to include them easily!)
Previous facebook page – created entirely by me on my own initiative, and supported by The Pagan Federation – had been growing over the last 4 years (since 2008) to fan numbers of about 1,800+. But unfortunately, that old page had to be taken off-line in October’12, due to some online bullying and harrasing that I myself was subject to within that Page.
In my life, lightening does strike the same place many times.. Sometimes it causes `Towers’ to fall.. and other times, ideas are energised and come alive.. But my past achievements and developments were not just fluke, but result of sustained hard work over many years – to have the farsight, ideas, create, collaborate & network with others, develop and nurture systems, groups, events, communities and online platforms.
It is sometimes emotionally hard — when outsiders (and even close friends who turn out to stick a knife in one’s back) sabotage, try to squash or destroy works that some of us have spent years nurturing and creating. At times doubt creeps in, as to could such things be re-created or developed again. And in the Winter months, as I stayed focused writing those esoteric books – on magic and spirituality- I pondered these during a social hibernation period. And now, as the snow has come and started to melt, the Wheel turns, and as we pagans say, `All the dies shall be reborn.. All the falls shall rise again..!”
So here we are…with new ventures and launches ..light and dark horses controlled expertly.. and `Chariots’ steered masterfully, with the wisdom of the `Hermit’ within me offering guidance, after the solitary works of the winter months.
I would like to make a special thanks to close family, friends and certain experienced Wicca Elders & Pagan people in the Pagan Community (they will be wonderfully acknowledged when the Time & Tides are right) – who have not only given me moral support through my `hermit’ months, but made me realise that I have my place in the scheme of things, even if I had felt like a `Hanged-Man’!
2012 – though not the end of the world, has been a major end to parts of my life. And with ends come new beginnings. That after all is the way of the Phoenix. 🙂
I was just writing about moving hose.. and sifting through old documents in the shed (and the Garage is still untouched .. 😦 ) Well, here’s another thing I found downstairs, in the corner of a bookshelf in the dinning room, burried under a lot of old videos (yeap, they all have to be either given to charity shops or thrown out!)
As some may know, I started organising Open rituals & events for the London District of The Pagan Federation, from December 2004, till recently (Spring 2012). But of course, apart from the hundreds of documents, web entries, e-mails and flyers and programmes that I myself had created for all those events, there is no `external’ evidence (Am going by the strict wikipedia guidelines! For any claim to be valid, some entry bya 3rd party publication needs to be provided). This is a key principle for all budding Esoteric Entrepreneurs– especially Authors, Writers, Tutors, Public Figures etc.
So me finding this Magazine is quite valuable indeed.
This single issue was edited by Kitty McIntyre before Sheena Morgan took over as Editor in the subsequent Samhain/Winter 2007 Issue of Pagan Dawn. In this the following items appeared that were relevant to me.
Art works (on Content page3, page 23, page 27)
Credit to Artists / Artists profiles (page 49)
Outline of the events I had been organising in PF-London (page 14) – in `Around the Federation’
Jean Williams’ account of the `Gaia3 Convention’ that I had conceived and organised (page 32 & 33) – where my then title as `London Events Organiser & Deputy District Manager’ is stated in print.
Such published documents (3rd party) where one’s works are credited / cited – are important for any and all Authors, Artists & Experts. These all fall under`professional validations’ – and we do need them in the modern worlds, where trust & credibility building are important for our every ventures.
So here are those pages I just mentioned.
In the Artist profile for my entry, I begin by saying,
`Art is very sacred to me. I often paint long into the night and get lost in it. In the morning what I see seems surprisingly alien and amazing to me.’ I go on to say, `I’d categorise my art as fantasy, science fiction and visionary. The human elements, environment and magic are the themes.’ Interestingly, I finish by saying, `I hate selling or loosing my work – it makes me wonder how a spider would feel when we break its webs!’
I say interestingly, because, that was 2007, and this is me now on the eve of 2013 – where I am planning to sell some of my old and new art works. Well, reality is, we all have to do something to earn a living – and to use the Spider analogy, we have to use our own resources to make that living.. A spider spurts its resin and spins a web – to catch its vital food. Likewise, we must use our skills and talents to create or provide things which in turn bring us an earning.
Here, then District Manager Jean Williams, says of the Gaia3 Convention for PF-London,
“Suitable venues in central London are expensive so we were very nervous about embarking on this venture, but the vision and infectious enthusiasm of Mani Navasothy, London Events Organiser and Deputy District Manager, soon attracted a team of eager helpers determined to make it a success.”
I shall do a detailed blog – another time- under Esoteric Enterprises – on the now chiseled in stone event, Gaia3 Convention’ – how I conceived it, named it, came up with innovative ways of funding it (we had no money to begin with!) and how its unique themes and activities evolved. (Feature `Wyrd wall’ threaded through and became the 4th PF-London convention some 3 years later.. after Gaia-Fortuna & Gaia-Sol conventions).
`..And Some things…that should never be forgotten…were lost..!’ says the begininh narrative part of the movie `Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring’.
In that spirit, I like to travel down memory lane, back 8 years, to 21st December 2004- when I had first taken on the task of running the Pagan Federation Open rituals in central London, from Brian & Trish Botham.
`The beginning is a delicate time..’ says the narration at the start of the movie Dune. And the same was true for me in December 2004, and for PF London. I was a relatively unknown `public pagan’ face (apart from in the private Initiated Wiccan/ Witchcraft Circles in London), and the few people who had known me, and known of a few rituals I had done in public (4-5 for Children of Artemis, 1 major Lammas ritual for PF London, the Opening ceremony at Pagan Federation Annual Conference in November 2004)…Well, actually come to think of it, by then people must have known me well enough as a public figure. 🙂
But the handover was basic – yes you are doing it full stop. No rules, contact lists.. petty cash..Nothing. Zero.
So I called on my ritual group Hern’s Tribe, gathered the help of a few Wiccan brothers & sister (coven links) to start creating a Yule Ritual.. to do in front of 50-60 people.. and set about the matter. On the organising side, I had to put in the last bit of money I ever had on planet Earth.. all of £136 (I had £140). I was unemployed but took a risk and put my money in…to book the smaller hall in Conway Hall…then a friend helped with printing flyers… I borrowed money to buy stamps (£40 worth) and posted the flyers to mailing list that Jean Williams had kindly provided (members of Pagan Federation who lived in London)..
And on the day.. 21st December 2004, we got there, I organised my team to help out with door, collecting entrance fees, sort food tables, then altar, ritual run through…and we did the Open ritual.. So effectively, we managed the whole preparations, the evening events, and did the main ritual itself.. (In movie terms, this will be considered `producing, directing and starring in a Movie, marketing, customer care etc’.) Not bad for a guy who had very little such public organising experience eh?
And we pulled it off.. Hern’s Tribe members and me. And we made back the money and more.. and we had set a new Wheel in motion. Nay, more than that.. we arrested a slow downward cycle of low turn outs, loosing hundred of pounds (they were doing it in larger hall, doing flyer mail outs 8 times a year.. where as I moved it to smaller hall,.. did flyer mail out quarterly.. etc). Of course we started adding new & old things.. Conventions, Masked Balls, Outdoor rituals, and even started promoting/ admitting young children with parental guide (yes, guys n gals, we started those..when PFL had no children policy before I took over!).
So as we get closer to Yule 2012 – I think of those early days.. and here is the flyer that started it all.. 🙂
It even has the magical sign of the coven hidden in one of the drawings.. (I showed it to Maureen Brown, High Priestess in the Whitecroft line of Wicca, who was dying at that point with Cancer..and she smiled…). It’s the Sun card …boy on a horse.. But if you look closely, you’ll see…it’s not an ordinary horse.. It’s a Unicorn! ( feature on Maureen was published in our online Magazine – Gaian Times last year. It will be re-published soon as a remembrance of Maureen Brown in January 2013)
We’ve done other Yule rituals too ..since then.. but those are stories for a fire side another time. 🙂
Bright Yule Blessings
(PF London Events Manager & webmaster ~ Dec 2004 to Oct 2012)
ps. The Full copy of the actual Ritual we did on 21st Dec’2004 is published in my NEW book `Yule Rites’
Following the online version, Mike Stygal, Vice President of The Pagan Federation (and District Manager of PF London) contacted the journalist Katie Bamber, and offered additional insights and info, which have now appeared on the printed version of the article as an `info box’ . I also understand that the journalist is happy to maintain communications with us (Pagan Federation) on any future pagan related matters – which is a success in itself for us Pagans.
If anyone has a copy of the said anonymous `flyer’ that initially stated that pagans were going to sacrifice a man in Epping Forest, can you please send me a copy so that I can display that here too.. for completion sake! Thanks.
The Journalist Katie was kind enough to provide PF London District Manager Mike with the flyer that had been anonymously circulated in the Epping Forest Area. Here is a scanned copy below.
Quite apart from the sheer lunacy of this claim, I can already (in the blink of an eye) see so many discrepancies in the claim made by the flyer’s contents. It rather looks like someone with half a knowledge looked up a whole load of disjointed pagan topics on wikipedia or something and created the flyer. 😛 I’ll address those points in another blog.. (Oh yeas, we pagans have a right to reply!)
Our sincere thanks to Katie for being so open-minded on this matter, and giving us sensible pagans an opportunity to respond. Very well done Katie. Some of us are likely to nominate her for the special PF Journalist award (one that Boris Johnson was once awarded). More on that another time.
The first issue of Gaian Times e-magazine – and the e stands for both electronic and ecology – came out in June 2011.
Gaian Times e-magazine explores the Science, Magic, Arts, Psychology and Social trends – among many other eco-centric subjects. Is there such a word? Eco-centric? I have been using it for a while now. Anyway GT offers thought-provoking articles, features, information on Eco events and initiatives, other charitable bodies and campaigns. GT also has counselling & psychology related columns- social observations and commentary really, by several regular writers (April Jonquil, Rose Dixon, Antara, Kelly).
Of course many others have already contributed articles / features – Marcus, Reggie, Hazel’O, Pete
GT magazine was a natural progression to the 3 Gaian Conventions that I had created and managed for Pagan Federation London between 2007-1009.
Oh, almost forgot to say – Gaian Times is also a not for profit Company Ltd by Guarantee. Well, I like to call it an `organisation’ that is growing..
This year, am planning to focus quite a bit of my attention on Gaian Times. So watch this space.