Less than a week ago I came home from the Wolf Creek Sanctuary (WCS) where the Spiritual Gathering for Radical Faeries (SGRF) was being held. I have known of Wolf Creek for years and dreamed of going there to be part of this liberating witchy and sexual place in the woods. Is the fantasy bigger than the reality?
A friend of mine came by this morning for coffee and asked me about my take away from my experience at the SGRF and it gave me time to formulate my thoughts. As we looked at pictures from the Wolf Creek page on Facebook I took a quick inventory of that fantasy versus reality.
First off I do not think attendance was ever much more than 35 people at any given time and I asked about that, when I was told that there were usually more than a hundred men on the property participating usually. Reasons for people not coming this year:
- a call for a sober space at the gathering
- the rainbow gathering happening the same weekend.
Coming back it took me several days to fully decompress. It felt like the world was so huge and I was in this tiny bubble moving through the city. I was in the woods a week with almost no technology and only some human contact.
Expectations v. Reality
I went with no expectations or intentions because after upsetting my world by quitting my job I just needed a kick-start or reboot. I did know there was going to be witchy stuff and I did know there was going to be a strong sexual presence out there but how it all flowed together I had no idea.
I was first introduced to Wolf Creek through a porno… yet I expected nothing like that at all.
My first day I had some amazing spiritual encounters and I explored the land by walking it and feeling the expansiveness of the space. It was a breathtaking and beautiful venue that stretched up the hills of Oregon. The land itself is rich in energy and spirit that is older than the Faeries currently residing there.
Sexually I waded in and found myself conflicted with the people there because I found myself very attracted to two in particular. That is never good, perse’, because it is just a bad head space to get into.
Anyhoo, I started seeing a lot of pockets of sexual activity and even participated here and there.
There were a smattering of workshops on the schedule hastily thrown together by one of the people working hard at the gathering that were all jacked up on the schedule. Heart circles occurred daily that were really very therapeutic although some made it their personal cathartic stage of self martyrdom or a soap box for their position on sobriety (more on this later). Get a group of people from different walks of life or levels of sobriety and try and have anything different happen… right.
The lack of workshops and overt sexual nature of the limited number of people present made the meaning of the gathering feel a little lost in the fog. Even the workshops that were offered were sexual in nature. It was the outlook of some people that saved me and my outlook in all of it.
I arrived on the land Thursday morning about 3:30 am when was the exact time my phone battery completely died. Not a great mystery, I had my phone on all day without charging it. BUT!!!! The thing was I had my phone in my hands when I got out of the car (so I thought) and never saw it again. It was clear I left it in the car… right?
Well, long story short … lost phone … shady experience* with driver made me concerned … misdirected blame … phone mysteriously appears when packing to leave land.
(*I made an agreement with someone to be driven to WCS that was only paying for gas for trip [by Mark my friend because I had no money] and on the way we were baked in the car, then frozen because the windows would not close. That was not the shady part. 2 reasons I do not want to go into here because they are unfounded but perceived, third because she was asking for more money when we got there)
I moved my tent twice in the time I was there. I rolled my my sleeping back and the phone slid across my tent right to my feet. Just as I was getting ready to leave.
Call for Failure
Sobriety also became an issue for many and it caused some buzz around me. For those who know I have supreme social anxiety, but at the same time I am someone that thrives to be on a stage and I love talking to crowds… freak huh? Apparently the announcement for SGRF called for a sober space that was a reason (or one of the reasons) many people elected not to attend.
As it appeared, some of the core people responsible for producing the event were people who were in treatment for sobriety. At least that was what I was told by one of them. The call for sobriety was a fail because it imposed the needs of a few on the many.
I knew going in that Faery gatherings were typically sober spaces and that there was a set time for drinking; yet illegal drugs were not acceptable. Libations were given a window when they were acceptable and we shared them with the ancestors and spirits. There was no such time setup for this at this gathering that I was aware of.
Failure came when it was assumed that a few struggling with addiction imposed it on others. Failure to draw in important attendees that could have expanded the success of the gathering on every level.
A divide has surfaced that has weakened Nomenus (the official name of the church who administers WCS), that has caused a number of Faeries to split off into a new organization called Calamus (name taken from Walt Whitman poetry).
I was surprised how man people I talked to did not know of the split because it was certainly felt at WCS’ recent Beltane event according to another producer I spoke to. It is a shame to see this divide but given the divisive politics that have been rumbling through social networks and the rumblings of members and officers in the community it feels like there are a lot of heels in the sand politics.
This is not my battle nor is it my politics. It is a shame as someone merging into this community and become acquainted with so much conflict. The other side of the coin is that there is a lot of really good here and it gets muddled in personal agendas instead of what makes the unit stronger.
NOTHING against Calamus or Nomenus… maybe this is just the natural progression of what it is.
In the end…
The week was uplifting and I found myself loving, liking and even disliking people I was with. In the closing circle someone started something that should have been quite nice:
Roughly recalled: “You are special and I love you”
…or something like that. I could not do that. Granted, the person that started this in the circle was beautiful and amazing and I felt genuine love, but I could not say that to a few of the people there and I pulled back hard. We were tasked to look each person in the eyes and say that, finishing with a hug, and that was not who I could be in that moment.
I was pissed when people demanding sobriety were the same people smoking themselves into a stupor because their drug (pot v. alcohol or anything else for that matter) was okay. I drank almost nightly when I was there and took my anxiety medication on top of it. I was okay with it even if others were not.
I left the land feeling blessed and I left with some good advice from someone unexpected; about how to matriculate back into the default world. I was faced with hostile, miserable people all the way home once I was back on the BART heading into the city. I kept my head low and my thoughts focused on the bubble of my universe and stayed out of everyone else’s orbits.
I came home happy that I did what I did and feeling thoughtful and blessed. Part of me felt like I had a mission on my return as well. I am rethinking all that now… wondering if WCS was where I needed to be again. Should I go back to Samhain? (rhetorical question answerable only by me). But, I think I would rather not be a part of other people’s politics.