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Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Council Notes

Updated 1/26/2013 - There are two sets of notes taken by two different people.  .

*******Notes #1*******


    Understanding that CONSENSUS is only guidelines/recommendations for other individuals to accept or....  NO decisions, nor authority... rather...

    nothing is set in stone.,... however... good vibes, good insights, and good strong vision....

obviously when it reads 'all Gates, spaces and places, ARE family friendly'  it is for the IDEAL to be realized... therefore the positive vibration...

For Consensus to be realized individuals agree and then, LIVE the Consensus.... all Consensus [have] built-in "flexibility clause"

     this tksgiving circle.... way cool !! with good folks attending, giving good sharings....

**** Finch gave an excellent presentation concerning "All Ways Free" (independent news rag with rainbow vibes) and asked for help and several folks volunteered to join in the effort.... good going... thanks Finch, et. al.****

   peace, love, just us, justice,
        bXXX aXXX, pXXX, montana, rainbow family tribe (imagi-creed)

p.s. these consensus have been posted on 2013 Gathering (site) on Facebook

Consensus #1: Spring Circle begins the weekend of June 7-9, location to be announced.

Consensus #2: There will be an initial scout rendezvous to take place in mid April, on the 12-14 with a location and means of contact to be announced.

Consensus #3: The banking council (until Spring Circle) shall be:
Bri, Cory, Denise, Feather, Gary, Kaylee, and Otter.

Consensus #4: Thanksgiving Council for the Montana 2013 Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes recommends that beginning on the first day of seed camp and continuing through July 7, 2013, there will be daily shanti-sena/firewatch training circles each morning, locations to be announced.

Consensus #5: For the safety of our family and the safety of the sacred ground we gather on, Thanksgiving Council for the Montana 2013 Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes recommends and humbly asks that every kitchen who is able, provide 24/7 roaming firewatch to provide mutual support for all the firewatch workers.

Consensus #6: For the safety of our family and the safety of the sacred ground we
gather on, Thanksgiving Council for the Montana 2013 Annual Rainbow
Gathering of the Tribes reaffirms that we are all shanti sena, and that all gates and places in the Rainbow Gathering are safe, healthy, and family-friendly spaces.

Consensus #7: We, the individuals assembled as Thanksgiving Council for the Montana 2013 Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes request that all relevant government entities continue to work with gatherers in order to find a solution to the noncommercial group use regulations that does not erode or infringe on the Constitution of the United States of America.

Consensus #8: We, the individuals assembled as Thanksgiving Council for the Montana 2013 Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes reaffirm that a permit is unnecessary for individuals to peaceably assemble, and that the Constitution of the United States of America is all that is necessary, and we remind all individuals that it is unlawful to sign a noncommercial group use permit application unless every single individual assembled gives explicit consent.

Consensus #9: The second scout council will be May 10-15 or thereabouts, and hopes that the early scouts will recommend locations and send representatives to advise them what has been scouted and where they should scout.

*******Notes #2*******

Thanksgiving Council Notes/Minutes
as scribbled by FXXXh

November 21, 2012:

-We dug and lit the heartfire in the space given to us across the street from the Tribal
Nutrition center. Dug in the shape of a heart, and fed by huge bundles of wood donated by
local family.

-Lots of food was arriving and being sorted.

-There were 30 people present at the OM circle for dinner, and about 35 total on site for
the day.

-There was snowfall overnight.

November 22, 2012 (Thanksgiving Day):

-All morning and early afternoon was spent cooking and preparing for our thanksgiving day

-The Thanksgiving meal's OM circle was at 2:50 pm and contained 71 people.

-At 3:15 we were informed that while we had been saying OM, a baby had been born to our
Rainbow Family in another part of the country, after twelve hours of complications. Our
new arrival weighed in at 5 pounds 6 ounces, and was 19 inches tall.

-Thanksgiving dinner was sweet, over 100 total people were present over the course of the
day, and we had something on the magnitude of 96 prepared food dishes. There were meat
options, but the majority was vegetarian with several vegan options as well.

November 23, 2012:

-We began circling at around noon and began with a discussion on whether we should council
inside or outside. Though there was enthusiasm for going outside and reserving the tribal
center as a refuge for children to play, many of the family felt it would be too cold
outside, and might make counciling difficult for any elderly or infirmed family present.
The council ended up staying inside, though on principle, a few folks went outside to do
an OM around the heartfire before the council circle began.

-We had a brief recounting of some of the hipstory of rainbow gatherings and Thanksgiving

Council. Stories included
*The first TGC in 1972
*The story of the 1972 Gathering, and the police roadblock. This came with a video passed
around the circle with footage from the 1972 Gathering. It was mentioned that the video
had an incorrect portion in it. The video contained a portion that claimed that a judge
eventually removed the police roadblock. This was false; the courts upheld the roadblock,
but it was dissolved by necessity in the face of the veritable sea of hippies that stormed
the entrance.
*Anecdotes about the white buffalo seen in both the clouds and the snow on the mountains
at the 1972 Gathering.
*Showing of a scanned and reprinted copy of the Rainbow Oracle, penned in 1970 by early
gatherers. Both a work of art and an instruction manual for intentional community, the
Oracle featured poems, stories, and the blueprint for the early gatherers' vision of a
PEACE Village.

-At 12:30 PM, everyone assembled indoors circled and said OM. 35 were present. We began
with a pass of the feather and introduced ourselves and brought up agenda points to write
down, or things we would like to discuss or focus our energy on this council or at the
2013 Montana Gathering. Items and points raised included
*Consensus means coming to KNOW decisions rather than make them. Actions make consensus,
not just words. If we agree to do something and I actually DO it, I am living the
consensus. The circle is always open, so each of us can place our own god or goddesses in
if we wish, or each of us can be in the center of the circle ourselves if we so choose.
*Unite the divisions in the family between the young and the old.
*Establish Spring Council dates.
*All Ways Free newspaper
*Here to move mountains. Discuss firewatch, security, tools.
*Be here now
*Discuss Magic Hat, scout dates, our relationship with government (including Montana
Government), shanti sena. Water is our most important priority. Would like to see a
Montana gethering that isn't just rock and sagebrush.
*A local 10-acre farm was offered as a site to hold Spring Council or for people to land
at on the way to Spring Council.

-We began discussion on item 1: Spring Circle dates.
*Some family felt that an earlier start would be better. Washington was difficult because
of the late announcement leaving us with a shorter schedule. Additionally, with more
people in solidarity in the woods sooner, it would be less likely that family would be
targeted by LEOs with harassment or arrest. We were reminded that last TGC we agreed to
start Spring Circle on the 10th of June, but family agreed to start informally on the 2nd.
Consensus was finally reached on June 16th that year. A 2013 Spring Council meeting date
of June 7-8 was floated.
*Other family suggested that later might be better. Early in June means that the snow
won't be melted and those out scouting will still have to wait before reporting back to
Spring Council. Those of us who work in kitchens (about 15 of the 42 assembled) were
reminded not to exhaust ourselves too early and burn out. A June 7-8 beginning of council
was floated, with the intent to take care of other business like banking and cooperations

first while waiting for folks out scouting to arrive, and then discuss site selection on

June 14-15
*It was suggested that we allow the weather to determine the time of the Spring Circle rather than planning this far ahead.

*Anecdote told about the 2000 Montana Gathering... we had no consensus about which site to use, for days and days. The Forest Service had people present as well and they kept objecting. Finally some of the kitchens got fed up and went to their favorite site. The masses of people followed the food and people voted with their feet, and the Montana Gathering happened at that site.

-Language for the consensus was proposed, including the phrase "BEGINS on June 7-9", to allow time for folks out scouting to arrive, and for the council to take as long as needed.

-Consensus #1 was reached at 1:40 PM.


-We took a smoke break.

-Circle reconvened at 2:34 PM. We did another OM, with 35 present.

-We began discussion on item 2, date of scout council, with some touching on site criteria. Here's a summary of the comments as the feather passed from hand to hand.

*Must try to avoid private land, gather in a space with water, meadows, a parking lot close by. We have to look at sites in the spring, even if we know in the winter where we'd LIKE to go. The Big Hole site from the 2000 Gathering is not usable. The land is not yet ready, and shitters and compost pits are not all gone yet. Additionally, Cheney and Rumsfeld own land there, so it would be a big battle.

*At the Prineville regional we held this summer at the 1997 site. some camps set up on little inclines. When folks dug 3 feet deep, it was 90 degrees down there - still a compost pit working its way into the earth from 1997. It takes a long time for land to recover.

*Suggested: May 1. But we still have snowdrifts and fallen trees to consider.
*First weekend of May is May 3-5
*Mid-April suggested. By May you only have a solid month to find a site for Spring Council
*May is wet and muddy and cold. But if young folks out scouting want to tough it out,
right on!
*How about an announced and memed council, and if we want to informally meet up before

then, thats fine too.
*This is similar to New Mexico '09 when three young dedicated folks who planned to scout

weren't at TGC. I see lots of the more experienced family aren't here.
*Regardless of when we meet, anyone can get together and scout and look at maps.
*Every couple weeks the folks scouting should touch base.
*We have lots of young energy but they are green and will look up to our older experienced

family for scouting help. I request that some of these folks be at the scout council to

bounce ideas off of.
*Remember that sisters scout too, and are welcome and encouraged to join the effort.

Remember to background check the land - no private land, wilderness, etc. Don't let ego

make you too attached to one site.
*We should aim for a tentative April date
*Be self-sufficient if you scout!
*We can stay connected and look at maps on the computer.
*Proposed dates: April 12-14
*Dates can be limiting, why not let weather conditions determine dates and aim for mid-

*Even if it's just a meeting in the map room of a university, we should set a date so

people can plan for it.
*Mid-April sounds good. There are four good sites to look at near Livingstone. We can talk

locations around the fire tonight.
*We should set a date so folks not plugged in will know how to get in touch
*Consensus language proposed, consensus was called for.

-Consensus #2 was reached at 3:50 PM



-We began discussion on item 3, site criteria:
*Be mindful of threatened ecological plants and animals.
*Quallity and placement of water, and a peaceful site
*Swimming hole
*Nice locals, accessibility for elders and youngers
*Suggested: Town hall meetings for sharing our information and criteria with locals,

including any necessary councils with natives. Find out which local ma and pa stores we

could make wealthy.
*The land resource allocation website is our greatest resource on what resources are

allocated to natives and when in the year. Also, nearly every community has a web page

about local land use. Finally, sites for hunters and 4-wheel drivers can give good info

about places not to go.
*Easier to define what we DON'T want, watch out for dealbreakers.
*Elevation can prevent some folks from gathering safely. Low elevation could be better.

Water still the most important thing. On delicate areas: In 1997 we had a rare plant in

Oregon...we roped off a huge area, and folks stayed away. In 2001 Idaho, there were salmon

6 miles away, and local tribes wanted to ensure we were cool people.

-At 4:10 we took a smoke break.

-5:00 PM we reconvened and said OM with 29 present.

-Proposed agenda item #4: TGC Magic Hat. Began discussion on agenda item.
*We have paid for this tribal nutrition building from 11/21-25. We also have to cover any

coffee cups etc. that go missing. We have to consider our relationship weith the tribe.

Pick up all our cigarettes, clean up properly. Let's pass the hat to pay for cups,

napkins, trash bags, and the rental of the building.

-Hat was passed, collected $121.44

-We began discussion on the agenda item #5, Firewatch
*Once the snow dries, it dries fast. Empty fire extinguishers can be filed with water.
*I recommend carrying a five-gallon "shooter" filled with water. Each kitchen should have

a filter and a shooter. Please don't have personal fires! The Okanogan Barter Faire this

year managed without any fires and 19,000 people attended.
*Suggest to each kitchen to have one male/female pair doing all night firewatch and hug


-Story about the '84 Gathering, and adventures at the councils.

-5:45 PM Held hands and closed the circle with an OM with 26 present.

November 24th, 2012

-Before the OM, a young boy at the council who was from Idaho was invited to draw a Tarot

Card to set the tone for the morning. He drew the card "Openness," which said "I am open.

When we open ourselves to truth then the real miracle happen."

12:25 We open the circle with an OM, 25 people present.

-The Magic Hat money was counted, all the money was still accounted for. The hat was

passed again.

-Begin discussion on item #6, Banking Council
*Hipstory of banking council. 1978 Oregon was the first one. Calling it a 'banking'

council may have been a poor choice of words. The word 'bank' gives people on the bank a

feeling of power/ownership.
*We need volunteers to hold the bank until Spring Circle. Asked for volunteers, and called

for consensus after all the names were written down.

-Consensus #3 was reached at 1:00 PM



-Magic Hat was recounted. New amount in the hat: $197.86. Banking council called for later

in the evening to discuss disbursement.

-Returned to firewatch conversation.
*If you see a water tank in a local's yard, couldn't hurt to ask if we can borrow it -

same as a truck - or ask to rent it.
*Suggest that Nik@Nite be walking firewatch and shanti sena. People are offended by

overauthoritarian fire watch.
*I agree, I've been hooking up road warriors with walkie-talkies.
*We should have brother/sister pairs, as many sisters as possible for firewatch.
*Remember, we can't appoint anyone.
*Suggest one pair from each kitchen do firewatch gathering-wide.
*Need more in-depth firewatch training...most people only know the standard wisdom "5

gallon bucket and a shovel"
*Don't build fires on roots, keep a safe perimeter around the pit clear of brush.
*Community fires tradition began after a six year old child came to council in 1972

complaining "The smoke is burning my eyes! Too many fires!"
*More signage is good. We can all make at least 3 signs each with stuff from Rap 107.
*Craft Share camp will be near Welcome Home, will have a Sign Facilitation Station.
*We need to meme and spread the raps as far and wide as possible ahead of time.
*Bring extra buckets!
*This will be more extreme fire danger, unlike the last few years - must reconcentrate the

effort for educating new gatherers.
*Every day we should have shanti-sena/firewatch training, announced each dinner the night

before, starting at Spring Council.  I think we should consense on it.
*A call for the feather to go around once before calling for a consensus.
*Encourage talking in your own private camps about firewatch
*Breakfast circles will be back this year with morning workshops including firewatch.
*We should craft a consensus about firewatch/shanti sena workshops
*Suggest breaking into two consenses to address each issue.
*Language for consensus #4 proposed

-Consensus #4 reached at 2:13 PM





-Language for consensus #5 proposed and discussed

-Consensus #5 reached at 2:50 PM





-Smoke Break.

-Reconvene at 3:25 PM, circle and say OM with 21 present.

-Begin discussion on item #7: Shanti Sena

*For some time, the Rainbows have been dealing with the government so much that they lost focus on teaching 'being rainbow'. I heard about at least 3 beatdowns @ the Tennessee Gathering. We need to meme or spread the RAP that we are all shanti sena.

*Shanti sena can be viewed as a loosely affiliated series of affinity groups created on the spot, more efficient and useful the more the people working together already know and trust one another. Remember to call "Shanti Sena Fire" in case of a fire, so people will know to start grabbing buckets and water. Good to walk anyone new you bring into the woods around and talk nonstop for at least a full day, teach them the basics. Remember that pre-deescalation can be more useful than conflict resolution, it nips problems in the bud.Be ready with a joke or a smoke or a hug if you see someone looking sad or irritated or about to start getting angry. After a shanti sena movie, stop and get to know the folks you have just worked with in the heat of the moment. These are the family you will know
better as you work with them again and again.

*Occupy has caused a shift, lots of new faces that want to plug in, keep meme-ing peace, it's a self-selective filter for the Gathering.

*Shanti Sena is not "Peace Army", in Rainbow language it means "Peace Scene". In 2011, Marie Hanson went missing after the Gathering, She was found, dead, months later. She went to pee in the dark, fell 20 feet, crawled over toward the river and died. Awful cooperation with cops and searching. They wasted time searching for 8 hours in A-Camp 14 miles away. When she went missing, instead of sounding the alarm, people spread rumors that they thought they saw her leaving with somebody. If there is a report that anyone is missing, every kitchen and camp should raise a red flag until the person is found.

*In dealing with serious shanti sena movies: Always try to resolve it on site. Support the
victim. If necessary, an individual might make a citizen's arrest on another individual.
If this happens, be careful. Forcing someone to go somewhere by touching them can be
considered assault and kidnapping. Know all the ramifications of any action you take.

*Suggest each kitchen have a spot with a sign for shanti sena and firewatch issues.
*Michael Niman's website has the Freedom of Information Act on the Rainbow FBI file, it

contains references in 1986 of "child selling". I suspect this was Jose [Antonio Ramos],
a dangerous predator who has plagued our family for years and has recently been released
from incarceration.
*No alcohol should be on the front gate!
*Ideally every kitchen should send one rep at all times to the front gate.
*How to do shanti sena workshops- suggestion of circles about personal shanti sena
experience, with 6 points to discuss.
1. Work together
2. Pre-deescalation
3. Be calm
4. Be unbiased
5. Be nonviolent
6. Aim for peaceful solution

*Discussion of the front gate versus the tribe that calls itself "Front Gate": 12-14 years ago, about 15 people got tired of pacifist responses to things like attempted murder, molestation, and rape. Originally called UPO, this group will not change its name from Front Gate.

*Discussion aimed to reaffirm the safety of the parking lot, and promote safe spaces throughout the whole gathering. Wording for a consensus discussed, altered, proposed.

-Consensus #6 reached (with one abstention) at 6:00 PM





*Reminder that Rainbow Warriors do not SEEK conflict.
*Please have no visible alcohol.

Closed the circle at 6:05 PM with and OM and 18 present.

November 25th, 2012

-Opened the circle at 10:45 AM with an OM, 18 were present.

-Report back from banking council. Now there is $248.54 in the magic hat. Breakdown as

$68.54 to Tribal Center
$40 to reimburse one brother's expenditures for the council
$40 to reimburse another brother's expenditures for the council
$45 to the community member who donated her land for the firepit
$10 to the ranch that provided wood for the heartfire
$35 to the Symes Hotel
$10 toward a water filter for deserving community members

-Discussion on item #8, All Ways Free newspaper
*All Ways Free is an independant newspaper with a rainbow theme. It was brought back after a several-year hiatus.
*Hopefully there will be a spring issue, a run of about 500 copies, followed by a summer issue of 2,000 copies.
*Looking for new family to do the paper after this summer.

*Idea proposed for All Ways Free cycle: Traditionally, AWF has changed hands every two years. Unfortunately, this results in new focalizers learning to publish an independant publication from scratch every two years. Proposed change: A three year cycle. Year one: Previous focalizer(s) and new focalizer(s) work together on an issue. Year two: Previously new focalizer takes on AWF alone. Year three: Focalizer takes on new focalizer and works with them. This way there would be a constant cycle of mentorship and skillshare.

*Suggestion to have a birth, death, and ceremonies/unions section, rather than spending multiple pages on long obituaries.

*Request for names and addresses of incarcerated family who would like to receive letters from rainbows. These addresses will go in the Behind the Walls section (to email names and addresses for incarcerated family, email rainbowtopkat@yahoo.com and make sure to check with the inmate first, and mention any restrictions on letters imposed by the jail or prison)

*Request for donations to help publish the paper
*For all inquiries related to AWF, email rainbowtopat@yahoo.com

-At 12:15 PM we took a smoke break

-At 12:45 PM we reconvened, said an OM with 14 present.

-Opened discussion on item #9, Government
*Some hipstory on rainbows and the government. In 1991, the Rainbow Family was listed at the #1 terrorist group. In 1993 Texas took everyone to court; US vs. Barry Adams. They entered a document from another brother in his Idaho case, calling the brother "Keeper of holy water, eagle feather, fiduciary officer for rainbow". In 1993, a quarter pound of contraband seized from a brother was enough to put the Rainbow Family at #1 on the International Drug Cult Watchlist. In Washington, 2011, we refused to sign a permit. The cops then insisted, "We have to set up informational stations". One long-time gatherer saw these as blockades and responded by threatening to shut down the I-5 from Portland to

Tijuana. That was the first year since 1987 that we haven't had cops with visible guns at Main Meadow. That year, Obama administration sent an emissary, Ranger Bob, who has been working favorably with us since 1981. Ranger Bob was with NY Steve when he passed away at Lovin' Oven in WA, and gave him CPR for over an hour to try to save his life. He unfortunately was not assigned to Tennessee in 2012. In 2011, Billy Ball (ICT Commander from Texas '88) was actually on our side. He sent the message that he respects us, and the feds backed off considerably. Dave Ferrel, who started in 1987, is now director of Law Enforcement of Forest Service. There used to be an Incident Command Study Team, which set policy for the ICT. It has gone underground. In 1976, the first permit was signed. In 1984 was the first 36CFR Permit Request for a gathering of 9 or more. In 1996 a brother got consensus in a silent circle with the Forest Service and signed the permit. In 2003 Utah, the permit was signed as an experiment, to try and get evidence against the permit. In 2004 California, there was a ghost signer - a secretary signed from offsite. After the permit was signed, the FS fenced off main meadow, brought the Indian tribes to complain about the land use, ticketed a kitchen for "being too close to a spring". In 2005 Michigan, a signer tried to sign a permit on the 4th of July from a hotel room, the application was rejected.

*At the Oregon Cascadia gathering, working with the FS was helpful. We had them warn us about protected wildlife and plants, and they respectfully met us on the bridge outside of the gathering boundary each day of the gathering and did not come inside.

-Smoke break at 2:30 PM

-Reconvened at 2:56 PM, said an OM with 13 present.

-Back to Rainbows and Government discussion
*We used to do peaceful stuff with the FS, we would avoid labelling 'organizers' by sending them to a PLACE, not a person. In 2009, New Mexico, 2 new folks signed a permit.It was the last straw. There was a lawsuit against the signer. There was a lot of discovery and a lot of subpoenas - The Forest Service, their Internet Service Provider...it was enough information to put several Forest Service officers to jail and expose a real mess - which was not the intent of the discovery. The ruling had an effect in the FS the following year in 2010, thought he case was still pending. It influenced the new woman in charge to write an order to keep forest service in vehicles out. In the New Mexico email
discovery was found premeditated orchestrated illegal actions by members of the forest service. 1995 was when the new permit regulations began, and the first crackdown was in the Florida federal court.  Regarding this gathering - We cannot have a year of stupidity or a "last stand" scenario. 2010 was the first truly peaceful Gathering I have ever attended. I can rest easy now, knowing the vision is being carried on.

*Discussion of a consensus wording, consensus proposed.

-Consensus #7 reached at 4:55 PM


-Consensus #8 reached at 5:05 PM


-Opened discussion on item #10, second scouting circle.
*Some older rainbows who couldn't attend TGC requested that there be a second scouting
council that would allow newer folks doing scouting to have access to the words and
experience of folks who have done lots of scouting.
*Consensus wording discussed, consensus proposed.

-Consensus #9 reached at 5:55




Circle closed with an OM at 6:00 PM.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Council Directions

Updaed 11/11/12

Thanksgiving Circle, Hot Springs, Montana, Nov. 21-25, 2012

Directions:   The council will take place about 75 miles northwest of Missoula, Montana in a town called Hot Springs, Montana. Coming into Town... at the stop sign is Spring St. turn right (north)... go block and a half (or so) on *Left-hand side of road is Towanda Gardens*... On right-hand side of road is (Tribal) Senior Nutritional Center.

This Center has been rented, for the Circle/council for Wednesday Nov. 21 (greeting, check in for shelter, set-up, etc...)  until Sunday Nov. 25th... (clean-up, check-out)....

Folks needing Shelter, Information... please come to the Center....  ****Wednesday is better day to arrive... (than Tuesday)

Pot Luck Thanksgiving Dinner, on Thursday 22nd.... some local folks may want to attend... Invitation is for all...  This Center, while the Circle/council is Gathered.... is a truce ground, Open to all People... Consensus is...Respect is!

There are a couple of options for parking for buses, live-in rigs... etc....

Hot Springs (town)  is located on Flathead-Salish-Kootnei Reservation....  Ranchers, farmers, and a mix of "now-age" people...There is awesome hot springs.... and Symes Hotel is one spot... (inexpensive for soaking..)

Everything is relatively close.... Hot Springs ain't that big..

Town Police --
TIGHT ON SPEED ZONES... drive slow, careful, be aware...

If you don't like camping in that part of the country over Thanksgiving weekend, I recommend you get yourself at room @ the Symes Hotel & Mineral Baths before they are all booked up.  Or try the Alamedas Hot Springs Resort.

If you're not familiar with the purpose and process involving T-Council, click here.
Re member... All People have an Rainbow Family Tribe Invitation to  Earth Re-Birthing 2013 World Family Gathering, July 1-7... Montana...


Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Consensus

Gatherings operate under a consensus model of decision making.  Som decisions are informal such as when people vote with their feet by going (or not going) somewhere.  Other types of conensus involve informal groups of people talking to each other about what they want, what works, and what hasn't worked in the past.  Then there are more formal conensus making circles, such as Vision Council, where the general area of next year's gathering is decided.

I'm not a frequent visitor to Vision Council, preferring our daily main councils, info councils, local family councils, etc where dealing with our day to day lives is discussed.  Plus, as long as I'm with family, I'm happy.  Don't matter much to me if we go to Tennessee or Montana  --- It's the people who show up who make the gathering.  Together we can create the world the way we want it to exist.

In general, consensus means we find a decision that works for everyone present.  Council involves self-control and respect as we listen (really listen) to each other speak.  Gatherers have working on council processes for years and I'm still not sure it's perfect.

There's a Rainbow Gathering focused Council Mini Manual that was developed some years ago and I find it very helpful. But so as not to get stuck in the past, I find it helpful to read how other communities (temporary or permanent) deal with egleterian decision making processes.

The summer 2012 issue of Communities magazine had a couple of very interesting articles on consensus and some of it's pitfalls. Now I'm not advocating abolishing consensus based decision making, but for those of you who have been chewing my ear off about the disfunctional vision council process, here's some great articles to get the juices flowing.

The first article, "BUSTING THE MYTH THAT CONSENSUS-WITH-UNANIMITY IS GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES: Part 1" is a study of broken consensus making processes within intentional communities.

The two following articles are responses to the first article from differing perspectives.

"Busting the Myth, or Changing the Terms?" and '“BUSTING THE MYTH”: Some Questions.'

I invite you to read these and other articles on consensus before bringing your ideas, thoughts and suggestions to councils on the land in Montana.  The gathering is evolving and as we grow and learn, we hopefully are sharing ideas with each other.

~~ Namaste

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Skinny on Thanksgiving Council

The gathering has a cyclical process.  In Tennessee this summer, vision council on the land reached consensus that the 2013 gathering will take place in the state of Montana.

But then what?

Because the Rainbow Gathering has no leaders, no board of directors, no staff and no one in charge of anything, we depend on people working together to do all the preparation for the gathering in Montana. So over the years a process has come together to make sure that planning is open to everyone who wants to be involved.

The year starts off with Thanksgiving Council or T-Council over the four day weekend of the same name. This is a time for people interested in plugging in, talking about visions for the gathering, discussing scouting, strategies about legal issues, etc. to get together.

T-Council generally takes place in the state or region where we will be gathering. It's usually a camp, cook, council, share heart songs kinda of thing. Often but not always, the people at T-Council pick the dates for the Scout Rendezvous and Spring Council. Often times a PO box is established for snail mail and a banking council is formed to deal with any donations.

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a willingness to participate. Keep in mind this is not a gathering, it's a working council and the way this council unfolds sets the tone for the gathering.

Generally folks in the area take the lead on finding a place to hold T-Council.  Planning is underway and directions usually come out the second week of November.

I'm hoping that there will be a real mix of generations at T-Council. We need older people, we need younger people, we need more experienced gatherers and we need less experienced gatherers to come together to create a vision for a peaceful, healing and fun gathering in Montana 2013. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Remembering Lessons Learned

As with most things, parts of the gathering are amazing and other parts leave a lot to be desired.  Back in the 90s when the folks in Southern California were focalizing regionals in the desert, one of the things we did was take notes on the good, the bad and the ugly.  Starting the first day of clean up, most evenings after dinner, we would sit around and share our thoughts, brain storm on new ideas while the gathering was still fresh in our minds, and most importantly, write down what we could do differently next time (because back then we always believed in a next time and we new that great ideas slip away easily).

Seems to me that following this year's gathering in Tennessee, there have been lots of discussions of the positives and the negatives.  Some of the things I've been hearing about is a lack of Shanti Sena focus.  To that end, some folks have started a Shanti Sena workshop they hope to take to a number of regionals between now and the annual  US gathering.

Other discussions focus on resurrecting a morning breakfast circle, scouting, access for differentially abled, alcohol abuse and probably a lot more topics about which I am in the dark.

While it's easy to remember what went wrong, it's a whole lot harder to come up with ideas on how to improve the situation.  My challenge to those of you who were in Tennessee this summer, what positive suggestions, actions, process ideas do you have that would contribute to a safe, positive and healing gathering?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where Will the 2013 Gathering Be Held?

Usually when someone gets on my email list, this is the first information I send them. So to you out here in blogsphere, here's that same information.

From the invite to the very first Rainbow Gathering in 1972:

We, who are brothers & sisters, children of God, families of  life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of humankind calling ourselves Rainbow Family Tribe, humbly invite:
  • All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals -- out of love.
  • All nations & national leaders -- out of respect
  • All religions & religious leaders -- out of faith
  • All politicians -- out of charity

to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among all people. This gathering to take place beginning July 1, 1972, near Aspen, Colorado - or between Aspen &; the Hopi &p; Navajo lands - on 3000 acres of land that we hope to purchase or acquire for this gathering -- & to hold open worship, prayer, chanting or whatever is the want or desire of the people, for three days, but upon the fourth day of July at noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world may consider & give honor & respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world -- asking blessing upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace.

In July 2012, Vision Council on the land in Tennessee called for the 2013 gathering to take place in Montana. ""We all celebrate that we feel the unity of the spirit and we recognize the oneness of heart as we have the desire to follow spirit calling us to beautiful Montana for the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light in the Summer of 2013."

Thanksgiving Council

The next step in the process of landing on a site is Thanksgiving Council (T-Council) which takes place over the four day Thanksgiving Holiday in or near the area for the following gathering. This is a time of people to council and share their hopes and dreams for the 2013 gathering.  If you have potential sites you think are worthy of scouting in the spring, bring topo maps and forest service maps.  Directions to T-Council usually come out in the first half of November. Check back then.

Scout Council(s) or Scout Rendezvous

T-Council usually picks dates for one or two Scout Councils. Scout Councils/Rendezvous is a time for people out scouting to connect up, share information, talk about scouting efforts. As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a desire to walk, learn, teach and share. If you come, please be self sufficient - have green energy for gas, food, etc. You don't need your own vehicle if you can be a positive traveling companion, but $$$ are always in short supply for scouting, so please bring enough for yourself and some to share with the person whose vehicle breaks down.

Spring Council

Spring Council is when all potential sites for the gathering are brought to any people who want to be involved in selecting a site. The council usually takes one to seven days and normally ends with either a consensus by silence among people at the council or an exodus of the majority of people heading to the preferred site.  T-Council picks a date for Spring Council but the exact location for this council generally isn't determined until one to two weeks before Spring Council starts.  Directions to Spring Council are available here.

For those of you who think the site is picked in advance and want to get the 411 now so you can book plane tickets.  I'm sorry, but there is no site picked at this time. That's being said, there aren't many commercial  airports in Montana.

Keep in mind that weather conditions (which are unpredictable) play a part in all of this. So let's say someone found a great site in August 2012 (and I have no knowledge that anyone did), for all we know come the first week of June that site is still under snow, then what? Keep in mind that 4 feet of snow at a gathering is rough and 2011 in Washington had far heavier snow than normal and much later in the season than normal. Snow levels played a part in where we landed. 

Drought and high fire danger can have the same effect. A great site that was nice and wet in August 2012 can be dry as a tinder box in June 2013. If the Forest Service has a no open fire ban on that site that looked so great last year, guess it's not looking that great this year. Available water can change year to year as well depending on snow melt.   Conditions change all the time.  The family needs to find the best possible site for the health and safety of gathering participants and the land on which we gather.

Seed Camp

Once Spring Council reaches a decision, people move onto the site and start Seed Camp. Seed Camp is about creating trails, building kitchens, digging shitters, taping springs and dealing with the United States Forest Service. Historically, law enforcement harassment is highest during Seed Camp so if you are planning on being there, take the necessary precautions to keep your self out of the system if you so choose.

The Gathering

The main day of the gathering is July 4 when we observe silence from dawn until high noon and put our energy into manifesting world peace, the positive evolution of the planet and other good things.  Many people observe this with a prayer or mediation for world peace. Others do Yoga for world peace, blow bubbles for world peace, etc. Basically, if it's a silent, gentle energy then it fits in very well.  As to when the gathering starts, that's dynamic.  It's usually one day during the last week of June when some friends and I look at each other and say "today it's a gathering."  (of course you may pick a different date than I do when it feels like a gathering and not like seed camp)  The earlier you come the more self sufficient you need to be and the rougher things with the Forest Service are. If you show up later, say after June 27, then most (but not all) of the drama has subsided.  Traditionally the dates are listed as July 1 to 7, but most years people start leaving in droves on July 5th.

Directions to the 2013 gathering are available here.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization!
Live lightly with the Land and People!
Please Copy and Distribute This Information Widely

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flashback to 2000

The last time the annual gathering of the tribes took place in Montana was in 2000. Just to get you in the mood, here's some of our family freely sharing their gifts.

Fantuzzi - I'm In You, And You're In Me
Camp Zipolite Humor - Rainbow in My Mind
Double Dose - Bringers of Dawn.

Thanks to Tenali for recording these songs and Rob for hosting them. For more songs from the 2000 gathering, click here

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vision Council Consensus for Montana in 2013

Consensus reached on July 8, 2012 @ 8:50 PM Eastern Time for Montana.

"We all celebrate that we feel the unity of the spirit and we recognize the oneness of heart as we have the desire to follow spirit calling us to beautiful Montana for the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light in the Summer of 2013."

~~~ Please copy and share freely ~~~