Moonstruck: high priest David Garland celebrates the summer solstice with other pagans on Rotaract Hill. Photo: Tamara Dean
It's the fastest-growing religion in Australia, according to the 2001 census. Natasha Wallace joins Sydney pagan worshippers and learns about spells, covens and the importance of being "skyclad".
It's 6.30 on a Saturday night in western Sydney as a jovial crowd gathers under a luminous full moon to celebrate nature's "divine beauty", a fundamental ritual on the pagan calendar.
About 70 people, standing on the top of Rotaract Hill opposite Seven Hills railway station, are here to harness the "chi", or energy, of fellow believers and connect to a "universal consciousness" in the hope of bringing positive change to their lives.
This is a motley bunch, ranging in age from late teens to over 60. Many are dressed in black, some in striking long capes and wearing a pentagram around their necks, some in colourful shorts and T-shirts.