About – 1997 Restructuring


Restructuring Update – August 1997

Written in 1997, when Reclaiming Collective transitioned to the current Work-Cells-and-Wheel structure.

As of the collective’s most recent meeting (June 23, 1997), we have made the following progress on restructuring.

In our March meeting, we began to gather information from the local SF Bay Area cells (such as newsletter, public rituals, administration, special projects, women in prison, etc.). We had asked them to meet and decide who they were, their purpose, what they wanted to do, how they wished to define themselves, what they may or may not want from Reclaiming Collective. This process is ongoing.

Starhawk and Beverly came to the brilliant realization that consensus process is fine for decision-making, but it’s not a process for design. So as of June, we’ve decided to begin the process of forming charettes.* The definition of charettes we are using is the one Starhawk and Beverly used in permaculture workshops — “small teams of two or three people look at a problem and come up with independent solutions. Then the larger group can look at the range of solutions and pick and choose the elements from each that they like the best.”

We want to use this process to get restructuring designs, and a statement of core values. These small charettes are initially comprised of two collective members and one or two interested community (non-collective) member. We will shift membership, hopefully twice before the collective’s next retreat in November.

Each charette looks at both Reclaiming’s structure and at the core values lists to try to come up with a core statement and/or their own synthesis. In our January ’97 retreat and at further collective meetings, we’ve managed to articulate some core values, and we have a list of other ideas which we haven’t consensed on. Charettes will be provided with copies of these lists (notes from the January retreat; comments on same; a core values statement that Starhawk formulated; comments on same; lists from retreat; “bucket” items [unresolved and unclassified]).

For the time being, the scope of this process is necessarily limited to what is now the S.F. Collective and basically, Northern California, as well as coming up with our statement of core values. But it does not at this point answer questions about the larger community – we need to do this step first, and then we can tackle that aspect.

After the charettes meet, we will then move into a phase of review and synthesis.

In addition, we’ve decided to cancel the the community meetings, and will look for other structures in which to get community input.

If anyone wants a long linguistic history of this rather recent American word (as distinct from its French origin), I (Macha) can write that up; I chased it down for about a month.

Love and blessings, Macha (with input from Rose and Starhawk)


Summary of Minutes

Reclaiming Retreat November 7-9, 1997

Table of Contents

(Summary by Starhawk, approved by Rose May Dance and Marian Doub)

Our recent retreat was a momentous and productive culmination to the work of restructuring that we began over a year ago. Below are a summary of the decisions we made. A full set of minutes will be available on our web page by December 1, and can be sent out in hardcopy to anyone who requests them.

The retreat began with a discussion of major changes that have happened in and around Reclaiming in the last year or two, and with reports from charettes.

Core Values, Principles of Unity

We spent Saturday working on our statement of core values, working with drafts from two charettes, the small groups that met over the last few months to work out a spectrum of proposals for structure and core values. Two charettes had considered core values and written statements: one was by Anne Hill, Beverly and Starhawk, and one by Rose, Patti and Marian. Drawing from this work, we wrote a statement we entitled “Reclaiming Principles of Unity”, (attached hereto) and Sunday afternoon we reached consensus to adopt it. The Principles of Unity have been sent out in a separate post to appropriate email lists, and will be published in the magazine and put on the web site.

Mission Statement

The charette done by Madrone, Jody and Ivory Fly had worked on Reclaiming’s Mission statement. A small group worked on rewriting the statement which for many years has been in the back of the newsletter/magazine. They made a small but important revision to the old mission statement. Sunday we reached consensus to adopt this Statement and it has been sent out and will be published along with the Principles of Unity.

Reclaiming is a community of women and men working to unify spirit and politics. Our vision is rooted in the religion and magic of the Goddess — the Immanent Life Force. We see our work as teaching and making magic — the art of empowering ourselves and each other. In our classes, workshops, and public rituals, we train our voices, bodies, energy, intuition, and minds. We use the skills we learn to deepen our strength, both as individuals and as community, to voice our concerns about the world in which we live, and bring to birth a vision of a new culture.


Sunday’s discussion focused on Reclaiming’s structure. We looked at a proposed structure from the Beverly/Anne Hill/Starhawk charette and heard challenges and problems articulated by the Macha/Laura/Tami/Talia charette. We broke into small groups to come up with new structures, and after much discussion reached consensus upon a new structure for Reclaiming. Our diagram will be sent out in hard copy to all who were active and on-leave members of the collective prior to Sunday, to others who request it, and will be posted on our web page (see below).