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AIRDATE | New COMPASS special explores the rise of Pagans Down Under

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In Australia, more and more people are moving away from monotheistic religions, turning to their own sources of spirituality.

This movement has seen ancient religions resurface in contemporary forms. Pagans Down Under explores the private rituals, challenges and celebrations of Australians recreating ancient Pagan traditions for the southern hemisphere.

Filmed over three years, Druid and Wicca practitioners – the two largest Pagan traditions in Australia – help us explore how Australian Pagans maintain a sense of transcendence through dramatic rituals celebrating the turning of the seasons and the mysteries of sex, death, and human existence.

Contemporary Pagans draw from ancient practice, aligning their rituals to their environment. These nature-based Pagan rituals face unique challenges south of the equator. As Australia’s vast continent is sacred to Aboriginal communities, some Elders believe that certain Pagan ritual practices can disrupt the song lines.

Discover how old customs are given a modern twist as Druids come together for the evocative burning of the Wicker Man at the English Ale in Adelaide. Experience Druid practices through the rituals of Awen and Julie Brett’s understanding of popular traditions like Christmas through a Pagan lens.

Learn from Larrakia Elder, Bilawara Lee, about cultural protocols for Pagans practising their religion in Australia. And academics Dr Caroline Tully and Professor Douglas Ezzy provide further creative and critical insights into contemporary Paganism.

Production credits: Director and Editor: Helen Browning. Executive Producer: Rachel Clements. Producers: James Bradley and Helen Browning. Executive Producer, Compass: Jessica Douglas-Henry.

Compass – Pagans Down Under airs Sunday 20 June at 8.00pm on ABC and iview

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