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Australian Media on Paganism

After a hard day at the coven, Caroline pauses for a spell

Sun Herald Sun, 24/11/96

Caroline Tully became a witch 12 years ago because she thought mainstream religion was boring.

Now, at 30, she is the most senior Victorian in the Church of All Worlds, the pagan church.

With pointy hat, broom, wand and cauldron, it is no surprise to learn Ms Tully is a witch.

Witchcraft is one of several denominations of paganism, a religion rapidly spreading across the world.

Ms Tully could soon become only the second person in Australia to be ordained in the Church of All Worlds and reach pagan clergyhood.

"It is all to do with idealism. We are hoping for a better Earth through religion." she said.

"Ideally, it is a green religion. It is like a spiritual dimension to ecology." Most pagan icons symbolise sexual organs and functions: The straw broom is a phallic symbol representing male generative power. It is also used to purify places.

The idea of flying was slander created by the Christian church, Ms Tully said, although many witches did claim to astral travel.

The broom is also partner to the cauldron, which represents the womb.

The pointy hat uses both male and female sexual organs in its symbolism, as do the wand and chalice.

Ms Tully also cast spells, which she calls probability enhancement techniques.

Athough most ceremonies are performed naked, robes are worn in winter and on public occassions.

"Ideally, we perform our rituals in forests, outdoors, somewhere wild, perhaps on a mountain," Ms Tully said.

Witches do not worship Satan, saying Satanism is a Christian belief.

They worship Diana the moon goddess and Pan the horned god.

Athough there is no official record of the number of pagans in Australia, conservative estimates suggest there are between 4000 and 5000 followers, according to the director of Australian operations of the Church of All Worlds, Mr Sean Knight.

He said paganism was the fastest growing religion in Britain, and prisons and hospitals in the US and UK had even begun appointing pagan chaplains.

The rapid growth of paganism - one of the world's oldest religions - is being spurred by the newest technology.

The World Wide Web has become a major player in spreading the pagan gospel.

Pagan pages on the Net recommend books, give dates of festivals and ceremonies, provide contact names and numbers, and list the beliefs of different pagan denominations.

The Church of All Worlds has a home page on the Internet.

The church was founded in the US in 1968 and was introduced to Australia in 1992 by the Rev. Fiona Judge, the church's high priestess and first Australian pagan to be ordained.

Pagans consider all life to be sacred and worship nature as a manifestation of the deity. They do not worship rocks or tress, but revere the divine forces they claim are within them.

They do not believe in the notion of "good versus evil" or heaven and hell in the Christian sense, and many believe in reincarnation.

Sun Herald Sun, 24/11/96

by Steven Wilson

 

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