What Is Fawc?-- our responses

· FREE I think "free" for me means free to be my true self, wholly in my own identity as a Beautiful Being, truly connected to a web of community that is my home. In my regular non-camp life I often don't feel free. I sometimes I feel trapped; as a consumer, as a wage earner, as mother, housekeeper, grandmother, office manager, struggling homeowner, supportive spouse, etc. "Free" means to me that I can be, for at least a little while, unbound by mainstream society's pressure to think and function is a certain programed way; spiritually, economically and culturally. "Free" means empowerment to choose ownership or not of mainstream society's cultural constraints. Free does not mean a disconnect from other peoples needs or boundaries. It doesn't mean that there is no monetary cost for the things that we need to make camp happen, i.e. travel costs, food, etc. I see "free" as a state of being that we all enter into collectively. This is a healing place that allows for self and group transformation. For me personally, being free means it is okay to be both naked or not naked and to be unashamed. I am free to see the Goddess in myself, in the earth, in all of the deities and the land and all of the human and nonhuman beings that are with us. I love this freedom to see and be all of these things.

· ACTIVIST "Activist" means to me that see myself as having power. That I can activate stuff in the world and create change. I didn't used to think of myself as an activist until I went to free camp. Now I am noticing all the time all of the little moments and things I do to create change in the world and in myself. I think activism happens both in inner work (soul work/spiritual development) and outer work (in the world, in your family, in the universe) and indeed it is probably important for balance to not forget that there is both inner and outer work to do as an activist. I think music and art are really important in building solidarity and magic and fantastic activism.

· WITCH A "witch" is someone who knows how to connect and link into invisible threads of connectedness in this world and in other worlds and who knows how to ground and use his or her power to create change in the multiverse. Knowing this, seeing the link of power, knowledge and ability to create change, why would a "witch" not be an "activist?" I think the two words go together. A "witch" is who I am. A "witch" is timeless and a little bit of a mystery. A "witch" is someone who sees Beauty and the Goddess in the world and who understands that is takes discipline and hard work sometimes to live a earth centered life in true witchy powerfulness. Witch to me means claiming responsibility to create healing and love in the world. "Witch" is a man, "witch" is a woman, "witch" is a sexy, creative, knows how to cook up a meal, cook up a spell, and cook up a trance type of person. Witch is a word I like.

· CAMP "Camp" is a place where we create magic. It is community and it is a lot of hard work and it can be family.

free" - for many, when energy is put out w the main intention of helping the collective, sometimes there is less energy / time / focus in the equation for efforts which generate income in the form of green pieces of paper. yes, there are some for whom their activism and their income stream are one and the same, but for many that is not the case. and the hard working activist groups we love are fed largely by volunteer / near minimum wage earning energy.

so the free, as i see it, is acknowledging the gifts of peoples' energy, in terms of the bigger picture. it is acknowledging, anticipating, that part of what draws people to the camp is their calling to work for the world in some way, whatever way they feel called to, perhaps and hopefully having a better idea of their path and skills as a result of the camp.

free is the gift economy. which in itself is a form of activism, of shifting the dominant paradigm which tells us we are only deserving, we are only worthwhile, if we have money. and it's an organic form of barter as well, which instills, even subtly, more of an undercurrent of gratitude, not entitlement, which relates to chipping in to make the camp happen and being in a state of appreciation.

of course, there are other ways to interpret "free" rather than referencing $. freedom to express, freedom to be, feel, practice our spirituality safely, etc. however, when combining "free" and "activist", it seems clear that part of the magic of that combination is to make this accessible to those who could not otherwise afford it yet whose lives and work in the world would benefit from learning what witch camps have to teach.

of course, "free" is in context of "free activist witch camp". it does not mean only "free", as in a free place to chill, a free place to eat, a free place to hang until the next festival. "free" means accessible to those who are participating in the camp and doing / planning to do work in the world which can help / be helped by what is learned through this experience which they have sought out because they wanted to be here.

"activist" - what makes reclaiming unique to me, and what draws me to the pagan cluster, is because spirituality which focuses on the current state of the world, and the current state of the elements central to that spirituality, seems to me the best example of a sensible, wholistic path.

i feel that keeping the activist element central to fawc is vital for the world we want to create, and also out of respect for the original intention of this camp. that intention is bigger and deeper than any one person / people. the camp and concept are growing and evolving, but a huge part of its magic is that it was intended to support and enhance the work of activism.

activism is practical and emotional at the same time. activism from the heart has its roots in the deep caring for the earth / elements / community which can be tapped into and explored during fawc. deep caring for the earth / elements / community can be expanded, challenged, enhanced, by linking that caring with problems which need to be addressed, by strategizing solutions, learning from one another, etc. and activism which is from only the head and not the heart often turns into well intentioned conundrums which lack the clarity, focus, heartspace, grounding, knowledge of communication and wholistic thinking, etc, which help something become truly and deeply effective. uniting the witch camp with the activism differentiates this from the many other activist skillshares / conferences / actions around. we infuse the activism with magic and a wholistic framework.

i see fawc as a, say, clinic of integrative medicine for the world changers. embracing all productive (which many including myself take to mean non-violent) , concepts and methods for positive change. giving everyone an experience which in some way nurtures, challenges, and improves their connection with the planet at the levels of head, heart, energy, magic, work, and community.

"witch" - magic, energy shifting, sacredness of the elements. inspiration for how the skills of a witch can be applied to activism and how the path of an activist can be enriched by learning the skills of a witch. appreciating how magic can be among the tools for making change. bringing a spiritual element to the activism, a reminder to ground and communicate, an inspiration to work on the levels of energetic as well as physical. making the magical foundation and tools of the pagan / witch path accessible to those without money to attend the pay witch camps, and to those who can carry that wisdom into activist circles - shifting consciousness.

** combining activist and pagan / witch says that we do not only see the elements as tools / props in ritual, energies we draw on for assistance, but that we also assist the elements and make that an integral part of our spirituality. **

"camp" - as our spirituality is nature, as much of our activism is for nature, and as nature provides a healing, nurturing container, it makes sense for this to be a camp, outdoors. camp also implies co-creative in some ways, the experience is shaped by all who attend. and open to the flow of the energy, planned of course in many ways but also open to shifting. more so than, say a conference or a lecture on the topics of spirituality and activism. and witchcamp because there are already witchcamps, a network this is a part of, yet this is different because it incorporates more of the activist element. which is why i'm writing more about the activism than the other components. because it is the "activist", and consequently the "free", in fawc which makes it so unique, and so needed.

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