For privacy, this article uses a mix of Discordian, SubGenius, Pagan/Wiccan, and pseudonymous names.
The Gathering at The Grove aka The Grove Gathering or Grove Gathering is an annual weekend get-together first held from July 7 - 9, 2017 in Texas. A second gathering, also called X-Day Underground, was held from July 13 - 15 2018.
It is held for Pagans including Wiccans, and for Discordians, SubGenii, and Nudists. About 60 people attended the first event, which has become annual. (The event should not be confused with The Grove Gathering of The Grove Center for the Arts & Media, the Gathering in the Grove by the Young Single Adult Conference, The Grove Gatherings of Passion City Church, or The Grove Teen Gathering.) Some Spanish-speaking attendees called it La Reunión en la Arboleda.
Origin[edit | edit source]
The first event was inspired by three things: a pagan esbat (planned on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love) that included several Discordians, including one of the originals, in Texas; the Church of the SubGenius X-Day in Ohio; and a Texas reunion of members, friends and families of the Early Church of the SubGenius (1953 - 1975), all scheduled for early summer of 2017
The first inspiration was a pagan esbat involving several Discordians including leaders and members of chapters of Shamlicht Kids Club. Some of them had participated years earlier in ShamliCon. A couple of pagan covens had planned to have a combined esbat, a ceremony for the full moon, on Saturday, July 8, in The Grove. The Grove, located on private land, includes a large cleared area in the midst of trees. This gave participants privacy from public view. The two covens often met there together, usually with guests, on major pagan holidays or sabbats, and sometimes during the fall, spring, or summer. Because 2017 was the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, they had discussed making it a bigger than usual event. At most of their events, many participants were either topless or "topfree," or in the nude.
The second inspiration was X-Day. The X-Day Drill is an annual event held by the Church of the SubGenius. It is intended to welcome the Pleasure Saucers who would take members off of planet Earth before either the destruction of Earth, or the enslavement of the people left behind. The 2017 X-Day was held from June 29 to July 5. Like the events that came before, it was retroactively named a "drill" when the Pleasure Saucers failed to arrive.
The third inspiration was an alleged SubGenius reunion. The Early Church of the SubGenius Reunion was announced by Connie Dobbs (first wife of Church founder J.R. "Bob" Dobbs), "Bob" and "Connie's" great-granddaughter Bonnie Dobbs, and JoX the Bobtist in association with the Early Church website. It was said to be held at the Austin Hilton in Texas from Friday through Tuesday, June 30 to July 4, 2017. The Church of the SubGenius X-Day in Ohio was scheduled for about the same days, only longer. The Early Church reunion committee reportedly received a number of requests from people wanting to attend, several of whom lived closer to Texas than to Ohio. However, many of them did not qualify as Early Church members. Several SubGenii were upset about the "competing" event, while others dismissed it as a practical joke or Discordianesque jake. Reverand Peas of the Church of the SubGenius claimed in a video posted online that there was no such thing as the Early Church, and the reunion was not a real event. The latter, which also disputed The SubGenius Foundation co-founder Rev. Ivan Stang's claim that the Barbie doll was based on "Bob" and "Connie" Dobbs' daughter Barbara, became an ironic inspiration for The Gathering.
Many members of the pagan covens were also Discordians or members of the Church of the SubGenius. A few of them planned to attend both X-Day and the esbat. They suggested expanding the esbat to cover the weekend of July 7 - 9, and to make it a combined event including some SubGenii who planned to visit relatives and friends in Texas after X-Day, some Discordians who planned to attend the esbat while on vacation, the two pagan covens, and guests. The suggestion was accepted.
Events[edit | edit source]
2017: The Gathering at the Grove[edit | edit source]
The Gathering at the Grove was relatively informal, featuring only a few pre-scheduled activities. It included an esbat full moon ceremony, music and dancing, a paganism workshop, contests, and various games including the Cloved Lemon Kissing Game. The Gathering was open to all ages, and several families attended. While some participants wore masks and/or clothing, a majority of participants were naked for at least part of the event. A crew making a documentary asked to attend and record The Grove Gathering, but were turned down for privacy reasons. Some participants agreed to be interviewed after the event.
While items including sunscreen, water, body paint, and artwork were sold, no necessary item could be sold at a profit. Many essential items were given for free.
Because some of the participants wanted their privacy kept, especially because many attended while topless or nude and unmasked, photography and even audio recording were greatly restricted. The weekend concluded with a partially tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony.
2018: X-Day Underground[edit | edit source]
X-Day Underground was a name given to the second Grove Gathering which was held in 2018 (the first was held in 2017).
The event held from Friday, July 13, to Sunday, July 15 had slightly fewer attendees than the first, with one exception. A wedding was held at a place called Parrot House on Saturday. This was not actually in The Grove, but several attendees rode from the Gathering to the wedding. The bride and groom participated in both, as did most of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. A number of people attended the wedding who did not attend any of the other events. Because some "Grovers" had received threats in regard to attending the SubGenius X-Day, the 2018 event was also called X-Day Underground. Only one person attended both events in 2018.
2019: Woodstock on the Moon[edit | edit source]
In honor of the 50th anniversary of both the Woodstock Music & Art Fair and the first human landing on the moon, the theme for the 2019 event was "Woodstock on the Moon." It was held from Friday, June 14, to Sunday, June 16. Because of harassment and threats, it was invitation only, and the dates and place were a mystery until after it was over.
2020: The Slack Gathering[edit | edit source]
Planned to honor the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in America and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Due to the worldwide health crisis, the event was cancelled.
2021: Slack Grove[edit | edit source]
The fifth event was planned for 2021.
[edit | edit source]
- X-Day Underground on Facebook (private group made public 23 July 2018; later returned to private)
- The Grove Gathering on Facebook (private group for Grovers only)
- Lorien's Diary on X-Day Underground/Grove Gathering 2018
- Harmony's Diary on X-Day Underground/Grove Gathering 2018