Author Archives: Dan Mercurial

CloudCatcher 2019 – Crossing the Abula Path – Day 4

The last day of Path…

This year’s camp went quickly for me, and at the same time I felt so much was done!

I returned to the room, happy to see everyone again, and looking forward to more exploration. The topic for this day was Courage. It was a fascinating choice and something that I needed after my experiences in the Ritual the night before. I was feeling a little raw and unsure of things that morning.

We breathed into what it meant to have Courage. Raven Edgewalker spoke about the courage of mice in the night, the courage of the darting creatures that evade predators to eat. Not all courage has to be a lion.

I love that very much.

The image that came to me was based on previous experience, which I didn’t share in circle, but I wanted to. In 2005, I had a friend, a beloved, who died very suddenly. I was the last person to see him alive. We had fun, we had drinks, we sang songs, and the next morning, he was gone. It took a year for me to try and deal with that sudden grief and pain, but when I did, I worked through it with a teacher of mine in Wales. She guided me to discover the shards of glass I could feel in my heart, and they were replaced with a sacred being who I carry with me to this day. I refer to them as my “Spiritual GPS” and they have presented to me for the last decade and change as a snake. My image of courage became this-

Courage is…

So, as much as this is not my best drawing, it may become something bigger later. I love the idea that the snake who guards my heart can extend to encompass all that I am, that I can hold that courage.

The group was divided into sections of eight, and we were asked to take turns Aspecting the role of Courage. The idea of Courage. One person would be Querent, and ask “What do we need to know about courage?” One person would Scribe, and one person would Aspect. I really enjoy Aspecting work, and I am always amazed that I have little to no memory of what has been said.

The group collectively brought forth incredible words, some of which I have gathered below-

Courage is the hand on the doorknob. Truth, revealing truth in a good time, in a good place. Courage is the breaking open, the presentation of the most inner flame, deepest mysteries. Yell into the void, I exist, no need to qualify. To know you are worthy. Beautiful, deep and painful. Courage is a kind of attention we bring to how we are. Courage is a burning coal the embers never going out. Courage is the light in the eyes staring in darkness. Courage is watching your shadow. Courage is steel and iron, courage is the core that holds the place inside. Courage is acknowledging both the dark and the light. It’s choosing to keep going even in the darkest moments. It’s choosing the hard, challenging way. It’s hope in the face of hopelessness. Courage is crossing the Rubicon. Making decisions. Courage is the crucible fire that allows us to forge it into action. Courage is the understanding that pain is preferable to numbness. It is the seeds that sprout up towards the sun. It is trust in the face of the unknown. Courage is the holy risk. It is the rage of the heart. It is the flame in the darkness. Encourage, bring forth the courage in others. Courage is looking into the eyes of another. Courage is listening to the heart, tempered. Courage is telling your story. Courage is the tiny voice. Courage is the breath before the step. Courage and Fear are lovers. They feed one another and keep one another alive. Courage is fighting a battle that is not yours… 

CloudCatcher 2019 – Crossing the Abula Path – Day 3


I started my time of prescribed silence as I woke up. The hardest thing was not singing in the shower. I wanted to sing. I’ve never realised how much I sing, and hum, and talk to myself as I’m pottering around through my day.

I was the designated Wellness Witch for that morning, and I took myself off to breakfast with a little sign that informed people I was silent, but happy to listen. In the end, I was not required, but I was happy enough to sit in the stillness and listen to the world. The silence was peaceful, and I would like to engage in more time (without a television/music in the background). I did end up reading a book for a bit after I had finished eating because I struggled to just sit.

The path began in the most beautiful circle casting.

Working in silence, without instruction, the expertise of the group casted a circle of energy, called in Ancestors and Descendants, gave thanks to the elements… It was wonderful to feel the bubbling, tingling energy of the group as we worked in collaboration and silence.  I called to Spirit, using the Auslan sign for Spirit/Soul, and signing something that spoke about the fire of love in your heart and the energy in all your being, the soul and spirit in every one of us.

Actually, while I think of it, there have been some very beautiful elemental calls over the time I was in Path. There were moments of tingling connection that I will never forget as people in the group called to the power all around us and linked all in the space together.

My homework had been to record my dreams, and bring them to class. Usually, I’m not much of a dreamer and I was very nervous about it. I was sure I wouldn’t dream at all. But worst come to worse, I had the dream from the first night of camp ready. (It was about the most beautiful wooden box made by a dear friend that was for sale in the ritual hall and cost $1800… probably out of my WitchCamp budget!) However, my subconscious did not let me down! With the aid of some mugwort and a well placed phone for notes, I managed to not only dream, but write something down. Still, once I looked at what I had, I was sure it was boring, mundane and not really worth exploring. I forgot it and just went to Path, hoping for the best.

I was invited to pair with another member of the Path, and was very pleased to be working with someone I know and respect. Apologetically, I drew out my phone and mumbled my way through my dream.

“Something about a preparing train journey, something about taking disabled kids to a performance, something about a mute boy who was angry and didn’t stop long enough for me to try and connect to him.”

I threw her a wincing look and she informed me that she thought it was interesting. I was certainly a little surprised, but willing to give this whole process a go. I have done return to dream work in the past, but not for many years. It had been useful to me before. My partner and I stepped outside into the cold and gloomy morning and sat against the wall as Caduceus led the group down into a trance and to the dream. The other person’s role was to question and prompt further exploration. My partner was very effective! I felt the strong bonds of connection between me and what could be considered to be my younger selves. I felt the joy of being able to go further into the dream. Not just preparing for a journey, actually going on it… taking that trip to the place where we would show the world what we could do. Getting the moment of connection with a young mute boy who I communicated with through drawing and allowing him time to join me in a long scroll of pictures over our time on the train. He smiled.

After that, it was time for us to swap and I was honoured to be able to share in a wonderful dream of my partner. I found the role of prompting very challenging, but I feel I was successful. I was cautious that I didn’t overstep and it was interesting having to think about which words to choose to prompt but not suggest too much. Her dream was an image and concept I will keep it in my mind and heart for a long time. It was a beautiful thing to share.

CloudCatcher 2019 – Crossing the Abula Path – Day 2

Cutting and tearing grief that pours from holy hell.

Returning to Path after the challenges of the Evening Rituals for me was something that I became very drawn to. Path was my safe place. It wasn’t the intense, dark and scary thing I had been partially dreading. This path into the Underworld, which was also into the Self, was much more gently held than I anticipated. While work was getting done, there was also time for peace in the stillness and learning that awoke important elements.

On this day, we were invited to engage in automatic writing, a practice with which I am familiar, but usually not in a large group, or led by anyone in particular. The prompts the teachers posed to us were “What makes me angry is…” and “What helps me when I’m angry is…”

I really had no idea what I was going to end up writing, but I found the process relatively easy. I found that when I listened back to some of the rest of the circle, mine was a little less coherent, and certainly not things that I would have said if someone had just asked me what made me angry. I would have said something about the state of my kitchen most likely.

What makes me angry is abuse and pain and the end of time and the colour of light as the forest descends into night. Cutting and tearing grief that pours from the holy hell of black and green and puss. What makes me angry is homesick. What makes me angry is hot and brown calves. Carving, generating aching ages. Blindness and bitterness. What makes me angry is concentrated. What makes me angry is tornadoes, culture, chaos, criminal. 

What helps me when I’m angry is glass and stillness. What helps me when I’m angry is trouble and tomorrow and Tuesday. What helps me when I’m angry is heat and forms of night and listening honestly calf carb. What helps me when I’m angry is torrents of love and silver shining pieces of something. 

So I’m not sure what my problem is with calves… But in general I found the process interesting and what came of it was not what I expected. The word that jumped out at me when I was reading back was Homesick. I delved into that and did a lot of thinking about what it means to be homesick… what it could be to be homesick, when you are at home, when you should be at home, when you are lost and feel like you’ll never have a true home.

Sigils I made for the word “Homesick”