In September last year, I was introduced to the Brisbane Witchcraft by catching up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a few years.
“I’m having a get together with some friends for Ostara, you should totally come!” he told me. I’ll admit, I was kind of oblivious to what Ostara was, but I wanted to see him, so I played along. Damn, what a life changing decision that was.
This introduction led me to make connections with some incredible witches (now great friends), participating in large public rituals, celebrating Sabbats and Esbats and starting to develop my personal practice; but something was missing. I threw myself into the deep end with these fully realised witches and felt like I’d missed out on the basic ABC’s of magic.
Enter CloudCatcher Reclaiming WitchCamp. A four-day intensive magical gathering focused our connection to the land, connection to the community and magical activism… I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
As a first time camper and a total magic newb, I took the Elements of Magic path. Each day of camp we learned of the wisdom and power that comes through earth, air, fire and water. I knew that the four elements are an important part of Witchcraft and life for that matter. However, I had trouble connecting with their abstract theologies. Sure, I understood what the books said, and I worked with the elements all the same, but I felt I was missing a deep understanding and relationship to these elemental forces.
Day 1 – Earth
I never realised how disconnected from the earth I had become. I grew up on a farm, and I’ve always loved getting out into the fresh air, climbing trees, jumping into water and hiking until I lost all sense of direction. But my metropolitan life had consumed my senses. In this new wild, I forgot my connection to my mother. “Earth is a necessity for oxygen, and every part we don’t need is paved over for our conveniences.” Do we kiss our mother with those ideas?
How could I regain this connection? Where do I even start? As someone who openly took part in these conveniences, of the oppression of the earth, I felt embarrassed to even attempt to reconnect. I knew if I were the earth I would be piiisssssseedd.
But a mother’s love is unconditional – I found my way back in the end.
At CloudCatcher we practised grounding every moment we could. Learning to let my awareness sink into the earth, past the bones and burrows, past the expanses of rock and hidden crystal caves, past the point where the earth melts away to molten rock, to where the white-hot iron core of the planet casts a protective shield over us like a mother’s embrace. Learning to draw energy from this place is a very powerful thing.
I could go into detail of all the exercises we worked through, the wisdom our teachers Jack Magick and Copper Persephone imparted and the practical guides they gave us on how to work with earth in magic. But I think the hallmark of a great teacher is someone who will give you the wisdom, point you in the right direction, push out into the world and say, “now go, figure it out for yourself and understand“. Relationship to the Earth isn’t something a person can teach you. When was the last time relationships came with a textbook?
My favourite place at camp (apart from the bower 😉 ) became the altar we were invited to build during the Elements of Magic path. Every morning or whenever I needed some solitude, I would walk into the woods behind my cabin where I set up my altar and just sit, meditate, ask questions of the earth and just listen to hear the response intuitively. My heart is so full of love for the earth, its gravity holds me, it’s life provides for me, and its core protects me – I know that the earth is full of love for me too.
Day one was truly the tip of the iceberg of what, to me, was a metamorphic experience.