Mumma Moon

Last year I wrote an article for Moot Magazine entitled Spirituality- The New Religion for the New Age, and during my research the subject of the preponderance of women that are pursuing a spiritual rather than a religious path came up. In an interesting quote, Professor Sabina Magliocco of California State University told me,

“The preponderance of women, the well-educated and youth in Pagan religions is no mystery. Modern Paganisms focus on the feminine divine, and offer women key liturgical and leadership roles. They require no belief; they are religions of gnosis and/or of practice. And they frequently foreground a strong environmental message that is attractive to many young people. Sexuality is celebrated rather than condemned; creativity is valued and rewarded; and there are ample opportunities to tailor practice to the individual by combining elements eclectically.”

The demographics that she delineated tallied with my experience of the attendees at many of the pagan gatherings that I have attended in recent years where well educated, middle class, middle aged women have consistently out numbered their male counterparts. This led me to look at the feminine aspect of new age spirituality in general and recently, having become more involved with a group that organizes Public pagan events here in Melbourne I have had some first hand experience of being involved in helping to publicize women’s only gatherings that are being held by Lady Elizabeth Rose called Mumma Moon.

While these events aren’t specifically Pagan and don’t involve witchcraft per se, there is a strong enough current of goddess worship to mark them as truly new age and, curious to find out what these gatherings are all about I spent a pleasant afternoon talking to Lizzy Rose about what she is doing with these gatherings, where they began and where they are going. I began with a set series of questions for Lizzy but as we began to chat I let her talk on about these gatherings, about which she is genuinely passionate and the interview turned into a discussion of Lady Rose’s origins as a witch and her inspiration for going into public celebrations of the Pagan Sabbats as well as the motives behind her Mumma Moon gatherings.

I will leave a detailed account of Lady Elizabeth Rose’s path through witchcraft for another post except to say that she has a lifetime of experience in the Craft and has worked for many years as a psychic after spending her life since childhood using her gifts and first registering as a Melbourne’s Medium in 1995. Lizzy has also spent her life in the entertainment industry as an actress and vocalist and so it was probably inevitable that, after consultation with the senior members of her original coven, she decided to develop her public persona as a witch.

During our chat Lizzy told me that as long ago as 1987 she was drawn to hold women’s only gatherings when she saw the need for women to have an opportunity to get together to bond and share their feelings and experiences. She went on to pursue this avenue through the Star of Ishtar group’s Red Tent Women’s Circles and passed through their training program in 2009. She later left this group and struck out on her own after wanting to be able to be more flexible with her gatherings, and to be able to improvise them more in an effort to keep them “in the moment” and to make them more relevant to the women that are attending them

That isn’t to say that these circles are all improvisation as Lizzy begins her preparations by meditating on what she will bring to each gathering individually. There is also a constant structure which is a synthesis of theory, practice and ritual that revolves around helping the women that attend to break down their facades and to open up to a sharing experience with the others in the circle.

“They come to the meetings not knowing anyone,” she told me, “not sure if it is alright or safe, and often end up making friendships that have lasted for years. A lot of them tell me that they feel like they have come home.” This experience is often cathartic and there have been occasions when the attendees have had overwhelming experiences that have been the turning point in important changes in their lives.

“The most memorable Mumma Moon ended with a lady going into labor.” laughed Lizzy, as she recalled some of her more enjoyable events.

The gatherings begin with the women in a circle sharing the ‘Oracle’. This is a ceremony in which they all have a chance to speak and as a catalyst Lizzy uses some simple device like drawing a Tarot Trump card and asking each individual to share what it means to them. Often she will have them hand around a piece of rose quartz and as each of them takes it it marks their chance to speak.

“We start with the oracle which is an opportunity for participants to share their feelings with the group.” said Lizzy, “A lot of women come in with the attitude of I am a lawyer or an executive or whatever and by the end of the night they have dropped that façade- it just isn’t necessary for them anymore.”

From this point Lizzy will lead the group into a meditation on what they have learned from their experience and then she will lead the group in some practice that is fun and creative and which helps to cement the bonds that they have formed. The theme of each evening is unique to the individual gathering and based upon the theme that Lizzy derives from the phase of the moon, thus the gatherings are called Mumma Moon.

Lizzy has taken these gatherings across country Victoria and regularly holds them at Eltham in the Melbourne’s semi-rural outer suburbs. The demand for Mumma Moon has even extended further with Lizzy having received invitations to hold them in other cities around Australia and even in California. This demand would seem to indicate that she has found a genuine need for these events from women themselves as all of the Mumma Moon meetings are held in a private home by invitation. This makes each Mumma Moon gathering an invitation by women to anywhere between 5 and 30 other women who she may or, more likely, may not already know to come to her home and share an evening of spiritual exploration. There is implicitly no religious expectation and to attend it isn’t necessary to be a pagan or a witch or even to believe in anything particularly at all. It is only necessary to have the desire to feel a community with other women and to share a part of life’s journey with them, even if only for a single evening.

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About dgmattichakjr

D G Mattichak jr was born in 1963 in Syracuse New York and immigrated to Melbourne Australia with his family in 1972. He was educated in one of Melbourne’s exclusive private schools before studying art at Preston Technical College. D G Mattichak jr has been a student of the occult arts since the early 1980s and has become well known in Australian magickal circles and, in recent years, around the world due to a string of essays on a variety of occult subjects http://www.scribd.com/dmattichak/shelf . He discovered the “key to the order & value of the English alphabet” from Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law in 1983 and has since used this English Qabalah to unlock the secrets of Thelemite magick. Success in these methods admitted him to the highest levels of attainment in various Hermetic disciplines and until recently he has been passing on his knowledge to private students, many of whom have gone on to become notable occultists in their own right. After almost three decades of study and development D G Mattichak jr has finally been able to distil his knowledge of magick and Thelema into a book- A Comment on the Verses of the Book of the Law, the first in a planned series of books on Hermeticism and Thelemite magick, revealing, for the first time in over a century, the secrets of magick that have been hidden in Crowley’s magnum opus, the Book of the Law. D G Mattichak jr currently lives in Melbourne Australia with his artist wife Michelle and their two cats. He has had a long career as an al a carte chef in Melbourne’s vibrant hospitality scene and now spends his time writing blogs on cooking, writing and, in the guise of Master Ankh af na Khonsu, about magick. He is also one of the founding members of the Mt Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering and regularly contributes to its official website http://mountfranklinannualpagangathering.blogspot.com/ as both an administrator and as an author. D G Mattichak jr’s first book Loot was released in 2009. His books are available through amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&field-keywords=D G Mattichak&x=13&y=20 .
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8 Responses to Mumma Moon

  1. You know, that’s really interesting. My one and only memorable recollection of Elizabeth (no “Lady” if you please) is one woman desperately attempting to usurp the Annual Mount Franklin Pagan Gathering a few years ago by bizarre attention seeking antics and inflammatory behaviour. I don’t know her personally, but being the consummate pragmatist, anyone rolling up to an extinct volcanic crater with a leather bustier and a bodyguard in October is immediately a bit on the suss-sorry. Its like white stillettos and parasols-which were also seen that weekend by a woman who endorsed police emblems hanging from her car in a later year..yet, I digress.

    As to what training she may or may not have had, or to the veracity of her ‘psychic’ prowess is anyone’s guess. When you use the word “witch”, when you align it with words such as ‘moon’ ‘gatherings’ ‘pagan’ ‘spirituality’ ‘meditation’ “oracle’ and ‘tarot’ you automatically set up a preconception of the theme and scenario regardless of how fervently you attempt to deny it.

    In your own words you wrote:
    “There is also a constant structure which is a synthesis of theory, practice and ritual that revolves around helping the women that attend to break down their facades and to open up to a sharing experience with the others in the circle.”

    What synthesis of theory, practice and ritual is utilised to break down these ‘facades’ and to ‘open up’ and indeed to ‘guide’ anyone throughout a meditation?
    I wonder what training and expertise is available to these women either at the time or post the gathering which may be required and how exactly, should an adverse problem occur does the illustrious Ms Rose propose to manage that post haste?

    Or is it just the offer of a handful of women’s shoulders to cry on, a nice cup of chamomile tea ($5 a pop) and the promise of everlasting sisterhood solidarity?

    You also wrote:

    ” This experience is often cathartic and there have been occasions when the attendees have had overwhelming experiences that have been the turning point in important changes in their lives”

    Curious. Cathartic and overwhelming do not necessarily equal glorious, peace love and mung beans existences.

    If people insist on playing with some very delicate, emotional and vulnerable minds who are at the end of day *looking for something* , then in my humble opinion, they better be equipped and responsible to handle the potential fall out.
    I hope, she does and can. As usual people should engage common sense when dealing with anyone in these areas.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she has her place like so many others. I just like to see the mind of reason, accountability and responsibility at work and most definitely in practice. So far I’m not sure I have.

    • I have gotten to know Lizzy quite well in the past few months and what she has or hasn’t done at Mt Franklin isn’t what I was interviewing her about in this instance. As for pragmatism, my experience of many of the campers that have come to the mountain for Beltane were not very practically equipped to camp in the cold crater, in the rain so it may be a city pagan thing to be unprepared for the bush. It could make an interesting post though.

      As far as I know, not all pagans are witches and not all witches are pagans, not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans are witches. My research into new age spirituality indicated that it is far larger than the Neo-Pagan/Wiccan groups who form less than 20% of all people that refer top themselves as ‘Spiritual’. Tarot isn’t particularly a pagan or Wiccan activity, it is squarely in the realm of Ceremonial Magick, one of the many legacies of the Golden Dawn, and nobody has a copyright on spirituality or meditation. Lizzy was quite clear that the Mumma Moon gatherings were not anything to do with witchcraft/Wicca/Paganism at all, and the Moon was chosen because it is a feminine symbol.

      From what I know of these gatherings (I haven’t attended one but have spoken to several women that have) the practices are simple yoga and breathing exercises that are aimed at relaxing. There is a craft element (handcraft not witchcraft, although I am sure that there is an overlap) like making candles or corn dollies and the theory is simply explaining the goals that are set for that gathering. As far as any medical emergencies goes I believe that Lizzy is a trained ambulance medic.

      Catharsis should be a part of everyday life if you are doing it right and the women that I have met are generally not the peace love and kerosine types but generally come from the middle class, are well educated and I don’t believe that they are particularly vulnerable either. In fact the majority of them fit the exact demographic that was described by Sabina Magliocco when we discussed the new age propensity for feminine oriented spiritual practices. The bottom line is that these women want Lizzy’s service which makes it interesting. Personally I see that most of what is currently passing for some sort of magickal discipline falls well short of the structure and order of the magickal system that I have studied.

      I grant that this sort of practice isn’t for everyone but for those that are looking for an alternative to the local Methodists this may be a doorway to a deeper, more introspective path in life.

  2. I didn’t say Tarot was the sole divination tool used the Craft nor that that the Craft has sole possession of it. I didn’t discuss other campers, I discussed my memory of her. Furthermore I didn’t debate the following as you have pointed out:
    “As far as I know, not all pagans are witches and not all witches are pagans, not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans are witches. My research into new age spirituality indicated that it is far larger than the Neo-Pagan/Wiccan groups who form less than 20% of all people that refer top themselves as ‘Spiritual’.”
    I wrote:
    When you use the word “witch”, when you align it with words such as ‘moon’ ‘gatherings’ ‘pagan’ ‘spirituality’ ‘meditation’ “oracle’ and ‘tarot’ you automatically set up a preconception of the theme and scenario regardless of how fervently you attempt to deny it”
    I didn’t speak about medical emergenices. I discussed mental first aid and intervention where needed.
    I also did not say that everyone was vulnerable. To recap what I wrote was :
    “If people insist on playing with some very delicate, emotional and vulnerable minds who are at the end of day *looking for something* , then in my humble opinion, they better be equipped and responsible to handle the potential fall out” and furthermore the following:
    “Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she has her place like so many others. I just like to see the mind of reason, accountability and responsibility at work and most definitely in practice. So far I’m not sure I have”
    You wrote:
    “Catharsis should be a part of everyday life if you are doing it right and the women that I have met are generally not the peace love and kerosine types but generally come from the middle class are well educated and I don’t believe that they are particularly vulnerable either.”

    Oh how lovely! Seriously David? What the Hel? How does one know if one is ‘doing it right’? Is that before or after the shit hits the fan or somewhere inbetween. Does one know that one has correctly been through a cathartic experience when they can open their eyes and mumble their name after a seeming time warp of shite has fucked with their brain? How pompous to assume that ‘well educated’ deems invincibility somehow.

    If Liz is offering what people want great. This isn’t some great slurry sling at her. But what accountability and responsibility is garnered in these situations by anyone not just Elizabeth?

    I respect you as a Ceremonial as you well know. But you really do not have the first idea of Witchcraft, a discussion which has been offered to you as you well know through mutual people. My suggestion is to follow that path prior to opinion particularly with regards to Wicca and Traditional Craft. Good luck on the recruiting drive! And when next we meet I’ve figured out a demon of a mudcake for you to try. xx

    • I didn’t intend to upset you I just answered your comments on the post and I am sorry if you think that I have started an argument. Part of why I think that they are getting it right is that they are happy. I didn’t just talk to Lizzy about these meeting, I asked some of the women that I know that have been to them and that was what interested me. I interpreted your comment as questioning the legitimacy of these gatherings on the basis of Lizzy being a witch and having attended Beltane, neither of which had any bearing on the Mumma Moon events that I looked at. Education doesn’t confer invincibility but it does imply that they are able to decide for themselves what is right and what isn’t.

      I haven’t been recruiting anyone for anything and what I know of witchcraft I know through those same mutual people. Anything that I have written has been based on things that are freely available online, or have reported my personal experience. If what is written about these topics is incorrect then I am willing to be corrected.

      I am sorry that I have upset you it wasn’t my intention.

  3. I’m not upset nutter!

  4. All I suggest is that you follow the route which was offered to you in clarifying certain points regarding Craft. Yes, loads of material is posted online, that doesn’t equate with the truth either in every instance. You posted something along the lines of Lady Sheba awhile ago-now thats online but it aint us either as you were told. And as an aside the tarot does pre-date the Golden Dawn. People like Elizabeth can call themselves whatever they want-I really *really* don’t mind or care. I support peoples independent minds and spirit. In the end, my question is and has always been (personal opinion aside) what do these people offer in terms of support and guidance should the cart get turned upside down as it will and as it does when you work with energy. I’ll leave the “I’m not recruiting for anything” furfie alone but seriously Dave, you’ve seen me upset. This isn’t anywhere near upset 😛

    • Yes I did write a post about Madam S but that was more about her being unaware that Facebook is a network and so it is all about networking. That particular witch has come under criticism from other people, more closely associated with groups like PAN who have called her position in the pagan community into question.

      I am aware that the Tarot predates the Golden Dawn, and the first real connection was made by Eliphas Levi in the Key of the Mysteries when he (rightly or wrongly) associated XVI The Devil with Baphomet of the Templars and connected the 22 Trumps with Rosicrucianism/Hermeticism. Prior to that there was the Tarot of Marseilles which was a corruption of the original Tarrochi deck. Tarrochi is a game that is still played in parts of Italy and, surprisingly, in Australia. I have a Tarrochi deck in my collection and the images are obviously similar and it is easy to see how they were adapted. I believe that the first Tarot decks are dated to the 15th Century. Their connection to Qabalah can be attributed to A E Waite and Wynn Westcott and this is the Tarot that everyone learns now, basic Golden Dawn system Tarot. I should write a blog post about this perhaps.

      I don’t believe that the catharsis is so great that it is in the realm of a psychological crisis and I took the word catharsis to mean: The purification of the emotions by vicarious experience, esp. through the drama (O.E.D.), something which could be a part of everyday life. Being able to unwind is important and I think that this is the crux of what these gatherings offer women, an outlet where it is safe to release pent up emotions.

      I am genuinely not recruiting for anything. I have offered to give a few people some basic instructions in Qabalah, and I have published an introductory set of instructions for learning Hermetic Magick but I have nothing to recruit people into. If a suitable student shows themselves I may consider another one, although I am too busy to devote the proper amount of time to an apprentice. Not recruiting-networking.

      I am glad that you aren’t upset.

  5. I love the history of the Tarot. I’d be very keen and look forward to any blog on that topic when you have the time. I’m attempting to get my hands on ‘Labarinto’ by Andreas Ghisi. The Tarrochi of Mantegna in Labarinto is interesting and I’d like to know more about whether there is association with the extremely scant interaction I’ve had and seen of Enochian stuff-without reading and without the ceremonial expertise it may all be pure conjecture on my behalf. At any rate its interesting material anyhow, regardless. Excellent for the cerebral synapses!

    I look forward to what you may blog on next.

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