Cloud Catcher 2016 Day 4 – The Power of Song

Yesterday, I decided to make our allies a camp fire. As I walked past the art and craft tent, my materials presented themselves: a ball of variegated red and black yarn, cardboard and scissors. Magically, a pom pom of flame appeared. I now tossed it into the centre of our circle of allies. Relief, turtle soup was off the menu! The two turtles sighed. The words: ‘You go first,’ and ‘no, please, after you,’ were no longer heard.

I am feeling physically tired, mentally very wary and slightly jaded. Between Days 2 and 3 I usually have some kind of personal crisis: triggered by path or myth, I melt down. Outwardly swimming smoothly, my legs are generally paddling fast so as not to sink. Culturally, I do not cry. It is just not an option: I’m still working to change this. ‘Am I there yet?’ ‘No, but I’m closer.’ So, when supporters start asking: ‘How are you?’ I appreciate their kindness and care. In many ways they read me better externally than I read myself internally. They are a breath of fresh air in the human race.

This is my ninth Australian Reclaiming Witch Camp. I have only attended Australian Witch camps. In 2012, a chance encounter with a flyer in the small country town of Bellingen, NSW led me up the mountain to my first. It was the first Cloud Catcher. A seeker, I looked for a regular retreat and found Witch Camp.

Witch Camps give me personal growth and a time for self-reflection. Five years ago I had no idea of the treasure I would find at the mountain top. Arriving alone at dusk, I found a community of witches. The camp was on a site called Koonjewarre. It is bizarrely situated opposite a bed & breakfast called the Mouse’s House. I opened the door to the Orientation Meeting to find friends, support and a spirituality close to my own.

When the teacher says: ‘We are going into a deep trance today, and here are some portals for you to write from.’ I think: ‘What the … (insert expletive here)?’ I’m tired. She says ‘Trust the process.’ I think: ‘What harm can it do?’

She says: ‘Here are the portals: through the fiery dance; step into the mystery; love is our magic; I witness, I listen; love will hold us.’ Before I know it, she starts drumming. She’s saying choose one of the portals or choose as many as you like, or all of them, and just write.’ I’m still at the ‘What the … expletive?’ stage. I don’t like the (seemingly) unclear instructions. I feel a melt down coming on. She says: ‘Trust the process.’ I decide to go with trusting the process. I choose: ‘Love is our magic.’ and start writing.

After a page or two of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing I am led out of trance. The teacher asks us to look back at our writing, from this we are to write a chant, song or poem. Later, to the accompaniment of drumming we are invited to present our work in the centre of the circle. With ease I start dancing in the centre and chant:

Hand reaches out for hand,
We are stronger than we know,
Kindness creates a common bond,
Igniting the magic spark of love.

In our dreaming, imagine,
Tall trees, small forests,
Tiny seeds bursting through,
Climbing cliffs of love,

Flint strikes rock,
Fire cleanses completely,
There is nothing left,
But harmony and a new beginning.

We close circle. I have taken a step closer to finding my voice.

* Koonjewarre = an Indigenous word meaning ‘meeting place on high-ground