What can I expect at the gathering?
Approximately 100-125 women and children are expected to attend this informal event held in the midst of nature and rustic accommodations or campsites. The community that forms is warm, friendly and casual. Most women who enjoy camping find the atmosphere a welcome change from the hectic lives we experience in our day-to-day lives. A wide variety of workshops, healing services and sweat lodge ceremonies are offered for small groups, in addition to the large group rituals that occur throughout the weekend. What you choose to do is up to you, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t be able to find the time to do everything that appeals to you. For some women, the greatest aspect of Solstice is the opportunity to do nothing but be in the company of other women for a few days.

Where is the gathering held?
Our venue is a camp on the east slope of the Cascades, off I-90, near Cle Elum, WA. Those who have paid their registration fees and sent in their registration form are sent a map and directions. In general, the camp has plenty of tent-camping space, a commercial kitchen provides our meal service 3 x daily, there are limited dorm-style cabins, a NEW swimming pool  (monitored at specific times by a certified lifeguard), and communal shower facilities.

What does it cost?
Information about the various fees are included on our registration page.

What should I bring?
A list of suggested supplies and ritual items will be provided with the welcome packet that is sent out when we receive your registration information and payment. But for those who like to plan ahead, we encourage you to bring all weather gear for camping, as well as any drums, tambourines, rattles and other instruments that appeal to you. Please do not bring drugs or alcohol. The campground has a “No Alcohol or Drugs” policy. With respect to our sisters in recovery, our desire to be healthy role models for our children, to honor the sacred space we co-create at WSS, and to honor our venue’s policy, we ask that you respect this restriction.

Do I have to camp?
It has become clear in recent years that some women simply don’t like camping, but would enjoy participating in the Solstice gathering in other ways. If you have a medical need, you may bring a trailer or RV to the site if you make arrangements for this in advance. There are also some indoor sleeping spaces, with electricity, heat and running water available in dorm-style cabins, and other that are rustic and share a separate community bathroom/shower-house nearby. Our elders often find these spaces allow them to meet their health needs and participate more fully with others in the gathering. Cabins are assigned on a first registration first serve basis prior to arrival at the camp.

What if I can’t afford the fee?
Goddess Grants (reduced price registrations) are available on a limited basis to those who have a genuine need for assistance. These grants are issued on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please contact us at registration@womenssummersolstice.com.

Why can’t men attend? And what about my son(s)?
This event was originally conceived by a woman who wanted to create a spiritual space for women alone, a space in which the feminine spirit could be revered and celebrated in all her glory. To the best of our ability, we have tried to continue in the spirit of her initial vision. This does not mean that we are opposed to men as part of our spiritual practice. Many women within the Solstice community have husbands and sons who are every bit as precious to them as their daughters. If you are interested in finding family events where the men and boys in your life can participate, we encourage you to explore the many pagan and spiritual events offered in the Puget Sound region.  Participation in this event is limited to women, girls, boys under 30 months of age, and transgenders who have “female” on their drivers license and are living as a woman on a daily basis.

Who do I talk to about special dietary needs?
See our webpage about meals for this information.

What is a “sweatlodge?”
Sweat lodge rituals are an ancient tradition, dating back hundreds of years. We include them as part of the Solstice gathering because they are invariably a highlight for many of the women who attend. Sweats are lead by trained, experienced, and gifted “pourers” who guide the experience for the other participants. Women enter a small, darkened structure, where large stones heated in a fire pit are placed in the center. The leader of the ceremony pours water and herbs over the rocks, which creates a sauna-like effect. Women are asked in turn to respond to various questions or themes presented by the sweat pourer, usually in four rounds corresponding with the four directions. The exact structure of the ceremony depends largely on who leads it, as is true with most spiritual experiences in our community. Women who are new to sweat lodges as a spiritual practice may let the pourer know, in order to gain additional information about the traditions and guidelines inherent in the process.

Am I required to participate in everything?
The short answer is “no.” The longer answer is that you will be encouraged and welcome to participate in anything that appeals to you at Solstice, because it is through participating as much as possible that the community builds and thrives. You will also be respected for choosing to decline if that is appropriate for you. A broad range of faiths and practices are in evidence at the gathering, and diversity is both appreciated and celebrated within our community. We have found that most women choose to be part of the main rituals because it enhances their experience within the community. How you spend the remainder of your time is up to your personal preferences.

What is a Service Shift?
All attendees over 13 years old are asked to volunteer for two 2-hour service shifts as a contribution and gift to the wholeness of our community. These shifts provide opportunities to meet other women and contribute to the spirit of the gathering. If you are unable to contribute in this way, you will be asked to pay an additional luxury fee of $75. When you complete the Registration Form, you will be asked to state 3 preferences for these shifts. Service shifts will be assigned on a first-come, first served basis. After you arrive on Thursday, you will be oriented to your service shift by a service leader. Every woman over the age of 13 must complete two 2-hour work shifts, unless you choose to pay a “Luxury Fee” ($100) instead. Click here for details about Service Shifts.

Do I need to stay for the whole weekend? Check in starts at noon on Thursday and we strongly encourage everyone to be settled on site prior to Opening Ceremony at 7 pm on Thursday, in order to soak in the magic and energy of the full gathering. It is expected that ALL women be on site no later than 4 pm on Friday evening at the very latest. Once you are in camp for the weekend, we ask that you plan to remain on site the entire weekend to avoid disrupting the Sacred Energies and Boundaries that have been established. ”

Can I get a refund if I change my mind? All refunds will be subject to a $20 processing fee; and no refunds will be made after registration closes.

Please contact us with any additional questions or concerns by phone at (206) 866-5663 or by email: registration@womenssummersolstice.com