Category Archives: Camp Stories

2015 Paths: Path of the Edge-Walker – When the dust settles, post camp contemplation.

For the past few days it has been torrential stormy weather, memories of Cloucatcher and the path of the Edge-Walker. The only difference is I am bundles up inside, feeling warm and cosy with a rug draped around me accompanied by a glass of red wine and Wardruna playing in the background the low earthy drum beat of the music mixed with modern fusions of Saami yoiks mixed with Tuvan throat singing. This band has always been a favourite, but since emerging (lending to the popular language of witchcamp) or in my opinion; skin changing to suit the world I am walking in. Wadruna have become my theme band, my thing at the moment. Echoing a more animistic worldview, a primal world that is obtainable even here on the cities outskirts in the sensible burbs.

Following camp, I had the week off work. Choosing to work on this blog and slowly unravel my experiences and intergrating them into my daily life. I discovered a mindset and way I once held onto has been nipping at my heels again, before a friend had introduced me to Scott Cunningham and the W word, way back in my 20’s, I even found I was trying to track down, with much success, the same incense I once burnt to honour my animal totems and land spirits. Perhaps I am teetering on a mid life crisis now in my early 40’s – well this beats a flashy red convertible and a twinkie toy boy any day.

When leaving camp you are given a set of guidelines almost rules reminiscent of the movie ‘Gremlins’, don’t feed then past midnight, don’t get them wet, etc. Witchcamp has similar rules – don’t quit you job, move house do any major changing within the first month. Just to be safe. Well, I am never one to follow convention or rules. I quite a correspondence course, I had dedicated lots of time money and effort into, I had also prearranged a tarot reading – that too went under the cancel heading. I know this does not sound like major life changing moves, on reflection it was a move towards a freer me.

Both course and reading had implications of further involvement, I was not prepared to continue with. I wanted to run free unhindered with my totems once again.

In review I have spent time in the wilds of the lower north shore, it doesn’t need to be a pristine untouched piece of wilderness. Our allies and totems are all around us. I have also tended my precious compost heap; lovingly turning it, there is much wisdom and insight in composting. I have started exploring another method of composting, designed by the Japanese called Bokashi – a method of where you pickle and ferment all food waste, then when you finally return it to the soil it beaks down very quickly to produced nutrient dense food for the soil.

I can’t wait for my next witch camp or more succinct statement would be, the post witchcamp adventure I will be on. It does take some unravelling, but every strand is like a fine-spun gold thread, ready to be turned into a cloak that will weather whatever life throws at you.

May Wyrd guide you.

Bucca Gwidden

CloudCatcher Story 2014: Dark Heart of Paradise

Dark Heart of Paradise: Flesh Fruit and Fire

'Flesh, Fruit and Fire' - Designed by Lorelei, 2014

‘Flesh, Fruit and Fire’ – Designed by Lorelei, 2014

Walk with us, into the Garden. Come in – yes, all the way in; deeper. We’re going into the very centre. We’re not quite sure what we’ll find there, in the Dark Heart of Paradise…

Flesh – I am this being, this dancer, lover, gardener; this poet, child, sage. I am flesh and bones, heart and lungs, skin and eyes and fingertips; I am one and many. I am part of everything; of the trees, the animals, the water and air, of you – and I am separate, my own being, folded into my own limbs and thoughts.

…My flesh exposed…my body naked…I am aware of how wonderous is this body, this flesh …in the Garden I come to know my innocence and my power…

Fruit – Out of this body can come another body; I can give birth to myself, to another. Fruiting, I am fruiting like the trees of the garden; fig, pomegranate, almond, apricot, apple. I am lush and ripe. You are fruit too; together we are delicious. We are every fruit you can imagine and even the forbidden fruits; that of Knowledge, that of Life.

…Within that fruit… the pentacle…the points of my birthright…my inheritance…my legacy…the seeds of my own rebirth…seeds that I will pass on to future generations…

Fire – Fire of moonlight, starlight, sunlight; fire of the red blood. Fire that shows up the darkness, casts shadows, fire to tell stories by; warmth and fear and illumination. Fire when I look into your eyes, between our bodies, for regeneration.

…the fire illuminated my soul…sparked my passions…holding promise of power as well as a warning…the sacred flame burns within…

I am Eve – the one who dares. I am Eve who is bold, Eve who is disobedient, Eve who listens to whispers and reaches out to the impossible. I walk the inner roads and I show how to walk where I have walked.

…I am one of the first humans…one of humanities progenitors…the one who listened to the Serpent…who made my own choices…who willingly bit into the fruit…who was flooded with the knowledge…who awakened to my own limitless possibility…

I am Aradia – teacher, chosen of the Goddess; the words are mine. The outer path I tread, bringing you the secret learnings. I am the Child of the Gods. I was given this form that I might teach all the world magic, that we might be free. I am the original Strega; the first Witch to walk this Earth. I bring you your birthright.

…holy teacher…holy terror…holy initiator…you offer to illuminate my way…to show the power that lies within me…I accept your gifts…I claim my power…

And I the Serpent – listen to your dreams and remember you are as Gods, Divine children thrown outside the gate with flaming swords when you sought only your birthright. Knowledge now is yours. What have you done with it? And do you remember that one tree still stands guarded here, untasted, the Tree of Life? Would you, knowing, venture back to this place of your separation and your shame? Would you dare?

… The Serpent offered me its seed… that held the pentacle I am told is forbidden… It says its name means light…it illuminates… I taste the sweet flesh of fruit…Gods speak….angry that I now contain Knowledge… and the Gods said I could not eat of the Tree of Life lest I become one of Them… in my center…my belly…Aradia came forth…and my legacy was passed on…because I dared…

Dark Heart of Paradise: Flesh, Fruit and Fire.

If you dare…

CloudCatcher Story 2013: Freyja and the Brisingamen

 

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‘Freyja and the Necklace’ by James Doyle Penrose, 1890

FREYJA, Goddess of Love and War, comes from the Vanir, an older dynasty of Norse Gods. She is married to ODIN, Warrior and Magician, All Father of the Aesir, the younger Gods…

The DWARVES are a race of deep Earth dwellers, artists who sing grace and beauty from stone and metal. They have crafted a necklace, Brisingamen, the like of which the world has never seen…

And then there’s LOKI, the notorious trickster – or is he? – who wears many shapes, listens at doors and moves between the worlds to reveal what others have sought to conceal…

The Vanir are Gods of the Earth, of fertility and the body, the ripe, the lush and the green. The Aesir are a pantheon of Sky Gods, concerned with rulership, wisdoms of the mind, and the play of cloud and lightning. The partnership of Freyja and Odin brings these two forces together – and in the early days of their union, Freyja initiates Odin into the mysteries of magic and love; while marriage to Odin brings Freyja into the dynasty and rulership of the Aesir as the balance of power shifts from old to new.

One morning, Freyja wakes up longing for grass and flowers between her toes, for the parts of her life that she has not touched for some time. She travels to the Earth and tends to the flowers and the trees of her gardens, but the longing and restlessness only grows greater within her. She follows this thread of longing into hills and mountains, onto bare Earth and rock, eventually entering a cave, drawn by the ring of metal on metal.

Inside the cave, four dwarves reveal to her the sublime Brisingamen, a necklace they have, at the height of their powers and artistry, spun from Earth and Sky and welded of the four elements, more perfect than a snowflake and more lovely than a sunrise. As soon as she sees it, Freyja knows she must have the necklace. The price the dwarves ask is that the Goddess spend a night of love with each of them, and Freyja agrees.

Loki, unseen and unknown, is witness to the agreement between Freyja and the dwarves. When Freyja leaves after the fourth night, with the bright Brisingamen around her white throat, Loki follows her home.

While Freyja sleeps in her Hall, Sesrumnir, Loki seeks out Odin and reports on all that he has observed. Odin commands Loki to steal the necklace and bring it to him. Shapeshifted into a fly, Loki enters Sesrumnir through a tiny window and approaches the sleeping Goddess. Shifted again into the guise of a flea, he nestles against her sleeping form and bites her cheek, and as she turns in her sleep he quickly assumes his true form, undoes the clasp and flees the Hall.

Freyja awakes as she hears the Hall door close, and her hand instinctively goes to her throat – her necklace is stolen.

Freyja storms into the Hall of Valhalla, advances straight up to Odin and demands the return of Brisingamen. Odin confronts her with what he has learned from Loki, but Freyja refuses to apologise or to justify her choices. The necklace is essential to her, and she demands the talisman’s return. Odin’s reply is another demand: that Freyja use her powers to start a war without end in the hearts and minds of humanity – for he delights in blood and battle. Reluctantly, Freyja consents, and it is on these conditions that Odin returns her necklace.