2023 is our first year at the campsite long used by California Witchcamp and Witchlets in the Woods. Expect nicer cabins and a flatter campsite! Not to mention the same redwood forest we have called home since 2013.
Note – our 2023 covid plans are still under discussion, and will be finalized closer tocamp.
Lake Merritt Labyrinth (500 Bellevue Ave) in Oakland
-see map above
Masks Required (read more below)
Ritual will include:
*Lughnasadh Games – we will have various lawn games, including Miniature Caber-Tossing, in honor of the Celtic holiday’s traditional competitive games.
**Food Drive: Food insecurity is an ever-rising threat to the well-being of thousands of people in our area alone. In honor of the sacred feasting of Lughnasadh and Reclaiming’s commitment to social justice, we will gather food and money donations for the Alameda County Food Bank.
***Recipe Competition: Do you have a favorite recipe that you want to share with the community? Bring some for folx to take home (enough for ~30 small samples) and the recipe itself to hand out. The competition will be to explain how to make this food in no more than 100 words OR 10 stanzas OR one interpretive dance. Points will be awarded for silliest costumes and most references to Spatulæ. Winner will be awarded the Holy Sacred Spoon of Paganism!
All Reclaiming-friendly folx welcome. No alcohol or intoxicants before or during this gathering please.
-Have an idea for a brief, access-friendly lawn game to offer? Perhaps a practical skill that you can teach quickly? Let us know! We want to add it to the Lughnasadh games before the Recipe Competition.
-A blanket or chairs, if desired (it’s goose poop season!)
-Recipe printouts (you can share even if you don’t want to compete!)
-Extra fruits, veggies, or preserves from your home to share. Let’s stock one another’s pantries!
-A full belly (we will not eat together at or after ritual)
Accessibility, Masks, and Lake Merritt
Wheelchairs and Walkers: In our best estimation as able-bodied ritual leaders, this site is wheels-friendly. There will be a wheelchair available on site if anyone would benefit from using one but arrives without.
Families: ritual site is adjacent to a playground!
Cars: Parking will be easily available within 2-3 blocks of the ritual, to the north of Grand Ave. Set your GPS for the “Lake Merritt Labyrinth” or 500 Bellevue Ave in Oakland. Our most local ritual leader recommends searching on Staten Ave., Bellevue Ave, or Euclid Ave. north of Grand.
Public: We recommend 19th Street BART station followed by either a 20-minute walk or a brief ride on the 12 Bus. Those coming from San Francisco will enjoy the NL Transbay Bus, which drops off within a block of the ritual location.
Yes, we also really hate wearing masks. Yet masks are back for this ritual. Why?
As much as we have loved doing outdoor ritual with no masks, the new BA.5 COVID variant spreads much faster than the previous variant and evades the vaccines and immunity from previous infections. For the safety of the community we need all people ages 2+ to mask at the ritual. If this variant information catches you by surprise, please read more in this article (thanks, Kimba!).
Lake Merritt Safety and Access Concerns
This is specifically in response to concerns two community members raised by email last week about holding ritual at Lake Merritt. As a majority of the ritual leaders for Lughnasadh live around Lake Merritt, we were able to use our knowledge of the area to choose a site we believe will address concerns around parking. We expect parking to be easily available to those who can walk 2-3 blocks, and we are happy to speak more by email with those who would find this a limitation to attending. Please reach out!
Secondly, based on our personal experiences living in this area, we do not find it is unsafe even in comparison with some previous East Bay ritual locations, and we have no hesitations recommending it as a safe place to gather for this ritual.
We ask that those traveling to Lake Merritt who are unfamiliar with this historically Black area withhold judgment and be open to the joys of this beloved center of Oakland life. Especially because our country is riddled with injustices and assumptions about what a Black neighborhood means for safety, the Lughnasadh ritual team affirm that we must rely on our team’s personal experiences over news stories and anecdotes. Let us be respectful guests on this stolen land.
Redwood Magic invites families and young people to join us for a weekend of magic and creativity. We’ll offer short opening and closing rituals, as well as age-based and all-age workshops and events through the weekend. There will even be a talent show!
Although we invite you to choose the events that suit your family and schedule, we are asking folks to register to help us plan the weekend. We hope most folks will be part of the opening and closing circles (Friday and Sunday).
Kids’ activities will meet one time per age-group. Teens and adults may meet more often. How about a parents’ circle after the kids go to bed? Or an all-night teens role-playing game?
Raccoons – Saturday morning
Newts (ages approx 0-8) – Sunday 11am
Cost – sliding scale $0-99 per family. Any additional donations will sustain our longterm camp organizing.