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. DIRECTIONS TO THE GATHERING ARE HERE (and contain road closure info, and other critical information. This post is updated frequently so check back for the latest.To learn how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rainbow Relief Moving Into Position in Texas

Hey family,

Just an fyi, that a number of gathering kitchens, related relief groups, and individuals are heading to Texas to set up relief kitchens and do what we can to help out.

If you want to get plugged in and do on-the-ground work, please let me know and I'll plug you in. Keep in mind this isn't a rainbow gathering, but a physically and emotionally demanding volunteer effort.

If you can't go, but want to help with some green energy, you can donate to the "FFRE Kitchen" via the 501(c)3 United for Peace.

Please send loving energy and sun energy to Texas and the Southeast. 

Below is an update from today at 3:45 PM (West Coast time).

Shining Light's current wish list:
  • 32 foot extension ladder
  • 220,000 BTU burners from home brewing stores that they can use with the kegs to cook

Saturday, August 19, 2017

It's an Experiment Folks

The social media world is full of criticisms of the gathering, arguments over who shoulda, woulda, coulda. There are people who think the gathering is full of criminals because they hear a rumor about something that happened, there are people who don't understand why we don't always walk our talk. Did I mention internet rumors? 

I hear rumors about all sorts of things that never happened - and sometimes about things that maybe happened but have been blown out of proportion on-line. Have you ever heard of the Telephone Game? If you are not familiar with living in a non-hierarchical, direct-democracy community with no one in charge, the entire situation can be very scary.

You may be wondering what is this experiment and who is involved.

The way I see it, the gathering is an experiment in creating temporary community. The values we talk center on creating a peace focused egalitarian community that intends to create a safe and peaceful gathering and a safe and peaceful world. The values we talk include deep care and respect for mother earth and the land upon which we gather.  This means that everyone contributes according to their ability and their desire. We provide free food, free medical care, and if you came without a tent or sleeping bag, sometimes folks have extra to share.

Does everyone come with this intention?  Of course not.  This is not a perfect world in which we live, nor is everyone who attends the gathering perfect. Although even the roughest, meanest folks who come home, are probably searching for something better then the culture in which they normally live. Does that mean that when we come home we are instantly transformed into kind loving people?  Of course not.

So what's the truth?  I can't speak for the truth as there is no "one" truth. Different people come home with different baggage and needs. We try to address issues like poor behavior,  unequal access, differential abilities, and capacity to contribute from a place of love and compassion. Does that mean that every problem is met with love and compassion?  Of course not. Does that mean that every situation is met with actions that you personally feel are appropriate?  Of course not.

What it means is that the majority of individuals at the gathering are trying to help others from a perspective they feel is loving and caring.  It might not be your perspective of love and care, but it is someone's perspective.

Can we do better?  Of course we can.  The more we teach and learn from each other, the better we get at this experiment.  The more we remember to engage from a place of compassion, the more loving our actions become.  Sometimes we focus on harm reduction -- preventing an individual from hurting her/himself or others. Sometimes we focus on triage. Sometimes we spend hours or days trying to diffuse a situation and nothing seems to change. Sometimes the relationship between cause and effect is not clear. The person you spent days trying to help may not change their behavior today or tomorrow. Maybe the change happens in six days or six months.  I've seen plenty of situations with  lots of kind loving energy put into them fall apart without any obvious effect. Then days later, the behavior problem suddenly resolves itself and the problem behavior has been transformed into wood chopping.

This is a love based endeavor. Sometimes love is keeping a two year old from putting a dangerous object in her/his mouth. Sometimes love is being strict with acceptable behavior. Sometimes love is taking care of someone when they are down.  Sometimes love is food.

If you don't like to learn and grow as a human being, then this probably isn't the place for you. Every gathering I go to I learn more about how to be a loving and compassionate person while still creating peace and having boundaries. I am student of the gathering and the gathering is a tough teacher -- sometimes the lessons you learn are ones you have been trying to avoid. If you are looking for something that is already perfect, then this probably isn't the place for you.  However, just cause this isn't the place for you, doesn't mean it's a bad place.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


The annual gathering of the tribes, which takes place over the 4th of July, has a cyclical process. While various regions in the USA often host a Thanksgiving get together, this blog deals with the annual gathering. In Oregon this summer, vision council on the land reached consensus that the 2018 gathering will take place in the southern Appalachian Mountains

But then what?

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

The year starts off with Fall Counsel / Thanks giving Council / T-Council or Circle, over the four day Thanksgiving holiday weekend of the same name. This is a time for people interested in plugging in, talking about visions for the gathering, discussing scouting, strategies about legal issues, etc. to get together. (see we don't even agree on the name). 

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

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

I'm hoping that there will be a real mix of generations at T-Council. We need older people, we need younger people, we need more experienced gatherers and we need less experienced gatherers to come together to create a vision for a peaceful, healing and fun gathering in 2018. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where will the gathering be?

Updated June 12, 1:30 AM Eastern Time

Usually when someone gets on my email list, this is the first information I send them. So to you out here in blogsphere, here's that same information.
From the invite to the very first Rainbow Gathering in 1972:

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

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

The 2017 Vision Council/Counsel/Circles of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in Oregon has consensed:
"We, the individuals assembled at the Rainbow Family of Living Light vision counsel on the land, day 6, Oregon, July 12th, 2017, invite all people home to a silent meditation and prayer for peace on July 4th from dawn until high noon, and to gather from July 1-7, 2018, for the 47th Annual North American world peace and healing rainbow family gathering on Turtle Island in the region of the Atlantic Appalachias, from the Shenandoah mountains through the Chattahoochee forest, in a forest we have not gathered in before."
Thanks F&* for the handy map. The area in the gold thumbtacks is the consensed upon area.

Translation: The 2018 gathering will take place in the southern part of the Appalachia mountains. 

Fall (Thanksgiving) Counsel/Council/Circle

The next step in the process of landing on a site is always the get-together which takes place over the four day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  This is a time of people to council and share their hopes and dreams for the 2018 gathering.  If you have potential sites you think are worthy of scouting in the spring, bring topo maps and forest service maps.  Directions to T-council usually come out in the first half of November. Check back then.

Scout Rendezvous

Scout Rendezvous takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Scout councils/rendezvous is a time for people out scouting to connect up, share information, talk about scouting efforts. As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a desire to walk, learn, teach and share. If you come, please be self sufficient - have green energy for gas, food, etc. You don't need your own vehicle if you can be a positive traveling companion, but $$$ are always in short supply for scouting, so please bring enough for yourself and some to share with the person whose vehicle breaks down.

Spring council/counsel/circle

Spring council starts June 8, 2018 and takes as long as it takes. 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. Spring council goes until a decision is reached by consensus or by foot. The exact location for this council generally isn't determined until one to two weeks before spring council starts. Until the spring council process reaches a site, there is no home.  This being said, spring council is usually but not always in the area of where the best potential site(s) for the gathering are located.

For those of you who think the site is picked in advance and want to get the 411 now so you can book plane tickets.  I'm sorry, but there is no site picked at this time. However, based on the information I'm receiving if you were to book a flight into Atlanta (ATL), Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), or Greenville/Spartanburg SC, those would probably be the best airports to pick for proximity to the area where the energy seems to be taking us. 
NOTE FROM June 2:  Energy is shifting. Stay tuned.

Keep in mind that weather conditions (which are unpredictable) play a part in all of this. So let's say someone finds a great site during the summer of 2017 (and I have no knowledge that anyone did or will), for all we know come the first week of June, 2018 that site is still under snow or 2 feet of water, then what? Keep in mind that 4 feet of snow at a gathering is rough (anyone remember Washington 2011?).

Drought and high fire danger can have the same effect. A great site that was nice and wet in August 2017 can be dry as a tinder box in June 2018. If the Forest Service has a no open fire ban on that site that looked so great last year, guess it's not looking that great this year. Available water can change year to year as well depending on snow melt.  Conditions change all the time.  The family needs to find the best possible site for the health and safety of gathering participants and the land on which we gather.

Seed Camp

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

The Gathering

The main day of the gathering is July 4 when we observe silence from dawn until high noon and put our energy into manifesting world peace, the positive evolution of the planet and other good things.  Many people observe this with a prayer or mediation for world peace. Others do Yoga for world peace, blow bubbles for world peace, etc. Basically, if it's a silent, gentle energy then it fits in very well.  As to when the gathering starts, that's dynamic.  It's usually one day during the last week of June when some friends and I look at each other and say "today it's a gathering."  (of course you may pick a different date than I do when it feels like a gathering and not like seed camp).

The earlier you come the more self sufficient you need to be and relationships with the Forest Service can be rougher. On the other hand, showing up for seed camp allows you to influence the way the gathering goes. If you show up later, say after June 27, then most (but not all) of the drama has subsided.  Traditionally the dates are listed as July 1 to 7, but most years people start leaving in droves on July 5th. Most years the gathering starts the last few days of June. It's hard to say when as it's an organic process, but one day it will feel like seed camp and the next day it will feel like a gathering.

The Howdy Folks (aka Directions to the gathering and important information) is available here.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization!
Live lightly with the Land and People!
Be the peaceful and loving person you want to see more of in this world.
Please copy and distribute this information widely