HPF 2013 After-Action Report: Our Private Rites

For myself and Aradia, as well as the rest of Camp WTF, magic is a major part of our HPF experience.  My first two festivals with Aradia (2009 and 2010) were some of the most intense ritual experience of my life, and it was at the last full moon festival (2010) that I underwent my first initiation.  For good or ill, this year’s public rituals ended up being fairly low-impact.  But with Friday night’s full moon to draw on, we took matters into our own hands.

Camp Altar

We started things off right by erecting an altar in camp and putting up successive IMG_5661magic circles around our encampment to encourage good times and ward off fuckwits.  Each of us contributed an item or two to the setup, and we received numerous compliments on it throughout the weekend.  Actually, I contributed a bit: my Kouros and Witchmother idols, my wand and chalice, my Orb and my new friend Cave Canem, who needed to be fed sacred oil (Fiery Wall of Protection Oil in the red bottle) at the Moon.  Aradia brought more obsidian, the little elephant, and the dish on which they sat.  Pasiphae would later bring out a selenite sphere, and Aidan set up the tripod around the whole operation.

We performed planetary invocations here as a group for the first two days, and I maintained that practice on my own through Saturday.  I also demonstrated my offering rite for the others, who were curious about the ways my practice has evolved while at college.

Stele of Jeu

Friday, at sunset, Aradia and I went to the Memorial Grove to perform the Stele of Jeu together.  Pasiphae and Aidan watched that, too, as I have been encouraging her to take up the rite to help her plough through some issues she’s been working on.  We read the verses in tandem, excepting the barbarous words, which my notes have written in Greek and which I had to pronounce for Aradia to repeat. 

The results were, at first, relatively lackluster—perhaps because we had never practiced forming the rite jointly in such a fashion, or possibly because I was still sorely depleted from the semester.  The power rose, and with it the wind, but I did not get the purgative sensation that I usually have when I call upon Him Whose Name is a Heart Encircled By A Serpent.  I was, however, very much ready for the next stage of our Esbat, and I wonder, if the following rites would have been so effective if I had not made myself a vessel in such a fashion.

Drawing Down the Moon

Finally, we went searching for a place to perform our esbat.  Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone had spoken earlier that day, and had touched on the subject of Drawing Down the Moon and the way it had functioned back in the Old Days with Doreen Valiente.  Meanwhile, Pasiphae had a selenite sphere which she has been using as a lunar force and wished to charge it more fully.  At first we went to one of the ritual areas—Moonfyre Grove—but found that we had no actual view of the moon, so we trecked back up the hill to Flora’s Garden.

We cast our circle informally, as we usually do, and lit a candle.  Pasiphae raised the selenite over her head and, rather spontaneously, I took the role of High Priest and drew the Moon down into her.  At that point, a whole host of powers I had never dealt with before moved through me.  For that moment, I was the Consort God: I grew antlers and stood tall, a channel by which the Moon descended from heaven into a mortal woman.  When the time came, I prompted her and Pasiphae spoke prophesy—though time will tell if it was for all of us or for her alone.

There was a great deal of residual energy when that operation was done.  Aradia used some of it to dispose of a tainted artifact, and the rest was poured into a bottle of salt water which we had prepared for the occasion.  Lunar holy water is an interesting thing to See, and it had the added bonus—at least partly on account of the salt—of being potent grounding water.

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