"I see your desire, sticky and sweet,
Your eye shine, with Divinity."
Final song chant for last ritual in the story arc of Psyche and Eros. Created by Evelyn, a member of the Ritual Arc Team and a participant in the Ritual Music Priestessing path. This will be pertinent in a later post.
While it is true I have no previous camps to compare this one to I can tell you the experience was amazing for me and by accounts of others who have been to camp in the past (some who’ve attended for a decade) this year was a banner year all around.
This year’s Reclaiming Intensive by Spiralheart was held at Four Quarters Farm in Artemis, PA. The story arc was Psyche and Eros and you can find the story here. All five parts are worth reading. Because of the excellent directions sent to attendees I had no difficulty finding 4 Quarters. It is breathtakingly serene. Upon arrival I started lugging my bags down to the dorm and people greeted me with hearty hellos as if they already knew me. One woman did in fact know me. We have a mutual friend. She has known my friend since her college days and I have known her at this end of her life for nearing a decade. Having a singular semi-familiar face was a Blessing.
I had left home 3 hours later than planned, but was lucky enough to claim the last bottom bunk. As it turned out this was the smallest camp yet and the dorm did not fill. Some 10 or so cancellations occurred last minute, many from the storms that had ripped through W VA and left destruction behind. I feel for them not only for what the storms wreaked, but for the camp that they missed.
In the bunk across from me was a woman who introduced herself as Watersong. She asked if I had picked a path (there are a group of differing intensives to choose from and you pick one and attend 3 hours/day all week and gain skills, experience, etc., according to the focus) and I told her I was taking the Pearl Pentacle path. I mentioned that it had peaked my interest from the first and nothing thus far had swayed me to another. She asked if I had considered the music path to which I impolitely guffawed.
I mentioned that I couldn’t sing. She scoffed and said that everyone could sing they had just been told from forever that they could not and the music path was partially a way to break down those barriers and also to teach how one to use sound in ritual. I murmured something polite and she said, "You should listen to the path presentations tonight. You do not have to choose until tomorrow and if you stay with Pearl that’s great, but just listen to the other paths." I promised I would and continued to unpack and then *poof* it was time to start camp.
*time reels forward*
Path presentations begin. The facilitators were funny and engaging and I was still on the Pearl path best I could see. The music path got up to present and it was Brook and Watersong. I can only describe it like this: my heart immediately went to them. It was as if a hand reached into my chest and pulled it straight to them and I knew I was taking the music path. I was stunned. I told myself, "Drums! Yay!" and I also told myself to listen to the Pearl presenters because I may get the same reaction. I did not get the same reaction. There was no denying which path I was meant to take and the thought terrified me.
(An interesting side note here: Prior to the Bardic circle where the different paths were presented a number of us were tapped to do the purification of folk as they arrived for the circle. When asked how we should do it both Mir (my one semi-familiar face) and I immediately said, "Tone,’" in unison. Funny, innit? *loves syncronicity*)
But I took the music path in spite of the marrow deep fear. I was inspired, opened and transformed by the skill of the facilitators, the support of the other members, and the opportunities the camp organizers had allowed this year by purposely having the differing paths participate in the nightly rituals. The patience, compassion, and open desire shown by the facilitators to see each of us succeed was overwhelming. Camp organizers and the RATs (ritual arc team) and the Ops team members – all attendees choose a path for the week and everyone appeared thoroughly engaged.
The Advanced Ritual Energetics class had the most people and we got to see their work at nightly rituals and they were amazing. I was fascinated by the responses of people in my affinity group* to their path class. One of the great things about the CUUPs group I co-led for years was the variety of ritual expression employed due to our purposefully diverse focus. For those experiences I am ever grateful. To me the things they were doing were wonderful and not surprising – to them it was new territory – so it was one of many places where I realized I brought a wholly different perspective to camp than many of the others. It was enriching for me and I hope for others.
In subsequent posts I will describe some of the rituals and some things from music path and general camp dynamics. I have no idea how many posts there will be or the time frame of them. It has taken almost 2 weeks for this due to the awful summer flu I brought home with me. I just hope I haven’t lost too many details to the fevers.
Did I mention camp was amazing? It was. *grin*
*Affinity groups were selected by lots and as it was everyone was in the ritual energetics path except me. The group met once per afternoon for about an hour and you could bitch, praise, or simply check-in and go on your way. We designed a singular ritual for our group only, but more on that in another post.
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