2017: Getting Back to Our Roots

The 36th annual Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering is almost upon us. We have finalised our permit with Parks Victoria and are now putting the finishing touches in place for this year’s event.

If you have come to the Gathering in recent years, you may have noticed that it has become busier and busier, with the schedule getting more jam-packed each year. When the MFPG started in 1981, it was intended as a relaxed, friendly and easygoing weekend during which Pagans and Magicohs of all paths to come together in the spirit of fellowship and worship.

While a lot has changed in the thirty-six years that the Gathering has run, and it may never (as much as some of us wish it could) go back to the small, intimate number of attendees and twelve foot bonfires of the eighties, we don’t believe we should neglect our original values or the vision of our founders. With that in mind, we have made a few changes with the intention of bringing the focus of the weekend back onto providing a relaxed, welcoming space where Pagans from a variety of backgrounds and traditions can connect (or reconnect), catch up and celebrate the sacred festival of Beltane together.

Some key changes this year include:

  • Community old and new is a focus for us. Registered attendees have the opportunity to join our attendee-only Facebook group. In this group we have exclusive news and updates, networking and more. If you registered and have not yet been added to the group, check your email for an invite.
  • Workshops are still taking place but timtabling will be no where near as rigid or as jam-packed. We are still finalising which workshops will run. On arrival at the mountain, visit the Organisers’ marquee, where you will find a blackboard listing the workshops being presented. If you are interested in running a workshop at the gathering, please contact us!
  • The sausage sizzle and book swap will not be running this year. These were not economically or logistically feasible for us. We may revisit these ideas for future gatherings.
  • The market is not something that we can do under the conditions of our permit. There will, however, be a swap and barter morning on Sunday before the maypole festivities commence. Anyone wishing to swap and barter outside of that time is welcome to do so but must do so from their own campsite. Please do not set up stalls and leave them for MFPG Organisers to supervise as it puts unnecessary strain on our finite amount of volunteers.
  • The raffle will go ahead as always. This raffle is one of our only means of paying for our precious portaloos, as well as other essentials like our permit from Parks Victoria. If you can donate a small something as a raffle prize, please get in touch!
  • Some tshirts will be available for sale at the Organisers’ marquee throughout the weekend. Due to the large number of shirts printed last year, we have not ordered any more in 2017. The sizes for sale on the weekend will be the only ones available – first in, best dressed…literally! We are selling these out to make room for our new shirts (featuring a brand new logo) in years to come.
  • The bardic circle is still something we are hoping for, if we can find someone bardly enough to help facilitate it. Any takers? Contact us!
  • The Beltane Rite, maypole, children’s maypole, spiral dance workshop and moot will all take place as per usual. These are the cornerstones of the event!

The Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering is now the oldest Neopagan gathering in the world (we think!), and it wasn’t the bells and whistles that got it to this point but our relaxed atmosphere and spirit of fellowship between different Pagans. So join us with an open heart, with friends or alone, with acoustic instruments, a reverence of your gods, a skill to share or a story to tell. Join us to celebrate Beltane with friends old and new, because this Gathering has always been what you, the vibrant, wonderful, quirky, friendly Pagan community, make it.

– The Organisers. ❤

Need more information about MFPG 2017? See our Conditions of Registration, Camping at the Mount, FAQ and Ritual Etiquette pages.

cropped-beltaine-2.jpg

MFPG 2016: The Story So Far…

Warrenheip Snow MarkH 2016

A snow cloaked Clarke’s Hill, Central Victoria in July 2016. Photo by Mark H.

 

Greetings from wintery Central Victoria!

Planning is well underway for our thirty-fifth Gathering, with negotiations going on with Parks Victoria around a date. As soon as a date is confirmed, we will announce it here and on our Facebook page.

Registrations will be opening in late August/early September. Again, we will announce this here on our website and also on our Facebook page.

We have had lots of interest from people who have not attended a MFPG before. Welcome! 🙂 Please familiarise yourself with the information on our About, Frequently Asked QuestionsCamping at the Mount and Ritual Etiquette pages to make sure this is the right gathering for you. If you are new to Paganism or Beltane, you may find our Articles section to be very informative.

Thanks very much to those lovely folks who have already volunteered their time either as general doers of the needful over the weekend or as facilitators of workshops. We still have several places left for workshops. If you are able to run a workshop at this year’s Gathering, please get in touch with us via mountfranklinpagans@gmail.com

We are super excited to announce South Australian musician and bard KC Guy will be playing at this year’s Gathering! Read on for KC’s bio…

My name is Kc Guy, I am a Bardic musician/singer songwriter in The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids; the spirit of the green world, of tree and leaf, of feather and fur, stone and bone and of the Celtic gods and goddesses inspire my music and song writing. The Songs come to me when I least expect them at times; when the Awen flows like a steady stream or ignites with the bright fire of insight.
I’ve been involved with music and the arts since I was very young and as I grew older, my spirit called to Celtic music and the magic of Celtic singing and more generally folk music; the ghostly sound of my ancestors, singing through the ages. The spirits of the natural world and the ancient myths and stories from Celtic lands called to me through the same stream into paganism and eventually I found my path in Druidry.

– Kc Guy

While you’re waiting for those all important announcements of dates and registration, why not take a look at some of the new content around our website? We have added Linda’s Hexology Notes from the 2015 Gathering, and an excellent find from our friend Mandy – an article from way back in 1996!

— Linda, Michel, Mel, Des, Josie and Ryan
MFPG Organisers

What should I bring to Mount Franklin this year?

As the weekend nears, we’ve had lots of queries about what to bring to the MFPG and what to leave at home. Below is a list relevant to the 2015 Gathering.

Attendees of the 2015 Gathering should also familiarise themselves with the information on our Frequently Asked Questions, Camping at the Mount and Ritual Etiquette pages.

Please bring:

  • Food and water for the weekend. There is no potable water on the Mountain, so make sure you bring enough drinking/cooking/washing water for the entire weekend.
  • Toilet paper. Portaloos will be provided for MFPG campers, however you will need to BYO loo roll! Hand sanitiser is a good idea, too.
  • Firewood. Collecting firewood from the Mountain is forbidden by Parks Victoria. Please bring your own firewood, and perhaps a small donation of wood for the bardic circle fire.
  • Camping, cooking and eating gear. Caravans and camper vans with noisy generators are discouraged.
  • Weather appropriate clothing. The forecast for the weekend is currently in the mid twenties, however nights can still be very chilly in Central Victoria. This may mean warm socks/jumpers at night and hats, tshirts and sunscreen during the day!
  • Some string solar lights to help us light up the crater.
  • Accoustic instruments, stories or songs for our Friday night Bardic Circle (but please respect that we are a family friendly Gathering and cease drumming after 10pm!)
  • Your spare change for our raffle, sausage sizzle, pancakes and merch. The MFPG is a free gathering run by a non-profit organisation and the oldest neopagan gathering in the world. The proceeds of our fundraising all go to paying for essentials such as portaloos, permits, marquee hire and more.
  • Bags large enough to hold all your rubbish. There are no bins on the Mountain. The amount of rubbish we have to clean up at the end of each gathering is simply staggering, especially considering many attendees follow nature-based paths! Please take your rubbish with you when you leave!
  • A camping chair. For sitting on while you catch up with old friends and make new ones! 🙂

Please DO NOT bring:

  • Illicit substances. We have a zero tolerance policy towards illicit drugs (including drug dealing). If you are behaving in such a way that you are endangering the safety and quiet enjoyment of other participants or campers, you will be asked to leave immediately, and serial offenders will incur a lifetime ban from the Gathering. Please remember that we share the mountain with other campers, visitors and families.
    Alcohol is fine, but please remember that the MFPG is a family friendly event and drink responsibly! Anyone deemed intoxicated will not be permitted to participate in the ritual for Beltane on the Saturday night. No exceptions.
    If you do decide to drink, please designate a driver if you plan on staying off the Mount.
  • Ritual weapons of any kind, including spears, swords and athames. These are forbidden by Victorian Law.
  • Electronic instruments, amplifiers and noisemakers. These are not in the spirit of the weekend.

See you on the Mount! – Linda, Michel, Mel, Des, Josie and Ryan

Glockenspiel music by the fire, 2014. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

Glockenspiel music by the fire, 2014. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

2015 Schedule of Events

2015 Schedule

Friday, 23rd October
2pm-4pm: Organiser arrival/Setup. Marquee setup
4pm onwards: Attendee arrival
5pm: Welcome to country, official opening, introduction of special guest in the centre crater
6pm: Mummers’ play by The Australian Stage Co, followed by Bardic Circle in the centre crater
7pm: Dusk swap/barter market at the communal marquee

Saturday, 24th October
10am: Incense Workshop with Ryan in the centre crater
12:30pm: Sausage Sizzle at the Organisers’ camp
1pm: Workshop with Drum (Vice Arch Druid, ADF) in the centre crater
3pm: Hexencraft Workshop with Linda in the centre crater
4pm: Building the bonfire
Time TBC: Ritual Workshop/Rehearsal including Spiral Dance Workshop
Dusk: Beltane Ritual in the ritual space

Sunday, 25th October
10am: Workshops in the centre crater (TBC)
10am: Pancake breakfast at the Organisers’ camp (TBC)
11am: Maypole, followed by kids’ maypole in the centre crater
11:30am: Raffle draw
12pm: Moot, official close
12:30pm-3pm: Pack up, clean up, depart

More drumming at the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

More drumming at the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

Housekeeping

Not long to go now! Here are a few important bits and pieces for anyone attending this year’s Gathering.

Registrations are full. If you are registered as attending and your plans have changed, please contact us and let us know. We have a long waiting list of people hoping to register.

If you are not registered but are planning on attending the mountain on the weekend of the Gathering, please note that you will not be covered by our insurance and as such will be camping at your own risk. The MFPG accepts no liability for unregistered campers.

All attendees of the 2015 Gathering should familiarise themselves with the information on our Camping at the Mount, FAQ and Ritual Etiquette pages as they prepare for the 2015 MFPG weekend. A full schedule of events can be found here.

On arrival on the Mountain, come and say hello at the Organisers’ camp and sign our visitors’ book! Please do not park/camp in the centre crater (fenced off area). Not sure where to park? Ask one of our friendly Organisers!

Charge up your solar lights! Don’t forget to bring a string (or strings!) of solar lights to help us light up the crater.

As part of the Bardic Circle on the Friday night, we are requesting that all attendees help us out by bringing a donation of a small amount of firewood to the communal fire. Remember that no firewood can be collected at the Mount – you will need to bring your own. Please see our Camping at the Mount section for more information what to bring and what to leave at home. 🙂

We are in the process of ordering our brand spanking new tees! These will be black, with a beautiful green man design by Erika T on the front and the name of the Gathering on the back. Two cuts are available: unisex loose fit ($30) and Ladies’ slim fit ($35).

To pre-order your tshirt and reserve one in your size, contact us with the size/style you require. Payments can be made to:

Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering Association Inc
BSB: 633-000
Account: 147045363
Please use your name as a reference when sending your payment.

You can pick up your tshirt at the Gathering, or we will post yours to you after the event for $6.20. These shirts will also be available for sale at the Gathering.

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