Author Archives: S. M. Ursa

CloudCatcher 2018 – Living Ritual – Day 4

It was hard to believe I’d reached the final day of the Living Ritual path. In the last four days, we’ve met and overcome challenges, stayed silent and listened, danced, make music and raised energy – all to make us better ritualists.

Today, we asked ourselves what we’re becoming and what it will take. We answered through a sing-a-long check in. Normally, I would be nervous to sing my answer but I felt calm and confident. My answer was that I am becoming my most authentic self and it would take a lot of bravery, self-love and self acceptance to achieve this.’

To reaffirm this process and help us prepare for life back in the post-camp world, we conducted a small circle ritual. In groups of three, we told each other our fears before the other two priestesses affirmed what we needed to hear. At the end of the spell, we all said together “And anything you have ever heard otherwise – be gone!”

We held some more check-ins, which got emotional for me. For what I thought would be a hands-on path, Living Ritual encouraged me to look inwards while working on new skills. Before I knew it, it was time to start packing up the space.

So what am I taking away from this path? A lot! But here are the five key elements:

  • It’s okay to make mistakes
  • Silence is golden
  • If you have no clue, just roll with it and see what happens
  • Creativity is messy
  • When in a fight, flight or freeze situation, you can always choose to reveal

CloudCatcher 2018 – Living Ritual – Day 3

Creativity is destructive.

What makes a good ritual? Like a good story, a good ritual needs to have something that matters at its core. That’s the wisdom imparted on us today by our teachers. Day 3 builds on our work on ritual dynamics, focusing on storytelling and rhythm. It is also more practical, with a lot of the processes not sparking much need for reflection.

Tension and release are tools used in storytelling, and we learn this same technique can be used in ritual, by focusing and exploring areas that made us feel uneasy. This is the tension, Moving through those uncomfortable areas serve as a release.

We moved into an energy raising process, using dance to tell our stories, First we dance by ourselves, then with a partner. Then with a group of four, a group of 8, half the path and the whole path. Each dance tells a different story and feels different. My first dance makes me feel free and authentic. When I pair with a partner, I find our movements tie in together. As a group of four, we change our moves again to compliment the other dancers. I feel the energy change each time we add more people to our group.

After we raise a cone of power, we discuss different rhythms and learn different ones for each element. Air is reminiscent of a waltz, using three beats. Fire is quicker again. Water is a continuous woosher woosher woosher and earth is like a heart beat.

One of the key things I’m taking away from today’s path is that creativity is destructive. At its core, art – in whatever medium – is messy. There are drafts, first attempts, second attempts, third, fourth and fifth attempts, mistakes, screw ups and learning curves. But each part of this helps polish the final process. As late, great painter Bob Ross once said, there is no right or wrong, as long as you’re having fun. And the same holds true for ritual.

CloudCatcher 2018 – Living Ritual – Day 2

Be still. Be silent. Listen.

Today our path is silent. We cast ritual without sound and our teachers work without words. I had previously made a vow not to talk after waking up, until this challenge ended during path. It’s hard. Over breakfast, other witches and I found alternate means of communicating with hand gestures. We even developed an in-joke from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

During path, we made ritual in total silence. We cast circle and called in elements and allies. Despite not being able to speak, we all have some understanding of what is happening – though we get the order a little muddled.

We moved into raising energy. As we moved around the room, one of our teachers added a further element of chaos. They started throwing bits of paper on the ground to see how we reacted. It started a beautiful process of witches gathering paper and creating a beautiful altar with it. It’s dynamic and changeable throughout the ritual. We continued to raise energy until its ready to be released. We’re then released from our silence.

At first, I don’t want to talk. The silence is comfortable.Through silence, I noticed more of the world around me. I have realised that my words are often meaningless and are used just to needlessly fill space. By not talking, I was able to focus on communicating the things that really mattered. In a ritual setting, I found words often distract and take away from the core feeling of the work.