Tag Archives: WitchCamps

Poem of CloudCatcher

The Poem of CloudCatcher (themes of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

We dance the elemental serpent paths over the edges of the ordinary into the cauldron of CloudCatcher.
Birthed from the fiery core into the starry heavens, this living earth is formed.
We come to learn from you.

Here is Animal. Here is Land.
We are Family of Blood, Bone and Spirit, dancing our Surrender into Love.
Our Hearts Blaze –

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 –

Falling, sinking, rising, dancing. We are caught by the cracks.
Bewildered, we listen to our land.
Re-wilded, we serve with joy.

Wild love becomes a fierce blessing.
Through the fiery dance of poison and nectar,
we trust the darkness,
and re-join the chorus that colours the dawn.

Cradled within the arms of our mountain, we turn deep within.
Vital forces rise.
Labouring with our familiar shadows; fierce feelings and gritty parts, we flow into a song of synthesis.
Reforged, our tempered dark hearts become our armor of love.

Inner Path: Reclaiming Paradise Day 2

We enter Paradise in our underwear. I feel much more comfortable standing here than I thought I would. I chose my underwear carefully – solid black, stretch fabric one piece bra that ‘custom conforms to any size’ (the black is new for me, usually it’s flesh coloured or white) and gelato pink cotton undies to the waist. I convince myself it’s just beach wear. However, I never go to the beach without a surf shirt and board shorts over my one-piece costume. My Celtic ancestry and various medications mean I sunburn after 20 minutes under the Aussie sky. My profession as a science teacher (retired) meant that covering up was a really good idea for safety and child protection reasons. Add to this I’m shy by nature and have been in only one relationship for over 40 years. What am I doing here? Because I believe to the core of my being that our human body, in all its various guises, is the most beautiful thing we possess. The Eve story casts a shadow of cultural shame over me, and I want to become free.

Standing in a circle, we re-introduced Paradise from beneath the ground. We took turns to call the parts of paradise back. Magically, bird’s called and lizards drank, centipedes scurried and breeze wafted. One of the teachers suggested that wearing underwear is sometimes more uncomfortable than not. Be in the discomfort.

After reading from the Bible, a teacher led us into thinking and deeply feeling our shame stories both personal and cultural: “I did something wrong so I must deserve this.” Standing in a circle, one person stepped in at a time. The others then asked gently in unison: “What is your shame?” After naming our shame, each person stayed in the centre while others responded positively about what they saw in that person. Open eye contact during this time was encouraged, as it was throughout the entire advanced path. (Open eyes are encouraged during all pagan rituals and paths).

I have journeyed on an Inner Path now four times. Each experience has held surprises for me. I found myself saying: “My shame is my obesity. After a life-threatening illness, I lost 30 kg. I then allowed others to exclude me when my significant relationship disclosed his disorder to our wider social network. I put the weight back on again.”

Taking the supportive words we could remember from the activity, we started a tribal dance to the rhythm of drums. We were encouraged to vent our anger at a ‘jealous God’. “How dare you leave us to clean up your mess?” “How dare you punish us for a free choice?” Our chant developed and included words like: courage, honesty, truth, power and passion.

After this cathartic experience, I participated in a ceremony to remove the Angel energy from the Sword. Myself and another member later placed the Sword on the hearth in the ritual room.

We were left to ponder the question: “How can I bring myself to confront God? Overcome cultural shame? Overcome my own shame?”

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.