It's Valentine's Day and they're talking about desire at winter witch camp. I know this, even though I'm not thered. I wish I were. Don't you? Don't you wish you were on a heart-shaped island in the middle of a frozen lake with huge, bare trees and unbelievably starry skies? Don't you sort of wish you were in a hall dedicated to the goddess of desire, in Freya’s hall, with the wall of windows looking across the snowy forest, the ice, the light of sunrise or stars? If we were there, and it were nighttime ritual, there would be around 80 witches, Beautiful he's and she's and zee' s and they's -- Everyone on the gender spectrum dressed for magic and ready to sing, be silent, be deep, howl and laugh and laugh and laugh. All kinds of love.
I had to bail this year because the back says “no airplanes.” It’s okay, tonight I am going to Karaoke instead and I’m going to sing “Here comes the Sun,” to my friend Kimberly for her birthday, and get the bar to put her name in the chorus.
But part of my heart is still there, on that snowy island, and I know they are talking about desire. This is the first year of their three-year devotion to the pentacle of the Great Turning. (The geniuses at Free Camp created this pentacle to accompany Johanna Macy’s description of the turning point of our world.)
Don’t freak out at the word ‘pentacle’!! It is nothing more than a beautiful symbol for the magic cycle of life. Nothing more than life and death and whatever mystery keeps it turning. Nothing more than an amazing, incredibly powerful way to use that cycle as a tool for personal and global transformation.
So don’t freak out.
In pentacle work, you name the five points of the star, differently according to the purpose of the magic you are working…this is the reason that I know that they are talking about Desire tonight at witchcamp: Desire is the first point on this pentacle of amazing change, which makes sense doesn’t it? We begin with desire. Astrologer extraordinaire Teri Parsely Starnes worked up the stars for this weekend, and here’s what she says about desire:
The planets of desire are Mars and Venus... When Mars and Venus come together there is a new seeding in the realm of Beauty, Pleasure, Will, and Desire. These planets are nearing that seed time, which will come on Feb. 21 when Venus and Mars conjoin at 1 degree Aries. That seed will be fiery and dynamic at an important degree to initiate new things. Right now, we are dreaming into what Desire is revealing to us from our intuitions and open compassionate hearts. Sometimes opening to Desire brings up vulnerability and pain when we dare to desire the truly magnificent thing in our hearts. Some of us may encounter that. We have the opportunity to move past it. Let us not turn away from what we truly desire just because it feels vulnerable. Dreaming and feeling are important ways to open to desire right now.
Okay. I’ll try that. I’ll try being super vulnerable while we’re on the subject of Valentine’s, say I sometime soon I’ll want a lover who I am crazy for, and who is crazy for me… wait… Scratch that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 20 years of being a witch, it’s that you want to choose your words with care. Scratch “crazy.” How about “amazed by” and “amused by” instead?
But right now, what I want most is not romantic love. It is the surrounding love of community, the seeing and being seen and laughing creativity of making art and ritual together.
That kind of love is at winter witch camp. Maybe right now, they are reading the prayer beads that this community created together over many years. And there is a refrain to these beads:
“Winters kiss draws us down deep. We are not alone.”
We are not alone… That's what Valentine's Day is really about… that we are not alone and that our not-alone-ness is created by more than just first dates. I am in love with my little boy, my full moon circle, my mom friends, the wild green earth, my own little garden, The Beatles, short hair after years of fucking with long tresses, Jezebel.com, acrylic paints, legal recreational marijuana, my dog’s lolling tongue, and the way the Indian plums are blooming right on time down by Longfellow Creek where, today, their white flowers were dotted through the dark green wood like Freya, Lady of Winter and Desire, had scattered stars in broad daylight just for Valentine’s Day, when I am far from my beloved witches, but close to so much else that I love, which is all I need.
As The Beatles said.