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    Threads in the Web We Weave

    Statistics of the Dandelion Gathering

    Reclaiming had never seen anything like the Spring 2004 Dandelion Gathering. We came together to co-create and participate in a unique event. I found myself wanting to know to know just who we were.

    Who attended? Where did we come from? What did we think of the Gathering? So I designed a feedback form to collect this information, which we handed out onsite and later over email. I also received pertinent geographic and demographic data from Angela, our Registration Goddess. I had fun teasing meaning from the information we gathered (might be a Virgo thing).

    Breakdown of Dandelion Attendees by Declared Affiliation

    164 people attended the Dandelion Gathering. This figure includes 18 children. As folks registered, we asked them which community they were affiliated with. Most people gave multiple answers.

    As one might expect of an event held in the Texas Hill Country, many attendees declared an affiliation with Tejas Web (43). The next highest numbers were affiliated with the Pagan Cluster (33).

    Among local communities, the numbers were: Vermont Witch Camp (19), California Camp (15), SpiralHeart (9), BC Camp (8), Phoenix Reclaiming (6), Midwest/Diana's Grove (5), Solitaries (4) ReWeaving (4), Wild Ginger, NY Witchcamp, Ithaca Reclaiming Collective, Avalon, (3 each), Magnolia, Germany and Enchanted Spiral (2 each).

    Three people identified themselves as members of the original San Francisco-based Reclaiming Collective, and two as members of the Reclaiming Quarterly production cell. Three people listed "Spokes" as an affiliation.

    Affiliations declared only once: teacher, RQ, Rhubarb, Turning Tide, Trilliam, Florida Reclaiming, Asheville Reclaiming, Living River, Blue Moon Circle, Portland Reclaiming, Winter Camp.

    One person listed her affinity as "everything."

    Geographical Breakdown of Dandelion Attendees

    The largest number of attendees came from Texas (51). The next highest numbers came from CA (23) and then Canada (11), followed by MA (8), NC (7), OR, NY, FL and AZ (6 each), VT, UK and PA (4 each), IL (3), WA, NM, MO and CO (2 each), VA, MN and MD (1 each). These statistics show that the majority of attendees traveled far to get to Dandelion, especially those that crossed international borders.

    Our affiliations cross political boundaries. For example, only four people from Vermont attended, but 19 people present declared an affinity with Vermont Witchcamp. We have woven a strong web of magic and connection across the world.

    Analysis of Dandelion Feedback Forms

    The feedback forms asked first for overall remarks on likes or dislikes about the event, then followed up by asking for feedback on several aspects of the event. People gave mostly positive feedback about Dandelion. I have summed up the compliments and concerns. While people had concerns, in general they wrote more about what they enjoyed than what they disliked.

    21% of attendees responded.

    78% of respondents have attended a Witchcamp.

    31% came with family, 31% came with friends and 25% came alone.

    Only comments with an incidence of two or more mentions are included in this analysis.

    Positive Feedback

    65% of people valued connections built or renewed. As a corollary, people loved the sheer pleasure of being "on vacation" with hordes of fabulous witches.

    59% praised the onsite organization and the beauty of the site itself.

    56% mentioned an appreciation for the open, co-created nature of the gathering, most notably the scheduling process.

    28% said that they enjoyed the tastiness and availability of the food. (I asked specifically about food in a later section, and 98% of folks mentioned there that they loved the food.)

    21% mentioned the freedom to bring children and the experience of being in magical space with children.

    18% spoke positively about the work done by the permaculture team (composting toilets, rain barrels, kitchen composting) as well as the ecological spirit of the gathering itself.

    6% spoke to a sense of hospitality, both from the on-site organizers and from the other people attending.

    6% appreciated the lunchtime discussions.

    Some comments

    "[I liked] the fact that people from smaller or newer regions were not marginalized -- it felt like a 'level playing field.'"

    "I liked that we accomplished so much within a loose form, without overt leadership. Everyone I encountered seemed to be taking responsibility for their own experience these four days."

    "I loved the freedom, the flow, the surprises, the new possibilities, the ease, the faces, the magic, the expanding of our trust for each other and the process."

    Negative Feedback

    21% of people were concerned about the food choices at Dandelion. People said they would prefer organic food and free-trade coffee and chocolate.

    21% of respondents felt that the activist perspective was disproportionately represented at the gathering compared to other aspects of Reclaiming practice and culture. One witch wrote, "I love, support and honor those who do street activism. Activism has always been a major Reclaiming thread. My concern now is that we must maintain a diversity of meanings for 'activism' or we will splinter. At this gathering the impact and agenda of the Pagan Cluster felt disproportionate to me. It seemed to take up a lot of space a the expense of other perspectives... I want to see all visions respected and woven in; there needs to be space for all the ways we work."

    21% cited "too many meetings" as their primary complaint regarding programming.

    13% wished for more structure for the gathering and timeliness for meetings and workshops.

    12% were confused about the purpose of the Gathering. Each of us came to Dandelion with different intentions, they said, so no one knew what the gathering was supposed to accomplish.

    12% mentioned that they missed friends from other camps and communities that were not in attendance.

    12% cited a lack of children's programming or rituals being held too late at night for parents and children to attend.

    9% commented about the Spokes: "If we have a gathering where we specifically discuss the organization of Reclaiming, we should make sure all the stakeholders are there or represented and that there is a solid structure/container/process in place for the vision, plan and implementation." And this witch's words: "I disliked the lack of clarity about what the Spokes council can/cannot do as a next step - who is empowered to make decisions about next steps, timing for next steps..."

    9% wanted more workshops on magic or spellcraft.

    9% didn't like the lunchtime discussions.


    At first, I tried to tally all the responses I received about the large rituals held Wednesday and Saturday nights. However, I received a nearly equal amount of criticism and praise. For each thing someone liked I saw a mirroring concern or suggestion for improvement. Half of those who responded liked the big rituals and half didn't. Perhaps we can say from this that a diversity of magical styles, beliefs and ritual preferences makes Reclaiming both flexible and fascinating, and gives us opportunities to learn from one another.

    15% of people mentioned the Sunday morning ritual. A small group gathered to heal part of the land contaminated by fuel tank leakage. This ritual received purely positive comments, mentioned by 12% of respondents.

    12% of people liked that the rituals were co-created by teams of people and that there were opportunities for everyone present to participate in that creation process.

    9% liked the diversity of rituals; these people enjoyed the attending large rituals with the entire gathering as well as the attending or hosting small rituals Thursday and Friday.

    Should we have another Dandelion Gathering?

    71% of respondents gave a resounding YES! (No one said "no" - the remaining 29% did not respond to this question.) 25% suggested we have a gathering every 3-5 years; these people spoke about allowing time to assess what changes Dandelion brings or wanting time to see what new issues arise for the community. 6% suggested we have one every year. 18% of folks want to have the gathering in Texas again while 9% would rather it be somewhere else.

    "My hope is the seeds of this gathering will continue the process of creating our community made up of the many small groups with diverse interests and diverse commitments - where we can help each other to realize our goals and our dreams."

    "Let the beauty we love, be what we do, There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

    - text adapted from Rumi, worked into a chant by Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney and used for the closing spiral dance at the Dandelion Gathering is a developing experiment -- give us your feedback! Write us at

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