We invite you!
To SunWard Gathering,
to be held April 3-5 2020 at Saratoga Springs
outside Ukiah, California
Here in Northern California, since the end of the Ancient Ways festival at Harbin Hot Springs, we have not had a pan-Pagan outdoor gathering. After many discussions with folks we met at Ancient Ways ‘back in the day’ and new friends from PantheaCon, and from the various clusters of Pagan and polytheistic folk, we know it is time to create a new one!
SunWard Gathering is…
- to draw together our community of fellow Polytheists, Pagans, Witches and Magi,
- to gather our strength in this time of great need,
- to learn from each other by sharing and listening,
- to cultivate the good, to clear away and transform the bad,
- to share good food and drink, art, and laughter.
What we are doing…
Our focus is religious and on the Gods and Goddesses we have built long relationships with, and we welcome all who come to respectfully share our event, for our goal is building community. All too often we experience each other through the screen of computer or phone. How different it is when our interlocutors are right before us!
In the manner of the Twilight and Spiral Gatherings, our main rituals will be a thematically connected cycle with opening, main, and closing rites. Our goal for this year is creating the container for opportunities to creatively meet the Gods.
Saturday’s main ritual will feature altars built to each Deity, or Deity-complex, or Pantheon, or Principle, we hold dear, and we will move among them to meet their Inhabitants, make connections and receive Their blessings.
Outside of those rites we will also have a cycle of offerings made at Dawn, Noon, Sunset and Midnight, to keep the Divine Ones close.
In addition to the religious focus, we aim also to provide a setting in which attendees can meet in heart-space, so there will be time set aside each morning for such connection. Community is different when we have touched each other. Having learned from the Fairies, every morning we will have a Heart Circle to make the time to see and connect with each other.
In the Late Afternoon we will inaugurate the custom of a Symposium. This is time to stop, pour a libation to Hermes, have a libation of yourself, and then be presented with a knotty question to inspire conversation and discourse.
Later in the evening, after the main ritual, we also hope to have drumming, dancing and music into the night.
We are seeking a limited amount of teaching for this time, while hoping for success and to extend our stay another day next year. In keeping with our focus, we are especially looking for teachings that center on the Gods and how to work with Them. Please contact Sam Webster with your offering.
Schedule the current draft
Where we are staying…
We have found a lovely venue for this springtime, sun-ward gathering, the Saratoga Springs Retreat Center (https://saratogasprings.com) 20 miles outside of Ukiah. Ritual spaces include the Main Meadow in the center of the property to the huge Heart Lodge, with its heated wood floors, arched ceiling, and stone fireplace, to the Fire (safe) Circle, and the Yurt for more intimate groupings. Many other small mystic places and paths adorn the land. There is also a vast hot tub along with an olympic swimming pool, another set of showers and washrooms, with a shaded canopy area.
Inside main lodge, social and discussion space
Heart Lodge indoor ritual space
Approaching the Heart Lodge
Inside the Heart Lodge (without the chairs and tables)
Fireplace in Heart Lodge
Behind the Heart Lodge
…and Hot Tub
Saratoga Springs has lovely meadows for camping, bunk rooms in the historic Main Lodge, multi-room Cabins with comfy! queen, full, and twin bunk beds with bedding, including showers and toilets for groups of 4 to 8, and private Sleeping Sheds for two which have queen beds and privacy.
The base price is $295 for your stay from Friday to Sunday.
This includes all meals, and space to camp.
If you prefer indoor accommodations, there are options:
- The Main Lodge has two large shared rooms with twin bunk beds: $325
- The Cottages have several rooms each for 4 to 8 people with queen and twin bunk beds. Some Colleges have en suite showers and toilets: $345
- The Sleeping Sheds are private accommodations with queen beds, heaters and a/c: $365
Tent in Meadow
Families and Children are welcome. Depending on needs we would like to have child appropriate programming. Please connect with the producers to let us know about what you want for your children and what you may offer for their care. Between the ages of 5 and 12, children cost $149, and under the age of 5 are free.
Food will be provided for all attendees. Our Chef, Kyle, will be providing scrumptious meals with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. We’ll have ‘Coffee & Crullers’ (Continental Breakfast) to greet the early risers, Full Brunch starting at 11, and Dinner about 6pm. We’ll keep snacks available in the Main Lodge all the time.
The Pantheon Foundation, a religious non-profit organization, is providing financial and administrative support for this event. We do not expect to make a profit on this event, but hope to have seed money for next year, mostly the deposit.
The cost for accommodations is $60 per person for each of two days and the food is $90 for the weekend. Beyond that total expense of $210 are the insurance, and other facilities fees, ritual supplies, and expenses for the administering the event.
The producers of the SunWard Gathering are adamant that all who come to our event are comfortable and safe. Given the context of our day and the defence of maltreatment in even the highest offices, we are here posting our protocol.
Our policy is simple: “All are Welcome, Abuse will Not be Tolerated”.
by All we mean
all who come to participate and make a wholesome community occasion together are welcome, irrespective of body, origin, or viewpoint, except intolerance.
by Abuse we mean
getting one person’s wants at another’s expense.
What is not consented to is forbidden.
If there is any concern with respect to any of these matters, contact the Gathering Director Sam Webster (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the event, and on site contact any member of staff.
We need enough people signed up by February first, the next deposit date, to know that we have a viable event. Please stop by the Facebook event page and let us know you are coming, but it is essential that enough tickets are bought to make our fees. If we do not have sufficient interest by February 1, 2019, we will refund all tickets.
Support this work and join in the maturation and development of our special religious community. Come join us at SunWard!