Monday, November 27, 2006

Statement re: Ethics & Boundaries

Some of my colleagues in Reclaiming and myself have come up with this statement which we now make public:

As a group of Witches who have all been active in Reclaiming for 10-25 years, we want to voice our concern at the new consensus reached which says that all Reclaiming Witch Camps are autonomous and can make their own decisions regarding drug and alcohol use, or sex between students and teachers.

We will not move to alter the consensus, but want to go on record as being against this new policy. We are not opposed to alcohol and drug use in private or non-ritual events, but we are against it in open rituals and Witch Camps. Reclaiming events often include transformative work in which people are already significantly altered, and it can be disruptive, even dangerous to add drugs and alcohol to the mix.

While we are certainly sex positive, we do not think it is wise for teachers and students to have sex at Witch Camps. Both parties have power, but there is also present a spiritual and psychological openness that can be easily manipulated by the person who has taken on the role of guide. We are against polices that allow for this possibility. Magic is not safe, but certain safeguards are still a good idea.

Anne Hill, Dawn Isidora, Deborah Oak Cooper, Fern Feto Spring, M. Macha NightMare, Medusa, T. Thorn Coyle
I signed this post not because I have any connection with Witch Camps, but rather because these stated policies are consistent with my feelings and belief. I choose not to involve myself in public Reclaiming activities, or in Reclaiming teaching, where these policies are not expressly agreed to ahead of time.

8 comments:

ann flowers said...

i TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU ALL. BUT WHO MADE THIS DECISION?
I KNOW I AM NOT PART OF THE BRITISH RECLAIMING CAMP GROUP (AS THEY THREW ME AND URS OFF IT). SO I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHICH BODY HAS AGREED TO THIS NEW RULING. THANKS AND BLESSINGS

Anonymous said...

Here's what I think you're seeing.

Those who feel a protected (sane boundaries) purpose is in **opposition** to their autonomy (false dilemma) are very likely to wield the weapon of dionysian "consensus of no consensus," knowing full well that identity, focus, and purpose is arrived at between leaders **and** members.

Time to cull the herd then...go upstream of the problem, associate with those who have the same vision, balance, and ability to put harmony and discord to good use.

It's be useless to try to work with people who aren't going to work with you, but that doesn't mean the work stops. A few good people are the ones to usually change the world for the better anyway. People catch up as they may.

Broomstick Chronicles said...

Ann, not being a WC person, I have no idea who made that decision.

All I know is that when one teacher arrived at one of th camps where she'd been engaged to teach, she was told that camp permitted alcohol and drugs and sex between teachers and students. She objected, and was especially miffed that she hadn't been advised of this beforehand because if she had, she would have declined to teach there. She was told that camp decisions on such matters were autonomous.

Needless to say, we who signed that statement felt strongly enough about these issues to make a public statement about our unavailability to teach under such circumstances.

Broomstick Chronicles said...

Thanks for your observations, anonymous. I really like your notion of going upstream of the problem. I did that many, many years ago but didn't have such a useful analogy for it. Thanks!

Dharmashanti said...

Wise choices! Use spiritual energy wisely!

Blessed Be,
Dharmashanti

Loreley said...

Thank you for this. As a student, witchcamper, and local organizer in my community, I'm highly concerned about what I see as the distancing of local communities from the core spirit of Reclaiming, all in the name of autonomy and anarchy. Now, I'm all for autonomy, but I'm also for the respect of where we've come from and what we've learned.

Anne Hill said...

Macha, thanks for posting this here.

Ann, the current anything-goes camp policy was apparently consensed at during the Witch Camp Council's online meeting earlier this year. Those of us who signed this statement have actually formed an independent guild which has a voice on the WCC. Our statement was brought by Medusa to the recent WCC meeting in Vancouver, and while it does not alter the current consensus we hope that camps will clearly state where they stand on these issues in the future.

Anne

Ruby of the West said...

I am so happy you posted this and also that you presented it at a WCC meeting. About the sex between a teacher and camper, I would add that it creates a very weird and problematic dynamic between the camper that is having sex with the teacher and other campers. It can also be very difficult to get that sometimes very important, somewhat intimate magical connection with a teacher who is in the throes of a new sexual intrigue with another camper.