The “Witchcamp” methodology

There is a method of engagement culturally specific to the Reclaiming community itself, which I wanted to suggest. I have not had the opportunity to experience this process myself, but in the course of this application inquiry, I have come to think that it is even more important that I do so than I thought previously. While local examples of this method have not occurred within the Olympia community, many of the individuals within the community have participated in this method when offered elsewhere, primarily the one that occurs in British Columbia and draws practitioners from all of Cascadia and beyond. As a method native to the community itself, it would make sense to consider implementing the method for the application envisioned in this paper.

An example of the organizing principles of a Witchcamp is offered by the organizers, the teaching teams, of BC Witchcamp 2006:

“Our intention for co-creation at camp is to foster collaborative efforts between campers, organizers, teachers and the many realms to work the magic of camp. Stepping into the full Sun of co-creation we empower personal authority and acknowledge that we all are and have always been co-creators. Co-creation requires that we steward our selves — tending our Divine Twins of light and shadow with compassion, honesty and responsibility. We invite each member of this community to bring awareness, transparency and intention into the ritual of this week. To weave today what we choose for the future. So mote it be.” (BC Witchcamp 2006 info)

A Witchcamp is a gathering of practitioners for a week-long engagement with the principles and ideas of Reclaiming. Typically, there is an overall theme chosen and several options are offered for specific topics and /or skill levels.

Along with the topical /skill sessions are group activities that involve small, large and full participation levels. This offers a practical implementation of the “diverge / converge” model of engagement as well as opportunity for something like max-mix groups to form across topical and skill boundaries. As with Reclaiming classes, each session, or path, is co-facilitated to model consensus decision-making and also to offer broader perspectives on the materials.

For this application, developing and offering a Witchcamp locally in Olympia could strengthen the community’s connection to itself and deepen the practice that is at the core of the community identity. Included in the event could even be space for future visioning and connecting local practitioners in ways that would be familiar from the “creating the future” methods. Contained in the structure of the Witchcamp are many opportunities for the participants to engage in participatory design, especially when it comes to the small and whole group ritual creation process. The opportunity to collectively experience, many times over the course of a week, the visioning and action of ritual events is an example of the kind of Simu-Real practice leading to understanding and skills for the future. So, this particular methodology offers rich engagement that matches some of the goals of each of the three categorical divisions of method made by Bunker and Alban.