In this document we will outline information and procedures relevant to maintaining your physical and emotional wellbeing, and resources for self-care, while at camp. We will also outline behaviours that are not welcome at this event, describe our complaint process, and define consequences of actions that violate our Code of Conduct.
MAINTAINING YOUR WELLBEING
Earthsong WitchCamp embraces the ideals of Personal Responsibility, and Self-care. We also do everything we can to ensure a comfortable environment that is conducive to appropriate self-care. While at camp you are responsible for your own physical and emotional wellbeing, and we encourage you to do what you need to in order to stay healthy in body and mind.
There is no doctor on the premises. In the unlikely event that you suffer a serious injury or illness you will most likely need to go off site for treatment. Those instances are rare, however, and most needs can be met with onsite support. As part of that support we appoint a WellBeing Witch each year. You’ll get to meet them at the All Camp Meeting on Friday afternoon. The WellBeing Witch is a volunteer.
Throughout Camp they keep track of our first-aid kit and make sure it’s stocked, they disseminate relevant safety information, and they act as the go-to person for any minor injuries that may occur on site. They can also act as the go-to person for those who may find themselves dealing with emotional upset as a result of the Camp’s work. They may lend an ear to listen, or enlist further support from the Organiser or Teaching team. The WellBeing Witch is the person to see if you feel in need of physical or emotional support during Camp. Remember that seeking out the support of others can be an act of strength as well as effective self-care.
CARING FOR YOUR BODY
The first-aid kit is located in the Dining Hall. This kit is stocked with basic supplies for the treatment of various injuries and/or illnesses. These supplies are available to anyone who needs them. All we ask is that the kit itself remains in the Dining Hall so that the whole camp has access to it. Please do not take it back to your tent or bunk – it becomes inaccessible to the next person who may need it. If you take an item from the kit, please return it once you are finished. If you notice that the kit is running low on a particular item (like Band-aids or Panadol) please let the WellBeing Witch know.
Gastro and Flu are highly contagious and can spread very easily at a large group gathering like this one. Good hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent infection. Please help us keep everyone healthy by washing your hands often —and more so if you find yourself feeling unwell).
The weather in September/October can be variable, even in one day. While we can’t predict what it will be like, there will probably be at least one very sunny day. We encourage you to take care of your skin by applying sunscreen daily. It is also helpful to carry a wide brimmed hat or parasol with you to provide shade.
Camp is an intense experience. Path and evening ritual can be draining, to say nothing of all the other awesome activities we get up to during Camp. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body probably is. Especially if the weather has been hot. Carry a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated, and re-fill it at every meal.
Along with drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, and wearing sunblock, be aware of how much time you are spending in the sun. Heat stroke is unlikely, but possible. If you start to feel light headed, dizzy, faint, or nauseous, find shade immediately and sit down. Drink water and let someone know how you feel. If you are especially overheated, a cooling (not cold) shower may help.
For those who are camping, use a ground cloth, and stake your tent down well. This will help keep you dry in a downpour, and keep high winds from taking your home on a journey down wind in a storm. If your tent is flooded or collapses in inclement weather, grab your necessities and take shelter in an indoor area. Let the Organiser-of-the-Day know about your situation.
PLANTS, INSECTS AND ANIMAL LIFE
When wandering around the camp keep to the paths where possible.
When walking on the land be aware of fallen branches and uneven ground. This is an old Gold Mining region so avoid any unstable ground or possible burrows/shafts.
Swimming in the River
No provisions for your safety have been taken. When you enter the river, you do so at your own risk. You may wish to wear water shoes or sandals to protect against slippery and/or sharp rocks. Do not dive into the water. Be aware that there are creatures such as fish and yabbies in the river; you maybe even lucky enough to see a platypus and if so we ask that you be respectful. The River is not only the boundary of camp and our sacred space, but also the boundary of DjaDja Wurung land. Venturing beyond is not recommended. If you decide to walk along or swim in the river alone, please let someone at camp know of your plans.
Most of the pathways outside the main buildings are paved. Be mindful of your step when moving around camp, and we recommend wearing shoes particularly when walking on the land. Take particular care in wet weather of any slippery terrain and areas around camp.
If mosquitoes bother you it can be helpful to wear insect repellent. Please keep in mind that some people are sensitive to chemicals and/or smells. Be polite and apply repellent at least 3 meters from others.
We share the land with various creatures, and we want to make sure we do not adversely affect them with our presence. Snakes, spiders, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and possums may be encountered at Camp. Most spiders are harmless but Red Back Spiders can give you a painful bite which can cause severe discomfort. These black spiders are easily identified as having a red spot/stripe on their bodies. Snakes will rather disappear than engage with you. Let the Organiser-of-the-day know if and where you encounter a snake or spider. If you are lucky enough to encounter any of our unique wildlife (wallabies, wombats etc) or any of the amazing birdlife at Camp – enjoy.
Making Offerings and Altars
The landscape is delicate. Please do not strip the plants of their flowers and seed pods. Where possible use leaves, bark and flowers the plants have finished with. That is don’t pick flowers, seeds and leaves from living plants for your offerings.
CARING FOR YOUR SPIRIT
The camp experience is designed to push growing edges and to challenge campers to discover new strengths and new insights. Earthsong acknowledges that sometimes great things start out scary, and every opportunity for growth comes with the risk of emotional distress and difficulty. We encourage you to be gentle with yourself during Camp. If you find yourself experiencing any of the following indications of stress, consider seeking out a buddy or someone from your affinity group for support. The Well Being Witch is also available to help identify resources for emotional support
- Excessive fatigue, more than you would expect given the hectic and busy nature of camp.
- Increased irritability, more than usual
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- The urge to withdraw and isolate emotionally
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Forgetting more than usual
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Increased frequency of minor physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches (please see the Well Being Witch if these persist)
Tips for dealing with emotional stress
- Be sure to get the rest that you need (you may need to skip that juicy optional offering to take care of yourself instead)
- Journal and explore your feelings
- Describe what you’re feeling using images and sounds
- Ask yourself how your feelings now may be connected to other times in your life
- Congratulate yourself on how much you’ve grown and changed
- Talk with a friend
- Talk with your path teacher
- Eat well
- Go for walks on the land or by the river (remember don’t wander away from the site)
- Ask for help processing your thoughts and feelings
- Maintain your normal spiritual practice (or start a new practice!)
- Make (consensual) love (by yourself or with someone else)
We strive to make Earthsong WitchCamp a loving, supportive environment. If you feel that conditions are causing undue emotional stress, please talk with one of the Organizers or the WellBeing Witch. Remember that we’re all here to learn and grow, and to help each other through that process. Let us know how we can help, and applaud yourself for taking on this life -changing work!
We foster community spirit in many ways; through the process of setting up camp, getting to know each other, creating sacred space, and remaining in that space for the duration of Camp; building a safe and secure magical container to hold our work is essential. And the best way to build a secure container is to use strong materials. Therefore we ask you to help fill this sacred space we create with the strongest materials we have—Compassion, Patience, Understanding, and Love.
We ask you to help us do this by attending camp in a spirit of Tolerance, and above all, Acceptance. Earthsong WitchCamp attracts, embraces, and celebrates diversity. You’re sure to meet people whose spiritual tradition, national origin, race, age, sexual orientation, ability, gender identity, economic situation, and lifestyle differ greatly from your own. We challenge you to think well of others no matter the differences that may exist between you. By attending Earthsong WitchCamp you agree to abide by the Code of Conduct detailed in the following section of the Safer Space Policy.
Reclaiming Australia reserves the right to eject, and/or ban from future events, any individual found to be in violation of this code. If, at any point during Camp a group, an individual, or a situation, makes you feel uncomfortable, please speak up. Talk with a Path Teacher, Organiser, or the Well Being Witch. We cannot address an issue unless we know it exists. Please, reach out! Likewise, Earthsong Organisers encourage you to speak out in support of others if you ever witness unacceptable behaviour. Let’s all set healthy boundaries, think well of others, take care of ourselves, and hold each other in compassion. If you feel the need to file a formal complaint, please follow the complaint process outlined in this document.
As part of the Australian Reclaiming, Earthsong Witchcamp is a sober community, and requires that there be no drugs or alcohol at any of its’ event, including Earthsong Witchcamp. Please respect this by adhering to our drug-free policy throughout camp. If you take prescription medicine, please continue to do so.
Witchcamp is intense, provocative, confrontational and life altering. We use art, music, mythology, trance states, meditation and ritual to push the edges of our consensual reality. Our goals are to make room for the transformation of our personal lives and bring about effective cultural change.
If you have previously experienced major challenges to your mental health that significantly disrupted your ability to perform the activities of daily life or if you currently take medications prescribed to prevent those mental health disruptions, we believe that Witchcamp may not be a stabilising environment to support your health and wellbeing. There may be risks associated with participating in Witchcamp for people in poor health or with pre-existing physical or mental health conditions. Because these risks exist, you should not participate in such activities if you are in poor health or have a pre-existing mental or physical condition that is not currently stabilised for an extended period of time. Any medication prescribed by a physician should be continued before, during and after Witchcamp.
If you choose to participate in these risks, you do so of your own free will and accord, knowingly and voluntarily, assuming all risks associated with such activities. Please consult your physician, mental health professional or therapist to determine if Witchcamp would be an appropriate environment to support your continued health.
Witchcamp is never a substitute for therapy, medication or medical attention. We reserve the right to refuse attendance to anyone.
CODE OF CONDUCT
We acknowledge that we live in a culture steeped in ambient racism, sexism, trans/homophobia, and myriad other forms of oppression. We acknowledge that all forms of oppression are interlinked and that we have all been deeply affected by our society’s social programming. Behaviour is learned, and we recognize how difficult the work of shifting learned behaviour can be. As we take on the difficult work of shedding our prejudices and our personal privilege, there will be times when we mess up. We will relapse into old habits and familiar responses.
Earthsong does not expect you to be perfect, only that you commit to continuing the process in all its complexity and with all its challenges. We ask that you commit to examining your responses, to having difficult conversations, and to engage in our cultural shadows with the knowledge that this work is how social justice starts. If someone finds something you do or say offensive and communicates that to you, please consider the validity of that person’s lived experience. Take the time to look within and consider whether you may be struggling to recognize or overcome a learned behaviour or social programming. If someone says or does something that you find triggering or offensive, or is related to this culture’s legacy of fear and oppression, we encourage you to speak up. We also encourage you to bear in mind that hearing difficult feedback can be a painful process. If you choose to offer constructive feedback, please do so with compassion. Our intent is that you be empowered to take whatever action is appropriate for you on this, our collective journey toward personal accountability and social revolution; and that you do so in a way that allows for the complex journeys of those who travel alongside you.
By following this Code of Conduct you help us to create the kind of community we’d all love to be apart of. Thank you.
DEFINITIONS OF UNWELCOME BEHAVIOUR
This Safer Spaces Policy and the complaints process is intended to address unwelcome and inappropriate behaviour at our camp, particularly that which falls outside of the law. Harassment and assault, including sexual assault, are illegal and obviously unwelcome behaviour and will not be tolerated at our camp. Organisers are not equipped or empowered to conduct legal investigations of such matters and fully support victims of a crime to engage the appropriate authorities such as police. The following behaviours are considered inappropriate and unacceptable at Earthsong WitchCamp.
Unwelcome or unwanted: harassment, lewd comments, sharing or taking of photographs of a sexual/private nature, physical contact/groping, invasion of personal space, and any ongoing sexual pursuit or harassing flirtation. Sexual assault and rape, stalking, violation of restraining orders, drugging victims with the intent of taking advantage of their incapacitation. If abehaviour makes a person uncomfortable and the antagonist has been asked to stop, it is an infringement regardless of actual physical harm. If it is wanted or welcome, it is not an infringement. Australian Reclaiming does not tolerate any form of sexual misbehaver and will take action to either educate or bar violators from its events. We strongly believe in the principles of enthusiastic consent.
“No” means no
“Umm” means no
“Not right now” means no
“I’m not sure” means no
“I’m uncomfortable” means no
“Yes!” and “Oh my god yes” means yes
Our goal is to create a culture in which everyone can freely engage in expression of their bodies and sexuality; a culture in which everyone is confident in expressing their boundaries and speaking up when uncomfortable; and a culture in which everyone is respectful of the boundaries expressed by others. If you are ever unsure whether your behaviour is welcome, ask
Physical, mental/emotional abuse
Physical assault, threats of bodily injury, non-consensual rough play, forcing a person into any physical situation against their will through use of force or threats.
Mental/Emotional intimidation, harassment, bullying, personal insults specifically designed to make the target feel ill at ease, angry, or sad; the express exclusion of certain people based on gender or sex, sexual orientation, race, belief system, age, or political affiliation from participating in any campactivity (optional offerings, affinity groups, rituals, etc.).
Earthsong WitchCamp is committed to maintaining camp as a safer space, and responding proactively to all complaints is a part of that. If someone is violating the Code of Conduct, or making you feel uncomfortable in some way, a member of the Organiser Team needs to know so that we can take action, even if that action is just to listen. These are the folks to speak with if a behavioural issue comes up during camp. If an incident does occur, and either you or the individual to whom you report the issue, feel that it is problematic enough, they will record a formal complaint.
FILING A COMPLAINT
All formal complaints will be recorded in an area away from others in order to provide privacy and maintain confidentiality. A member of the Organiser Team will record your complaint including the following details:
Name of person against whom complaint is being filed
Complete description of inappropriate behaviour with full situational context
Location, date and time of incident
Names of anyone who may have witnessed the incident
Any physical evidence of incidence on complainant. If the complaint involves inappropriate sexual behaviour, the Organiser will ask whether the aggressor was asked to stop the behaviour and whether they sought and respected enthusiastic consent. This does not reflect on the credibility of the complainant; we will not engage in victim blaming. Our intent in asking this is to discern whether the aggressor was told that their behaviour was unwanted and unwelcome, so that we know whether further education is required.
Some people may be unaware of social cues for a variety of reasons (e.g. neurological illness, etc.) or believe ‘anything goes’; at a Pagan event. Therefore we encourage you to communicate when someone is crossing your boundaries, when you are able to do so. Earthsong Witchcamp supports a policy of enthusiastic consent, expecting that clear consent is actively sought and confirmed before sexual behaviour with another person and that consent can be withdrawn at any point and this will be honoured. Particularly, if the aggressor was aware, or was told, that their behaviour was unwanted and unwelcome or consent was not sought, then it is sexual misconduct (as described above) and should be filed in a formal complaint.
Both the Organiser Team member and the complainant will sign the complaint. The person against whom the complaint is filed has a right to know what is in the complaint. Complaints will be kept confidential. Confidentiality means that relevant information will only be disclosed to those involved in the investigation and decision making process. Both complainants and respondents have the right to ask that a member of the community be appointed to act as an advocate on their behalf. An advocate’s responsibility is to safeguard the interests of the person who has requested their assistance. An advocate is empowered to speak on that person’s behalf and may provide emotional support when appropriate.
CONSEQUENCES OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS
Our goal in establishing a formal complaint process is to ensure Reclaiming in Australia can remove persons of concern from our events. It is not our place to judge anyone, or declare them innocent or guilty. But whether we continue to trust a person after reported instances of misconduct and allow them access to our events, putting our participant’s safety in jeopardy, is another matter.
It bears repeating that we will not take any action based on rumour or gossip, but only on actual first-hand reports of misbehaviour.
After a formal complaint has been filed, it will be processed in the following manner: The Organisers are empowered to assess all complaints. They will determine whether it is the first complaint made against this individual, or whether there have been previous related complaints. They will assess the level of risk to determine if the individual should be immediately ejected from camp, or is able to be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties at that time.
Any witnesses to the incident named by the complainant will be sought out for input. If the incident is determined to be a minor infraction, the Organisers are empowered to speak with the individual against whom a complaint has been filed (in complete confidentiality). The Organisers will ask for their side of the story, whether their behaviour was deemed inappropriate or unwelcome, and assess whether the person can learn from the situation. They may be asked to read the definitions of unwelcome behaviour as detailed in our Code of Conduct above.
The Organisers will inform the person that their behaviour will be monitored and that further violations may lead to ejection from the camp and/or being barred from future events. In cases where ejection from camp is a possibility (the behaviour is determined to be a clear violation of our Code of Conduct, represented serious threat of physical/mental harm, has recurred in several independent complaints, is confirmed by witnesses, admitted by the perpetrator, etc.) the Organisers and representatives of the Teaching Team will gather and will then use consensus process to make that decision. If it is decided to eject an individual from camp, they will be asked to leave immediately. This decision will be recorded in our records. Following the event the Organisers will discuss whether the individual will be welcome at future events.
Other WitchCamps in Australia may be notified.