Camper Stories and Articles
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Australian Reclaiming's First WitchCamp, 2011
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 daylight was disappearing as dusk reclaimed the sky and the first stars appeared overhead, the trees lining the road obscuring what little was left of the afternoon sun. The world had begun to take on an otherworldly glow as I made my way to my magickal destination. I breathed deeply as the night was gently falling and I drove through Springbrook national park in search of the site of Cloudcatcher reclaiming witchcamp. I was excited and nervous as I wound my way through the endless tree-lined hills and winding turns towards the very literal end of the road in the Gold Coast hinterland. This pristine area, set in the volcanic cradle of the caldera, seemed the perfect natural setting for a witchcamp, but I had niggling reservations. Who would I know there? What would we do? What if this wasn’t my ‘thing’? Doubts still swirled about in my mind as I arrived at my destination, stepping out of the car into the cool night air and the start of what would be a great adventure.
In 2002 I set foot for the first time in the Mendocino Woodlands. It was Day One of California Witchcamp. Before the day was over I had three ambitions: To teach at Witchcamp, to take my son to Witchcamp and to have a Witchcamp in Australia.
I had been in large rituals, with a hundred or more people before. I had worked in the overlay between myth and current-day reality before. I had cast numerous circles, calling upon elements, place, gods and goddesses, worked magical paths and stayed in many, many magical places. I had been part of – and even led – rituals that became ecstatic blends of music/movement/passion/change and invocation. I had felt my magic, my politics and my reverence for the earth blend into creativity. I had been dedicated to rituals for days on end. But never these all at once.