I’ve been away from this blog for a while. Hit my August 2 commitment and split, I guess. Partly because of the relationship thing I wrote about last time. And partly because I wasn’t sure what was next…
But Witch Camp helped. It always does.
This year’s BC Witch Camp story was about the wild and Artemis and Apollo. A rewriting of the myth of the Orion constellation, with a homophobic twist. It was a pretty fucked-up story actually, a tale of betrayal and murder and loss.. Woo-hoo! Vacation! But there was a drumming path and there was also the community I love: the crones and young activists and gender equality warriors and fey worshippers and earth magicians and just regular weirdos like me. I love being around people who are letting themselves actually be who they are. I love walking around witchcamp and seeing people wearing glitter and animal ears and Tshirts that say “Don’t let the muggles get you down.” (Don’t you feel like that is a useful idea every single day?)
Also, I love going to drumming class and seeing panties fall out of people’s drums.
I put them there. It had to be done! On the first day of class, River Roberts told a story of the amazing Starhawk, drummer extraordinaire and a founder of the Reclaiming tradition, drumming in a ritual and realizing that her drum sounded a little… off. She reached in and found a pair of panties, which she promptly tossed over her shoulder as she continued to drum. The show must go on! Or the ritual… or whatever. Anyway, toward the end of camp, I was rooting around in the funk trunk, our camp’s witchy garage sale/ costume tent, and I found a cardboard box full of brand new panties. All kinds. Giant leopard briefs. Tiny hot pink G-strings, and a pair of red and blue and yellow itty-bitty men’s briefs with “Deutschland” across the front in block letters. Right there, all those riches in my hot little hands. I mean, it was a sign, right? Who am I to ignore the dictates of the Goddess of drums and second-hand underwear?
So the next day at break, my friends Horizon and Pasha and I stuffed panties in everyone’s drums.
At the end of break, we began with a little drum jam. People put their big ole djembe drums between their knees. They tucked their doumbeks into their waists and we started to rock and I avoided Horizon’s eyes and looked away from Pasha while my heart was hitting the base along with my hands. Who was going to notice? We rocked on. Maybe no one would… Maybe it was just going to be a bust… or should I say a bum??
Then someone said “Wait… Wait! Why are there panties all over the floor?”
Because, you know, a lot of them had fallen out when people picked up their drums.
And then people started to get it, started pointing at one, two, three undies in little piles.
Did I mention that a fair number of them were hot pink and have words on them? Like “Excite me”?
Then someone reached into their drum and laughed, and then another, and another, and then the room was rocking with laughter, it’s own kind of drum beat, and shouts of “They are everywhere!” and “Oh my God, look at these!” and then they started to look around. “Who did this?” “Who was it?” I put on my most innocent face and looked around too but I still couldn’t look at Pasha or Horizon and the calls for responsibility grew louder and then Horizon started laughing. She has the best laugh and I can’t resist it at the best of times and at that moment… well, my face just broke and someone across the circle pointed at me and cried “Look at Ember! Ember did it!!”
(Ember is my camp name. Isn’t it fine? You can have one too. I’m just saying.)
Anyway. The jig was up. But the smiles stayed. They stayed through the rest of path and through the ritual that night and the next, the final night of camp. I’m not saying it was because of the undies, though. We had reached the point of camp where the singing is so good and the group feels like family and the magic is everywhere. Plus the talent show had been amazing and we were skinnydipping in the lake almost every day and, and, and… well, drum panties were kind of beside the point by then.
Speaking of points, I have one. Or rather, I asked for one. On the last night of camp, we did a ritual to draw down the moon and fill our wild hearts and I stood outside, reaching up toward Her, toward the black and pointed tops of the fir trees, which were waving in the twisted and pearly clouds as the trees too reached for the Moon. I thrust my roots deep and flung my chest open and I asked Artemis, Moon Goddess and Lady of the Wild, I asked her to help me take all that I’ve learned in this long journey back to wholeness, and turn it into a new venture…
Btw: I like the word “venture.” Don’t you? So I just looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The first definition is “Fortune, luck; chance.” Which sounds pretty good to me. Especially the fortune part. But here’s the really cool thing: the examples, with all their crazy olde spelliinges, kept referring to bows and shots. Look: “A certaine man drew a bow at a venture” from the year 1611, and “They should rather fire at a Venture” from 1720 and “ ‘And your mother was an Indian,’ said Lady Jane, drawing her bow at a venture” from 1886.
This is cool because when I stood under that full moon, asking the Goddess for Her help, I asked for an arrow. I mean, if you are speaking to the Goddess as Archer, might as well use her language, right?
This is the real reason I went to BC Witch Camp. Because camp always always helps return me to my own path, to the place where I can see again how to move forward. Before I went this year, I had wasn’t sure how the story would deliver that, but I had a lot of faith that somehow, mystery would. That somehow, I would come home with a lightened step and at least an inkling of how to take all that I’ve learned in this long journey back to wholeness, and turn it into a new venture.
And as usual, I got it. I can’t quite spell it out yet, but that’s okay. I can feel it now. The arrow, that is. Something at my back that aches to fly, to speed toward a new horizon.
I can tell you this, though. I have a bag of panties left over from camp, and I am not afraid to use them.
(Karaoke rock stars, you have been warned.)