How did Out of the Dark's "Spring and Fall Gathering of the Tribes" get their name?

First and foremost, Out of the Dark did not found or name of the Gathering of the Tribes here in Virginia.  We had absolutely nothing to do with the Gathering of the Tribes in Virginia until almost 5 years after its inception, then we only helped with security for a few years until we wound up in charge. The Gathering of the Tribes we now host was started in 1987 or 1988 (They can't remember exactly)  by the Peninsula Area CUUPs group, EarthRising, and their founder, MountainHeart. In the early 90's the Norfolk CUUP's group also became involved. They where not even aware of the Mr. Wheeler's or The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg's, existence when they named their event. 

Out of the Dark, Inc. first provided security and other support for their Gathering of the Tribes in 1989 or 1990 (I can't remember either)  When the event got larger, CUUP's publicly requested that someone take over the logistics of the Gathering due to concerns about liability.  In 1995 Out of the Dark, Inc. decided to do so when it became apparent that no one else intended to take legal or financial responsibility for the Gathering....which is a nice way of saying I left the room for a cigarette and my friend Nancy volunteered me  LOL

CUUP's continued to perform Rituals at the Gathering for many years and members still present workshops at our Gatherings when possible. 50+ staff members and presenters from various segments of the community contribute their time towards making the Spring and Fall Gathering of the Tribes happen here in Virginia.

The Founders of our Gathering of the Tribes respond....

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Friends at TCPAAA

Hearing the accusations about the Gathering of the Tribes festivals has bothered me for awhile because of the history of the festival.  I replied to the address from which the last accusation distributed on this list was generated and expressed my wish for friendship and harmony, and again explained that the festival was founded and named by Earth Rising.  I received a return mail listing some grievances against the woman whose organization now sponsors the festival.  I wrote back explaining that I know nothing about these grievances and have no wish to address them,  I further explained:

"as a member of Earth Rising, I feel defamed by your statements.  This is because I know that
1) She didn't start the festival.  We did. 
2)  She didn't choose the name "Gathering of the Tribes," Mountainheart, an Earth Rising leader, did.
3)  The festival she took over was being sponsored by Earth Rising in 1992 when I moved here and for at least two years after (can't remember exactly when it switched over). 
4)  She took over the festival at our request because the UU fellowship couldn't handle the liability."

I forwarded this communication to Mountainheart, the founder of Earth Rising and the festival.  This is what he wrote back.  I hope this helps to clear things up.


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{Laura--You may pass this on if you wish, MountainHeart}

Bright blessings to All in Concerned-

If we in the neopagan/earth centered religious movement are ever to be taken seriously and not considered petty egoists we must fill our hearts and minds with love and brother/sisterhood.  Don't we have enough enemies without wasting precious energies battling each other?  

Magic is the ability to change consciousness at will:  Let's pratice what we preach!  Let's take negative energy and throw it into the cauldron of rebirth and transform it into joy that so many have turned to Earth-centered spirituality.  

I will not participate to any further extent in this stupid witch war.  I choose to fill my being with joy and love and spend my energies in a positive way.  

Yes, my attached quote -- typos and all is correct.  I am the cofounder of EarthRising one of the 1st CUUPS groups in the country and founder of the festival.  I used the phrase "Gathering of the Tribes" after the ancient native American tradition of seasonal gatherings of many peoples to form "the Hoop of the Nation".  I did not coin the term -- it has been in common use for many a year.  I probably stole it from Black Elk inadvertantly.
The first gathering was Fall of 1987 or 1988 at our UU Fellowship.  I did in fact contact every pagan that I knew in the tidewater area -- about 50 -- and we all worshipped together ecumenically.  A couple of years later I got the idea to hold it at NewQuarter Park as a camping event.  After it grew to a couple of hundred participants we decided that we did not want the financial and legal obligations - and announced to the local Pagan community that we would no longer sponser the event.  Out of the Dark offered to sponser the event and asked EarthRising to provide ecumenical rituals.  This is the way it has been for several years now.

Can we now get on with the sacred task of healing the human-nature schism that threatens most of the life on Earth and stop this stupid self mutilation?

For the Earth,

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Ms. Partin and Lady Cerridwen--  

I understand she has been outspoken and provocative in many areas, but my concern here is different.  
 This is because I know that
1) She didn't start the festival.  We did.         
She took over the festival at our request because the UU fellowship couldn't handle the liability.     If she told you she
was going to start a festival etc. she must have been scrying because we had not even discussed having her take over
the Earth Rising-sponsored gathering.   

Here, with typos preserved, is his response:  ******** 
At 07:20 PM 9/15/98 -0400, you wrote:
>  Could you speak up, too?

>>  It is as you said just cahnce that we
>.> I thought up that name 8-9 years ago when I invited
>>all the Pagans that I knew to celebrate together in an ecumenical fashion.
>>I had a "vision" of all the different circles and groves in the area coming
>>togehter to celebrate their common love of the earth spirits/the
   *********  Mountainheart is a gentle father, a college professor, a
community leader, not one to engage in petty competitions at all.      
This is why I ask that you reconsider directing that critical energy
towards the festival we have grown to love. 

Blessed be-- 
Laura Dollieslager
>>   Vickie Wheeler wrote:
>> Lady Cerridwen has given me permission to use her
>> computer to reply to your
> >  The problem
>> She came to our Gathering in 1991 and stated she was going
>>  She then set it up originally to coincide
>>  with our dates and she stated to everyone who contacted her that we were
>>  We found this
>>  We have had
>>  Don't tell us to discontinue a
>>  But she has continued
>> this terrible behavior for quite some time and we will defend our good name
>>  Your
>>  It should be traveling in the direction of
>your friend.
>> Janet Partin  aka  Lady Merridden (twenty xix years a Witch and seventeen
> years a High priestess and Elder.) for Lady Cerridwen, Director of Y Tylwyth
> Teg in America (who is older than God/dess and twice as serious). 

Quite frankly, we find the concept of any one individual or organization trying to claim "ownership" of this name to be incredibly egotistical.  It is our contention that no one can "own" what was created by many caring people to be free for all.  It goes against the basic core beliefs that the Gathering of the Tribes was founded on. Claiming sole right to a title that has been used Nationwide for over 30 years to rally together The People, in all their various sizes, shapes, colors, and attitudes, is abhorrent to us.

The original Gathering of the Tribes focused on "the key ideas of the 1960s counter-culture: personal power, decentralization, ecological awareness, consciousness expansion."
I am very proud to say that Out of the Dark's current Gatherings are STILL trying to do this very same thing!

The fact that the Wheelers keep pretending they created the "Gathering of the Tribes" concept is just plain sad :-(

The fact that they keep publicly changing the age of their Gathering is just plain funny  LOL