The 45th Annual Rites of Spring
Reaching for Connection
With the land, each other and all beings of the Earth
May 24-29, 2023
45th ROS | PROGRAM| COMMUNITY | LOCATION | APPLICATION
We gather for our 45th year to celebrate the sacred Earth and the turning of the seasons in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
Join us as together we
Weave the web of community;
Share in ancient traditions and new rituals;
Look forward toward what we can create in the world;
Learn through workshops and dialogue;
Light the Sacred Fire;
Feel the rhythms of life in our drums;
Dance to raise our spirits;
Form lasting friendships and see families grow as we come together in community again – learning, sharing music, celebrating with ritual, and fueling our joy.
Confirmed Presenters Include:
And special musical guests: Heartwood Trio - “songweavers who believe harmony singing can open portals for connection and aliveness”.
Whispering Deer Moira Ashleigh, Trey Wentworth, Juniper Talbot, Donovan Arthen, Chris LaFond, Isobel Arthen-Long, Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Deirdre Pulgram-Arthen, Katie LaFond, Sam Arthen-Long, Sarah Stockwell-Arthen and more!
Since 1979, our community has re-emerged each May as hundreds of participants from many places and paths come together to live and learn, work, and play in a setting apart from our everyday lives. We create and strengthen our spiritual community with:
- Celebrations and ceremonies from different traditions, including our annual rituals of dancing the Maypole and weaving the Web of Community
- Family and children's events and workshops
- Drumming, Fire Circles and a variety of Sacred Dance for all levels
- Concerts and music jams
- Transformative rituals
- Intensive, multi-day classes
- Affinity Groups and programs for a diverse collection of identities and interests
- Time to be in a beautiful and sacred natural environment
- Dozens of workshops on subjects such as ritual, engagement and activism, magic, tarot, skill sharing, meditation, West African drumming, permaculture, dance, and indigenous European traditions
Together we form a vibrant and joyful living community that expands outward with us when we leave. We carry home new perceptions about each other and the world, and we know that we build our future on this sacred Earth together.
Join us for what promises to be an inspirational and joyful Rites of Spring.
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Rites of Spring Program
Opening Fire Lighting
On Wednesday night we come together from many directions to light the community fires of Rites of Spring. The opening ritual begins at 9:30 PM, with fire spinning, chanting, drumming, and dance, and concludes with a procession through the camp to light the central community fire and the ritual fire at Bear Rock.
The Ritual Fire Circle
The Sacred Fire burns three nights at Rites of Spring. It is and has been a special ritual space for deep community connection and personal transformation since the very first Rites of Spring, and has inspired fire rituals across the country. Everyone is welcome to drum, to dance, to offer food and water to others, to tend the fire, to share a poem or a song.
We bind ourselves to Earth and Sky and fuel our path for the bright season ahead with a ritual rooted in ancient tradition.
Weaving the Web of Community
Ritually weaving the web of community together, we create in visual form all our connections to each other and to all beings of the earth and we send out our visions for healing and growth into the world.
The return of a special evening of fun, fey, goblins, and games at the Merchant Circle for vendors, crafters, musicians, and the like.
The Art Salon
Our inspiring artists share and talk about their work and how it connects directly to their spiritual practice. All are welcome to participate. Artists, let us know on your registration form if you want to bring works to show at the salon.
The Poetry Jam
We bring together our gifted poets and writers to share their work and the work of others. All are welcome. Let us know on your registration form if you are interested in participating.
Music and Dancing
This year will feature live music every day with performances by Heartwood Trio, Will and Lynn Rowan, Sarah Stockwell Arthen, and Sam Arthen-Long (insert links to websites), along with several opportunities for community performances. We are also planning some dance events, including a contra dance with live music and a night of EDM - melodic and rhythmic electronica sounds with DJ Meow Meow.
On Sunday night everyone at Rites of Spring is invited to participate in a community meal and celebration including great food and entertainment.
EarthSpirit Auction of Goods and Services
This is a chance each year to help support EarthSpirit in the work it does all year long in a fun community atmosphere. Email email@example.com if you have an item you would like to offer for inclusion in the auction.
The Village Builders Assembly
The two days prior to Rites of Spring are structured as a preparatory and community-building time for 100 experienced participants who want to help ritually and physically create the beautiful, connected, and attuned environment that holds us all for a week. Those who participate can count on some hard physical labor, good community conversations, and some meaningful ritual.
The vast majority of excellent presenters at Rites of Spring are volunteers from within the community. We love the diversity that brings to the program and invite you to consider sharing a part of your practice by offering a workshop, ritual, discussion or performance for adults, families or our young people’s program. More specifics are available on the presentation proposal form.
The first round of program decisions will be made by April 1. Anything received later than March 20 will be added to a waiting list and scheduled on a space-available basis.
2023 Covid-19 awareness.
Because of the changing nature of the covid-19 virus, we will not require documentation of vaccination or boosters this year. We will, however, ask for clear communication around known exposure or current symptoms, and that everyone test themselves the day that they come to Rites of Spring and provide evidence (photos are fine) of a negative rapid covid test upon arrival on site.
We encourage the wearing of masks in crowded indoor situations and whenever that will make you comfortable. We will continue to offer outdoor eating space and outdoor programming as much as possible.
We encourage you to choose your cabin mates in advance if possible (see below).
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Rites of Spring Culture and Community
About our Community
Rites of Spring is designed to encourage interdependence. People who regularly attend have created an extended and inclusive community that arises out of the mist each spring and welcomes new members. This community holds together because of a few simple expectations based on personal responsibility, some shared basic values and a personal spiritual connection with the sacred Earth. These expectations grow from a sensitivity and respect for other people regardless of spiritual tradition, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or other differences, along with a willingness to engage in the daily practice of living in a community.
We want to ensure that people who are at Rites of Spring for the first time make connections and feel at home. We strongly encourage you to come for the full 6 days rather than just for the weekend, so that you have time to truly experience being part of the community.
If you are attending for the first time, or have only attended online so far, please be sure to mark the appropriate check box on the application form, so that we can welcome you warmly to our community. We will reach out to you in advance with an invitation to an initial Zoom get together and orientation, and we encourage you to also attend at least one Newcomer’s Lunch as soon after your arrival as possible – even if you have attended other pagan gatherings in the past. These will be hosted by long-standing community members and will help you connect with both new and experienced members of the community.
Thank you for giving us a chance to help make your first Rites of Spring more enjoyable.
Our merchants are mainly craftspeople and artists. They have always been a big part of Rites of Spring and add a lot to the festive atmosphere with their beautiful handmade items. We encourage merchants to register for the whole week, and hope that you will take some time away from your wares to relax and to participate in other aspects of the gathering, especially the large whole-community events, like the Web and Maypole Rituals.
We offer one discount on full-week registration fees for merchants and another if there is an assistant who will be actively working at a booth. This will be automatically calculated when you register. Instead of a vending fee, we collect a 10% commission on gross sales at the end of the gathering to benefit our scholarship fund. All merchants are responsible for collecting and paying their own Massachusetts state sales tax on items other than groceries or clothing or services. If you do not yet have a MA Sales Tax Certificate, you may apply for one at: Mass.gov website.
The merchant area is outdoors and vendors provide their own set up with a size limit of a 10x20 tent. For more details, check out this Merchanting FAQ.
At Rites of Spring, members often organize daily Pagan Twelve Step Meetings, open to all participants of Rites, and all programs are welcome: AA, Alanon, NA, OA, CODA, ACOA, etc. It is usually possible to arrange substance-free cabin space, so mark that choice on your application form. If you need a guarantee however, the best way to assure substance-free space is to bring your own tent. Please let us know if you would like to coordinate this this year RoSprograms@earthspirit.com.
Families and Young Adults
We value our multi-generational community and young people are a vital part of our community.
We design programs for all ages of children in addition to programming specifically for family groups. This year we are again planning to do as much of this programming as possible outdoors or under tents, so be prepared with extra outdoor clothing!
Infants and young children ages 1-4 are provided with a guided play space which is staffed by parents and other volunteers. Children ages 4-10 are offered workshops, activities and crafts each afternoon, designed to keep them connected to the spiritual purpose and natural flow of the gathering. We hope that families will also come to the community rituals together and find many ways to enjoy being with each other and in community on the mountain. More information will be sent to registered parents in mid May.
For young people between the ages of about 10-15 ( a group we call “Bridges”) we create a special schedule of activities and workshops throughout the week including outdoor adventures, conversations, and workshops. We also provide a space for casual interaction and game-playing, and several opportunities for this group to begin to contribute actively to Rites of Spring by participating in rituals and “give back” projects.
There is a strong sense of community among young adults at Rites of Spring. Following their Coming of Age Ritual, or at about age 15, young members of the community are invited to participate in our “Next Generation” affinity group which begins with a casual Wednesday night social where the group can design its own agenda. It is intended as a place where individuals between 15-25 can come together to share their experiences or learn from special guests. Newcomers who are in this age group are encouraged to join in.
Programs of special interest to young adults are also scheduled throughout the gathering
Rites of Spring Culture and Policies
Rites of Spring is an attempt to create a spiritual community that can work and live together. Over the years we have established certain guidelines that we must ask all participants to agree to before registering. If you do not feel that you can agree to abide by these policies, please do not submit an application form.
Rules established by the camp management and the laws of the state of Massachusetts must be respected.
- Parents are responsible for their children at all times.
- Do not bring illegal substances to Rites of Spring; do not use alcohol in excess or cannabis in public; do not give controlled substances to minors.
- No smoking is permitted inside any buildings; butts must be disposed of properly.
- No nudity is permitted in public areas.
- No pets are allowed. We can refer you to a kennel nearby if you need one.
(Contact us in advance if you travel with a service animal)
- Rites of Spring is not a public event. Media coverage of Rites of Spring is prohibited without written consent of the organizers.
- Photography is not allowed in ritual space, except by official event photographers. It is permitted at other times only with the permission of all included in the photograph. Please be certain that you have consent - especially from the parents of minors - before publishing anything electronically or in print, including on social media.
- At Rites of Spring, consent is a “yes,” not the absence of a “no.” Please actively seek consent from others whenever it might be relevant. For clarification, see the EarthSpirit Statement of Values Around Sex and Sexuality.
- We reserve the right to deny or revoke admission to Rites of Spring without refund for dangerous or disruptive behavior or for non-compliance with gathering policies.
Selected official event photographers may work during community rituals. When they are active in this capacity they will be identifiable and will shoot only from one side of the circle. If you do not want to be photographed, please either make yourself known to them or simply stand on the same side as they are on. We are always glad to receive copies of photographs that you have taken outside of ritual space at Rites of Spring if you are willing to share them with us.
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Rites of Spring Location, Lodging and Transportation
We return to our familiar mountain-top home-away-from-home for Rites of Spring, a summer camp in the far southwestern corner of Massachusetts, near the Connecticut and New York borders. It is situated on hundreds of acres of woods, surrounding a huge private lake and abutting the Appalachian Trail.
We have wonderful facilities here - many camp cabins with bunk beds, 2 beautiful lodges, a big, rustic dining hall and kitchen, areas for camping, fields for rituals and fire circles, and a waterfront area which includes canoes and sailboats. Our friends on the camp staff provide lifeguards and boat supervision for us each day at specific times, as well as lead groups through the challenging high ropes course and climbing tower.
Recycling and composting are both available at the Dining Hall this year! Please use them as much as possible to support our efforts at maintaining a green and sustainable gathering.
A cabin or tent camping space is included in your registration fee. You may indicate your preference for sleeping accommodations, whether cabin or camping, on your application form. Most cabins sleep between 10 and 14 people in bunk beds with shared bathroom facilities and hot showers in each cabin area. Several three-sided “rustic” cabins are also available which sleep 4-5 people in bunks. There is electricity in all of the cabins. A limited number of beds in shared rooms are available in two heated lodges. If you choose a heated lodge, there is an additional charge of $60 per person, including children who are not co-sleeping with a parent. There are no small cabins or private rooms available.
This year, except for groups who register together and request shared housing, we hope to reduce the capacity of each regular cabin. Even with COVID19 precautions in place, we know that most people may not be comfortable in a cabin with 15 new acquaintances. We encourage everyone who is able to create a pod with whom you are happy to share space, to create a name for that group, and to register using that group name in your cabin preference. A group of fewer than 10 people may still end up sharing cabin space with others.
If you are requesting heated space, please be aware that there are no heated rooms for just 1 or 2 people, so planning ahead for a group of 4-5 will be very helpful. Otherwise roommates will be assigned. Heated space cannot be guaranteed, and fees may be refunded if those spaces are not available. Likewise, lower bunks - especially in heated space - are in limited supply and are not guaranteed. Please be sure to indicate on your registration form which is more important for you, heated space or a lower bunk.
Tenting is a good way to create privacy and distance. We have two flat grassy fields available for tent sites and some wooded spaces as well. If you are concerned about sharing cabin space with people you do not know, bringing a tent might be your best option. Tenters share the restrooms and showers in the cabin areas, and there is also a portable toilet next to each tenting area.
Environmental regulations specify that no RVs or pop-ups are permitted at the camp. Sleeping in your standard sized van is allowed, but only with prior permission and only in specific areas. Space for tents in the Merchant area is extremely limited and available for merchants only by special arrangement. Merchants, please be sure to indicate a second housing choice on your application form.
All beds in use in each cabin will be assigned, so plan ahead. If you will be bringing a tent, please do not also sign up for a cabin space “just in case”. We will have some empty beds available in reserve in case of washed out tents.
We try to accommodate all requests, but cannot guarantee we can meet them all.
Choosing Cabin Mates
Again, we encourage you to create your own cabin group of up to 15 people, and to complete the housing group section of the registration form. Choose a name for your group (one word, up to 10 letters), even if there are just two of you. Register as early as you can and make sure this section is filled out the same way on all forms.
Our site is not directly accessible by public transportation. We will send out the address and directions to confirmed participants.
We encourage you to share rides as much as possible, both to reduce our collective energy consumption and because parking on the site is limited. Please let others know if you will have room in your vehicle or if you need a ride in the Facebook event, "EarthSpirit Presents Rites of Spring 2023".
We cannot guarantee rides or arrange transportation.
Peter Pan and Bonanza buses from New York City, Boston and other major cities do travel to Lee and Great Barrington, MA. We schedule shuttle runs to the bus stations at specific times for a modest fee. Let us know on your application form if you need to be picked up. We need all bus pick-up information by May 6th. Taxis are also available in town.
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Rites of Spring Application and Registration Information:
Rites of Spring begins on Wednesday, May 24, and ends on Memorial Day – Monday, May 29th, 2023. The Village Builders Assembly (open only to returning participants) begins on Monday, May 22. This year we will also accept a limited number of weekend-only registrations with Friday evening arrival. Advance registration is required for the gathering and registration and payment will be accepted until Monday, May 1, or our attendance cap is reached. If the event fills, we will maintain a waiting list and expect we will be able to offer at least some people on the waiting list the opportunity to attend.
Everyone is expected to remain on site from the time they arrive until the time they leave except in cases of emergency. If you know you will need to depart before 3pm on May 29, please send a message in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advance registration is required for the gathering and the final deadline to register and pay is May 12.
Arrival times are:
Monday: 11am – 2pm for Village Builders Assembly
Wednesday: 1pm – 9pm
Please Register Online if at all possible. You can pay with a credit card or send a check.
Unaccompanied minors (under age 18) may be permitted under limited conditions. Please speak with someone in the office before applying.
Please direct any questions about your application to email@example.com or call the office: 413-238-4240. Our office is staffed by volunteers so replies may take up to a week, especially in the early registration period. Thank you for being patient.
If you have not received your directions by May 16, please call the office or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Before then, please be patient.
We offer a variety of meal plans for our participants, and options are outlined on the registration form. Participants may also choose to prepare their own meals. If you choose to cook on site, please plan to set up a camp kitchen and bring everything you need except ice for your whole stay. Refrigeration and kitchen facilities are not available for general use.
Seating for those on the meal plan will be available outdoors and indoors, and meal service will be adapted to try to avoid long lines and crowding.
We are able to provide food for omnivores, vegetarians, and usually for those who are gluten-free or dairy intolerant. If you have other dietary restrictions, please plan to supplement the provided meals with your own items. If you have serious food allergies, please let us know in advance on your registration form and check in with the kitchen when you arrive. We suggest that everyone bring some items for snacking, especially for your children.
Note that meals are included for all Village Builders participants up through Wednesday lunch.
We are able to provide food for omnivores, vegetarians, and usually for those who are gluten-free or dairy intolerant. If you have other dietary restrictions, please plan to supplement the provided meals with your own items. We suggest that everyone bring some items for snacking, especially for your children.
Rites of Spring Registration Rates
Registration rates have increased a little this year, reflecting our rising costs for the site and for food and other supplies. We stagger rates to encourage early registration and limit weekend registrations since there is a cap on attendance this year.
Payment must be received by the deadline stated, or you will be charged the rate for the later deadline. Financial Aid information is below this section.
Registration Fee Table
for Applications Postmarked by:
May 1 by mail
May 1 online
|Option 1: Rites of Spring Full-week Wed. 5/25 -Mon. 5/30|
|Adult (over 17)||$300||$325|
|Children (ages 5-17)||$185||$185|
|Option 2: Weekend only Fri. 5/27- Mon. 5/30|
|Adult (over 17)||$265||$265|
|Children (ages 5-17)||$155||$155|
|Option 3: Village Builders Assembly 5/23-25
Plus Full-week registration Wed. 5/25 - Mon. 5/30
|Adult (over 17)||$400||$425|
|Children (ages 5-17)||$235||$235|
Meal Plan Fees
Full Meal Plan
Dinners Only Meal Plan
Weekend Meal Plan
Weekend Dinners Only Meal Plan
|Adults & Children
13 and up
|Children, ages 5-12||$115||$80||$100||$55|
Please direct any questions about your application to email@example.com or telephone us at 413-238-4240
Important - Registration and Refund Policies
All mailed applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2023. On-line applications with PayPal will be accepted until midnight on May 1, 2023. All payments must also be received by May 1.
Credit Card payment is accepted through PayPal only, whether using online registration or sent to to firstname.lastname@example.org when using a paper form.
Any exceptions made by phone or email for “last minute registrations” after May 1st will be charged a fee of $25. All returned checks will be assessed a service fee of $20.
- Requests for refunds will be considered if received in writing (email is fine) on or before May 1. We cannot accept refund requests by phone, nor can we make exceptions to this date except in cases of documented COVID-19 infection or exposure fewer than 5 days before the gathering.
- Refund requests received before April 15 are eligible for either cash or credit towards Rites of Spring or Twilight Covening within one year. Requests received between April 15 and May 1 are eligible for event credit only, with the COVID exceptions detailed above.
- If we have to cancel the in-person event and go virtual due to state law or camp policy regarding covid, people will receive registration for the virtual event and the remaining amount will become a credit that can be applied either to Twilight Covening 2023 or Rites of Spring 2024. All credits expire at the end of May of 2024. If we cancel but do not go virtual, all fees will be credited toward one of those two events.
- All refunds will be charged a $45 processing fee.
(you can pay with PayPal, check or money order)
If you choose not to use PayPal or credit cards via PayPal, mail the printed application results and your checks or money orders to:
Rites of Spring Application
c/o Tamelin Productions
P.O. Box 340
Williamsburg, MA 01096
If money is the only thing preventing you from attending, please apply for a scholarship or one of the work exchange positions available. We want to make it possible for you to come if we can. Most assistance will be partial and will include some work exchange, so please be sure to indicate what you can contribute to your registration even if it is a small amount. Exchanges usually involve physical labor – working in the kitchen or with the children, moving equipment, packing up at the end of the event, etc., – or sometimes a job prior to the beginning of the event.
Applications for financial aid are a part of the general application process, and the earlier you apply the better.
The more information you give us, including any special skills or abilities that could be contributed on a work exchange basis, the easier it will be for us to find the best way to help you come to Rites of Spring.
We include a space on the application form for anyone who would like to contribute toward a fund for further scholarships. We have always received enough money between these donations and the tithes from our Merchants to enable several people to attend who otherwise could not.
In early May registered participants will be sent a link to a private confirmation web page which will include directions, what to bring and all of the information you should need in advance. If you have not received this information by May 16, please call or email email@example.com; before then, please be patient.