Camper Stories

Spellwork: Cunningly Causing Coincidence

One of my favorite quotes is: "Magic is the art of causing coincidence" - Chris McIntosh quoted in Freya Aswynn's "Northern Mysteries and Magick”

Raven EdgewalkerLast night I had a fascinating conversation with a dear friend and student, which covered many topics including spell work. We discussed things like:  where did my knowledge of spells come from, what spells are, and how do we create them. The discussion was rich and definitely a topic, which we will come back to.

I headed upstairs afterwards to hunt for something unrelated - and opened a little wooden box filled with twists and knots and plaits of grass, bark and even seaweed. And the above quote came floating into my head. For this is a box of spells, created over the last 24 years (since I was a pre-teenager) and carried with me through life.

Drinking in the Divine: Speaking with their VoicesRavyn

In the Reclaiming tradition, we believe that everyone has access to the mystery, that each of us can touch the Great Goddess and all the infinite faces of the divine.  Humans have always worshipped forces we perceive to be greater than ourselves and witches often call them into our circles and rituals and spell workings to formally assist us or to celebrate our relationship to them.

When we practice witchcraft, we develop camaraderie with the elements of life: air, fire, water, earth and spirit.  We attempt to live in harmony with the earth and know our allies who share the elements with us: animals, plants and nature spirits.  We also work with ancestors and divine beings, whom many of us worship as gods.  Many Reclaiming witches and Feri practitioners also believe that we come from the orgasm of the Star Goddess, through whom the entire universe came into being.  It gets difficult to pin down a very specific cosmology that we could all consense upon but these are some tenets that are shared by many, if not most of us.

Over Easter of 2011 I attended my first Reclaiming WitchCamp – Australia’s first, the Southern Hemisphere’s first Reclaiming WitchCamp. Being part of a WitchCamp was astonishing, joyous, challenging, thought-and-growth-and-evolution-provoking; for me, it was literally life-changing.  It was food for the soul, and a guiding light. It is easy, terribly, terrifyingly easy, to get lost in despairing anger at the wreck of the world, the waste of humanity’s potential to be Gods and the poisoning of our habitat, our Earth, our Mother. If despair, jadedness and black sorrow are the dis-ease, WitchCamp is the cure. It is time away from the “real” world, cauldron-time, transformation-time; it is the company of like minds and souls; it is Work, and ritual, and dance and song all aimed at the celebration and service of life, love and connection. It gives strength enough to take up the task again of saving the world one action, one choice, one step at a time.

The first Australian Reclaiming WitchCamp roared into life on a fiery wave Thursday 21 April 2011, after more than a year in the planning. The Moon was in freedom-loving Sagittarius. The image the Camp projected was fiery, imaginative and happy-go-lucky, with a serious love of mentoring and idealism, reflecting the rising time at the official opening of the Camp at 7:30 pm. At that time, there was a massive planetary stellium that included Venus, Uranus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, all in another fire sign of passionate, magnetic and nature-loving Aries. Is it no wonder our camp was witty and generous. Of course the time of the official opening of the Camp was chosen by the resident organizer astrologers on hand. We all agreed this was the most auspicious time to launch the first Reclaiming Camp on Australia. This set the tone for the whole of the Camp.

EarthSong WitchCamp was the first (and certainly not the last) Reclaiming WitchCamp I attended. I was in a student teaching position and I entered into a burgeoning community deeply-rooted in integrity, vision and the understanding of Goddess as the Immanent Divine. Together we celebrated the primal, wild and ecstatic mysteries embodied in beautiful myth-making, dreamscapes, song and sacred drama and ceremony. We lived the Poetry of the Cosmos, our Ancestors and Each Other in such honest, immediate and vulnerable ways that I felt I had found another piece of my own wellspring. I found home again.

The first Australian WitchCamp was four days with a great bunch of people, amazing food, lots of laughter and singing, profound nightly rituals and deep transformational experiences.

I enjoyed being able to choose a ‘Path’ (workshop) for the four days that focused on our relationship with the Earth. It encouraged us, as Pagans, to put our beliefs and values around sustainability and political, environmental and social justice into practical action.

WitchCamp for me was a real example of what I had thought were just words on paper in many of Starhawk’s books. Thanks to the experience of the Reclaiming teachers and willingness of all the campers, I experienced the Reclaiming Tradition’s core principles coming to life.

WitchCamp far exceeded any other similar event I have been to.

I am very pleased with myself for attending the very first Australian Reclaiming Witchcamp in 2011. I went by myself, I didn't know anybody else, and I was delighted to find that I could slip easily through the looking-glass into conversations, activities, enchanted space. We came together as different generations of witches, different sexes, different walks of life -- public servants like me, teachers, nurses, circus performers, technicians, conservation lobbyists, farmers, film makers, community workers, pharmacists etc -- and wove a marvellous web.

The organisers: What commitment! What creativity! What competence!
The teachers: Such wisdom! Such expertise! Such versatility! Such sense of fun!
And the rituals, ah the rituals: So huge, so deep, so beautiful, so powerful, so altogether magic!

EarthSong WitchCamp 2011 was an extremely positive experience in which I had the chance to work with spiritually-minded people and share skills and knowledge across various magical paths. The teaching was high quality and I would recommend WitchCamp to anybody who wishes to know more about, and to experience, a growing Reclaiming Witchcraft community in Australia, and all its forms, including ecstatic dance and trance work, ritual and meditative exploration, and earth activism.

Blessed be/93
Leigh Blackmore