Andy's Letter

The Letter the FAWC Organizers Don't Want You to Read

On June 30th, a week and a half before camp started, I received the
following e-mail. I am including it here in it's entirety because it
is important. If you aren't into endless amounts of process and
doublespeak, you can skip to my summary and comments…

FAWC Organizing Cell Recommendation

Hello Andy,
June 28, 2010

As members of the camp community at large, the FAWC Organizing Cell is
writing to request your participation in a process of potential
transformation and healing for all of us. This letter is written after
much truthful and compassionate conversation about how to characterize
our observations regarding the ongoing nature of conflicts that
continue to arise owing to your choices. During your tenure as an
organizer and as a participant at Free Activist Witch Camp, we have
observed you to exhibit a pattern of power-over behaviors that range,
in our opinion, from incidental to egregious, and characterized as
boundary violations. These boundary violations have been enacted with
regards to specific individuals and also among groups, and both within
and without ritual and other sacred spaces. On multiple occasions,
members of the FAWC community have initiated various kinds of
processes to address this spectrum of behaviors ˆ listening circles,
an elder's council, a mentorship with two other Reclaiming
facilitators, a restorative justice framework, direct communication,
and a consensus minus one. It would appear that, although these
processes were undertaken with authentic intent by all the
participants, the cumulative outcome has not shifted your pattern of
behaviors, according to our collective experiential assessment.

Based on a set of actions you chose in a ritual in our 2009 camp, and
that were revealed to the organizing body as having caused damage and
distress, we believe that the fundamental issues of predatory,
power-over behaviors remain an active part of your relating to others,
in particular to and with female-bodied people. By your own design,
the FAWC community was founded on principles to examine, dismantle,
and transform the poisonous acts and beliefs of oppression surrounding
us in the dominant paradigm, while nourishing our magical spirits and
building our toolbox. We, the organizing cell, therefore recommend the
following healing path for you in order to set a standard of
appropriate accountability.

So in this letter we offer a framework to clearly state our needs
about accountability. We are calling it the "getting to there"
framework and what that means to us is this: Where you are now, with
respect to your patterns of behavior, is not a place from which FAWC
Organizers are going to engage with you about camp organizing or camp
as an event. We are asking you to move from where you are, to
somewhere else.

We believe that to "get there", the following objectives are the
framework to support demonstrable behavioral change.

1. You initiate and commit to a path of a diversified education on the
feminist perspectives of oppressions with specific attention to
hetero-patriarchy, the spectrums of interpersonal violence and the
journey of survivors healing from trauma.

2. You integrate this new information by proactively engaging in
self-reflection on your own behavior choices and invite community
feedback and reflection on your behavior.

3. You change your behavior to model healthy, supportive,
anti-oppressive relationships. This change in behavior would also
include a process for making amends to the people / communities in
your life who‚ve been affected by your behavior choices.

The FAWC Organizing Cell has consensed upon the following Recommendation:

Your voluntary and self-initiated enrollment in a Batterers‚
Intervention Program*. (This is not to be confused with or substituted
for Anger Management Classes.) This Intervention program will
typically run for 30-52 weeks in group sessions with other men** who
are either court mandated to attend, or who volunteer to make a change
in their behavior. This is group therapy, and not a single training or
workshop, in which the therapist determines when you are done based on
your progression through participation.

*A note about Language: While the program we recommend is called a
"Batterers‚ Intervention Program", we recognize this language as
stigmatizing and othering. Our intention for initiating this is,
again, transformation, and not shame. We will therefore refer to this
program in our process with all other parties as an "Interpersonal
Violence Abuse Intervention Program", and for short, the Intervention

**We acknowledge that while all people of all genders have the
potential for power-over and abusive behaviors, the program is
primarily focused on men‚s violence towards women, because men‚s
violence towards women is historical, pervasive and culturally
normative within the context of patriarchy, and because we believe
that your pattern of power over behavior is within this same context.

We also recognize that participating in an intervention program for
people who abuse costs money (anywhere from $30 ˆ 60 per session). We
ask that you choose to redirect some of your funds to this project as
if you would choose to save for participating in a Witch Camp or
summit mobilization. We believe the monetary cost is well worth the
community safety and your personal advancement. We believe that this
Intervention Program will offer you a context for understanding
patterns of power-over behavior and how to potentially shift them.

The details of the Recommendation are as follows:

1. You will solicit support from two (2) individuals who can act as
sponsors for your engagement in the above program. The sponsors should
have an understanding of one or more of the following types of
programs: Batterers‚ Intervention, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Drug and
Alcohol Dependency Therapy. The two sponsors must have an
understanding of energetics, or the moving, sensing and using of
energy, though do not need to be in the Reclaiming or Pagan
communities. Neither of these sponsors should be personal friends or
current or former confidantes. Once you have made contact with these
individuals, a member of the FAWC Organizing Cell will need to make
contact with each of these sponsors and you will be responsible for
providing their contact information.

2. Upon a completion of the Interpersonal Violence Abuse Intervention
Program, we request that you offer volunteer service to an
organization that works to serve survivors and to end interpersonal
violence in your community. This can include, but is not limited to, a
crisis line for domestic and sexual assault survivors, a community
justice center that provides survivors of violence with advocacy and
access to tools of the justice system, or a grassroots organization
that supports survivors and holds perpetrators accountable. We ask
that you offer your skills and privilege in a role of support and
sustainability. That could include offering weekly janitorial or
maintenance services, grounds support, office support, day of event
volunteering, supporting the volunteer coordinator to strengthen the
volunteer program, soliciting donations for fundraisers, running
errands, etc. We believe that attending a volunteer service training
will offer exposure to a feminist analysis of power-over and privilege
that would complement and evolve within the context of what would be
offered in the Intervention Program.

We ask that while you offer your skills to a local organization, you
avoid stepping into a leadership or direct service role. In this case,
leadership would be coordinating events or activities, facilitating
trainings, joining the board of directors, or offering guidance to the
organization for structure, fundraising, personnel, or programming. It
also includes directing other volunteers, staff, or donors to take
action. Direct service refers to any direct contact with survivors of
violence, including but not limited to, providing information and
referrals for support services, facilitating support group,
volunteering in a residential shelter, answering the crisis line, etc.

This term of service for volunteering should last 1 year (12 months)
at a consistency of 12 hours per month ˆ a typical expected volunteer
tenure at this type of organization. We ask that you declare your
group of choice to the FAWC Organizing Cell Representative at the
start of your volunteering.

3. We recommend that you have at least a monthly check in with your
sponsors for the duration of this process. The FAWC Organizing Cell
Representative(s) will be in contact with your sponsors on at least a
quarterly basis.

Additionally, We are open to the possibility that there may be many
other avenues of healing, transformation, and definitive shifts in
behavior that might allow you to return to camp at a later date other
than the Intervention Program/Sponsorship/Volunteer Service
Recommendation outlined above. However, finding these other avenues
and providing clear and convincing evidence that they meet the same
needs of the FAWC organizing cell for you to "get there", that the
aforementioned recommendation does, would be completely up to you; we
will not assist in the manifestation of any process of reconciliation
other than the one recommended above, because we crafted this
Recommendation specifically for you. We do not necessarily suggest
taking your own path; we merely offer it as a recognition that you
must be both a full actor in your own healing, as well as, a complete
collaborator with the FAWC Organizing Cell in this healing process in
order for it to be meaningful. The FAWC Organizing Cell will engage in
an evaluation process with you to ascertain any transformation in your
behaviors and understanding of interpersonal violence before any
consideration of your re-entry to camp can happen.

You are, of course, at choice in this process.

What you can expect from the FAWC Community:

We are offering a dedicated and consistent attempt to establish
boundaries that serve the needs of the community, including your own.
The specific boundary that we choose to set now is to deny your
admittance to FAWC 2010. Your potential admittance to FAWC 2011 is
provisional upon your ability to prove that you are "getting there"
and you can expect that we will necessarily craft a way to explore
where you find yourself at that point in time.

In an effort for transparency and increased synergy for
transformation, the FAWC Organizing Cell will publish a communication
to the those listed below, to make them aware of this process, our
lengthy history of engaging in process with you around these
behaviors, and to ask their support of you and our camp to foster a
culture of liberation and healing from violence, as well as
accountability to our comrades.

We intend to post to the following places: Witch Camp Council List,
FAWC Social List, Starhawk

You may also expect a period of time between your receiving this
letter and the letter of public disclosure, in which you will have an
opportunity to have private conversation with the Organizing Cell.
This period of time is offered for you to respond to our request and
to also offer answers to the questions we ask about including any of
your response in our public communication.

In the event that you deny this request, in part or in whole, the FAWC
Organizing Cell will also make this refusal public knowledge to these

Also, There may also be FAWC organizers who will volunteer to be
support people for you, if you should choose. They would be
independent of and in relation to FAWC. This may occur/change once we
have had the chance to engage in FAWC internal conversation about this
potential. There are two people who will be willing to act as liaisons
as members of the FAWC Cell and should you choose to utilize them, the
FAWC Cell will make decisions about how that would proceed in a way
that serves the process.

We ask that you respond to the following questions, within the time
frame we request. We may include, all or portions of, your replies in
the public communication that we intend to initiate.

1. Is there anything specific regarding any of your previous conflict
exploration processes with FAWC that you wish to comment upon?

2. Do you acknowledge and abide by our boundary to not have you at camp 2010?

3. Do you agree to communicate with us solely through our
catalystworkinggroup email given below?

Please write to: moc.hsuh|puorggnikrowtsylatac#moc.hsuh|puorggnikrowtsylatac

The framework for negotiating this process:

This process has been designed by a workgroup of FAWC organizers who
have formed as a subgroup of the Wellness Culture working group, and
are called the Catalyst working group. While we recognize that this
work is never complete, we have created space for your autonomous
action within the frame of this structured endeavor. We are choosing
to see your presence, choices and behaviors as catalyzing new and
evolving cultural responses, that are outside of and beyond the
dominant culture paradigm. We are choosing to do this work with the
expectation that it will become broadly applicable in this time of

To Close:

Andy, Our goal is to grow a community of activist witches that adhere
to a philosophy of liberation and healing, and who will work to end
oppression within ourselves and within each other. We are not
attempting to shame, humiliate or exile you. We choose to hold you
accountable for your behavior and challenge you to change it and
yourself. We recommend this process structure in love, support, and
great care for you, the people you have hurt, and all the creatures
and spirits in our alliance. We hope you utilize this opportunity as a
source in the great well of healing, as we believe it can be.

The 2010 FAWC Organizing Cell: rain, Barbara, Joel, Ross, Song,
Pavini, Glimmer, Bird, JP Hartsong, Riyana, Sidria, Steph, Amara

In short, they don't like my "behavior" and are attempting to kick me
out of camp for it. And they are going to post their letter far and
wide: to all of you, to all the Witchcamps around the world, and to
Starhawk without giving me a chance to answer these accusations or
defend myself.

From the phone call that accompanied this letter, I am given to
understand that they have been having secret meetings, for a year,
where my "actions" were discussed, judged, and found to be "predatory,
power-over behaviors". For these actions, I am being sentenced to a
year long "Batterers‚ Intervention Program", full of court ordered
abusers who beat their girlfriends with baseball bats at an estimated
cost to me of $2500. Not only that, I must also spend another year
"offering weekly janitorial or maintenance services", for free, to an
organization who provides such programs.

All without even once talking to me about this issue or asking for my
side of the story. And despite my expressed wished to be part of any
such process. To top it off, I am to be barred from camp, where I
might appeal this process, and must only communicate about it through
a secret, encrypted e-mail account ensuring that the FAWC community
never gets to hear my side of the story.

Needless to say, I have chosen to disregard their "recommendation",
and come to camp personally to present my side of this issue and ask
the camp community for justice. I will be facilitating a camp meeting
starting at the start of free time in the afternoon on Thursday.
Should this time conflict with scheduling, the meeting will be on
Friday. This will give time for the camp community to become
acquainted with this issue before the meeting.

At the meeting, equal time will be given to both sides of this issue.
Each incident in the "pattern" may be discussed and replied to,
questions taken, and camp will be asked for a decision about the
fairness of the situation. The organizers of camp did not want you to
be able to decide on these matters. I'm insisting that, given the
severity of the claims, and their punishment, that you, the camp
community, be allow to judge the things being done, in secret, in your
name. I would welcome a non-involved facilitator for this meeting.

If your eyes are glazing over after all this, you can quit here. The
short form is that there will be a meeting on Thursday or Friday to
discuss the appropriateness of the actions taken and planned by the
organizing team and myself, and the future of organizing for FAWC.
This meeting will take place despite the wishes of the organizing team
that it not. Please come. The meeting and its ramifications will be an
important part of camp for years to come. If you have energy for the
details, I will now present them, for the first time, so you can be
prepared for the meeting. If you want the detailed summary, just skip
to the last section…

Thank You,
Andy Paik

Founder, Free Activist Witchcamp

A Description of Conflicts at Issue at Free Activist Witchcamp

This is a long, detailed description of the conflicts at issue at
FAWC 2010. I do not believe that most campers or others reading this
are really interested in this exhaustive description of the conflicts
in question. I would not normally write or distribute this myself. I
am including it here as part of my struggle for justice, and so that
there will be a written record available for the future of organizing

Part 1: The Stolen Money and Forged Check
In the first year of FAWC, we arranged for Seeds of Peace to provide
food for camp. They are a great group, and we are lucky to be working
with them. They requested $1000 to use to purchase food. As camp
founder, I had many roles in the camp organization including handling
the donation money. Also involved in organizing that camp were Delyla
and Stan Wilson. As Delyla is a friend of Seeds of Peace, and had
contact with them, she was to liaison with them. When I gave her the
money several weeks before camp to give to Seeds of Peace, she told me
to give it to her husband Stan, which I did.

Several months after camp, I was approached by Seeds of Peace. I was
informed that they never received the money from Delyla and Stan,
despite repeated personal requests to give it to them. I immediately
gave Seeds of Peace a new check out of my personal funds and began
trying to get the money back from Delyla and Stan. Numerous e-mails
and phone calls followed, but no money was returned.

At this time, it was discovered that a missing donation check had
been cashed. At camp, another camper had donated $75 to camp. I placed
her check in my bag. When I was going over the donation money, I
noticed the check was missing and presumed it lost. The camper wrote
me a new check, with me assuring her if the original check turned up,
it would be destroyed. This camper approached me in December telling
me that both checks had been cashed, causing her financial problems,
and she was wondering what was going on. I paid her back the money,
again from my personal funds, and we ordered a copy of the check from
the bank.

When we got the check, we found that it had been deposited into the
personal joint bank account of Delyla and Stan Wilson. A crude forgery
of my signature was found on the back. Heated phone calls and e-mail
followed. It was not until the possibility of legal prosecution was
mentioned, 6 months after camp in February, that the total of $1075
was paid back to me.

I was willing to let the matter drop here, but when another camper
discovered what had happened, he was not. He believed that Delyla and
Stan should not be organizing at camp, and that campers needed to be
warned, so that they could guard against similar thefts. He raised the
issue in many harshly worded e-mails. In a preview of things to come,
the rest of the organizing team wished to pretend the issue never
happened, and not tell anyone about it or do anything about it. I
proposed a compromise, that Delyla and Stan not being involved in the
money in the future. A heated e-mail discussion followed. More on this
in the next section.

Part 2: Barbara Tries to Starve Camp
After the second year of camp. Barbara wished to become an organizer.
She joined the organizing team, and her first interaction with the
organizing team was to get online and propose that I step down from my
role doing registration, and that she take it over. She did not think
I was a good representative for camp, despite me having created it,
and she wanted my job. E-mail debate followed, and since everyone was
happy with the job I was doing on registration, her proposal was not
acted on. We did agree to have her shadow me in the registration
process so she could learn how it was done.

Barbara said she was not happy in that role. She complained that it
was tedious, and did not like being asked to compile all the e-mail
addresses for our database. She did not meet simple deadlines. More
e-mail discussions followed. At this time, I was warned by another
camper that I should "watch my back". That he had overheard Barbara
planning with someone else to "trap me in a meeting and use consensus
to get me removed from camp". He did not know the name of the person
Barbara was planning with.

At this time, the Delyla/Stan/money issue was being discussed online.
In response to my proposal (that Delyla and Stan not be involved with
the money), Delyla decided that I should not deal with the money
either. She proposed that I be immediately removed as treasurer, and
that we form a non-profit to handle the donations. As we were, at this
time, just weeks before camp, this proposal was not excepted. It was
agreed that after camp, work would begin by interested parties on
getting non-profit status. 4 years later, the people now handling
finances still have not applied for non-profit status.

That is when Barbara took matters into her own hands. Using the
registration list she compiled, she sent e-mail out to everyone
directing them NOT TO DONATE TO CAMP, but bring money to camp in
person, so I would not touch it. Some of you probably remember that
letter, and my follow-up letter. That caused a big problem. We did not
have enough donation money to give Seeds of Peace the money they need
ahead of time to purchase food, not to mention any other pre-camp
expenses. Without those donations, we could not get food. I
immediately sent out another letter, apologizing to the community,
explaining that Barbara was acting on her own, without consensus, and
asking that people do send in their donations. The community rallied,
donations shot up, and we got all the money Seeds of Peace needed.

Barbara resigned from the registration subgroup at this point, not
having done any work on her other big registration job, arranging
carpools. This is a free camp. We serve those who can't afford other
witchcamps. More than any other camp, we need someone to make
carpooling happen. That was to be part of Barbara's job. Her bailing
out at the last minute left camp in the lurch. I had to step in, and
make sure everyone got rides. I had to arrange pickups at the last
minute, and when no one was available, I, myself, made the 3 hour
drive to town and back to pick up stranded campers in the middle of
the night. Had Barbara done her job, that would not have been
necessary. The people handling registration now, by the way, have
continued to neglect carpooling. As of e-mail sent out 4 days before
before camp, 24 people have no rides, including one third of the
announced teaching team.

Part 3: Process, Process, Process…
At this point, we began the third year of camp. As mentioned in the
organizer letter, "On multiple occasions, members of the FAWC
community have initiated various kinds of processes to address this
spectrum of behaviors". The authors of that letter, the Catalyst
Working Group, seem to have misunderstood the purpose of the processes

The first process we undertook was a listening circle, just before
camp, with mediators from Reclaiming's Wellness Cell. We were to
"explore the conflict" between myself and Delyla and Stan about the
money that was stolen. We did. Delyla and Stan claim that it was all
some sort of colossal mistake. And that my harshly worded e-mails
about this to them and the other organizers were too harshly worded
and made them feel bad. I said that I did not see how forging my
signature on check could be a mistake, and that the situation
warranted some harshly worded e-mail since it got the money returned.
And that I, too, felt bad.

The mediators thought we had made progress on understanding the
issue, so they didn't feel bad. I was happy the air had been cleared
some, Delyla and Stan were unhappy since my "harshly worded e-mails"
were not repudiated by the mediators. End of mediation. No behavioral
changes were recommended.

A word here about "harshly worded e-mail". This will come up a lot,
since they constitute most of the body of my response to the various
situations that arose. They were always clear and precise, detailed
and focused on the situations. They never used profanity or personal
attacks, just descriptions of actions and their consequences. They
could be described as hard-edged, I suppose. This letter, itself, is a
perfect example of an "Harshly Worded Andy E-Mail".

Next came the "Elder's Council" for myself and Barbara. In an Elder's
Council, elders look impartially at the situation and tell everyone
what they see. If you are ever in a mediation situation, go for the
Elder's Circle. They are the most fair. Barbara felt my e-mail trying
to make sure we had enough donation money to get food impugned her
reputation. I felt that having food at camp was important enough to
warrant the letter I sent out which was not even harshly worded.

The issue of whether Barbara was trying to "get me removed from camp"
was denied by Barbara and alibied by her good friend Rain who was also
at the party where the camper stated he had overheard Barbara's
remarks. At the time, I believed her denial, thinking it must have
been a mistake on the part of the camper. Now, considering this is
exactly what she and Rain are trying to do with the organizer's
letter, I wish I had listened to the camper and "watched my back".
Instead, I apologized for any undue harshness the e-mail had. Barbara
never apologized for attempting to cut off donations so that we would
not have food.

The elders and I thought of the discussion about "watching my back"
was an informative breakthrough. Barbara seemed unhappy that, once
again, I was not repudiated for sending "harshly worded e-mail" to
insure that camp could happen. Mediation over, once again no
recommendation of any changes.

Camp happened. Closed meetings happened to discuss the future
organizing structure of camp. Campers complained that they were being
locked out of the organizing process and their views not respected.
Another secret, closed meeting was called where the organizers would
brainstorm on ideas. And, as it was agreed that no decisions would be
made at that closed meeting, I did not attend, instead spending the
time tending a camper who had taken ill.

Somehow, at this meeting, it was "decided", for me, that I would
undergo a "mentoring" in communication by 2 of the other organizers.
And that the camp consensus process would now be a "consensus ˆ 1"
process. And a host of other changes to the organizing structure. Had
I been at the meeting, I would have blocked any decisions and held the
group to the agreement, made to address the camper complaints, that
the camp must openly discuss and decide these issues. These ideas were
eventually presented to the camp as a block, not even fully read or
recorded, as a condition for future organizing.

On to year 4. As you can see, there are lots of different issues to
keep track of organizing a camp. As founder of camp, it was my role to
do so. I was one of 3 "Overall Camp Coordinators", the other 2 being
the mentors to which I was told to mentor with. Our job was to watch
the entire camp organizing process, make sure everything that needed
to happen was happening, and yes, send out e-mail if things were not
going right. Harshly worded e-mail, if the gently worded ones failed
to produce results. There was even a discussion with one of the
coordinators about trying to rotate who would have to send the
"harshly worded e-mail" so I would not be the continual recipient of
the ill-will from the people who got them. Alas life distracted the
other coordinators and it wound up just being me.

Part 3: The End of Children (and Elements of Magic) at FAWC
Mentoring happened with one of the mentors on more effective, or less
harsh ways of wording e-mail. The other mentor, never did any
mentoring. I got some ideas and tried to implement them.

For the fourth year of camp, the process of selecting teachers and
creating paths was horribly behind schedule. This also meant that
outreach describing the teachers and paths was not happening and so
registration and donations were way off. The senior teacher, head of
the teacher selection group (who was also the mentor who never
mentored) just kept saying she was working on it. At the Dandelion
Gathering, in April of that year, 3 months before camp, I discovered
that there were no teachers for the Pixie Path yet.

The Pixie Path, for those who don't know, was our children's path. By
one of our oldest consensuses, from before the first camp, it was to
be offered every year, and taught by teachers, NOT just left to the
parents. It was seen as a vital part of our mission, allowing single
parents to attend camp, with their children, and let those parents
have time to experience camp themselves and not just tend to their
children. It was one of the most beloved parts of camp, and certainly
the most respected throughout the wider Witchcamp Community, helping
to change the way other witchcamps relate to children. I found a
Reclaiming trained teacher there, at the Dandelion Gathering, and
recruited him for the path, with the blessing of the teaching team

June rolls around, a month before camp. From talking to one of the
few teachers who had been selected, I discovered that the teaching
team was not complete yet, there were then no plans for the Pixie
Path, despite me having recruited a teacher explicitly for it, and
that there was not even going to be an Elements of Magic path. No
Elements?!? Elements is the first and most basic of the 4 core classes
in Reclaiming. I have been to witchcamp 9 times, not including 5 years
of FAWC. Every single one of them had an Elements path. It was
explained in my first witchcamp that there was always an Elements
path, because there will always be people who are new to witchcamp and
magic. This is doubly true at FAWC. Elements teaches people how to
participate in Reclaiming ritual. We did not have a consensus about
having it, because it is so fundamental to Witchcamp that I never
thought of mentioning it.

This was, of course, another issue. I talked to my mentor about what
I should do. She said to keep it personal. Talk to the teacher
coordinator myself. Do not send out a "harshly worded email", do not
argue about this online. So I did. I repeatedly tried to contact the
teacher coordinator. E-mail was not answered. Phone calls were
ignored. And this from the woman who was also supposed to be mentoring
me on communication.

I discovered, by accident, when a teaching team conference call was
happening just before camp. I got on that call, to at least talk to
the people involved, and to see what was going on. In short, to do the
"overall camp coordinating" that I was charged with doing. On the
call, I was bruskly told that I was not welcome there, it was for
teachers only, thanked for my comments, and kicked off the call. This
despite another of the oldest consensuses from the first year of FAWC,
and reaffirmed the second year of camp, that "key organizers" were
allowed to be at, and participate in all meetings of the teaching team
if the organizer so chose. The exception being Teachers' Affinity
Group time. It is part of the camp's commitment to transparency. The
Teaching Coordinator told me she would contact me the next day to
discuss the issue. She never did, and more calls and e-mail were

We gathered at camp, the day before camp started. If we were going to
have a Pixie Path and an Elements Path, that was the last chance to
arrange it. The teaching team was having a meeting. Once again, I went
to the meeting, in my role as overall camp coordinator, and by the
transparency consensus as a "key organizer". Once again I was told to
leave. Their plan was to have the parents take care of their children,
breaking the consensus on the Pixie Path. And to try to have a novice
teacher, who was not even trained trained in Reclaiming, add "Elements
content" to her "Hearth Path". I refused to leave and insisted they
address these issues. I was successful in forcing the teaching team to
find a qualified non-parent to teach the Pixie Path that year. I was
not successful in getting Elements of Magic taught. This entire
incident took about 10 minutes, and then I left.

We had a "Restorative Justice Circle" about this incident. The some
of the teachers, mostly ones who were also organizers were offended
that I came uninvited to a teaching meeting and would not leave until
they addressed the issue. I was offended that they were breaking the
consensuses on Pixies and Transparency, and not even teaching
Elements. The novice mediator who volunteered had never tried this
type of process before and did not realize it was not suited to the
issues at hand. No one was happy, but we all made recommendations on
what actions we could take to help us move on. I did my actions and
moved on, apparently the other members of the organizing team did not.

The consequences of those choices were profound. There has not been a
Pixie Path offered at camp since that time, and parents have not
brought children since no pixie path has been advertised. The lack of
an Elements Path at that camp resulted in the complete disintegration
of the magical framework. Without knowing how to behave in ritual, new
people were dropping in and out. A scheduled all-camp ritual just did
not happen. One of the parents left in the middle of camp with his
children saying: "This does not feel like Witchcamp". The Teaching
Coordinator was forced to plead with people not to come drunk to the
healing ritual. I felt ashamed of the camp I created in that moment.

Elements happened then next year, but is not scheduled for this year.
A member of the teaching team told me: "If we offered Elements and a
Pixie Path, that would take up half the teaching team!" They did not
and do not want to teach Elements or the Pixie Path. The teachers seem
to want to design their own, more personally creative, paths without
regard to the Pixie Consensus or needs of the camp. The much loved
pre-school teacher who created the Pixie Path, taught it for two
years, and wrote its consensus, has left our community over the
disrespect shown children by some of those same current organizers.

In the "Organizing for Next Year" meeting, the Teacher Coordinator
said she would not organize again if I was part of the organizing
team. The novice mediator from before jumped in and proposed that, in
a consensus ˆ 1 structure (from year 3's secret, closed meeting), that
I take 1, and only 1, year off from organizing, "to give time for
everything to settle". The teaching coordinator was a well loved
popular teacher, and I was still ashamed of camp, so this was
consensed to with little discussion or opposition. At least one camper
left the meeting in tears over the poor way I was treated in that
meeting. The Teacher Coordinator dropped out of organizing anyway and
has not been seen at camp since.

I honored that consensus, and did not participate in the organizing
of the 5th year of camp. I attended solely as a participant, and even
turned down requests to help organize rituals. Apparently, things did
not "settle" for the organizers and all attempts to participate in
organizing for the 6th year of camp, according to the consensus - 1,
have been met with no response at all. That was until the letter was
delivered to me last week.

Part 4: Rituals and Boundaries?
This one is a little odd to me, since I only found out about it on
the conference call. I was told there that since I had exhibited
"spiritually predatory behavior" in a ritual, and gone into a
mediation about it where I was "ordered" not to contact the person
involved again, I was being banned from camp and ordered into Batter's
Rehab and scrubbing toilets. This came as a surprise to me, since no
such thing happened. This accusation came from Rain, once again, and
was supported by Barbara, once again. I assume it formed the basis of
much their year long discussions and they told me it was the primary
reason for the letter and its "recommendations". It took me a while to
figure out what they were talking about and it seems they were
operating under some misconceptions and had combined 2 completely
separate events into one. Of course, they never bothered to talk to or
ask me about this.

First the ritual. The camp last year was celebrating the life history
of the earth, in particular looking at periods of mass extinction and
how evolution allowed life to adapt and survive. (Don't ask me… Such
rituals are common now that we don't have many Reclaiming trained
teachers planning ritual anymore.) This ritual, in particular was
looking at the oxygen crisis when the carbon dioxide from the plants,
which was all there was, threatened to choke off those plants. We were
commemorating the evolution of animals who, by feeding on the plants
and each other, created a new balance so life could thrive.

We were milling about in ritual trance motion, after having divided
ourselves into plants and animals. Many people in the animal group,
myself included, acted out the parts of various animals. I was a
coyote, my totem animal, and went around with my "paws" in the air,
saying "Rarrrr" and mock-fighting with and sometimes mock-eating
people who were acting out animals like bunnies or squirrels. Some
people played back and we had a good time, many did not care or even
notice in their trance. One woman witnessed this (I had not interacted
at all with her) and took great offense. She started shouting at me,
in the ritual, about "rape". I calmly explained to her that she had
misunderstood my actions. That I was acting as a coyote, that while
coyotes may chase and eat bunnies, they do not rape them, and that it
was this exact cycle of animals evolving to feed on plants and other
animals that we were celebrating. Yes, I said all that, trying to
ground the situation while she was shouting at me. And then I left her
and finished the ritual. I was later approached by one of the few
Reclaiming trained members on the teaching team. She asked me about
the incident. I explained what had happened and she left satisfied
with my answers.

There was also another mediation at camp. There was a different woman
who set up her tent, about 20' from mine at the camp coffee space
where I often hung out. I acted friendly with her, she seemed to be
acting friendly with me. We had various discussions, and I thought she
was a nice person.

Late in camp, I was asked to participate in yet another process. That
woman had been bothered by my presence around and friendliness toward
her. I was happy to be part of the process, since I have heard such
stories about myself for years, and never been able to ask anyone
involved about them firsthand. I don't want to go into the all the
particular details, since I believe this is a mistake that is just
growing, but I need to go into some, because of the seriousness of the
accusations made against me.

I am going to quote one section of the mediation, that pretty much sums it up:

Woman: "I can't point to anything you did, but I was uncomfortable. It
was like you wanted something from me…"
Me: "I did want something. I wanted to be your friend."

She said she had been giving off "non-verbal clues" that she did not
wish to be friends, and I had completely missed them. A light suddenly
went off for me. I've never been good with "non-verbal clues". "No",
completely and always, means "no", and "yes" means "yes, but continue
to check in", but "getting up to get more food when we are eating and
not coming back" has always just meant "I was hungry and got
distracted". This also explained the stories I've heard 3rd hand about
myself. Maybe other people had given off "non-verbal clues" which I
did not see.

A discussion with her, her support person, the mediators and myself
followed about non-verbal clues. The ritual was mentioned by her
support person who described my animal play with her as an example of
my successfully seeing and reacting to the non-verbal clues she gave
off. That I wasn't completely hopeless where they are concerned. Both
the woman and her support person said they were "moved" by "seeing a
man who is aware of and actively working on his issues". The issue
being my not being very good at seeing non-verbal clues. It was the
most successful mediation I have ever had. I was shocked and surprised
that a year later it was somehow being mistakenly combined with me
being shouted at in the ritual by a completely different person as a
reason to prevent me from organizing and to bar me from camp.

As to the "order" to stay away from the woman in the mediation? I
suggested that possibility since she had said at the start of the
mediation that she did not want to be friends. She accepted, saying
she "wanted time to figure out how she felt about everything". End of
mediation. That's it.

Part 5: The Future and the End of Camp
To sum up, this is their "pattern of predatory, power-over behavior".

As overall camp coordinator, I wrote some harshly worded email to
people who had stolen money from camp which actually got the money
back. And I asked that they not handle the money again. And I did not
press charges.

As overall camp coordinator, I sent an e-mail explaining to the camp
community that they should ignore the unconsensed letter suggesting
they not donate. That we needed the money for food. That e-mail got us
the donations in time. And made me spend 3 hours driving into town,
several times, to get people when carpooling was not arranged in a
timely fashion.

As overall camp coordinator, I spent 10 minutes at a meeting to which
I was not invited, but was permitted to be at by camp consensus. I did
so to fight for the rights and presence of children, parents and new
campers at camp. That got us one last year of Pixie Path.

I went "Rarrrr" a few times in a ritual designed to celebrate the
evolution of predators as the salvation of all life. I was not the
only one who did so. I was shouted at by one person and calmly
explained her misconceptions to her.

I tried to be friends with a woman who did not want to be my friend,
but never actually told me so. No inappropriate touching or language,
lewd suggestions, or gestures ever happened and it was never suggested
that they did. I had the best mediation ever with her.

I'll add preemptively that I attended the 6th year of camp against
the expressed wishes of the organizing team. I did this to defend
myself publicly against the unjust charges made and about to be
circulated against me, and to facilitate an open meeting where these
issues and the future direction of FAWC organizing could be discussed
by the camp at large, not just by a self-selected secret working group
of organizers.

I went through, and will continue to go though, though lots of
process with everyone about these issues, some of which will
undoubtedly involve yet more harshly worded e-mail. I always have, and
will continue to voluntarily participate with an open heart in these

In conclusion, to the proud readers who have made it this far, Free
Activist Witchcamp is sick. The current organizing team is trying to
purge itself of anyone who will call them on the screw-ups that take
place, or provide any meaningful oversight for camp at all. I guess
"meaningful oversight" is what they mean by "power-over behavior".

The results are obvious:

Each camp since I have stopped working as primary organizer has been
smaller than the last.

The laughter of children is no longer heard at camp since families
and single mothers no longer come.

Outreach and registration have fallen off a cliff. No attempt is made
to coordinate dates with and no announcements are made to the local
Northwest Pagan Community anymore, so we we get almost no campers from
those groups who are not already affiliated with camp.

Carpools are not arranged anymore for those in need anymore.

Similarly, no attempt is made to coordinate dates with and no
announcements are made to the local Activist Community anymore. We
used to advertise in the Earth First! Journal and on the local
Indymedia sites. This year's camp even conflicts with the first Earth
Activist Training held in the Northwest in some time. We have also
ceased to plan an activist action after each camp as we once did. So
now, we get almost no working activist campers who are not already
affiliated with camp.

The theme and part of the teaching team were only announced 3 weeks
before this camp. More followed a week later, but that information is
still not complete. Other witchcamps typically have this information
decided on and distributed at least 6 months before the camp, so
people can decide which camp they want to go to that summer. Our late
dates have meant that there is little participation from the wider
Reclaiming community except for the teachers and the organizers.

And finally, the lack teaching of basic ritual skills has hurt our
magic. Our rituals are like science lessons. Coyotes don't sing back
anymore when we cast the circle. And the shining, mysterious ones are
no longer seen dancing in the woods at night as they once were.

Free Activist Witchcamp is deteriorating into a glorified skill-share
weekend, and I have come to work to save it. I ask for justice, for
myself and for the very continued existence of Free Activist
Witchcamp. I ask that the camp community renounce the letter written
by the self-serving Catalyst Working Group subset of the organizers as
"unjust" and direct that it not be sent anywhere. I ask that the camp
organizing structure be immediately reopened to anyone, myself
included, who wishes to participate and is willing to actually work
for the good of camp, instead of their own interests. And I ask that
all existing consensuses, especially those on the Pixie Path and on
Transparency of Process, again be honored from this time forth.

At a bare minimum, if the community feels that there is too much
material here to process in one meeting, I ask that these issues, and
its letter be turned over to the Reclaiming Wellness Cell, for an
impartial mediation between myself and the organizing team and that
the camp let it be known that that mediation will be final and binding
so that the organizers can not keep bring this stuff up over and over
again. I ask these things for the good of Free Activist Witchcamp, the
camp I founded, and which will always be my spiritual home no matter
how this process unfolds…

Yours in the Struggle,
Andy Paik

Founder, Free Activist Witchcamp

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