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Invoking Time…

by Maggie nicAllis

One of the many things to come out of SpiralHeart WitchCamp this year — and one of the easiest to write about as RQ goes to press — is a new entity being invoked in ritual space.

What I most want to share with RQ readers is an invitation to create new relationships with Time. If this little essay achieves its goal, Witches across the land will begin invoking Time in their everyday personal rituals, their regular circles and covens, and in large public rituals. Witches everywhere will experiment with different ways to call Time and different gifts and assistances to request of Time — and then share their experience.

In our first ritual on Saturday night, we were asked to release our stories — the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories others have told us about ourselves — and release their power over us. We were invited to be free to create ourselves newly in the moment.

By Sunday night's ritual, this invitation had already blossomed as a new invocation — of the Guardian of Time. Throughout the week, in all-camp rituals, in small-group rituals, and in path rituals, people invoked Time in various ways.

Some invoked Time as a deity — whether the only one called, or one of several (with Minerva, Gaia, Pan, and the StoryTeller in the one I attended).

Others invoked Time as an element, calling East, South, West, North, Time, and Center — or Center, and then Time. Witches experimented with associating Time with Edge, or with the skin boundary of the circle/sphere we cast. Witches experimented with calling Time as if associated with no Place, or every Place.

Twice I saw the Guardian of Time invoked as an intermediate kind, after (and separate from) "Elements" but before "Deities."

Priestesses asked Time to be with us, assisting us in completing the work we were about; to be our ally, available and elastic to allow for all the work we mean to do. We asked that we learn to bend and shape time, rather than being slave to mechanical clocks or other rigid notions of how Time operates in the physical realm.

Over and over, in various ways, we honored Time as a friend and released our old "stories" about Time — "I don't have time," "it's too late," "there isn't any time left for __," and even "I'm late." Over and over in ritual space we began to learn the ways in which our modern culture's ideas of Time have become frozen, and we began to thaw them out.

I don't have a conclusion for you at this moment. I've just been home from Camp a week, and in that week I've only learned a few dozen "times" about my relationship with Time. But what I've learned might be an instructive example. In just seven days I've accomplished a lot. And the most important thing is that I've done all of it with ease and grace, free at last of that nagging, anxious flutter inside (the one familiar from Alice in Wonderland's white rabbit: "I'm late, I'm late..."). I've accomplished much more than in prior re-entry weeks after Camp, and more than in many "regular" weeks — and all of it without feeling pressured or driven. It's a revelation and a delight, and I recommend it to you all.

Maggie nicAllis is a life-long Witch, who discovered Goddess religion in the early 1990s and has never looked back. She lives in central New Jersey.