Tag Archives: bardic night

CloudCatcher 2018 – Rituals: Affinity Group and Bardic – Day 3

Affinity Group Ritual
Today’s ritual is different – today we will create a ritual in the afternoon with our affinity groups, for tonight is the Bardic Ritual. Affinity groups are small groups created at the beginning of camp to not only help people get to know one another better, but also to help them work through anything that might be coming up for them at camp, especially in their path workings. Since we’ve been meeting every day for discussions and have been doing a few chores together as a team, we’ve already grown close – something easy to do in the container created by camp and the first evening’s ritual. Today we’ll be growing closer still as we work our own magic with each other, and with the energies most often associated with Hermes.

As with other rituals, the entire camp has an intention that we’ll be working with, although the exact words of the intention escape me, the magic having run its course. As an affinity group, we begin by agreeing what we want to do for our ritual – how we want to connect, what we want to offer the land, and what energies we want to work with in the process. While we’re planning, we all agree the trickster energy of Hermes has already started working with us, and we agree to continue working with that energy to offer our laughter to the land.

When the ritual begins and we call on the energies we’ll be working with, and the laughter comes in full force almost immediately. Writing about the belly-laughs and and snorts can’t do justice to the offering we gave, but at one point in the ritual I got to pause and reflect on how magical it is to be able to celebrate the holiness of laughter, how sweet it is to be able to connect with others who also know that laughter too can be sacred. It is for this sweet connection that I come to WitchCamp regularly, and our affinity group ritual was no exception.

Bardic Ritual
The Bardic Ritual is and is not a ritual, per se. It is not a ritual in that many of us are seated; it is not a ritual in that there is a stage and lights; it is not a ritual in that there are no specific energies called into the space. And yet, it is a ritual in that it happens every year at camp; it is a ritual in that people gather and raise energy together; it is a ritual in that lives are transformed together. During the Bardic Ritual all of the amazingly talented people at camp share their gifts, skills, and crafts with others. The entertainment is full tilt with emcees introducing each of the amazing acts. There are poetry recitations – one to the planet(oid) Pluto, for wreaking havoc on the solar system, and one an ode to air, for all the ways it kisses us. There’s a monologue of a camper explaining his experiences to his mother on the other side of the planet (misunderstandings can be hilarious!), and there’s a luscious dance, with the audience of witches providing the wholly improvised music. And there are songs and tunes, too. One piece is played on the ukulele immediately transports me to ancient Greece, and another brings me to tears, as a trio sing their offering to their gods. At the end of the evening I find myself marveling at the amazing group of people assembled here and the beautiful art they create and I do a little spell that the rest of the world may experience the same joy as I have.

An Optional Offering

My room mates were talking about the bardic night and what they were going to do. I listened quietly and felt so talentless and unable to offer anything to entertain everyone on this coming fun night. The next morning in path when we had our small group check-in I realised I may not be able to sing or dance or entertain but I had talents that could be offered in other ways and I was automatically dismissing them.

I woke the next morning after a dream that I was in Freyja’s bower and I had been holding an optional offering circle to talk about ‘scars, tattoos and other marks’ and in the dream it had gone really well. I got out of bed and went for a walk to allow myself to consider whether I really wanted to offer this or not. I received clear confirmation from my spirit guides and from other campers too with whom I shared my ideas. This was my first time offering something like this and although I was unsure how it would be received I decided to be brave and just offer what I could.

I have held regular sharing circles for women for the past 4-5 years now and have learnt how to hold a safe and strong container so anything can be revealed in complete confidentiality and safety. This session was regarding scars, tattoos and other marks which could include unseen scars, emotional scars and anything that people needed to speak about really. From my perspective the session went really well and just the holding of safe space for people to speak what may have previously been unspeakable is the beginning of healing and sometimes all that is needed. For each person to be seen and heard and acknowledged and loved and held and accepted and honoured in the group despite what had happened in their lives is often profound.

I’m glad I had the courage to offer what I could and to share really difficult things from my own life without any pretence that my life has been perfect or fits some perceived normality. I’ve already thought of some more offerings for next year…and perhaps I could also think more broadly about what I could offer to entertain on bardic night and maybe my own weird and wonderful flavour would be appreciated just as I truly enjoy all the others who offered themselves at camp through the various opportunities.