Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - A is for Australia

We have a different experience of Paganism here Down Under. Not only are our natural flora and fauna noticeably different from the rest of the world but our seasons for the most part do not fit within the traditional European Pagan Wheel of the Year, though we do recognise these four seasons in the Southern Hemisphere as they were brought along with the Europeans who colonised Australia. Here they 'begin' (according to our calendars) on the first day of the month:

Summer - December - February.
Autumn - March - May.
Winter - June - August.
Spring - September - November.

Even within these stated seasons our experience of the weather patterns can be vastly different. During the Summer months the southern states of Australia experience intense heat and high levels of humidity. The Sun is bright, beaches and parks are full of people reveling in Summer delights. Fire danger levels can rapidly rise into the gauge of catastrophic while the northern states experience torrential rains and are under threat from cyclones, all the while blasting their air conditioners against the heavy humidity they are experiencing. Winter in Australia can go from the snow capped peaks of southern New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, to the dry, calm season of the tropics. All of this while Central Australia is in a seemingly perpetual drought.

Many native Aboriginal people had their own seasonal calendars. In the Northern Territory the Jawoyn people recognised six seasons. There is a small pocket of Australia in the region of southern Queensland, Eastern New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria where the seasons do stay within the European paradigm.

The majority of Australians are descendants of immigrants (as I am) or have immigrated here themselves. I don't know how other Australian Pagans feel about their placement in this country but I sometimes feel as though I am stepping where I ought not be and at other times I feel such a connection to this land that is as strong as a mothers love for her child. I don't know if this comes from knowing that in the history of our world that we are still very new people to this land and she is not yet accustomed to us upon her. The Aboriginal people have walked upon her for 40,000 years and our footprints are still barely visible.

I've been trying to transform my spirituality to have a strong basis in the land that I live and that I love. This is the main aspect that drew me to my previous path of Gaianism, which I still base my beliefs upon. But I still also look to my ancestry for guidance as well. My relationship with Cernunnos has morphed unconventionally into my offerings to him being of gumnuts, eucalyptus leaves, and organic bush honey.To me this seems like a perfectly natural direction, though others may disagree. Regardless he seems to enjoy them. If I leave offerings outside for any reason I make sure that they are left under a native tree. I have beloved wand of eucalyptus that I crafted myself. The energy of using tools crafted from native materials has greatly enhanced the rituals I have performed when I commune with the Earth. While I believe that all the continents of the Earth, the Seas and the Sky are intrinsically connected there is something special about creating a connection with the red land beneath my feet.