Tag Archives: Springbrook

Opening Ritual – Day 1 Cloudcatcher 2014

Entering into this Cloudcatcher Reclaiming Witchcamp, the third since its inception, my mind and heart were spinning deep within the theme and myth of the camp.

Theme:

Reclaiming our wild blood, we return with fierce love. The crossroads open and stars rain down into the dark heart of the land. This tribe rises…

Myth/story:

Walk with us, into the Garden. Come in – yes, all the way in; deeper. We’re going into the very centre. We’re not quite sure what we’ll find there, in the Dark Heart of Paradise… 

(For more on the story, go to: http://www.cloudcatcherwitchcamp.com.au/story.html)

We gathered together in the ritual hall, each one of us with energetic remnants of our ‘real’ lives: our jobs, families and stories. Gathering together for ritual conspiracy we had our first insights into the mysteries of this camp and we were introduced to the four altars which we would honour and which would anchor us in our mythic and mystical journeying: In the East, Aradia; in the North, the Serpent; in the West, Eve; and in the South, This Tribe Rising. We were gathered in this beautiful hinterland caldera to work through mystery and deep magick and rise together as a tribe for the healing and betterment of ourselves, our communities and the great mother.

I have often marvelled at the way in which the opening ritual marks a separation from this (mundane) reality, creating a magickal container which carries within it a gorgeously rich sense of community and mystery within which we then bask for the length of our magickal working. The initial elements of the ritual initiate our journey, with powerful invocation of our circle which we cast out into the caldera to be tended by the mountain guardians for the duration of camp, so we may live and breathe our magick in each moment of camp life. We follow with the elements: Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit, our allies of Time and Space, and our magickal and personal ancestors. We pull in the thread of witchcamps, an exquisite gesture which breathes the life and spirit into our camp, built on the energy of the other reclaiming witchcamps all over the world, and that we will send on as ours closes in a few days’ time. We welcome Aradia, the first witch, daughter of the goddess Diana and the great light-bringer, Lucifer, most beloved of the angels before being cast out of heaven. And with these invocations set in place we continued our ritual…

We danced and sang in our sacred space, greeting our magickal community with eye contact and reverence as we felt the energy of the drumbeats begin to move through us.

I…I sing of Life, And you…you sing of Death, We…we sing of Love, The kind awakened in your first breath. I…I sing of Mother, And you…you sing of Father, We…we sing of Family, For you…you are my brother/sister/teacher/lover…

We stopped and spoke to our magickal kin: “What sacrifice did you make to be here?” “What are you willing to risk?” We learned about fierce love, how love and depth and history and pain and compassion can all exist and how important it is to love fiercely and to believe in the depth of love and strength within us. Hearing the deep humanity of my teachers and fellow campers, I felt a deep compassion and love beginning to stir in my heart, and I wondered about my own ability to fiercely love; to fiercely love myself and others. Dancing again we sang and moved together, weaving these threads of magick as we questioned what we dreamed, desired and dared.

I dream, I dare, my heart laid bare – o my desire… A thousand stars above my head swirling in the heavens… Stars rain down, I pray to you… Stars rain down…

The magickal web had been cast, and I felt so deeply that I was exactly where I needed to be, and that there was much more magick to come.

CloudCatcher WitchCamp Organiser Reflections 1

This year I not only attended CloudCatcher, but I spent a year on the organising committee ensuring that the Camp would happen. There was an interesting and discernable contrast between the two Camps, not only due to the difference in stories and theme, but in the level of engagement and ultimately what I took away from it.

One or two people commented on how I had changed from one Camp to the next – something of a greater self-assurance and presence. I hadn’t really thought about it too much personally, but when I recalled my first Camp some memories of a shy, daunted figure emerged, recklessly tearing about the lawns but hesitant in any human interaction; indeed it seemed a far cry from the wild being leaping about now, whose role involved ensuring the Campers were happy and settled, that budgets and monies were balancers, that the venue managers were okay and that generally all needs were met, and thus must embrace a kind of leadership and easy camaraderie that in the past often eluded me in prolonged social settings.

I think however maintaining such a diverse range of mental tasks took slightly from my ability to drop into the Camp in a truly immersive way, and yet in many ways did not hinder in way an ability to drop into myself in an immersive way. I learned a lot about myself and about various aspects in my personality and skills that I too often impose a rigid and restricting modesty upon, for fear of seeming arrogant or overbearing. It is a fear not entirely unfounded, but I found new ways to embrace and express it. And I also found I truly love serving. Being a camper was great, but I slip so often into idleness and uncertainty. With extra roles and responsibilities, a lot of my natural anxiety and uncertainty fell away, and over the course of the weekend attending to many varied needs, found a new perspective on the ability to feel joy while in service to my community.