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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Water Is Life

Following Standing Rock, the saying Water is Life or Mni Wiconi in Lakota has become a familiar saying.  Most of us know what that means in relationship to the struggle to protect water sources from pipelines, but how many of us really understand what that means in relationship to the gathering?

When people scout for a gathering location, they always look for sources of water that can keep our camp alive.  Finding water is hard. Finding water that is uphill from where we want to gather is critical as gravity can help transport water to our population centers, kitchens, medical care, etc.  Protecting these water sources is important.  The water we drink keeps us alive, maintains our health, and can contribute to or prevent the spread of disease among gatherers.

Anyone remember the vomiting and diarrhea extravaganza in Oregon in 2017?  Now I'm not saying that water caused it because we also do a lot of hugging and sharing of smokeable things, but making sure each and everyone has enough clean and safe water to drink is critical to maintaining your health and protecting against dehydration.

 Nearly 1 billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water.  Living in the United States, most people have access to relatively safe drinking water (concerns of chlorine and fluoridation set aside for this blog post). We can get water from the taps, many parks, water vending machines, stores, etc. This leaves many of us in blissful ignorance of how hard it is to drink enough safe water to stay healthy.

However, when we go to the woods, we are in a more precarious situation.  Children, the elderly, and those with health conditions are especially sensitive to water quality. Every year, gatherers have many ailments that often could have been prevented by drinking enough water. How much is enough?  If it's a warm or hot gathering, please try to put at least ONE GALLON OF WATER PER DAY in your mouth.  If you are not peeing every few hours you are not drinking enough. Take responsibility for your health: drink water!

So where does this water come from?

Send all your love to the people who tap water sources, run pipe, and provide filtration systems so that everyone has access to clean and safe water.

Send all your love to the kitchens that bring water filters or boil water to set up hydration stations at their kitchens to keep you all hydrated.

Why not drink from the pipe like our lovely little girl in the photo?  Because, our pipe is not a closed system. It's just PVC or black pipe lying on the ground.  Even if the water source tests clean for water on day 1, all it takes is one off-leash dog pooping at the source. All it takes is one person tripping over the pipe to create a crack that then get something nasty in it (like dog poop).   All it takes is one person who was sick and repaired the pipe without washing their hands first to get a whole lot of people sick.

We give away all the water we pipe, filter, boil, or share for free.  Remember that folks, drinking healthy water is a human right not just for gatherers but for those around the world.  Water is life. Water at the gathering is 100% free. But that doesn't mean the pipe is free, or the water filters are free, or the connecting devices are free.

A trusted friend of mine has a PayPal account that you can use to donate money to help purchase these things.  http://tinyurl.com/rainbowwater.

I have another friend who is making water filtration systems and giving them to family in exchange for the cost of the materials.  If you are interested, please email k z i r k a t e a r t h l i n k d o t n e t your email address and I will pass it on.

Water filtration systems are much easier to build at home than in the woods. The more safe and clean water we have for our family, the healthier and less stressed everyone will be.


  1. Hi Karin - One comment about a likely cause of the Oregon vomiting/diarrhea issue: The area we were in last year had been used for cattle grazing. The weather during the gathering was also bone dry. What that meant was there was a lot of dust in the air that likely contained a significant amount of manure particles. It was prevalent during dinner circles in main meadow. This dust was inhaled, got on people's utensils, and in the food as it was served. While I agree with everything that you wrote above, I do believe that the fecal contaminated dust played a role in the illnesses out there. Just sayin'.

  2. Ancient Swami,speaking of old and dry cowpoop say - " Ah , goodness to chew it and moo " .