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Person Hanging fro Hooks In Back at Smertekirken Summer Solstice Gathering

Photo: Katarsis Foto

Summer Solstice Gathering

The Summer Solstice Gathering is Smertekirken – Church of Pain’s biggest event of the year. Our first summer gathering was a small Oslo SusCon placeholder event in 2020 together with Wings of Desire. After a break during the pandemic, the Summer Revival in 2022 started our yearly tradition of welcoming friends, old and new, to the Church of Pain around Midsummer. It is always held around the summer solstice—starting on the Wednesday of that week and ending on the Sunday. We start the event with a group hook pull.

Check out pictures by Katarsis Foto from the Summer Revival in 2023

The Essentials 2024

From 19–23 June 2024, we will welcome around 25 people to our beautiful farm. We are, however, flexible regarding arriving earlier and departing later than the official event dates. If you want to come earlier to help us prepare for the event or camp out longer afterward, please let us know. The Summer Solstice Gathering is open to all hook lovers, we strive to create a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere with a chill and friendly vibe. The participants are a mix of team leaders, suspension practitioners, hook lovers, and possibly a first-timer or two. This year will include Smertekirken’s first wedding when Iris and Iban declare their love for each other on Saturday 22.06.2024. You don’t need to know the couple in advance and everyone attending the event is invited to the wedding.


NOK 3600—same price for all

Deadline to pay: 1. May

You may pay via bank transfer, PayPal (, or Vipps (632147). We’ll send you the payment details for bank transfer when you register. 


The price includes a group pull, one suspension, vegan food for everyone—breakfast, main meal, and supper—and camping at our farm. The sleeping arrangements will be like your favorite outdoor festival: tents or hammocks around the farm or you can sleep in your vehicle if that is your style (we have plenty of places to park).


Because of the cost associated with preparing for this event, we’re afraid we will not be able to issue refunds. If you get sick, or any other unforeseen circumstances arise, we will transfer half of your payment towards a new ritual within one year.

Welcome to Smertekirken Summer Solstice Gathering Group Meeting

Photo: Katarsis Foto




13:00—main meal

14:00—official start with welcome meeting for all, followed by a crew meeting

16:00—piercing for group pull

17:00—Summer Solstice Group Pull

19:00—supper (or whenever we are done pulling)


The arrival time is set for 9:00 on Wednesday to give everyone enough time to arrive at the farm, spend some time walking around the property and find the perfect spot to set up camp. That being said, we are probably up from around 6:00, so if you want to come earlier, please do!


We will break bread at 13:00 and officially start the event with a welcome meeting at 14:00. At the welcome meeting, you will get important information about this year’s event and our home and property. Then we will go around the table to make the suspension list for the event. After the welcome meeting is over, the crew will gather for a talk and walk through of the work areas. The Summer Solstice Group Pull is planned to start around 17:00, with prep and piercing around 16:00.

Summer Solstice Group Pull

Smertekirken facilitates a group pull on each solstice and equinox of the year. We do this because they mark very natural transition points from one part of the year’s cycle to the next. These are great moments to celebrate and/or acknowledge the season we are leaving and to welcome the next. On the other solstice/equinox group pulls we facilitate the pull in the afternoon on the actual day. For the summer solstice we make an exception and schedule the pull for the first day.


We feel that starting the event with a group pull on Wednesday sets a lovely group dynamic that stays with us the whole week. It is a wonderful way to start the gathering, and having this as the main activity that day allows the event participants to fully focus on the pull. In 2023, we had some rain on the first day and, since people were hesitant to do the pull under those conditions, we postponed the pull to Thursday. This year, we will again try to pull on Wednesday unless Thor rolls up to give us the business. 

Group Hook Pull at Smertekirken Summer Solstice Gathering

Photo: Katarsis Foto

Thursday / Friday / Saturday



13:00—main meal




We will be taking the suspensions and other activities as we go from Thurs–Saturday. So long as there is sufficient crew, people can suspend at any time that suits them. The sun is up for almost 19 hours a day, and we encourage people to use as much of that time as they like for suspensions. On Saturday, we will facilitate the wedding for Iris and Iban and end the day with a party.

Saturday Social Silliness

After spending four days together—sharing laughter, tears, pain, and growth—we feel it is important to set aside some time for socializing on the last night together. We will not have an Oslo SusCon-style knock-down drag-out afterparty circa 2007, but something that gives people the chance to relax and reflect on the past few days, enjoy some refreshments, and talk with each other. We encourage people to share their bad jokes, tell tales, relax, and have a good time. Kristen might once again bring some of his excellent home brewed beer all the way from Bergen and Alan will brew some of his non-alcoholic ginger/burning nettle tea to have on tap. Since these will be in limited supply, we encourage people to bring their own supply of whatever they would also like to enjoy at the party. If you are a home brewer and would like to roll up with a sample of your craft, let us know!

—This Year With a Wedding!

We are delighted to facilitate a hook wedding for two of Smertekirken’s favorite people: Iris and Iban! Smertekirken was hoping to get recognized by the state to be able to facilitate a legally binding wedding ceremony but we’re all tired of waiting. Iris and Iban will get married on hooks on Saturday and the party the same day will also be one of their wedding parties. We expect that an additional group of less than ten people will join us on Saturday/Sunday for the celebration. It is a "come as you are"/"wear what you want" event. So—if you want to bring your favorite wedding ensemble, ceremonial caftan, or attend in Speedos and a big smile—if you’re comfortable, we’re comfortable. They are not expecting any gifts (but if you want to give them something anyway, they do enjoy permaculture, animal skulls, and useful tools).


Breakfast is available as usual at 9:00 but on a smaller scale than the other days (meaning no fresh hotcakes off the griddle). Sunday will be a day of travel for some, but can also be a day to try that terrible idea you had late the night before (if you can find a team leader up for the job), talk with your new and old friends about your experiences of the week, or just a day to go on a walk and/or enjoy the surroundings. We will serve the last meal at 13:00 for those who are left.


Photo: Katarsis Foto


Alan is the Crew Lead and Kristen is the Board Lord (keeping track of the schedule and “Who's on First”, etc.). Alan and Kristen started crewing with Wings of Desire (WoD) in 2007 and 2017 respectively and have been facilitating suspensions ever since. 

Our suspension crew follows the tradition from the WoD Oslo SusCon and is composed of participants from all over the world who are facilitators, team leaders, and aspiring practitioners. Together we make a temporary International Mega Crew in an atmosphere of teaching, learning, and growing together as we practice and refine our craft. If you sign up as a crew member, it means that we are counting on you to be available to facilitate suspensions. This is a small arrangement, so any crew members who are no-shows have a big effect on our workload. Most importantly, this is a chance for us to do fun and cool projects together so the more crew we have, the more fun we have.

Alan and Kristen are your contact points for any questions or concerns.


Everyone will have the opportunity to do one suspension. If we have time and hooks, we can open for seconds. If you want to do a project with a lot of hooks, please let us know in advance so that we can plan accordingly. We are open to, and in fact LOVE, doing complicated and intricate suspensions. If you have an idea that you would like to try, please reach out and share your idea with us! We also have a lot of smaller hooks that are perfect for adding a little spice to your suspension (if you want to have some rocks, bling, or other objects hanging from you once you get into the air). Then again, we also highly recommend a two point back, and going all the way up to the top of our tripod.


Send an email to if you have a project that you would like to talk about before the event.


Introduced in 2023, the Smertekirken Summer Solstice Gathering will again have workshops where those who want can share their knowledge and interest in different themes. We are very keen on participant-driven events and feel that a lot of suspension events are just that. We all come together to create it as a group, with everyone bringing a bit of themselves (whether it is crewing, volunteering, bleeding, or spreading joy) to the event. Smertekirken creates the infrastructure and retains responsibility for the event, but we want you to feel free to add (almost) whatever you want to the mix.

If people want to get together to share their skills, lead and participate in workshops, or to explore new ideas in a discussion group, we welcome you to do so. Examples of workshops could be shibari, meditation circles, slack line, learning knots, morning yoga, discussion groups, flower braiding, taking a walk, finding a pond to swim in, weeding our garden, chopping some wood, hammer meditation, go on a northern dock hunting spree, etc.

We also want to say that nobody is obligated to participate in any of the organized activities. How much or how little you participate is fully up to you. If you want to volunteer to help with event tasks (checking that the solar shower bags are full, assisting with set-up for or clearing-up after meals, for instance), please let us know. The point is that we want to open the event to give people the opportunity to contribute because, while we are the event hosts, we want to give people the chance to get involved!

Facebook Group

Our main channel for information will be through emails from (or june/alan/ Please add us to your contacts and check your spam folder.

In addition to this, we hope that the Facebook group—I'm going to 2024 Smertekirken Summer Solstice Gathering—will make it easier for everyone attending to coordinate transportation among yourselves, figure out other practical things, talk about workshops, and get to know the people attending before you arrive. We know not everyone is on Facebook but it's a good tool for some. We will add you if you are in our friends list, if not please find the group and ask to be added.



13:00—Main meal


All meals will be vegan (with some vegetarian options), homemade in advance, and quite possibly including our own home grown and locally foraged ingredients. There will also be water, coffee, tea, fruit, and some snacks on hand. The vegan/vegetarian breakfast will consist of homemade sourdough bread (vegan) and freshly made sourdough hot cakes (dairy/egg) with toppings.

We choose to serve the main meal in the middle of the day and a slightly smaller supper in the evening to better follow the rhythm of the day. The meals are quite yummy, if we do say so ourselves, and will likely include red and green curries, beans ‘n rice, vegetable stews and soups, buckwheat, tofu, lentils, and pasta. Since you are attending an event by Church of Pain—and your hosts are quite fond of chili—expect the meals to have a certain amount of heat to them, but we do ask our guests to let us know of their chili-tolerance upon registration, to make sure there is something for everyone. If you want to add meat to your meals, we recommend buying some of Norway’s selection of cured meat sausages that often include meat from reindeer, deer, or moose.

If you bring your own food, beer, etc., be aware that there will not be available space in our refrigerator (because cooking for so many people dominate all available refrigerator space). If your food needs to be kept cold, please bring a cooler. The rock basement under the house is cool and has successfully been used to store food and beverages in the past. If you bring your own cooler there’s power outlets for you in the barn.

The closest grocery stores are Kiwi Romedal, Joker Vallset, Joker Åsbygda, and several options in “downtown" Stange. If you want to buy wine or spirits, we recommend buying it at the tax-free shop if you arrive by plane or go to the wine and spirits store Vinmonopolet in Stange.


Photo: Katarsis Foto


—Your Home for The Week

Our farm, Vestrønningen, covers an area of around 47 000 m2 (11 acres) at the end of a small road. It is a mix of forest and field and is generally secluded and peaceful, although you may hear one of the neighboring farms’ tractor or chainsaw from time to time. On the property you’ll find our small house built in 1936 and the barn from around 1948. Please make yourself at home, look in the cupboards for a coffee cup, chill in the living room, go hide in the upstairs sitting room for a while, investigate the barn, etc. Just be respectful when you do so and don’t leave any trash around. Be especially careful with aluminum cans since a local farmer cuts the gras to feed his cows. If a can ends up sliced into pieces among the grass, it will be deadly.


If you were attending a private ritual, we would happily pick you up at the train station but at our biggest event of the year, we ask that you please coordinate among yourself to carpool or share the taxi fare. We find it difficult to arrange a shuttle since people arrive at different times but will gladly help you book a taxi if you need help.

Smertekirkens address is Øgardshøgda 382, 2332 Åsvang. It is located in Stange, Innlandet, Norway.


If you come by car, your smart phone should easily lead the way to Smertekirken. If you want directions from E6, you may follow these: take exit 65 (Rv 3) at the big white bridge toward Tynset/Elverum/Trysil. Exit to Fv 24 toward Kongsvinger. At a big, white building and a church, turn onto Tomtvegen toward Åsvang and follow this until a four-way intersection where you will turn right onto Åsvangvegen. Then, turn right onto Øgardshøgda toward Amundrud and go 0.9 km until you see a bright pink mailbox on the right. Follow the road and stay right at the Y and you will arrive at our lovely farm.


If you come by train, get off at Stange station, which is about 12 km from the farm. Train RE10 will take you there, you can check the timetable at The train runs for the most part once an hour, between Drammen and Lillehammer (or Dombås), be sure to check the schedule for Sunday or holiday travel. Oslo Airport Gardermoen is one of the stops.


The taxi company Taxi03650 has a taxi office next to the train station, they charge around NOK 400 for a trip from the station to us. They have a maxi taxi available with room for about ten people. Office hours are 7–15 on weekdays, we recommend booking your taxi by calling 03650.

There is a bus service from Stange to near us, but you could literally walk to our place faster.

Arial Image of Vestrønningen in Early Spring with Map Info.jpg


We have a variety of pretty places to pitch tents and hang hammocks. We encourage everyone who has a tent or hammock camping solution to bring one and enjoy the (Norwegian) summer weather, remember to bring a tarp in case of rain. You may also sleep in your vehicle if you prefer. Some of our previous campers have said it gets a bit chilly at night, please bring your preferred amount of stuff to keep you warm. No campfires, please! There is a ban on open fires in the area during summer.

We will not be able to accommodate anyone in the house except for emergencies. This is partly because our house is small and we need the space for other purposes and contingencies, because our well is small and the laundry will add additional stress to it, and because we want you to have the full Church of Pain Nature Experience.


We have one bathroom in the house with a shower and a side-by-side outhouse farther up on the property. Feel free to pee in forest or field to help us save precious well water.

We will set up a shower structure with a screen for privacy and encourage people to use the solar shower if they feel the need for a wash. Please bring your own biodegradable soap for washing. Since this is a shower space for everyone, please be considerate about making sure that the shower bags are lying in the sun and that at least one of them is full for the next person. If you would like to be our Volunteer Shower Commander, we would love that!


We have Wi-Fi with a fast fiber connection, but the connection is limited the further from the house you get.

The Weather

As mentioned before, this event happens during the lightest part of the year where the sun is up for almost 19 hours every day, it never really gets dark. So, if you are not used to this or have experienced it before, be ready for some temporal confusion.

Since we are in the beautiful Norwegian countryside, it is always a good idea (even during the summer) to have a warm sweater, some thick socks, and a layer or two to keep you cozy if there is a chill in the air. It’s not easy to predict the temperatures here at Midsummer, they have ranged between 10–29°C the past few years. (2022 was a bit cold for some, 2023 was quite warm—even for the Texans.) Even though we find the temperatures delightful around this time, we do realize that our nice and warm summer temperatures are somebody else’s “where’s my puffy jacket?”. Please pack according to your own level of comfort for a trip (and we cannot emphasize this enough) to the countryside in Norway. We highly recommend bringing high factor sunscreen, the sun might be far stronger than you are used to.


We want to make sure that everyone who attends our events enjoys themselves without negatively impacting fellow participants. While we do enjoy a beer or two at the end of a long day, we want to acknowledge that many of our participants are either sober or very light users of intoxicants. This is one reason that we ask that people do not party every night. We encourage people to enjoy themselves but to remember that the primary focus of this event is suspension.

Animals and Bugs

We have three black cats—Mala, Edit, and Nelson—that we adopted in July 2023 after our greatly beloved queen supervisor Lillepus, that some of you were fortunate enough to meet, died in March the same year. Mala, Edit, and Nelson show promising supervision qualities, but we ask that you show them the same attention as you would with anyone attending the summer gathering for the first time. Attendance by dogs will, therefore, be extremely limited. If you want to bring a dog, please get in touch with us. Also, by law, any dogs in the area must always be kept on a leash. Other animals on the property include (among others) moose, deer, fox, wolf, hare, badgers, weasels, and voles but you will most likely not see any of them (they might see you, though).

Depending on where you are on the property, mosquitos and/or horseflies may be present. We have found a few ticks around in years past, so they are present but not pervasive. There are usually not many bugs around the house during the day, but likely some closer to the forest and in the evenings. We do have some small Thermacell units to keep mosquitoes at bay, but you may want to bring some repellent for your personal use.


We will try to have an event photographer present. Katarsis Foto has taken some great photos from past events, we will try to convince him to come again.

If somebody does not want their picture taken/shared/tagged—no problem, just let us know.

If you take some photos and want to give us a copy of your best ones to use for our channels, we will always credit you and forever be grateful!

You are free to use your photos for any non-commercial purpose. If you want to sell your photo of yourself or someone else hanging for commercial gain, you will need that person’s and Smertekirken's approval.


Photo: Katarsis Foto

Please Bring

  • Refillable water bottle

  • Tent or hammock, and a tarp in case of rain

  • Sleeping bag and a good mattress/cover to lie on (we do try to flatten out areas and make good camping grounds, but nature is not level)

  • Warm clothes and an extra warm blanket etc. in case you are cold in the evenings/at night

  • A pee funnel (for those without a penis)

  • Sunscreen

  • Allergy pills if you need them, there might be a fair amount of pollen in the air

  • A sleeping mask (if you have trouble sleeping when the sun is up)

  • Earplugs (if you don't like the sound of birds chirping when you are trying to sleep)

  • Head beamer

  • Bug repellent

  • Portable ashtray (if you smoke)

  • Solar shower (we have 3 spares if you do not own one)

  • Good shoes (if you want to have a walk around the forest etc.)

  • Data for your phone (if you want to stream down by the tripod or in the barn)

Please Don't Bring

  • Strong perfumes and perfumy cosmetics items (we’d rather smell the real you than avoid you, and Alan and June are both allergic)

  • Any behaviors or opinions that are sexist, racist, gay/ transphobic, or otherwise disrespectful to other people’s life situation, choices, and boundaries

  • Fireworks or anything else that might set our fields and forest ablaze

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