When Helen first rang me in 2017 to ask me if I’d be interested in being interviewed for a documentary I was a bit nervous. Not many documentaries had been made about Paganism before that were sensitive to who we are and what we believe. So often our stories are sensationalised to make them sound shocking, scary, or even crazy. But it wasn’t long before I realised that Helen understood who we are and wanted to create a documentary that told our stories honestly and with compassion for our love of the earth, each other and our community.
Four years later, and the documentary has now been shown in a 30 minute version on Compass on the ABC, a TV station here in Australia. It follows various stories of Druids and Witches in Australia and our connection is explained without narration, but just with our own voices. I was joined by many friends in Druidry including Kacey Stephensen, Adrienne Piggott, Damh the Bard, and the folks at The English Ale. There was also Tim Hartridge, Lisa Jane Mason and her daughter Akira, Mara and Bruce Carter, and Caroline Tully from the Witchcraft community. As well as Doug Ezzy from the University of Tasmania who I’ve had the pleasure of studying with. And Aunty Bilawarra Lee from the Larrakia Nation bringing in an Aboriginal perspective.
Threads of our personal journeys through the year and through ritual experience are explored, showing how we connect to ritual for personal development, how we connect to nature, how we create a uniquely Australian experience, and how we are reinventing traditions of the past to make sense to who we are in the present.
The film captures much loved scenes from the English Ale with its flaming torch bearers, folk costumes, huge giants, green men, and the great Burning Man, as well as, of course, the Morris Dancing. It shows witches dancing about a cauldron at night with the smoke of incense entwined around their legs as they conenct with the magic of the chant. It shows us Druids meditating with trees, sharing music, bringing in the inspiration of Awen, and sharing rituals in nature. There are also shots of Winter Magic in Katoomba, Dark Mofo in Hobart and a dramatic festival of burning a Viking ship.
It’s a feast for the Pagan soul’s eyes. All the things we love about our tradition, with the voices of friends explaining what we do and why we do it, as other friends dance in the crowds. I am so happy to have been a part of this, and to see such a positive and true depiction of who we are in the media. We are nature-loving people who care about our personal development, about our communities, our traditions and the world we live in, and it was captured beautifully.
Many thanks to Helen Browning and her team for putting together this little treasure for us to share with each other.
If you would like to watch the documentary, you can until 20th July 2021 if you are in Australia – it is available on ABC iView here:
If you are outside of Australia, don’t lose hope! There is a chance it will be taking the stage internationally. There is also a long version of the documentary that is an hour long and goes by the name ‘Under a Pagan Sky’. This is showing at Film Festivals and independent cinemas. You can find out more by following the film on Facebook at their page Under a Pagan Sky.