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Campfire Chants: Songs for the Earth

Campfire Chants: Songs for the Earth

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Campfire Chants features Reclaiming’s best-loved witchcamp chants from the 2000s, performed by a mixed chorus accompanied by conga, guitar, bass, flute, clarinet, fiddles – and even a ukelele!

Reclaiming’s newest chants album features five songs written by Starhawk, plus songs from Suzanne Sterling, T. Thorn Coyle, and more. Some of these chants were written for witchcamps – others for direct action gatherings – and still others to honor nature and her cycles.

This is a soundtrack to change your life – and to change the world. Join us around the campfire for a magical musical journey!

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This wordpress site features our 50-page booklet of Lyrics and Lore – complete lyrics and guitar/uke chords for every song on Campfire Chants, plus interviews with the authors,  stories about the chants, and more. Scroll down to continue reading.

You can also download a full-color, 50-page PDF version, or buy a printed edition.

There’s even a page with mini-reviews and links to our previous four albums – click here

Scroll down for site contents.

Contents

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Contents – Introduction

Welcome to the Witchcamp Fire Circle!

Dedications to Four Beloved Ancestors

Singers, Musicians, and Production Team

Special Thanks to Our Local Community

Who Is Reclaiming?

A Legacy of Activism and Music

Reclaiming Witchcamps

The Spiral Dance: Magic & Music

Earlier Reclaiming Albums

A Ten Year Odyssey – Or Maybe Twenty…

Recording: A Do-It-Ourselves Journey

The Campfire Chorus: Co-Creating the Music

Kids’ Chorus: Creating Their Own Magic

The Campfire Sound: Honoring Our Influences

Campfire Chants – The Songs

Campfire Chants: Songs for the Earth

Song 01: Wake Again (Faerie Prelude) by Maxina Ventura

Song 02: Sweet Water by Starhawk

Song 03: We Are the Rising Sun by Ravyn Stanfield

Song 04: Circle Round the Balefire by Laurie Lovekraft

Song 05: Weave and Spin by Starhawk

Song 06: My Soul by Suzanne Sterling & Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney

Suzanne Sterling’s Wings: Simple Chants for Rituals

Song 07: The Welcome Flame by Seed (Calla Unsworth)

Song 08: Harvest Chant by T. Thorn Coyle

Song 09: We Are the Power In Everyone by Starhawk

Song 10: Wheel of the Year by Teen Earth Magic

Teen Earth Magic: A Reclaiming Youth Intensive

Song 11: Come the Night, On by Maxina Ventura

Song 12: Body of the Earth by Starhawk

Earth Activist Training with Starhawk

Song 13: Let the Beauty We Love by Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney

Chant-Writing: Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney

Song 14: Rising of the Moon by Starhawk

Song 15: Cycles of the Moon by George Franklin

Song 16: One With the Darkness by Meg Yardley

Song 17: Skit – Around the Campfire

Song 18: Goodnight Sweet Witches Traditional

Revolutionary Pagan Workers Vanguard: Chants Edition

RQ.org: Features, Archives, and more

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Image by Naeomi Castellano

Campfire Chants: Songs for the Earth

Listen to the album free on YouTube and spotify

Entire album © 2016 Reclaiming. Songs used with permission. All rights beyond these recordings revert to authors.

Campfire Chants is a benefit for Redwood Magic and our vision of Reclaiming Family Camps.

CDs available via CDBaby.com. Downloads and streaming at all outlets.

Booklet produced by Reclaiming Quarterly. Lyrics copyright as noted. This version completed August 2016.

Deluxe print edition – or download a free PDF of this booklet!

Reclaiming.org

quarterly@reclaiming.org

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Welcome to the Witchcamp Fire Circle!

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Welcome to the Witchcamp Fire Circle. We could be gathered anywhere from Vermont to Queensland, from British Columbia to Germany.

On this evening, we’re gathered among the redwoods of Mendocino Woodlands for our Northern California family witchcamps, Redwood Magic and Witchlets in the Woods.

The ritual is over. Some folks have headed to bed. Others pull up camp chairs around the fire ring. Little ones sleep on laps. Kids and teens talk or play around the edges. Smores appear.

As people talk or gaze into the fire, someone picks up a guitar and strums a Ramones song. Someone else borrows the guitar and sings Joni Mitchell. One of the teens plays Kimya Dawson on a ukelele. When we sing Puff, some of the kids join in.

We really do sing chants around the campfire. Not all the time. They’re interspersed with Indigo Girls, Nirvana, Madonna, Fats Waller, and always another Beatles song. One Direction gets their due, as well as Patsy Cline, Chuck Berry, and Bob Marley.

Still, nothing gets everyone singing more than My Soul or We Are the Rising Sun. And there’s rarely a night that doesn’t end with Goodnight Sweet Witches.

On this site, you’ll find:

  • background articles about Reclaiming – our music, magic, and activism. 
  • the story of this album – and Reclaiming;s past albums
  • song-by-song lyrics and lore for the entire album, including interviews with Starhawk, Suzanne, Alphonsus, Ravyn, Thorn, and many more.

And now, the circle is cast. We are between the worlds. And what happens between the worlds can change all the worlds.

Let the magic begin!

Order a deluxe print edition of this booklet – or download a free PDF version.

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Dedications

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In dedicating this album to four of our beloved ancestors, we honor their lives and work as well as the groups they helped build and sustain:

Friends of Headwaters Forest dedicate this music to Judi Bari

Friends of Witchlets in the Woods dedicate this music to Luanne Blaich

Friends of Food Not Bombs dedicate this music to Judy Foster

Friends of Bay Area Reclaiming dedicate this music to Moher Downing

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Musicians and Production Team

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Campfire Chorus: Meg Yardley, Max Ventura, David Silva-Espinoza, Jaden Silva-Espinoza, Vesper, George Franklin, Paul Cumpian

Kids Chorus: Laurel, Amokeh, Téa, Alexa, Maisey, Kai, Miranda, Talise

Guest Vocals: Ingrid Pollyak, Eileen Hazel, Lisa Meadowlark Wong

Conga: Paul Cumpian

Guitars, Bass, Harmonica, & Train Whistle: George Franklin

Ukelele & Jawharp: David Silva-Espinoza

Flute: Artemis Jackson

Clarinet: dress

Fiddle (tracks 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 15, 16): Alison Bailey Streich

Fiddle (tracks 4, 9, 12, 14): Mark Simos (Mark’s tracks recorded by Dan Cantor/Notable Productions)

Chants selected and arranged by the Campfire Chorus and recorded by George Franklin/GroundWork

Descants created by Meg Yardley

Harmonies created by Jaden Silva-Espinoza and Max Ventura

Mastered by Winter/EMBStudios.com

Graphic design and illustration by Michael Starkman

Album coordinated by George Franklin, Laurie Lovekraft, Sarah Donelson, and the Redwood Magic Family Camp Weavers with support from ReclaimingQuarterly.org

Entire album © 2016 Reclaiming. Songs used with permission. All rights beyond these recordings revert to authors.

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Thanks to Our Local Community!

Along with all of Reclaiming, we thank the many members of work cells, weaver groups, family and youth camps, and organizers who help sustain Bay Area Reclaiming communities – the cauldron in which our music was born.

We thank:

Spiral Dance chorus and past Reclaiming chants musicians; Turning Earth Singers; Funky Nixons; Prairiewine; Dave Pensado & Into the Lair; Maybelle Carter, John Lee Hooker, George Harrison, and our innumerable artistic ancestors; Witchcamp fire circles; and our many muses, from Polyhymnia to the Pacific Ocean to our children.

In addition to musicians and production team, we thank Elaine, Marg, and Fairview Gardens House, Rich, Ari, Fly, Blair, Kyla, Lisa, Christina, Seonaid, Tarin, Jamie, Owen, Anne, Andy, Blake, Natalia, Mykel, Hilary, Emily, Dusky, Amy, Aidan, Jasper, Maya, Julian, KaeliMo, Athena, Kaelin, Monieka, Stas, Casey, Alex, Adissa, Talullah, Frank, Riyana, Jason, Briar, Penske, Lyra, Trillium, Lindsey, Abel, Allison, Seneca, Rahula, Maeve, Natasha, Laura, Joe, Jax, Kala, Georgie, Tigris, Catherine, Jamie, Marie-Laure, Thibaut, Ian, Heidi, Moss, Rose, Laurel, Ewa, Gwydion, Magic Brook, Luz, Ruby, Spiraleena, Ivory Fly, Flame, Christie, Elizabeth, Gwion, Phoenix, Irisanya, Justin, Copper, Root, Helen, Lizann, Susan, Honeycomb, Yule, Neon Animal, Preston, Norma, Dailey, Vibra, Eric, Charles, Jonathan, Golden Rabbit Ranch, Robin, Evelie, Gwynne, Cypress, Victoria, Patti, Patricia, Tia, Leigh Ann, Nolan, April, Jude, Chester the Cat and Chester the Raccoon, Urania, Thom, John, Kim, Beth, Snow, Teri, Michael, Keith, Chimes by SidneyTurner.com, and Does 1 through 100 inclusive.

Thanks to Earth Activist Training; the Spiral Dance Production Cell; Ritual Planning Cells in North Bay, East Bay, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; Mysteries of Samhain, and Witchcamps in all hemispheres; the Bay Area Wheel; Terras Temple; Berkeley PaganFest; PantheaCon; Ancient Ways; CAYA Coven; Spark Collective; Mendocino Woodlands; forest and eco-defenders; Peoples Park; Food Not Bombs; Black Lives Matter; the spirit of Occupy; and Reclaiming chants fans and singers everywhere — may a thousand campfires bloom.

Finally, we thank the Goddess who is known by many names. On this album She is often called Earth, Moon, Sun, or Star — and in many songs She is invoked as “We Are!”

QUOTES

Let the Beauty We Love quotes Rumi.

Rising Sun quotes June Jordan (“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”).

One with the Darkness quotes Wendell Berry (refrain lines).

Our songs are musical commentaries on these passages, which are quoted under Fair Use. Many thanks to the authors.

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Who Is Reclaiming?

A community, a tradition, a musical ensemble?

Reclaiming – isn’t that a folk band that recorded a bunch of chants albums?

Or is it a nonprofit group based in San Francisco?

An activist cluster at major political convergences?

Maybe it’s the name of a decades-old spiritual tradition now rooted on three continents?

Possibly all of the above?

A Working Definition

Reclaiming is an international community working to unify spirit and activism. Reclaiming’s Earth-based vision is rooted in the religion and magic of the Goddess, the Immanent Life Force.

We see our work as teaching and making magic: the art of empowering ourselves and each other. The skills we learn and the songs we sing are used to strengthen ourselves and our community, voice our concerns about the world in which we live, and bring to birth a  vision of a new culture.

From Reclaiming.org – where you can also find links to local groups, info about our network, our music, and our vast cache of archives!

Read Reclaiming’s Principles of Unity at: Reclaiming.org/about/

What We Do

It’s easier to define Reclaiming by talking about what we do.

Activism – from the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s through Occupy in the 2010s, Reclaiming activists and musicians have taken to the streets (and sometimes the jail cells) to work for justice and peace. You can read more about Reclaiming activism on the following pages and in the Lore sections of several chants. Follow recent organizing at ReclaimingQuarterly.org

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Witchcamp – in addition to local classes and workshops, Reclaiming groups around North America, Europe, and Australia have created witchcamps – intensives that teach magical skills for changing our lives and changing the world around us. See page 10 or visit witchcamp.org

Family Witchcamps – retreats such as Redwood Magic, Witchlets in the Woods, and Teen Earth Magic bring magical skills, nature awareness, and group skills to families and young people. Google these camps for more info.

Music – various ensembles within our community have recorded collections of songs and chants released under the name “Reclaiming.” Each album is unique, although singers and songwriters overlap. For more info, visit http://www.ReclaimingQuarterly.org or search for Reclaiming on CDBaby, Amazon, etc.

On the Web

Reclaiming.org – our portal site, with international contacts

Reclaiming.org/about – background & links

Witchcamp.org – links to international witchcamps and family camps

WeaveAndSpin.org – current magical and activist posts

ReclaimingQuarterly.org – archives, music, current news

BayAreaReclaiming.org – SF-area events and classes

ReclaimingSpiralDance.org – annual Samhain ritual in SF

Starhawk.org – writings, recordings, and links to Earth Activist Trainings

Facebook – search for Reclaiming to find local Reclaiming groups

Bay Area Public Rituals

The Spiral Dance – join us in SF around Samhain/Halloween each year for our grandest ritual of the year – visit ReclaimingSpiralDance.org

San Francisco Bay Area public rituals – all welcome – visit BayAreaReclaiming.org

Photo Teen Earth Magic / courtesy RQ Archives

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Reclaiming: A Legacy of Activism & Music

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From the 1980s anti-nuclear movement through the 2011 Occupy protests and beyond, Reclaiming activists have taken our spirituality – and our chants – into the streets.

Some of our most powerful songs were written for major actions – We Are the Power in Everyone (Song 9) was written for a 1982 protest at Livermore Weapons Lab. Sweet Water (Song 2) stems from an anti-G8 mobilization in Calgary in the early 2000s.

And one of our favorite magical songs of all time, We Are the Rising Sun (Song 3), was created for a 2003 peace march in Albuquerque.

Occupy Oakland & Beyond

When Occupy sprang up in 2011, Reclaiming folks found ways to plug in – several moved in  at Occupy SF and Occupy Berkeley; some were part of the Interfaith Tent at Occupy Oakland; and dozens marched and risked arrest and teargas at Occupy Oakland, SF, and related bank actions.

The Occupy actions also had their artistic sides, such as the November 2011 General Strike, which included both a disco line and a spiral dance (the latter courtesy of Reclaiming).

Reclaiming musicians hosted singalongs at Berkeley and SF (as well as singing in the streets of Oakland) – see our Occupy Songsheet in the printable PDF version of this booklet.

Keep up with Reclaiming activism at WeaveAndSpin.org

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Photos: General Strike • Occupy Oakland • November 2011

Above: As part of the General Strike, Reclaiming activists organized a spiral dance in the intersection of Broadway and 14th in the heart of downtown Oakland.

Top: Thousands of people marched and shut down the Port of Oakland – a shutdown supported by many port workers and union groups.

Photos by Luke Hauser / courtesy Reclaiming Quarterly archives

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Reclaiming Witchcamps

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Magical intensives around the world

Reclaiming Witchcamps are retreats for the study of magic, ritual, and Earth awareness skills usually held in a campground setting.

Share in Reclaiming-style spiritual culture. Study magic and ritual in a multi-day intensive that includes practices such as trancework, healing, drumming, dancing, chanting, storytelling, guided visualization and energy work.

Participate in rituals that take us into the heart of ancient tales, creating a powerful, transformative energy that builds throughout the course of witchcamp and beyond.

All Levels of Experience Welcome

Newcomers can learn the basic skills of magic and ritual, working with the elements, movement, sound and the mythological and historical framework of the Goddess Tradition.

Advanced paths offer the chance to apply the tools of ritual to personal healing and empowerment, and might focus on taking the craft out into the world, creating public ritual, building ongoing groups, and healing issues surrounding leadership and power.

Some camps are for adults 18-up. Many camps are family- and youth-friendly, offering paths specifically for children and teenagers. Camps are organized in different ways, according to local needs.

As a tradition Reclaiming values diversity, and each WitchCamp has its own policies, structures and culture. Transparency is also encouraged and valued, as is a questioning attitude.

Feel free to ask questions of the varied and diverse camps to find the WitchCamp community that suits you best.

For dates and contact information, visit: Witchcamp.org

Photo by Dawnstar / courtesy of Reclaiming Quarterly archives.

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WitchCamp Council & Contacts

Reclaiming Witchcamps coordinate their work through the WitchCamp Council. Reclaiming-tradition camps are located in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Witchcamp.org – dates and contacts for all Reclaiming camps, and for the WitchCamp Council

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The Spiral Dance: Reclaiming Magic & Music

The Spiral Dance: A ritual to honor our Beloved Dead and to dance the spiral of rebirth

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Listen to the Let It Begin Now playlist on YouTube

The holiday popularly known as Halloween is the time of year known to witches as Samhain. The veil is thin between the worlds of the living and the dead.

In San Francisco we have gathered for many years to remember and honor our ancestors, our Beloved Dead, and all those who have crossed over.

As we mourn for those we love who have died since last Samhain, we also mourn the loss and pain suffered by the Earth, our Mother.

Yet even as we grieve, we remember and honor the sacred cycle of life, death, rebirth, and regeneration. We honor the births of our children born this year and our own vital connections to the Earth and each other, in which we ground our hope.

The first Spiral Dance was held in 1979 to celebrate the publication of Starhawk’s book, The Spiral Dance. Starhawk, a founding member of Reclaiming Collective, wrote the original script which remains at the heart of the ritual, although it has been altered and embellished over the years by her and many others.

Traditionally, the Spiral Dance calls upon the energy and talents of musicians, artists, poets, dancers, crafts people, singers, technicians, priests and priestesses from Reclaiming and beyond, and we are grateful to everyone who helps create this magical experience we all share.

This is a participatory ritual and pageant which has become a central event in the Wheel of the Year for the Reclaiming community and beyond. Hundreds of people join in this observance of the Witches’ New Year, and the event raises funds which support our work throughout the year.

When we dance the spiral as a community, we remember and honor our own past at the same time that we renew our vision and embrace the future.

As with all Reclaiming events, we strive for inclusiveness and diversity. Reclaiming rituals are open to folks of all ages, all genders, people of diverse physical capabilities, people of color, LGBTQ+ folk, Witches, Pagans, non-pagans, activists, seekers, and the curious.

Let it begin now!

ReclaimingSpiralDance.org

Photo by Michael Rauner / courtesy Reclaiming archives.

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Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance

Listen to the Let It Begin Now playlist on YouTube

See next page for this and other Reclaiming music albums.

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