I have been in the Underworld for months now.
In the four months leading up to each Witchcamp, prospective campers undertake a monthly working around the chosen myth or theme. Working with Erishkigal, the grieving Queen of the Great Earth and the Underworld, was meant to be just one of those months. But, I entered the Underworld sometime early in 2019, maybe even earlier, and I’ve stayed there ever since. I never got to visit the other workings. I didn’t get to go through the Abula: the descent of the seven gates. I flopped fully formed in grief through a big black hole in the ground. Well, maybe I was going through the gates in the months before my misstep but I certainly didn’t know it.
I’ve spent so much time in the Underworld. Scarily, and not-so-scarily, I kind of like it: it is familiar territory. Too familiar. The logical, biological and scientific parts of my brain never cease to be amazed at how well the chosen witch camp meets my needs at the time. But, life is a balance of grief and pleasure. And, it is time for me to reclaim my pleasure. I choose life and the love spell that life is.
Copper Persephone invites us to engage in an explicit conversation about sex, gender and sexuality. To ask ourselves such questions as:
What do I like to do? What am I curious about? What do I like to be done to me? What do I like to do to others?
Hmm … this is long forgotten territory for me and I’m sad about that. So, I listen and start to remember: a bit like an explorer retracing their steps on a previously well-known trail in a long-forgotten lush forest.
I am reminded of hidden joys as I hear:
‘… nuzzle my neck; romantic kissing; kissing, but, no tongue, eww, not tongue; … oh, I like tongue; licking; licking all over; feet; … not the soles of my feet … too sensitive; clitoris; rim of my anus; … anal sex; … building; breasts; nipples; tweeking; massage; oil; scents; dom; ropes; different locations … nature, the beach, in the rain.’
I find myself thinking: ‘oh yes, I remember’ and’ how quickly the years have flown’. Some of the Path’s participants are younger than my sons, most (I’m guessing) are around my sons’ ages, and one or two approach my age. At 66, I am not that old, but, I have the privilege of surviving death several times over: a clear veil is present for me between the smiles and laughs I see, and me. From past experience, the veil will recede, it will settle to the side, but, currently, it is still there.
In our society, sexual relationships are complex. There are layers upon layer of inhibitions and taboos to be unwound: only clear communication and open, confident discussion achieves this. In my experience, the participants attempting to unwind years of enculturation must speak the same language of consent and negotiation. This Path successfully moves participants further towards a common understanding.
I have come to understand that the energy raised in the beauty of sex, touching and connection is a revolutionary act in itself. Simple touching and sex positive acts are where anarchy begins,
Copper Persephone speaks a little about the idea of moving sexual energy from the erogenous zones out into a full body experience: they are speaking of self pleasure here. Copper Persephone leads a breathing exercise involving undulating the hips, breathing rhythmically, contacting the floor (mattress) with the base of spine.
I try this exercise. The movements are familiar. I have an ‘oh, I get it’ feeling. But, I am lying on a hard floor with not enough padding underneath. There is a cold draft blowing across me. I cannot sustain the movement for long: my back is stiff. The exercise piques my motivation to become more limber. I lie and breathe: making sounds to contribute to the activity. My eyes are closed. As we go to a bio break, the sun peaks through the clouds: the Element’s Path must be doing fire! Yes, they are! After regrouping, the weather closes in again.
Rose Weaver leads us in an ecosexuality piece. As Rose Weaver reads a description of a lush rainforest, we lie, meditate and touch ourselves as we desire. Words like: wet, moist, mycellium, leaves, twigs, feathers, trickle, drops, ooze, dribble, float across the room. I hear breathing and I am making sound. What I couldn’t put in words earlier, I can voice in sound now.
Our last Path is tomorrow morning. At Ritual tonight, we ascend from the Underworld and meet Innana, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Last day of Path is a time of celebration.
Photo below: Rainforest tree ferns with opening fiddle-heads: sensual, sexual and very itchy if you touch the brown spores or tiny brown hairs. Outside my room at CloudCatcher: dripping from the rain.
Full breasted eucalypt: gum tree. Photo below taken near St James Anglican Church, Morpeth, NSW about two weeks before WitchCamp. I had the impulse to take this photo before I understood ‘ecosexuality’.
Blessed are the Green Ones who nurture us.