Paths and Teachers

Elements of Magic

with Seraphina and Moss

Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit…

These are the Elements of Magic. The very elements that make up our bodies, this earth and breathe life into our consciousness. Meeting and connecting with the Elements, we begin to understand the whole.

In the woodlands and on the shores of Evan’s Lake, we will greet these sacred elements together. We will reach out to our relatives and ancestors around us, the elements, the green-blooded, the red-blooded, the stones, the water, the air. We will bask in the fire of the sun, and the wisdom of the stars. We will reach out to each other to feel the nourishment of community, and we will reach within to touch our elemental animal.

In Whole Time, we will work to heal through connection. Connecting to the elements, we can heal ourselves, our ancestors, each other, and our relatives in the natural world.

As both an instructional foundational course in the Reclaiming Tradition and a full-bodied path in Nature, we will meet our animal wild, our divine provocateur, the witch, and come together as a group to learn the cultivation of sacred space, honouring divinity, working with magical tools, altar building, embodiment, drumming, singing, building energy, spell casting, ritual design, and very importantly, exploring what it means to be our own spiritual authority in community.

The Elements of Magic is a core class taught in the Reclaiming Tradition and is the pre-requisite for most classes. If you are new to Reclaiming, this is the place to learn Reclaiming culture and ritual style. If you’ve been a practicing Reclaiming witch for awhile, this is a place to refresh, renew and deepen your relationship with the Sacred Elements.

Come prepared for all weather. Come prepared to meet the magic you have always known.

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Seraphina1

Seraphina Capranos:  I was born on the lands belonging to the Mohawk and Iroquois “tkaronto” meaning “trees standing in the water”, presently known as Toronto.  I’m the first generation to be born in Canada on my mother’s line. After some time living in the desert of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, I relocated in 2002 to the Coast Salish island xʷənen̕əč, presently known as Salt Spring Island, belonging to the SENĆOŦEN (Coast Salish) peoples where I currently reside.   I’m a hereditary healer and a 3rd generation herbalist-witch passionate about plant medicine, wild animals, island living, and earth magic. I’m committed to witching our world awake through ancestral healing, practices of ecstatic joy & sacred sexuality.  Spending ten years in an intensive Toltec shamanism apprenticeship radically shifted the way I see reality, and helped facilitate a pathway towards a more humble, authentic way of living.  I’m deeply inspired by this year’s intention and look forward to being of service to the land, our ancestors, and our community. I’ve been teaching in the Reclaiming Tradition of magic since 2003 and teaching at witchcamps since 2009. This is will be my 5th opportunity teaching at BCWC. www.seraphinacapranos.com

 

Moss Dance: I now live in K’omoks Territory on Vancouver Island, but I was born in overlapping territories of the Hodenosaunee, Wendat & Mississauga. My auntie and mother taught me that our ancestors came from Ireland, England, Scotland, France & Holland. Some of them were British Loyalists who landed in what is now called Pennsylvania, and were assisted across the border by the Hodenosaunee (Six Nations) peoples. My ancestors were then “given” stolen Mississauga land by the Canadian government.

My involvement with Reclaiming is still young – I’ve only been involved at BCWC for eight years. Here at home, I have helped organize rituals for our community. I have a lot to learn, and am excited to explore our collective stories & further understand how Reclaiming has emerged as a movement.

I’ve been a witch since I was a child. My main allies are the green bloods and the wild things. I have spent the last two decades of my life working in organic farming, music-making, community building and nature education. Now my heart is deeply engaged in studying herbalism.

I am really honoured to be working magic with the BCWC teaching team, and can’t wait to be there with all of you!

 

Divination: Wisdom of Inner Knowing, Wisdom of the Ancestors

with Urania and Goo 

What answers does your heart seek? What questions do you ask your Allies, your Godds, your Ancestors? What do they ask of you?

Flash a light into the hidden realms of your psyche to play/explore/reveal what you want to know. As Witches we reach across the veils and ask the questions of our heart and soul. Our willingness to listen, to face the answers, welcome or not, is confirmed by our willingness to pose the question. The answers reveal themselves, seen and unseen as whispers in dreams, symbols of runes marked on a tree or spread before us as cards from an ancient time speaking an ancient language of stories and intuition. Tap into the divine, spirit and the very web of life that connects everything and all.

Learn the wisdom of your own knowing as we watch the tea leaves settle, the omens divulge, the scrying water reveal. Through a whole variety of mediums: scrying, tarot, runes, omens in nature, tea leaves, dreamwork, aspecting/oracular work and automatic writing or speaking. We will work with trance to contact ancestral and otherworldly allies, including those who are yet to be. We will anchor our embodied humanness with daily practices of grounding and self-care. We will have time to practice reading for ourselves and for others, and will be exploring how our frameworks and projections can colour our readings. It is all a practice, and so, we practice.

Come with a question, or two, you want to work on for the week and/or an interest in future developing your intuitive skill set. You can be a beginner at this or a lifetime practitioner. You can feel totally at home with this practice or be absolutely new to it. Bring a journal and a pen and your own tools of divination. Let us explore and play…together.

Prerequisite: Reclaiming Elements of Magic

Urania: I make my home north of San Francisco amongst the rolling hills of Marin County. This was originally Ohlone land. In 1718 the Spanish Missionaries founded the local mission. In the 1730’s the land my home is on was granted to Don Timeteo. His family maintained the land for the next one hundred and eighty years. My Great Grandmother and her 2nd husband bought my house in 1948. She came west from North Carolina, where our Irish family (bad Irish – they sold out to the English) came in 1757 on an English land grant.

My herstory with Reclaiming goes back to 1991 and I’ve done most everything from schlepping to bookkeeping to ritual planning, teaching and general rabble rousing. I am regularly awed and grateful to have received so many opportunities from this community. My life is richer for having walked this path.

In slow time and deep earth. The first line of this year’s intention caught me immediately. It conjures all the thing I love: the long view and the work of centuries; the living years of mountain and lake; the long ago ancestors of blood and bone and spirit and how we can feed and honor each other at this time. It’s intriguing and easing at the same time. It drew me in from the beginning.

Goo: I was born here on unceded Coast Salish land…more specifically Musqueam land and I now reside somewhere between Musqueam and Tsleil-Wantuth territories. I was also raised, in part on Squamish land as my maternal grandmother was an elementary school teacher in Squamish and I spent every summer of my childhood and adolescence there. She is now buried just south of Evans Lake. Needless to say the land is very much a part of me as an only child; I did a fair bit of roaming the land to talk and take company with the plants and the animals. I spent a lot of time watching the bears at the Squamish dump.

My ancestors on my maternal side were missionaries via New Zealand via Fiji to Canada at the turn of the century. My mother is a true quarter horse; her father was Scottish/Irish and her mother English/Welsh. My father is the son of an immigrant Hungarian Jew who fled the Nazis. My paternal grandmother was an English orphan of the war hired as a nanny to a wealthy couple in Canada. They met at a dance in a remote Manitoba town. My grandfather spoke very little English but it was love at first sight for him. He would sing Hungarian love songs to her up until his death.

As for the whole witchcraftyness…well I was born a witch. I finally figured out what to call myself when I read the Spiral Dance in 1986. I was introduced to BCWC in 2007 and have attended ever since. I have taught, organized, been of service and basically done a whole bunch of stuff for this community that I love.

I identify as a cis-gendered bi queer woman. I love to laugh inappropriately, dance when like no one is watching and spend as much time by myself as possible, read constantly, encourage, support and implement the crushing of the patriarchy and generally am a shit disturber and creator of random acts of kindness. I am an Elemental witch who worships Science as the ultimate deity and the proof of magic found there in. I worship Water primarily. Poetry and Art are my language, gardening is my sustenance, friend and kin are my life blood.

I am thrilled to be teaching and very excited about camp this year. Revolution is in the air and much needed change is aching to be born. Let us gather as witches do and make magic happen!

Body Liberation: Uprising

with Jennifer and Kristen

We know that to love and care for our bodies is a radical act of resistance, and we are rising!

The current world culture around bodies is toxic.  We know that in this body-culture, some bodies are valued and protected, while others are oppressed, marginalized, commodified, demonized and killed.  We believe that patriarchal white supremacy is built upon the lies this body-culture feeds us, and thrives through us in many ways (some subconscious) as we project upon and police our own bodies and the bodies of others.  We carry the body trauma of our ancestors, and we are ready to open our awareness to the cost of upholding these poisonous stories of the over-culture.  The price is too high, and we refuse to continue to pass these patterns to our descendants and communities.

Instead we imagine a different and evolving body-culture; one where all bodies are valued, sacred and safe.  We imagine open access to shared and abundant resources so that all bodies can thrive.  How do we move from imagination to action? How would we live into a body-culture that is nourishing and just?

 

In this path we will focus on our bodies, connection and remembering ourselves as human animals on the earth.  We will work with societal body-myths, and acknowledge our relationships to them.  We will also dream beyond those myths to what else is possible.  We will sense into a just body-culture and notice if or where we have privilege. We will ask, “can we live into a new body-culture, and if so, how?” We will hold our bodies with love as they are now, and will embrace the value of acting as if.  We will express our own boundaries while honoring the boundaries of others.  We will take a break from taking our bodies for granted…we will bless them, hear them, adore them.  We will allow ourselves the healing of platonic, clothed, consensual touch because it takes a village, and we need each other.  Through embodiment and ecstatic ritual, we will take in the seeds of a healing body culture.  We will practice practical tools to keep those seeds alive in our cells so that we can spread like dandelions.

For this path please bring a journal, writing instrument and a water bottle or other travel-drinking vessel that you can keep with you throughout camp.  We encourage wearing comfortable clothes and bringing the items your body needs to be comfortable for the duration of path..

Jennifer Byers: Within the colonized land now called the United States, I grew up in Tennessee (TN).  It is a rolling and fertile place that has been home to Shawnee, Cherokee and many indigenous peoples since before the Paleolithic period, until they were forcibly moved west in 1838 under the Indian Removal Act.  I was raised in Nashville, TN by my mother and her German Catholic family, whose ancestors “bought and owned” 16 acres there, establishing themselves as truck farmers, and later meatpackers.

In pursuit of art and less conservatism, I moved to the Midwest in 1995, then further north in 2013 to the area colonized as Minnesota, a name taken from the Dakota Sioux word “Mnisota” meaning “cloudy water” or “sky-tinted water”.  This ground holds the source of the mighty Mississippi River.  It also remembers the brutal hanging of the Dakota 38, the largest mass execution in U.S. history.  Currently, there are seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities in Minnesota.

I found Reclaiming community in Chicago in 2003, learning (and later teaching) at events and witchcamps across the U.S. I am a queer-witch-poet who thrives on nature and music.  I have twenty years of theater and performance experience that informs my work. I have studied with T. Thorn Coyle and trained at Diana’s Grove Mystery School.  I tend towards creativity, embodiment, sensuality, and humor. I strongly value daily practice, mindfullness, self-love, honesty and the power of kindness.

This will be my first visit to BCWC, and I could not be more honored or delighted.  I am eager to co-create magic that reminds us to the earth, our ancestors and our bodies, so that we can resource ourselves throughout the revolution – in resistance to white supremacy and hate.  May we continue to question and create loving-change!.

Kristen Rawson: I live south of Portland Oregon very near the Willamette Falls. I was not born here, but this is the place I call home.  In this place, the band of Clackamas Chinook called Clowwewalla once lived on the banks of the Willamette River downstream from the falls, known then as Hyas Tyee Tumwater (Great Chief Waterfall).  Several tribes fished just below the falls including the Kalapuya and Molalla; it was a place of gathering and trading and sometimes fighting. Today the Clackamas Chinook, Kalapuya and Molalla no longer exist as separate tribal entities. Their descendants are part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, a community of five tribes (Kalapuya, Molalla, Umpqua, Chasta, and Rogue River) that preserve a common culture far from this place, their traditional lands.


I’ve been a witch all of my life and found a home in Reclaiming about 10 years ago.
I’m a transgender activist, teacher, relationship coach, and artist. I read Tarot and talk to dead people. I’m an edgewalker, shining light into the dark places and celebrating the shadows.
This is my first year teaching at BC Witchcamp and I’m excited and honored to be doing this desperately needed magic with you!!

Magic In Your Veins: Exploring Identity, Reclaiming our Lineages, and Reconstructing Lost Magic

with Preston & Lisa

Through the veil and from our DNA, they call from different lands, cultures, and paradigms. How do you carry the many lineages within you: ancestors, ancestral gods, spirits of place and cultural traditions? How do you relate to them? How do they relate with each other? Add to that your chosen spiritual lineages and families, and the Mighty Dead that flow through our Craft. You are the convergence of a complex web. This is path about reclaiming your sacred inheritance (known and unknown), healing ancestral wounds, and reconstituting their magic in the world.

Heritage and Identity are not always synonymous. Yet the witch learns how to carry their sacred lineages and their present-day cultural constructs in equal measure. We will explore the unconscious biases around race, socioeconomic status, culture, gender and sexual expression our upbringing has passed down to us. We will learn how our predecessors currently influence our behavior through the genetic and epigenetic imprinting.

We’ll seek out the psychopomp spirits of our lineages to discover paths into the lands beyond death. By feeding our ancestral demons, we can transmute family curses and heal lineage wounds. We can facilitate reconciliation with our ancestors.

When “sitting out” on the mound, we will listen – so the spirits can teach lineage recipes, talismans, spells, and rites. In reciprocal relationship, we open the gates and recapitulate their ancient wisdoms. For, they wish to return, to protect us, to guide us…their descendants.

Throughout the week, we will each create a personal ancestral lineage shrine. Each shrine-box an energetic nexus to store the power, wisdom, and healing we conjure during camp. These shrines will become a living connection to your lineage spirits which we invite you to take home and continue to feed and work with them.

Elements of Magic is a prerequisite to take this path. Please bring any small objects and pictures of your Ancestors of Blood, Spirit, or the Craft, as well as of your ancestral gods that wish to come along.

 

 

Preston Vargas:  I live in the ancestral lands of the many Wintun and Patwin peoples. Today, some of these peoples are known to us as Coast Miwok and Suisun. I honor their ancestors. And I thank the spirits of place for joining me in right relationship. This land is the northeastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Yet my place of birth is in the lands of my grandmother’s ancestral people, the Wampanoag; “People of the First Light”. So, though I live on the coast of the Pacific, the soil of Massachusetts and the waters of Cape Cod periodically draw me back.   My bio-cultural heritage combines African American, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Wampanoag, Irish, West Indian, and much more. Yet my identity is something else.

I am Preston Vargas. I am a Reclaiming witch and priest-ess. I tend ancestral Egun pots in Ifa. I am a mesa carrier. I am a black man. A queer man. I am an anti-oppression scholar and activist. I am an artist of the spirits.

I undulate in the rhythms of co-creation with the gods, ancestors, spirits, animals, plants, humans, devas, and our shadows to heal our fragmented selves and communities. As a storyteller and oracular artist, I am sensitive to the unheard stories of not only people but the other-than-human world as well. And I enjoy exploring how humans navigate through the lenses of their own experiences, engage their creative talents, and re-present these stories for healing and transformation.

And after working for over a decade in mental health and substance abuse counseling I have developed a dynamic balance of being of service and playfully enjoying the richness of life.

I have been practicing magic and facilitating group rituals for 20 years. My ancestors are ever present in my journey. My ritual practice is a blend of witchcraft, shamanic inspiration, ancestral medicine training, hoodoo, sorcery, and Fey magic. It is interwoven with the knowledge I developed in my postgraduate degrees in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness as well as Transformative Studies. And the gifts I offers from my training in indigenous ancestral healing traditions are tempered with healing justice, my awareness of privileged power dynamics and my commitments to anti-oppression. I am imperfect and ever-growing. And overall, I believe that the actions we make can stretch backward in time to heal the wounds of all our relations and stretch forward in time to manifest the best possible worlds for our future descendants.

I am honored to be invited to witness and share in the pivotal work happening here at BCWC. And I am grateful to be here with all of you.

In Love,

Preston Vargas, M.A. CATC

www.familiar-spirits.com

Lisa Lind: I would like to acknowledge that I am writing this on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respect to their elders both past and present. Alongside the other Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples, they have cared of this beautiful land of Australia for over 60 000 years.

I have been practicing Reclaiming-style magic for 20 years and believe that Truth has many faces. I grew up in small-town Ontario on relinquished Algonquin land, before moving to Montreal and then Melbourne, Australia. Here I have been active in the Reclaiming community as a bower priestess, student teacher, and Witchcamp organizer. Born to a self-described hippie mother on Odensgatan (Odin’s Street) in Uppsala, Sweden, I have spent my childhood with the Trolls and Gnomes my mother brought with us. Oden, Hel, Tor, and Freja were integrated into my bones early on, but I also have deep connection with wild Gods from a variety of places. I work with my Dead in almost all the magic I do.

I’m a dancer, a fighter, and a lover. I have devoted my life to understanding how the smallest parts of our bodies function to help improve our quality of life. I am experimental in my magic, and find my spirituality and scientific mind inseparable. My activism takes the form of general shit-disturbing, rewriting gender policy, and creating avenues for Indigenous health initiatives and cultural education. I relish embodied magic, gritty transformational work, and a good old-fashioned belly laugh. Much of my Work focuses on recognizing our human Divinity.

BCWC was my very first Reclaiming WitchCamp and I am truly humbled to be able return in this capacity. I can’t wait to bury my toes in Canadian soil again.

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