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CloudCatcher 2017 Ritual Day 5

This ritual signifies the end of witch camp, the end of this particular magical working, and time to release each other from this space with the hope of disseminating this magic to the places we call home. I can feel the impulse of tears starting in my temples. Yesterday I felt complete with camp and now I do not. Each day stretched on and somehow the collective days flew by. 

We are in circle in our last ritual. All of those who held parts of this camp are acknowledged. My left hand receives the right hand of the person next to me. I take the left hand of the person to my right, with my right hand. Everyone does the same, linking us together, the energy flowing palm to palm to palm. We chant the same words we did in our opening ritual four days ago, “This heart is a mountain, dream with me . . .this fire inside us feeds the land that dreams of us.” I am being lead around the circle to the right. Two hands, the beginning and end of the spiral, unclasp. I feel the spiral starting. I know the spiral dance, I have done it many times, yet this is the first time I have ever really understood the magic this dance holds. Maybe the reason this particular spiral dance feels so natural is the song. Maybe the reason is the spiral leader, or the pace, or our connection as a whole, or maybe I am finally in the kind of heart space that allows my whole body to listen. 

Everything is in sync. I am effortlessly locking eyes with every person as they pass in front of me. We are moving as one giant snaking spiral. I feel joy and presence as I alternate between singing my heart out and taking in this moment. Even the soft ground feels welcoming as we touch our bare feet to her.

We coil in tighter, circle within circle within circle. I feel certain that this will be the best cone of power yet. The chant builds. The energy builds. The tones come in from in front of and behind me. The energy dips, raises, and grows. I can almost see the cone of power rotating a few meters above our heads. We send threads of energy from this cone off to the next two Reclaiming witch camps. Those threads will be picked-up and used by the next camps to continue the life shaping work that we, as Reclaiming witches, dedicate ourselves to. 

I feel complete in my work in this time in this place. I thought I would feel sad as we said our goodbyes, but I already feel myself returning, this or something better.


CloudCatcher 2017 Ritual Day 4

Yesterday I met a spirit of this land. Tonight in ritual, as a group, we are to aspect (embody) those spirit beings. These are the directions given in ritual conspiracy and I plan on following them. The only problem is that something happened today carving out a seemingly divergent direction for me. 

Earlier today there was an optional offering in which Kali revealed herself to me as the loving mother instead of fierce destroyer. This Kali had body shaped like mine, had hair like mine, and was fully black, a matte black, the color of shadow. The bodies of Kali and myself moved in sync. Our weight-shifts matched. Our looseness of limbs matched. We swayed together, the self I know in physical reality, and Kali, the loving shadow. “Dance with me,” she said. And so I did. 

Tonight, instead of the lizard creature I met in yesterday’s ritual, I begin as something else, something that wants to lay on the ground, something that has an extra kind of gravity. I want to be still among other still beings. I imagine others in the group as plants and trees firmly rooted to this land. A handful of ritual participants are fluttering about the circle, jumping, running, flowing, squeaking, and chirping. I lay on the ground under a large stretchy shawl, moving limbs without exerting much energy. A chant is started and I feel pulled to my knees, hands on the floor before me, fingers spread, weight shifting side to side. Kali is here again. She is my mirror. Kali and I stay on our knees moving to the rhythm of the drum that gives shape to our magical container. Kali, a Hindu goddess, does not care that in tonight’s ritual, we are meant to be working with the spirit beings of this land, here in Mount Wolumbin, Australia. 

“Dance with me,” she says as we rise to our feet together. 

I open my eyes. There is more movement now than there was before gravity floored me.  Spirit beings are churning up the energy of our circle. I lock eyes with another aspected spirit being. She is fierce. She replaces Kali as my mirror. With my eyes, I say to her, “Dance with me.” And she does.

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