This is our last day of path. Laura Moverin teaches us a beautiful chant that she has written:
Give us your honey
Give us your salt
Give us your sweetness
And something else
Rise, rise out of the hive
Bring us the gifts that keep us alive.
We open circle, and I check in with a ‘headline’ from last night’s ritual:
‘Pentacles of Fire Held by Mighty Dead’.
I’m stunned by what I say. Fire is my weakest element, I’ve been trying to reignite my embers, my passion, for years. Although we chanted the Iron Pentacle last night, I don’t recall it being firey except for my own internal self. Then I recall I invoked Fire as an Element for the very first time ever at WitchCamp during this path. I’m gradually getting a bit more firey!
The iron pentacle is a Reclaiming meditation tool. I use it to remind my Self of how my relationship with the over culture has suppressed my human desires: Sex – Pride – Self – Power – Passion.
During last night’s ritual, we were transformed into Bees. Those of us who were unable to go outside to forage for honey, chanted until those hive members, who flew over the land came back. On their return, we offered these Bees, the tool of the Iron Pentacle, as a gift in exchange for the honey they had gathered for us. (See http://www.reclaimingquarterly.org/67/pentacle.html ).
For my weather report I say: ‘High streaky white clouds in fine blue skies, possibly rain clouds on the horizon.’
I’m a little edgy: I haven’t had that emotional upheaval I usually have during camp. I’ve been saying to other campers that this often happens when I least expect it: when my emotional is guard down. Even in the safe cauldron of WitchCamp I still find it hard to show emotion openly: I have been so enculturated into our broader society’s mores. Inwardly, I am sighing with relief: I might escape it this time! … Hermes giggles quietly: ‘No chance …’
As I drove up the Mountain before camp, I thought there might be some discussion around ‘privilege’ or other words that act as triggers for me. There have been some hot button topics in the broader media lately: Reclaiming supports legitimate activism in our broader society. I feel relief to not have heard these words at camp. Although I support the activism of Reclaiming, I have strong feelings around some issues: they are more complex than the ‘labels’ seem to affirm.
I sense a storm is brewing: Laura Moverin poses the question: ‘Is it fate, Wyrd or privilege that shape us?’ Privilege … aargh! There’s that word … Steam rises from these embers – as if water has finally hit them.
Laura leads an activity gifted to her by two other Reclaiming teachers. She reads a statement about ‘privilege’ and we take a token if we possess this privilege. At the end of the game, the more tokens you have, the more privilege you have in our society. Less than five, and you are ‘not privileged’. I end up with four tokens.
Fortunately I knew that I wasn’t privileged long before I started this game. About three years ago, I did a survey about privilege for a university student-friend. Unfortunately, I don’t like being ‘outed’ unexpectedly, and I react with strong emotion: I feel embarrassed. I have worked very hard to ‘pass’ as privileged. I know my jangled emotions are mine to resolve, but, Hermes, the Trickster, says: ‘Surprise! … Got you good … ‘ Days later I will finally get the joke but right now I’m steaming.
So, what kinds of things make me less privileged than I look?
I came from an impoverished working class background but, we lived in an area where most people had middle-class money. As a child, I was visibly poorer than my peers. No public health care in the 1950s – I saw a doctor twice in my entire childhood. First of my family to go to university, I met my husband there. He has an ‘invisible disability’ that we have lived with for over forty years: high-functioning autism, but, only diagnosed ten years ago. On occasion, I have had anxiety and depression: mostly in reaction to our relationship. I am a woman in a male-dominated society, and worked in a male-dominated profession (science). And Laura Moverin didn’t even survey this last factor!
Starting with the least tokens, Laura Moverin invites people with fewer than five to speak. This is about four people in fifteen. I decide to speak. Although I don’t like revealing myself, I think it is important that I speak up and educate: people born into low privilege are less likely to ‘move up’. Even in a room of mostly privilege, in my experience, people are multifaceted. I’ve known people with a high index of privilege whose lives I would never trade, and I’ve met people with far less privilege than I.
Jennifer Byers wraps up the group discussion that: ‘ … we recognise complexity, and that, in Reclaiming, we are our own authority rooted in community.’
Before we check-out, Jennifer Byers asks us to draw three tarot cards, with these focus questions in mind:
What are the things I need to know to serve community/humanity?
What do I need to keep/nurture?
What are the things that no longer serve me? What do I need to release?
These are the cards I drew:
With the help of another Witch (group member), these complex cards held meaning for me. Their interpretation of the cards I drew took my breath away with its relevance. The links to my everyday world life (where this Witch does not know me at all) were amazing.
I understand that I have an informal, beautiful relationship with the Moon that I now recognise is a pattern. I do my best Witch work under the Moon. I resolve to nurture this each night: a practice I stopped years ago when a beloved pet died. The ten of wands is a time of moving towards an end, to a rebirth, a time of moving on. Perfect messages for me, meanings I was too emotional at the time to derive without the offered assistance of my Witch friend. They recognised my emotional charge and gave their help freely with modesty. I belong to an extraordinary community, and I am grateful.