The Australian Wiccan Conference (AWC) started in 1984 with the first gathering being held in South Australia. The Conference is traditionally held on the weekend closest to the Spring Equinox.
The Spring Equinox Ritual
The highlight of the weekend is the Spring Equinox ritual, with the conference’s attendance normally over 80 or more these rituals are the largest group rituals most attendees ever experience.
Spring Maiden or Spring Queen
As the AWC is held over the Spring Equinox, and in keeping with the story of the God and Goddess through the Wheel of the year, a Woman at the conference is crowned Spring Queen. The nomination process normally involves asking those women of a certain status in life to submit their names as nominations for the Spring Queen. That status can range from all women under a certain age to “Virgins of the Womb” meaning women who have not yet given birth to a child.
The Spring Queen is then selected at random from those nominations.
The Spring Queen then selects her consort, this man is to act as the still maturing stag, who has not yet become a king (Crowned at Beltane). Both of these roles as important for the weekend and are a focus of the Spring Ritual.
Generally a symbol reflective of what the Conference theme is, the Gathering token is given to all participants as a reminder of the AWC and its theme. Sometimes the token has been used in the ritual, other times given at the start of the weekend as a gift.
The Gathering ashes are a tradition started in 2008 at the AWC in Queensland. The Ashes from the fire at the gathering are passed on to the next AWC. How they incorporate those ashes is up to the gathering organizer, but the ashes are expected to be added to the fire, so that there is a link to the gathering fires of past AWC’s.
As Australia’s only national gathering, it is fitting that a record is kept for those Australian Pagans that have passed away. This way they may be remembered by the community.
Started as a tradition in 2008, the Gathering Book is used a memento of the gathering, along with messages about the gathering. It is then passed on from AWC to AWC. Many attendees enjoy finding their marks and comments about the gathering they have attended.
Each year there is a raffle to raise funds for the next AWC. The prizes are normally supplied by market stall holders as well as local merchants who wish to support the AWC. All monies raised from the Raffle are sent given to the Next AWC gathering organizer along with the Ashes, Requiem and Gathering Books.
The Moot allows attendees to raise issues, offer feedback and discuss the venue for the AWC to be held in 2 years time.