Visitors’ Guide

Please call first to let us know you’re coming; facilities can sometimes be tight, especially in Winter, and/or there may be a specific event going on that’s closed.  If no prior notification is received, we may have to ask folks to move along within 24 hours due to space and circumstantial restrictions.

When you arrive at the Sanctuary, we encourage you to talk with one of the Stewards to get oriented. Visitors are welcome for initial stays of up to two weeks during gathering season and one week off gathering season. Visitors may also schedule “faggot-only space” for a personal retreat with prior notice and consent from the community of the land. If there are things you would like to do at the Sanctuary that will require an extended stay, please talk with the Stewards about the length and the focus for your stay.  See the Visitor’s Program section below for more details.

Coming and Going

There are numerous ways to visit the Sanctuary. Greyhound stops in Grants Pass, or you can fly into the Medford airport, where we can potentially pick you up. We ask for as much advanced notice as possible and a Steward might charge a small fee. There is also a Josephine County Transit bus that stops in Grants Pass and Wolf Creek. Plus, we’re located 5 miles off of I-5, so driving is also pretty easy. For further info, see our Visitor’s Guide.

Stewards

A small community of Stewards lives at the Sanctuary to look after the Land. There are sometimes long-term visitors who help keep the place running. If you have questions about anything at the Sanctuary or are having difficulty with a situation, please feel free to talk to the Stewards.

Donations

We ask visitors to donate $20 per day for the Household Fund, which is used to buy food for the community. Nomenus requests $20-35 per day, more if you can, less if you can’t, no one turned away for lack of funds, and anything you can give is fabulous. The Nomenus funds are used for utilities and for the general upkeep of the Land.  Please give donations into the wooden donation box.  In winter, the box is in Garden House.  During Gathering Season, the box lives in the barn.  We also believe in GAYAABAGS, Give as you are able, but always give something.

Accommodations

The common buildings are mainly Garden House and the Barn, and the Elder Cabins. Most other buildings are private residences. There is limited sleeping space in Garden House, with preference given to those visitors with special needs. During the summer months, we encourage visitors to camp in tents. There are scads of lovely camping sites scattered throughout the Land, and we encourage you to explore and find one that suits you. During winter months, don’t worry, we have the space for you.

What to Bring

  • Tents – we have a few tents available on the land but they are limited
  • Tarps
  • Sleeping pad and sleeping bag
  • Cold weather and warm weather clothes – the weather even in the summer can turn, especially at night
  • Rain gear and a change of shoes – you don’t want to get stuck in the cold with wet shoes, trust us!
  • Flashlight
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen – on a nice day in the summer it can be all too easy to get badly burned
  • Toiletries – please bring only earth-friendly, biodegradable products (see below)
  • Medications – make sure to bring extras of any meds you may need in case you end up staying longer
  • Ritual drag – although we have a lot of this on the land already!
  • Ritual items
  • Food – during off gathering season, it is very helpful to bring some food with you when you come to the sanctuary

Meals

Our meals are delicious, and the kitchen is open to all. We prepare and serve our dinners communally and welcome your participation. If you feel inspired to prepare a communal breakfast or lunch, please feel free to do so, although residents usually prepare these meals themselves. We work with visitors to accommodate their dietary needs, and if you have special food requests, please let the Stewards know. If requests are pricey, visitors often chip in a bit more than the suggested donation.

You are also free to buy your own food and prepare your own meals if you have a particularly specialized diet. Bringing food as part of your donation during the winter months is always appreciated and encouraged. During the winter season, we do not have left-over food from gatherings. Most of the food is communal and purchased by the land residents. We try and eat organic and local and ask that if you bring food to donate, that you try and accommodate that request.

Facilities

There is a shower in Garden House, and there are also solar showers in the Meadow, which we ask visitors to use during the warmer months to conserve propane. Please bring only biodegradable soaps, shampoos and other hygiene products as our wastewater drains directly onto the land. All of the water that comes out of a faucet comes from our own well and is tested regularly for purity.

Meetings

Each Tuesday we hold a Land Meeting to plan for the coming week and discuss projects that are going on at the Sanctuary. Land Meeting attendance is required.  We also hold weekly Heart Circles to talk about what is going on for us, as we say, “from the heart.” They are an opportunity for sharing and connecting with each other and are one of the ways we form community here. We strongly encourage you to participate in both of these meetings as part of your stay at the Sanctuary.

Pets

We discourage visitors from bringing pets to the Sanctuary. Owners are responsible for taking care of their pets and keeping them out of trouble. Because of pet allergies, we do not allow pets in Garden House or the Barn. If a pet becomes troublesome, the Stewards may ask the owner to board the pet at a kennel in Wolf Creek. Folks with dogs are asked to camp across the bridge to keep dogs out of the parking lot.

Long-Term Visitors’ Program

In addition to hosting gatherings, two of the important functions of the Nomenus Sanctuary at Wolf Creek are to serve as the home for a community of Stewards and as a space for personal retreats. The Sanctuary community includes Stewards and short- and long-term visitors who come here from many places and for many reasons. Through our visitor program, we are trying to create a healing and nurturing environment for everyone who becomes part of our community at the Sanctuary, however short or long their stay. As visitors stay here, they become more and more part of the fabric of this community, and we hope that the following will give you some idea as to how that might look.

What We Ask of Longer-Term Visitors

For stays longer than three days, we ask visitors to start taking a larger role in the upkeep of the Sanctuary, pitching in with the various projects we do around the Land. We expect all longer-term visitors to help with cooking and cleaning of the common spaces (Garden House and the Barn), and to attend Land Meetings and Heart Circles that occur during their stays. Also, if there are any personal projects you want to work on while you’re here, or if there is anything you feel inspired to do to make the place run better or be more lovely, feel empowered to do it, girl! Please check with the Stewards first to clear your ideas and visions, to locate any particular tools you need, or for other questions.

In general, visitor stays are limited to two weeks during gathering season (Beltaine to Samhain, May to November) and one week during the off gathering season (Samhain to Beltaine, November to May); however, if there is something you would like to do at the Sanctuary that will take longer than that, please talk with the Stewards about your ideas. Visits longer than two weeks need to be approved by the Stewards and are reviewed by the Community on the Land Committee, a committee of Nomenus that includes Stewards and other members of Nomenus and meets on a monthly basis.

The things we look at in evaluating requests include actively pursuing an intent or focus having to do with faggot-centered spirituality and community, contributing to the sense of community at the Sanctuary, helping with the various chores and projects involved in running the Sanctuary, and in general, self motivation. We also ask visitors staying longer than two weeks to contribute something each month to our newsletter, the RadDish, in order to give the broader community an idea about the focus for your stay.

The intent or focus for a longer stay could be any number of things, from exploring what is involved in becoming a Steward to facilitating a large construction project or doing some sort of internship or personal program of study, for instance on community dynamics or gay spirituality or organic gardening. Again, we encourage you to talk with the Stewards about your ideas to help flesh them out, to help bring together the resources to make them happen, and to give you an idea of whether they are reasonably feasible at the Sanctuary.

Creating Community

The goal in all of this is to maintain a healthy community at the Sanctuary, where people can pursue their dreams and connect with each other in those ways that one finds in faery space. Making community together is not always an easy task, and it takes caring for each other, talking with each other, listening to each other, and working with each other for it to happen well. If something is rankling you, we ask you to talk with people so we can figure out a solution. One of the things the Stewards do is look after the community at the Sanctuary, but everyone staying at the Sanctuary needs to be an active part of the community for it to work.

Arriving

After crossing the bridge (and leaving your car), take a left down the driveway. In Winter, people will be at the Gardenhouse, on your left just past the greenhouse. In Summer, skip that and continue to the Barn, which is about twice as far as the greenhouse. It’s big, you can’t miss it!

Camping

Do not pitch your tent until you are familiar with Poison Oak! Really! This is the most common plant here, especially in the appealing camping spots — even if you’re not allergic, people you touch will be.

No smoking on the trails, in the meadow, or at your tent. In this climate and with all the tall grass, it’s a huge danger. Garden house is not housing, please keep the intention of not using it as such, if you need temporary space to land (such as a late night arrival) please try to check with a caretaker.

Within the Parking Lot during larger gathering (Beltane, Samhain, SGRF), we ask that you do not camp in a tent except at the edge of the gully or near the Pump House. Tents, especially late at night, can cause a huge safety hazard for drivers and tent occupants. Also, please park your car intersecting the rows of tree, not parallel to them.

Quiet: Pattysville: the wooded area to the east of Barn, Smoking Circle and Flush.
Louder: The Parking Lot

Getting your stuff there.

To get your stuff to your campsite, please try to find a cart. On the land we have at least one large cart and a couple of wheelbarrows. The intention is for these to be available in the parking lot. As always, please leave your car in the parking lot; if for whatever reason you may need to leave the parking lot, always check with a caretaker first.

Special needs

There is limited indoor housing space that may be available. This is prioritized for people with special needs, which for whatever reason, a faerie is unable to camp. This space is available on a first-come/first-serve basis, with the intention that all special needs faeries contact the sanctuary in advance. Since special needs housing is for our special needs faeries, these spaces should never be used for any other purpose, and should be respected as private spaces, even if a faerie does not appear to be occupying it currently.

Emergencies and Hazards

This is a very rural part of Oregon. It’s rustic and there are many way to hurt yourself if you’re not looking. Also, it takes much longer for services (Fire, Police etc.) to get to the Land than in a the City. In many cases, many “emergencies” we can handle on the land. Only in extreme threats or life-saving treatment needs do we need to call 911. Otherwise, use caretakers and your community as your resource. There’s a phone in Garden House.

Our address is 4525 Lower Wolf Creek Road.

  • If it’s a heart attack or something that needs life-saving treatment right away, call 911 for the Wolf Creek fire department.
  • If somebody’s swelling up badly from a sting (yellowjacket, bee), keep a close watch that they don’t have trouble breathing and their throat isn’t tightening up. We normally keep an “epi-pen” in the first-aid kits; it’s a shot to counteract this, only for emergencies. Ask a Caretaker; they might suggest you take it along with the victim to the hospital.
  • Otherwise, we’re 20 minutes from the hospital in Grants Pass, so it’s faster to drive there than to wait for an ambulance. Check with a Caretaker first; they can give you directions, and might be able to help.
  • First Aid kits: The main supply is under Garden House stairs (by the front door); also at the front of the Barn, just left of the door. Trauma kits are in bright orange bags (I’m not sure where). Smaller first-aid stuff is at the Garden House bathroom: just outside the door, and below the sink.

Fire!

In case of fire: Grass fires spread FAST! It may be too late already.

  • Yell loudly for help. If there’s an air horn nearby (they’re at outhouses, Garden House, Barn, pumphouse, cabins), blast it on-and-off while running to the fire.
  • If you hear an air horn: run in that direction. If you’re near a vehicle, consider driving to a fire barrel to fetch tools, or carrying people to the fire.
  • Send the first person who arrives to call 911.
  • If you don’t have an air horn, send the second person to get one (and blast it on the way back).
  • Everybody else run to the fire barrels, marked with red reflective tape (at the edges of the meadow). Grab a burlap sack, dip it in water, beat the fire with the wet sack. Grab a shovel or rake, and clear a fire break well ahead of the fire, as wide as the grass is tall.
  • As more people arrive, set up a bucket-brigade to pass burlap back and forth for dunking in water.

Never pour water on a grass fire: it doesn’t help in the slightest, and uses up your water. Grass fires are fast. If it reaches the forest, we’ve burned down our woods and a chunk of the valley.

Water bottles (glass or plastic) left in the sun can act as magnifying glasses; we once found cloth with a big hole charred by the sun. If you see a bottle left outside, please bring it in!

Smoking

Smoking areas are designated near the barn and Garden House, and also include the parking lot, Theresa porch, and inside some residences. No smoking in the woods. If you see somebody smoking while he walks through the meadow or along trails, stop him! A single fallen ember can destroy this place; at times, we faeries are the biggest threat to the environment here.

Poison Oak

It is the most common plant here; it especially grows in dappled shade under the trees (right where you’d camp). If you brush against one of the leaves and then touch a faerie who’s allergic (maybe yourself; most people are), they can develop an itchy, weepy rash that doesn’t add to the gathering experience. Walk through the underbrush and sit on the sofa, and some people here will get really sick.

Fortunately, Poison Oak isn’t that hard to avoid. First, learn what it looks like at this time of year. (Early Spring: vertical shoots with tiny, purply leaves – very oily! Summer: medium green vine or shrub, with 3 leaves coming together at the stem. The only other 3-leaved plant is wild raspberry, which has little thorns. Fall: pretty flame-red leaves are oily even after they drop.) You’ll find that most cleared campsites don’t have any in the way, but watch on the edges, especially when pitching your tent. If you go hiking, keep a close eye out and know that going off the trail often means having to back up to find a clear path; be sure to put your hiking shoes and clothes in a safe spot afterwards.

If you’ve been exposed: look in the first-aid areas for Technu, which neutralizes the oil. (Instructions on bottle.) Second choice: shower in cool water with lots of soap, washing the oil away from the rest of your body. Developing a bumpy rash? Ask somebody who knows what it looks like, and see about cortisone cream. If somebody’s face, mouth or throat swell up, see Emergencies; they need treatment to make sure the windpipe doesn’t swell shut.

Rattlesnakes

Aren’t territorial or agressive, but they sometimes sunbathe on trails and can’t get away quickly, remember, they are more afraid of you then you are of them. It’s a good idea to look where you’re walking, especially when away from the busy areas. (Some years there’s a rattler living under Garden House, who is exposed while going to and from the meadow. In Spring, before Beltane crowds arrive, there’ve been baby rattlers around the Barn.) If you’re in the high grass off the trails, stomp a bit so they hear you coming (they sense vibration). Climbing in rocky areas, don’t put your hands where you can’t see! On the other hand, in 25 years the only snakebite was on the nose of an obnoxious dog.

If you hear a rattle, freeze. Unless he’s coiled, he’ll be moving away. If you stepped right next to him and he’s coiling up, your instinct is right: jump away!

Police

If lives are in danger or somebody’s brandishing a deadly weapon, run and call 911. Otherwise, it’s best to talk to a Caretaker first, in case we can handle the problem without calling the Sheriff. If you do call 911, if able to, please follow-up with a caretaker so we can be aware of their arrival.

Faeries

New arrivals don’t know our community and its norms yet, so possibly somebody will try to take advantage of that (and you). We think it’s rare, but it usually only happens to new visitors, one-on-one so the rest of us can’t intervene and don’t always hear about it. We figure the best prevention is to make sure you know: It’s ok to set boundaries. Do stretch your own limits when you feel safe to do so, but also take care of yourself. If something feels creepy, it probably is.

If anybody says you’re obligated to get have sex with him because he gave you a ride, or let you stay in his tent, or because it’s not the faerie way to say “no” to another faerie, or because he’s spiritually more advanced – that’s BS. If you need a different place to stay, ask a Caretaker or any of us to help you find a place to sleep (spare tent, couch; we’ll find something). We celebrate nakedness and sex, but anybody worth playing with will also be open to “no” as an answer. One of the joys in this community is learning that we’re all spiritual beings who can heal each other, in our many different ways. It’s a wonderful tribe; don’t let the occasional confused one spoil it for you. The Portland faeries have a saying: “Self-care is sexy.”

Bears

They are scared of people (so far), but love to find goodies in the woods, including something in your tent. Chocolate, fruit, or almost any snack can invite their sensitive noses, so please keep these things in a car, away from the woods.Tents have been shredded by hungry bears on at least two occasions, and if they decide we’re a source of food, it’ll be bad for everybody.

Getting Involved

If you’re here for a Gathering, please do fill out a registration form so we know you were here! That also lets you be in the Gathering directory, if there is one.

We have an email list to get Gathering announcements and other news from the Sanctuary: Wolf Creek Info

You’ll notice there’s no hired staff here, but also nobody telling you what to do when. This all happens by people noticing things that need to be done, and doing them. Whether it’s helping in the Barn and kitchen (dishwashing, sweeping, taking out the trash and compost), cleaning up the smoking circle, signing up for a job at morning circle, helping with a project – you’ll find it’s a great way to connect to the place and people. (Please do check with a Caretaker before changing things.)

We’d like to hear about how your visit went. There’s a new email address for that:
visitor-feedback@nomenus.org

We look forward to seeing you on the Land!