Monthly Archives: April 2015

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

Ritual #4: reclaiming liberation

Ritual #4: Rewilded, we serve liberation

Having found and re-experienced our wildness the time has now come bring our liberation and newfound knowledge back into the world. In this ritual, we were asked to bring forward our own liberation stories, to cut our bonds, to call forth the wild within us. It was a special night because it was the only ritual where we were outside for the entire night as an entire camp.

Heidi

One aspect of the ritual I enjoyed most was the invocations from the Elements of Magic path. Reclaiming has a strong tradition of supporting new priestesses and creating space for new and experienced witches to step into that role. While some in the Elements path were very experienced, others were new to ritual. It was powerful to see the entire path work together to develop invocations and support each other.

During the ritual, there was a Greek Choir that moved through the ritual. Their role in the ritual was also especially interesting for me, and one that I have sat with during the days after camp. After having attended many witchcamps and rituals, I have seen a lot of different ways to enter and move through sacred space. There was a trickster element about this evening ritual that surprised me.  For example, during the ritual there was a space where people called out the ways they would cut the bonds that hold them back from liberation. While watching the ritual, I had trouble connecting to the role of the Greek Choir in this moment but then later speaking with Thibaut about his experience as a lens, their role was critical in solidifying the magic of this part of the ritual. He will write about that below.

In addition to the Greek Choir, there were many other moving parts of the ritual. I experienced the flow as being deeply reflective of the work of the week — wild, chaotic, deep, initiatory, and help with great care by the organizers and participants.

Thibaut

My experience of the ritual was slightly different as I took the role of a lens. For those not familiar with the concept, the idea of lensing is to have a few people (3 in the case of this ritual) enter a state of trance and heightened awareness and, from that state, observe and focus the energy of the ritual. This is not about raising or creating energy but about focusing the energy raised during the ritual to strengthen and direct it toward the intention.

From that state my experience of the ritual was intensified. I could touch the connection with the other 2 lenses, ever present with each of us leaning on and supporting each others as needed. I could see the Maenads running and screeching in the circle after being invoked.

When people were calling out the bounds they were cutting, white puffs of energy would explode as the Greek Chorus echoed them. That different perspective really helped show the potency of the things we do in ritual. The Greek Chorus, which looked confusing to Heidi at first, was really supporting and amplifying the energy.

The cone of power was one of the most powerful i have experienced. As the energy was raised not only  from the group but also the earth and stars, the 3 lenses focused the energy into a point, right into the grapes of Dyonisos. That point expanded to an intense ball of blue and purple fire, charging the grapes before shooting back into the heavens, carrying our intentions.

This was an amazing experience and it is a great reminders of the thing i really love about reclaiming and this community. Our ability to do magic together and raise energy, our willingness to innovate, experiment and push edges. I am really grateful for the Clodcatcher community for welcoming me and having shared this magic.

2015 Paths: Elemental Body Day 4

Air

Today was my favourite day of path, the first day we could venture properly out into the woods that surrounded and held the camp which we were staying at. We met at our usual place, gathered our things and ventured up the garden path so to say. We came to a beautiful open clearing, overlooking the whole rim of the caldera, we laid out our altar for the day before getting into the crux of the magic for the day. We breathed deep, opened space, cast circle and called the elements, each member taking on a different role. When we turned to our teachers for further instruction they took great joy in dropping the bombshell that we would be the ones to come up with a ritual with the intention of filling our creations with the final breath of life. They promptly gave us a few tips and turned tail and headed out into the forests.

We all quickly gathered and compiled the notes and tips our teachers had given us over the last four days and set about making a ritual. Surprisingly the longest part of the preparation was setting the intention. We had a couple of wordsmiths within the group and spent a good thirty five minutes writing, re-writing and clarifying the intent until each person was happy with it. We assigned roles, did dry runs and worked hard to pull this ritual together. It was an honestly heartwarming moment to experience as we seamlessly came together, each bringing a different skill set and strength to the group.

When the teachers returned we were so ready and excited to pull together this ritual we had prepared. Together as friends, peers and kin we re-sanctified space, cast another circle (a circle within a circle with a circle, crazy right?), each called an element, the Star Goddess and Dionysus. The “tofu” of the ritual was where my role came into play, still within a circle I directed us to the east where I called the east winds to us. Gently I called “oh winds of the rising sun, of inspiration, of inception, arise and stir and make your way to this rite”, till the winds in the East gusted up where I grabbed a sliver and pulled it into the centre. Around the cirlce I went, calling up the winds from each direction, gripping a piece and pulling it into the centre, around and around the energy built, gaining pressure and tension till it was almost palpable, the wind itself raking the top of the trees and pulling at our clothes. Toning we raised a cone of power as the four winds married in our centre and when it reached its crescendo we rushed into the centre and breathed in deep its power before pouring that breath after into our clay creations. we fell to the ground after and acted as conduits so our creations would have voice each in turn and when we’d finished we devoked, took the edges of our circle and gave it to the directions in thanks for the gifts of breath.

The work was potent, quick and deep for me, it was the perfect finish for a Dionysian camp leaving a deep satisfaction and an almost melancholy realising that this was the last time we’d work together like this in this place with this group of people. I walked away feeling a new person, scrubbed fresh with new breath in this form, exactly what I look for in a Witchcamp experience.