Winter Witchcamp 2016 was held Feb 11-15 (year fourteen)
Edgeriders: Age of the Hags (story) and Pentacle of the Great Turning (year 2 of our 3-year theme)
The Teacher and Theme Selection Committee (TTSC) selected the theme Pentacle of the Great Turning to ground our story selection for 3 years, Winter Witchcamp 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The story of “Edgeriders: Age of the Hags” was created as an original graphic novel by a team of writers and artists.
It starts like this: “In the month of February, in the year 2015, the people came. They came to Wisconsin in search of a heart-shaped island in the snow. They came to honor the spirits of the land, with desire for healing and change…”
and it ends like this: “And so we gather… in a place between places and a time between times. Edgeriders, hags, old ones, wise ones. So many of us… gathering together from all corners of the world to discuss the call we have all sensed. Some tell their tales and some listen. We have questions to ask and decisions to make. What can we teach these witches, in their time of need? They yearn for justice. They crave accountability, to the earth and to each other. They are taking the steps and reaching with open hands, hearts, and minds… towards what? Desire, Surrender, Transformation, Solidarity, Manifestation. This is their work. Who of us feels called to join them?”
Download the full graphic novel » (PDF: 8.6MB. It may take some time to load.)
Our teaching team for 2016 was Jennifer Byers (outgoing continuity teacher), Alex Iantaffi (incoming continuity teacher), Morgana, Teri Parsley Starnes, Grady Shiney, horizon, and Willow Firefly Kelly (resource teacher).
2016 Paths were: “Bones and Roots: Body Magic” with Grady and Jennifer; “Edge Magic of the Winter Hag: the Hag Path” with Teri and Morgana; and “Rewilding Sorrow: the Healing Power of Grief” with Alex and horizon.
Winter Witchcamp 2015 (year thirteen): Spirits of the Land (story) and Pentacle of the Great Turning (year 1 of 3-year theme)
The Teacher and Theme Selection Committee (TTSC) selected the theme Pentacle of the Great Turning to ground our story selection for 3 years, Winter Witchcamp 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Winter’s kiss draws me to the heart-shaped island. I cross the isthmus and breathe in, tasting my own gratitude, respect, and learning spirit. I stand still and listen. I know myself as guest. I sense down through the glittering white and revel in earth; in the wonder of soil. I feel the song of sandstone, dolomite and shale, harmonizing with granite, basalt, and quartz-shine. My bones rumble in echo to the stone people.
I offer love and thanks to the land. What is my relationship to it, and to the beings who are here? Do my ancestors have relationship with this place? What has this land given, and what has been taken from it? How do I know and use soil and stone? What does it mean to be a human being in right relationship with this land?
Our teaching team for 2015 was Jennifer Byers (continuity teacher), Copper Persephone (replacing Eddy, who had to withdraw), Riyana Rebecca Sang, Morgana, Ashtare, and Paul Eaves.
Winter Witchcamp 2014 (year twelve): The Magic of Dragons
In the North voices called, “Dragons, dragons, dragons.” Though unknown by many, still the magic of Dragons sang across the ice and snow. The question may be, “Did we call to them or they to us?” This and many other answers do we seek this winter.
As Winter’s kiss draws us down deep we are invited to open our minds and our hearts to the energy of Dragons. There is a need for the power, the wisdom, and the magic of these ancient beings. And perhaps, there is a need for the Dragons to add their heart and passion to the work of this time.
The Dragons who have named themselves to us are the Dragon of Vitality (Red), the Dragon of Treasure (Green), and the Dragon of Mystery (Blue). We will invite them to join us in the Hall of Freya and the Gold Dragon. We will honor them and welcome the gifts they bring.
Our teaching team for 2014 was Jennifer Byers (incoming continuity teacher), River Roberts, Dawn Isadora, Angela Magara (outgoing continuity teacher), Teri Parsley Starnes, and Alex Iantaffi.
Winter Witchcamp 2013 (year eleven): Gathering of Wisdom: Odin’s Initiation
In Freya’s Hall, we come together to explore the mysteries of initiation. As the Nornir guided Odin and many others on an initiation into wisdom, we were guided and inspired by our wonderful teaching team: Birch, Jennifer Byers, Donald Engstrom-Reese, Dawn Isidora, Angela Magara (continuity teacher), and Ravyn Stanfield to explore the varied expressions of initiation.
Winter Witchcamp 2012 (year ten): Marjatta and the Shining Star
From the Northland of Finland, we invite Tapio, the Lord of the Forest, and Mielikki, the Lady of the Wild Creatures, to gather round the hearth fires in Freya’s Hall to hear the tale of Marjatta, a woman who took into herself the red power of life and with Tapio’s and Mielikki’s help, made possible a new era. This story comes from the Kalevala, an epic poem of Finnish folktales.
Our teaching team for 2012 was Angela Magara (incoming continuity teacher), Jennifer Byers, Maggie Ananda (Luckey Bunny), Matt Sweet (outgoing continuity teache), Ravyn Stanfield, and Riyana Sweetwater Moon.
Winter Witchcamp 2011 (year nine): Freyr, the Golden Twin
Freya hosts her brother, her oldest beloved, her divine twin: the golden god Freyr. Come and join us as we meet Freyr, who is called Lord of the Elves, the Golden Boar, and who in days of old was attended by Queer priestesses. We will feast and dance with the god who “bestows peace and pleasure on mortals.” We will fellowship with the god who exchanged his sword for love.
Freyr, we call to you…
Fearless god of fertility—Teach us to care for what we grow, and nourish the seeds of creativity within us.
God of bounty—Be with us as we continue to weave our hearth magics.
Pilot of the great ship that has room enough for all—Journey with us as we explore our connections to community.
Golden Lord of the realm of elves—Speak to us of relations with otherworldly beings.
You who were attended by Queer priestesses—Walk with us as we dare to find our authentic selves.
You who gave your magic sword for love, yet remained a warrior—Open us to be warriors of love and peace.
God of physical delights—Help us remember our luscious embodied selves!
Frey is best
of all the exalted gods
in the Aesir’s courts:
no maid he makes to weep,
no wife of man,
and from bonds looses all.
This year’s teaching team was Saga Brown, Willow Firefly Kelly, Alex Iantaffi, Dawn Isidora, River Roberts, and Matt Sweet (continuity teacher).
Winter Witchcamp 2010 (year eight): Idunn and her Golden Apples
We do not invoke the Trickster lightly . . .
In the realm of the Gods, Idunn tends her orchard and offers the apples of immortality to the Gods, whose dependence on the apples has become unsustainable. Enticed by Loki, Idunn leaves the realm of the Gods and is taken by the giant Thjazi to the land of the Giants. Although Thjazi covets the apples for himself, the apples cannot be taken from Idunn; they must be freely given. Idunn finds herself confronted by a world of primal elements—large forces outside her control. Meanwhile, deprived of the gift of Idunn’s apples, the Gods begin to age. Beloved rivals, Freya and Loki, must deepen their relationship and return Idunn to her orchard. Shapeshifting into flight, they return with Idunn to the orchard open to the possibility of new sustainable systems.
By walking with the Mysterious Ones through this story:
- We accept and celebrate the abundance created by our multiple perspectives.
- We recognize the forces that take us onto the path of destiny.
- We deepen our connection with the land and with the green bloods.
- We reflect on the ways we experience gender.
- We explore sustainability in our lives.
The Teaching Team for 2010 Winter Witchcamp was: Copper Persephone (outgoing continuity teacher), Donald Engstrom-Reese, Dwynnwen, Matt Sweet (incoming continuity teacher), River Roberts, and Seraphina.
Winter Witchcamp 2009 (year seven): Bridget and the Bees
The Hive, the Hearth, the Forge, and the Well
From all across the multiverse we are called to join the magic of fire and ice as Freya and her clan welcome Bridget and Her bees to the 7th annual Winter Witchcamp. From Brigit we learn the mysteries of being Keeper as well as the lessons of the Hive. Using Her tools of Hearth, Forge, and Well we learn to shape our homes and ourselves.
Drops of amber and love honey gather into a stream, a river, a road. We follow. Gathering our pollen and nectar, we move through the portals between the worlds. Climbing Yggdrasil, we come to the Hive, protected within.
Dancing like bees, we enter the Hive, dark, warm, and fragrant. Sinking down into the warm amber honey, we find it filled with the sweetness of clan, of home, and of hearth magic. Seeking the sting of initiation, feeling the fires of the forge, filled with the deep magic of transformation, we encounter the Hive mind. We dare to learn how to hold the other as dearly as the self – to remember the mysteries of the Hive.
Our hopes, dreams and visions for a way of living in collaboration with the earth and Her People take flight, guiding us to a sweeter future.
2009’s Teaching Team included: Copper Persephone (continuity teacher), Angela Magara, Matt Sweet, Jennifer Byers, Charles, and Jude Elf.
Winter Witchcamp 2008 (year six): Walk With Freya
Walking With Freya: A Story Inspired by the Lives of Od and Freya
by Donald Engstrom-Reese, Dianne O’Donnell, and Copper Persephone (2007)
Full story can be found here on Donald’s website.
We walk with Freya,
Step by step,
Searching for that which is hidden,
For that which is concealed
Within ancient memories,
Within the dreams of all possibility,
Within the Now.
Feres walking hand in hand,
Heart to heart,
We search for that
Which is secretly and sensually feeding
The emerging worlds of healing wonder.
Courageously entering Dragon Home,
Built in the heart of Fire and Ice,
We consciously choose to journey
Beyond the realms of duality.
We sing songs of invitation,
Inviting spirit to walk with us,
Deepening into our shared kiss with the Earth,
Celebrating all of life,
Daring to become companions
With the whole of the multiverse.
We walk with Freya.
2008’s Teaching Team included Larry Savides (outgoing continuity teacher), Jennifer Byers, and Jason Johnson Scarecrow (as resource teacher) co-leading the Path: Priestessing the Elements of Ritual; Chelidon and Matt Sweet co-leading the Path: Sounds of Devotion: Rhythm, music, and song in service to the gods and community; Selchie and Copper (incoming continuity teacher) co-leading the Path: Freyja’s Dance: Healing ourselves Healing the earth.
Winter Witchcamp 2007 (year five): The World Tree
Each winter, our emerging clan gathers in Freya’s hall to celebrate and explore Mystery. Freya, the Norns, Loki, Fenrir, Tyr, the Mississippi, Elvis, along with many other Mysterious Ones and Ancestors join us to witness and support the continuing magical work of Winter Camp. We carry the intentions of a community who co-create with each other and with Mystery.
In the deep of Winter 2007 we invite you to Freya’s Hall to celebrate the World Tree in all its manifestations. Named Yggdrasil, Oak, the Tree of Knowledge, Idunna’s Apple Tree, the Garden of Eden, the Huluppu Tree; some say that at its roots spring the wells that feed all of the waters of the worlds. Some tales speak of Three Wise Sisters who live at its base. Others, that this mighty, magical tree spreads its roots, branches and twigs into all the realms. We have heard that it is the abode of dragons and that it gives enough fruit to feed all beings in all of the worlds. Some say winds sing sacred songs in its ever changing leaves while Spider weaves her webs from branch to branch. Such bounty of magic will be ours to explore.
We wonder what tales will spring to life for us in this land and with the Mysterious ones who reside in our bio-region of the Upper Mississippi. What tales will resonate to ring truth for us who gather this February? Let us come together, all who hear the Trees call, to joyfully and courageously explore the stories of the World Tree and learn the Wisdom of Wood.
The 2007 Teaching Team was Larry Savides (continuity teacher) and Willow Kelly co-leading the Path: Blazing Columns of Light Between Earth and Heaven; Christine Larson and Dawn Isidora co-leading the Path: The Well of Wisdom; Angela Magara and Jennifer Byers co-leading the Magician’s Path.
Winter Witchcamp 2006 (year four): Mysterious Ones of the Bio-Region
This rich mid-west land is alive with Mystery, visible and unseen. Mississippi River, White Pine, Burr Oak, Eagle, Raccoon, Thunderbird, Water Panther, Prairie Wind, Grass Fire, Glacier, Granite, and Limestone are some of their names. These Mysterious Ones all have stories to tell—the great slow tides of ice that covered and carved—the Rivers that feed from and flow through this land — the Edges where river meets land, grasslands meet forest, farms and towns meet the wild. New beings and new ways have rolled across this landscape as well. Who has come? Who has gone? Who has come back again and again? We humans are part of this grand story. What have we brought? Who are the ancestors and Mysterious Ones that have found their home here?
What Stories are we living now about our relationship to this land? Join us for Winter Camp 2006, as we gather together in Freyja’s Hall to explore the mysteries and stories of this sacred land.
The 2006 Teaching Team was Teri Parsley-Starnes (outgoing continuity teacher) and Claudia Manifest co-leading the Path: Living in the Moment; Larry Savides (incoming continuity teacher) and Crystalline Ruby Muse leading the Path: Aligning, Attuning and Earth Healing with the Intelligences of Nature; Willow and Wolfe co-leading the Path: The Dance of Desire Lives Here! Christine Larson was resource teacher.
Winter Witchcamp 2005 (year three): Freya
The 2005 Teaching Team was Chelidon and Claudia Manifest co-leading the Path: The Art and Craft of Ritual; Anna Gibson and Copper Persephone co-leading the Path: Warriors of the Heart; and Teri Parsley Starnes (continuity teacher) and Larry Savides co-leading the Path: Relationship with Mystery.
Winter Witchcamp 2004 (year two): Tyr & the Binding of Fenrir
Join us on this timeless journey from the past and into our future as we explore a story for all time. Community, responsibility, betrayal, self-sacrifice, paradox and other themes of current concern come to life in the Norse myth of Tyr and the binding of Fenrir, the Great Wolf. Our intention is to explore the shadows of our inner landscape and discover how we each must choose what to sacrifice, what to bind, which oaths to keep and which to break as we strive to manifest the culture we envision.
The 2004 Teaching Team was Smith (Sunray) and Rebecca Farrell (Feral) co-leading the Path: Sacred Rhythms; Gwenyth Brigit Dwyn and Teri Parsley-Starnes (incoming continuity teacher) co-leading the Path: Experiential Lessons in Authentic Community; and Paul Eaves & Teresa Roberts (River) co-leading the Path: Ecstasy as the Healer.
Winter Witchcamp 2003 (year one): Tyr & the Little Norns
The Little Norns
By Donald Engstrom
On the morning that the twins Lena and Sven, were born, the Little Norns, (some call them the Guardian Angels) came for their first visit. There the six sisters stood gazing in wonder at the life so newly come to Midgard. Each of the human twins had their own three Little Norns, one a daughter of the Aesir, one a daughter of the Light Elves, and one a daughter of the Dark Elves, which are also called the Dwarfs. All of the Little Norns are the daughters of the Three Sisters, the Norns Urd, Verdandi and Skuld and understand quite well the lessons that their Mothers taught them. They understand the Mysteries of Fate, that is that every choice has consequences that form our futures in this life and in all of the realms.
‘What gifts shall we give to these children?’ one of the Light Norns asked. ‘How shall we protect them?’ one of the Aesir Norns asked.‘How will we encourage them to grow in power and understanding?’ one of the Dark Norns asked. It is said that three of the Little Norns come to claim and protect every infant at it’s birth. It is said that the Little Norns bring humanchildren their first gifts, gifts that will guide, yet broaden that person’s choices through out it’s life. From many folks’ perspective, some of the gifts seem good, while some of the gifts seem bad. Many though, understand that they are neither good nor bad, they are simply gifts to nurture the overall growth of the human child.
‘I shall give Lena clear sight and an tender heart.’ said one of the Light Norns. ‘I shall give Lena a deep understanding of how all things work.’said one of the Aesir Norns. ‘I shall give Lena the courage to walk through the darkest of places and to come out whole.’ said one of the Dark Norns. ‘I shall give Sven the joy of life beyond all measure.’ said the other Light Norn. I shall give Sven the ability to see the truth and to know when to speak and when to remain silent.’ said the other Aesir Norn. ‘I shall give Sven the beauty of a god.’ said the other Dark Norn.
‘Now, let us see how our beautiful ones choose to join the world of life and change.’ said one of the Light Norns. ‘Let us stay close, giving our delightful ones comfort and protection.’ said one of the Aesir Norns. ‘Let us sing the songs of Mystery to our wonderful ones.’ said one of the Dark Norns. ‘ Let us all give them a clear understanding of what it is to be a Co-creator of the Multiverse.’ they all said together, And so they did.
The Norns stayed with the twins through out their whole lives, giving them gifts now and then as they saw fit. When Lena was six, she was given the gift of a broken arm. When Sven was 14, he was given the gift of a broken heart. When Lena was 16, she was given a permanent place at the Table of Abundance. When Sven was 17, he was given the courage to follow his dreams no matter what the cost. When Lena was 19, she was given a precious baby for a year and a month. She was then given six long lived children which gave her 15 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren before she died. When Sven was 28, he was given a second chance and he choose to embrace the love of his life. The two men lived together for the rest of their days. When Lena was 32, she was given the gift of second sight. Some thought she had become a witch. When Sven was 36 he was given the gift of healing touch. Some thought that he was a miracle worker. When Lena was 48, she received the gifts of widowhood. When Sven was 53, while on a business trip, he witnessed the mass murder of war in a strange land among strangers. When the twins turned 60, they were counted as two of the wise and held in high regard in their communities. In the end, the Little Norns gave each of the twins the departing gift of death, sending them on to the next road of their great adventures we call existence.
The 2003 Teaching Team was Zoe RedBear, Donald Engstrom, Paul Eaves, and Teresa Roberts (River).