Welcome Home.

For directions to the gathering, click here.

If you do not want a go directly to jail card, a mandatory court appearance ticket, or your stuff tossed all over the ground as you enter the gathering, read this.

If the information on this blog does not answer your questions, send an email to gathering info and someone should respond.

Friday, December 6, 2013

If you subscribed to the blog via email

And are interested in receiving updates for the 2014 Annual Rainbow Gathering, please visit the 2014 gathering blog. You'll need to subscribe to that blog by entering your email address in the subscription box on the right hand side of the page in the side bar directly under "Subscribe to posts via email."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bears and Gatherings

Just wanted to let you know I've been in touch with the District Ranger at Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the bears are getting into things we have left buried behind. Montana Fish & Wildlife have been informed. This is not a good situation as bears who become habituated to humans stuff usually end up as dead bears. Not sure what we could do to prevent this in the future, but this is a big issue and will get bigger in the coming years so I thought we should start brain storming sooner rather than later.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cleanup Is Done

Everyone has left the site. 
A big hug and thank you to family who stayed and did cleanup. A huge thank you to everyone who cleaned up their area before they left. Many helping hands make light work. Details to follow.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The K and the Z of It

AKA my thoughts on the gathering just over.

To those who don't know me, I was pretty indifferent about going to the gathering this year. A lot has happened in my life in the last year and I was sorely tempted to sit this one out, use the time to get caught up on sleep, yard work and dissertation writing.  But I had already made plans and the path of least resistance was to go home and go I did.  As always, I learned a lot about my family, my self and how to create peace and love in any situation.  Every year teaches me a new lesson (or ten like this year) or reminds me about things I've learned and forgotten over the years.  As always, I am honored to be part of this family and have so much love and thanks to everyone who was on the land in Montana and to all the family who couldn't make it but provided support from afar.

To sum up this year's gathering, I felt like we had been pushing against a shut door for so long, that when the door opened, we all exploded through the door, landed on our faces and were a bit confused about what to do next.  But once we realized that no one was going to try to kick us out, we picked ourselves up, wiped the mud off our faces and started relearning how to gather.

All in all it was a loving, happy, wonderful gathering full of circles, councils, workshops and people sharing with each other.  The sight of a thousand flashlights in the meadow searching for a lost child reminded us of how much we really love each other.  When a special needs adult went missing, we rallied together, united our brain and muscle power, and took care of what needed to be done. For those who answered my call for help, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I know people had other plans, but until each of us is safe, we can't council effectively. Our missing brother was in the hospital, is now getting the help he needs, and has reconnected with his family.

There are so many amazing people in this family, I feel like one of the luckiest people alive to count you all as my brothers and sisters.  So to start a few shout outs to folks who went above and beyond.

My brother P who did fire watch all night long, night after night, mostly by himself and whose goal was to leave every situation with the folks around the fire thanking him for showing up.  I lagged on getting you help but you dedicated yourself to educating family on fire safety in a loving way.   If I hugged you from now to eternity, I could not convey my love and respect for you. Hopefully, next year we can make fire watch announcements at dinner circle nightly and provide a meet up spot so there are more folks involved.

To my young sister D who took it upon herself to bridge communication gaps around the gathering and did so in spite of some pretty intense issues of her own, I feel honored to have spent time with you this gathering.  I apologize for not creating the circle that was brought up in our conversation.  So next year, in Nevada or Utah, let's get our grandmothers and grandfathers together and have a heart song circle in the home turf of the dirty kids where older people listen to what the younger family have to say. We all need each other and this business of pretending otherwise has got to stop.

To my Sister S  (B), your vision is true and your heart is stronger than your back.  Please share the vision all year long so we can reclaim what we once all knew to be true.  This gathering is full of folks who want to learn (and some who think they know it all).  What ever happened before I got there,  doesn't matter.  I will walk with you anywhere anytime.

To my other brother P, thank you for the wonderful Shanti Sena workshops.  I've done it by the seat of my pants for years (which is how I do most things in life), but you were able to teach me some great new ways to frame problems and to help resolve them.  You were focused and calm and created a space where people of different ages and skills could come together and share what we know with each other.

To my brother J who pulled the night shift at CALM.  Thank you for your quiet service. In a part of the gathering where egos fly, you care for this family and help us heal with no drama.  And you're fun to have along on horse wrangling missions.

To my brother DJ, you are strong and gentle and bring out the best in all of us.  I am honored to be your friend and hope that next time around, I'm up for those more challenging missions.  Your quiet and calm, but strong, presence is a lesson to us all that raised voices and hysterics don't help us keep the peace.  I promise next year to make sure I'm up to those missions that require an abundance of love and nerves of steel.

To my family at TP camp, I love you and hope to learn better communication skills so we can talk more effectively.

To my brother DE who brought back breakfast circle and created a calm, grounded space in the meadow each day, thank you for your clarity of vision and your ability to get things done.  Breakfast circle was awesome and I met a lot of wonderful family eager to learn more and plug into this crazy experiment in peace we call the Rainbow Gathering.

To ND who hooked me up with all the right people when ever I needed it, thank you.  Thanks for working on bring both sides of the gathering together. You are a peace creator!

To be neighbor A, thank you for sharing your singing and chanting. You increased the peace where ever you went.

To every gatherer who took the time to help somone in need by carrying something, sharing food, opening your heart or sharing a hug, one by one we are creating the peace, love and compassion we wish to see on this planet.

To the USFS, you rock. Thank you for telling the folks at the town hall in Wisdom that we have a first amendment right to gather.  Thank you for sitting in council with us and continuing to be part of the circle.  You all are family.  Welcome home!

Finally, a bit shout out to the Beaverhead County Sheriff's department.  When we needed you, someone came and was polite and respectful and helpful.   You all are truly "peace officers."

Now to a couple of things we could do better next time.........

Having a regular, daily (but short) circle from day one on the site until July 1, would help us all stay in better communication about issues, concerns, problems, and solutions and I believe would help us respond more quickly to problems in our gathering.  Maybe a daily check in at the Cooperations Space by INFO at Sunset (when most of the day's work is done) with people from each camp and kitchen stopping by and doing a quick one time pass the feather so each person can make a BRIEF announcement about logistical issues, problems starting to develop, or general camp news might help us all stay on top of the problems more effectively. 

Making sure to keep all family included in what's going on no matter how many or how few gatherings they have been too will help us all to be united in solving problems and creating the peace and love we want.

As many have heard, a few people at the gathering have issues with violence and theavery.  This situation was especially bad in dirty kid alley and too many of our young family were victims. More would have been except for prompt Shanti Sena response.  But it's not enough, we need to make sure all our family have safe places to camp and hang out.  We need to give all our family a place to let their guard down from the cruel world and be as children again, playing with each other and creating positive loving energy.  We need to make sure that a few people don't prey on the rest of our family.

As to the violence, there was too much violence and not enough kind, loving and appropriate Shanti Sena response -- especially during seed camp.  My heart bleeds for the victims of senseless violence.  My heart also hurts for family who were so scared they called the cops on other family. Next time one gatherer wants to press charges against another gatherer for legitimate reasons, please let's take the person out ourselves - that's the way we've been doing it for decades.  Calling the cops and sending them in just diverts energy away from resolving the problem.

If you're not familiar with Shanti Sena, there are a collections of great raps in this year's All Ways Free. If you didn't get a copy at the gathering, it's available on line.

Being a good Rainbow means being kind and respectful to family no matter where you find them.  Unfortunately, some of our family treated the town folks poorly.  Some clueless family shoplifted at the grocery store in Wisdom. When they were caught, asked to put the stuff down and leave, one person got angry and broke a window.  Not cool family! Shoplifting sucks and breaking windows is just plain mean.  Thankfully, some conscious family paid for the window.

The all-volunteer ambulance in Wisdom went on three runs without any financial compensation and on one run people cussed out the EMTs.  WTF!  I'm not sure how we deal with this family, but Ed Stede who owns the gas station is on the volunteer ambulance crew.  If folks wanted to make cash donations to cover the out-of-pocket expenses the ambulance incurred taking care of gathering participants, one could send a check or money order with a memo of "for Rainbow ambulance costs" to

Big Hole Petroleum
PO Box 175
Wisdom, MT 59761
(406) 689-3225
Fax (406) 689-3439

And another thing folks, if you go to a small town and the shops are closed, DO NOT F&XN wake up the proprietors to serve you.  When you're in town, be nice, polite and treat people with respect. Just cause folks look and dress different from you don't mean anything. When we are in very small towns, we have the ability to cause a huge negative impact.  I love this family so much and am so saddened when my family can't treat other people with respect just cause they wear cowboy boots. We all got belly buttons and we all are family, iffen we know it or not. Be the change you want to see in this world. And if you're in town and some of our family isn't behaving properly, please take the time to address the issue to the best of your ability. Be a peace keeper everywhere you go.

I've heard a lot of bitching and moaning from more experienced gatherers that not enough people are plugging in across the gathering.  Well as far as I can see, people are ready and willing to help, they just need a bit of direction.  So come out to dinner circle and announce where help is needed and how to plug in.  Post meet up places on the message board at INFO.  We need to be better about making sure folks in camp know where their energy is needed and once they get there to help, we need people on hand to get them started.  I've haven't met so many first and second time gatherers wanting to learn and plug in at a gathering since before the times of the worst of the gathering/USFS strife.

Peace ain't easy people. We are all learning how to do this.  The stakes are high.  If we can't learn to do it, what hope do we have for creating peace across the planet.   

"The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination."
                                       ~ John Schaar

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vision Council Consensus for Nevada or Utah in 2014

On July 11, 2013 vision council on the land in Montana reached a consensus that the 2014 annual gathering of the tribes will take place in Nevada or Utah if no site is found in Nevada.  I do not have the exact wording at this time.

Consensus reached on July 11 by a passing of the feather in silent consensus between 2-2:30 PM by a group of over 30 individuals.

Wording of consensus:

The 2014 rainbow family of living light world peace and healing gathering will take place July 1-7, 2014, in Nevada or Utah. The gathering will not take place at the 2003 Utah site.

Or visit the 2014 blog here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dogs left behind at the gathering

A friend of mine contacted the Humane Society of Beaverhead County yesterday and so far they have thirteen dogs which they attribute to having been left behind by gathering participants.  Hopefully that's all they end up with.  I spoke to a couple of ranchers in the area and they will probably be shooting any dogs them come across.  At any rate,  if you would like to inquire about a lost dog, adopt a dog, or make a tax deductible donation to help care for the dogs that have ended up in Dillon, here's the contact information.

Humane Society of Beaverhead County
Attn: Susie Brown
80 Lagoon Lane
Dillon, MT 59725
406-683-8119 or via email.

Open 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (or by appointment), Closed Wednesday & Sunday

To find out if your dog is there, click here for a list of dogs. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dorian Day has been found

Dorian Day, the missing autistic man, has been found in a hospital.  Thanks to all the amazing bellies who scoured the gathering for Dorian. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Silence for Peace - July 4th, dawn til noon, wherever you are.

For those who aren't at the annual Gathering you can join the Silence for Peace on the 4th wherever you are. Be one with the silence from dawn till after noon and your energy, prayer, meditation will be part of the whole. Happy Interdependence Day, Happy Birthday, Happy New Year Rainbow Family!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Update from the site - 6/28/13

The Gathering is feeling peaceful and folks are coming home.  The weather has warmed up to 80 degrees daytime and 50's at night.  It should stay this way for a while.

Water lines are still being layed so the lower area still has no water to it. Folks are encouraged to bring 3 to 4 gallons of bottled water per person to make sure you have some.

The Forest Service is being cooperative.  They have changed the nudity order to just on the roads so once you are in the site you don't have to worry about it.

If you are having a medical issue or are sick please go to C.A.L.M. or Info to ask for help.  There are plenty of Doctors, Nurses, EMTs, Natural healers at the gathering who can help you, it is not necessary to leave the gathering and go anywhere else.

As of 6/27/13 only 13 tickets have been issued for various reasons.  Please drive in a legal vehicle, make sure all your lights and turn signals work and you've got your registration and driver's license with you. The Montana Highway Patrol and the Beaverhead Sherrifs Dept. are watching the roads and the Montana Highway Patrol is headquartered in the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge.  

Drive safely and Welcome Home!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Court Dates for Tickets Received at the Gathering

If you receive a mandatory court appearance ticket at the gathering for things like a broken tail light, failure to use turn signals, etc. this year's system is a bit different than prior years.

On Friday June 28 and July 5 there will be a voluntary magistrate with a person from the federal courts and a USFS Representative preceding at 9 AM at the Van Houten Campground (1.5 miles past the bridge on Skinner Meadow Road).  If you're a good walker, it's 3 miles from main meadow so you can walk it.  It is not mandatory to attend, but if you do, it's possible that a collateral forfeiture fine will be assessed.

If you do not want to participate in this type of resolution for your ticket, or if you do participate and are not happy with what is being offered, then you will be required to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Butte, Montana on Monday, July 8. 

If you do neither, you will have a federal bench warrant for your arrest. 

The first hearing at Van Houten Campground had only one person on the docket. I do not know if this is indicative of how many tickets are being issued. 

Feel free to ask INFO on how to connect up with legal experts to help you through the process.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Town Hall Meetings June 25 and 26

The United States Forest Service folks working this gathering scheduled two town hall meetings before we had a chance.  Folks from the land will be attending both meetings.  I would encourage anyone who feels they can answer questions and respond to criticism in a respectful manner to attend one or both of these meetings.  The USFS has scheduled both meetings for only one hour so please arrive early.

Tuesday, June 25 @ 6 PM in Dillon
Dillon Elementary School 22 North Cottom.

Directions:  From I-15 take exit 62 (two exits north of the gathering turn off) aka Business Route 15 (and possibly South Atlantic Street). Head north. Turn right on East Center Street. Turn left on South Utah Street which becomes Cottom (look for the Forest Service Vehicles)

Wednesday, June 26 @ 6 PM in Wisdom
Wisdom Community Center - on Mt-43 between Pine Street and Main Street.
Directions:  From Missoula, take Hwy 93 south to MT 43 and go east to Wisdom.
From I-15 north, exit the MT-43 exit, EXIT 102, toward Divide/Wisdom. Turn right on MT-43 and drive 51 miles.
From I-15 South,  Dillon, Montana take the MT-278 exit, EXIT 59, toward Jackson/Wisdom

Please copy and distribute this information freely.

Welcome Home

Updated 6/24/13 12:45 Am Montana Time

Bless the sky above, the earth below, the wind in the trees and the water in the creek. Love each other even when you don't like each other. Walk gently on the earth and on your family and come home to this special place where we really try to love and respect each other, cook for each other, make music for each other and laugh together. 

July 4th Prayer/Meditation for World Peace

Dawn until high noon.
Please respect the silence and hold it (or the om) until ALL the children make it to the center of the circle.
Feel the power of thousands of people meditating, praying, blowing bubbles, doing Tai Chi/yoga for world peace and the positive evolution of the planet.
Participate in creating the peace we want to experience every day around the world.

 ~~~ Rap 107 ~~~

Please protect this Beautiful Land

Walk softly.  Harm no living thing.  Harmonize - Blend in.  Use only down, dead wood.  Do not cut living trees.  Preserve the Meadows . . . camp in the Woods.  And remember, We are caretakers of this land.

Everyone sharing makes a strong Human Tribe!

Please Protect the Water Sources by staying out of DELICATE spring areas.  Avoid camping, peeing or washing above spring areas.  Keep ALL soap out of streams, springs or the creek!  Use a bucket to take your bath 300 feet away from the water source.  To be certain drinking water is safe: boil it for ten minutes at a rolling boil!

Use the slit trenches or covered latrines - cover your paper & waste with ashes or lime, wash hands afterwards.  Break the fly/illness connection: shit-fly-food-you!  Dig no shitters near water areas or kitchens.

Protect our Health!

Use your own cup, bowl & spoon!  Wash them after eating and rinse in bleach-water. Go to C.A.L.M. if you feel ill - especially if you have a contagious disease - or are injured.

Camp Together – Establish neighborhoods.  Community Fires only!  Keep a 5 gallon bucket of water and shovel nearby for Fire Protection. If you are the last to leave a fire PUT IT OUT!  Please, NO fireworks!  Keep you camp secure.  “Tempt Not Lest Ye Be Lifted From.”

Pets are discouraged, but if you must bring them, keep them fed, on a leash and out of the kitchens, springs & fights.  Clean up their poop.  Love them.

 * * PACK IT IN  - PACK IT OUT !!! * *

Cleanup begins when you arrive.  Please bring only what is necessary.  There is no janitor here . . . YOU are the cleanup crew.  Separate Garbage for recycling.  Please DON’T LITTER - Find a collection point.  Compost in pits only.

You are the Gathering!

Participate and Volunteer!  Participate in Shanti Sena (the peace keepers council), work crews, workshops, councils and all activities.  Volunteer wherever and whenever needed: kitchens, welcome home, fire watch, parking lot, shitter digging, supply, front gate, etc.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T your Sisters’ & Brothers’ energies.

Keep the Balance: Earth, Sky, Trees, Water & People!

Alcohol is Discouraged, Guns are Inappropriate, Violence is contrary to the Spirit.  Please do not take pictures or videos of people without asking their permission first.  Discourage Drug Abuse.

Buying and selling endangers our right to be here.  The Magic Hat is our Bank, please donate early to fund our needs.  The Magic Hat goes around at Dinner Circle and with the Magic Hat Band.

Our power together is many times our power separated.

Enjoy the Rainbow with an open heart and you Will see the Vision.

There seem to problems with invasive weeds getting into Montana, that    travel in the undercarriage of vehicles traveling across the country.    Please stop at a car wash after entering the state.  Rinse off your car. Make sure you are not bringing in any invasive plants accidentally.

Directions (this is the site we used in 2000):

Fill up your gas tank before you leave the interstate.  No grocery store in Jackson. Last gas station is Wisdom and more expensive than off the interstate. Wisdom gas station open Mon-Sat 8 AM to 5 PMish for cash customers. Credit card customers can purchase gas 24/7.

From points east/south:

From Interstate 15 near Dillon, Montana (about 60 miles south of the Interstate 90/15 interchange). Take the MT-278 exit, EXIT 59, toward Jackson/Wisdom

From points west/north/Missoula: (revised 2nd time)

I've driven Hwy 93 from Missoula to the gathering and back. Great road. Crosses Contentienal Divide so a few twisty sections but the road is good.

From Interstate 90, Take the Reserve St exit, EXIT 101, toward I-90-BL/Hamilton/US-93 S.  Follow the signs to stay on HWY-93.  About 80 miles take MT-43 (which pops through Idaho and becomes ID-43 for about 1 mile). Drive 25-28 miles.   Turn right (south) onto MT-278. (MT-278 is 0.9 miles past Lower North Fork Rd If you reach Pine St you've gone a little too far)

Note to hitchhikers, if you thumbing it out of Missoula, make sure you're getting a ride as least as far as Jackson if not all the way home. First 35/45 miles has many little towns and stores, etc.  Many travelers are heading into Idaho and you might get stranded in the middle of nowhere at MT-43/Hwy 93.  Be prepared.

****From Jackson, Montana for all travelers****:

About a mile south of Jackson, turn onto SKINNER MEADOW ROAD heading south toward Idaho, big mountains, (good gravel/dirt road - please respect private ranches - drive slow, watch for cattle) Go 8.5 MILES, through fence and cattle guard into National Forest then take LEFT TURN and ONE LANE BRIDGE over creek (left turn is approx 1.5 miles before Van Houten Lake campground) to FRONT GATE ~ PARKING ~ BUS VILLAGE ~ HANDICAPPED PARKING WELCOME HOME!

See the topo map http://tinyurl.com/Montana2013map.  Or plug N 45.23845 W 113.43487 into your GPS or gathering map at bottom of this post.

The altitude is about 7,000 feet above sea level. Be prepared for days in the 60s & 70s and nights into the 30s.  Thunderstorms happen. Be prepared for rain.  Check the weather here.

 Just a friendly reminder, directions will probably change or additional details will change over the next week or so.  Check back for updated directions.

The site is the the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.  The local USFS offices is at 420 Barrett St. Dillon, MT 59725-3572. Visit the website.
USFS phone numbers:
  • (406) 683-3900
  • (406) 683-3913 (24-hour recorded information line)

Additional Transportation Information:

Butte, MT is the closest large city although I think Bozeman or Missoula are probably not much further and seem to have bigger airports.

Trailways operates service to Dillon, MT --  the closest city on the interstate and about 45 miles from the gathering site.  Call Trailways at 703-691-3052 between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

There is a Greyhound/Trailways stop at Jim's Smoke Shop, 25 E Helena, Dillon, MT 59725 that is open M-5 from 8 AM to 5 PM. Call (406) 683-6703.

  • A bus leaves from Butte @ 7 AM and 7 PM daily to Dillon from 1324 Harrison Avenue Butte, MT 59701.
  • There is a daily bus at 4 PM from Missoula Greyhound Station @ 1660 West Broadway Missoula, MT 59800. 
  • There is a daily bus at 4:30 PM from Bozeman 1205 E Main Street Bozeman, MT 5971.

Misc. Information:

The closest grocery store is in Wisdom - about 30 miles from the gathering site. Gas is hard to come by once you're off the interstate as the few (very few) places that sell gas are not open 24/7 - although the Wisdom gas station allows pay at the pump with a credit card 24/7.  Be prepared. Always helps to bring 5 gallons of gas in a red jug in case you run short or to share with someone else as the case my be.

The USFS has information check points to look for probably cause to search you. Don't give it to them.  Click here (post on right side of blog) to learn more.

For the USFS map of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, click here.

   Please copy and distribute this information freely.
Ignore all rumors of cancellation.

We Love You!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Attention! Snow Advisory! Hold at Lower Elevations!

ATTENTION!! - Updated 11:32 PM on 6/23/13 Montana Time

We had lots of sunshine today on site and roads are passable now.    We had 6 inches of snow but it melted off this afternoon. Come on home!


(And likely tomorrow as well)

Folks on site at the Montana Gathering got word out at 11am this morning (Saturday the 22nd) stating that they had a snowstorm last night which is continuing to a lesser degree this morning with occasional rain and hail. There is six inches of snow on the meadow currently, and the ROADS ARE CURRENTLY IMPASSABLE. People onsite are not able to get down to town, and folks in town should NOT try to drive up today.

Folks are being asked to STAY AT LOWER ELEVATIONS for the time being, until possibly Monday morning. It looks like tonight is the last night for below freezing temps, a bit of a warm up for a couple days with more precipitation expected on Tuesday. After Wednesday, the temps will warm up and a melt is expected, if it hasn't melted Sunday and Monday. The worry is that folks will go off the road into ravines. They are suggesting that ONLY folks with 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles try their luck today or tomorrow and only if entirely necessary.

Folks onsite are dealing with wet gear, improper shoes, and hypothermia because folks have arrived without proper gear. CALM (Medical Area) is not yet set up (nor is Lovin’ Ovens)

Currently set up in camp are KID VILLAGE (Same site as in 2000), Fat Kids, Rough and Ready, and Rumorz.

Again, please do NOT DRIVE UP TO THE SITE TODAY and probably not tomorrow either. Folks who planned to come down to town to set up a Town Meeting for this week and Porta-potties in town for folks driving in, are unable to get down to town today and likely tomorrow, so if ANYONE WANTS TO GET THESE TASKS STARTED, it would be greatly appreciated by those currently stuck onsite.

It is advised that people remember the Gathering in Utah in 2003 when trying to picture weather conditions. Come prepared. Weather is expected to warm up and look good after Wednesday. Hopefully, roads will thaw.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation.
But PLEASE heed warnings of delay.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We Love You

We love you is a common saying heard around the gathering.  Sometimes groups of people get together and shout "we love you" long and drawn out so it lasts for almost a minute. Inevitably, a group of people elsewhere in the gathering will return the "we love you" until the sound of people yelling "we love you" has encompassed the gathering.  Moments like these are some of my favorite moments at the gathering.

In 2008 at the gathering in Wyoming, a kind and conscious brother shot footage for a documentary he was making.  It won awards and circulated the indy film circuit for awhile.  The brother who made it came to the 2009 gathering in New Mexico and gave away hundreds if not thousands of free copies of the film.  It's now available online for your viewing pleasure.

We Love You: the documentary

To learn more about the film, click here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting Home

Every year at this time, people without rides are trying to find rides and those with vehicles are preparing their vehicles to head home. Once we know where home is, bus information to the nearest stop will be posted.  But in the mean time, there are a number of options on hooking up those with rides, but space for a rider or two and those without rides.

Star's Rainbow Rideshare board is the oldest web based rainbow ride share board.

Many people have posted on the local Craig's list board for their local city. Google your city name and Craigslist, then under the "community" section, there is a "rideshare" section.

Go to your local rainbow potluck, picnic, drum circle and talk to people.

If you Facebook, visit one of the Rainbow Ride Share boards:  Rainbow Ride Share Redone or Rainbow Ride Sharing. Disclaimer: there are probably more of these on Facebook since groups seem to spin up all the time.

Once you've made a connection, take the time to visit with your potential riders at your local coffee shop, community park or co-op and discuss the ground rules. Is smoking in the car acceptable?  Is this going to be a non-stop drive from wherever to home?  Are pets allowed?  Who will be driving (someone with a driver's license and insurance)?  How much is a rider expected to chip in for expenses? Who is paying for motel rooms if that's where you plan to sleep along the way?  What is allowed in the vehicle?

Once you're on the road, be respectful, help out in anyway possible, be safe and don't rush it.

While it's important to start loving all our family en route to the gathering, if you don't feel safe sharing a ride with anyone, just say no.

If you're planning on hitchhiking, use the buddy system, only do it during the day when you can more easily see what kind of a car you're getting into.  If you have a fancy phone, take a snapshot of the license plate and send it to a friend so in case something happens, we know where you were last seen. Only take rides that your gut tells you to take. Better to take three days to make it home and be safe then risk a bad ride.  Remember it is illegal to hitchhike on the interstate in most states including Montana and position yourself where a driver can safely pull over.

Trust your instincts.  If a situation feels unsafe, get yourself to safety ASAP.  We want every belly home in one peace.

Best time to arrive home is before noon. If you're 100 miles from home at 10 PM, crash at a local campground, motel, or friend's house. Then get up at 7 AM and come home.  The last few miles into the gathering are often twisty dirt roads and you may be driving 20 miles per hour.  The hike from where the car is parked to where you decide to set up camp may take one to six hours if you know where you're heading, longer if you're trying to find that just right spot.If you don't normally live at a high elevation, it will take you a few days to get your mountain legs so you'll be moving much slower than usual.

Every year I see  intimate relationships take a hit over the stress of the last fifty miles into the gathering, parking, hiking and getting set up.  Why do it when you're exhausted and you're doing it in the dark?  Arrive early in the day and then you'll be able to see where you're driving, hike your gear in more easily, see the how the gathering is disorganized and enjoy the process.  Plus if you need to make two trips to your car, a 10 AM arrival will give you plenty of time.

No matter how you're coming home, please be safe, look out for one another, and help a traveler in need.  The gathering is in your heart. Be the gathering as you travel home.

Finally, if you don't want to get a mandatory court appearance for a broken taillight, read this info on the right hand side of this blog.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Who's job is it to ......?

Once upon a time, there were four people.
Their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.
 There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
 Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.

Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody
 Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
When Nobody did it, Somebody got mad because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it,
but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

Ended up Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have in the first place.

The moral of this story is that when you find yourself saying:
We're in this together family

"Somebody should pick up the trash on the trail / make a sign to mark a kitchen / organize the parking lot / dig a new shitter..."

Remember: YOU are Somebody!!!

Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted to be?

Download a pretty PDF version here and post at your kitchen, camp, workshop space, etc. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

For Montana Residents (or what to expect from the gathering)

What exactly IS the Rainbow Gathering?

The bottom video includes interviews with townsfolk and merchants of stores and lodges near past Rainbow Gatherings. They were asked for their honest opinion of how the event went, the effects it had on their business, and what advice they would give to people in towns near future Gatherings.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What is the Rainbow Family of Living Light?

Today's guest blog post is an oldy but a goodie, written by a long time gathering a long time ago but her wise words still hold true today.  Copied from the grandmommie of Rainbow web sites: Welcomehome.org filled with great hipstorical information. Enjoy!

 ~ ~ What is the Rainbow Family of Living Light? ~ ~ 

First of all, be prepared for a different answer from each person who responds. Rainbow is different things to different people.

Most of us, though not all, who consider ourselves part of the Rainbow Family, have attended the Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes, which takes place from July 1 - 7 every year. The first gathering was in 1972, the invitation to it reading as follows:

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 & Navaho 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 honour & 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. - Amen -

The 3000 acres never materialized, and the first gathering took place partly on private land offered for temporary use, and partly on National Forest land. As you can see, this was intended to be a onetime event. However, people liked it so much that gatherings continued to happen annually on federal lands, each year in a different state. The length of the gathering has since expanded beyond the original four-day span.

For many years, there was only the one gathering, and the spiritual focus was foremost in the minds of everyone who attended. Most folks were identified with the "hippie" movement of the times, engaged in establishing alternative social, economic, spiritual, political, and/or environmental consciousness. Many were involved either in the Peace movement in the cities or the communal, back-to-the-land movement in the country. In either case, exploration of alternative spiritual systems and states of consciousness was often a common theme.

Sometime around the mid-1980s, folks who felt it was too far or too long to the annual gathering started coming together for smaller, regional gatherings. People all over the country developed local and regional bonds.

In the past few years, the spiritual focus has been less obvious, due to the huge influx of people who may not realize the central purpose of the gatherings. These folks may come to party, to hang out, to find like-minded people, to gain support for their political causes, or whatever. Who knows? (I sure don't, since I haven't spoken with all of them.)

The interesting thing is that we all consider ourselves to be part of a huge, extended family, no matter what our reason for gathering, no matter what our spiritual or religious or political or economic or social views may be. And many people who have not yet had an opportunity to attend a gathering also feel they are part of this family.

Another interesting thing is that there is no formal organizational structure. There are no membership qualifications, no fees or dues, no leaders, and virtually no rules other than the one of "peaceful respect." Each year, individuals take personal responsibility and work together with others on whatever they are inspired to do, from office work, to scouting, to building the kitchens at the gatherings, to hauling in food and first-aid supplies, to peacekeeping, etc. Every project undertaken operates essentially on a consensus basis. Participation, communication, and cooperation are how things get done.

It is nothing short of miraculous.

The gatherings are free and non-commercial, and everyone is welcome. Each person is asked to bring their own camping equipment (this all takes place in remote areas of the National Forest), their own cup, bowl, and spoon, and whatever they might want to share to help the gathering happen (tarps, shovels, musical instruments, bulk food, etc.). No one will be turned away because of lacks in these areas, however. The Magic Hat is passed at mealtimes and around camp. Donations are used to buy food in bulk for the kitchens and whatever else may be necessary for the communal well-being (plywood covers and lime for the latrines, first aid supplies, etc.).

Besides the work that goes on to help the gathering happen, there's also lots of accoustical music, drumming, dancing, workshops, herb-walks, council circles, sister circles, brother circles, brother-sister circles, people hanging out, people bartering, people enjoying nature, people meditating, chanting, and praying, people talking politics, people talking spiritual and personal growth, people visioning the future, people doing bodywork and other healing work, ...

The list could go on forever.

For me personally, the Rainbow Family is where I have found my greatest opportunities to learn, to grow, to celebrate, to be one with my fellow beings and my mother Earth, to serve, to pray, to play. The gatherings for me are living theater, evolution in process, creativity manifest. I am passionately in love.

Picture twenty thousand people in a sunlit meadow, standing silent in prayer, holding hands in one huge, unbroken circle. Picture a parade of children approaching, singing songs, their countenances bright with enthusiasm and face paint, baloons and banners waving in the breeze. Picture the breaking of the silence with a cheer from the circle, then the silence returning once again, to grow slowly into a thrum of voices united in a single OM reverberating through the valley and on to the hills beyond. Hold the OM in your mind. Let it spread through and around and in you. Feel it pass from hand to hand and heart to heart.

The magic, the connection you feel is the essence of the Rainbow Family of Living Light.

Peace, love, and light,


Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Brain on Nature

When I get into the woods, my brain changes. The way my brain works changes.  The way I interact with other life on this planet changes.  Being in the rhythm of the woods is a magical part of the gathering. Everyone changes in the woods.

I connect with human beings under the canopy of Douglas Fir and cedar trees. My brain slowly returns to rhythms marked by sunrise and sunset, rain and sun. It is a helpless feeling at first because I am so used to the endless push to analyze texts, fix computer problems, and tame databases.  The pace is relentless not just in what I am doing but in the already identified list of things to be done.

Walking on forest duff, I deal with that which is in front of me. I slide into non-logical ways of knowing and stop thinking in words. Under the panorama of stars, I awaken all my ways of understanding. As Glen Slater writes in his article “Cyborgian Drift,” ,“the privileging of the intellect over other aspects of being—animal sensation, instinct, aesthetic response, intuition” is a form of “Blinkered vision”  (180).

Remove your blinkers family!

Turning off the computers, the phones, completely unplugging and focusing all my attention on the beautiful smiles in my presence, the tiny wildflowers in the meadow, the sound of the drums at night rolling out across the hills helps me reconnect with deep love,  with the energy that is around me now and I am present in a way that I am not present all the time.

At the gathering I deal with specifics and tangible issues.  Chop wood, haul water, cook food, dig shitters, hold the hands and hearts of my family and place my heart in their hands.  My brain away from computers and electronics changes, slows down, feels the love that it all around me.

I know quitting addictions is hard. The first few days you may feel disoriented, lost, unable to function but give it a week and feel the calm in your heart, the clarity in your mind.  Feel the love that is all around you. If you can't quit, keep your addiction to yourself. Please respect that many people who gather, do so to get away from electronics and the state of mind that goes along with them.

Some of you may disagree, may argue that your brain on computers is who you are and you would be no different away from the gadgets.  There's only one way to find out.  Take a break.  See what happens when you love and work at a human speed, not a computer's speed.  Hear the wind in the trees, see the butterflies in the sky, share a story with the person next to you  (especially if you don't know her/him) instead of the one on the other end of a gadget.  Find out who you are when nature is speaking through you.

 Gaia doesn't text.  The creek isn't on Facebook.  The tree's aren't on social media. Take a week or two out of your life to experience this other world and find out who you are On Nature.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spring Council/Seed Camp Information

Updated 6/17/13 7 AM (California Time)  - Spring Council has disbanded.

Directions to the gathering are available here.

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 picked June 7 for the start of Spring Council.

People participating in the spring council process have been counciling and out walking potential sites and yesterday (Friday 6/14) counciled with USFS staff. Today (6/15/13) folks will be counciling.  Rumor has it to not expect a decision (by consensus or foot) for another couple of days.  So maybe Monday (6/17) or Tuesday (6/18)

Due to the northern location of this year's gathering and the late snows.  The further north we are, the later the snow melts.

While all are welcome to participate in Spring Council, please keep in mind that conditions may be cold and/or wet and little or no infrastructure is set up.  Bring food to share, drinking water, and be prepared to relocate once folks decide where "HOME" will be located. While home is often within 75-100 miles of the spring council site, this is not always true. I know that at least one of the sites still being considered is further.  If gas money is tight, you may want to stay where your are until an announcment is made.

Update for 6/9/13 @ 9 AM Cali time from a friend

Spring Council population is approaching 300, we had our first circle yesterday. Not much much serious business on the first day, mostly heartsongs and getting to know each other. We are still waiting for some of the people doing scouting to arrive.

We will have another circle today, and then the general feeling seems to be we will send out scouting parties on monday and have them walk the land on some of the potential sites for 4 days, and we will resume counciling on Friday. This was predicted at Thanksgiving Council, when we consensed that Spring Council would BEGIN the weekend of June 7-9...so it's likely to be a late announcement. There's simply more work to be done before we can accurately decide which location would be best to send the family to.

Once the decision is reached, people move onto the site and start "Seed Camp."  Seed camp involves earlier arriving gathering participants.  Folks  find and develop water systems, set up the first kitchens & a health care system, and dig the first latrines. Seed camp folks design the layout of the actual Gathering by developing trails, selecting a Main Circle site, marking parking areas and setting up Welcome Home. Coop and Banking Councils are set up to address the needs of Seed Camp. Please do not show up for seed camp unless you are willing to chip in on the work, can deal with the rough conditions and can contribute to creating a wondeful and positive gathering. 

Please note that more cop hassles happen during early seed camp than during the gathering itself and plan accordingly.  If you're not sure what I mean by cop hassles, click here and read the right hand side of this blog.


Racetrack Creek/Racetrack Campground (20 miles south of Deer Lodge, Montana)

From Interstate 90: Exit 197 Galen. Take Left onto 273 South (Galen RD), go 3 miles on paved road to Willow Road (NO SIGN and be aware -- as 273 bears left, Willow Road goes straight, it is the gravel on right).  Go 1 mile to Bowman Road at the four corners. Take left onto Bowman which becomes Modesty Creek Road (you will see a Forest Service sign for Racetrack Campground 6 miles). Watch for cows on road and immature Golden Eagles on fence posts! Keep following signs for Racetrack CG.

****Please respect signs for private property.****

Once inside the Forest, FS road 169, welcome home!   There is ample parking, bus village, and handicamp on the north side (right) after the cattleguard just into the forest (only two tenths of a mile from FS boundary) with some tree line camping off the south (left). There is a piece of private property inside the spring council area; this stretch is about a ½ -mile long and is well-marked along the road.  There is a FS Campground where there is an anticipated fee early June. Beyond the campground, FS Road 169 diminishes so be aware of poor road conditions and it may be difficult for big rigs to turn around. OR take Racetrack Exit 195 Roads are less paved but it gets you there – follow signs to Racetrack Campground. Avoid Dempsey Lake Road – there is a bridge out over this

For USFS info on Racetrack Campground, click here.

For directions to the annual gathering of the tribes, click here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CALM, First Aid and Taking Care of Each Other

Today's blog post on CALM comes to you from  guest blogger MB. Just an FYI to all who are suspicious of donating money to the gathering online, I personally know MB and many of the CALM folks and know that they are doing an amazing job saving lives with minimal equipment. Lot's of opportunities exist to support healing our brothers and sisters. For those of you who are knew to gathering, CALM is one of the main first aid stations at the gathering. Visit them if you're not feeling well, get injured or just want to talk about healing.  To learn more about CALM, click here.

It is, indeed, that time of year to request donations! CALM raised enough funds last year to cover the Tennessee Gathering.  We had very few supplies leftover, and with the expectation of a larger Gathering in Montana, we expect our costs to be even higher. By getting donations early, we are able to be savvy Internet shoppers and get the best value for supplies. Once we are on the land, we have to purchase from pharmacies, with costs that are 3x what they are online.

Click here to see the inventory/banking list from 2012 in Excel format.  We purchased a total of $1,138.00 in supplies and used nearly all of the supplies.  Tennessee was a smaller Gathering, and we anticipate Montana to require twice as many supplies.  Our goal this year is to receive $2,000 in donations and we need your help to manifest a healthy and well cared-for Gathering.  Every $10, $20, $50 and $100 donation helps immensely.

CALM needs to have a variety of different supplies on hand because we never know from year to year what we will need.  Some years we see a lot of burns, while others involve roll-over accidents on the road Home.  We have treated heart attacks and diabetic shock, seizures and jungle rot, broken ankles and pains in the necks (ahem).  Wingnuts? Yep, we treat em.  A stick stuck in your foot because you really, really want to walk barefoot at night?  Yep, we treat that, too.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? Donate money to our PayPal or WePay account at the bottom of this message.  Give cash or a check to one of the CALM bankers. I can assure you that all of them can be trusted as they all put in way more money into supplies then they get back. Please do not bring in your old prescription medications, homemade tinctures or unlabeled herbs. We cannot distribute prescriptions, and tinctures end up unused unless they are made by a known and trusted source.

 If you have supplies that you would like to donate, please check with us first as they may not be what we really need. If you plan to bring supplies, check with us first by sending an email to CALM or MB  to make sure that this is something that we can use.

If you want to donate something material, we need batteries!  AA non-rechargeable are best.  We rely heavily on radio communications and with radios being always-on 24-hours a day for 2 weeks, we go through a lot of AA batteries.  Remember the helicopter evacuation in Pennsylvania the morning of the 4th?  That was made possible through radio communications relayed from person-to-person and then via a call to Emergency Responders.

And finally, CALM could always use Builders! We start serving the health needs of the Family as soon as we leave our homes­which means that we are often so busy, it’s hard to find time and energy to put up a tarp or to make benches.  Please stop by and plug in!

The healers are here to serve the Family. Let’s have a kind and safe Gathering!


OR to donate via WePay, click here

If you are a healer and want to plug in ahead of time, sign up for the CALM email list by registering here or visit Rainbow Medicine Facebook or email MB for supply/donation questions:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blasts from the Past

I started doing a yearly gathering-related blog in 2008.  Here's some of what I consider the better posts from 2008 to 2012.  Some of them were written by me, others by folks I know and admire.    Enjoy!

Counciling in 1972 by Garrick Beck

The Silent Prayer/Meditation for World Peace on July 4th

Sage Advice for First Time Gatherers

Tips for a Safe Journey Home & a Positive Gathering

Gathering with Kids by Info Karen (The other Karen who hangs @ Info)

Rap on Access

So You Want to Focalize a Kitchen?

Creating Community

Health and Hand Washing

On Shanti Sena by Medicine Socks

Parking Lot Crew

Workshops @ the Gathering

To folks worried about their loved ones

Why Gather? by Garrick Beck

Why I Gather (the 2012 version)

~~~  Please copy and distribute this information freely ~~~

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An open letter to my younger sisters

yinyangThe gathering is a wonderful magical time full of lots of sweat, usually some tears and a great opportunity to grow as a human being.  If you're in your late teens or twenties, you probably know that the world is full of men who want to get to know you in an intimate way.   I like to believe that the brothers who gather are the kindest, most compassionate, most loving men and that despite their interest in getting to you know will respect any boundaries you place on any interaction.

This brings us to today's vocabulary lesson, the word "no."  No is a powerful word.  When you were two years old (give or take) you excelled at saying no.  So what happens as we grow?  

femaleSeems to me we live in a culture STILL (as I thought we'd be more evolved by now, but so it goes) that places different expectations on how young women handle their sex lives and how young men do.  Very often, women are taught that no means you are protesting but you are willing to change your mind if persuaded.  Well I think this approach sucks.  And speaking from personal experience, a lot of men can't tell the difference between a no that means stop right now and a no that means I'm open to persuasion. So to all my young sisters, let's give the brothers some clear communication.

Dog and Cat Hugging  Stock Photo - 7535588Say YES when you mean yes and NO when you mean no.  Feel free to say yes to a hug and no to a kiss.  Feel free to say yes to making out, but no to anything further.  Feel free to get naked and say yes to one thing and no to another.  Feel free to say yes and then change your mind and say no if it doesn't feel right for you.  This is your life and you have the right to be 100% comfortable with what how you share or do not share your body with anyone.
maleUnfortunately, while most of our brothers are kind, loving, respectful humans, at every gathering, there are people who have come home because they need to learn how to be kind, loving, respectful humans and who may make some mistakes on their road to healing. Any time we gather ten thousand people in one place, the odds are very high that one or two people show up just to prey on kind, loving people.

Some thoughts as you figure out how you want to navigate life:
  • Use the words yes and no to mean their surface meaning.
  • If you say no and some belly does not respect your no, yell Shanti Sena and family will show up to support you.
  • If you use mind altering substances of any kind, do so with your friends (old or new).  Hang out at one of the larger kitchens where music and companionship will be plentiful and respect and love will be in abundance. Or use the buddy system and wander the gathering all night long.
  • Plug into sister space to share with other sisters in a supportive environment what's going on and how you're dealing or not dealing with life's challenges.
  • If you have any problems at all, go to CALM/First Aid, INFO, Granola Funk, or Kid Village and tell a sister that you have an issue you need to discuss.
  • Go to the Antique Roadshow at the ovens and talk to all the wise older sisters in this family - they are an amazing awe-inspiring bunch.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  ~~ Helen Keller

As with most gathering related issues, there's a rap for that:

~~ RAP 121 ~~

Respect our sisters and help create a safe place for everyone.
Nudity is natural; not a sexual invitation.
Ask before hugging or touching women & remember: “No means No!”
Brother Circles offer support & encourage understanding.
Love happens – Carry condoms.

Respect yourselves & trust your instincts.
If you don’t feel comfortable being intimate or alone with a man it’s OK to say “No.”
Sister Circles share strength & support between women.
Love happens – Carry condoms.

This is a society based on love & respect.
We’re here for a spiritual purpose; Respect each other and do no harm.
Brother-Sister Circles create trust & understanding.

We are all Shanti Sena – “Peace Keepers”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Musings on getting fed at the gathering

If you've never been to a gathering (or even if you have), getting fed may seem like a mysterious process that sporadically leaves you hungry or amazed at the wonderful food you just ate.  Well it's not really as mysterious as it seems.  So here are the basics.

First off, no one should ever ask you for money or trade for food (excepting small things like candy bars at trade circle).  Everyone eats for free.  We share food with each other in many different ways.

During seed camp, you better come prepared with food to share. Some of the early kitchens may be serving "off the rails" (@ the kitchen counter) but you never know who will be there and how much food they have to share.
Bring whatever you can and share as best as you can with others.  Some of the kitchens may come with food supplies they have purchased, but you never know.

Once the gathering gets going (usually a few days after the Summer Solstice), dinner will be served in the main meadow.  Commonly called "Main Circle" or "Dinner Circle," kitchens bring food to the meadow, we circle up, om, and then are served food from a bucket or cooler.  THANK YOU KITCHENS!  After we eat, many folks hang out to play music, visit with friends or participate in activities like the "Angel Walk."   This is my favorite time of the gathering.  It's when those who wish take the time to hang out with old and new friends.

Many kitchens will continue to serve off the rails but normally do so earlier in the day or later in the evening.  Each kitchen decides for itself when and what to serve so finding a kitchen that is serving "off the rails" is catch as catch can unless you get plugged into a kitchen.  One easy way to get plugged in is to approach a kitchen and offer to dig a shitter, chop wood, haul water, or chop veggies for some meal or another. 

As I mentioned earlier, many kitchens come with their own food supply purchased by the core crew.  Other kitchens come with gear but not much else.  No matter how things start out, more food needs to be purchased as the gathering progresses and more wonderful people come home.

Generally a group of people come together to facilitate supplies.  After all, purchasing large quantities in bulk is usually less expensive.  Some kitchens do their own supply runs with either their own funds or funds from a collection can stationed in their kitchen, others participate in large scale supply runs usually involving a lot of food and funds from the "Magic Hat."

The Magic Hat can be found at Dinner Circle and Information when Dinner Circle is not happening.  Sometimes the Magic Hat goes on a Magic Hat parade around the gathering soliciting funds.  Magic Hat funds are managed by the Banking Council some or most of whom are usually at Dinner Circle.  Folks who become part of this council track income and expenses, count them money and insure the integrity of the process.  Most of the magic hat funds go to buy food that is distributed to the kitchens serving Dinner Circle. If a kitchen is not serving Dinner Circle, usually they will not get funds.  There is a Kitchen Council that meets daily or every other day (usually by Information) that plans supply runs, meals and works out all these issues.

Basically the process goes like this, you put cash money (no checks, credit cards, food stamps, etc) in the Magic Hat.  Money is collected and counted.  After a few days of this, a supply run is organized.  Once that has happened the supply run goes out, purchases the agreed upon supplies (or as close as possible) and then comes back with the food.  A supply run can take two days or even three.  Once the food comes back, it is distributed to the kitchens - a process that can take another day or two.

After the food is distributed to the kitchens, it gets cooked and served - a process that can take another day or two depending on when the supplies arrive at the kitchen and what else the kitchen is involved in at present. 

Now we come to the most important part, if you have $50 to donate to the Magic Hat, do it the day you arrive at the gathering.  Don't put $5 a day in for ten days.  Every year we have a food shortage for a few days somewhere between June 23 and July 2 because people start arriving in mass after the Summer Solstice and we have a lag between donations coming in and food being served.

Look at it this way, if one hundred people arrive on June 23 and donate $50 dollars each, we will have $5,000 to feed not only these one hundred people but the additional two thousand people who have subsequently arrived on June 28 when the purchased food is served.  If on June 25, two hundred and fifty people arrive and donate $50 dollars each, we will have over ten thousand dollars to feed the fifteen thousand people on site by June 30.  However, if people donate one or five dollars a day, then by the time we have enough money to feed fifteen thousand people, it's July 5 and most people are leaving.

If you do not have or do not wish to donate cash money, food supplies are always welcomed.  The good news is that the food you bring with you will make it into your belly tomorrow.  While brown rice, beans and quinoa are always welcomed, hardy fruits and veggies are very important as well.  Bring apples and oranges by the caseload. Cabbage, carrots and zucchini transport well and as much as you can bring will be eaten. Onions and garlic are always needed. Leave the fancy lettuce and peaches behind unless you know how to transport them so they don't get ruined.

 If you bring pasta, try to bring vegan pasta so everyone can partake.  Save the egg noodles for another occasion.  Peanut butter and bread (vegan if you can find it) go a long way to providing healthy fuel and whole wheat flour is always needed for kitchens that bake bread and pizza!  If you decide to go shopping after you've been at the gathering, check in with Kitchen Council to get plugged into any special deals folks may have worked out with local suppliers.  After all, if you can get it for 30% off, then you can buy more food to feed more bellies for the same amount of money.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 24 meeting with public health employees

Updated 5/21/13 7:30 PM Cali Time

may 24, 11am, public library, Missoula, Montana.... preliminary meeting with some Public Health folks... iffn in area please attend... at this meeting, will invite Public health to meet on-site, when it happens.... also, these Public health folks are some of those folks that Gatherers had positive interaction with in Montana 2000.

New Location:
Montana Public Health, Helena folks is Friday, May 24th, 11:00 am in the private meeting room at Liquid Planet... a coffee shop near Broadway and Higgins, Missoula, Montana... The Public Library was booked. Open, free.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rainbow Family of Living Light Mini Manual Gathering Consciousness

The Mini Manual of Gathering Consciousness aka Suggested Wisdom Culled from Years of Experience and / or Trail & Error contains all the most know things for any gatherer.  In the old days (before the WWW), folks used to print these up and pass them out at the gathering. For a copy suitable for printing on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, click here.

If you prefer to read it in HTML format, click here.

No matter the version you choose, please copy and distribute the information, links freely and widely. 

What to bring to the Gathering

Don't forget that you may be on a shuttle and/or hiking a few miles between where your vehicle is parked and where you decide to camp.  If people offer to help carry your gear, and people will, make sure you stay together.  Don't get separated from your gear on a shuttle or the hike in.  Things are chaotic and you and your gear may not hook up again for a few days - which could be a total bummer.

In gathering speak, we have raps and there is a great rap called the Turtle Rap.  If you have not been to a gathering before, read this carefully.  For other raps, visit an old website: RainbowGuide.info - but still has the basic raps,

Monday, May 13, 2013

Process Prevails

Today's blog post has been brought to you by a guest blogger (Sibling).  Enjoy!

* * * * * * * * * *

What follows is a brief summary of how the folks gathering and the Forest Service have dealt with usual issues related to gatherings: health and safety, environmental and ecological concerns, and the permit issue.  This covers the last three peaceable assemblies aka Annual Rainbow Gatherings in TN 2012, WA 2011, and PA in 2010. For the last three years, I have assisted with facilitating the manner in which the gatherers and the Forest Service interface.  The manner that works best for the long run of the gatherings is face-to-face communication, in a circle or council, with an invitation to all to all attend.  Using a feather to speak one at a time and listening to each other’s concerns, questions, and solutions. 

I will take you back a bit though. There was a regional gathering in PA before the annual gathering in 2010.  Planning for that regional, a few of us had a hunch that one-day the annual gathering would return to the Northeastern US.  We felt that the way we dealt with the Forest Service would become an important steppingstone to future interactions. The outcome of that regional was an Operation Plan crafted by all interested gatherers and a signed permit, but most importantly, it was the circle/council process where the FS was able to present the issue, the gatherers were open to ask questions and answer questions and an Operations Plan that was agreed upon.  We had open and transparent dialogue where all who were interested participated, and spoke for themselves.

If one does not know the legacy of the permit issue, it is worth looking into. Some years, permits have been signed and some years, they have not.  For the past three years, we have done the circle/council with the Forest Service and have agreed to an Operations Plan without the need for a permit signature!

Historically, the permit issue has strained the interactions between the gatherers and Forest Service Resource folks and Law Enforcement. Occasionally it has infringed upon the open flow of communication with local health and safety officials, FS Resource, tribal councils, the press, and other interested parties.  In general, most gatherers have faced the gauntlet of police presence at some time during their gathering experience.  Some gatherers have been harassed, ticketed and even imprisoned over the permit issue. For some of us, at times, it has felt like we were at war with the US Forest Service over the permit.

 During the times of heightened conflict over the permit issue, I estimate that probably a third of those attending the gathering were not even aware of what was going on, the importance of the issue, the risks certain individuals took to solve the problem, and/or the consequences of our non-compliance.  For many years, it seemed that there were a few dozen or so dedicated individuals dealing with the permit issue but not nearly enough were informed.  And unfortunately, the issue was usually dealt with in the parking lot; at roadblocks; at meetings held before the actual gathering where decisions were made; or permits signed from someone’s office a thousand miles away from those who were actually assembled. What bothered me was that the issue seemed so rarely be taken to circle or council for a full hashing out.  I wanted to create the opportunity to hash it out!

So that became our goal for facilitating the regional gathering in PA.  Briefly speak with the Forest Service before the regional and then insist that any further meetings happen at a circle, that we would be willing to facilitate.  Of course, it works, go back to basics. A circle that they attend, pass a feather, ask questions, answer questions, and everyone is welcome.  You know, like we do so well. 
For the past three annual assemblies, after initial contact with the FS, those who have initiated contact have insisted that the next exchange of information would be “on the land” with the goal of transparency thus leading to an increased input and understanding for all.

Despite the fact that nobody can or should try to speak for anyone but themselves, the Forest Service and others not accustomed to non-hierarchical decision making - ie. Group process, process or consensus decision-making - have a hard time seeing in this way.  This has led to sort of defacto leaders in the eyes of the FS who are accustomed to navigating in a hierarchical structure and it is often difficult for them to even imagine a community functioning via consensus as the gathering community does. But gatherings have no leaders; every voice is important and vital to the beauty and full spectrum color of the rainbow. All of us had to start somewhere and with patience and a willingness to listen we get it done. As challenging as it is, process prevails way after personalities have gone.

For the last three years, those attending spring council and seed camp for the annual gathering who were interested in participating have been able to be a part of a circle or council with the Forest Service Resource people and the Law Enforcement, when requested.  It has been the most efficient for the FS to speak for themselves and communicate directly with the community that has assembled regarding issues related to the health and safety of the land and the people gathered.

The Operations Plan used during that regional and the last three annual gatherings are worth looking at. Each one is individual are reflects the specific needs of the gathering location.  Hopefully they will be discussed in full at this years’ spring council/circle on the land. 

In service, Sibling 5/2013