August 17 - August 24, 2013

The Pentacle of the Great Turning


Many of us feel that our planet is in crisis. Signs are everywhere that indicate that our sacred earth is in deep trouble. For example, climate change is undeniable, yet ignorant voices deny the human role in changing our climate. While the denial of science is a broader problem (at least in the US), it's easy enough to see that powerful corporate economic forces have an interest in denying the real effects of human greed. Yet, the language (the rhetoric) of crisis may inspire panic and despair when what we need to do is to face dangers wisely and bravely, to be actively engage with our planet's own systems and to learn from them, to work to heal the earth and the earth's beings and to foster hope and sustainable futures.

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train, Beacon Press, 1994

Our problems are environmental, but also ecological in the sense of our ecology of living together as humans, living with other beings, and living WITH and not merely ON our planet. Our environmental and ecological predicaments are signs of a spiritual quandary, one to which witches can bring a healing re-valuing of our planet and our sacred commitments to a sustainable life for ourselves, other humans and all beings, rather than the extreme economic and material inequalities evident locally and globally.

We work with the magic and tools of immanence. We offer an alternative to transcendental understandings of the sacred. Here is the sacred ground, here is the sacred earth, here is our human family with whom we share the earth, and now is the time--before it's too late, we must "be here now," on our planet, with our planet, with one another and with all beings.

"As above, so below." We see the interconnectedness of all things, the web of life in which we weave our own threads, the ecology of our lives. We see the connections between our individual consciousnesses and bodies and the larger sacred earth and universe. We heal ourselves and we heal our planet. We cross the thresholds of self and other, recognizing our differences and sharing our common human experience.

At VWC 2013, we will work with The Pentacle of The Great Turning, combining last year's experiement with camper-propsed rituals with a ritual team to guide whole-camp rituals and to co-ordinate other offerings. The Pentacle of The Great Turning offers us a tool or a form to shape our work. The following description of The Pentacle of The Great Turning is excerpted from Riyanna Moon's "The Pentacle of The Great Turning: The Great Work of these Turning Times" in Reclaiming Quarterly #100:

"Healing the Earth and learning to live harmoniously with her ways as a culture may be the Great Work of our time, but it is hard work. Activists get burned out, earth-healers become encumbered by their own wounds, and dreamers close their eyes to the visions they see, because it's simply too much at times.

The Pentacle of The Great Turning is a tool that was created through a community visioning process by Free Activist Witchcamp 2007 to honor, inspire, and rebirth this Great Work. The points of the Pentacle... [Desire, Surrender, Transformation, Solidarity and Manifestation] [work] inwardly and outwardly at the same time – which is precisely the magic needed to bring about the awakening we dream of . . .


This pentacle, the work, begins in Desire. This is Desire in its multifaceted, bright and shadowy sense: our deep, loving connection to the Mother, our irresistible attraction to life, our hunger for ecstasy, our yearning to know Her in our bodies, our hearts, our souls...The sheer enormity of what we have done and what we must learn to do in order to survive and ensure the survival of our brother and sister beings is overwhelming to think about to do in order to survive and ensure the survival of our brother and sister beings is overwhelming to think about...It's tempting to turn away, to return to the much smaller and more manageable details of our private lives, but that's not how the Great Turning is woven.


All we can do is Surrender to the fears that threaten to close our hearts like a stone, the sorrow that makes us feel brittle like dried leaves, the rage that thunders against the hollows of our stomachs like sticks, the apathy that feels like empty death. We Surrender into faith. We may not know if there's anything we can do to the destruction in time, but we choose to try to do something about it rather than let our worry of personal failure hold us back.


In that opening, an amazing Transformation blossoms...we open up to the great web of life as our selves, we see how this web holds us, is within us, and that we are of it. We are nature, we are the land, we are nature and the land healing herself.


From this knowing, we can move into true Solidarity with all of our relations...We reach out with our hearts and prayers to listen to the wisdom of all beings, knowing that we need the voices of all of them in order to create truly meaningful, culture-altering, save-the-world solutions.


The last point on the Pentacle is Manifestation: not only with the communal manifestation we are creating – The Great Turning – but also the unique callings of our individual lives that make up our own personal part of it. This brings us back to Desire – what we want to do with our lives to help the healing of the earth, the work that we are yearning to do, the visions we long to bring into fruition." 


"If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it...
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides...
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it...
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened."

Wendell Berry, "Work Song Part II: A Vision"


The Call

What magic calls you from the deep dark recesses of your imagination? What wisdom lurks in the shadows awaiting its rebirth? What conflict would you willingly embrace, as a warrior of heart and soul, seeking transformation and understanding? What desire resonates within you that seeks artistic and communal expression? What are you willing to surrender to? What transformative offering can you make to the world?

Come walk, dance, weave, craft, create the Pentacle of the Great Turning . . . Come dance with the witches beneath the stars upon the body of the earth . . . Come sing your desires to the tune of starlight and unity and the drumbeats of the heart . . . Come build the energetic foundation to support healing work for our earth and ourselves . . . Come be a part of the magic that will transform the world's consciousness . . .