Spheres Of Light is an association of individuals from a variety of Pagan paths who meet at various locations in Sydney, Nowra and surrounding regions to celebrate and connect with the cycles of the Earth through Lunar and Solar gatherings. We maintain a strong emphasis on teaching and training and in addition to our Full Moon and Dark Moon circles, we hold highly interactive classes and workshops. We also hold informal meditation groups in various parks and places of natural beauty.
SOL website from 2003(?) to 2005
The first Spheres Of Light website was a couple of pages on Geocities/Yahoo, created around 2003 (or possibly earlier) by Gwyneira Morgana and Janine Donnellan. Unfortunately I can’t find any snapshots of this site on the WayBack Machine and the only copy of one very early SOL web page that I have in my collection of files is incomplete. However, this (and possibly one other basic page) was how, in November 2003, I first found out about the existence of Spheres Of Light. The only indication that it was a local group was the prefix of one of the contact phone numbers, though it would be about 9 months before I actually made contact with the group via Janine’s “Wicca 1 Classes” which started on 28th July 2004 …and as the saying goes, “the rest is history”. 🙂
SOL website from January 2005 to 2007
On 21st January 2005 a new website was created for SOL on MSN Groups by Gwyneira and Janine. I can’t remember exactly when but I was asked to help out with the website and was made a “Manager” of the MSN site and by September 2005 I was creating lots of informative pages in the new BOS section and having fun illustrating them with my own photos and making use of my newly acquired but very basic Photoshop skills.
The site originally featured the SOL logo designed and hand-drawn by Dianne Wise-Carroll (left). The spiral in the centre had the names of the circle members written around it but by 2005 many of those people, including the logo’s creator, were no longer in the group so I was asked to revamp the logo for use on SOL’s new MSN website. As the chosen webpage background colour was black I inverted the original logo colours and digitally recreated it to be more symmetrical, and replaced the spiral names list with a plain lined spiral in the centre. Two versions of my “new” SOL logo appear below.
I never really understood the symbolism of the various parts of this particular logo and after asking others in the group I realised that apparently that information was known only to its designer, Dianne. In about March 2006 Janine decided it was time to create a new logo.
The new (and still current) Spheres Of Light logo (below) is a clever composite of a number of different symbols. The original idea to incorporate symbols of the eight-fold year/eight-spoked wheel/octagram, infinity and a bright light source was conceived by Janine and the development and design of this idea was done by me (click here to see a full explanation of all the different symbols within it). The new SOL logo made its appearance on the MSN website in April 2006.
The screenshot below shows the MSN website as it looked in early 2007. (Click image to enlarge)
SOL website design from August 2007 to 2010
With the impending closure of MSN Groups it became necessary to venture into the realm of paid hosting and real website design, so with the help of my eldest son (who was a student at the time but is now a Software Engineer) a hosting account was set up and the website was hand coded with HTML 4.01. I used the W3C Markup Validation Service to check my code was all good. 😀 The front page featured a sabbat greeting banner which was changed to suit the season and various other banners (all created by me) advertising SOL’s activities. (Click image to enlarge)
You can explore this early version of the SOL website on the WayBack Machine.
I also included a forum (phpBB) to replace our MSN group forum so we could continue to have interesting online discussions and keep in touch with all our members. There was a lot of information on our old MSN forum that we didn’t want to lose so I spent many hours copying all the necessary information onto the new forum.
The snapshot of the forum (below) is from the WayBack Machine and the images of the forum icons are missing, but you get the general idea of what was there. There were also Admin only sections that were hidden from the general members but they don’t show in this screenshot as obviously the WayBack Machine did not have access to them. (Click image to enlarge)
On 11th August 2007 I announced the opening of the new SOL website and put links on the MSN message boards to direct people to the new site. On 5th September 2007 we had a “Website Launch Party” at my house with members of SOL and people from other Pagan groups as well. It was a very enjoyable night! I even sent out official invitations to all the guests (right — address and phone numbers have been removed for privacy). 😀
After a few years of successful and frequent use, activity on the forum / message boards eventually started to wane as the popularity of Facebook increased. This trend was prevalent on many other Pagan forums as well, not just SOL, so sometime in December 2013 I deleted the forum altogether. This move was also prompted by my relatively recently installed forum (for listing events only, not for discussions) on the NPD website being hammered by spam bots which caused our website hosting provider to take our domain offline. After getting that sorted (with the help of my son) and deleting the NPD forum, Janine and I decided to ditch the main SOL forum as well as the only messages being left on the boards there were by human spammers and I didn’t want spam bots to end up infesting that forum as well. So now we use the SOL Facebook page and groups instead.
SOL website design from 2010
The 800 pixel wide design shown above was looking a little tired so in April 2010 I modified the CSS to create a 960 px wide page with a third column.
The statement on the header image has always been:
“All is one: Nothing ever stays the same.”
However, in about July 2011 the header image was modified to show a new statement:
“We stand in our power. The spark within us is one with the eternal flame that guides and sustains us on our journey.”
The sabbat greetings banners were eventually dropped and a new image added to the bottom of the page to try to balance the length of the side menus which were constantly changing, depending on what events were being promoted. (Click images to enlarge)
This hand-coded website was not mobile-device-friendly so on 1st July 2016 I started work on another new SOL website using WordPress as the CMS with the ‘Happenstance’ theme from wordpress.org. I wasn’t happy with the look of the site (even though I had used this theme for other subdomains for SOL) so I changed the theme to ‘Satisfy’ — progress is slow and there is a lot of work to be done — it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen! 😛 …eventually. 😉
Browse all snapshots of SOL on the WayBack Machine.