A Warm, Relaxed Gathering for Harvest

Due to the low turnout for Moon Meet 2018, those of us in attendance at that event had a discussion about how best to make local Atheopagan in-person events more accessible and attractive. Some of our conjectures were that it was asking too much to expect people to come for a multiple-day event for their first gathering with us, and that the site for Moon Meet was too remote for some of the prospective attendees.

I mention these concerns because we are a far-flung community, distributed across the globe. Any lessons we learn can be used in creating your own events and gatherings*.

Accordingly, three of us planned a Harvest gathering on the autumnal equinox which was only a few hours long, required little commitment (a potluck dish), and was closer to a population center of group members than to where I happen to live.

The result was lovely! There were somewhere between 15 and 20 of us, and we had a nice Harvest potluck feast followed by a ritual to celebrate the season. Very eclectic group, including several folks I’d never met before, and a couple of charming kids.

We declared our individual personal “harvests” for the season, and the things we are grateful for. We celebrated community. And we enjoyed each other’s company with song, food and drink.

Success! We’ll be doing more of these gatherings going forward and look forward to meeting more of our local Atheopagans and friends to celebrate the seasons.

Thanks particularly to Kaigi-Ron and Joe for their help in organizing this event.

 


*And I do encourage you to create your own events and gatherings! For longer and more complex events, an Event Planning Guide with budget and planning timeline spreadsheets are available on the Resources page.

 

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Join Us for a Harvest Celebration!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area in the United States, we welcome you to join us for a potluck Harvest celebration on Sept. 22! It will be held from 2 to 6 pm at the Orchard Picnic Area in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Bring a potluck dish to share and something to drink*, your own plates, cups and cutlery, and any items you would like to place on the group Focus to represent your harvested achievements for this year.

One of the lessons we learned from Moon Meet this year is to hold events that require less of a time and logistical commitment, so we’re doing Harvest this year in an area not far from where many of our Facebook group members live, and only lasting a few hours. Please RSVP in the comments if you are coming, so we can plan for numbers!

If you’re too far away to be able to attend this event, I hope you will hold your own! Harvest is a great time to introduce friends to Atheopaganism through a community feast and a simple celebration ritual, giving thanks for all the year has brought us, including our friends and community. Just holding hands and expressing our gratitudes can be a very powerful ritual for people who aren’t used to them.

Check out the linked articles on Harvest (link in the first paragraph) for ideas, and be sure to ask questions if you need help! I wish you the happiest and most abundant of Harvest celebrations with your friends and family.


*Beer, cider and wine are welcome, but no hard alcohol, please.

Moon Meet 2018—Some Lessons

Our second annual Moon Meet gathering was not what I expected it to be, but it was still wonderful.

A cascade of last-minute cancellations brought our numbers down radically, to a core group of six, all of whom had been at the gathering the previous year.

I was disappointed not to meet new Atheopagans who had registered for the event but had to cancel, but so it goes: things happen. Moon Meet 2018 was more of a retreat, rather than a community gathering.

We  discussed it, and we think there are multiple reasons for this. Asking for a three day block of time is a lot, and the logistics of reaching the off-the-grid, four-wheel-drive required site are challenging and may sound intimidating when reading the directions.

So it was small. But what we had was truly lovely.

We had comradery, great discussions, delicious meals, downtime for fellowship and just hanging out, a fantastic mask-making workshop, and a moving and deep ritual on Saturday night, which we planned together that afternoon, in which we used our masks to invoke Qualities and characters. Mine (above on the left, as seen on the event Focus) was about the preverbal animal nature, the Wild Self.

In our discussion of how best to facilitate building Atheopagan community, we concluded that single-day, more accessible events are the way to go. So we’re looking for a place in a public park nearby where we can do a potluck Harvest feast and ritual in September. I encourage you to gather with loved ones for your own Harvest feasts: everyone loves a good spread of food and drink!

We’ll do Moon Meet again next year. It’s good to have a retreat with a core group of people who are devoted to this path and to helping it to be visible in the world, and hopefully those who had to cancel this year will be interested in attending next. But even if not, we’ll do more accessible events requiring a bit less effort to attend, and hopefully these will meet the needs of the community better.

I want to thank each of those who attended, and particularly host Jeffry Winters for his incredible hospitality and cooking. Much love to all of you!