We are blessed this year to have a team of 8 Path teachers and 1 Resource teacher to support exploration of the descent of Inanna.
To see 2018 Paths go here
I have been living in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, on Dakota and Anishinabeg land since 2008, in the Powderhorn neighborhood, in South Minneapolis. I honor the continued existence and resistance of the Dakota and Anishinabeg people on this land, I honor their elders, and I am committed to keep asking myself why am I here, as a new immigrant to this land, and how can I best be an accomplice to Indigenous leadership and movements, while also knowing that whatever I do can never be enough to address the atrocities inflicted by settler colonialism on the people of this land. I honor the ongoing questions of how to be in relationship with this land, its history, the people and my spiritual community. I honor the liminal space of being not Anglo yet living in skin that enabled me to benefit from white privilege and white supremacy for the past nine years, that is since moving to Turtle Island.
I call Winter Witchcamp and UMR Reclaiming (https://upper-mississippi-river-reclaiming.org/) my home communities. My first call into Reclaiming community was through British Reclaiming in 2004. Before then, I had practiced what I would now call eclectic Paganism, including Reclaiming and Feri based magic, while searching for hearth and kin. I honor my Reclaiming teachers, initiators and mentors. I also honor my Catholic teachers and mentors growing up.
I was brought up in Rome, Italy and spent all my summers and high holidays in Francofonte, Sicily, where my mom comes from, and where my strongest cultural, linguistic, and spiritual roots belong. I honor all my ancestors, known and unknown: the ancestors from Slovakia, and many more places in Eastern Europe, the Roma ancestors and all the ancestors I did not have as much relationship with growing up because the disconnect of displacement had already happened. I also honor all the ancestors of queerness, craft and struggle who walked paths both within and beyond my genetic heritage.
I have always felt close to Mysterious Ones and their various manifestations. The temples, sacred sites and stories of mainly Roman and Greek deities were part of my daily landscape and whispered promises of other times and places where polytheism was possible, and when gender-bending femininity and queerness were seen as sacred. The Norse mysterious ones and the runes called to me for a long time but were not immediately accessible to me. It was when I came to Winter Camp in 2005 following Freya’s call, that I found meaning, acceptance and home for that calling.
I consider myself a heathen witch, devoted to Queer Spirit, Freya, Proserpina and Isis, and deepening my relationships with Ganesha and Kwan Yin as daily companions, as well as other Mysterious Ones, such as the Bears, the Bees, the Dragons, and the Ass/Donkey clans.
I am committed to nurturing my relationships to ancestors of blood, spirit, craft, and healing, and treasure my descendants of blood, spirit, craft, and healing. I am a trans masculine, non-binary, genderqueer, Reclaiming Feri and Queer Mysteries initiate, parent, mentor, family therapist, scholar, priestess, immigrant, community organizer and writer, who strives to live an integrated life and has a life-long passion for social justice and healing justice. My hearth and communities are central to my life and practices, and I feel deeply honored and grateful to be serving as continuity teacher for my beloved WWC community for a third year. I honor the call for and of Inanna and I wonder what lessons await us as a community as we explore our relationship to her and the story of her descent into the Underworld.
I am born of the coastal land of the Ohlone people and the vibration of that place resonates in my bones as Home. In my school years, my family moved East, across the bay to rolling golden hills dotted with Live Oaks, beneath the ever-circling red tailed hawks – home of the Saklan people. As beautiful as that land is, I yearned for the place of my birth and returned to San Francisco as soon as I was able. In 1989, I was washed north by one of the early waves of that city’s prosperity. Unable to afford housing in my hometown, full of grief and homesickness, I made my new home on the side of a dormant volcano in the beautiful green and grey land of the Multnomah and Clackamas Chinook people, now called Portland, Oregon. I have raised my two sons here, gardened in this dense, rich clay soil – so different from the thin layer of sandy soil atop sandstone native to the Ohlone and Saklan peoples. I live in the shadow of tall straight Douglas Firs and awake to the sound of crows and if the red tailed hawks of my childhood fly overhead, I cannot see them thru the trees. I honor my ancestors of Place.
My ancestors of blood are of Jewish and Romani (better known by English speaking people by the exonym ‘Gypsy”) descent. Before they worshipped a God who would not be named, a God who asked that no other be worshipped before Him, my ancestors worshipped many Goddesses and Gods of Sumerian, Babylonian and Mesopotamian origins: Inanna, Ereshkigal and Enki, among many others. My Romani ancestors come from Northern India – modern day Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. They brought with them many Goddesses and Gods from that land of 330,000,000 Gods; among them Mata Kali (Black Mother) who is still worshipped as Sara e Kali (Sara the Black) and as St. Sara – patron saint of the Romani people. Even before the millennia of persecution and diaspora, my peoples were nomadic – following the scarce water in dry, dry land. I honor my ancestors of Blood.
I came to the Reclaiming Tradition in the early 80’s while still living in San Francisco. Drawn to it’s feminist ideals and pantheistic approach, along with an Earth-based spirituality that centered civil liberties and environmental activism – I found my spiritual home. My first teacher of Elements of Magic and other core classes was Rose May Dance. I have learned from many over the years in particular my friends, and coven-mates: Lilith, Scott Mist and Kate Flint. My first witchcamp path teachers were Ruby (of the West) and Aurora Joy and my most recent path teachers were Copper Persephone and Seraphina – there have been many in between. I have been initiated in Reclaiming and the Anderson Feri Traditions (Trisket lineage). I continue to learn from the many insightful and talented folks who people our communities across this beautiful planet. I honor my teachers, my community and my ancestors of Spirit. Dawnisidora.com
I hear the call to listen, to journey deep, to challenge our own narratives, assumption and biases, to show up able to mistakes and keep engaging, and to return from that journey awake and aware…again, and again, and again…
I honor the stories of my ancestors. In the night, Grandpa spun his stories until he fell asleep. I lay awake dreaming under the blanket of stars he’d spread over me.
From my maternal grandfather, an immigrant from Corato, Bari, Italy, the love of storytelling and stargazing.
From the rest of my mother’s people, from Scotland, maybe England, details lost in silence, in the absence of stories spoken.
From my maternal and paternal lines, complicated stories, colonizers and family violence, pain and resilience.
From my Grandmother Penny, wordless stories from her skilled hands: how to watch things grow; how to cook, how to swim.
I honor the stories of the land where I live.
I honor the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the ancestral lands of the Dakota.
I honor the urban earth on which I make my hearth-home with queer and chosen kindred.
I honor storytelling and poetry, embodied prayer.
I honor the stories and divinity particular to a place.
I honor showing up. To be present is to be in relationship to the truth of here/there, now/then: To be present is to be curious, accountable, teachable.
I honor practical magical resistance to capitalist, white supremacist, American imperialism.
I honor the healers, the change-makers, the activists, and the edgewalkers.
I honor my spiritual teachers: Gloria, Donald, Jan, Starhawk, Riyana, Copper, Alex, Yarrow— a sacred spiral of embodied stories, of tending community ecosystems.
I honor my self, my disabled, queer, trans, storytelling, poet-priestess, fabulously flawed self.
I honor the descendants.
I honor listening for the stories just beginning.
I hear, in the Innana story, an invitation to listen deeply to the old stories, the now stories, our own stories, emerging stories. Listen for right-relationship: to the Northwoods, to the Mississippi River Valley, to Mesopotamia, to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. How will we work with this story not just from the ancestral but for the descendants, living and making magic in service of those who may someday remember our stories?
I desire spaces where we tend ourselves and each other with loving kindness and integrity. I believe in calling ourselves and each other in to the work, rather than calling others out. I’m committed to having the hard conversations. There is a beautiful humility in holding ourselves and each other accountable with compassion.
I honor the ancestors of the lands on which I was born and have lived: the Sauk,Ojibwe, and the Fox in Michigan; the Kickapoo, Erie, and Shawnee in Ohio; and the Chumash and the Pomo in California. I honor those that came before me, those that remain today, and those who are lost to time. I honor you.
I honor my ancestors of blood from the neck of the Rhine River in Germany, from a small farm in Zusenhofen in Baden-Württemberg. I honor the farmers who tilled the land and who came over to the United States before the World Wars. I honor the women of my family who always worked outside the home. A great-grandmother who opened a sewing shop on her own and who worked to feed her family, as told to me by my late mother, herself a teacher. I honor the ones who came over and settled in Missouri and Illinois, the ones who would continue to farm the land until the land could give no more. Until their bodies could give no more. I honor you.
I honor my ancestors of spirit and my many teachers in the craft. I honor the godds who have called my name – Aphrodite, Artemis, Inanna, Hecate, Iris, and the Norns. I honor my Elements teachers: Copper Persephone and Diana Melisabee. I honor my Reclaiming initiators. I honor my many mentors, teachers, co-teachers, and conspirators. I give thanks to my covens, then and now, for magick and beauty, for the willingness to navigate the challenges of relationship, and for sharing the tears of loss. I honor you.
I give thanks to the journey of Inanna. I offer gratitude for the gifts of the underworld and the way the deep journey has granted me capacity, strength, and compassion. I am honored to be teaching at Winter Witchcamp and I thank you for inviting me to your table.
www.irisanya.com / http://paganbloggers.com/irisanya
Jane Meredith is an author and ritualist who lives in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia. Her books include ‘Journey to the Dark Goddess’, ‘Circle of Eight: Creating Magic for Your Place on Earth’ and ‘Magic of the Iron Pentacle: Reclaiming Sex, Pride, Self, Power & Passion’ (co-authored with Gede Parma). She has a long and abiding relationship with both the myth and the goddesses Inanna and Ereshkigal. Jane’s ancestral lineage is European – French from her matrilineal and Polish Jew from her patrilineal line. Her delights include myth and magic, trees, rivers, white cockatoos and dark chocolate. CloudCatcher WitchCamp is her home Camp and she has been involved with it from its very beginning. Jane teaches Reclaiming Core Classes and her own work worldwide and by distance course. Her website is www.janemeredith.com
In the mid-1600’s, my eighth great-grandfather left Cornwall to settle in a small fishing community along the Chesapeake Bay in colonial Maryland. Over the next 300 years, generations of my ancestors lived and died there until my grandparents began spending their summers operating a small restaurant in a tiny beach town 70 miles away. There I grew up on 40 sweet and wild acres nestled along Maryland’s coastal bays where I spent my childhood running free in the marsh, playing with fiddler crabs, and listening to the murmurs of the wind through the tall reeds. In that place my Witchcraft was born, closely partnered with the Spirits and Beings who, whether seen or unseen, were deeply felt.
My love and care for the gentle land of the Eastern Shore of Maryland is deep and runs through my blood, and yet I know this land did not, and will never, belong to me. These were the traditional lands of the Nanticoke, Assateauge, Choptank, Wicomico, and Pocomoke tribes. These tribes were decimated by illness and violence, with surviving members forced to assimilate into European society or join other tribes.
These days, as an urban witch, I serve the fierce Spirits and Beings of a very different place, a place where the soil is corrupted with lead and the water choked with raw sewage. My home, Baltimore, sits on traditional hunting lands of the Susquehannocks, a tribe driven into extinction by Europeans who moved onto this stolen land. Today the land is being stolen again by real estate developers and the politicians who serve them in the name of gentrification. My devotion to this city is tied up with my awareness that, historically, being loved and desired by white people can be fatal for a neighborhood, a region, a continent, its people and animals. I am trying to teach myself, and my ancestors and descendants, how to love without having to possess.
I am grateful and honored to be a member of Reclaiming since Samhain 2012, and look forward to widening my network of beloveds with this first visit to Winter Witchcamp. May the magic we craft together inspire resistance and foment revolution! www.jessicadreamer.org
I live in the ancestral lands of the many Wintun and Patwin peoples. Today, some of these peoples are known to us as Coast Miwok and Suisun. I honor their ancestors. And I thank the spirits of place for joining me in right relationship. This land is the northeastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Yet my place of birth, southeastern Massachusetts, is the lands of my grandmother’s ancestral people, the Wampanoag; “People of the First Light”. It is a place where freed black slaves found embrace in the remnants of the local indigenous communities. It is also the land where my mother’s Cape Verdean immigrant ancestors first arrived. So, though I live on the coast of the Pacific, the land spirits of Massachusetts and the water spirits of Cape Cod periodically draw me back.
My bio-cultural heritage combines African American, Cape Verdean, Wampanoag, Irish, West Indian, and much more. Yet my identity is something else.
I am Preston Vargas. I am a Reclaiming witch and priest-ess. I am an Aborisha in my Orisha community and Ile. I am a mesa carrier and shamanic healer. I am a black man. A queer man. I am an anti-oppression scholar and activist. I am an artist of the spirits.
I undulate in the rhythms of co-creation with the gods, ancestors, spirits, animals, plants, humans, devas, and our shadows to heal our fragmented selves and communities. As a storyteller and oracular artist, I am sensitive to the unheard stories of not only people but the other-than-human world as well. And I enjoy exploring how humans navigate through the lenses of their own experiences, engage their creative talents, and re-present these stories for healing and transformation.
And after working for over a decade in mental health and substance abuse counseling I have developed a dynamic balance of being of service and playfully enjoying the richness of life.
I have been practicing magic and facilitating group rituals for 20 years. My ancestors are ever present in my journey. My ritual practice is a blend of witchcraft, shamanic inspiration, ancestral medicine training, Orisha guidance, hoodoo, sorcery, and Fey magic. It is interwoven with the knowledge I developed in my postgraduate degrees in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness as well as Transformative Studies.
The gifts I offers from my training in indigenous ancestral healing traditions are tempered with healing justice, my awareness of privileged power dynamics and my commitments to anti-oppression. I am imperfect and ever-growing. Overall, I believe that the actions we make can stretch backward in time to heal the wounds of all our relations and stretch forward in time to manifest the best possible future.
I am a dancer by nature, a witch at heart and a Jew by heritage. My ancestors hail from Germany and Russia. I have lived in many bio-regions across the United States. I was born in Massachusetts; spent my young childhood on Long Island, New York; grade school and teenager years in Minnesota; and young adulthood in New Mexico, Northern California and Puget Sound. I now call the Upper Mississippi River Valley home, land of the Dakota and Anishinaabe. I am mindful of the meaning of being “white” living in a country built upon slavery and colonization. I hold the complexity and challenge of speaking of injustices without causing continued harm.
After years of being an eclectic witch, I was drawn to Reclaiming as it blended my spiritual and political beliefs. My regular practice includes meditation and embodied movement. Mystery awes me. Nature calls to me. The green bloods speak to me. The elements are my guides – In the winter I dance with fire in honor of Brighid, in the summer I dance for the healing of the waters through Global Water Dances. Once living in despair, I am now living spiritually awake.
I am a member of the Upper Mississippi River Reclaiming teaching group. Outside of Reclaiming, I work in environmental health, where I am committed to the principles of environmental justice. I am studying to be a dance movement therapist and I facilitate movement based workshops at queer, recovery and pagan events.
I have attended Winter Witchcamp since the very first camp. I am honored to return in the capacity of teacher and excited to explore the story of Inanna’s descent with you. My hope and desire is that the descent of Inanna will lead us to our own stories and paths of self-identification, to knowing ourselves, and give us resources for balance and integration, despite all the forces that could derail and destroy us.
I give honor and thanks to the first people of the Patwin, Wintun, and the Miwok. We say, “Oooh, to the teachings, songs and medicine” we share. I honor the land and the people and am blessed to share in the sacred circles that are our homes. I am a Mexican American Indian (Aztec, Apache, Cherokee) and Irish woman. My grandfather’s and grandmother’s peoples lived in Californian and New Mexico before it was part of the United States. My red hair, fair skin and blue eye reflect my Irish heritage where I have a deep connection to the land thru the Mother Danu, whom is the Land, Sea and Sky. I find no conflict in the two paths I walk. In respect and honor, these two paths are not mixed, though they share many similarities.
I am committed to working energy from a place of Love. As a scientist and a witch, I use my knowledge and intuitive understanding of matter, systems, and energy to reach higher and higher states of ecstasy, bonding with the divine in all. I find no conflict between the facts of science and the mystery of magick; instead, I uses this alchemical formula to enhance my abilities to heal, priestess and change consciousness and reality at will.
Having studied since I was 10yrs old and identified as a witch for over 23 yrs, teaching and priestessing are a natural part of my life. That can be to teach classes, priestess community rituals, facilitating full moon rituals, and/or perform rites of passages. Mostly it looks like communing and being of service with those that call. Listening, healing together, and opening to work of Spirit and following the path. Raising my children and now grandchildren in the craft, I enjoy seeing the next generations claiming their power, walking in their beauty and having an innate conviction “that all are sacred”. My fiery passion and loving spirit are contagious; fueling one of my core spiritual commitments: Pass on what we know and let those who come after us outgrow us! For they shall inherit the earth!
I honor the depth, the darkness, the fertility of the descent. May we open to wisdom, may we open to courage, may we emerge, perhaps shaken and cracked open to love. Welcome Inanna, Inanna, Inanna!