Wild Ginger

A couple of you have asked me to talk a little bit about Wild Ginger Witch Camp. It’s my only big trip for the year, keeps me out of my routine for most of two weeks, and so I suppose it’s only right that I should say something about an event that’s such a big part of my life.

This year’s camp was smallish, fifty-two campers instead of the eighty-to-ninety-some we’ve had other years. I loved it; there was time to spend with most of the people there, which isn’t true in years when there are eighty or so.

Every camp has a theme, often a story, but not always. Camp structure is usually: breakfast, path (small learning groups, usually about something related to the theme of camp) lunch, affinity groups (where people get to talk about how camp is going for them), free time, supper, ritual, after-ritual snack, bedtime.

“Ritual” can be a scary word for people, conjuring up (conjuring – there’s another scary one!) human sacrifice and all kinds of weird stuff. Nope – sorry. Yes, we build sacred space at the beginning of each ritual, casting a circle and calling in the elements and the deities, but then we often do meditation, songs and chants, and have some kind of lesson or work around the theme. We sometimes dance. Then we dismiss the deities and elements and take down the circle. People sometimes dress up for ritual, although I didn’t this year – I was in charge of the fire, and a T-shirt and pants made more sense than a robe.

This year we had extra rituals instead of path, and I found it a bit wearing. It was extra work for me as the firekeeper, and ritual also requires a different, and usually more intense, energy than path. Still, it was interesting and at times even fun. I’m not sure how much detail to go into about the whole experience, really. Some of it is confidential – not my story to tell. Some of it might sound trivial – the delicious chicken dinner we had on Friday night, and the fun of the raffle, which raises money to help campers attend when they can’t afford the full fee.

I learned to do watercolour – or at least had a chance to play with it – thanks to Petr, who brought a stack of small pieces of watercolour paper, some tubes of colour and some brushes. If anyone looked over his shoulder and said “That looks like fun”, or something, Petr would hand them paper and brush and invite them to try. I learned that watercolour works best when you let go of control a bit. That’s something I still find hard to do in my life, and learning to do it in a small way, with the paint on wet paper, was enlightening.

There was lots of good food, as always, and I was happy to have time with people I see only at this event. It was also good to do ritual with others; I’m solitary most of the time, and group ritual is a novelty.

That was my weekend at Wild Ginger. I’ll have more to say about it in a later post. I missed David, and Sky, and Spook, and I’m glad to be back and easing again into my regular routine.

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