Frequently Asked Questions about Conclave
- integrating the personal and political with the spiritual
- encouraging dialogue on all aspects of culture and community building
- examining personal, inter-personal, community and global relationships and interactions
- promoting explorations of the many perspectives reflected in our global communities
- facilitating change through experimentation and evaluation of new syntheses in art, science, lifestyle and philosophy as tools for the integration of the personal, the political and the spiritual.
- We engage in this process of new paradigm building in order to insure a cooperative and sustainable future for ourselves, our children and our planet with its diversity of life forms and living systems.
We have an open volunteer Board which makes decisions by consensus. The Board members come from the larger community of Earth Conclave participants and supporters. The Board meets regularly for spiritual and emotional support in our work, and to help plan bi-annual Conclaves and other less regular events like Enclaves (small gatherings of long-term participants), workshop intensives and retreats. The Fall & Spring Conclave events are organized by rotating committees comprised of Board and other community members. Through this yearly cycle of small conferences, workshops and family gatherings, The Earth Conclave examines in-depth the spiritual beliefs and practices of those who see our planet as a divine being worthy of respect and veneration.http://www.circlesanctuary.org/
"The Earth Conclave supports chemical free space for most of its events. Alcohol and other mind altering drugs will have no place at this event. If you do not wish to abstain for a long week-end, this event might not be for you".
Conclaves have not been chem free only because the parks or sites we rent require this. We are chem free at any event we do, and always have been because we choose to be. Please keep in mind that the Conclave does not define chemical use as "bad". There is such a thing as responsible use and some on our board and in this extended community think setting up categories such as good and bad use are part of the problem of abuse and use.
Our policy is simply to establish a safe place for people who seek an alternative space without drugs and alcohol. There are not many events in the Pagan community that do offer chem free space. Drugs are something that are primarily abused in our culture and alcohol is a major problem for lots of folks... So the Conclave offers an alternative. There are other gatherings and events across the country for folks to go to who wish to imbibe. The Executive Council is not a group of people who practice a chemical free existence, we have wine connoisseurs and those who love ale and mead. We also have people who don't use, for reasons of recovery or spiritual/health reason. This diversity within our Council and with the members of our extended communities helps us understand the need for providing space and communication in a chemical-free space...
And "chemical free" space is sought for MANY reasons! There are members of the Pagan community who are in recovery. There are some who want a different picture of use presented to their children. There are also some who feel it creates a spiritually or magical energy that is evident and sometimes not pleasant on a pshyic level to those around that. Sometimes it is evident by their behavior and response to the event or the group.
We do not have a long standing western tradition or culture that teaches spiritual chemical mind-altering practices, its not something most or perhaps even any of us grew up with. So even in the privacy of their own room or tent, the energy, the psychic imprint may still be there. The Conclave can't and won't watch people's tents or rooms, no one will be asked to take a urine test or have a breathalyzer going... But no one is going to stay in their tent and how will they feel if others "sense" their imbibing energy? How will those who are sensitive to the energy feel?
What we hope is that people will make an effort to understand the policy and the process to make a community agreement to honor chemical-free space. Providing a "chem-free" space means that those who do use chemicals responsibly are generously doing a courtesy to those of us who feel set "outside" or excluded when there is alcohol or drugs used as part of the gathering-especially if they are part of a ritual. We depend on the community created at each event to take responsibility for what happens at that event and so far our experience has been good with community unity and responsibility.
How can we know what your individual circumstances are? Someone could be earning $30,000 a year but be supporting 3 children, a sick aunt and paying back student loans. That would mean they have less "disposable" income. While someone else earns $16,000 a year, lives in a coop and enjoys a very rich life with disposable income. The mainstream culture has given us a structure that defines people by their earned income and not by the reality of their financial lives. And it does not recognize or validate other life structures. Lesbian and gay "families" often can't acknowledge the real members of the family they support and some families may not be the defined "nuclear" family of the media.
You are the best judge of your circumstances and they are in truth NONE of our business. There must be a place were our communities learn to trust each other and our own realities. So to sum it up, we ask you to make the individual call and you do not need to justify it to us in any way.
Depending on donations made to the Work Exchange / Scholarship fund, some partial work exchanges or scholarships may be available. Work exchanges are preferable to scholarships, and because of finances. the number is usually pretty limited. Applications are in the form of a letter of request. We ask you to please include an explanation of your situation. If approved, we'll let you know what work is available. We try to organize things so everyone gets to enjoy and participate in the majority of the scheduled events of the Conclave. If there is any work you cannot or would choose not to do, please include that in your letter.
Applications are in the form of a letter of request, we ask you to please include an explanation of your situation, your skills and of course, jobs you will not do. Almost all work-exchange duties are done at the event and have a fair exchange rate. We try to organize things so everyone gets to enjoy and participate in the majority of the scheduled events.
Send requests via email to Brita and Hugh through the Contact page with the Work Exchange/Scholarship in the subject line.
If you wish to support the Conclave, you can make tax-deductible donations to our on-going scholarship fund or to support future events..
As a non-profit organization we believe that our finances are relatively public. We list all of our expenses and the mass income at the end of each event. Sometimes we misjudged our slush and we pass the hat to make up the difference. The information that we WILL NOT disclose are the specific amounts that individuals paid for their registration or who has been granted a scholarship or work-exchange position.
The Conclave also provides a copy of the Board Manual at each event for people to look at. This manual contains an Annual Report for each year the Conclave has existed. As well as our policies, by-laws, articles of Incorporation, etc.
These rules were developed at Martha's Co-op in Madison WI, when the members became dissatisfied with Robert's Rules of Order as a method for making decisions. Martha's Rules are a five step procedure for discussing issues and making decisions in fairly large group meetings.
The guiding principle was:
"Every decision we make is something we have to work with, and so it seems essential to us that we understand and have a commitment to the things we decide. We recognize that consensus decision-making, while it generates high-quality decisions, takes a lot of time and energy. Some decisions are simply not worth the effort. So, we developed a way to test whether an issue was important enough to warrant taking the extra time to develop consensus while the decision was being discussed."
We've included a detailed description of Marthas Rules here.
If you are interested in establishing you own non-profit group, do lots of research. Contact the Secretary of State office and ask how you can obtain copies of non-profits in your area. You might also be able to contact other states. Then look around and find the organizations that are similar to what you hope to create. Talk to them and also read their materials carefully.
We have Unitarian Conclavers, Gardnerian Conclavers, Dianic Conclavers, Shamanic Conclavers, Reclaiming Conclavers and many more... People attend who have been part of the "pagan" community for over 20 years and others who just "discovered" it. Others attend who have no idea what "paganism" means and are simply searching for spiritual or environmental community.
Having said that "we do not have members", those who come to a Conclave event often consider themselves members of the broader Conclave Community. We also invite feedback in the form of letters, e-mail and by attending our Council Meetings. It is appreciated if comments and concerns are done in a reproducible format so it can be shared with the entire Executive Council accurately. Anyone wanting to attend our meetings (which usually last 1 to 1 and 1/2 days on a week-end) can contact any of the members of the Executive Council to find out the date and schedule a time to talk or even just come to see the whole meeting...
Conclave Policy on Privacy: Many of the people on our mailing list wish to make their own decisions regarding public acknowledgment of their spirituality or other private matters. Any materials or publications designed or distributed for a Conclave project shall avoid "outing" or exposing receiving individuals to potential oppression. For example, terms such as "pagan" or "queer" shall not appear on the outer face of public mailings.
Our brochures and promotional materials are sent first class rather than bulk mail, so the postal term "or current occupant" will not be used so as not to inadvertently expose the original addressee to "outing".contact us asking to be removed.