We piled out of the vans with the items we had made, eager to begin our gift exchange. In this way, we showed our fondness for each other, as well as beginning our calming time, our time to settle our minds inward in preparation for the craziness that is Witchcamp check-in.
The gifts are different each year. I’ve received homemade muffins, tote bags, stones, astrology stuff, a pendulum set, an athame, coasters, tarot bags, bath salts.
This is my bag. The raven is my totem animal, and my bag is dark green, my favorite color for magic. The two little skulls are for the Ancestors.
Witchcamp is part gathering, a large part ritual practice, but also so much learning. I got to sit and talk with people from all walks of life, from molecular biologist (he worked on the “clot buster” medicine for stroke victims, of special interest to this stroke survivor), to full-time ecstatic and spiritual workers, to school teachers and nurses, to recovering addicts. All of us were joined in working to make this planet better for our children and their descendants. No electronics to distract us, no outside obligations, just people sharing life experiences together. It was amazing. Eye opening. And humbling. I wished I had more time to become deeply, intimately involved with each of these 150 souls.
This year I camped apart from my AZ group, sharing a cabin with Janeen and Lari, two friends from the Palm Springs area that I met at my first camp. We all decided that the smoking table was its own Affinity group since we got together each night after ritual and between scheduled daytime activities. I don’t recall a single cross word between the three of us. What a blessing it is to have no drama, just companionship and interest in each other.
The week was exhausting, but it recharged my spiritual batteries. I came home with a deeper understanding of who I am. And who I can be.
Now that I’m back in my everyday world I can look back on my favorite events of this year’s camp. When you’re in the midst of the magic, it can be a little overwhelming, so a week of processing and reflection was needed.
Here are some of the moments that made deep impressions:
* Midnight full moon ritual in the ampetheater. “Sparks from the fire of the Queen of Death and Night.”
- * The beautiful Creekside mandala.
- Thank you Jeff!
* Raven’s path discussion on parts of the brain and how they inter-relate. Also the “shen birds” and soul retrieval.
* Thalia, our own firefly. “Deepening in this land, we gather power.”
* 50 witches in red. Red is power!
* So many interesting tattoos! Their origins made fascinating stories around the smoker’s table.
* The constant reminder that Nature is sacred. We are surrounded by it, and it soaks into your pores. Honor the spirits of the place where you are.
* Eye Gazing. “I SEE you.”
* Invocations in Spanish
Thank you Tarin. I would never have volunteered if you hadn’t given me that opportunity.
* Discovering how much information my tea leaf scrying set gave me. Wow! I’ve had this set for four years and never used it. Now I’ll use it regularly.
* Getting to know my Path teachers Urania and Raven. I love you both. You put so much of yourselves into our group. Heart bumps.
* My fellow “Pathers” and your haunting messages from our exercises:
“A wound creates a voice, and the voice calls in what is needed to heal the wound.”
“Keep salt at the front door,
Twigs at the back.
Pebbles under the bed,
Water on the hearth,
And leave a window cracked.
Keep a flame going.”
*Time spent with Ancestors and Descendants in path and in ritual. Especially the messages I received from the Descendants during our Path meditation. It gives me hope for the future
* Word Witches. Beautiful Affinity Group ritual! Thank you Riyana for suggesting this group, and Star Singer for composing our song.
* “Liberation Song.” It's stuck in my head forever.
* Confirmation that howling at the moon is a perfectly reasonable option in this world gone mad.
* Making the flying ointment. Such a potent night!
* The reminder to work my magic. Always, and especially in the everyday world, where it is desperately needed. I didn’t spend all this time learning magic to impress my friends. I learned it for times like this. Go use it! Do what must be done.
Aradia. Thank you, my 2nd Degree patroness, for urging me to go to Witchcamp and GO DEEP with you. Finally, right? Now…what do you have planned next? I can’t wait to find out!
Blessed Be all.