Previous CloudCatcher Themes and Stories

As we vision into the creation of each new Camp, our desires and mythic landscapes shift and change. Together, we feel they begin to describe a collective dream that is much bigger than any one CloudCatcher WitchCamp, that begins to touch on the timelessness and deep soulfulness of the Mt Warning Caldera and this ReclaimingCommunity that calls it home. CloudCatcher was born in 2012 and these stories recount the history all of our Camps, of visioning days and ritual workings. We invite you to brew your favourite tea, get comfy, and come along on a journey down the years of CloudCatcher.

 2012 Isis and Osiris

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.

Four divine siblings are born together into the land of Egypt one after the other, on special days that did not exist before their birth.
Osiris (known in Egypt as Ousir)– the spirit of vegetation and the river Nile, which rises and falls each year.
Set (known in Egypt as Suti, or Seth) – the desert spirit; wild, chaotic and sometimes destructive.
Isis (known in Egypt as Auset) – the spirit of the deltas, lush and rich and bearing the throne of the land.
Nephthys (known in Egypt as Nebthet) – spirit of in-between places, meeting the edges of desert and fertile land

 Isis and Osiris have Governance over the fertile lands in Egypt and they teach the arts of cultivation and civilisation. Set represents the ancient tribal ways of the desert, which cannot be controlled or even understood by those who belong to the city-states. Nephthys is close to each one; true sister to Isis, partner to Set and secret lover of Osiris; she is the mediator and mysterious force that strives for union.

One night at a special feast Set produces a jewel-encrusted sarcophagus which he offers as a prize to whomever it fits the best. When Osiris lies down in tomb – which has been built to his exact measure – Set immediately closes and bolts the lid. He ensures the coffin is carried to the Nile and thrown in.

Isis eventually discovers and retrieves the sarcophagus. But before she can complete her magic to bring Osiris back to life Set intervenes, dismembering the body into fourteen pieces. Isis retrieves all the pieces but one – the phallus of Osiris, which has been eaten by an oxrhynchus fish. By magical rites, and with the help of Nephthys and Anubis and Thoth (deities linked with the Underworld), Osiris briefly returns to life and he and Isis conceive Horus.

Osiris then passes onto the Land of the Dead, becoming the keeper of the rituals and mysteries of death and embalmment. Later, his death and rebirth were mimed by priests and priestesses on his feast days.

Nephthys and Isis conceal themselves in the reed beds beside the Nile until Horus is born. Horus is both a re-embodiment of Osiris and the fifth deity that completes their pantheon; as well as also a powerful symbol of the future.

2013 Freyja

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

Freyja, Goddess of Love and War, comes from the Vanir, an older dynasty of Norse Gods. She is married to Odin, Warrior and Magician, All Father of the Aesir, the younger Gods… The Dwarves are a race of deep Earth dwellers, artists who sing grace and beauty from stone and metal. They have crafted a necklace, Brisingamen, the like of which the world has never seen…

And then there’s Loki, the notorious trickster – or is he? – who wears many shapes, listens at doors and moves between the worlds to reveal what others have sought to conceal…

The Vanir are Gods of the Earth, of fertility and the body, the ripe, the lush and the green. The Aesir are a pantheon of Sky Gods, concerned with rulership, wisdoms of the mind, and the play of cloud and lightning. The partnership of Freyja and Odin brings these two forces together – and in the early days of their union, Freyja initiates Odin into the mysteries of magic and love; while marriage to Odin brings Freyja into the dynasty and rulership of the Aesir as the balance of power shifts from old to new.

One morning, Freyja wakes up longing for grass and flowers between her toes, for the parts of her life that she has not touched for some time. She travels to the Earth and tends to the flowers and the trees of her gardens, but the longing and restlessness only grows greater within her. She follows this thread of longing into hills and mountains, onto bare Earth and rock, eventually entering a cave, drawn by the ring of metal on metal.

Inside the cave, four dwarves reveal to her the sublime Brisingamen, a necklace they have, at the height of their powers and artistry, spun from Earth and Sky and welded of the four elements, more perfect than a snowflake and more lovely than a sunrise. As soon as she sees it, Freyja knows she must have the necklace. The price the dwarves ask is that the Goddess spend a night of love with each of them, and Freyja agrees.

Loki, unseen and unknown, is witness to the agreement between Freyja and the dwarves. When Freyja leaves after the fourth night, with the bright Brisingamen around her white throat, Loki follows her home.

While Freyja sleeps in her Hall, Sesrumnir, Loki seeks out Odin and reports on all that he has observed. Odin commands Loki to steal the necklace and bring it to him. Shapeshifted into a fly, Loki enters Sesrumnir through a tiny window and approaches the sleeping Goddess. Shifted again into the guise of a flea, he nestles against her sleeping form and bites her cheek, and as she turns in her sleep he quickly assumes his true form, undoes the clasp and flees the Hall.

Freyja awakes as she hears the Hall door close, and her hand instinctively goes to her throat – her necklace is stolen.

Freyja storms into the Hall of Valhalla, advances straight up to Odin and demands the return of Brisingamen. Odin confronts her with what he has learned from Loki, but Freyja refuses to apologise or to justify her choices. The necklace is essential to her, and she demands the talisman’s return. Odin’s reply is another demand: that Freyja use her powers to start a war without end in the hearts and minds of humanity – for he delights in blood and battle. Reluctantly, Freyja consents, and it is on these conditions that Odin returns her necklace.

2014 Eve and the Serpent , the Garden and Aradia

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 -

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…

Flesh – I am this being, this dancer, lover, gardener; this poet, child, sage. I am flesh and bones, heart and lungs, skin and eyes and fingertips; I am one and many. I am part of everything; of the trees, the animals, the water and air, of you – and I am separate, my own being, folded into my own limbs and thoughts.

…My flesh exposed…my body naked…I am aware of how wonderous is this body, this flesh …in the Garden I come to know my innocence and my power…

Fruit – Out of this body can come another body; I can give birth to myself, to another. Fruiting, I am fruiting like the trees of the garden; fig, pomegranate, almond, apricot, apple. I am lush and ripe. You are fruit too; together we are delicious. We are every fruit you can imagine and even the forbidden fruits; that of Knowledge, that of Life.

…Within that fruit… the pentacle…the points of my birthright…my inheritance…my legacy…the seeds of my own rebirth…seeds that I will pass on to future generations…

Fire – Fire of moonlight, starlight, sunlight; fire of the red blood. Fire that shows up the darkness, casts shadows, fire to tell stories by; warmth and fear and illumination. Fire when I look into your eyes, between our bodies, for regeneration.

…the fire illuminated my soul…sparked my passions…holding promise of power as well as a warning…the sacred flame burns within…

I am Eve – the one who dares. I am Eve who is bold, Eve who is disobedient, Eve who listens to whispers and reaches out to the impossible. I walk the inner roads and I show how to walk where I have walked.

…I am one of the first humans…one of humanities progenitors…the one who listened to the Serpent…who made my own choices…who willingly bit into the fruit…who was flooded with the knowledge…who awakened to my own limitless possibility…

I am Aradia – teacher, chosen of the Goddess; the words are mine. The outer path I tread, bringing you the secret learnings. I am the Child of the Gods. I was given this form that I might teach all the world magic, that we might be free. I am the original Strega; the first Witch to walk this Earth. I bring you your birthright.

…holy teacher…holy terror…holy initiator…you offer to illuminate my way…to show the power that lies within me…I accept your gifts…I claim my power…

And I the Serpent – listen to your dreams and remember you are as Gods, Divine children thrown outside the gate with flaming swords when you sought only your birthright. Knowledge now is yours. What have you done with it? And do you remember that one tree still stands guarded here, untasted, the Tree of Life? Would you, knowing, venture back to this place of your separation and your shame? Would you dare?

… The Serpent offered me its seed… that held the pentacle I am told is forbidden… It says its name means light…it illuminates… I taste the sweet flesh of fruit… Gods speak… angry that I now contain Knowledge… and the Gods said I could not eat of the Tree of Life lest I become one of Them… in my center… my belly… Aradia came forth… and my legacy was passed on… because I dared…

If you dare...

Artwork by Lorelei

2015 Dionysis

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.

Rumour came to Olympos that Zeus had sired a son by a mortal woman. Hera, Queen of the gods and heavens, beset the unborn god many ordeals. Several times the nearly and new born child was almost destroyed, but Dionysus was rescued and taken away. Eventually he was placed in the care of elemental nymphs at Mt Nysa, who nurtured Dionysus in the ways of the Wild, where he also learned the secrets of the grapevine.

Coming into adulthood, he encountered Hera once more and was struck with a madness. With a band of satyrs and mad women, his maenads, he wandered insane throughout Africa and Asia. Dionysus came upon Rhea or Kybele, a Titan mother of gods. A primal goddess of the Earth, she purified Dionysus, cleansing his madness and teaching him many of her own orgiastic rites. From here Dionysus became initiated into his own divine nature, and as a God of Olympos, travelled the world once more, passing on his mysteries.

Artwork by Lorelei.

2016 The Story of Tam Lin

Through the fiery dance of poison and nectar,
we trust the darkness,
and re-join the chorus that colours the dawn.

The rescue of Tam Lin by his true love Janet, from the Queen of the Faeries during the faery wild hunt. Janet holds Tam Lin through many terrifying transformations, until he is restored to human form again.

Artwork by Lorelei.

2017 The Story of CloudCatcher

Cradled in 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 armour of love.

Our story for 2017 took us deep into the heart of CloudCatcher...

Cauldron shaped, cradle shaped, garden shaped, story shaped … CloudCatcher.

This is a story of the place where the clouds meet the earth … Molten fire seethed, coursing between the centre of the earth and its surface for hundreds of millions of years.

Oceans and land were shaped and reshaped, pulsing with fire and tectonic movement and forty million years ago a piece of an ancient southern landmass broke free.

Volcanic forces danced along the east coast of this land, birthing a string of eruptions until, twenty-three million years ago in this place, an immense column of magma pushed through ancient weathered plains, lava streaming out to smother the hills and valleys.

The lava comes in great waves, cooling in layers, while mighty eruptions scatter ash and rock for tens of kilometres. Finally, three million years later, an immense shield volcano has formed, two thousand metres high and a hundred kilometres in diameter.

Fire shapes the mountain...

And waters come, shaping the dome into a cauldron. Rains wash over its peak and sides forming into streams and rivers, endlessly.

The land is carved into valleys, plateaus and hills as the rich earth breaks down and settles over the slopes of the caldera, revealing the hardened volcanic cores. This water flows north and south, and west to nourish the vast inland plains, and often, eventually, east to the sea.

Rivers weave layers of fertile soil in the valleys, coiling into wetlands and deltas of sediment and out along sea currents. They shape the coastline and contribute to the formation of great sand islands and tropical seabeds to the north.

Sometimes the water flows strong, sometimes quiet, as the seas rise and fall and the skies are dry or wet.

Water shapes the mountain…

And life comes to this mountain cradle, in flourishing succession. Enzymes awaken vitality in stone, lichens and mosses claim barren surfaces, creating root holds for seeds colonising the new soils in waves of green forms. Rainforest settles the slopes, mantling the land with diverse lifeforms.

The peaks and valleys, the cliffs and water ways become a wilderness with trees, ferns, vines, flowers, mosses and fungi. Fish, mammals, reptiles, frogs and invertebrates move through the mists and shade, and the area becomes a haven for an array of birds.

At sea the great whales use these peaks as landmarks as they migrate along the coast between the southern ocean and the warm seas and coral reefs north. Ecologies build up in complex, fragile layers creating interconnected systems. Here refuge is offered to hundreds of rare species that vanish elsewhere in the shifting world.

Life shapes the mountain...

And people come to this mountain garden; waves of people bringing their ideas to the landscape. The First Peoples come. They live with this land for tens of thousands of years learning its places, its ways and creating story and ceremony and giving names such as Wollumbin and Wulambiny Momoli; shaping the land and being shaped by it. Some are the Bundjalung, the Yagembeh, and there are other names, some lost.

Sailing along the east coast almost two hundred and fifty years ago James Cook names Mt Warning for the clear landmark it gives when navigating the area from sea.

Then the paler skinned people from Europe come, colonisers arriving as prisoners, farmers, adventurers and those seeking profit. There is conflict with the First Peoples and atrocities that remain unreconciled for generations. Explorers come and recognise the wealth of this land. They take trees for lumber, creatures for furs, they dig soils for minerals. Farmers follow, reshaping the land for their own purposes. They bring new laws and new creatures; plants and animals.

And more people come to the land of the mountains, who appreciate its beauty and wish its protection, creating national parks and heritage areas. Biologists come, and geologists, fascinated by its complex treasures. As cities flourish to the north and south, counter-culturalists come, drop-outs and rebels seeking a different life; bringing intentional communities, permaculture, different spiritualities.

And then come witches to this land, and shapeshifters, magicians and priestesses, weaving magic, walking myth and working relationship with this living land, seeking to be changed by it.

Ideas shape the mountain…

Cauldron shaped, cradle shaped, garden shaped, story shaped… CloudCatcher.

Artwork by Lorelei.

2018 Hermes and the Bee Maidens

Our bellies open, the wild floods in…
Embodying deep listening in a play of many forms, our hearts open and connection tumbles out.
Our story ever emerging, honey-drenched and light of wing, we move with the wild into the world.

Clever magician, playful trickster, noble thief, tender of souls, liminal herald! 
Edge-crossing, mind-bending, form-shifting!  Swift-growing - born of the Mountain - child of Maia. ...

After reconciling with their brother Apollo, Hermes journeys to Mount Parnassus, famed as a place of poetry and prophecy.
There to meet with, listen to, learn from, the triumvirate Bee Maidens - identities surrounded in mystery: wild nymphs of mountain streams, sweet swarming spirits of nature, keepers of oracular magic and wisdom, ancient bee goddesses ...

Artwork by Joanne with digitisation by Luke. 

2019 Ereshkigal and the Grief of the Great Earth

Listening to silence, we hear keening and rage.
Diving Beneath we dance shadows and face the Laughing Flame.
Ancient wisdom and love overflow.

The Queen of Heavens, of holy love and justice, the Flower of Life, has disappeared from the world...
Below, in the caverns of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, Goddess of the Dead and Mother of the Great Earth, labours with the vastness of Her grief, Her sorrow. She moans, She keens, and rips with torn fingers at Her skin and Her hair.

Innana, the Star of Heaven, flesh rotting, hangs from a meat hook. All is lost, unless...

Kugarra and Galatur, queer fly beings, spun of dirt and the last gasp of hope, descend into the Underworld, bearing the food and water of life. They are willing to witness and mirror Ereshkigal's grief, willing to deep-listen to the cries that have driven all light and joy away. It is only through their listening and witnessing, through their empathy, that they can heal the wounding in the Earth Mother's heart, and restore the Queen of Heavens to the world.

Artwork by Luke Brohman

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