Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019

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Danica Swanson

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Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« on: May 12, 2019, 11:09:58 AM »
There's been some interest in organizing a face-to-face regional meetup this summer in the Pacific Northwest of the US for those interested in polytheist-animist monasticism. Before we launched this new forum, Janet mentioned this idea on the Facebook Pagan & Polytheist Monasticism group, and she began collecting contact info there for those interested in networking. It's also been mentioned by barefootwisdom, who lives in New England but will temporarily be in western Montana for a job this summer.

WeepingCrow and I are in Portland, Janet is in Seattle, and I know there a couple of other interested folks in the area who aren't members of this board at the moment but may join at a later date. So that's at least four of us who could, potentially, get together this summer if the logistics could be worked out.

Let's use this thread to publicly discuss the logistical possibilities and gauge levels of interest among our readership. There seems to be a "node" of us developing in the PNW, so let's see what we can do to help interested parties get together in person.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Constraints? Preferences? Potential locations? Let's brainstorm!


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Janet Munin

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 07:17:23 PM »
I love this idea!

Alas, my one bedroom apartment isn't set up in a way to allow me to host, but I would be happy to travel to Portland for an event - or anywhere between here and there.

Depending on how many people we end up with, it might be fun for each person to do a small presentation and lead a discussion based on their practice or their theology or other interests. And some time for worship, with the form based of course on who was participating.

Making a meal together could be fun too. . .  And that would feel more monastically appropriate than going out to a restaurant.

Because I have a day job I would prefer to do this on a weekend.
Janet Munin

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Syren Nagakyrie

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 01:47:36 PM »
I love the idea of a meetup. I have space to host, and perhaps folks would enjoy a visit to the rainforest, but I am definitely out of the way. I live on the west end of the Olympic Peninsula, about 3.5-4 hours from either the Seattle or Portland airport (depending on traffic, typically 3 from Seattle and 4 from Portland.) I also have a dog.

If nothing else, perhaps we could start with a virtual meeting? Conserve fuel and all that. :)

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silencem

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 10:08:26 AM »
I would be very down to visit the PNW again, and even more down to attend a virtual meeting (although I'd prefer to visit the trees and water again; I miss them badly). I can't promise that I'd be able to attend a gathering because my finances are dedicated to pilgrimage again this fall, but I'd like to make it happen / help make it happen.

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barefootwisdom

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 05:26:28 PM »
This sounds very exciting. I'm in! Thank you, Danica, for suggesting the idea and starting the thread. I'd be quite happy to come out to Portland or Seattle, and with a little advance planning, should be able to make it work with no trouble.

Depending on how many people we end up with, it might be fun for each person to do a small presentation and lead a discussion based on their practice or their theology or other interests. And some time for worship, with the form based of course on who was participating.

Making a meal together could be fun too. . .  And that would feel more monastically appropriate than going out to a restaurant.

All this sounds great, Janet! I definitely agree about worshipping together. As monastics, I feel as though whatever percentage it occupies of our time together, there's something really powerful about making shared worship and practice the foundation of whatever else we want to do and achieve.

And a simple meal prepared and shared in community: yes!

I'll need to give some thought about what, exactly, to present or discuss. I guess this depends partly on how long of a time we plan to spend together. As part of this, and again depending on time constraints, some of us might consider sharing specific prayers, music, or meaningful things like that.

As to more mundane questions of availability and scheduling, I see that Janet has a weekday day job; as for me, my summer gig will actually have me busy most of the weekends in July, though the last weekend of July is wide-open (and an excellent choice for my schedule).  The first half of August could also work for me.

(Edit: correction to dates in the last sentence.)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 12:31:40 PM by barefootwisdom »

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2019, 07:55:11 PM »
As to more mundane questions of availability and scheduling, I see that Janet has a weekday day job; as for me, my summer gig will actually have me busy most of the weekends in July, though the last weekend of July is wide-open (and an excellent choice for my schedule). The first half of August could also work for me.

Happy to hear that there's so much enthusiasm for a meetup, and that you have enough flexibility to travel from your summer job location in Montana!

Here are some thoughts and constraints:

One thing to consider is that August is the height of fire season in the PNW, and I am a person with asthma and allergies. If the air quality happens to be poor on the day we schedule our meetup, I may not be able to leave my home at all. For the past few years there have been stretches of several days in a row in August and September that going outside posed a risk to my life. (For those who don't know: a severe asthma attack can kill a person within 30 minutes.)

I have allergies to animal dander, which means I cannot meet in any space with dogs or cats.

However, I could connect via Skype/Zoom/etc., if that worked out logistically.

I do not drive, so I'd need to factor that into my planning.

I would be happy to host, and in fact religious outreach for monastics is part of the work I'm tasked with at Black Stone Abbey. I maintain a "chapel" at the Abbey (a section of the studio curtained off from the rest) with a shrine, a lectern, and sufficient room for full prostrations. But I need to emphasize that it is small. The kitchen, although small, could work as a shared meal preparation space. We probably wouldn't want more than two people in there working actively though, as it would just be too cramped. And the dining table only fits 3 or maybe 4.

At least I have good air conditioning, which is rare in Portland.

WeepingCrow, Syren, and Janet have all spent time at the Abbey before and are already familiar with the space.

It's really too small for more than, say, 4 or 5 people. I think I managed 6 once, but that's pushing it. And there's no guest parking, so folks who drive would need to park in paid spots on the street or in a nearby garage.

I also live within one block of a university campus, and there are some nice public spaces (including a library) there where we could meet. If the weather and air quality were suitable, we could plan a picnic.

I can put one person up overnight, too, as long as they don't mind sleeping in the "chapel"!

I'm certainly willing to put together a short presentation/discussion prompt/worship service of some sort, though if we do meet at the Abbey I think we should keep things fairly simple. WeepingCrow and I have done 20-minute meditation (accompanied by dark ambient music) together in front of Skaði’s shrine, for example.

As for timing: Since I'm self-employed, I can meet any day of the week, as long as I plan in advance to take time away from my clientele.

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Syren Nagakyrie

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 10:54:09 AM »
I'm of course happy to make a trip down to Portland. Air quality is a concern for me too (and I'm already fearing the worst for this year; the risk of wildfire is going to be quite high), so meeting at a date and place that would reduce the chances would be best. Perhaps we could plan for late June or July? I'll just add (without any pretense or expectation) that the one nice thing about this area is that we are fairly protected from the smoke that blows in from Canada or Eastern Washington - it doesn't get as bad as the low-lying urban areas.

Wherever we choose, assuming there would be people traveling, perhaps the travelers could share an AirBnB which would also be large enough to host a meeting. Though the Black Stone Abbey is definitely worth visiting; it is a wonderful space.

I am tentatively traveling to NW Montana this summer to meet with a group of people who are interested in forming a spiritual intentional community, but I don't know if/when that is happening yet.

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barefootwisdom

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 06:00:24 PM »
Danica and Syren,

I totally understand the concerns about air quality; not being from the area, it's not something which had initially occurred to me, but it absolutely seems like something worth planning around.

Would it make sense for others to meet during the week, in the first week of July?  If I plan for it soon, I could stop off in Portland (or nearby) on my way, as it were, to Montana.  In that case, it would almost certainly need to be during the week, to fit my overall travel schedule... although Thursday July 4th is a public holiday for many...
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 06:02:40 PM by barefootwisdom »

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 08:27:32 PM »
We should definitely plan it soon if we're going to aim for late June or early July. I like that idea. We used to have "June-uary" in Portland pretty reliably; now it's not as predictable, but it's usually not oppressively hot in June. In any case, meeting in late June or early July minimizes our chances of having our meetup derailed by poor air quality.

I also know that WeepingCrow's school term will be finished in mid-June, so as far as I know he'll have more availability than he does now.

How about the weekend of June 29-30, or sometime during the July 4th week?

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Janet Munin

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2019, 09:25:38 PM »
The weekend of June 29 would be best for me.
I have another activity on July 6th up here in Seattle.

As for lodging, I could stay with a different friend nearby. . .   
Janet Munin

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2019, 01:04:38 AM »
The weekend of June 29 would be best for me...As for lodging, I could stay with a different friend nearby. . .

I just chatted with Syren elsewhere, and we agreed that June 29-30 would work well for us. She and I could also meet on a weekday (preferably a Monday or a Friday). It also sounds like Portland will be easiest logistically, given that two of us and the Abbey are already in Portland.

Once we decide on a date, let's move the conversation to email to finalize the plans. Sounds like there will be five of us: me, WeepingCrow, Syren, Janet, and barefootwisdom.

So let's tentatively plan to meet in Portland with at least some of the time spent at Black Stone Abbey, and some of the time elsewhere (park, campus library, wherever.) It'll probably best if we keep it simple logistically and save the meal prep for some other time, I think. Maybe each of us could bring our own lunch, and we can eat together...?

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WeepingCrow

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2019, 09:49:55 AM »
I'm following this thread though I haven't commented; it's looking like I will have a good patch of free time during June. So I'll just stay in the loop and let you folks do the dates planning! It will be great to meet new folks, especially forum members.

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Janet Munin

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2019, 01:49:43 PM »
Packing a lunch is fine with me.  :-)

I've got the weekend reserved on my calendar. I could also do the Friday before or Monday after, if that would help others.
Janet Munin

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barefootwisdom

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2019, 04:55:55 PM »
That last weekend of June it is! 

I'll be coming from the east coast, on my way (as it were) to Montana, which will be my next stop.  From my perspective, the later end of the weekend is preferable for me, the idea being for me to arrive in town on Saturday (leaving room for travel delays, etc.), then to actually have the gathering on Sunday.  That timetable would work quite well for me; doing it a day later would also work.

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Planning a Pacific Northwest Regional Meetup: Summer 2019
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2019, 07:13:40 PM »
...the later end of the weekend is preferable for me, the idea being for me to arrive in town on Saturday (leaving room for travel delays, etc.), then to actually have the gathering on Sunday.

OK, executive decision time, then: we'll have our inaugural PNW regional meetup in Portland on Sunday, June 30, and we'll plan to pack our lunches.

I'll keep three days open for the Abbey's schedule: Saturday-Sunday-Monday, June 29-July 1. That way there will be enough flexibility for the Abbey to host an overnighter on either Saturday or Sunday (or both days), or to otherwise extend the visit time for out-of-town folks.

Let's take to email to work out the rest. I have everyone's email addresses, so I'll send a planning email within the next week or two. In the meantime, feel free to update this thread if you have any further thoughts/constraints/suggestions you'd like everyone to see.

And now I'll just pause for a moment of appreciation. It was only 15 days ago that we opened this forum to the public, and we've already got our first regional meetup scheduled. I consider this a good omen.

Looking forward to it!