I. Principles of Accountability: Affirmation & Invocation

Reclaiming affirms that each person brings their own unique magic to our circle of love. We rejoice in our differences, for they make us wiser, stronger, more resilient. To create sacred spaces that are safer and more accessible for all, we call our powerful magic here into each of us, into each of our communities, to create a strong container for ourselves, our rituals, our classes and camps, our cells and covens. 

Justice within the Reclaiming community grows from the voices of its justice-seeking members, expands from the acknowledgment of teachers and organizers, and comes home to live in the hearts and bodies of its members. We see the unique magic that each person brings to make our magic a powerful, safe, and fair manifestation of our commitment to love and land.

With open hearts, we make a home for all magical beings, regardless of how little or how much power they hold in the world’s racist, capitalist, and colonial systems. We imbue our spaces with accountability, a beacon of safety to all who enter our circles. In this time, recognition of diverse beloveds – BIPOC, LGBTIQ*, people with disabilities, older folks – is growing.  It grows from a longing to understand more deeply each day our place in a circle of love. It grows with the realization that we all are the justice-seeking ones, calling in ourselves and accountable to ourselves.

Accountability is the magic of relationship – community-empowered, inclusive of justice seekers, and self-aware, springing from deep listening. Accountability springs from love with fire, intention, and learning. It tears down harmful old ways and decays old hurts and imbalances through attentive unlearning. 

From deep self, in relationship, we are accountable to each other, to the land and spirits. This magic grows in strong community where members work together, consensually, to develop tools for growing and retaining regenerative circles of love. Along with the essential lifelong commitments to learning, we find ways to be with our own nervous systems and the cultural nervous systems we are each a part of, dancing toward joyful accountability as an act of love and pleasure.

We are diverse in all our ways. We flow from a diversity of ancestors to an intermingling of descendants who are waiting on us to move the arc of justice with our love, together with our spirits, allies, deities, the fey, and all the beings of the land. Creating a safe enough circle for all requires all members of our tradition.

We invoke within ourselves the beauty of multiple justice-seeking identities – as witches of color, as Black witches, as Indigenous witches, as witches of varying abilities, as witches with disabilities and chronic conditions, as neurodiverse witches, as witches with varying gender (or genderless) identities, as queer and genderqueer witches, as witches from many places, speaking many languages, as witches of varying economic means, as witches of varying sizes, all of us – yes, we are magnificent!

We are all part of this justice-seeking community. Clear about our own needs, we extend grace to others, support their stated needs and boundaries as they step into the dance of love and pleasure. We call forth Mystery and miracle; mycelial nourishment and knowledge; flowering and fruiting, creating and destroying, decaying and blossoming, dismantling and building; hard lessons, gradual learning, and flashes of insight. We call forth the speaking of truths and deep listening. We call forth sacred boundaries and sacred respect.

The call for accountability is a gift and a charge crafted in uncertain times. Acknowledging the work and struggles of those who came before us, we call on all Reclaiming witches to create approaches and concepts for Accountability magic that work for each community, to use gathered resources and to come up with new resources for this task. Let there be room for mystery; potential for healing, change, and growth; and a continual process of learning and unlearning, knowing and unfolding. Now is Love’s time to listen


[1] The gender star (*)  stands for a multiverse of genders, expressions, and embodiments and freedom to explore and manifest beyond fixed labels and identities


II. Principles of Accountability: Invitation to Reflection & Action

We invite each of our communities to implement principles of accountability in the ways that serve them best. To maximize the joy and power of our magic together, given the presence of our many diverse beloveds, we offer the following ideas for consideration, reflection, and action:

Awareness: We maintain the integrity of our circles through continual learning.

Change begins with awareness. As a tradition with anarchist roots, we examine and seek to change systems that harm the earth and all beings. Alongside and interwoven with the deep life- and death-affirming magic we do with each other are violence, oppression, exclusion, and many other forms of harm that are woven through our languages, cultures, systems, and interactions with each other.

We all cause harm. We recognize that even in our magical creations, we have often recreated many forms of racist, ableist, gender, class, economic, and other biases and supremacies. We have sometimes forgotten to acknowledge that we bring into the circle much of the violence, anger, and cultural bias of the world. Due to these harms, some people have left our tradition, taking their powerful magic with them. We are also missing the voices, the bodies, and the unique skills of those who have not been able to access our communities or who haven’t felt welcome to join us.

Vulnerability and harm spring from the violence and carelessness of the world. For Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, powerful attempts to harm and erase them and their stories persist in our world. People in LGBTIQ*, genderqueer, and nonbinary communities are struggling to be recognized as who they are, to have their rights respected, and to live their lives in joy and health. Witches with disabilities often bear the brunt of unrecognized cruelty that forgets and denies their existence. Our elders are too easily forgotten or disregarded, their activism and lifelong learning often made invisible. We dance with identities and their intersections, and we grapple with multi-faceted harms – these inexorably human shadows – in our work.

Individually and in community, we strive toward magic and action that knows itself in all its effects. We hold our shadows in deep awareness in order to see, hear, communicate, and know that our powers manifest themselves with love and justice. We create enduring containers for our vulnerable selves.

Here are some ways that we can build awareness of past and ongoing harms in order to create spaces that acknowledge, prevent, repair, and perhaps even heal harms experienced by some of our own:

  • We educate ourselves on how different forms of oppression, privilege, and discrimination work, how they intersect, and how we can unlearn them.

  • We build awareness within our communities and our leaders based on listening and actual feedback. We have processes and documents that lay out actual processes for that feedback.

  • We build skills in holding accountability as a community. If we observe boundary transgressions or harms, we point them out. We build skills in talking about issues or boundary transgressions without shaming. We improve at setting boundaries or asking for assistance with setting boundaries. We learn how to go beyond our comfort zone; we do it together. It is everyone’s responsibility.

  • We use land, territory, or country acknowledgments to raise awareness when we are on colonized lands. When possible, we form relationships with Indigenous people in the lands that we gather on.

Community: We are interdependent.

  • Building community means seeing each person who is present, getting to know them, finding out what they have to offer, inviting them to bring that, and celebrating them for bringing it.

  • Commitment to the magic of relationship means that our accountability is to each other. Teachers are accountable to students; organizers are accountable to participants; and we are all accountable to the land, the spirits of the land, and other divine powers.

  • We hold ourselves accountable for our actions, inactions, and their consequences. Just as we are our own spiritual authority in community, we hold each other accountable in community and as a community, recognizing that we come together, within our ritual containers, as interconnected nervous systems.

  • We need to do this work/play to hold (think consensual hug here) ourselves, each other, and our communities accountable, as part of, not separate from all acts of love and pleasure.

  • Joyful accountability means that we can be accountable for doing wonderful, pleasurable, self-nurturing things as well as confronting our shadows.

  • Different levels of grouping – one-on-one interactions, online rituals, organizing meetings, initiations, in-person rituals, and camps – require different magics or mechanisms of accountability.

  • To allow for diversity, it is important to leave time and space for alternate viewpoints, discussion, etc. We affirm that disagreement and even conflict can be generative. There is no right way to be a witch.

  • Our individual bodies – and the cultural bodies of each camp and country – are a central part of conflict transformation. There is no right way to do conflict. Learning about our own nervous systems in community increases our capacity to sit in discomfort and move forward.

  • We acknowledge that we cannot create complete safety, that incidents of harm may still occur, and that some of our members may have competing needs – yet we aim to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all of our community members by checking our privilege and acting to both prevent and address harm. Safer doesn’t just mean incrementally more safe. It means safe enough for everyone to want to be there, to be able to feel joy and do magic in a space. More inclusive means that we seek to center the needs and concerns of people who have often been on the margins due to systemic discrimination.

  • This kind of accountability is deeply rooted in an abolitionist politic and practice in which the creation of networks of community care, mutual aid, safety, and harm reduction are created by and for communities rather than by and for institutions.

       ●  We do not expect perfection; we welcome mistakes. We seek to learn and love.

Feedback: We allow ourselves to be vulnerable in stating our own needs and inquiring about the needs of others.

  • We have many modes of listening, learning, receiving feedback, and checking in with ourselves and others:

  • We seek clarity about our own needs. We build a culture in which we ask for what we need and take time to negotiate how we will accommodate everyone’s needs.

  • Our bodies are essential to our magic. We embrace the need for rest, restoration, and fallow time. We allow ample space for our magic and embrace the concept of quality over quantity. We allow space for our bodies to speak and be at ease. We take a sacred pause, honour endings, ask for help.

  • We seek and give feedback within our communities on how our actions land. We listen to the stories of justice-seeking individuals – especially those who are traditionally under-represented in our spaces – and learn from their experiences. Through individual clarity and community sharing on boundaries of care, we grow into new, stronger lineages of joy for all of our community members.

  • We ensure that our rituals are consensual and that everyone’s needs are considered. Our magic will only show up when we are aligned.

Adjustment: We set boundaries to respect the needs of others. 

  • We affirm each other in setting clear boundaries. We embrace radical transparency, realizing that the clearer we are about who we are and what we need, the more we can step into circles of magic and be affirmed, celebrated, and loved for who we truly are! Boundaries of care help each person meet their needs.

  • We set clear guidelines to prevent harm and to address harm if it occurs. We set clear boundaries against harmful behavior yet allow for learning within our communities. When harm occurs, we might ask a community member to discuss the issue, educate themselves, or make a plan to prevent themselves from causing further harm. If they cannot act within the boundaries of care, we may ask them not to attend our events.

  • We aim to minimize emotional and other types of labor for community members who have experienced harm. Minimizing emotional labor might look like not asking intrusive questions, not asking for repeated explanations, not asking them to educate us, not requiring that they jump through bureaucratic hoops, or interceding on their behalf so as to minimize contact with someone who has harmed them.

 Specific Practices: Accountability is an ongoing creative endeavor with myriad magical possibilities!     

Below are some practices that support our diverse beloveds. This list is very basic and is provided as a starting point in the hope that each community will address the needs of its members with love, care, and creativity, through general practices, as-needed adjustments, and simple acts of kindness.

  • We re-consider or revise our stories, deities, written materials, rituals, and other practices, seeking to include diverse perspectives and incorporate our learnings and unlearnings.

  • We allow people the option not to participate in an activity or ritual.

  • We refrain from asking intrusive questions or making broad generalizations or assumptions about a person’s racial or ethnic identity.

  • We strive to include representation of non-binary, trans*, intersex, queer, genderqueer, and other types of diversity in deities, ancestors, descendants, and priestexxes in all of our work.[1]

  • We accept and support diversity in gender identity, sexual orientation, and relationship choices.

  • We actively ask for people’s pronouns, use them accordingly, and apologize and amend our pronoun usage if we have misgendered others.

  • We question binary patterns and either-or choices or polarities in ritual and other spaces.

  • We seek to hold our events in accessible spaces and include clear descriptions of the places we choose. We present classes, rituals, and other events in a variety of formats to better include people with diverse needs. We provide seating when needed.

  • We provide quiet space or space to lie down, if needed.

  • We consider the needs of people with impaired vision or hearing. For example, we use different modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to convey information, engage in dialogue, or practice magic. We might provide print materials in larger font sizes; use printed transcriptions or sign language translation; or include descriptions of illustrations.

  • We maintain scent-free spaces and refrain from using scented products on our person, out of respect for people with chemical sensitivities.

  • We include people of varying financial means – for example, by providing scholarships or allowing people to pay by donation. We consider alternatives to work trades, which require more labor from people with low income.

  • We consider the needs and concerns of people from different class backgrounds and people with different levels of education. We strive to use language and terminology that is accessible and understandable to all.

  • We learn about cultural appropriation so that we can critically examine our own and our communities’ role in taking from cultures that are not ours.

  • We recognize that Reclaiming is an international community and seek to include members who speak diverse languages – for example, by providing spoken or written translation or by acknowledging that words or concepts are perceived differently in diverse cultures or languages.


[2] The asterisk symbolizes the multitude of ways that one can be trans*, including non-binary trans* or gender-fluid trans* folks.


 III. Library of Resources  / Accountability Recipes

We have compiled a library of documents that provide examples of safer spaces policies, describe accountability roles, suggest practices to center the needs of particular groups of people, or explain other useful approaches.

<Library will be assembled during BIRCH for presentation by the end of BIRCH>