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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Dahlonega Nugget Law Enforcement Reporting

Greg Finan with The Dahlonega Nugget appears to be writing an article on experiences with law enforcement during the gathering. 

Here his call for people to interview:

If anyone is willing to talk to me about their experiences with law enforcement during the 2018 Rainbow Family Gathering in Georgia please email me. For those who may not have met me at the gathering, I am the senior reporter for The Dahlonega Nugget. Thank you.

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Blog for 2019

The 2019 gathering will take place in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Click here to view the 2019 blog.

Manitonquat (Medicine Story) R.I.P.

Medicine Story "Manitonquat" Talbot passed away at the age of 89 on July 21, 2018.

Medicine Story taught people around the world about The Circle Way for creating peace, ending violent crime, and teaching people how to use a talking stick to facilitate communication. To learn more about the work he and his wife, Ellika, have been doing for decades, visit their website, the Circle Way.

These two videos were  made at the 2016 Rainbow Gathering in Vermont when many of the earlies came to share their hipstories, or tales of how the rainbow gathering came to be. He would have been 2 weeks shy of turning 87 that year.

In 2009, at the New Mexico Gathering, I had the joy of digging a shitter with him and Garrick Beck and we talked about stories and how important they are to our understanding of the world.

Medicine Story at main circle, Washington Gathering 1981

Dear Medicine Story,

You have taught us many lessons and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Be safe on your journeys.

Medicine Story and Ellika

Ellika, Pete Seeger, Toshi Seeger, Medicine Story

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bajer R.I.P.

Bajer and Debby at an unnamed gathering
On July 18, our much loved Bajer, aka Charles Winslow, passed away after attending his final gathering on planet Earth in Georgia.

Bajer dedicated his entire life to this crazy roller coaster we call the rainbow gathering. He was a mountain man of the kind that are fast becoming extinct in this country if they aren't extinct with his passing. He lived in the woods for a large part of his life. He was a man of few words, "harrumph" being a frequent expression. 

I first met Bajer at the Alabama Gathering in 1993 at a wedding where he was the groom.  I had been to a few regionals before then, but this was my first July 4th gathering and the love he and his bride shared was real. Bajer was a man who believed in love, wanting love. In fact the last time we really hung out was in Vermont, 2016 and he asked me, like he had for years, if I was seeing someone. If I wasn't, he was interested.  Always polite about it, but always looking for love somewhere with someone.

In Colorado 2006 during one of many discussions of how to write an unsigned operating plan that the Forest Service would accept, Bajer stalked by in full exasperation mode and said something to the effect, tell them we will gather, pray for peace and then we'll clean it up.  We don't need more than that. Then he stormed off throwing his hand up in the air.

Enjoy these photos shared by many.

Bajer and a very young John Buffalo

Bajer with headband. Patty in upper right, white tank top.

Chuck Windsong (RIP) on left and Bajer on right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vision Council Consensi

Hi all,

This is the information I have on the consensi that Vision Council on the land in Georgia reached where Day 1 would have been July 7th, 2018.

Much love to all.

(Day 5)
"We, individuals circled in Vision Counsel on the land in the Chattahoochee Forest in Southern Appalachia at the 47th Annual Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering of the Tribes, in 2018, have lovingly reached consensus on the following:"

(Day 5)
#2: "The Rainbow Family has no official representation, in person, online, or in any legal sense. Know your sources."

(Day 6)
#1: "We offer our truth and heart that we believe peace and love grows, heals, and is a transcendent good, and we as Rainbow Family are grateful, encouraging and faithful to this truth of peace and love."

(Day 6)
#3: "Remaining united is an important part of maintaining the integrity of our family. Furthermore, standing behind the decisions of Spring Counsel is a crucial way of carrying out that intent, just as Spring Counsel respects Vision Counsel."

(Day 6)
"Love Letter #4:
To the World Rainbow Family Vision Counsel Cherished Family,
Your correspondence was faithfully delivered and received with pleasure. There is growing excitement at the idea of a meeting of Families in 2022. Some of us wish greatly to visit you in 2019 where we hope to more deeply discuss this possibility.
With sincere regard and love,
Rainbow Family of Living Light Vision Counsel, July 2018"

(Day 6)
#5: "Water is life."

(Day 7)
#6: "We invite all individuals to continue circling at our Harvest Counsel, which will be November 22-25, 2018, in or near the consensed region."

(Day 7)
#7: "We practice peace. We reaffirm our aspiration to respect consent and to be gentle in all of our interactions."

(Day 7)
#8: "We invite all who gather around the world to share in a silent meditation and prayer for peace from dawn till noon on July 4, 2022."

(Day 10)
#9: "We encourage individuals to help cocreate the 48th Annual Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering of the Tribes from July 1-7, 2019, and to join us in a silent meditation and prayer for peace from dawn till noon on July 4, 2019, somewhere in the Western Lake Superior region from the Nicolet Forest through the Chippewa Forest, including all National Forests between." [This includes all National Forests in Wisconsin and Minnesota]

[Note on Love Letter #4: Last year's Vision Counsel reached consensus on "We invite the world to a silent meditation for world peace on July 4th, 2022."
Individuals brought that message to the World Gathering Vision Counsel in Taiwan in 2018. The Taiwan Gathering, having sent a pair of messages back and forth between two potential World Gathering sites, penned their third letter and sent it to Vision Counsel in the USA. It reads,
"Love Letter #3:
Dearest Rainbow Family,
We have heard your invitation to join us in 2022, and we like it. We look forward to discussing it more at the next Vision Counsel. This letter is the consensus of the World Rainbow Family Vision Counsel."
Love Letter #4 is a response to this message, and will be carried to the 2019 World Rainbow Family Vision Counsel in Colombia.]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vision Council is On Going (7/15/18)

I know everyone is anxious to find out where we will be in 2019, but according to a report I received, Vision Council is on-going. Apparently the bears are bugging them to move alone.  Once a decision is reached, I will post it here.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amber Robinson RIP

Updated 7/20/18 at 11:00 p.m. eastern time with donation opportunity

Dear Amber,

You were with us for such a short time. I did not meet you, but those who did said you were a beautiful soul.

We failed you. You asked us what to do with your life and we said, please come home to the gathering. You came to the gathering with the man that would end your life two weeks later. Both of you came home and we didn't keep you from leaving with him.

So many hearts are broken. These words are helpless scratches on the life that you deserved to live.  These words come too little, too late. We should have, could have, would have.  As a family, we have soul searching to do to prevent this from ever happening again. We owe you this much at least. 
You should have been on your way to another gathering or a beautiful lake somewhere to swim in the cool refreshing water and dancing under the trees by moonlight.  This is the life I wish for you.

I will continue to identify ways that the collective we, and my self personally, will work towards protecting our family from those who would pray upon them as we gather in the future.

Let us sink deeply into our grief and then later when our tears have dried up, channel that grief towards  preventing anyone person from experiencing the fate you did.

To all that knew Amber well, I am so deeply sorrow that we failed her.

If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe opportunity to help her family with the memorial arrangements, click here.

A reporter took a video of her hard at work on trash at the gathering. Its posted on Facebook so I'm not sure if you will be able to see it or not without a Facebook account. Click here for the video.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Legal Support for Family in Georgia Jail

As a follow up to the march/rally on Sunday, a legal fund has been started by local Georgia folks who are outraged at the way family was treated coming home this year.

"Police agencies in Dahlonega, Georgia launched an all-out attack against the Constitution under the guise of protecting their community and the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.  From what?  The peaceful folks known as the Rainbow Family of Living Light participants who gather in National Forests each year during the 4th of July holiday season.
The latest updated report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows over 900 citations and arrests made at the federal level, for minor and questionable offenses. The Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office has not reported the number of arrests made, but many still remain in jail.
Spartacus Legal wants to help these visitors to Georgia who have been wrongly treated.  Our founder, Catherine Bernard, has already begun the process of identifying some of the needy and we have established a fund to help with bail money and legal defense.
Please donate to help us continue the process of shining some Light to the atrocities that have happened under the guise of “Public Safety” in Dahlonega."

If you want to donate funds or learn more, click here.

CJ Elliot Call Your Mom! (FOUND)

Updated July 14 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

*******CJ has been found in Minnesota!*******

20 year old CJ Elliott from Dahlonega, GA went to check out the Rainbow Gathering in the Chattahoochee National Forest July 4th. No one has seen or heard from him since.

He’s 5,10, 135lbs with blue eyes. He was driving a 1993 grey Chevy pickup. If you see him, please help him contact his family so they don't worry.

Update from the site July 10

Report from the site. Despite the wording of the Forest Service closure order, the USFS is not interfering with folks on the land doing cleanup. Road 28-1 is now open.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Every gathering I attended teaches me a new lesson. This summer's gathering in Georgia taught me about the importance of de-escalation even though I did not attend.

Now I'm not saying that de-escalation solves all problems and prevents violence. It is a tool in dealing with other humans on this amazing planet.

Remember we cannot control what other people do, we cannot always control wildfires, floods, or earthquakes, but we can work on our selves and manage our reactions to events external to our individual human body.  So how do we de-escalate a stressful situation and reduce the potential for human violence?

Keeping in mind that every situation is different and every human is different, the first step is to feel what is going on. Feeling includes reading body language, trying to understand words, tone of voice, etc.   Trying to understand as best you can what triggered the situation before you involve yourself is always important although sometimes life doesn't allow you this luxury.

I often start with the words I hear caring parents tell their upset children.  "Please use your words to tell me."  Asking the upset person to put into words what they are feeling about the situation and/or you doing the same by using the personal pronoun is one way to de escalate an argument. Saying "I feel uncomfortable when you do xxxx" rather than "You make me feel xxx."  After all, as grownups, we should learn to own our own emotions.

Avoid defensive behavior. Of course, when someone attacks you verbally or physically, our instinctual response is to fight back. But there are other options. 

When dealing with physical attacks, sometimes you can retreat or step aside. Sometimes you can use the least force necessary to buy time to open up a dialog. This means not letting your emotions control the force you use, but letting your calm rational brain do so. No need to try to kill someone. Sometimes, just restraining a person in as gentle of a manner as is humanly possible for a bit can allow everyone to cool off.

When dealing with verbal attacks, responding with phrases such as "If I understand correctly, your concern is that XXXX"  or "I hear the pain and hurt you are experiencing." Acknowledging the pain and struggles of other people and responding emphatically with love and compassion, is one way a crises can sometimes be de-escalated. Asking another human being questions about their situation when done with care can completely change the vibe. After all, anger and sorrow can often be two sides of the same coin.

When someone is upset, it gets hard for them to rationally listen to the words you say, but your tone of voice, your body language, your relaxed body posture and breathing can help others relax. I have had great success with oming and have seen people who were really upset, catch themselves after a few minutes of oming.  Oming helps us to deepen our breath, many people believe the om encompasses all human language, and many consider it to be a sacred sound. When problems arise, calling on the divine is always appropriate. Singing or playing calming gentle music is often a great option.  Trying to get everyone's breathing to s l o w  d o w n, often helps our rational mind jump back into the picture.

When we get upset our primal brain and sympathetic nervous system jump into action creating a flight or flight response. This is a fantastic part of our brain. It allows mothers to lift automobiles off small children, helps people outrun danger, and gives us the mental ability to respond in an emergency situation without fear. But this same "reaction" can cause an already bad situation to slide downhill quickly.  However, if we can acknowledge the fear or anger that is driving someone's fight or flight response, perhaps we can create a loving space that will allow that person to process their emotions, what ever they are. After all, no emotion is wrong or bad. We all feel what we feel. However, how we respond to feelings makes all the difference in the world.

Allow silence. Don't feel you have to talk all the time. Sometimes, just being silent and breathing gives everyone the opportunity to calm down.

Sometimes, being a calm and grounded witness helps other people calm  down. When someone is in a whirlwind of emotions, the grounded energy that others can provide may rub off.

Sometimes, all you can do is leave the situation to protect yourself or because you are being reactive. That's OK to. Much better to walk out on an argument than let it escalate until someone gets hurt.  Its OK to step away from an argument.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

People still in jail

If you are missing someone, there are apparently 30 people from the gathering still in the Dahlonega Jail.  Click here for a list of names and charges.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Forest Service Update for July 6

Updated July 6, 9:15 p.m. eastern time

***Begin USFS message***

 Today, U.S. Forest Service officials issued a camping closure order between July 8 and July 15 for the area used by the Rainbow Family of Living Light (RFLL) for its 2018 national gathering. Trail users and other visitors may still access the area during the day. 

The RFLL began rehabilitating the site on the Chattahoochee National Forest, located near Bull Mountain, earlier today. Forest Service officials will evaluate the group's progress in the next few days and may extend the camping closure to allow for continued work. Trail users should exercise caution in the area until a final assessment is complete.
Area of no camping starting July 8 (click map to enlarge)

"Any time several thousand people concentrate in one area of the national forest, there are visible impacts to vegetation, soil and other natural resources," said District Ranger Andy Baker. "During the gathering, we worked hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. Now that it is over, we are working with the participants to ensure that they pack out what they packed in and leave no trace for future visitors."
Cleanup and restoration efforts include:

  • Trash removal, including abandoned camping supplies;
  • Taking apart and scattering any constructed feature like clay ovens;
  • Raking and loosening any compacted soil;
  • Rehabilitating user-created trails;
  • Removing constructed water crossings like bridges and stepping stones;
  • Eradicating any constructed dams or pools to allow streams to return to their natural flow; and
  • Covering latrines with soil and mound to account for settling over time.
Baker added, "We know the Jake and Bull trail system is very popular with visitors and is regularly maintained by dedicated volunteers. My intention is to make sure the area is left in a better condition than it was before the gathering."

Click here to see the USFS post.


March To Demand Release of Rainbow Gatherers from Local Jail on SUNDAY, JULY 8

Updated July 7 at  4:00 p.m. eastern time

Hi all,

This seems to be coming from one of the locals in Dahlonega, Georgia. It's a march taking place on SUNDAY, JULY 8 at 2:30 p.m. in Dahlonega, Georgia.  Please, please, please, gather up all the experienced shanti sena verbers you can find and make sure they show up. I will update this post once I get the details.  I was told this will be a "permitted" march.

**********Begin Forwarded Message******************

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD Y’ALL! A peaceful march is being organized to advocate for the release of Rainbow Family members who are still being detained.

The march will take place Sunday, July 8 @ 2:30 pm. in Dahlonega.

Lumpkin County Sheriff Department
E Main St 385, Dahlonega, Georgia 30533

March Route (Click to enlarge)

Map and important regulations will be uploaded soon.
1: Picketing may be conducted on the public sidewalk only and cannot be conducted on public roads or streets
2: Picketers cannot be in the medians or within 200 feet of any buildings
3: Picketers shall not disrupt, block, or interfere with any pedestrian/vehicular traffic or access to any buildings
4: Picketing signs or banners cannot exceed three square feet
5: Picketing staffs or poles that a banner is secured to must me made of corrugated material, plastic, or wood (no metal) and can’t exceed 40 inches in length. They must also be less than 3/4 inch in diameter and must be blunt on both ends
6: ABSOLUTELY NO curse words or profanity on signs.
7: Spectators shall not physically interfere with individuals who are picketing
8: Picketers shall not speak fighting words or threat that would provoke a reasonable person to breach the peace
9: Picketers are subject to all applicable local state and federal laws
10: Nothing prohibits a law enforcement officer from issuing a command to disperse in the event of a riot or disorderly conduct.

Local residents are outraged about the treatment of our brothers and sisters. Everything from illegal search and seizure, unauthorized detainment, restriction of access to public property, failure to provide due process, stripping of human and civil rights, and even CAVITY (vaginal) searches on some of our sisters. IT WILL ALL BE EXPOSED! Please send any and all video and photographic evidence to this email address.

Loving you!!!!!

According to the event organizers:

The latest updated report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows over 900 citations and arrests made at the federal level, for minor and questionable offenses.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lost and Found (people, pets and things)

Every year people, pets and various objects are lost at the gathering or people not at the gathering fear people have been lost.

Lost People

Every year people go to the gathering and their loved ones worry.  Just a reminder, while there seems to be some no cell phone  reception at this year's gathering, I hear it's up on the ridge and not everyone may know about it or want to call.

If you haven't heard from your friends and/or family since they went into the gathering, odds are they are still down in the meadow and can't call you.  Either way, it's generally safer for people to stay inside the gathering, then to run the cop gauntlet to make a phone call.  Even if your loved one promised to call every day, that's a promise they will be unable to keep as that would require them to spend their entire gathering going out to some place with reception and then coming back in again.

Even if there is a place on the top of a nearby mountain where you can get cell reception if you stand on your right foot only with your left arm outstretched and the cell phone positioned exactly on your naval - one 5 minute call will eat up all your charge.  Unless your loved one brought a solar panel to recharge their phone, the calls aren't going to happen for a bit. NOTE:  You may think this situation is made up,but this happens every year. People's phone are dead, lost, or they don't know where the cell service spot it.

Again, on the road where the cars and cops are is the area where problems occur. We strongly recommend that people stay inside the gathering. Going in and out increases a persons risk of a negative experience with law enforcement. Again, people on the land will strongly suggest to your loved one that they stay inside the gathering until it's over.

That being said, if you're going to the gathering, call your Mama or someone else, let them know you are going in and will be out of cell reception until after you leave the gathering.

If something serious happened to your loved one, then they are no longer at the gathering and would be found in a local hospital, jail, or mental health facility. If you check those places and your loved one is not there, then they are probably inside the gathering. To see who is currently in the Lumpkin County Jail, click here

Most people usually surface by July 15th as the clean up crew starts shrinking by then, but some people will be on the land until at least the end of July (and on the land means no or haphazard access to telephones).  If after July 10, you still haven't heard, email "m e a t k a r i n z i r k dot c o m" a recent photo and include this information:

    How old is he/she?
    Was this her/his first gathering? 
    Was he/she planning to camp with any camp in particular?
    Did she/he travel to the gathering with friends who have since left the gathering?
    Did she/he have any mental and/or physical health issues? 
    What kind of drugs (if any) does he/she typically use?
    Was there a specific previously agreed on plan for he/she to return home at a certain time or at least check in?

Lost Things

For those people who go to the gathering and lose something, found items are taken to Info or sometimes to the nearest kitchen so don't give up yet.  If you didn't check the lost and found items at INFO, your stuff may be there. Even if you did, many items are discovered during cleanup. At the end of cleanup, all the valuable lost and found items will be taken out of the gathering site. To try to get reconnected with your stuff, at the end of July call  the Atlanta  Lightline @
770-662-6112 (no collect calls). Leave your name, phone # and a brief description of what you lost. Someone will call you back if your or similar items are there. Keep in mind, lost and found at this level is for things like wallets, cameras, expensive gear.  We don't try to reunite people with lost t-shirts, bliss wear, etc.

Lost Animals

For those people who left without all the animals they brought, please go back to the site and retrieve your pets. I do not care if you have to be back to work or whatever. If you brought an animal, you need to go home with that animal. If you don't, folks on the land will find a home for your pet and it won't be your home. We never leave any pets behind.  Every pet will leave the gathering with a human companion ~ hopefully the one they came with. If you can't go back yourself, try to connect up with a friend in the area to retrieve your pet. Just a reminder, pets on leashes don't get lost as often as those not on a leash. The gathering is a scary experience for animals who aren't used to it. Read the Pup Rap for more info.  If you are a local who feel we drop off pets at the local shelter, we never do that. Other people may be stealing dogs from the gathering and dropping them off, but we don't. All dogs brought to the gathering, leave with people who were at the gathering.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Updates from the gathering July 3

Updated July 3, 4:20 p.m eastern time

This afternoon the Rainbows are in court filing for a restraining order to remove roadblocks and to open the roads that have been closed. Parking is a long walk but there are shuttles. If we win the tro then parking will be easy peasy.

It looks like the judge is going to give us what we asked for i e open Road's stop harassment the feds are trying to figure out how to do that, y'all get back to us. looks like they will have a nice Circle tomorrow.  

Check back for updates

From the Forest Service:

Parking is currently only allowed on the south side of the road. FSR 77 is closed to motorized vehicles, but visitors can walk FSR 77 to access Back Gate (2.7 miles).


PARKING: Parking is available on FSR 42 from Coppermine Gap to Big Stamp Gap. Space is limited. Obey all posted signs. Roadside parking on designated routes should allow adequate access for through traffic. Do not block gates. Illegally parked cars will be towed. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Updates from the gathering for July 2

As copied from a friend's Facebook Post

Gong Show @ Granola Funk tonight, Dating Game tomorrow. Poetry night at We Home tomorrow night. Parking Lot is out of jail. Primary Triangle was the trianglyist of all this year, entering the second third triangle with 3 points and 270 people. Cop encounter statement forms are at Info and need to be filled out by everyone who had a police encounter (so...everyone). Pizza night at the Ovens tonight. Every Kid's Birthday at Kid Village tomorrow, with cake and piƱata from Dirty Kid Village. IT'S HAPPENING!

Updated Parking Map for July 2, 2018

Hi all,

Here it the latest parking map. Parking is available on FS Road 42 near the intersection of FS Road 77 on the south side of the road only. I have heard rumor that this is between Big Stamp Gap and Coppermine Gap but have been unable to correlate these places with the yellow line on the map.
 See which side other cars are parked on and park accordingly. Please park tight as there is limited parking available.

Latest Map showing parking in yellow (click to enlarge)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Happy July 1st (Updates on the gathering)

Updated at 15:00 p.m. Eastern time on July 2

The state of Georgia is now “Hands-Free”. You cannot touch your phone while you are behind the wheel. There is no Grace period. You cannot let your phone rest on your body. It must be in a holder or on your console.

--From the local sheriff
Before the sheriff hosted the Town Hall meeting last week at the Lumpkin Park & Rec concerning the "Rainbow Family Gathering", Lorine Peck called me wanting to offer solutions to what could potentially be an issue with large amounts of garbage being left behind following this large event. Because of Lorine's proactive thinking, I was able to reach out to one of our local business owners and without hesitation Floyd Wimpy of Wimpy Dumpsters agreed to bring a container to the gathering in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest free of charge for the Rainbow Family to dispose of garbage as the event progresses therefore protecting our National Forest and resources.
The Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office will be accepting donations to cover the costs of "dump fees". If you would like to contribute to this cause and help protect our resources, you may drop off your donations to the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office at 385 East Main Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533.  ~~Sheriff Stacy M. Jarrard

The response to this situation from a friend who is on the land. Just an FYI, folks on the land are sorting this out. The Magic Hat may donate some funds and Wimpy's may be given a 501(c)3 to write off a portion via his taxes. I feel there is nothing for those of us not on the land to do because the folks on the land are rocking the situation.

Just heard at 5 p.m. eastern time today that the best place to park is on FS28B.  That may change by the time you read this. Here is the advise I was given: "To do this set your GPS to the Camp Merrill Army Ranger Camp outside Dahlonega. Camp Merrill is at the end of Camp Wasega Road. When you reach the Camp gate go South of FS28-1."

Although if your still reading this blog by the time you get there a trail may exist from FS28B.

Here's a photo of the new parking map that was taken on June 30 at 6:12 PM eastern Time. Thanks to the sibling who shared it. Looks parking on one side of Road 42 on either side of Hwy 77 is now available.

Click to enlarge