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

Thankyou, and Happy Beltane!

The 34th annual Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering was a weekend of perfect weather and of friends old and new. In coming weeks we will do a proper run-down of the weekend, and in the meantime watch our gallery as we have already started to add photos from the weekend!

We just wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge, heartfelt thankyou to the many businesses, groups and individuals who supported the Gathering this year. Your generosity and enthusiasm have been truly inspiring, and was what made the Gathering possible!

Thankyou to the Sustainable Hepburn Association (SHARE) for your continued support with our insurance and other administrative particulars. You really went above and beyond this year to help us get the Gathering organised.Thanks also to Parks Victoria and to the Dja Dja Wurrung clans for supporting the Gathering and caring for the land on which we meet.

To Shaz, Drum, Ang and everybody at Silver Birch Grove: thank you so much for such a beautiful ritual and the gorgeous feast afterwards. You really did bring us all together for an inspiring experience! We wish Drum safe travels back to the US, and thank him for traveling all this way!

We’d also like to thank our many, MANY generous raffle prize donators: Stephen at Moore Designs, The Daylesford Cider Company, Silver Birch Grove, The Daylesford Chocolate Mill, The Daylesford Day Spa, Stacey at The Country Witch’s Cottage, Willow at Wytchway Designs, White Witch Wares, Erika T, Alannah Coughlan, Janna at the Candied Peacock, Truly at Made by Truly, Forrest, Sharon, BJ Gilson, Lee K, Joanne M and Karen K.
*** If you came over and donated prizes over the weekend, please let us know! We have missed a few names here!***

Huge love to Kylie M for once again being our official photographer. The photos have come out beautifully!

Gratitude also to the Australian Stage Play for your Mummers’ Play. It made a great start to the Friday evening festivities.

Thanks to Erika T for the wonderful logo she designed for our tshirts, and to Tex and Fi at Big Tree T-Shirts for printing them!

Big hugs and Beltane love to Drum, Linda, Seline and Ryan for your interesting and insightful workshops, and to Fiona of the Pagan Collective of Victoria for running the Children’s Maypole.Thanks to Mei for all the running around you did for raffle prizes in the lead-up to the event, and to Mark, Mark, Kylie, Mei, Alvin, Mandy, Tom, Dale, Kelly, Sue and Mick for all your help with those hundred little (and not so little) jobs throughout the weekend.

Finally, thanks to EVERYONE who attended the Gathering, took part in the ritual, bought raffle tickets/tshirts/pancakes/sausages, talked, laughed, worshipped or shared throughout the weekend. Because of you, the 34th MFPG was nothing short of brilliant, and we can’t wait for the 35th! 🙂

With love,
Linda, Michel, Mel, Des, Josie and Ryan
MFPG Organisers

Attendees of the 2015 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

Attendees of the 2015 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

See you on the Mount!

Happy Beltane from all of us at the MFPG! We are so, so excited about heading up to the Mountain to celebrate Beltane for the 34th year in a row. 🙂

Here are some final things to keep in mind as you make your way to the Mountain this weekend:

Be prepared! A comprehensive list of what you should bring (and not bring) to the Gathering this year can be found here. Attendees should also familiarise themselves with the information on our Camping at the Mount, FAQ and Ritual Etiquette pages.

Come and say hello when you arrive. Sign the visitors book and registered guests can have their name marked off our register.

Workshops. Due to some late cancellations, we have spaces available for anyone wanting to run a workshop. See the Organisers for more information.

Schedule. The final schedule for 2015 can be found here.

Drive carefully and park sensibly. There are already families camping on the Mount. Please drive at walking pace only and watch for pedestrians and pets. When parking or setting up camps, please ensure you are as far back from the road as possible and do not spread out unnecessarily. Please do not camp in the centre crater (fenced off) area! If you are unsure where you should set up camp, please ask an Organiser.

Official Welcome. The official opening of the 2015 Gathering will take place around 5pm on the Friday evening.  This will include a welcome to country, housekeeping/safety information and the introduction of our very special guest.

See you on the Mountain! 🙂

Punch keeps the ritualists entertained, 2011.

Punch keeps the ritualists entertained, 2011.

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.

Busy, busy…

It’s mid September!

Time has flown by, and we’ve all been super busy getting organised for this year’s event. We are still working our way through the documentation required from us by Parks Victoria, and should have it sorted soon. We have been overwhelmed and inspired by the number of emails, calls and messages we have received with offers of help.

While we are getting on top of the paperwork side of things, there are plenty of other ways people can lend a hand:

Marquee setup/packdown: The communal marquee goes up on Friday afternoon and comes down on Sunday. This year we are in need of a few people to assist in putting it together and taking it apart.

Workshops: Many thanks to those people who have already offered their time to run a workshop over the weekend! We still have some workshop times available for anybody who’s interested.

Raffle: We are still on the lookout for prizes for the raffle. Individuals and businesses who donate a prize are advertised as “Friends of Mount Franklin” on our website.

If you are able to assist with any of these or if you would like more information, please contact us at mountfranklinpagans@gmail.com

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

At the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

At the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

2015 Workshops and Raffle

We are now taking expressions of interest from anyone wanting to run workshops at the 2015 Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering, which will be taking place from the 23rd to the 25th of October. 2015.

As they have been in previous years, workshops must be free for attendees and must not provide a hazard or risk to participants.

We are also seeking donations for this year’s raffle. Donations of local or handmade products or services would be extremely welcome! Mount Franklin is free for attendees, so we rely on the raffle to help us cover some of the unavoidable costs associated with running a gathering such as this. Individuals and businesses who donate to the MFPG are mentioned on our website, social media and on information pamphlets at the Gathering.

If you are able to help out with workshops or raffle prize donations, please contact us at mountfranklinpagans@gmail.com 🙂

With thanks,

MFPG Organisers

Hawthorn kindly donating his time to run a workshop at the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.

Hawthorn kindly donating his time to run a workshop at the 2014 Gathering. Photo courtesy of Kylie Moroney.