INPUT PLEASE! Planning for Moon Meet, an Atheopagan Gathering in Summer 2017

We’ve been building a community, we Atheopagans, both in our own spaces here and on Facebook and in larger contexts such as on the Humanistic Paganism site. Traffic on this site continues to climb, and the FB group is now growing towards 700 members. Pretty sweet for a subculture of a subculture!

All that said, there are limits to how much you can build a community without ever coming face to face…especially when your touchstone experience is ritual. So at the suggestion of some of the members of the group, I have begun to explore what it would look like to hold a “real life” gathering for Atheopagans next summer. The tentative name of this gathering would be “Moon Meet”, as I would like to hold it at or near the full moon.

The goals of this gathering would be to 1) Build closer community with one another; 2) Discuss topics specific to Atheopaganism and help to build our culture; and 3) To develop and share rituals in Atheopagan celebration.

My initial concept on this was to do it as a gathering at a group campsite at a California State Park near to where I live (the park is shown in the picture above). This would be the most affordable option and would give us a communal meeting place, immediate access to magnificent natural beauty, and proximate access to restaurants, wine tasting opportunities and other “excursions” which would provide enjoyable options for attendees during breaks in the gathering.

However, I have been reminded by some in the community that there are those who really can’t make a camping setup work for themselves at all–that beyond inconvenience, they simply cannot camp due to physical disabilities. Accordingly, I’ve come up with some scenarios for doing the gathering at a hotel, while still including a trip to the state park for a Saturday night ritual. Once the broad strokes of the event are decided upon, I will probably do a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money for deposits on the gathering venues and other expenses prior to ticket sales.

Please help!

Feedback on the scenarios and suggestions for the gathering will help me to decide whether or not to move forward with organizing it and, if so, what shape it should take. Please comment on this post with whether or not you may attend, with your thoughts and recommendations!

Here are the three scenarios I’ve come up with:

  1. Camping only. Under this scenario, I would arrange transportation for any disabled persons to and from a hotel to the campsite where the activities would take place. Meals would be provided by a food crew. The tentative schedule would look something like this:
    Friday Evening/Night
    7:00 Social Dinner & Fire
    10:00 Quiet Time begins
    Saturday AM
    9:00 Breakfast
    10:00 Workshop 1
    12:00 Lunch
    Saturday PM
    1:00 Community Discussion
    3:00 Hike or Excursion
    Saturday Night
    6:00 Dinner (provided)
    8:00 Ritual Fire
    10:00 Quiet time begins
    Sunday AM
    9:00 Breakfast
    10:00 Workshop 2
    12:00 Lunch
    Sunday PM
    1:00 Ritual Planning
    3:00 Hike or Excursion
    7:00 Dinner (not provided)
    Sunday Night
    8:00 Ritual (at fire)
  2. Hotel with Meal Plan. Under this scenario, most meals would be provided but the event would be based out of a convention hotel near to the state park. The Saturday night ritual would still take place outdoors at the park, around a fire  pit.
    Friday Evening/Night
    7:00 Social Dinner (restaurant, not included in event price)
    10:00
    Saturday AM
    9:00 Breakfast (provided)
    10:00 Workshop 1
    12:00 Lunch (provided)
    Saturday PM
    1:00 Community Discussion
    3:00 Excursion or break time
    Saturday Night
    6:00 Dinner (provided)
    8:00 Ritual Fire at Sugarloaf
    10:00 Return to hotel
    Sunday AM
    9:00 Breakfast
    10:00 Workshop 2
    12:00 Lunch
    Sunday PM
    1:00 Ritual Planning
    3:00 Excursion or break time
    7:00 Dinner (not provided)
    Sunday Night
    8:00 Ritual (at meeting space)
  3. Hotel, no Meal Plan.  This would generate the second-lowest ticket price, but would obviously involve more out-of-pocket expense during the event on the part of attendees.
    Friday Evening/Night
    7:00 Social Dinner (restaurant, not included in event price)
    10:00
    Saturday AM
    9:00
    10:00 Workshop 1
    12:00
    Saturday PM
    1:00 Community Discussion
    3:00 Excursion or break time
    Saturday Night
    6:00
    8:00 Ritual Fire at state park
    10:00 Return to hotel
    Sunday AM
    9:00
    10:00 Workshop 2
    12:00
    Sunday PM
    1:00 Ritual Planning
    3:00 Excursion or break time
    7:00
    Sunday Night
    8:00 Ritual (at meeting space)
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12 thoughts on “INPUT PLEASE! Planning for Moon Meet, an Atheopagan Gathering in Summer 2017

  1. My schedule looks more open than I intended next summer, but because there is still so much that *could* happen, I still have to say its a maybe. That being said, I’d prefer camping the most, but respect that it may not be as inclusive as we’d prefer. Thus, I think I would like the “Hotel, no meal plan” option.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Camping, or why bother?
    A hotel might be easier for some people (how many, exactly?) but adds to the cost. Campground will cost $600 for 3 nights for the whole group; for a group of 30 or more, that’s only $20 each or less! A hotel room would cost 10 times that, and exclude more people, I expect, than would be unable to camp.
    Plus, outdoors is healthier, and so much more to the point of what the pagan experience is, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok, I prefer the camping option due to costs, however, I would like an option to provide my own meals. I have multiple allergies and it would be very difficult for me to partake in provided meals.

    One other suggestion is to make the Sunday ritual earlier. Wherever this is held at, we would need to drive back home for work the next day and unless it’s to be held very close to Sacramento, we would not be able to stay for an 8:00 ritual on Sunday evening. Maybe 6:00?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been suggested that the Sunday dinner (which is proposed to be out at a restaurant, enabling us to pack up earlier in the day) be *after* the final ritual, and I’m now looking at scheduling the Sunday ritual for 5:30. If you opted to leave right after the ritual instead of attending the final dinner, you could be on the road by 6:30. How does that sound?

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  4. I don’t know what I’ll be able to afford and it will be a challenge because I’d be coming from Vancouver, Canada, which means travel time, travel costs, and the conversion of Canadian dollars to US dollars… but I would absolutely love to be a part of this! Can you give me some idea of where in California this would happen? Northern California might mean being able to drive and bring camping stuff; Southern California would probably mean an airplane. Also, do your state parks have running water/showers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Melissa! This would be in Sonoma County, CA, which is about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. Yes, this park has showers and water! I’m doing preliminary budgets and I estimate the cost of the event (including onsite meals) would be around $100 or so. I really hope you can come!

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  5. What a lovely idea. I would love to make it. I live in the UK, but I would totally be up for a trip to meet some like minded folk 🙂 I like camping, but can do anything really. Could you post details of the event (if you decide to go ahead) on somewhere like meetup.com? If you do, I can share it with my group and maybe a few of us can come. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, everyone–here’s an update. Even though I logged onto the website to reserve the group campsite within minutes after midnight on the day registration opened, someone else got the site for the planned days before me. Weekends are all taken, but I can do the event at the site planned on Sunday Aug. 27 through Tuesday the 29th. PLEASE PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON THIS to atheopagan (at) comcast (dot) net! I need to know whether to reserve the site or not!

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