Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
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An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
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The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
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Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
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Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
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Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
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Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How itís Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Allure of WitchCamp
Article ID: 10891
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,605
Times Read: 11,347
RSS Views: 67,813
Author: Wolf [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 13th. 2006
Times Viewed: 11,347
Solitary practice and the occasional public ritual are not enough magic for me. Once a year, I have to retreat to sacred space for a week to recharge my magical batteries, to remind my self (small s) what Iím really about, what my true preferences are, to reconnect with that part of me that is always in contact with Divine Spirit.
A wise teacher once told me, ďItís not hard to be your authentic self, itís hard to remember.Ē Thatís why I go back to camp, to remember.
I don't usually try to explain Reclaiming WitchCamp. I just tell people, "You should go." I plant the seed and let it go. Saying more is invariably confusing, because mere words cannot convey the essence of a spiritual transformation. I know in my bones the value of my camp experiences, but words are as elusive as the Fairy Queen.
But I was recently challenged to explain why I return to camp year after year, and I wrestled with this question for months. Words flowed like molasses at first, but when I pictured camp scenes, memories began to flash vividly like some internal video. The music of the voices raised in improvised harmony, stirred my blood. When I close my eyes, this is what I see.
Skyclad bodies leaping in the firelight, whirling figures in flowing robes fanning the flames, drummers beating a frenzied rhythm, Witches dancing their passion for life in this amazingly beautiful world, each heart a blaze of prayer. Young and old, women and men - gay, lesbian, straight, bi and trans - the music moves each to dance in their own way. Each brings to the circle their art, their music, their culture and their own unique voice.
All are welcome to this feast of the spirit. All are welcome to this celebration of sensual world.
Each year, WitchCamps rise up like little Brigadoons across the face of Gaia. Communities form as stars from the scattered dust of our diaspora, each of us drawn by the irresistible power of love, and our belief that magic is real and can transform the world. More than Pagan festivals, WitchCamps are intensive spiritual retreats that are nevertheless great fun. Each camp is created in sacred space and provides a safe venue for practicing magic and exploring the myriad ways to connect to the divine within us all. Each is a place where mundane inhibitions fall away and our true Selves can emerge and be celebrated.
I was drawn to my first Reclaiming WitchCamp by a strong intuition that the experience would change my life in ways that I could not imagine. I only knew that the WitchCamp tradition had been created by Starhawk and her fellow Reclaiming Witches. I was nervous, and I was intrigued, for it had been my reading of The Spiral Dance more than a decade before that had led me to begin to identify myself as a Witch.
I practiced as a solitary for 9 years before my first camp. Frankly, I was afraid that the people I would meet would be too weird. I was a "normal" guy attracted by the religious aspect of Witchcraft and turned my nose up at the trappings. You know, the Goth garb, the knives, the hierarchy and what I imagined was the general strangeness. I told myself this story. That's how I kept myself from finding and accepting my true Self.
My awakening began at my first camp in August of 2001.
I had three desires when I went to camp that year. I wanted to know what Reclaiming Witchcraft was like. I wanted to know what it was like to do ritual with a hundred Witches. I wanted to find out if magic was real. All those desires were fulfilled the first day, but there was so much more. On that first day, I was introduced to my authentic Self and began the long, hard work of reversing the damage that a lifetime of self-repression had wrought. On that first day, I met a beautiful Witch and together we radically changed our lives. On that first day, I traded my khaki shorts for flaming rayon pantaloons. On that first day, I sang and danced with abandon in praise of the Goddess.
Each day of that magical week brought new surprises, new pleasures and blessings. I was given my magical name. I dedicated myself to Aphrodite. I met the people who I would choose as my spiritual and physical family. I was given a vision of the world that I want to live in, a world that I know is possible even in this cynical and acquisitive culture in which we are steeped.
Not since childhood had I made such fast friends. I had never experienced such welcoming, accepting and loving embraces as I received from these strangers who were like long-lost loves. And though we are scattered all over the country, I know that we hold each other in a web of affection and love that is unbreakable.
I have become an organizer helping to manifest my local camp (SpiralHeart) each year because I want to share this treasure with the world. This is the work that I want to do. I want this tradition to live and grow to be here for my children, and for generations yet to come.
Words Ė they seem so inadequate. The results are more impressive.
When I look into my heart for the feelings that camp memories engender, I realize that of all the people in the world that I love, I have met most of them at camp. Of all the people in the world that I trust, that I admire, that I respect and that I treasure as true friends, I have met most at WitchCamp. When I think of those who have awakened in me a desire to explore the deep recesses of my soul, who have taught me to know and accept myself, and shown me how to reclaim my power to shape my world, they are all camp mates.
But, hey, thatís just me. You should go and see for yourself.
Find out more at http://www.witchcamp.org
Location: Cheverly, Maryland
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