EarthSpirit Yule Ritual

EarthSpirit Yule Ritual

EarthSpirit invites you to attend our western Massachusetts Yule Celebration!
Saturday, December 16, 2023  5:30-7:30pm
Williamsburg, MA  Grange Hall

Come celebrate the longest night and the rebirth of the Sun at the coming Winter Solstice

This welcoming ritual is appropriate for all ages. We will sing and dance together, and make gifts for one another while we celebrate the power of darkness and share joy in the returning light, even as the cold deepens all around us.

Families are welcome; and in fact, there is a special Procession of Light for attending children to be a part of. Please arrive right at 5:30 to find out more and prepare.

Location: Western MA – The Williamsburg Grange Hall on Rte 9 (Main St.) in the center of Williamsburg.  Available by PVTA bus #42 (“The Burgy Bullet”)

Doors open at 5:30 PM and close promptly at 6:00 PM for an hour during the Ritual. Please do a home covid test before attending if at all possible, and do not attend if you have covid symptoms of any kind or have been recently exposed.

What to wear:  Seasonal or ritual clothing.
Important: Children who wish to be part of the Procession of Light should wear light-colored clothing like white, silver or gold!
Masks for covid protection are optional and respected.

What to bring: A book wrapped in plain brown or white paper! 
We are introducing the Jolabokaflod (Yule Book Flood) at our Yule Ritual this year!
From Katie LaFond: This tradition was started in Iceland during World War II. Paper was one of the few things that wasn’t rationed, so people gave each other books. Today, the tradition, as I understand it, is that people give each other gift-wrapped books and the night before their holiday they stay up long into the night reading them and eating chocolate. My family has enjoyed this tradition for years, and I shared it with The EarthSpirit Community in 2020. If you’d like to participate this year, please join us for our Yule Ritual. Bring a book that you’re ready to pass on. Wrap it in plain brown or white paper, and write on it what genre the book is, what age range it’s appropriate for, and maybe a fun tidbit about it. Put it under the tree, and at the end of the ritual, if you’ve brought a book, please pick a book to take home with you. Then, on the longest night of the year, tuck in with a cozy blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy your books!

An informal finger-food pot-luck will follow the ritual in the downstairs hall
Cookies, snacks, beverages, and other food to share are welcome. We will have cups and napkins.

Contributions for admission $5 to $10 on a sliding scale will be collected at the door to cover our expenses. Children 10 and under will be admitted free, and no one will be turned away for lack of resources.

If you would like to volunteer to help with set up or breakdown, or to contribute to the celebration, please contact us in advance asap by email (

For your Yule gift list, EarthSpirit offers: MotherTongue CDs on-line at CD Baby Weaving the Web of Life, This Winter’s Night

EarthSpirit is a 501c3 organization.


EarthSpirit Western MA Samhain Ritual

Samhain Ritual Western MA

EarthSpirit Samhain Celebration in western Massachusetts

We honor the change of season and our ancestors at this ritual of harvest and remembrance.

In the fullness of Autumn, in the growing darkness, come take part in a celebration of this time when the veil between the worlds is thin.

Take time for yourself to reflect on your mortality and honor those who have passed.

Find a quiet place in the darkness, and feel gratitude as you reap your final harvests between now and winter.

Location and Date:

October 29, 2023 6:30 pm9:00 pm

Williamsburg, MA at: the Williamsburg Grange Hall on Rte 9 in the center of town. Available by PVTA bus #42 (“The Burgy Bullet”)
Doors open at 6:30 PM
and close promptly at 7:00 PM for the duration of the Ritual

What to wear:
Seasonal or ritual clothing is encouraged. Please, no “halloween costumes”. Safety masking is optional and respected.

What to bring:
If you like, bring a small photograph of a departed loved one to add to the ancestor altar (be sure to write your name on the back and pick them up again before you leave). There will also be an opportunity to share some precious memories in their honor.

Please bring a donation of new warm basic clothing items: like new socks, gloves, underwear, toiletries, for the Survival Center as a demonstration of the ways we can support one another through the dark time.

An informal finger-food pot-luck and social time will follow the ritual. Cookies, beverages, snacks or other food to share are welcome.
Please bring nothing that needs utensils or plates. We will have cups and napkins.

If you would like to volunteer to help with set-up or break-down, or to contribute a brief poem or song to the celebration, please contact us in advance asap by email ( so we can see how it might fit in.

Donations for admission $7 to $10 on a sliding scale will be collected at the door to cover our expenses. No one will be turned away for lack of resources.

Children under 15 may be admitted for 1/2 price however, please remember this is a solemn remembrance event and children should only attend if you, as a parent, feel it is appropriate for them and they will not disrupt the event for others. Parents are responsible tor stepping outside if their child becomes distracting and needs a break.


Rites of Spring 45 Registrant Information

Please read this material thoroughly as well as the Community Guide (PDF) linked at the bottom of this page. Some things change each year and we want to make sure you are well informed.


Plan to arrive between:

  • 11am and 2pm on Monday, May 22 for Village Builders only
  • 1pm and 9pm Wednesday, May 24
  • 6pm and 9 pm on Friday, May 26

Registration is open for arrivals during these hours, and ONLY during these hours. Please do not arrive early or at any time other than those listed above unless we already have an agreement in writing with you.

The roads inside the camp will be closed for the fire-lighting procession on Wednesday night from about 9:15-10:15. Please be patient if you have to wait to park or unload your car.

When you arrive at the camp, a volunteer will greet you as you come down the hill and ask to see your negative covid home test. If you have not tested yet, they will indicate where to pull over and administer an instant test. We suggest that you take a home test in the morning before you head out, then take a photo of it with a time-stamp, so you have it downloaded on your phone and can quickly and easily show it to our greeter without having to access the internet. Please do not come if your test indicates that you have covid.

Once everything has been verified, you will receive a parking tag and cars will be admitted into the camp in groups, to help with pacing the registration process. Please be patient with us as we adapt to our new considerations and when you get there, move through registration as quickly as you comfortably can.

Temporary parking will be extremely limited near registration this year, due to the placement of outdoor eating tents around the Dining Hall. Once you drive down the hill and show your negative test, the greeter will instruct you where to safely put your car temporarily. Mobility challenged people may be dropped off, since many cars will need to temporarily park further down the hill from the Dining Hall.

Your first act upon arriving, after an optional quick visit to the loo, will be a welcoming ceremony in which you will pass through a ritual gate and enter the special realm that is Rites of Spring. (We will not be hugging our greetings this year.) After that you will join the community and make your connections at Registration.

Please move through registration quickly and come back after unloading to say your real “hellos” so we can manage traffic.

At registration, everyone 16 and over, or who has had a Coming of Age Ritual, will be asked to sign up for a 2-3 hour shift on the community service crew of your choice. Sign-up will also be available online in advance, and you will get an email about that separately. Shift possibilities include: Kids Club, Runner, Registration, parking, town run and more. Individuals who are on the meal plan for the week will be asked to work one shift in the kitchen during the week as well.

If you don’t do the task, who will? We rely on everyone to remember and follow-through on your service shift.

Note: It is helpful to us to know what our expert resources are on site. If you have experience as a first-responder: e.g., firefighter, EMT, police officer, midwife, doctor etc., and have not talked to us already, please let the registration folks know when you arrive.

At Registration, you will be instructed where to park your car permanently. After quickly unpacking, all cars must be parked as directed and left parked throughout the gathering. If you have an agreement with us about leaving the gathering for any reason before 2pm Monday, May 30 (such as being signed up for a town-run shift), you must let the parking crew know at this time. A few emergency and staff vehicles will be allowed on site and a scheduled shuttle service will be provided for those with limited mobility. No other vehicles may be driven around the camp.

Parking space at this site is limited. If you are driving to Rites of Spring alone, especially from the New York City or Boston areas, we encourage you to carpool or check out the ride-share list – both to save resources and expense, and to bring fewer cars onto the site. While we try to offer assistance with transportation, we do not guarantee rides.

Important: Our hosts at Camp Hi-Rock have been working with the town to reduce traffic and noise on the road. Please, as you drive up to camp, stick carefully to the speed limit, keep your stereo at a gentle level and be courteous to others driving or living on the country roads leading up the mountain. It will go a long way to help the neighborly relations that the camp management is fostering.



If you haven’t been to Camp Hi Rock before, we recommend using a good map to help you scope out your route using the directions below. We recommend that you have your directions printed before you set out, and not rely on GPS signals, which disappear as you get closer to the site.

DRIVING: Please use this link for the most accurate directions:


First try to arrange carpool rides on the rideshare spreadsheet.

A shuttle may make a run to meet the Boston and New York busses at the Lee Bus stop to camp, around 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for a small one-way fee of $5 to help cover the volunteer driver’s gas, but ONLY if you have called or emailed to let us know by May 17.

You may call Greyhound at 800-231-2222 for information on connections from other areas or visit We can often arrange rides home on site, and you can buy your return ticket on the bus with cash, so a one-way ticket probably makes the most sense (but make sure you have the cash, just in case).

From Boston, One-way cost, about $25

On Wed or Fri: Take the 1:45 bus from the Boston bus terminal, and arrive in Lee, MA at 5:00 PM.

From New York , One-way costs about $25

Take the 08:30 am bus from Port Authority, arrive in Lee, MA at 5:00pm (sorry, it’s a slow bus!)

*If you need a ride back to the bus station on Monday, be sure to sign up at Operations by Sunday afternoon.


Please use this list as a guide when packing for Rites of Spring. It is not a “mandatory” list – just good suggestions based on experience. The best rule of thumb for clothing is LAYERS, that way you’ll be prepared for whatever comes.

The special items like fire-circle and children’s supplies really make a difference, so read the list carefully, you might just have something knocking about that would help us all out a lot.


  • sleeping bag and/or sheets and plenty of blankets, pillow
  • tent, ground cloth, tarp (if you’re camping)
  • folding chair or “back-jack” for your comfort at workshops or concerts
  • Kn-95 or double-filtered cloth masks for your personal use.
  • warm things for chilly evenings and lots of outdoor events: cloaks, hats, long-underwear, wool socks, gloves, warm coat, hot water bottle,
    extra blanket for your cabin door
  • rain gear / umbrella
  • water bottle for you (and for your child)
  • sunscreen and insect repellent; tick removal kit, if you have one
  • flashlight or lantern (extra batteries)
  • ALL medical supplies you may need: aspirin, allergy remedies, prescriptions etc. (We will have some first-aid supplies available if needed.)
  • Extra instant/home covid-tests, just in case.
  • towels, biodegradable soap, menstrual products and other personal needs
  • food for special dietary needs, snacks, sweets or other – especially for children
  • a mug or other drinking vessel
  • garbage bags for trash or for carrying home your returnables!
  • bathing suit
  • musical instruments and drums
  • day-pack for hiking or carrying stuff – for yourself and also one for each child (with your name on it!)
  • decorations for your cabin or campsite
  • small bills if you plan to order from the town runs (singles are best)
  • Other cash for merchant purchases (a few don’t accept credit cards)


  • food and drink to last the entire time
  • camp stoves, or charcoal for your grill
  • a cooler for food storage (ice will be available for sale, but not refrigerator space)
  • a dishpan and other washing supplies. (Please do not use the bathrooms for dishes)


  • A small ball of natural fiber string or yarn for the Web ritual.
  • Ritual clothing and tools, ribbons, scarves, face-paints etc., for the Maypole and Web
  • Costumes! Masks for the Goblin Market. Flowing colors for dancing at the Maypole. Finery for the Feast!
  • A banner to carry in the Web Ritual Procession if you have one.
  • Lighting (lamps) or carpeting for the Kids Club (on loan or gifts)
  • Sacred Fire Circle supplies – tiki torch fuel, herbs (please, no sage) or other offerings. Individually-wrapped snack items for sharing.
  • White fuel and duvetyne towel if you would like to spin fire.
  • Work gloves and hand tools for “Give Back to the Mountain” invasive species eradication.
  • Printed photos from 44 years of EarthSpirit and Rites of Spring for our collection, if you have some.


  • illegal substances
  • animal companions
  • weapons

NOTES FROM THE KITCHEN regarding special dietary needs

We do our best to meet everyone’s needs and expectations, however, our capacity to manage food allergies and dietary preferences is somewhat limited by both the facilities on site and the remote nature of the event. Therefore, anyone with highly specific needs or requests is encouraged to bring supplemental foods if they have concerns. We do have some refrigerated space available for such items, though we do ask folx to consider their needs carefully because this space is not unlimited. If you need to utilize cold storage, please find someone on kitchen staff (probably wearing pink) in the dining hall after registration and they will help you.

Most (but not all) entrees, sides, and condiments will be prepared gluten-free and most vegetarian dishes will also be vegan. When an entree or side is not gluten-free, there will be additional options that are. Everything should be labeled accordingly and the line servers will have the ability to answer your basic questions. If you have specific concerns about certain meals, it is best to find someone on kitchen staff between meal times to answer your questions. We want to take good care of you on the mountain, but it is far easier to do that proactively.

For folx who have highly specific needs, we have constructed the salad bar in such a way that a well-balanced meal complete with grains and protein is readily available in multiple configurations. There will also be vegan, gluten-free miso plus one other soup served with every meal. If you have specific questions or concerns about any of this, please don’t hesitate to find someone on kitchen staff between meal times to answer them.

As always, we thank you for your patience. “-The Flamingos”

This year’s schedule!

Here is a link to the workshop, ritual and event schedule for this year.

Here is a link to the additional schedule for families and young people.

Soon, you will receive second email with links that you can use to sign up in advance for your community service shift online, so these program schedules will be very useful to refer to in your planning.
If a lot of people sign up early, we can speed up the registration process on site!

Newcomers Welcome Meet-ups – online in advance and then Wednesday evening on site

We will have a Newcomer meet and greet online Wednesday evening, May 17 from 7-8pm. Join Deirdre and Sarah to get a little familiarity with how Rites of Spring works, see some other newcomers and get answers to a few of your questions. We hope you can make it if this is your first time.
Meeting ID: 810 5233 1765
Passcode: Spring!

7:30pm, Wednesday on site – All adult newcomers and interested long-time community members are invited to come and get to know each other before the Firelighting Ritual.

Everyone, Please also read this revised Community Guide to Rites of Spring to find out more about our traditions, our policies and our community. We want this to be our best year ever.

Special Information for Rites of Spring Families (and those who love them)

We hope that Rites of Spring provides a great opportunity for children of all ages to learn about nature-spirituality, sacred space and how to interact with it. We have created programming that supports this and children are encouraged to attend rituals and visit the shrines with their parents. We ask parents to please stay with them there and help them interact in a respectful and positive way so that they can learn by doing. Lots of fooling around, chattering or fussing during ritual can be distracting to the other participants and feel disrespectful to the community. Parents are expected to be mindful of their children during sacred times and to please step away with their child(ren) if the child’s behavior is getting disruptive to the flow of the ritual.

Parents are responsible for knowing where their children are at all times!

What’s new this year?
We’re going to have a Kids Club Talent Show in the Merchant’s Circle at 4pm just before the Community Auction this year, so chat with your kids about what talent they’d like to showcase. Make sure to sign up at Kids club before Saturday afternoon!

The Cookout will be replaced by a cooperative Family Picnic on Sunday afternoon at 5pm at the Beach.
Bring a blanket and your water bottles, and we’ll have snacks, sandwich fixings, and some beach games if it’s nice. We will need help making it happen. Here’s a Sign Up Genius so you can pick a task. We’re hoping each family that attends will commit to helping with a task. Many hands make light work!

Kids Cabins at Rites of Spring

There will be a Kid’s Club family open house on Thursday morning at 9:30am for face painting before the Maypole.

Please remember that Kids Club is coordinated by parents and community volunteers and is a cooperative – not a licensed day-care facility. All parents remain responsible for all of their children at all times.

Children who do not have permission to be on their own will be supervised by the volunteers until a responsible party comes to retrieve them. Please be on time to retrieve your child in consideration of the volunteers.

8-10 year-olds may also attend Kids Club, but they do not require the same intensive supervision as younger ones and their parents may choose to give them a little more freedom by allowing them to sign themselves in and out of Kids Club.

Kids Club is designed to be a community resource. Although you are welcome to use the space when it is not scheduled for activities, please leave the space the way you found it.

Littles cabin is for children ages 0-2, and we will have it set up with some age appropriate toys, books, and soft places to rest. We don’t offer Drop Off time for children under the age of 2.

Kids Club cabin is for children ages 3-8 and we will set up a well-lit space stocked with art materials, crayons, books, and toys. We’ll also be visiting a Shrine each day with Katie LaFond, learning chants and more about our community. HERE is the Kids Club Pamphlet. We will have copies on site, but I always like taking a peek ahead. If you want to print & fill out the waiver ahead and bring it to us at Rites, that will save you time.

Bridges cabin for ages 9-14+)will have chairs, tarot cards, spaces for gaming, and hanging out. HERE is the Bridges Cheat Sheet. We’ll also have copies on site. We’re thrilled to have Talon join us as the Bridges Point Person, helping them make plans and answering questions. The Bridges group gathers at or just after breakfast to talk about what’s up and what they might want to do that day. We know that there could be an inclination to just cut loose for the week, but we encourage families to help kids plan to engage in at least some of the provided programs each day. There will be a number of offerings daily which are specially geared towards older kids and teens including the high and low ropes courses and themed-lunches. There are also many workshops for general audiences that are appropriate for younger people; check age recommendations in the descriptions.

Community Compact

All young people 8-17 and their parents or guardians are asked to sign a Community Compact form. The agreement distills for kids and parents the boundaries and expectations and how we work together to make Rites of Spring a safe place for all of us. Please be sure to turn in yours at Registration when you arrive

A word about supervision

It may seem tempting to take a break from parenting and let the community as a whole take on the role of caring for our children, but it is important not to give in to that impulse. Rites of Spring is not set up to hold our children in that way. As parents, our children are our responsibility twenty-four hours a day. If you find you need not to be “on” for your children at any particular time, make connections with other families, share supervision with other adults, find cabin mates to help, have your kids participate in the kids programming. If you find that you are having difficulty, ask for help.

A word about food and kids

Our kitchen team does a wonderful job of nourishing the community, and they are much appreciated. However, there may be meals that your children do not especially like, and there may be times when your children are hungry between meals. Bring healthy snacks in well-sealed containers.

Also, we ask that the parents of children up to age 12 go through the food line with them at meal times. Unsupervised children have been known to load their plates with lots of food and not eat it, or to go through the food line several times. Parents of children of all ages can help them to be aware of appropriate and considerate meal time behavior.

“Must-pack” items suggested by RoS parents for young people:

  • A flashlight for each child (with their name on it!)
  • A water bottle for each child (with their name on it!)
  • Several sturdy kn-95 or thick cloth masks with double filters
  • A backpack for each child (with their name on it!)
  • Bright clothing (to locate your child from afar)
  • Silicone earplugs or earmuffs (if desired, for babies’ hearing protection drums can be really loud)
  • Snacks they like
  • Extra shoes and socks
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent

Young people, we want you to have a wonderful time at Rites. Remember to have respect for yourself, for others, and for the spaces we’ll be in together. Know and follow the rules of Hi Rock and Rites of Spring, and take responsibility for your actions. Make sure to check out all the cool stuff that is going on and ask lots of questions.

Grownups, we’re a cooperative. You are responsible for your children at all times. Please make sure your children know and follow the rules of Hi Rock and the gathering, and help them look at the schedule to find things they will love to do.

We, the volunteer staff, have tried to curate a collage of engaging activities, rich in pagan culture, for our young people of all ages, and we are looking forward to seeing you at Rites of Spring.

Everyone, Please also read this Community Guide to Rites of Spring to find out more about our traditions, our policies and our community. We want this to be our best year ever.