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Pagan Festival Tips

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Year: 2009 ...

An Open Letter to Pagan Parents

Year: 2003 ...

Event Expectations - Part I

Event Expectations - Part II

Year: 2002 ...

Psychic Self Defense for Festivals (and beyond)

Public Circles & Rituals - Pros / Cons, Stay or Go?

Duties, Care & Feeding of Guest Speakers & Artists

Mundane Health & Safety at Gatherings & Festivals

Year: 2000 ...

Nudity at Festivals


Festival FAQ's

Matters of Etiquette

Pet Peeves

KidCraft: Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Helpful Hints for Camping events

Festival FAQ's (part II)

Fire Safety

Dancing The Fires: Gardians for Your Safety and Security

Reservation Roulette

Merchanting at Gatherings, Events & Festivals

Serving those that Serve

Hosting a Festival, Gathering or Lecture

Workshops at Festivals

INDEX: Author Profile & Index

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Dancing The Fires: Gardians for Your Safety and Security

Author: Patricia Telesco [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: June 15th. 2000
Times Viewed: 14,778

Woad Warrior's Guardian Guild:
("We're tickled blue to work with you")
by Rowan

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is NOT from any particular organization (either past or present)... It is presented here as an example of one of many models that ARE possible. Feel free to gleen what you can from it to help build your model.

Greetings! The Woad Warriors can be defined as "a loose confederacy of registered Guardians and other like-minded people who provide safety and security services for the pagan community".

We are a non-profit database, whose purpose is to establish a network of individuals who can be available to work pagan gatherings and act as support staff to other Guardian organizations.

We offer our services free-of-charge, although donations of cash, postage stamps, and other such materials are always greatly appreciated.

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual preference, religion, or experience. We are interested in recruiting dedicated, service-oriented people who are willing to work towards the greater good of the pagan community. We encourage physical fitness, although handicaps or limitations would not prevent you from being registered. You may be subject to a criminal background investigation, however previous criminal records are not grounds, in-and-of themselves, for application refusal. Our first and foremost concern must be in providing the people that we serve security and safety to the absolute best of our abilities.

If you are inclined to consider yourself a "weekend warrior", or if you tend to see yourself as "pagan police", please do not apply. We are not interested in power-trips, or ego-boosting. Our services are generally voluntary, the hours are long, the weather is often inclement, and the physical/psychic work can be very draining on body, mind and spirit.

If, on the other hand, you feel a calling towards community service (and if you have a slightly masochistic attitude), we welcome you to The Woad Warriors!


While the Woad Warriors are not a guardian organization, per se, we do have certain policies/procedures that apply when we security coordinate for a gathering (as opposed to when we provide other Guardian organizations with the names of registered individuals who are willing to work ).


If a Gathering Coordinator specifically requests an individual to Security coordinate for his/her event, every effort will be made to comply. If the individual is unable to attend, or if no specific request has been made, then we will offer the most qualified individual from the available security team. It will be the responsibility of the Security Coordinator to determine if a co-coordinator is necessary, and if so, to choose an appropriate second-in-command.


We recognize that every member of a security team is an independent leader. Therefore, at the beginning of each event, the Security coordinator will request that each Guardian accept his/her leadership for the duration of the event. This is a formality in which each Guardian acknowledges his/her part in a team that is working towards a common goal.

The function of the Security Coordinator is to organize the setting of the Wards, develop work schedules, assign duties, supervise work activities, file incident reports, maintain the daily log book, mediate disputes within the security team, submit performance appraisals, coordinate with other Gathering staff members, organize daily briefing sessions, and act as an intercery between the pagan and cowan communities.

The function of the Security Co-coordinator is to act in the stead of the Security Coordinator if he/she is unable or unavailable to perform his/her responsibilities. It is permissible, and in some cases perhaps desirable, for the Security Coordinator to delegate some of his/her responsibilities to the co-coordinator. In such instances, the co-coordinator is expected to perform these tasks to the best of his/her abilities, and to advise/inform the coordinator of completions, problems, changes, or other such issues.

The function of a security team member is to work his/her assigned shifts, complete incident reports, update the log book, establish contact with the merchants and/or other gathering participants, maintain a professional attitude with other security team members and Gathering staff, be responsible for assigned equipment (ie.: radios), interact with the general public, and to promote fellowship between the pagan and cowan communities.

3.) WARDS:

Wards are magical barriers. At pagan gatherings, wards are established to protect the participants of the event from external negative influences, as well as to shield the outside (cowan) communities from stray energies generated from within. There are basically three types of wards that Guardians employ: "invisibility" wards (ie: mists) that are designed to discourage outside disruptions; "alarm system" wards (ie: webs) that are designed to indicate if there is any type of problem (mundane or magical) from within or without, and "harmonious" wards (ie: womb) that are designed to encourage positive interactions and influences for the gathering participants. These wards work alone or in combination (although frequently we utilize all three).

It is the responsibility of the Security Coordinator to organize the setting of the Wards. Ideally, all members of the security team, as well as the Event Coordinator should be in attendance when the Wards are being established. It is permissible to include other members of the community to participate (such as the Elders), but all attending individuals should be advised to the dangers of being closely tied into the Wards. While it is possible to draw energy from the Wards, more frequently, energy is being put into the Wards, particularly if there is some type of problem manifesting. The effect on the individual Ward Keeper can be very draining. Anyone who is suffering from acute mental or physical health problems, ungrounded, or inexperienced should be discouraged from being a Ward Keeper. However, such a person can be placed in an outer circle while the Wards are being set and allowed to project his/her energies towards the Ward Keepers to help them with their work--this will also effectively loosely tie the person into the Wards without the negative draining effects (since their energies are being filtered through the Ward Keepers).

It should be noted that not every Event Coordinator will want Wards set at his/her event. It is only common curtesy to ask permission before working this type of widescale magic. In the event that the formal setting of Wards is undesirable, for whatever reasons, each member of the security team should be encouraged to establish his/her own personal wards. These wards should be designed to be as unobtrusive as possible--their purpose is not to necessarily affect the gathering as much as to alert the Guardian of impending or manifesting problems.


The Woad Warriors do not accept oaths from other Guardians, for we are not an organization. However, at a Gathering, we do pledge or oath ourselves to "ward and protect the People (participants of the event) and the Land (site of the event)". Usually this formal oath takes place during the opening ritual and serves two functions; it introduces the security team to the gathering participants, and it binds each Guardian into community service for the duration of the event. This oath is not intended to supersede an individual Guardian's oath to his/her organization. Therefore, it would be advisable for the Security Coordinator to review the ritual oath with the other security team members beforehand, and make revisions if necessary. If a Guardian is uncomfortable with the ritual oath (even after revisions), it is permissible for that Guardian to make his/her own oath at the time when the Guardians are gathered during the opening ritual.


While any Guardian can call a team meeting, if he/she feels that such is merited, it is the responsibility of the Security Coordinator to hold pre- and post- Gathering meetings, and daily briefing sessions. The purpose of the pre-Gathering meeting is to review policies/procedures, discuss work schedules, familiarize team members with pertinent local/State/Federal laws, establish emergency contingency plans, and other such business. It is during this meeting that the Security Coordinator will formally ask those in attendance to accept his/her leadership for the duration of the event (once the Gathering is underway, dissension within the ranks can not be tolerated. *see DISPUTES).

It is preferable that the Event Coordinator be present during this first meeting, for it is necessary for the Security team to know and understand what is expected of them from the stand-point of the other event staff. If the Event Coordinator is unable to attend, his/her designee is acceptable.

On the last day of the Gathering, the Security Coordinator will hold a post-Gathering meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to review the events that took place during the Gathering, discuss problems/resolutions, remove the Wards, and, perhaps most importantly, to ground and center before leaving the site.

Attendance at daily briefing sessions is required, unless circumstances prohibit. In the event that an individual is unable to attend a briefing, it is his/her responsibility to contact the Security Coordinator or Co-coordinator for any updates. It is the responsibility of the Security Coordinator to choose a time (ideally between shift changes) that will be most convenient for the security team as a whole. The purpose of the briefing session is to review previous security actions, discuss any performance problems, revise any relevant policies/procedures, and update all team members on continuing security issues. It is essential that communication within the team be maintained at every level to prevent inconsistencies in security actions, and to promote team unification and harmony.


Since we are human, it is inevitable that personal conflicts will occur. These disputes will be settled in one of three ways:
  • one-on-one discussion between the disputing parties;
  • two-party discussion, with a mediator;
  • council, with all security team members and any other relevant parties in attendance, mediated by one objective individual.

For example: Let's say that it has come to the attention of the Security Coordinator (S.C.) that two members of his/her team are having difficulties with one another. It is the responsibility of the S.C. to bring the two parties together and to ascertain if there is indeed a problem. If so, then the S.C. is to schedule a one-on-one meeting for the two in an attempt to seek resolution. If this method fails, then the next option is a meeting with a mediator in attendance. If this does not resolve the problem, then the third (and final) option is council. The Security Coordinator is responsible for organizing the council and choosing an objective mediator. All security team members are expected to be present, as well as any individuals that the aggrieved parties request. It is the responsibility of the mediator to explain the purpose of a council, the codes of conduct that govern the behavior of council participants, and to ensures that all individuals understand and comply with the council procedures. At the end of the council meeting, the S.C. will once again ask the parties if there is still a problem. If they both maintain that there is, then the S.C. will schedule a post-council meeting. All individuals involved with the dispute, as well as the Event Coordinator, will be asked to attend.

The nature of the problem and possible solutions will be presented and considered. The final disposition will be voted upon, whereas majority rules. The decision of this meeting is absolute, but only binding for the Gathering during which the situation occurred. It should always be remembered that we must live to learn, and that not all lessons are painless, yet we should not be hampered by our past mistakes.


To better aid our growth as a whole, the Woad Warriors will endeavor to provide an assortment of training at the events that we coordinate. To this end, the Security Coordinator is encouraged to arrange for at least one magical and/or mundane workshop for his/her team to attend while at the Gathering. Successful completion of this training will be noted by the Security Coordinator and added to the Woad Warrior personnel files.

Ideas, advice, or offers to teach workshops are always greatly appreciated. The following are some suggestions:
  1. Red Cross Emergency First Aid
  2. CPR training
  3. First Responder training
  4. Lifeguard skills and training
  5. Pain compliance and pressure-point techniques
  6. Basic marital arts and self-defense
  7. Interviewing and report writing
  8. Overview of Federal Fish and Wildlife laws
  9. Crowd control and evacuation techniques
  10. Civilian rights and the Constitution
  11. Search and seizure/arrest procedures (for the civilian)
  12. Organization and implementation of Rescue missions
  13. Basic fire control and suppression
  14. Safety techniques (how to use a chainsaw, powered/manual winch, rappelling equipment, etc.)
  15. Basic counseling services and techniques
  16. Identification of restricted/illegal drugs and their effects
  17. Establishing wards and shields
  18. Grounding and centering
  19. Basic weather-working and ethics
  20. Interacting with non-physical entities (spirits, ghosts, elementals, etc.)


As previously stated, the Woad Warriors is essentially a Guardian guild. As such, the services of those individuals registered with us are subject to be called upon by other established Guardian organizations. If a member is requested, and agrees to work with another Guardian or security organization at a Gathering or related function, said member will be expected to abide by the policies and procedures of the coordinating security organization. Each registered member has the right to request specific information regarding the nature and policies of an organization before accepting such an assignment. Refusal to work for an organization will not result in any penalties. This also applies to work requests made by the Woad Warriors for Gatherings that we coordinate--membership with the guild is not perceived as acquiescing to work with or for us. Members will always be afforded the opportunity to refuse assignments and their decisions will be respected.



A council is an assembly of individuals gathered together for the purpose of communicating personal thoughts and feelings in reference to a particular subject. Each participate is given three opportunities to speak his/her own mind. The introduction of gossip, rumor, or heresay as fact is forbidden. Name-calling, finger-pointing, slanderous or otherwise offensive language or behavior is also forbidden. A "talking stick" is utilized by the mediator to recognize that individual who is currently speaking and therefore deserving of quiet respect from the others assembled. Approval of another's words is signified by "clapping" the closed fist of one hand against the open palm of the other hand; disapproval is signified by deeply bowing one's head or turning one's back to the circle. If an individual reacts negatively to the words spoken by another, said individual must wait until two other people have had their say, before responding to the negatively-perceived topic. When a speaker has finished with his/her discourse, the speaker relinquishes the talking stick back to the center of the circle for the next speaker to retrieve. When a council is used for the subject of disputes, it is not the function of the council to make disciplinary decisions; if the dispute does not resolve itself through council, then a "post-council" meeting is to be arranged for the purpose of problem-solving and administrative actions.


For the purposes of our Guild, an Elder is any individual that is 45 years old or older, and/or an individual that is recognized and accepted as an Elder by the pagan community.


Post-Gathering reports completed by the Security Coordinator and submitted to the Woad Warrior Guardian Guild, that evaluate a security team member's performance during an event. Each member is entitled to a copy of said report; the original is maintained in the member's personal confidential file. Members are encouraged to respond with input reference their appraisals. If an appraisal is considered slanderous, unsubstantiated, or otherwise erroneous, an investigation will be conducted by the Guild. If the findings of the Guild concur that the appraisal is incorrect, said appraisal will be destroyed and the Security Coordinator responsible for submitting such an appraisal will be relieved of any further leadership responsibilities as they pertain to the Guild.


That individual who is ultimately responsible for the safety and security of the participants of a Gathering or similar event. The S.C. works under the authority of, and is answerable to, the Event Coordinator. The S.C. represents the leadership of the security team and is responsible for the management of said team.


That individual who is under the leadership of, and is answerable to, the Security Coordinator, and who acts as Second-in-command within the security team structure.


That individual who, as an idependent Guardian or security person, agrees to work under the leadership of the S.C. and the S.C.C., and to provide safety and security services to the pagan community for the duration of a pagan Gathering or similar event.


Include, but are not limited to: sleeplessness or otherwise disturbed sleep, nervousness, nausea, headaches, vision distortion, mental confusion, mood-swings, lack of hunger, dehydration, reduction in sexual drive, increase in sexual drive, feelings of isolation, feelings of connectiveness", increase in empathic, telepathic, or other related psychic abilities, etc.

The following ritual is guaranteed to be a "show-stopper":

On the first day of an event, have all security personnel gather together in a circle. Moving in a clockwise (deosil) direction while stamping feet and waving arms, shout this chant, three times: "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles--scream and shout! At the climax, be certain to embellish the chant with appropriate warrior grunting noises (hollering battle cries is okay, too). The event participants will be much reassured by the professionalism displayed by the security team, and the tone for the rest of the event will be set.

Article Specs

Article ID: 2838

VoxAcct: 99809

Section: festtips

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 7,060

Times Read: 14,778


Patricia Telesco

Location: Amherst, New York

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