Everyone knows that hairdressers and gyms got it tough, but what about pagan worshipers?
COVID-19 has taken its toll on their bottom line and has affected the number of participants in pagan rituals. How to join hands in a circle to worship the full moon and maintain social distance?
The November full moon (also known as the beaver moon) was Friday night. There was also an extremely large lunar eclipse, so the astrological forces were well and truly aligned.
The Pagan Awareness Network (250 members) met at Rotaract Hill in Seven Hills, next to the Hills bus depot and the railway line. Stonehenge no, but the group has been meeting here since 1997.
There are 10 worshipers, including two witches, which isn’t bad since many previous full moon events had to be broadcast via Zoom or canceled. The altar is in place with a cauldron and electric lanterns in a circle because it is too windy for the candles. The Pagans have all checked in with QR codes (this is unrelated to the NSW Service app) and have all been doubly vaccinated.
David Garland, in casually dressed, is the man who started it all. His day job is a civil servant. “COVID has killed everything because all of our events and gatherings are in person,” he said. “We run full moons here. We hold weekend retreats ($ 300-400 for three days) two to three times a year and take turns leading the Australian Wiccan Conference. We had to cancel all of this.
“There is a very small profit that goes to pay for insurance, advertising, Internet and the running costs of the association. We backed off [financially] for the past two years. We must have gloves, disinfect and a diary of the people who are here. We normally do a howl which is an increase in energy. We get everyone together, start with a buzz and it ends with a howl. We can’t do this because I have to be five feet away from you. It only works if you are nearby.
Bec is treasurer of the Pagan Awareness Network and is a witch and has dressed the role in long black robes and a wreath of artificial flowers. “I am not involved in a coven, I consider myself an eclectic pagan witch,” she said. “If someone uses the phrase ‘wicked witch’ or something like that, I’m really offended. Not all witches are bad.