Pagan Spirit Gathering Offering Accessible Camping

When Circle Sanctuary had to move PSG from Camp Zoe in Salem, Missouri, because of it’s closure many Pagans in the area were disappointed. It was an honor to have such a long running festival in the stateClick here for Camp Zoe’s take on the Federal search and closure. Click here for the St. Louis Riverfront Times article about Highway Patrol drug search roadblocks on the way to Camp Zoe.

PSG is now being held in the much less controversial and more accessible Stonehouse Park near Earlville, Illinois. This 31st annual Summer Solstice festival runs from June 19-26.

Click here for the PSG website.

Click here for the Stonehouse Park website.

Pagan Spirit Gathering 2011 Logo
IMAGE: Pagan Spirit Gathering 2011 Logo Smiling sun with wavy rays of light. There are many religious and astrological symbols between the rays.

PSG’s Accessibility Perks:

Concerts will be held out of the hot sun in a very large three bay barn.

Showers and flush toilets which any person can appreciate.

PSG is set up like a Pagan village wish designated communities much like neighborhoods. I was very impressed with two of their special camp areas.

“Amethyst Circle: A meeting and camping space for Pagans in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions. It is a clean and sober space with daily Pagan-oriented twelve step meetings and a campfire area for socializing.”

“Disabilities Camp: An encampment for those with mobility challenges, located within walking distance of portatoilets and food merchants. ritual/workshop areas and showers will be in other areas of camp. Note that an on-site shuttle will be running again this year, but may have a sporadic schedule. Anyone with severe challenges should bring a support person for help, as neither Circle nor the campground staff will be able to provide individual assistance. If you have severe mobility or other physical challenges, contact Circle before registering and by May 15 to see if the site can meet your needs. When you register, please indicate what you will be camping in (tent, RV, pop-up) and what size it is.”

And for people such as myself who have trouble with anxiety they can stay in the “Quieter Area”. “This is a quieter camping area for those who prefer less noise after midnight. Absolute quiet cannot be guaranteed so be sure to bring your earplugs.”

Under the festival guidelines, there is a section on Physical and Mental Health Conditions.

“Conditions that may require medication and/or periodical medical attention must be described in the comment section of the registration form. Bring ample supply of medications – there is no pharmacy nearby. A doctor’s permission will be required for persons with health conditions that require ongoing support from First Aid and/or Psyche’s Grotto.”

Psyche’s Grotto is PSG’s psychospiritual support center. Paul Larson (aka Chiron), faculty member at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is the grotto’s current coordinator. All of the Grott’s staff are trained mental health professionals.

Drake Spaeth was the coordinator from 1995 – 2007. In an interview with the Staff of Asclepius he said, “Most who come to the Grotto simply need some mild support for deep emotions experienced in rituals or workshops, or they want some help in grounding and centering from abundant ritual stimulation.” They staff is prepared to handle panic attacks and other serious conditions. Click here for the interview.

I was unable to find information on how they would accommodate participants with hearing and sight impairments. They could be on the site and I missed it. However, everyone is encouraged to note their needs and concerns when they register. They ask that you register early enough, by May 15, for PSG staff to meet your needs.

If you are going to PSG and you have a mental, physical or sensory impairments; in recovery from a major injury or addiction; and/or a member of the Deaf or Blind community, please consider writing a guest post for the Staff of Asclepius about your festival experience. Email me, Masery. tara.miller21@gmail.com

About Tara "Masery" Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a Neo-Pagan panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She is the editor of Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul which you can find at Immanion press. www.immanion-press.com/info/books.asp She has a minor is religion from Southeast Missouri State Missouri State University with an emphasis in mysticism. Masery has lead various groups over the years and organized Pagan Pride Day events. Her magic and author page is at www.taramaserymiller.com

  • http://deafpagancrossroads.com Ocean

    I did send a registration form to PSG and indicated that as a Deaf Pagan I would need communication access. I received a not-so-friendly response informing me that since they are a religious organization and thus not required by law to comply with the ADA, they would NOT provide sign language interpreters and thus it would be my responsibility to bring “my own assistant.”

    Regardless of whether PSG is legally required to do so or not, I find this attitude disturbing, not to mention that it shows clear ignorance of the role of an interpreter. Interpreters are communication facilitators, they are not personal assistants.

    Regardless of whether they are required to comply with the law or not, I would encourage all Pagan organizations to familiarize themselves with the ADA and accessibility issues, and develop an understanding of what auxiliary aids are.

    I sent a response to PSG explaining how other Pagan events have in fact provided interpreters, and offering to assist them in doing so. I have yet to receive any further communication from them, which suggests that they would just as soon that I stay home and not bother them with this issue…which is probably what I will end up doing.

    Certainly not very welcoming.

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/masery/ Masery

      That is disheartening, Ocean. The Web amazes me once again. Before I read your post, I had written Sharon / Moonfeather the
      PSG Manager through their website asking her to point me in the right direction for information on accessibility for participants with sight and hearing impairments. Did you register for this year’s event? As huge as this festival is and as many volunteers they have, there really is no excuse against having interpreters.

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