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.
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:
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)