We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2018 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the southern Appalachian Mountains. To learn how the location is found, click here.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Celebrating July 4th as a Day of Peace

Circle on July 4
Copied from Steven Hager's Blog
The silent prayer/meditation for world peace is the culmination of our attempts to create a peaceful and harmonious gathering. Starting as the sun rises on the morning of July 4th, the gathering will become silent. As people wake up and get ready for their day, most people respect the silence. As people are so inclined they head to main meadow to pray for world peace, do yoga for world peace, meditate for world peace and all sorts of other mellow and silent manifestations of creating the energy of world peace and the healing of the planet. .

We hold this peace in preparation for the arrival of our children. The children's parade will come into the center of the circle. Please hold the silence until all the children (even the ones at the end of the parade) have made it into the center of the circle. Our children our are future and deserve our respect. Oming/Auming can start when all of the children are in the circle. PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WIDELY.

At some point before breaking the silence we will om/aum. Not a short 1-2 minute om, but a long drawn out 15 minute or 30 minute om/aum. If we are all focused and om together, not in a hurry to get it down, but to be with it in the moment, we can create energy that will change the world.

Each of us has a crucial role to play in this sacred ceremony that is the core of the Annual Gathering of the Tribes. This is why I and so many people I know go to the gathering, dig shitters, chop wood and carry water. This is why so many people dedicate so much resources and energy to the gathering. Please if you choose not to participate, please be silent and let those who wish to create a sacred ceremony do so.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What is Peace? (Part 4 of 5 of "Creating Peace")

A common point of discussion when working towards peace is defining what peace is and isn't, what it looks like, which activities are considered "peaceful" and which are not.


I think at the extreme ends of the spectrum, most people can agree on what peace is and isn't. For example, most people would consider dropping bombs on other people to be the opposite of peace. Most people would consider the silent prayer/meditation for world peace and the om to be examples of peace.

That's the easy stuff. In fact trying to define peace can cause even the most peaceful among us to be less than peaceful.  So what do we do if we say we want peace, but we can't even agree on what peace looks like, feels like, acts like or talks like?

I'll throw out a couple of high level ideas, but even these are subject to much discussion. I hope you continue these discussions in the circles in which you find yourself. If all goes as planned, I will be doing a few workshops at the gathering on "What is Peace and How do We Create Peace?" -- hopefully I won't be the only one.

In Creating Peace, Parts 1 to 3, we looked at some of the foundational aspects of peace (click on the topic "Creating Peace" under Gathering Topics on the right hand side of this blog).
  
What is Peace?
 
First graders have a very good concept of peace (image from Miss Krug's Our Grade One blog):

 
Some people view peace as the absence of war or violence. Perhaps this view comes to us from  Ancient Greece in the goddess Eirene the goddess of peace, who also celebrates decisive battles that end wars. If we subscribe to this paradigm, we probably are following the axiom "the ends justify the means."

Another high level view of peace is one that focuses on harmony and tranquility that can take the form of an inner state or a state between people. We can say she is always tranquil and peaceful or they have a harmonious marriage.

Peace can be considered as cooperation between people in a social group or culture to maintain a certain level of social order. Keep in mind that slavery existed in the USA during times of peace and for me, slavery does not equal peace.
Liberian Women for Peace

The Global Peace Index (GPI) attempts to identify countries by their level of peacefulness focusing on various formal military measures, prisoners per capita, refugees, wars, etc. 


In the last hundred years, peace has been tightly coupled with the idea of non-violence. So now we have to define what non-violence is and how non-violent  methods contribute towards creating peace. Now I'm sure most of you are familiar with the teaching of the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. -- all of which emphasis non-violence --another problematic concepts. Defining non-violence is just as hard as defining peace (but I think by now you know how to approach this issue.)

The Dalai Lama offers these words, "Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free." Of course now we have to figure out what "free" really means. For example, do we include the freedom to harm others in free? Or are your freedoms curtailed when they impact my freedoms? How does your pollution impact my freedom?

Peace is often negotiated between groups of people. For example, a family, school, city or state negotiate what they see as peace.





International Alerts writes, "




















Saturday, November 11, 2017

Shanti Sena Basics

Some would say the phrase “Shanti Sena” means “peace army” from Sanskrit and has its roots in Gandhi’s concept of non-violent volunteer based peace keepers. While in gathering lore, some would translate the phrase as peace scene.  No matter the logical translation you wish to put on it, I translate it as being part of a family and looking out for my family in peaceful ways.

In the years of the strife between gatherers and the United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers (USFS LEOs), the phrase came to spell trouble for the LEOs and by 2008/2009 many gatherers actually thought the cops were the Shanti Sena (so not true). Because of the many misconceptions floating around, I thought I would take the time to rap about my perspective on keeping the peace at a gathering.

As many of my friends point out, “Shanti Sena” is a verb not a noun. In other words, no one “is” Shanti Sena, but many people “do” Shanti Sena. Most functions at the gathering are verb rather than noun based.

In a culture where individual liberty and communal needs often clash, countless opportunities arise to “do” Shanti Sena and keep the peace.



Before we worry about keeping the peace, we need to define “peace.”  For different people, “peace” takes on different connotations. For some, acting peacefully precludes any acts of physical violence, but yelling is considered peaceful. For others, cussing is not peaceful. For every one hundred gatherers, there are probably ninety different perspectives on what “peace” means. When we gather, I believe that 99.999% of gatherers have every intention of creating peace. We’ll get back to the 0.001% later.  So how then do we create and increase the peace at the gathering and take those skills into the world at large?

In my perspective, the single most important aspect to “doing” Shanti Sena is to be observant. Sure there are big movies that happen and lots of gray haired folks get involved with radios, but most of the time when a big movie happens, the root cause was a failure of each and every one of us to pay attention to the hurt, suffering, pain and/or stress building up around us.  (As an aside, not everyone with a radio has a clue.)

Reality check!  Going to a gathering, especially for the first time, can be very stressful. It’s a crash course in a brand new culture. Access to food and filtered drinking water can be hazardous. Being unprepared for the conditions can leave people cold and wet or sitting up by a fire all night to stay warm instead of sleeping. Many people who take medications for chronic conditions often seem to space out on taking their meds, leaving their health further compromised. Dehydration, low blood sugar, and lack of sleep are just a few of the stressors gatherers experience -- add to that doing activities or substances that are new to you. When one small thing goes wrong, people who are stressed out can explode.

Being observant means noticing that some belly is having a hard time or a bad day. Allowing each of us to be our own unique self means not telling other people what to do. Telling people to eat or drink can backfire. So what’s a kind loving brother or sister to do?

Pay attention to the people around you. Notice if they seem to be struggling, are confused or look disoriented. Offer to share your water or an energy bar you might have on you (always good to bring lots of these). Introduce yourself and make a friend. Usually people are more willing to share their troubles with a friend, than someone just trying to fix a problem. Share a song or a joke if the vibe feels right. Sometimes people are in their own head space and don’t want to interact. That’s OK.  You can still stay near them (but not too near) just in case they need help. If it’s two am, please don’t walk away from someone. If someone wants to wander the woods all night, grab a couple of friends and trail after them just in case they need your assistance.

If someone doesn’t have a safe place to sleep, try to hook them up with a camp that can help. If they have small children, Kid Village is a great place. But there are lots of other kind loving camps at the gathering that have the space to squeeze another body into a crowded tent or provide emotional support. If you yourself are new to the gathering (blessings to you for helping others), you can stop by INFO and ask for some advise.

If you find a lost kid, you and a couple of friends should escort the child to Kid Village. Make sure to take the child up to the kitchen and announce very loudly that you have a lost child. DO NOT JUST DROP THE CHILD OFF AT KID VILLAGE. 

If someone is having a health crisis and is willing, take her/him to CALM. Most of the larger kitchens/camps like Fat Kids, Montana Mud, Loven Ovens, and Kid Village (to name just a few) have medical people as well. If the person isn’t willing to move, find someone with a radio and medical people will come to your location. If that doesn’t work, send a runner to INFO or CALM with as much information as you have about the situation. By taking care of people’s critical needs before people reach the point of explosion, we create the peace we want to see in the world.

Other times we have conflicts that arise from differing lifestyles. For example in 2002, the gathering site was small and we ended up with Tea Time and Yoga Space next to each other. Talk about a mismatch in energies. Tea Time likes to stay up all night, serve tea and make raucous noise at 3 AM. The Yoga folks are more into silent mediation and mellow energy. Two distinct energies colliding is a classic gathering issue. If we want each camp to be free to express their own vision of peace and love, what to do?  When space permits, it’s always best to camp in an area that meets your vision of what comprises peace and love. So don’t be expecting to sleep in silence until noon every day if you’re camped in Kid Village as kids wake up early.  But ….

As to the 0.001%, when the situation gets a bit crazy, yell “Shanti Sena” and other people will come and assist. With a circle of people, we can try to get a council going where the parties’ involved and random calm and centered gatherers can sit down and listen to each other.  Keep in mind that sometimes people’s emotions are volatile and getting a council going is difficult at best. Then what?



SITTING down on the sidelines and oming tends to help ground energies. If nothing else, it makes misbehaving people feel a bit silly and often times that breaks up the situation. This doesn’t mean the root cause of the problem is solved, but at least it buys some time and space to work on the issues. I’ve experienced a beautiful voice singing an appropriate song calm everyone down as well. Peaceful, mellow music helps everyone feel better.

Sometimes problems don’t seem resolved at the time. That’s OK. Rainbow magic takes time to work. I’ve sat in circles with people who were full of anger. At some point the primary people stomped out of the circle and didn’t return.  Then a day or two or three later, I ran into those same people again, very happy and peaceful. Rainbow magic doesn’t always have a logical cause and effect.  Sometimes, just hanging out with someone for six hours prevents someone from getting lost in the woods (yes it really happens and if it’s cold out can be a cause of death), drowning in a lake (yes this has happened multiple times at gatherings) or wandering up to the road and getting arrested (you know this happens). Plus you’ve just made a new friend. The more we get to know each other, the more we create community. The more we actively work on creating community, the more we increase the peace.

If you are not able to help when the universe calls you, please, please, please, make sure someone else helps. Ask others for assistance, guide the person to one of the larger kitchens, go to INFO or CALM and let them know what’s going on. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Many years, we have Shanti Sena councils or workshops at the gathering where people who have “done” more Shanti Sena share the lessons they’ve learned with those who have “done” less or no Shanti Sena. As with everything gathering related, we are all of us teachers and all of us students. In the spirit of sharing other ideas on what Shanti Sena is and does, here are some other voices on the subject.


From Welcome Home with links to multiple Shanti Sena Raps by well respected family (must read).
From Niman - a scholarly look
From Medicine Socks
Rap 121
My Rap from 2008


Ask not what the gathering can do for you; ask what you can do for the gathering.

We are our brothers and sisters keepers.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Mini Manual - Life in Motion

An Invitation Page 1
Before there was the "Mini Manual" there was the Rainbow Oracle or  How to Blow Minds and Influence People (but the Oracle is not the purpose of today's blog post although you can learn a bit more about it here).  The Oracle was written before the first gathering as an invitation. However, as people started gathering, the Mini Manual of Gathering Consciousness was born as a way to share the collective wisdom on how to focalize and participate in a gathering in a manner that keeps the land and people safe and healthy.

The Mini Manual is a living document that people update over time as consciousness changes and new ideas come forth. For a version from the mid-90s (I think), click here.  You can also do a web search for "rainbow gathering mini manual and find other versions.

A few years back, Where Do I Poop was born. This great version of a mini manual covered the basics with humor and is available in PDF format here.

Recently, another version called An Invitation was born and you can find that version here


No matter which version you read, (and I recommend them all) or what it's called, please take the time to absorb this information so that when you are at your next gathering, you know this stuff inside and out and can share with others on the land.

Blessings to my amazing family for continuing to share traditions and new ideas in ways that are easy to understand.  Keep up the amazing work!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sustenance and Safety (Part 3 of 5 of "Creating Peace")

One of the foundations of creating peace is making sure people are prepared, in the right mindset, and able to do the hard work that creating peace entails. Sustenance and Safety are the building blocks of peace.


Sustenance takes care of our bodily needs. We can't think well when our blood sugar is crashing or when we are dehydrated. Adequate food and water is a must for all in order to be able to even discuss peace (stay tuned for part 4 of Creating Peace).

One of the most important actions a person can take at a gathering is making sure everyone is eating and drinking plenty of water. This year we will be in the east and that generally means moister gatherings and lot's of sweating. One gallon a day of water that has been boiled for 20 minutes or filtered with a 0.2 micron or smaller filter is a must.

When people haven't eaten or are dehydrated they act out. When they are in these conditions for too long, they get sick.  When you combine these issues with over-indulgences, we have a recipe for problems that can impact the entire gathering.

Prevent the problems by making sure you and the people in your vicinity are eating and staying hydrated. Be on the look out for people who look like they aren't getting food and/or water and help them before they start breaking the peace. 

Now for the tough topic: safety.

Safety is a bit harder to come by because what constitutes a feeling of safety is a very subjective and emotional feeling.  To explain what I mean, we'll talk about the estuary by my house.  The salt marsh and estuary have been channelized to prevent flooding and on either bank is a trail. The east side is a paved path that hooks up with bike paths to the north and south. The west side is a dirt road with trees providing shade on a warm day as shown in the image.
The Estuary

People in my neighborhood have very different perspectives on the estuary. Some people view it as a haven for criminals and are afraid to go down there especially after dark. Other people loving taking their kids down to watch the Great Blue Herons and Osprey trying to rustle up a meal.

Now you would think there is some logic as to who feels safe at our estuary and who is scared, but so far I haven't observed any patterns.  I see people with small kids down there watching the sunset and in the early morning many seniors walk their dogs. Then I meet other people in their thirties and forties who are scared to go down without a large group of people because once upon a time someone had a bike stolen (maybe 10 or 15 years ago).

In addition to the herons and hawks at the estuary, one finds the differentially housed: people who live in tents or throw down a sleeping bag under a bush for the night.  Some people are scared of people with different lifestyles then their own, others exchange pleasantries with everyone. Some people who live in non-portable houses are scared of the differentially housed. Others make friends.

Every time I speak at a community meeting, some people go off the deep end on how dangerous the estuary is and others talk about how it's an asset to the community.  I know that I can't change people's opinions about which is which. Plus trying to address how people feel is tough. Your feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are.

Low crime rates do not make people feel safe. Community makes us feel safe.

So having said all this, how do we help everyone feel safe at the gathering?

One way we can do this is to treat others the way they would like to be treated -- not the way you would like to be treated.  Try finding gentler voices. Look out for each other in peaceful ways and make sure the people in your vicinity seem comfortable. We all have different levels of tolerance, sensitivity, and fear. Honor that.

If someone looks uncomfortable, they probably are. Introduce yourself. Smile at someone you do not know.  We all feel more comfortable when we are around friends. Share your gathering wisdom. Pay more attention to body language. Learn to pick up vibes from the people around you. If you sense that someone is afraid of a situation, help them to feel comfortable by either staying with them, removing both yourselves from the situation, or trying talking to the other person about their fears in a supportive way.  Just because the situation is comfortable for you, doesn't mean it's comfortable for everyone.

Honor our differences and our need to be treated accordingly. Help each other on this journey.

Please pay special attention to law enforcement officers. A scared cop is a dangerous cop (remember Wyoming 2008?). Turn down the volume on negative energy by oming instead of cussing when you do not like a situation.

Think about how you would like others to act around your three year-old child and your ninety year-old grandmother and act accordingly.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Harvest (Fall/Thanksgiving) Counsel (Council/Circle)

Updated 11/16/17 @ 11:30  a.m. PST

For information on what and why, read my post here.  The counsel/council/circle takes place over the four day Thanksgiving Weekend, which this year is November 23 - 26.

This evening, "11/05/2017" there was a conference call to discuss a location to have Harvest Counsel for the 2018 annual, & after a short discussion there was a consensus to have this year's Harvest Counsel near Clayton Georgia.

For all folks looking to fly in for counsel, Clayton Georgia, is a 2 1/2 drive from Atlanta, & a 3 hour drive from Asheville North Carolina.

Directions to Harvest Counsel site will be posted on the Atlanta light line 770~662~6112 a few days prior to counsel.

Counsel time will be... November 23rd ~26th.
Lovin y'all ­čî×

P.S. As you drive to counsel, please drive legal..

More information will be posted here as it becomes available. Or you can call the Atlantic Lightline 770-662-6112 - please no collect calls.

Harvest Council Flyer

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 28 - Georgia Family Potluck and Counsel

For folks in and around Atlanta, there will be a get together for folks working towards creating positive energy in Georgia. Call the Atlanta Lightline for info 770-662-6112.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Love (Part 2 of 5 of "Creating Peace")

The rainbow family is full of love. We shout "we love you" to the sky, to other gathers, to the earth upon which we gently walk.  I have many friends whose children were conceived at the gathering.  We shower love as best we can on people who are unhappy about our presence in their neighborhood. We love all our siblings (brothers, sisters and transgenders), even the ones we do not like all that much.  We love the person who didn't pick up their dog shit, but we want to talk to them about it as well.

We even have a somewhat sarcastic phrase "loven you" to indicate our concern without being too mushy. With all these types of love floating around, how does love contribute to creating peace? Does the manner in which we love matter or does it matter more how we express our love?

In English we are limited as we have one word for love. The ancient Greeks had four separate words for love:
  • storge - kinship or familiarity
  • philia - friendship
  • eros - romantic and or sexual feelings
  • agape - self-emptying or divine love

Spanish has many words for love:
  • encantar - indicating strong like
  • gustar mucho - indicating strong like
  • querer - to love romantically, to want
  • afici├│n - enthusiasm
  • amado - sweetheart 
  • amor - pure love, romantic love
  • caridad - charity
Love is also an emotion. A very strong and powerful emotion.  How many of you have made decisions based on amar, agape, caridad, eros, and storage? I'm guessing everyone.

For the romantics among us, love is what creates beautiful art, amazing music, and sleepless nights.

For the biologists among us, love is a biological function like hunger or thirst that creates attachments between people, thereby insuring their survival in a dangerous and hostile world.

For the psychologists among us, love is not only a feeling, but a series of actions. 

Unconditional love is a common theme of most of the major belief systems and is one of the often unspoken foundations of participating in the phenomenon commonly called the Rainbow Gathering.

So what does all this have to do with creating a culture of peace?

Well besides being a slogan from the 1960s, using love as a way to create connections strengthens our interpersonal relationships. If we love someone with whom we disagree, we are highly motivated to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone.  If we have no personal attachment to other living beings, then we can more easily ignore their perspective and we often do not care about their  happiness.

Yet loving each of our siblings all the time is challenging. Some of our siblings act out, behave poorly, don't clean up after themselves, steal, fight, or are just downright mean. What then?

Then we muster our agape and our caridad and try to make that connection. We try to befriend our siblings. By finding a connection, we are creating a relationship. It may be storage it may be afici├│n, but if we can love another person in the worst situation, then maybe we can use that relationship to work towards peace.


But to be clear, loving someone does not mean you accept all their actions.


True love is being able to love your siblings while calling them on their bullshit (in a loving manner). 

True love is being able to communicate in a loving way why specific actions are hurting you, the planet, or other living creature.

True love is a meditative practice we undertake as we deal with the frustrations, interruptions, disappointments and annoyances that fill our lives.

 Let your mantra for this year's gathering be I love all my siblings and this beautiful planet we call home.

Love is the path towards peace.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

ALERT: Fees for group use on Forest Service Lands

Hi Family, 

Paying to gather on our public lands is rearing it's head again.

HR289 has passed the house on October 8, 2017 and is headed to the Senate.

Please contact your senators and ask them to oppose HR 289 that would charge a fee for "specialized individual and group use of Federal facilities and Federal recreational lands and waters, such as, but not limited to, use of special areas or areas where use is allocated, motorized recreational vehicle use, and group activities or events." 


No doubt, this would apply to Rainbow Gatherings. 

For more info, click here.

Thanks to our friends at the Western Slope No Fee Coalition for the alert.

Please contact your senators today and tell them no way!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hurricane Irma Relief Kitchen

Hi all,

Hear rumor that the kitchen in Florida should be getting set up Monday or Tuesday (Sept 18 or 19)  Once I have details I will share what the team wants shared.

Much love,
Karin

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rainbow Spirit Video

This video was originally made after the 1997 annual 4th of July gathering.  It was not filmed at the gathering, but is a great resource from some of the songs you will hear played around a campfire at a gathering. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma Rainbow Teams

Hi folks,

Just an FYI to let you know that a number of crews are gearing up to help in Florida once Hurricane Irma passes through.  I will update this page once I have details and locations on how to plug in.

Mama Earth is angry. Please listen to her.