Monthly Archives: March 2012

Story for CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2012

Set, Nepthys, Osiris, Isis – http://www.historyofreligions.com/helio.htm

Four divine siblings are born together into the land of Egypt one after the other, on special days that did not exist before their birth.
•Osiris (known in Egypt as Ousir)– the spirit of vegetation and the river Nile, which rises and falls each year.
•Set (known in Egypt as Suti, or Seth) – the desert spirit; wild, chaotic and sometimes destructive.
•Isis (known in Egypt as Auset) – the spirit of the deltas, lush and rich and bearing the throne of the land.
•Nephthys (known in Egypt as Nebthet) – spirit of in-between places, meeting the edges of desert and fertile land

Isis and Osiris have Governance over the fertile lands in Egypt and they teach the arts of cultivation and civilisation. Set represents the ancient tribal ways of the desert, which cannot be controlled or even understood by those who belong to the city-states. Nephthys is close to each one; true sister to Isis, partner to Set and secret lover of Osiris; she is the mediator and mysterious force that strives for union.

One night at a special feast Set produces a jewel-encrusted sarcophagus which he offers as a prize to whomever it fits the best. When Osiris lies down in tomb – which has been built to his exact measure – Set immediately closes and bolts the lid. He ensures the coffin is carried to the Nile and thrown in.

Isis eventually discovers and retrieves the sarcophagus. But before she can complete her magic to bring Osiris back to life Set intervenes, dismembering the body into fourteen pieces. Isis retrieves all the pieces but one – the phallus of Osiris, which has been eaten by an oxrhynchus fish. By magical rites, and with the help of Nephthys and Anubis and Thoth (deities linked with the Underworld), Osiris briefly returns to life and he and Isis conceive Horus.

Osiris then passes onto the Land of the Dead, becoming the keeper of the rituals and mysteries of death and embalmment. Later, his death and rebirth were mimed by priests and priestesses on his feast days.

Nephthys and Isis conceal themselves in the reed beds beside the Nile until Horus is born. Horus is both a re-embodiment of Osiris and the fifth deity that completes their pantheon; as well as also a powerful symbol of the future.

Beginners at WitchCamp

Someone asked me, is WitchCamp really appropriate for beginners, for people who don’t feel that confident, or that knowledgeable about ritual and magic?

In a word – YES!
    Every WitchCamp runs an Elements of Magic path; at CloudCatcher it’s called We are Alive as the Earth is Alive and will be taught by the exciting Paul Eves and fabulous Fiona Mariposa. This path is both an introduction to Reclaiming-style magic and ritual as well as a literal study of the five elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit – and our personal relationships to them. It’s the path we recommend for anyone new to magic and ritual, or new to Reclaiming. At any WitchCamp we expect about half the people who come to be newcomers – and at CloudCatcher, most people there will never have been to a Reclaiming WitchCamp.
   
In a sense, this year in particular (its first year) we are all beginners. We’re coming together, on this special, sacred land to begin to work magic together. We don’t know how it will be. None of us have done it before here, with this combination of people, in quite this way.
    And WitchCamps are all about reaching out. It’s great if a core community forms, that keeps coming back year after year – or travelling from one WitchCamp to another – and certainly individual WitchCamps can build up a mini-culture, unique to themselves.
    WitchCamps are intensives, and they offer a chance to step out of your ordinary life for 4 days (or 6, or 7) and immerse yourself in your magic, your soul-self, to take the steps towards the part of yourself you most want to become. And then you go back to the other world, the one we all live and work in most of the year. But carrying something extra with you – a new conviction about yourself maybe, or a new vision for your life, your community or your family, new understandings or just new experiences. But this shuttling back and forward is an essential part of WitchCamps – they’re not about building up exclusive groups but about seeding the new, and sharing, and learning. Newcomers are a vital part of WitchCamps.
 
In the Elements course people can share their own journeys into magic and ritual, learn more about how rituals work and become equipped to step forward into ritual themselves, both on their own as well as in a group. People take this course for other reasons, as well. Often quite experienced druids/priestesses/witches/healers choose to take Elements as a way of getting in touch again with their own core, strengthening and confirming their relationship with the elements of their magic, or sometimes because they want to play and have fun instead of be sweating away in some ‘advanced’ path!
 
Gede and I just ran an Elements course in Brisbane, and I asked some of the people who did it if they would share a little what it was like.
 
I enjoyed the elements weekend immensely. Jane and Gede have a beautiful energy and flow between them that is both powerful yet grounded. Regardless of people’s experience, whether new to circle work or deeply entrenched in elemental work, this weekend that flows rich with Reclaiming traditions, allows people to begin to explore, or deepen the layers of themselves through deep elemental discovery and ritual…Jodie 
 
What a powerful course and an excellent introduction to the whole Reclaiming process.. This course offers basic instruction into the ways in which we are a part of life and that which exists around us as well as understanding what parts of us make up the divisions which limit our access to the source or foundations of magical intent… This is not an easy course though it is not a difficult course – it is just hard work… In the same way a visit to the gym is hard work for  the body so this course is hard work for the soul. Jae
 
Of course, every Elements course is somewhat different (unique) – but I have every confidence that We are Alive as the Earth is Alive – held on the slopes of an ancient volcano! – will be a wondrous Path – physical and magical and philosophical and stirring.
 
Beginners are more than welcome. Beginners are essential.

Organisers of CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2012

We have 5 on the organising committee (I call it an organising pentacle, and it’s also sometimes called an organising cell).
 
We modelled our organisation structure on British Columbia’s WitchCamp, which I attended as a Student Teacher in 2010 and was very impressed by. Each person has an area of responsibility, with support from the others when needed, and we meet (by Skype) every two weeks or so.

From Queensland – Gede Parma has the role of Outreach, connecting with EarthSong (the other Australian Camp), International Reclaiming and Australian Pagan groups. He’s also a teacher at CloudCatcher, and is so into Reclaiming WitchCamps he’s planning to attend a total of 3 this year (two of them as a Camper).

 
From Northern NSW – Amica Sanday has the role of Registration, keeping track of who’s coming (and who’s paid); running complex Excell sheets and doing a whole lot of detailed organising. Also Glenn Keir – with the role of Venue Liaison – a residential Camp in the Gold Coast hinterland. Both Glenn and Amica had never been to a WitchCamp before Healesville last year, and were so impressed that they wanted to be part of bringing a WitchCamp to this area, Northern NSW/SE QLD.
 
Currently in Sydney (but still very attached to Northern NSW) – John Dolman, in the role of Budget – a vital role of juggling expenses with income, as well as doing a hundred other necessary jobs; and myself in the role of Teacher Link, providing a (living) link between the Organisers and the Teaching Team. John had been to both the Healesville Camp and the British Columbia Camp and found the WitchCamp model to be edgy, exciting, luminous magic. I’ve now been to Healesville, California Camp (twice), British Columbia and Lorely, in Europe and am still in love with WitchCamps as the most dynamic, deep and powerful expression of magic-woven-with-myth-seeded-with-empowerment that I’ve experienced anywhere.
 
As well as organising CloudCatcher, we work magic! We spent the first 6 months of our time working the Iron Pentacle – a Reclaiming magical tool for deep self-awareness – and we are now three months into working the Pearl Pentacle (sister to the Iron Pentacle). The Pentacles have 5 points – so since there are 5 of us, we each take one and thus hold the whole Pentacle between us. Every full moon we shift through to the next position, so over a period of 5 months we each move through the entire Pentacle. The points of the Iron Pentacle are: Sex, Pride, Self, Power and Passion; and of the Pearl Pentacle: Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty and Wisdom. (There’s more about these on my blog, if you’re interested: www.janemeredith.com/blog – and on the web generally if you do a Google search.)
    We work these points in our own lives, as well as energetically as a group when we meet; and they are the basis for our magical offering which is CloudCatcher WitchCamp. I’m just about to depart from Liberty into Wisdom – I have absolutely loved being in Liberty, which was a bit of a revelation. I had previously held Knowledge (which I found a little hard and dry) and Law (which I found divine and beautiful) – to my surprise I found that Liberty was an extension within these two things, Law and Knowledge – not freedom from them, but freedom granted precisely because, and within them. Liberty is a little like an individual WitchCamp – we receive the fundamental structure, principles and history from all the other Camps that have existed – and then within that, CloudCatcher’s uniqueness blossoms, in the form of our Paths, our mythical Story and our relationships to the land and with each other.