BCWC 2013 Paths
The Elements of Magic
with birch & Seraphina
One of the richest initiatory paths in the Reclaiming tradition is the foundational core class known as the Elements of Magic. Enter the cauldron of a tradition’s history, its alchemy and practice.
Earth meets water in lapping acts of transformation. Air meets water in the misty days of a Northwest winter where long yearning fog horns cry out for safety. Fire heats water in sssssteaming mugs of tea over swirling conversations with a heart-centering friend, where ecstatic hot showers make us squeal with pleasure after a satisfying day’s work in the garden. Water cedes to water, in all ways. So is the fluidity of our nature called to the tides of the moon; She, who is Spirit, will always know us for her own. The Elements of Magic gathers us to Herself; the circle calls us home again and again.
As a newcomer to Reclaiming or new to Witchcamp this is your gateway*. As a seasoned camper, come deepen your magic. Together we will enter the temple of our sacred arts, gather our tools and sharpen our magical skills. What is your flavor of magic? Nurture your spiritual self-care as you delve into the depths of your craft. Grow your personal practice by studying the art of ritual craft-making: spell work, building energy, trance, chants, and divination. Together we will conjure the alchemy of community made magic. Be held and nourished by the Beloved. Welcome home.
*Elements of Magic is the foundational class for all future Witchcamp paths.
Acts of Devotion: The Water Priestess
with Dawn Isidora and Krista Wilson
Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Rebecca of the Well. Chop wood, carry water.
Water is our inspiration and teacher as we co-create beautiful containers in which to deepen our relationships with the Sacred, dedicating our time together to acts of devotion and service. As Witches we heed the call to dance with Mystery in all Her haunts: the starry heavens, the verdant forests, the silent deep, and within the infinite cosmos of our own divine selves. As Priestesses, we Temper our Passion with Wisdom to infuse our worlds with Spirit as we tend the Elements of Life.
In this Priestessing skills path we will deepen our sense of communion with Deity, immersing ourselves in the work of the seen and unseen worlds. Together we will explore devotion, building and strengthening our relationships, melding with the long heritage of those who know that they walk the path of the Priestess. We invite you to join us as we sing the songs of powerful magic, dance to awaken inspired ritual and share the skills and stories of our personal devotion and leadership as Priestesses.
This path is open to all who have taken Elements of Magic or the experiential equivalent.
Hedge Witchery: An Invitation to Explore
with Ashtare and Donald
Calling all hedge witches!!
What is hedge witchery? Are you a hedge witch? Are you interested in hedge witchery?
Do you look for the patterns that weave the worlds together? Does your favorite kitchen knife also function as your athame? Do you name your car? Are you in love with life? Do you embrace the old saying, “Neither master nor servant be!”? Do you work in the liminal spaces between two or more realms; such as, chaos and order, human and non-human, the wild, the devastated and the domestic, the known, the suspected and the unknown, the living, the dead and the unborn? Do you know that you are a whole magnificent animal? When you notice an unbalance, are you drawn to rebalancing the situation, person or thing? Do you suspect that we all are peers and partners to the whole of the multiverse?
Let us celebrate the realms of hedge witchery together!
If you are interested (or even suspect that you may be interested) in joining us for this great adventure, please e-mail us for a set of handouts and a bit of pre-camp homework to help us prepare for our time exploring hedge witchery.
Prerequisite for this path: Elements of Magic or its equivalent.
To read a bit about some of the traits and customs common to many hedge witches, please go to:
Salmon Mysteries: Giving Voice to our Activism
with Willow Kelly and James Birch
Join us in exploring the Salmon life cycle and the magic that dwells in their story. We will listen and glean the mysteries that Salmon has to teach us about ourselves, and the state of our planet. We will make alliances with the spirits of nature who show themselves in plants, animals, stones, and the living soil. Through the lens of science and the veil of mystery, we will “connect to the web of ecstatic life force,” opening to communicate with a non-human consciousness that surrounds us. We seek clear and sustainable activism to nourish our changing planet.
The heroic tale of Salmon development inspired this path. From the egg, of which only 5-15% survive, to living in gravel beds for 3-4 months, then if lucky, surviving another culling of life as panic and hiding fail to save all but 10-30% of the salmon, and all of that, before they begin their total transformation into salt water creatures. We’ll swim alongside them, transitioning into the mystery of open sea until we are called home to leave our legacy.
BCWC 2013 Teachers
At my core I am a seeker, always looking for new ways to connect with the web of life. Spirituality and magic have always woven their threads into my life, and my consciousness around this evolved into an active practice of paganism and witchcraft – a path I have been walking for over 15 years. I am a writer, mother, web designer, pot-stirrer, dreamer, fledgling Whovian and passionate advocate for creative thinking. I’m playful and silly, and like to push my own boundaries.
My personal beliefs, spiritual work and interests are deeply embedded in all forms of justice, community building and artistic expression. I relate to deity predominantly through my braided Scottish, Irish and Italian heritage and connect with the sacred through ritual, writing, music, singing, watching the ocean and lying on the grass in the sun. I dream of a sustainable and peaceful future and enjoy exploring ways that we can empower ourselves and each other to create positive change in the world.
I am very excited to be connecting with the BC WitchCamp community!
A creatrix of magic, passion, and Fire energy, I have been in Vancouver Reclaiming for 23 years, and organizing community ritual for the past 15. A lesbian, Jew, single mom, and a Crone, I have working class pride in all I do. As an Amazon, I have learned some hard messages in my life, but continue to love learning new things about people, places, concepts, all through the eye of magic. Learning can happen from anywhere, if you truly listen. I have practised some very ardent spiritual disciplines and find that it doesn’t need to be hard to be powerful, nor do I need to be angry as an activist. I am softening and opening as I age and am so much more willing in my life than ever before.
I have great love and devotion to the Goddess and the Mysteries in all forms, All make me take notice. I love ritual, learning and teaching in a way that decimates hierarchy. I believe that all beings are magickal beings. I experience wonder when I see others take their power within magic space and recreate their lives.
Immersed in the wild, in the elements, and feeling ecstasy for the green earth, I bring enthusiasm to all my life practices. I am teaching for the third time at camp, and have been on the BCWC org cell for the three years previous.
I am a lover of local plant medicine, wild animals, island living, and I’m passionate about witching our world awake through ancestral healing, practices of ecstatic joy, sacred sexuality, rubbing up against our edges to stretch farther than I think we can and composting ways of being that squander our vital force. I’m a hereditary healer and a 3rd generation herbalist-witch who was raised in a pagan household infused with the rich aroma of pungent herbs constantly brewing, the wisdom of old classic texts, and dinner conversations flush with exploring the meaning of life. I spent 8 years in an intensive Toltec shamanism apprenticeship that radically shifted the way I see reality, and helped facilitate a pathway towards a more humble, authentic way of living.
My life is my spiritual practice – I find wonderment in the simple yet profound miracle that we are alive. One of my greatest joys in life is exploring unknown territory with other witchy folk through wild singing, drumming, trance, and radical acts of shifting consciousness. I’m a clinical herbalist, homeopath and birth assistant with a full-time practice on Salt Spring Island, BC, and feel blessed to teach herbal medicine, homeopathy and magic internationally.
(bio-poem, titled: Tribe, summer-end’s great necessity)
Come wilds of mid-spring, death’s danger appears passed/ wandering hunger-whet woods I track winter’s lost/Measuring steps against surer cloven-hoofed trails/ I claw at any-which-way, calls of loftier reaching bent/ Lean in and forward, balance body against earth/lamp-lit bluing hand held against night’s azure assembling sky/ I seek the Hunter’s aerie/ Lonely head-winds blow where beauty’s terror glimmers/ where the soul knows not but itself/ By folly or foil, perchance to soar and seer/ I dare offer myself to His exquisite feeding/ Torn, rendered to a prayer, another small forever spent, an ‘I’ reduced to a wish/ What remains freely floods back down, overcome, homeward flesh and blood bound/ pouring what persists into summer’s vessel/ fill and drain the same old cauldron of familiar/ some forgotten occasion to rest and recall the Mother these lips never knew/ Worn wrinkles swim and dream in longings too long shed/ slow salty skin tracings of this becoming/ child of Her once inward nourishing, warm room scent rising/ to this quiet fine fresh/ scatter twirl ocean rejoin
This Gathering of the Waters calls me to come home. Water calls me to cleanse and refresh many of my core life costumes: splashy child, sticky teenager, reflective artist, choppy activist, tidal pool teacher, sweaty lover, tearful friend, dew soaked priestess.
On my good days, I’m guided and inspired by the Sacred Elements and deep mystery; my work brings me into alignment and deep connection with the ecstatic current we know as Life Force. I have so many blessings in my life: two wonderful grown sons, my beloved and loving partner, my snug home in Portland, excellent friends both near and far, and work that nourishes me on many levels. I have five planets in Capricorn and thus can be ridiculously earnest, though I have hidden dark humour side if you catch me at the right moment. In my professional practice, I use the framework of the five sacred Elements to help uncover the client’s soul’s unique blueprint; we are beautiful and complex beings.
I have been coming to BCWC for many years now: sometimes as camper, several years as organizer and some years as teacher. Over time, I’ve had the privilege of watching our communities shift, change, fade and bloom again. It has been a wonder and a joy. I am so happy to be spending another year with this, my beloved home-camp community. I look forward to our doing magic, exploring mystery and embracing the next turn of the wheel together! (more info at: DawnIsidora.com)
Donald L. Engstrom-Reese
I am, among other things, an artist, gardener, Heathen Witch and Hagzissa. I have been consciously involved with Mystery and the Spirit Peoples for well over thirty years. My life is an active ever-changing dance between the wild, the domestic, art, gardening, rune-work, Queer Spirit, Hedge-Witchery, hiking, deep dreaming, community building, spirit visioning, cooking, clan-hold magics and the exploration of the sacred realms of sex and pleasure.
I begin each day with this prayer:
I dare to dwell in beauty, balance and delight.
I dare to see with clear eyes and an open heart.
I have lived my whole life in my beloved Prairies. My husband Mark, our dear home/gardens (it names itself Hector) and I live in Paganistan (Minneapolis/Saint Paul), Minnesota, North America, nestled in the arms of the Upper Mississippi Valley.
For more information, please go to: http://wearewalkinginbeauty.org
Willow “Firefly” Kelly
I am a faery-loving playmate, illuminator of shadows, devotee, musician, flawed human, closet comedian, and lover of authenticity, groovy peeps, office supplies and bats. Pluto sits prominently in my 1st House and has danced back and forth over my sun (Sagittarius) and my moon (Capricorn) over the last couple of decades, making fierce transformation a way of life. I believe that if we are awakening more fully to our purpose, this revolutionary magic of transformation is inevitable. I’ve chosen to see it as an art form and embrace it as a full-time priestess, facilitator and activist. I use music, trance, dance, singing, art, theatre, ritual, and other forms of creativity to dive deeper into explorations of our magic and power. While transformation can certainly be challenging, we can either dance with it or feel bludgeoned by it. I say, “Let’s dance!”
I am a lover of magik and ecstasy and prefer the path of instinct to the path of intellect. I have learned that I am at my best when I am also on the path of discipline, without it I find my self in lots of interesting places. I believe in lots of second chances, as in childhood getting a “Do over!”
I am still intrigued with Personal Ecological Reclamation and in 2012 worked with Hope and Innocence. I got my feelings hurt a lot and cried a lot, went through the ending of a 10 year relationship and struggled with addictions. I can appear tough so working on my squishy side has been good for me.
I am looking forward to working with whole time, water, and creating spells to change all the worlds and us. We change the world with how we live our life, may I be a holy sacred spell.