We are excited to open registration for our 2023 Summer Intensive, our in-person camp, at Buffalo Gap Retreat Center in West Virginia. Our theme this year is Innana & the 7 Gates of Me. Camp takes place July 10-16, 2023.
You can register for camp here: https://forms.gle/zjfqHuB1Lo1ec5pw7
General questions? See the Camp 2023 FAQ.
Questions about the registration process? Email Registrar@spiralheart.org
Questions about camp operations? Email Ops@spiralheart.org
Hope to see you there!
Our story for Summer 2023 is Inanna and the Seven Gates of Me. Our ritual arc team will be inspired the poem of that name by our own Jynx Bower. Here’s a taste of the poem:
The hero of the cedar forest
spurns the great goddess herself.
Hot anger shakes her Heavens and she swears vengeance.
Reckless, selfish, lashing out
with tongue of silver and crown of gold.
For this, the Great Bull has fallen,
cut down like wheat, puppet strings loosed from their moors.
His blood pools around the feet of an impetuous Queen.
She does not care to seek forgiveness,
but redemption will find her, nonetheless.
Here’s the complete poem (PDF).
Our Stories and Themes
1994 Baba Yaga 1995 Pentacle of Life 1996 Tam Lin 1997 Idun’s Apples 1998 Charge of the Goddess 1999 Into the Labyrinth 2000 Inanna and Ereshkigal 2001 The Storyteller 2002 Thomas the Rhymer 2003 Arachne and Athena 2004 Amaterasu 2005 Green Dragon and Phoenix 2006 La Llorona 2007 Krishna and the Gopis 2008 Lilith 2009 Brigid 2010 Isis and Osiris 2011 Feri Creation Myth 2012 Psyche and Eros 2013 Dragon and Hummingbird 2014 Qwan Yin 2015 Freya and the Brisingamen 2016 Medusa 2017 Tam Lin 2018 Cerridwen and the Pentacle of the Great Turning 2019 Ragnarok 2020 Lilith 2021 Breaking through Fear: Covid calls Us to Justice 2022 Revisiting Alice 2023 Inanna and the Seven Gates of Me
2023: The Sacred River of Community
2009 Stone Soup 2010 Grandmother Spider 2011 Vasalisa 2012 Beauty and the Beast
Detailed Information for Recent Years
Alice in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass have captured the collective imagination of many present day artists, writers, and musicians. From children’s cartoons such as the Ever After series to the horror genre of video games such as American McGee’s Alice, the characters and plot events of this story have become a pliable and fertile set of symbols with which to make statements about how we see the world. This year, Spiralheart will take on this modern myth. We will pass once again into Wonderland and see a reflection of the world through the eyes of a witch.
Read the entirety of the Revisiting Alice story here.
Unpacking our legacy: who did we say we would be?
Intention: We illuminate the shadows of our Ancestors, we discern the needs of our Descendants.
We commit to the work of fighting racism, fighting anti-Semitism, and crafting a legacy in service to our values.
Past, Present, and Future are linked through the legacies held in our bodies, cultures, and minds: some of these legacies empower, and others enshrine lasting harm. Some do both. We gather to move, to shake, to listen, to feel the vibrations in our connections. We move forward together. We confront the disowned, the shadows in our ancestry.
For many years Spiralheart rituals have touched on political topics such as racism, sexism, hierarchy, and control, and this year is no different. However, it is our desire as the ritual arc team to speak our political themes aloud this year, as a way to plant the seed of transformative magic and to start the work of camp, as Lilith begins to craft rituals with us. The magic of campers has always fueled our work, and we hope to give them even more avenues of connecting to the story as it unfolds in the early parts of the year.
As a RAT team, we commit ourselves to exploring the intention and the story through the lens of liberation. We believe that myths and stories give us the power to more safely explore these issues and to integrate them within ourselves on spiritual and emotional levels. The intention gifted to us by camp this year shall serve as the seed from which our rituals will grow. So let us turn our attention to the camp intention:
We embrace the unknown, unnamed, and the forbidden, found on the edge of the night. We say no to Order and make space for the Wild.
This intention holds the possibility to carry many different narratives to fruition, and ultimately all of us will come out of camp with our own interpretation and our own experience of Lilith and her magical workings, which is integral to the magic we spin together. However, equally important to the working of this year is the collective story and how our collective energy holds transformative power.
Which brings us to our first theme: Autonomy and Agency as Collective Relationship.
When we think about Lilith, one of the first things that comes to the mythic imagination is her ability to hold boundaries. She uttered the first “No” against patriarchy and domination. She belongs wholly to herself and, because of this, she is seen as strong and self-reliant. She embraces the unknown and unnamed and becomes the matron of an ownership of the body that is forbidden by patriarchy, a body that is demonized because she refused to abide by the rules set upon her by a world built to favor men over all other genders. She is autonomous and self-determined, but she is not alone. In order for her autonomy to be truly realized, she must rely on others – on Eve to eat the fruit and leave Eden, on her children to continue her work, and on the land to sustain and care for her. This year the RAT team encourages campers to think about how autonomy and authenticity is not possible without relationship to others. Whether it’s our other-than-human kin that give their lives to sustain us or our fellow campers, we cannot go it alone, and true freedom of Self cannot happen without the help of others.
Our second theme is: Community and Creating New Forms.
Lilith’s story teaches us about the ways in which we live in a collective community, and with her story we are given the opportunity to create new forms of community and to experiment with what life could look like as liberated peoples. Lilith’s story encourages us to say no to the Order of the Garden, and reject hierarchies of control and domination. Together, with her children in the Sea of Reeds, Lilith builds a new community and practices liberation by dreaming new forms of equitable living. This year we invite you to think about how a community forms itself and who is and is not included in this process. We also challenge ourselves to use the witches’ power of discernment to build a community built on liberation and inclusion of all peoples. For us, this means reckoning with the world that is by combating antisemitism, racism, heteronormativity, and all forms of domination, and by using our creativity to radically imagine a world where healing, restorative practices, and accessibility are the norm.
Our third theme is: Wildness and Connection to the Natural World
The concept of “nature” is white, ableist, colonial, and capitalist. We are all natural. We are all constantly failing to be controlled. We are all seen as raw materials to be exploited. From outside Eden, sitting by Lilith in the sea of reeds, we see how tiny the concept of a garden is. We see how vast a space the desert holds, and just how many solutions exist for the necessities of living. When we stop fighting our bodies and accept our rhythms as what we are meant to embrace, we stop exploiting ourselves. We see the sea and its endless potential for life from a vantage point on the surface, where it may easily seem lifeless. So isn’t “wild” just a matter of perspective?
We invite you to remember that you are a social ape, an animal closely related to species such as the bonobo, chimpanzee, and rhesus monkey. As with our cousins, a failure to relate is a failure to thrive. Connection is just as vital as sleep, yet we live in a society that attempts to dictate with whom and how we relate. We also invite you to talk to the non-humans that live on the land upon which we are visitors, to remember that how we relate to each other is mirrored in how we relate to our surroundings.
“When we stop fighting our bodies and accept our rhythms as what we are meant to embrace, we stop exploiting ourselves.”