Tag Archives: ritual

CloudCatcher 2017 Ritual Day 2

“This heart is a mountain

Dream with me

Dream with me

This mountain is a heart

Dream with me

Dream with me

This fire inside us feeds the land that dreams of us.”

We learn this chant before dinner to use in tonight’s ritual. I have agreed to call in Fire and wonder how my jet-lagged body will achieve this.  Normally, fire is my strongest element, the one I can summon in the space of a single inhale, and now, in this moment I can barely feel it. I close my eyes and with as much awareness as I can muster, ask fire to show up for me this evening. Tonight’s intention is repeated: “By fire and water, through time, we are strengthened anew.”

Drums, the witch equivalent of a timer going off, call from the ritual hall, letting me know we are to start soon. When I enter the room, it is already full. I allow my body to start slow, walking at first to the rhythm. My hands agree to be more present and I let my right wrist lead me around the room. Soon I am dancing, twisting, and shaking like everyone else calling on their energy to show up for this ritual. We are shaking ourselves alive. The dancing seems to go on forever. I can feel fire running through me. I am awake. I have fully arrived. I can feel Fire when it is my turn to call it and am grateful Fire has shown up.

Jessica Dreamer leads us into trance. Eighty witches trudge in a large slow circle to a clock-ticking drum beat, signifying linear time moving forward.  I feel myself moving through time at the exact pace we are walking. When we are stopped and asked to reverse our direction, to experience going back in time, I can feel my body moving into the past.

Gwydion brings our awareness into the cells of our body, into our mitochondria, where we pick up a matrilineal thread and follow it back to our mother. I experience this thread as a strand of silk. I am inside this strand, water-sliding head first into a cell of my mother’s. My awareness expands to her whole body. I can feel her strength and know that fire is her strongest element as well. I picture her standing, hands on hips, left eyebrow raised.

I trace the mitochondrial thread from my mother into my grandmother. She is brown-haired and sharp-eyed, not how I knew her, but how I imagine her to have been in her younger days. She too presents strongly as fire. The grandmother I knew in this lifetime was fiery til her last breath. She too has fisted hands placed on hips, accented by a left eyebrow raise. Further down my line is my great grandmother, posed like the others. She stands in a field. She is tiny, and angular, and fierce, and knows the land. She is a witch. I go further down the line to my great great grandmother who holds the same pose, hair pulled tightly back. She stands proud.

I continue to trace the thread to the 7th generation from myself. In this lineage, there has been, tragedy, abuse, loss of children, grief, and witchcraft. Each woman, stands in the same pose: bold, staring straight ahead, hands on hips, left eyebrow raised. Only the clothes seem to change.

I end the trance, standing, feet apart, hands on hips, eyebrow raised, feeling the strong fire inside of me that reaches back through time as far as I can find. I leave this ritual feeling strengthened by this fire.

#cloudcatcher #reclaiming #ancestors #trance

CloudCatcher 2016 – Day 4 – Photoblog – Ritual

CloudCatcher-PhotoBlog-Day04---Ritual

Ritual at WitchCamp is potent and powerful, a truly remarkable experience. The evening rituals leave a mark on the soul, and I find myself referring back to them at times of need and dreaming throughout the year. This year, the story of Tam Lin and Janet took us through shapeshifting, magic potions in the Great Hall of the Faerie Queen, desire and consequence, and finding faerie lovers.

Cloudcatcher 2016 Evening Ritual 2

“With love as our magic, we embrace desire and pleasure and accept the consequences.”

The Faerie Queen. I could feel her longing gaze slowly devouring me. She smelled of the sweetest honeysuckle. Her cool breath crawling across my back sent chills down my spine and raised the hairs on my neck. She wanted to take me, ride through me, and fill me. I wanted her essence in me. I could feel her coming down from the forest peaks of the mountain. She came to me wild, untamed, and running free. Chaos. She was chaos to all the organized-ness of my life. And I was meant to convey her essence in my outer energy bodies until her priestess was ready to receive her fully.

As I called her from the high places, the low places, and the between places she coiled out from around me and into her ritualist, Suzanne Sterling. Deep in aspect, the Faery Queen moved through the ritual like a fierce living star that had risen from deep inside the Earth. And I, her tender, was pulled into the wake of her gravitational pull. I heard her speak at first in chittering Faerie speak. Slowly I began to understand her words. Whether she had learned to speak the human tongue through her priestess or whether I had begun to understand Faerie, I’ll never know. She whirled through the center of the ritual with a demand that everyone dance. “Don’t look at me…I am invisible”, she laughed sardonically. “ Look within yourself for what you desire ”, she called out as ritual participants reeled around the space in ecstatic dance.

They paused there merry making only briefly so as to hear the stories of the Queen’s pleasure and of Janet’s and Tam Lin’s. My queen would not have them resting long. For she wailed in a way that brings even the most sullen of beasts into a frenzied pleasure. And her wails whipped and rippled through the crowd and caused them to link hands and storm like a hurricane. I greedily watched on as they moved their bodies at great speed in a synchronized chaos of desire. I pined for them as the humans sought pleasure amongst each other and their lovers of the Fey Host. I, the Queen’s emissary, knight, and tender was committed to her… alone.

I felt not quite Fey and not quite human. For in those moments, I straddled both worlds and both peoples but I could not partake fully in their experience. I thought, “This must be how the Fey feel when we ignore their overtures for allyship.” I carried the Fey feelings of lust for the world of humans. It was a lust to dance with them to touch them, to delight in them. And now, in my desire for them, I was caught behind the veil longing to be with them. Longing for them to seek me out. Longing for the connection. I recognized this feeling of being emotionally lonely as the feeling that comes with being a priest-ess.

I have inherited the story that to answer the call to be a priest-ess is to walk a lonely path even when one is surrounded by lovers and loved ones. And somewhere along in my human life, I bought into it. I agreed to be Tam Lin: the consort and the sacrifice. But my truth is that my commitment to tend the Faery Queen or to tend my deities, ancestors, and spirits of the land is made from love, desire, and pleasure. I am only alone if I allow that old story to persist.

Somewhere beyond the essence of the Faery Queen, I could feel the human Suzanne. She and I were here together and priest-essing for the Fey Host. So, I chose to feel into my connection with this Fey-like human priestess. I chose to be part human and part fey with Suzanne. I chose to take deep pleasure in the hosts of humans and Fey beside us. And by remembering that she and I were in this together, my experience changed. As my perception changed, the old story of loneliness began to unravel and disintegrate. In turn, the Faery Queen drew Suzanne and me out into the fields beneath the full moon and far away from the passionate crowd. And as the Queen danced through the fields in her borrowed human body so too did I dance with her and Suzanne. The three of us were there but the veils between us were not.