Author’s Note: Names have been changed.
I can’t remember how I found out about Temple of the Winds (TotW) originally, but I do know that I was briefly an online member of their MSN forums before I moved to Melbourne.
Their in-person meets happened on a rotating Saturday / Sunday each fortnight, so I decided I’d go to one. I figured, after Magick Happens it’d be nice to get into the social scene somehow.
(At this point I should probably point out that I had bought a “dress” that I called my robe and wore it practically everywhere under my cloak. Wasn’t exactly the picture of high fashion, but I felt good with myself—back then I could actually fit into it too :P)
Anyway, I rocked up to TotW that day and was dressed in my ‘pagan-y’ getup and walked out to the Botanic Gardens from Flinders Street Station. It wasn’t a long walk and got me into parts of the city that I hadn’t really been to before. (Granted, I did walk this way to get to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for the premier of Queen of the Damned, which I was in as an extra—remember be mentioning that back in the Magick Happens article?)
Anyways, I headed into the gardens and up a path towards where I thought the Temple would be.
The Temple of the Winds in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens is situated in a wonderful location with a stunning view of the Yarra River.
Based on the old “pagan” temples in English gardens, it was constructed with a ‘reminiscent’ feel while utilising Australian elements, such as the “Staghorn Fern” plant that adorns the top of each of the pillars.
The guy who ran the group I shall call Mephistopheles. (No, he’s not the demon from Faust!) He walked over to greet me and to just let me know that he wasn’t expecting “anyone to turn up in ‘full ritual gear’” … I said that’s good because I don’t do rituals and this is how I dress every day.
That done, we both walked back up to the Temple and he introduced me to the handful of other people there. (Of those faces, only maybe three would remain semi-active within the TotW group in the years to come.)
The typical format was for the meeting to go from relatively early morning until around midday when we would share food and chat openly amongst ourselves. Up until midday held an almost formal club-feeling where there would be topics that we’d all discuss and explore as a group—it was such a lot of fun to talk to peers; people that knew things like me and people that were my age! I wasn’t learning from someone older or hanging out with younger folk who knew less, no. These people actually knew things and we were all sharing our different knowledge with each other. It was really great.
Anyway, afterwards we went walking into the city to hang around a little and visit Spellbox, which was a favourite shop of mine and a few of the others. (I should have written about Spellbox…damn)
It would turn out that I would only go to one TotW meeting before I left Melbourne. (You’ll find out why I left in a couple of posts…) Not because of time but because I was just such a lazy dick. I didn’t have the internet at Marty’s grandparents’ place so I just didn’t keep up with the group and didn’t really push myself to go back. As it was the group only ran when Mephistopheles was able to run one. If he couldn’t make it, that weekend was called off … more on that later …