What is a WitchCamp?
WitchCamps are magical intensives. We think of CloudCatcher as an annual village that comes together for four nights. WitchCamps offer the opportunity to sink deeply into studying a Path – of magic, activism or personal growth – and to come together as a community, celebrating and working for empowerment and change, both personally and in the world. They are highly participative, non-prescriptive and exciting cauldrons for transformation.
WitchCamp is a training ground for those looking to make magic, ritual and transformation part of their daily lives. It is also a wonderful place to be refreshed, reminded and re-inspired.
What does this word ‘witch’ mean?
Witch symbolises someone who is outside the norms of society, those who believe in magic and believe growth and change are their responsibility. In this case, it is not gendered, many men in the Reclaiming tradition consider themselves witches. Some people at WitchCamp call themselves witches; others call themselves shamans, meditators, activists, magicians, pagans, priestesses, elders, wise-women, queers, feminists and radicals.
Who is it for/who can come?
We strive to make our Witchcamp accessible and inclusive. Men, women, and people of all faiths and levels of experience are welcome. In alignment with Reclaiming Principles of Unity we welcome all ages at CloudCatcher.
What actually happens at WitchCamp?
Great question! In the mornings everyone attends one of four Paths, and in the afternoon there is a chance for resting, optional offerings, time in the bower, exercise and other activities. In the evenings we gather together for our amazing all-Camp rituals that follow a chosen Story.
What if I am a complete beginner?
We welcome complete beginners. We expect at least half the people attending any Camp to have never been to a WitchCamp before. Of those, many have little or no magical or ritual experience. There is a special Elements Path at Camp which teaches the basics of Reclaiming Magic. In this Path, many aspects of magic, the evening rituals and of personal practice are discussed.
We also have Affinity Groups. You'll be randomly assigned to a small group, which provides support and is a great way of finding out more about everything at Camp.
What if I have my own magical/spiritual practice?
We welcome people with different experiences, understandings and practices. Reclaiming draws together and openly welcomes a very diverse group, of earth-based Pagans, activists, and people who practise or originate from many other faiths. You may wish to offer an Optional Offering one afternoon to share or discuss your beliefs with others. At a WitchCamp, we ask everyone to uphold the Principles of Unity and to ensure the event remains drug and alcohol free.
What is the link with Reclaiming magic and Starhawk?
Reclaiming is a world wide organisation which Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance, was instrumental in beginning. WitchCamps are an integral part of the structure of Reclaiming, and they happen through North America, in Canada, Europe and England – and now Australia. Reclaiming’s international site is: www.reclaiming.org and it has many links and resources. Australian Reclaiming Community’s main website is: www.australiareclaiming.org.au and there are two WitchCamps in Australia; CloudCatcher in SE Queensland and EarthSong in Victoria.
Who organises CloudCatcher WitchCamp?
The organisers for CloudCatcher 2017 are:
- Susanne Rae- Budget and website (Sydney)
- Leah - Registration (Lennox Head)
- Jack Magik- Outreach (Brisbane)
- Kellie - Secretary (Byron Shire)
- Jarrah Staggard– Teacher-link (Brisbane)
CloudCatcher uses a gradually fluid organising collective, with a some rotating off and new people joining the organising team each year.
Who are the teachers?
The teachers for 2017 have not yet been selected.
There are generally two teachers for each path, a full teacher and a student, with a mix of local and international. More info can be found later in the year on the Teachers Page.
How will I get there?
The closest airport is the Gold Coast Airport. Driving times are approximately:
From Brisbane: 1.5 hours
From the Gold Coast: 40 minutes to an hour
From Byron Bay: 2 hours.
Carpooling can be facilitated by the Camp organisers but is not guaranteed. You are ultimately responsible for getting to the venue yourself. If you have the capacity to pick up and transport someone else (from the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron) your assistance is gratefully appreciated.
Maps and directions will be included in the Registration Pack.
Tell me about the venue.
CloudCatcher WitchCamp is held on the edge of the Mt Warning Caldera -an ancient dome volcano now eroded into wide fertile valley. It is the largest caldera of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and part of a chain of volcanic intrusions that make up the Scenic Rim in northern NSW and Southeast Queensland. It is surrounded by rainforest and mountains, supporting relics of forest species thought to have lasted since the time of Gondwana. It is believed a local Aboriginal name for Mt Warning is Wollumbin fighting chief, known colloquially as CloudCatcher for the moisture it draws in from the ocean, however this is disputed by local Elders. Another likely name is Walumbiny Momoli, the Turkey Mound. The venue itself is located on the Springbrook Plateau, between Mt Warning and the Gold Coast. It is close-by to some spectacular waterfalls and lookouts, with pademelons and mist regular morning companions.
What about food, sleeping arrangements etc?
The food is vegetarian, three meals a day, from and including Thursday dinner through to and including Monday lunch. If you have any significant dietary requirements, please notify us PRIOR to Camp.
The accommodation is dormitory style, each room sleeping up to eight people. There is no linen hire available so your own bedding must be arranged, though there is a laundry on site. There is also an option to camp in your own tent if you prefer.
How much does it cost?
Prices for WitchCamp can be found by under the "Camp Information" Menu item.
How do I register?
We have an on-line registration system (See "Camp Information" in the main menu). It takes only a few moments to fill in. We can also send you out a printed application form, if you prefer that. We are accepting payment through bank transfer, as well as by cheque or money order.
When the money is in the bank account, we send out a receipt, and in January we send out a Registration Pack to everyone who has registered, going into more detail about the practical aspects of Camp, including instructions on what to bring and how to get there.
What should I bring?
A full list of what to bring will be provided in the Registration Pack.
Consider bringing: raincoat, torch, journal, musical instruments, clothes for cool weather, clothes for evening rituals, appropriate footwear and insect protection for a bush setting.
What should I leave at home?
Please leave your pets, recreational drugs and alcohol at home. CloudCatcher WitchCamp is a pet, recreational drug and alcohol FREE event.
Are children allowed at Camp?
Due to the intensive nature of the Camp, CloudCatcher has until now been for adults 18 years and over. This year we are experimenting with an all ages approach, allowing young people under the age of 18 to attend with their parent. For more details see Safer Spaces Policy _ All Age Camp.
Is CloudCatcher WitchCamp an Adult Space?
CloudCatcher has until 2017 been for over 18s, and there are some cultures and spaces we have fostered, such as the Bower, and the option of nudity at times at camp. Particularly we wish any parents attending with young people to be aware of this.
- The Bower: At CloudCatcher WitchCamp there is a room dedicated to the Sacred Body. This is a sex-positive temple space, tended by a devoted priestessing team, a welcoming 18+ space where the body and pleasure are honoured as sacred. It is a luscious space for sharing, discussion, and healing. The Bower hosts optional offerings exploring relevant work and is also available for personal and shared work outside of this. As befits sacred space, all activities within it are with sensitive awareness of self and others, and in full consent and communication. Respecting personal and legal boundaries, any nudity or sexual acts are to occur only between fully consenting adults, 18 years or older, in private. Bower agreements and information are clearly posted outside the bower space at camp.
- Nudity: Nudity may be a component of some Paths or Bower offerings and this will be made clear beforehand. Some nudity is possible in the evening rituals. There is strictly NO NUDITY in the dining hall and kitchen due to health and safety reasons. This is a dynamic chance for people to explore, challenge and negotiate boundaries in a safe, supportive environment.
- CloudCatcher’s safer spaces policy specifically addresses a range of issues including
What do I need to know if I want to bring a child with me?
Information for parents:
We welcome parents to contact the organisers directly if they have any particular concerns. Our intention is for parents to be able to make the most informed choice possible when deciding to participate at CloudCatcher. Also please discuss camp with your young person and ensure this is an experience they understand and would like to participate in.
WitchCamp is run as a structured intensive of powerful magical work. CouldCatcher is not a slow-paced, ‘drop in and out of offerings’ kind of camp. Our rituals and paths are participatory and experiential. We expect that all campers including young people will participate in the full experience of camp as they are able.
We ask parents understand this and accept the following to support our camp’s workings:
- Supporting their young person’s experience of camp will be the responsibility of parents. We ask that parents carefully consider their ability to engage both their own camp work and be available as a parent. Especially if it’s your first Witchcamp, consider if you might prefer to experience it alone.
- There will be 1 adult (over the age of 18) per 1 child. The child’s legal guardian must be present at camp.
- The supervision of children is the responsibility of their paired adult at all times during camp, including path, rituals, meals, affinity groups and optional offerings. “Child centred” activities, entertainment and supervision will not be provided.
- The parent must commit to be with their child at all times.
- This year there will not be a path offered specifically for young people. Children and their paired adult are expected to take the Elements of Magic path together. It might be possible, by negotiation with the organisers and path teachers, that in the case of a teen-parent pairing, they might take another path, if they have both previously taken elements.
- Parents should be aware that CloudCatcher has until now been for over 18s, and there are some cultures and spaces we have fostered, such as the Bower, and the option of nudity at times at camp. Parents need to be aware of this when considering whether camp is an appropriate environment for their child.
What guidelines exist for behaviour?
The Principles of Unity are adhered to at all Reclaiming gatherings. Also, the Safer Spaces and Code of Conduct are available from the main menu.
Smoking and mobile phone use will be kept to designated areas, for the comfort of all.
How do I find out more?
Please feel free to contact us using the menu link above.