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Witchlets in the Woods

Reflections on California's Family Camp

by Carol Koessel with photos by Loki Rainman

Imagine sitting in a beautiful forest full of redwoods, oaks and lush grass and ferns. Suddenly you look up and see a band of three-foot Fairies coming down a path in dresses and headpieces, carrying wands and singing. Moments later, you hear three maiden goddesses chanting in a small circle, all dressed in beautiful gowns. You look to your left to see a band of boys running through the forest playing tag and jumping around. You wander further into the forest to find a beautiful labyrinth laid out before you. A small trip up a soft hill you come upon an old stump decorated with fairy offerings of glistening beads, wooden snakes, statues, feathers tucked into tiny crevices of the stump. You are either in the wildest of dreams, or you are smack in the middle of Witchlets in the Woods!

And the magick went on. The Norns joined us the first day and stayed for a wild time at camp assisting us in all activities. There were morning rituals, and evenings filled with fantastic fun. There was a play of Eric and Erica where children became a living dragon, and a talent show of unlikely talent, to be sure. One evening was a wonderful drumming and dancing session around the fireplace in the lodge.

During the day, little Witchlets had offerings of workshops from Labyrinth making to Circle Casting and Salt Water Purification, from making masks, dream catchers and sea glass mobiles to soap making and tarot. And everyone seemed to sing all day, everywhere there were voices and bodies and dancing about from one activity to another. There were wonderful meals where we fed our bodies and wonderful magick where we fed our spirits.

Children are so loving and without judgment they immediately found others to play with and forged close friendships. It was easy to follow their lead and connect with people I had never met. I felt so accepted and embraced. It was wonderful to see all the energies poured together and mixed to become Witchlets 2002!

I did not hear "you can't" and "please don't" much, as the children were allowed to be children, doing what children do. Because the energy was light and the forest so big, loud voices and crazy activity of children that is impossible to contain in a home was allowed to flow. It was the first time I saw my children for more than a day allowed to be just children without rigid rules about noise levels, flurries of activity and uncontained energy. What a gift, to just be a child. And of course, with all the rules we live in in the outside world, there was less bickering and misbehavior as they were free. It was truly a magickal time for them that they will probably never forget. I know I won't.

Artist Carol Koessel homeschools three Witchlets in beautiful Humboldt County, CA, where the trees whisper ancient wisdom.

Photos 2005 by RQ. Reprinted with the kind permission of Reclaiming Quarterly. Please do not copy, reproduce, fold, spindle, mutilate, or otherwise use them without written permission.