Tag Archives: Gede Parma

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.

Beginners at WitchCamp

Someone asked me, is WitchCamp really appropriate for beginners, for people who don’t feel that confident, or that knowledgeable about ritual and magic?

In a word – YES!
    Every WitchCamp runs an Elements of Magic path; at CloudCatcher it’s called We are Alive as the Earth is Alive and will be taught by the exciting Paul Eves and fabulous Fiona Mariposa. This path is both an introduction to Reclaiming-style magic and ritual as well as a literal study of the five elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit – and our personal relationships to them. It’s the path we recommend for anyone new to magic and ritual, or new to Reclaiming. At any WitchCamp we expect about half the people who come to be newcomers – and at CloudCatcher, most people there will never have been to a Reclaiming WitchCamp.
   
In a sense, this year in particular (its first year) we are all beginners. We’re coming together, on this special, sacred land to begin to work magic together. We don’t know how it will be. None of us have done it before here, with this combination of people, in quite this way.
    And WitchCamps are all about reaching out. It’s great if a core community forms, that keeps coming back year after year – or travelling from one WitchCamp to another – and certainly individual WitchCamps can build up a mini-culture, unique to themselves.
    WitchCamps are intensives, and they offer a chance to step out of your ordinary life for 4 days (or 6, or 7) and immerse yourself in your magic, your soul-self, to take the steps towards the part of yourself you most want to become. And then you go back to the other world, the one we all live and work in most of the year. But carrying something extra with you – a new conviction about yourself maybe, or a new vision for your life, your community or your family, new understandings or just new experiences. But this shuttling back and forward is an essential part of WitchCamps – they’re not about building up exclusive groups but about seeding the new, and sharing, and learning. Newcomers are a vital part of WitchCamps.
 
In the Elements course people can share their own journeys into magic and ritual, learn more about how rituals work and become equipped to step forward into ritual themselves, both on their own as well as in a group. People take this course for other reasons, as well. Often quite experienced druids/priestesses/witches/healers choose to take Elements as a way of getting in touch again with their own core, strengthening and confirming their relationship with the elements of their magic, or sometimes because they want to play and have fun instead of be sweating away in some ‘advanced’ path!
 
Gede and I just ran an Elements course in Brisbane, and I asked some of the people who did it if they would share a little what it was like.
 
I enjoyed the elements weekend immensely. Jane and Gede have a beautiful energy and flow between them that is both powerful yet grounded. Regardless of people’s experience, whether new to circle work or deeply entrenched in elemental work, this weekend that flows rich with Reclaiming traditions, allows people to begin to explore, or deepen the layers of themselves through deep elemental discovery and ritual…Jodie 
 
What a powerful course and an excellent introduction to the whole Reclaiming process.. This course offers basic instruction into the ways in which we are a part of life and that which exists around us as well as understanding what parts of us make up the divisions which limit our access to the source or foundations of magical intent… This is not an easy course though it is not a difficult course – it is just hard work… In the same way a visit to the gym is hard work for  the body so this course is hard work for the soul. Jae
 
Of course, every Elements course is somewhat different (unique) – but I have every confidence that We are Alive as the Earth is Alive - held on the slopes of an ancient volcano! – will be a wondrous Path – physical and magical and philosophical and stirring.
 
Beginners are more than welcome. Beginners are essential.

Organisers of CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2012

We have 5 on the organising committee (I call it an organising pentacle, and it’s also sometimes called an organising cell).
 
We modelled our organisation structure on British Columbia’s WitchCamp, which I attended as a Student Teacher in 2010 and was very impressed by. Each person has an area of responsibility, with support from the others when needed, and we meet (by Skype) every two weeks or so.

From Queensland – Gede Parma has the role of Outreach, connecting with EarthSong (the other Australian Camp), International Reclaiming and Australian Pagan groups. He’s also a teacher at CloudCatcher, and is so into Reclaiming WitchCamps he’s planning to attend a total of 3 this year (two of them as a Camper).

 
From Northern NSW – Amica Sanday has the role of Registration, keeping track of who’s coming (and who’s paid); running complex Excell sheets and doing a whole lot of detailed organising. Also Glenn Keir – with the role of Venue Liaison – a residential Camp in the Gold Coast hinterland. Both Glenn and Amica had never been to a WitchCamp before Healesville last year, and were so impressed that they wanted to be part of bringing a WitchCamp to this area, Northern NSW/SE QLD.
 
Currently in Sydney (but still very attached to Northern NSW) – John Dolman, in the role of Budget – a vital role of juggling expenses with income, as well as doing a hundred other necessary jobs; and myself in the role of Teacher Link, providing a (living) link between the Organisers and the Teaching Team. John had been to both the Healesville Camp and the British Columbia Camp and found the WitchCamp model to be edgy, exciting, luminous magic. I’ve now been to Healesville, California Camp (twice), British Columbia and Lorely, in Europe and am still in love with WitchCamps as the most dynamic, deep and powerful expression of magic-woven-with-myth-seeded-with-empowerment that I’ve experienced anywhere.
 
As well as organising CloudCatcher, we work magic! We spent the first 6 months of our time working the Iron Pentacle – a Reclaiming magical tool for deep self-awareness – and we are now three months into working the Pearl Pentacle (sister to the Iron Pentacle). The Pentacles have 5 points – so since there are 5 of us, we each take one and thus hold the whole Pentacle between us. Every full moon we shift through to the next position, so over a period of 5 months we each move through the entire Pentacle. The points of the Iron Pentacle are: Sex, Pride, Self, Power and Passion; and of the Pearl Pentacle: Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty and Wisdom. (There’s more about these on my blog, if you’re interested: www.janemeredith.com/blog – and on the web generally if you do a Google search.)
    We work these points in our own lives, as well as energetically as a group when we meet; and they are the basis for our magical offering which is CloudCatcher WitchCamp. I’m just about to depart from Liberty into Wisdom – I have absolutely loved being in Liberty, which was a bit of a revelation. I had previously held Knowledge (which I found a little hard and dry) and Law (which I found divine and beautiful) – to my surprise I found that Liberty was an extension within these two things, Law and Knowledge – not freedom from them, but freedom granted precisely because, and within them. Liberty is a little like an individual WitchCamp – we receive the fundamental structure, principles and history from all the other Camps that have existed – and then within that, CloudCatcher’s uniqueness blossoms, in the form of our Paths, our mythical Story and our relationships to the land and with each other.