Notes for a Workshop at Breitenbush on Intentional Community

Steps to Building a Faerie Sanctuary – Finding an Ethos, Making it Work

1.  What is “intentional community”?

  • A place where people with a common affinity come together to live and work together.
  • The community is “intentional” because of a shared ethos or mission, and a commitment to project that ethos on the community as an organic whole.
  • This requires both an explicit and an implicit social contract…the community can only succeed so long as participants invest themselves emotionally, physically, and materially in a mutually agreed-upon vision.

2.  How are intentional communities formed?

  • The shared ethos has to be carefully and explicitly articulated:  What are we trying to achieve, why are we trying to achieve it, and how will we go about achieving it?
  • The vision needs to include the following elements:
  • Venue – Will our goals be better attained in a rural milieu, or an urban one?
  • Financial responsibility – How we will we pay for the property and materials needed to physically build and maintain an infrastructure to support an intentional community?  How do we deal with questions of ownership, individual and collective?  How much of a person’s assets do we expect to be given to the community, and how will that money be overseen and disbursed?
  • Organization – How will we deliberate and make decisions as a community?  How do we view the individual functioning within the context of community?
  • Labour – How we will assign tasks in the building and maintenance of community?  How do we deal with “free riders”?  With those physically, emotionally, or intellectually unable to contribute in a meaningful way?
  • Relationships – How do we deal with issues around sex, dating, and love?
  • Resources – How self-sustaining do we envision this community as being?  Will we look at mounting paying events (like retreats and gatherings) as a community?  Will we look at selling produce or crafts as a community?  Will we expect individuals to be employed offsite and to contribute their earnings to the community?  If so, how much?

3.  What can damage or destroy intentional communities? (may be actual or perceived)

  • Disagreements about the vision, or how to achieve it.
  • Unequal financial participation or contribution of labour.
  • Disagreements over decision-making processes, or the decisions actually made.
  • A general breakdown in communication due to any or all of the above, or simply a clash of personalities.
  • Relationship-based jealousy.

4. The “Faerie Ethos”

5.  Building intentional Faerie community is British Columbia.

  • What would a B.C. faerie sanctuary look like?
  • How would we begin a process of exploring the possibility?
  • What short and long term goals do we need to set, within what timeframe, and what steps  are needed to fulfill them?
  • Where are we going to find the people?  The vision?  The money?

5.  Free-form discussion.

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