Opening to CloudCatcher
I am being called to Opening Ritual by the drums. I am already between worlds. In a floaty daze, having just arrived to Australia after 40 hours of travel, I enter the main hall. Dancers, swayers, and music makers have already started a slow stir of the large room. I take in the witches around me, guessing at who here is holding what role: Teacher, Organizer, New Camper, Long Time Witch, Introvert, The Quiet Ones, The Tired One, The Nervous One, and The One Who’s Energy I Feel Jealous Of. I feel the voice in my head of responsibility. . . “Be present. Fully take part in ritual. Don’t sit down. Help raise energy. Pay attention to instructions. Be a good witch.” I am giving myself this pep talk as we form an oval shaped circle and get ready to cast sacred space.
The intention is read.“Called by this mountain, we surrender to the fire and offer ourselves to the story of CloudCatcher.” We mill around the room, engaging with altars to the elements. Each alter pulls me in a different way, water feeling strongest. “What brought you here?” we are asked. I hear the echo of an intention I set six months ago, in a Samhain ritual on Mount Laguna in Southern California call back to me, “I will go to CloudCatcher.” And here I am, half way across the world, affirming in this moment that magic really works.
We are guided to step into the mountain, into the fire of the mountain, into the magma, the lava of the mountain. “What is not serving you? Throw it into the fire of the mountain we are prompted.” I take a step forward. Lava is flowing before me. I throw expectations about what this camp should be like into the lava. I throw in identifiers I placed on people before ritual started. I throw in ego and all that is keeping me from connecting to this community. I throw in the idea that I am supposed to show up here, at CloudCatcher in a specific way. I have surrendered to the fire.
My attention has been wavering throughout this whole ritual. During the last hour I have sat down, floated away, been half-present, and been half-paying attention. Maybe it is jet lag. Maybe it is the ritual. Maybe it is the way the spirit of the mountain has decided to interact with me. Whatever it is that held me in this space, I feel opened to the story of CloudCatcher and excited about the transformation I will experience over the next four days.