Tag Archives: Australia Reclaiming

Cloudcatcher 2016 Evening Ritual 4

I could feel the magnetic force of Janet’s and Tam Lin’s love. It throbbed through the circle once both of those Scottish legends were aspected. The two great lovers had an immense bond to one another. Gede had aspected Janet. What I knew of him was gone. During this ritual, Janet lived through his body. Energy ripples waved over him and I saw his body swollen with Janet’s pregnancy. Tam Lin, alive in Paul’s body had proceeded to offer an animated retelling of his side of the old ballad.

Tam Lin told his tale of how his father tried to kill him. He spoke of willingly residing within the land if the Fey. And he recounted that once his grandfather, his only tie to the mortal world, had died he gave up mortal life and even volunteered to undergo the Samhain rite. He shared his duty of servicing maidens who sought out his generous touch. However, his heart seemed to come back to life when he began telling his tale of how he and Janet slowly developed a love for one another. As such, Tam Lin’s courage and sentiment rekindled my own.

This type of love, slow to build but fiercely enduring, is the type of love I’ve developed with my Self. It wasn’t until my early thirties that I developed a conscious self-love. My early years were used desperately seeking love outside of myself. However, these years were not lost. I have been able to develop pearls from the painful formative relationships of my youth. Seeking love from solely “external” places did not serve me. However, allowing myself to be fiercely held in love by others has offered me a chance to see what it is in me that is loveable.

It took me many years of shifting shape through relationships until I understood who I was and how much I was intrinsically worth. The relationships with my family of origin, former lovers, friends, family of choice, community, and current beloved have been the mirrors through which I have become self-aware of how innately deserved to be loved. I needed that help. Just as Janet witnessed and held Tam Lin through all of his transformations, so too have my loved ones done such for me.

As Tam Lin told his story of the night Janet saved him, I relived his trials. My body shape shifted into a salamander; eyes swiveling in opposite directions, adhesive feet pads sticky, and belly close to the ground. The soft membranes of skin roughened and grew coarse brown fur as I shifted into a grizzly bear; half asleep in pre-hibernation, confusedly lumbering on all fours, roaring at full towering height. The thick grizzled hairs and musky smell fell from me as cold smooth scales emerged. Limbs receded as my serpent form wiggled and coiled forth seeking heat and prey. And in only an instant later my elongated neck grew feathers, my beak hardened and wings carried me singing into the evening sky as majestic swan. As my wings straightened into arms and my feet hit the ground I held myself gently in my very own human form.

Janet conjured her magic potion and gave oracle to the crowd lest we take our solidarity for granted in the challenging days to come. I sat in council with a handful of other witches and named my fear and my joy. I feared that I might amount to nothing but a disposable person whose life and story meant little difference to anyone. Yet the joyous nectar we conjured there in ritual undid this fear, this secretly guarded poison. The ways in which I could recount the innumerable people who have reached out to affirm that I matter to them were powerful ingredients in that alchemical brew.

There is deep value in being able to experience yourself through the embrace of loved ones. Sometimes when we cannot love ourselves we are blessed with others who can see in us that which has inherent worth. When I am faltering in being able to be present in a healthy form of self-love, I am able to gather those nectar ingredients offered by my heart-allies. With their inspiration I become able to brew a fortifying potion that brings a fecundity of self-love. And I am better able to lovingly embrace myself.

CloudCatcher 2016 Day 4 – Labyrinth Path

Today was bitter-sweet as it was the last session of the Labyrinth Path- WitchCamp is drawing to a close. At the second night ritual we had drunk a sweet potion, filled with beautiful herbs, which had not been finished. We each took a small amount of it this morning, and poured it out onto the land as an offering of gratitude to the Fae and all spirits of place, before dismantling and closing the Faery Gate.

We removed the threshold first, with love and care, before slowly unravelling the adornments, and dismantling the structural pieces. Many of us kept the pieces of ribbon and twine that had been used for the gate for our ongoing work with our allies. We then changed the path of the labyrinth back to its’ original form- the 7 Path, Minoan Labyrinth.

 “We journey the labyrinth in meditative silence. In this silence we listen to the voice of our soul, the voice of the land.” (Path Intent)

We had the opportunity to walk through the labyrinth individually a last time; I felt slightly melancholy, not wanting to give up this beautiful creation that offered so much, but encouraged by these feelings to work with the power of Labyrinths more often in my practice.  I stopped in the centre of the labyrinth and had a moment with the altar, reflecting on the past for days, and feeling thankful. As I walked the path back out again, I looked to the future- bubbling with excitement for the creation of the next labyrinth, whenever that may be, and for my ongoing relationship with the Fae.

 “We journey the labyrinth in community. Together we forge the path of conscious truth. Together we weave our magic.” (Day 4 Intent)

We then held hands and walked the labyrinth as a whole group, eyes open- seeing each other, in meditative silence; Listening to the voices of our souls and the soul of the land.

 

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