Festival of the Minds

festival-of-the-mindsClick here to see website

14th March – 15th March 2015

Liverpool Girl Guide Hall (Sydney, NSW Australia)

Sponsored by the Pagan Awareness Network Australia Inc. with a discount for PAN members!

Festival of the Minds is a celebration of wisdom, curiosity, and the search for knowledge within ourselves, our fascinating world and the mysteries beyond.

It is a weekend of lectures for the pagan practitioner looking for something new or challenging, or the inquisitive mind who craves to be mentally stimulated. The Festival aims to provide unique topics, hard to come by information or alternative viewpoints to enhance the minds of our attendees.

Incl. tea & coffee facilities, lunch & afternoon tea both days
PAN Members- $30 weekend
Non-PAN Members $40 weekend

Liverpool Girl Guides Hall,
90 Memorial Ave, Whitlam Center Carpark, Liverpool, NSW Australia

Just visit: http://www.paganawareness.net.au/PAN/events-mainmenu-85/festival-of-the-minds-1 to buy tickets.

Payment is via the PAN PayPal Account officers@paganawareness.net.au
IMPORTANT: Please place your name and ‘FOTM’ in the message description so we can track bookings. For example- ‘JohnSmith-FOTM’


9.15-9.30: Welcome to Country & Introduction
9.30-10.30: Workshop 1: Ancestors, the Core of Vodou
10.30-11.30: Workshop 2: Permanently Painted Pagans
11.30-12.30: LUNCH
12.30-1.30: Workshop 3: Chaos-Craft
1.30-2.30: Workshop 4: Part 1- Practical Qabbalism Theory
2.30-3.00: AFTERNOON TEA
3.00-4.00: Workshop 5: Opening up a Pagan Business
4.00-5.30: Film: Film will be voted on upon registration

9.20-9.30: Welcome to Country
9.30-10.30 Workshop 6: Inspiration- Connecting with the Creative Spirit
10.30-11.30 Workshop 7: Part 2- Practical Qabbalism Pathworking
11.30-12.30 LUNCH
12.30-1.30 Workshop 8: Exercising Inner Alchemy
1.30-2.30 Workshop 9: Reconnecting with Nature- Learning Again the True Language of Plants
3.00-4.00 Workshop 10:Palmistry with David Garland
4.00-5.00 Discussion Panel: Traditional Gender Roles in Magical Practices and the LGBT Rights Movement of Today


WORKSHOP 1: Ancestors, the Core of Vodou
“God reveals Herself through the Spirits of all our Ancestors & our Ancestors – who are our closest link to God are working for us all the time. To acknowledge our Ancestors brings vitality to our lives & are irreplaceable, they make us who we are are & we carry them forward into the future.” From Ayibobo – Beginning Vodou. [LINK: http://www.facebook.com/AyiboboManboPaula ]

Our workshop will focus upon these Ancestors & the processes we can use to bring them into our everyday lives.
Please bring your drums if you own any!

About the Presenter: Manbo Paula Wedo
Manbo Paula began dreaming Vodou in the ’90’s & formed her Society The Hounfor du Marche in 1998. Hounfor du Marche is New Zealand’s first registered Vodou Society. In 2000 Damballah Wedo appeared to her in dreams & she married him in a Spirit Wedding in July 2001. Continuing her Vodou journey Manbo Paula kanzo’d asogwe in Jacmel in 2004 & became a Chieftain of Temp Chango Chawa in Cayes-Jacmel in 2008.

Her Vodou continues in Haiti where she sevi-Lwa at Criminel’s Peristyle – honour & respect to him & at Temp Chango Chawa. Family Vodou has also become part of her work. Here, contact with the Lwa is personal & intimate & she participates with her Haitian friends in the jungles, caves & rocky ocean caverns of Sth East Haiti.

Manbo Paula Wedo has over 30 years Spiritual experience working in Africa, Australia, Britain, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe & the USA. For over a decade (90’s) she successfully ran her occult store & well known Auckland landmark, Dragonspace. Dragonspace provided a variety of spells, potions & magickal blends – many of which she still creates today.

Manbo Paula will be offering readings and consultations while in Sydney and at the Festival of the Minds. This will help cover her travel expenses from New Zealand to come visit us! Please contact her directly for inquiries at the Festival or via her Facebook

WORKSHOP 2: Permanently Painted Pagans
Tattoos – perceptions, untruths and reality.

Tattoos have historically been seen as taboo, as evil or as a mark of Satan. More recently tattoos have been associated with sailors, criminals and circus folk. Today however tattoos are becoming more and more prevalent in society for people of all walks of life.

Bec is a self confessed tattoo addict, and will lead a discussion about what we know of the origins of tattoos and other cultures use of tattooing, will explore some common misconceptions and will discuss her journey with tattoos and how it is (or isn’t) linked with her pagan path.

About the Presenter: Bec Huntsman
Bec grew up in a household that attended church every Sunday, was a member of the Girls’ Brigade and even won Sunday school bible exams! Life happened, things changed and the Goddess made herself known to Bec when she was around 11 years old. From that point on Bec’s pagan journey began.

Bec attended her first public pagan ritual in 2002 and never looked back. She is a member of Applegrove and Circle of the Hearth and has been formally studying for about 10 years now.

Bec is a bit of a geek (no comparison to her husband however), mum of an amazing girl, government employee (eek.. was that just admitted to?), a lover of all things purple, has a tattoo addiction and makes a mean welsh honey cake!

WORKSHOP 3: Chaos-Craft
Chaos magik was created in the 1970s, by Peter Carroll and Ray Sherwin, and was based on the pioneering work of the English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare. Chaos magik is usually seen as an outgrowth of ceremonial magick, but can its principles be applied to a magical paradigm such as witchcraft? This workshop will examine the chaos paradigm, its techniques and beliefs and seek to answer the question; does chaos magik have any place in modern pagan magical practice?

About the Presenter: Morandir Armson
Morandir Armson is a chaos magician and Pagan, one of the co-creators of the Circle of the Crossroads in Marrickville. He submitted his PhD dissertation this year; on the intersection of Chaos magik, the Internet, and popular occult paradigms. He has previously published on Satanic Ritual Abuse legends, Theosophy, the history of the Tarot, Pagan pilgrimage, and Pagan tourism. He has presented conference papers on themes of occult resurrection in superhero comics, on UFO-based religions, on the occult paradigms of ‘black’, ‘white’ and ‘grey’ magick, and on the ‘Pagan Trail’ in Southwest England. Upcoming papers include an examination of the shifts in meaning within occult dichotomies, and a paper on racism in neo-Paganism. He also regularly lectures on religious and esoteric topics. Morandir is also a Fortean, a transplant recipient, a food-blogger, and a volunteer wildlife carer.

WORKSHOP 4: Part 1- Practical Qabbalistic Theory
– A brief introduction to the origins of the Tree of Life design
– The Tree diagram as a basis for inner and outer work
– For each Sephirah: an overview; a practical in-class exercise; a summary of relation to magical work
– A brief mention of the paths as relationships
– Summary and question time

About the Presenter: Simon Court
Simon Court trained under Servants of the Light, a western school of thought thats course materials are heavily inspired by qabbalistic practices. He went on to run lodges in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Simon has been part of the Australian pagan community for many years, presenting at Queensland gatherings, as well as publishing occult books and magazine articles.

WORKSHOP 5: Opening up a Pagan Business
Even though a Pagan-based business should be similar to other start-up businesses in many respects, there are also a few key issues that Pagan entrepreneurs have to face which may be non-existent for their non-Pagan counterparts. If you’re thinking of starting up your own Pagan-based business, there are a few things you should get sorted out before you begin.

About the Presenter: Janine Donnellan
Janine Donnellan is a person that has numerous responsibilities. She is a co owner of Soul Searchers Spiritual Centre, a venue that creates a meeting place that is supportive of all spiritual belief systems. Janine is also a founder of Spheres Of Light which conducts full moon circles, meditation classes and workshops & she also runs SOuL S.P.I. which is an organisation that investigates paranormal activity. Janine also produces two free online Magazines Axis Mundi and SOuL Searchers Paranormal.

Janine has a passionate interest in modern Shamanism & Avalonian mythology. She is also a musician and loves to weave her music and sense of theatre into her rituals and meditations. Janine is also a Healer and has studied Energetic Healing & Parapsychology with the Australian Academy of Applied Parapsychology.

FILM: To be voted on by attendees from the below list upon registration via email (see above registration details)
Good pagan-themed films and documentaries are hard to come by- DVDs from the back of dusty occult bookstores, low quality You Tube clips, old converted VHS tapes, begged from fellow pagans… but the trouble is worth it because we can gain so much information from them. Whether it is a new perspective through another’s eyes, a snapshot of past opinions, a visual guide to a complex topic, graphically reconstructed ancient history, piecing together a practitioner’s biography, or even a rich story to excite the imagination. The joy of viewing this content together is the inspired analytical conversation shared with fellow watchers.
The following content is available to be voted on during registration up until Sunday 1st March. The documentary with the most votes will be announced after this date along with it’s total running time:

– A Very British Witchcraft (2013- medium quality due to no Australian release) The extraordinary story of Britain’s fastest-growing religious group – the modern pagan witchcraft of Wicca – and of its creator, an eccentric Englishman called Gerald Gardner. Historian and leading expert in Pagan studies Professor Ronald Hutton explores Gardner’s story and experiences first-hand Wicca’s growing influence throughout Britain today.

– Tarology: The Art Of Tarot (2013- DVD quality) Although originally used for playing simple games when introduced many centuries ago, Tarot cards became associated with mysticism and magic in the 18th and 19th centuries and that association remains today. Enrique Enriquez, a poet based in New York City, has been called the future of tarot. He does not believe in spirits, fate or any occult symbolism normally associated with the tarot. He uses the tarot to craft moving and unforgettable stories.

– What the bleep do we know?! (2004- DVD quality) Following the story of Amanda (Marlee Matlin), What the Bleep Do We Know!? dives into fantastical Alice in Wonderland of chance meetings and unexplained phenomenon. As her daily, uninspired life begins to unravel, Amanda becomes more and more aware of the uncertain world of the quantum field hidden behind what we consider to be our normal, waking reality. Through her journey, Amanda realizes that by truly looking into the world and not just at it, her life will never be the same.

– Queen Elizabeth’s Magician (2002- medium quality due to no DVD release) Dr. John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609) was a noted English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy. Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable.

WORKSHOP 6: Inspiration- Connecting with the Creative Spirit
In this workshop Julie will explore how ritual can be a process of bringing us into a sacred experience of the present moment where we recognise who we are, where we have come from and where our heart longs to take us. By taking a personal journey into recognising our ancestors, connecting with the spirit of the land, and looking deep within our own being, our connection with the creative spirit is awakened, and through this connection our creativity becomes divinely inspired. We find our “in-spiration” – the “spirit within”.

About the Presenter: Julie Brett
Julie has been a practising Pagan for fifteen years. After many years as a solitary green witch, she found Druidry while travelling in the United Kingdom and was initiated with the British Druid Order at Avebury and Stonehenge. Through this she developed a keen interest in the concept of Awen, meaning “flowing spirit” or “inspiration” as well as ritual practice for personal development. In 2007 she set up Druids Down Under and through facebook and public rituals in Sydney, helps Australian Druids to find their unique path. Julie also works as an artist, making spiritual amulets for her business Forest Spirit Jewelry. She also runs workshops and retreats on finding your inspiration.

WORKSHOP 7: Part 2- Practical Qabbalitic Pathworking
We will be travelling down the lightning flash on the Tree of Life. To do this we will be using a pathworking that Andrea has written touching on all the Sephiroth and connecting with the archetypes within. There will be a discussion about archetypes and how they work in this instance, and an explanation before hand. Then we will be doing the pathworking in a sacred space, with a chat about it afterwards. It would be good if you could be at Part 1 before hand, but not imperative.

About the Presenter: Andrea
Andrea has been an occultist for approximately 40 years, trained with the Servants of Light and was initiated on the inner levels. She also had practical training with Simon Court. She is a ritual magician, and often uses intuitive knowledge. She was elder in Southern Queensland for about 15 years, when she trained in the art of ritual magic. She has also written several pathworkings. She has been on sabbatical for 6 years.

WORKSHOP 8: Exercising Inner Alchemy
Ingrid’s talk highlights key factors that keep us from walking the path of true self mastery and offers simple and supportive insights that reveal how we can evolve in our personal and professional lives as magickal beings. She will be offering tools of wisdom that support the cultivation of greater levels of self love and care…
A path that benefits our entire collective.

About the Presenter: Ingrid Challenor
Over the last 13 years Ingrid has journeyed deeply into the art of self healing, which has brought her in direct harmony with her true nature. She works as a creative living mentor and a shamanic sound healer -serving to inspire internal freedom in woman, as reflections and expressions of the goddess.

Ingrid’s background is in tantric massage, holistic counselling and is currently studying the way of the shamanic midwife.

In 2012 she was initiated at an ancient womb site and spent the following 7 days in catharsis and primal awakening. This experience stripped her back to the core and enabled more authentic inspiration to direct her path. Within weeks she was sharing this wisdom with large circles of women in Mexico and was then asked to design and coordinate three days of ceremony for the entire global rainbow gathering from December 21st-23rd 2012. This experience has since paved the way for many wild and wonderful encounters with truth, love and beauty.

WORKSHOP 9: Reconnecting with Nature- Learning Again the True Language of Plants
There was a time when intuitively understanding the signs of Nature was not a learned skill but rather part of the intuitive sense we all possessed. In this Workshop we will explore the history of Flower and Plant Reading, of the Doctrine of Signatures from the time before human language to describe it as such and we will actively reconnect awaken again the Language of Plants that most of us have forgotten. To reconnect and relearn is to bring a deeper understanding of self and of Nature and your active part in it.

About the Presenter: Cheralyn Darcey
Cheralyn Darcey is an Environmental Artist, Flower Reader and Author and Illustrator of the ‘Australian Wildflower Reading Cards’ 2014, and other Nature based oracle decks and books to be released 2015/16 Rockpool Publishing.Cheralyn has a lifelong connection with the spiritual and healing properties of plants with an passion for botanical science and nature which she shares through her art and writing .
Flower Reading began with an unusually dedicated fascination for botany, plants and gardening as a very young child. In her early 20s she began exploring the Language of Flowers. Since this time she has travelled, researched and explored the cultures and histories from all times and places and the connections we all have with the meanings of plants.

WORKSHOP 10: Palmistry with David Garland
More information coming soon

About the Presenter: David Garland
David is the founder of the Pagan Awareness Network Inc, and started the public full moon circles in Sydney’s Seven Hills that have run continuously since 1997. Although being raised a Roman Catholic and a regular at the Church until the age of 14 as an alter boy. He soon found that after a discussion about graven images and idol worship with the priest, this was not the place for him. His Italian Grandmother who used to read playing cards first sparked his interest in Tarot and things that were Magickal. David has been practising earth based Magick/religion since 1986, starting his path as a healer, Tarot reader and psychic, leading to his interest in modern Paganism and then to formal Gardnerian Wiccan training.

DISCUSSION PANEL: Traditional Gender Roles in Magical Practices and the LGBT Rights Movement of Today
Until recently, politicians weren’t the only community leaders considering the deservedly equal rights of homosexuals. Anti-homosexuality in traditional paganism and occult schools of thought were not a matter of denying a human the basic right of equality, but was considered to be an impossible magical partnership by many western mystery tradition forefathers, such as Dion Fortune and Gerald Gardner. This is despite well-known homosexual and bisexual practitioners among key influencers, such as Aleister Crowley. Today, Pagans are well known for welcoming sexual preference of any type into our community with open arms.

In this discussion we explore whether our modern inclusive views have altered the way we practice compared to our traditional ways, and theorise how we now work ritually with feminine and masculine energies compared to the original theories of our forefathers. Have we truly integrated non-hetrosexual orientation into our practices, or have we continued our rigid traditions separating religious belief from everyday ethics?

A panel has been selected to lead this topic, but discussion from attendees is encouraged as long as it is contributive, considerate and respectful.

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