Communities like to celebrate and spring is a wonderful time to do it. I posted this on the Commune Life Facebook page on Monday and by Tuesday it had reached almost 400 folks.
Here’s what I wrote to accompany the pictures (which I got from the Twin Oaks Facebook page): “Beltane or May Day is celebrated in many of the communes with a May Pole and many other festivities. Here’s some pictures from this year’s celebration.”
And Twin Oaks wrote on their Facebook page: “BELTANE. A few pics from the Maypole pre-ritual gathering. @ Twin Oaks Community”
Last month, I wrote a little about Validation Day before the actual holiday. Slowly, after it was over, pictures started coming out on Facebook. I realized that I hadn’t posted them here.
First there was a post from me comparing an ornate card from Twin Oaks with the simpler ones that we had here at Glomus Commune.
As I said, the messages are the most important part. Still, the creativity that goes into the cards can be stunning. Here’s a post from the beginning of this month talking about what happened at Twin Oaks.
At the busy communes, I think that this is a wonderful way for us to remind ourselves that we care about each other.
I just wrote a post on Communal Culture. Here’s another example of the difference between mainstream and communal cultures.
The communes have decided to reappropriate many of the holidays. This weekend the mainstream world celebrates Valentine’s Day. East Wind Community decided years ago that this holiday was too much about traditional couples and they wanted something that would celebrate everyone. Thus Validation Day was born. Validation Day is celebrated in many of the communes now instead of Valentine’s Day–and we just decided to have a small version of it here at Glomus Commune.
On Validation Day, cards are made up for everyone in the commune and positive messages are written in by many folks. Each card is filled with lovely messages–as someone said, it’s a natural antidepressant. Often folks work on the cards for weeks and pass them around so lots of folks have a chance to write something.
I think that it’s an amazing way to take a holiday that has been commercialized and that elevates traditional couples and uses it to create good feelings throughout the commune. It’s one more thing that society could learn from the communes. Of course, making homemade cards wouldn’t benefit the economy, but that’s the point. We are building another world in the communes.
Welcome to 2021! The year 2020 is officially over. One of my commune mates pointed out that nothing really changes as the calendar year rolls over, but there’s a lot of symbolism, especially this past year when so many (mostly not good things) happened all at once.
I will try to focus on commune related things in listing my hopes, but the coronavirus has had a major impact on the communes, and will need to be dealt with. My first and biggest hope for this year is that, with folks getting vaccinated, we may be able to move somewhat beyond having to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic. In terms of this happening, I’ve heard everything from late spring, to the summer, to sometime in the fall. This will mean a lot for the communes.
The only good thing out of all this is that I think that the pandemic has increased interest in communal living. It’s also made it hard to join communities. So when some of the pandemic restrictions are lifted, I am very hopeful that many of the communes, which are at low populations now, will be able to bring in some good folks and increase their membership.
I also hope that this encourages some folks to decide to actually create communities. There’s certainly enough interest in it–maybe with restrictions being lifted, some folks will decide to just do it. I know that I am often discouraging of people simply starting communities, but if someone is really willing to begin the work (and a lot of this work is outlined on the blog) and reaches out and knows others who are also interested–and especially if they have some communal living experience, goodness knows we need more communes. And I believe that if 90% of new communes fail, and we want to get at least ten new communes up and running, we’re going to need to start a hundred communes to get there, so I am actually in favor of folks starting communes, particularly if they are willing to do the research and networking they will need to do.
A big, pandemic related, hope for this year is that if the restrictions can be eased on time, there can be the usual August gatherings at Twin Oaks this summer. I have never been to the Queer Gathering and I was planning to go last year but TO canceled all three gatherings. My hope for this summer is that the Queer Gathering and the Women’s Gathering and the Communities Conference can all happen again. I mentioned networking earlier and these are all great networking events. If they happen (I hope, I hope, I hope they do) I would strongly encourage anyone interested in communal living to attend at least the Communities Conference, and if you identify as queer, the Queer Gathering, and if you identify as a woman, the Women’s Gathering.
Another hope for this year is that the communes continue to look at and figure out how to embrace racial justice, whether that’s by figuring out how to become more diverse or by figuring out how to support communities of color. For horrible reasons, there was a large upswelling of interest in this over the course of 2020. My hope is that this wasn’t another political phase but the beginning of some sustained work in all of our communities.
And my final hope for this new year is that folks find fun in all of this. A lot of 2020 was grim and we have a lot of work to do, building back community membership, creating new communities, and continuing to work on racism (and classism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and creating access for people with disabilities and…) and that we find a way to be joyful and even playful in all this because we will never attract anyone if we are all too damn serious.
We dumpstered enough food to feed an entire festival. Here is how.
I am lucky enough to live at Glomus Commune with Theresa and Rachael and Telos and Sophia, all of whom are sitting together in the video. But there are also other communards who get involved the dumpster diving and the Honk! festival–Anande, who also lives here, and Jules, from Twin Oaks, are especially prominent in the video. It’s a way that we take our communal values out into the world. – Raven
Two and a half years ago, a bunch of communards invaded Somerville, Massachusetts, to be part of the Honk Festival. This six part series documents what they did. For the next six weeks (starting today), we will follow their adventures. In Part One, they leave East Brook Community Farm and head east, and arrive and go dumpster diving.