Sunday, 4 July 2010

At the Witch Camp - Day One

Solstice rites. The tents of many colours. Dragon kite circles high  in the chill breeze. An igloo tent with a pentagram flag. A faint throb of reggae. We're on a high windy plateau   under rolling grey cloud overlooking Trawden.  Warwick at the barbecue by the gate makes me a complimentary bacon sarnie. Ade, the instigator,  pagan promoter, lean and brown in combat trousers, races around the site, meeting and greeting and  glad-handing, raising the vibe.

Others wander more slowly, faery ladies in diadems  and  cloaks patterned with sigils. A little girl in a crown. Is this Crowley's  "crowned and conquering child"?  Men and women bear  staffs and crooks. Several men display complex tattoos, celtic mazes or nordic runes scored deep across tanned flesh.   Some cluster around Runic John's Apothecary Tent. He may have mighty exotic  herbs, shamanic plants like the legendary ayawasca that briefly  opens  a crack in the universe, and I ought to ask him but I'm too timid and sensible, which might, of course, be my ultimate damnation, who knows...

I request , instead, a Tarot reading from Maggy, softly spoken, fifty-something.  She uses the Waite pack. "I don't like the Crowley one.  He had such an ego. All "do what thou wilt". He forgot "but harm none..."  She fans the cards across the rugs of her tent.  The Hierophant is prominent. I like the look of that. Apparently I'm carrying a heavy work load at present - but coping.  My past contains an inverted Sun, an internal tension to be resolved - but it's soluble. There could be synchronicities ticking away here. As if the bright little icons  on the cards illuminated some flickering tableau  glimpsed  for an instant  in her brain-forest.

Druids summon us to form a circle at the centre of the camp, where the four points of the compass are staked out in the rough grass.  They're opening the camp with a salute to the elements and the ancestors. The sky is clearing. Vapour trails from distant rumbling jets  form a wavering geometry. I'm seeking omens - a tangled pentagram?

Some wiccan women have gathered near  the speaker's  tent to hear a ribald gypsy tale from Jos, a local story teller and gatherer of folk-lore.  The light's failing and it's too dark to read under canvas inside, so they sit outside  on a circle of rickety chairs. They're very jolly, like bawdy ladies  on  a night out as depicted by Beryl Cooke.  The fable, of Indian origin, recounts how a  princess is pleasured by  both a subtle lover and a generously endowed husband. It is read with relish, amid knowing laughs and much swigging of wine. The sisterhood clap their hands  at this tale of female fulfilment.

Camp fires are being lit as the night falls.  But  I'm not equipped for camping and retreat, via taxi, to a B &B in Colne for  ensuite shower and full English breakfast....

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