Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Yin and Yang of the Gathering

Please note: this is a revised version of an original blog post. I've tried to make it more symbolic and less literal so people will get the metaphor and not focus on literal truths about literal people. Legend, reality, metaphor are all different things and in the interest of peace I've tried to make my editorial less literal. 2/15/11.

The words yin and yang are used all the time, but for purposes of this editorial representing my own thoughts on the gathering, I'll rely on a Wikipedia definition "Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, but either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in particular objects, and may ebb or flow over time."

The roots of the gathering were planted in the compost of the 1960s with anti-war activists, living on the land communes, civil rights movements, LSD, Marijuana and all the other things that you already know or can easily find on the internet if you're not up to speed.  All these various energies came together and various people have written various hipstories or personal stories about the beginnings of the gathering.

We live in an increasing polarized world with people of differing religious or political beliefs showing increasing levels of hostility to each other. But the gathering can and often does move beyond that. Lately though, I've been seeing an increase in polarization at the gathering and I wanted to take this opportunity  to look at some of the polar opposites and shine a light on their union.

For purposes of this discussion, I will use two friends of mine (who may also be friends of yours) to illustrate the opposite but complimentary energies of the gathering and how critical each of these energies is to creating a positive gathering that fulfills the dreams laid out in the first invite to the Rainbow Gathering. These two friends are by no means the only people involved or the only representatives of two opposite but complimentary energies, but I have known each of them for many years and had many interactions with them separately and together.  I also am using them in a symbolic fashion and in no way should anything I write in this editorial be construed to indicate any truth or factual representation of past events. I love and respect both of these people with all my heart.

I'll start with the light, peaceful, sowing of organic seeds and smiles energy that I see embodied in Blue Flower.   She/he comes from an east coast radical artsy background and is full of smiles, able to easily convey information, went to college, was an anti-war activist during the Vietnam and subsequent wars, enjoys beautiful things and wears clothing indicative of First Nation tribes around the planet.  She/he is playful, energetic and excited beyond words every time the gathering manifests itself in time and space. Or as you might say - the more spiritual or new age energy.

Then there is the street living, hard scrabble, slut refusing to be ground under the boots of those in power that I see embodied in Green Flower. She/he wears leather and  plowed farms for a living. A Vietnam war veteran she/he loves to live in the woods and eat the flesh of animals he and his friends have killed. As committed to creating peace as Blue Flower, She/he leans heavily on military strategies, hard living family and the rough and tumble of life growing up in the wilds of a western state in a small cabin in the middle of no where.  Or as you might say - the dirty kids energy.

Every time we gather, we need to include both Blue Flower and Green Flower. A gathering with too much Green Flower can be full of pie in the sky  ideals and too much time spent in meditation or enjoying sushi and strawberries with family.  A gathering with too much Blue Flower energy, ends up in drunken brawls, fights and a steady diet of venison, rice and beans. When Green Flower and Blue Flower are working in consort, we have beautiful gatherings where people are free to be themselves, the shitters get dug, the cars get parked and we share our collective energy to creating a future that honors the needs of all creatures on the planet and also takes care of our day to day needs so our children can grow up. It is these children who will take what generations of gatherers have created and make it better.

Blue Flower and Green Flower have been friends for somewhere around 50 years.  That's a long time to remain friends when your life and lifestyles are very  different.  I think each of use need to learn from this example. When we embrace our opposite while allowing our opposite to be true to his or her self, then together we become a whole circle.


  1. Beautifully written. I have been trying to express this at World gatherings for years as they often have way too much of the airy vibe.

  2. Think how OLD all the folk you talk of are. I'm as OLD, at least. That's a very OLD vision and dichotomy that you frame. Rainbow needs YOUNG light to shine. Luvin you...

  3. much love ...............I like your point

  4. That was nicely stated and serves as a good story to assist the merging of various energies that gather together.

  5. I am a sister who has known and loved both of these brothers for as long as they have known each other. I often stood between them in the early years. I worked to help them to translate and buffer their differences so they could come to an agreement because I knew in their hearts it was clear to me the vision was so much the same. Different languages and life experiences but THE SAME VISION! I love that about them. I concur with your ending statement. It IS the reason it works. It DOES need BOTH to balance! Both ways are representative and need to be acknowledged. It is still happening with different energies emerging. Young ones that see the vision but do not know how to merge. I think that that is what it is all about. The HEART VISION. Unity in Diversity. WE ARE ALL ONE. The need to figure out ways to communicate and see all sides and lifestyles.
    That said, I do not totally agree with the way you depict Barry. He is NOT into any drunken brawls or angry anything. He is much closer to the hard scrabble street energy, true. He has not had an easy time of it. But his heart is so pure and kind and loving, just a different way of expressing it is all. Just my two cents

  6. Thank you, Taree... brother plunker has spent more energy than anyone i know to prevent drunken brawls at gatherings... he may be rough and tumbled, cut from the people of the land and surviving the elements... and by this path he knows truly to recognize even the roughest and tumbledest among us as his own true bro or sis... unto the least and loudest... he is the gate keeper who holds the door open until everyone gets a chance to come home... with or without new age college ideals to grace them... yet still the circle is held open with a place for every one... to be welcomed home..
    Thanks plunker, we love you!
    --earth air fire water blessed be

  7. Karin,
    I wonder why you are presenting Plunker in such a negative light? What is your interpretaion of a 'slut'?? I don't understand why you use this word in reference to him. I've know Plunker for many decades. He does not drink at gatherings, definately not into drunkin brawls and is not an alcoholic. He may talk a lot and ramble on, but his heart is pure and his intentions are peaceful & good.. your words of him come across as slander and you are giving the wrong impression of him to others who don't know him or are just coming into the rainbow scene. I am sure you could have found a better analogy for the balance of energy at gatherings without using false words.

  8. howdy,
    i poste here a few comments... on what karen wrote... she writes what she is writing ain't true.. just a story... an example... { yet she finds it okay to call me names]] a story of her version of what she considers yin And yang...
    and it ain't real... more like she is writing about crazy john or others.... most folks, even the ones who drink don't come to the Gathering to participate in drunken brawls etc... they come, in hopes of getting away from all that... and many do..

    the yang to garrick, yin energy is the many folks who dig shitters.. work their asses off... for the people... without thanks or notice... these folks are the quiet folks... i.e. the mudders of lovin ovens... who work -who come early and stay till the end... true yang... and the yin??. the weekenders... who come for the circles... over the days of july... yin...
    a truer story..

    more comments...
    From: Karin Zirk>
    Subject: Re: My latest blog post

    Barry, I have the utmost respect for you and in no way meant to hurt your feelings. For that I apologize.

    As I mentioned in the blog, I am only using you and Garrick symbolically and I specifically stated that nothing I wrote was construed to be factual truth. Sometimes it's easier for people to get a point when they can attach it to people.

    I hope you take the time to reread it and realize that I have disclaimers indicating that this is not the truth - it's just a story.


    To: AAAApeacetribes
    Subject: Fwd: Re: Zirk's latest blog post - (nasty plunker review, fyi)

    Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 19:16:11 -0700
    To: Karin Zirk
    Subject: Re: My latest blog post


    i find it a little amazing that you call me a SLUT... odd.. mite be true... ain't sure what u think a slut is...? don't sound good to me...

    and.. do you really think that i attend Gatherings and accept folks turning things into a "drunken brawl"... you must be kidding...

    odd terms... odd raps... and, not very accurate... maybe concerning Garrick...

    u must not pay too much Attention to what i actually do at Gatherings... wild raps...
    u must not remember me working with few others to kep the Front Gate Wyoming 2008 from turning into a drunken scene.... and it worked. u were there, for the tail end... once the Gate was set....

    your opinion, and i thought you considered me with more respect

    tks for sending me this...
    Barry plunker

    Subject: Re: more on Zirk's latest blog post - (nasty plunker review,


    i realize, for some reason, u may not realize that i DONT DRINK ALCOHOL around Gatherings... and i discourage others from doing so... ask john buffalo... remember him.... and the long time i have spent working on keeping him dry during Gatherings....
    and folks like montana chuck and most of us montanans don't drink alcohol at Gatherings.... and do what we can to discourage it....
    whereas new york camp has its champagne... others have their beer, etc...

    it is way uncool for u to broadcast that i, (and us rough montanans, etc.) go for Gatherings with drunken vibes....

    way uncool and way untrue....

    u can ask john b... and many others... i have done what i can to keep the drunking, scamming, ripping, fighting, etc.... out of the Gatherings... so your rap is wierd...
    and i wonder why u would write it... ?

    if u got an axe to grind with me... u outa come to me.... u reckon..
    barry, plunker

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. @ Michael Two Trails...HO!!!!
    What he said...I totally agree..

  11. Karin,
    I think this "story" is ill-advised on many levels. It is unfair to both "flowers" and creates a dichotomy of gatherers which is
    exaggerated to the point of untruth.
    The "flowers" you create are caricatures, somewhat ludicrous. The one is not a "war veteran," as he himself always states, he is a Vietnam-era NONCOMBAT veteran. He would not have combat veterans thinking he claims to be one of them because he isn't and he is honest.
    The other is not some pie-in-the-sky fool who calls for a gathering and then sits on his hands and hopes for the best. Both of these brothers are better people than you give them credit for. Both have given heavily for the Rainbow Family, done time in federal prison and have worked harder than you and me put together for the Rainbow.
    Your note to one says you were "using you symbolically." I think the word "using" should give you pause. These are real people and your "story" is likely to have real consequences
    in how people view them and, thus, in their lives.
    The effect of the "story," I think, is to suggest a kind of "which side are you on" approach to Rainbow that simply doesn't work. The people I've met over decades of Rainbows have all been regular human beings, with strengths and weaknesses, struggling together to create a new community based on respect.
    You may feel that your "disclaimers" are adequate but I disagree. No disclaimer will undo the impression that the story creates that the
    Rainbow is somehow divided into two kinds of people. It isn't. There are way more than two kinds of people at the Rainbow, and most people,
    like people everywhere, have yin and yang within them. I think I understand what you're trying to say, but this is no way to say it.
    I'm sorry to be harsh, but this story amazes me. You are a natural communicator and activist, and I've grown to respect you in the years I've known you, but this posting is off-base. I ask you to own up to having made a mistake and take this down.
    With love,
    Michael Twotrails

  12. Meta-phorplay, yin and yang, yarn and yearn-in - Gathering
    recently someone proposed a metaphor of yin and yang in-Gathering...
    for a number of reasons, i disagree with a number of elements of this STORY - metaphor...

    the one i am taking up here is the yin and yang, in terms - my shorthand - of there being two distinct sine-waves i..e. these being the (metaphor-presented) yin as being spiritually attuned... and, with education, discerning people... and attend the Gathering as PEOPLE WITH/OF PURPOSE...

    Yang wave is composed of "dirty kids" syndrome i.e. those who attend Gatherings with NO PURPOSE... who get drunk, are "wild"

    somehow it is so good to have these yin and yang peoples to attend Gatherings... presumedly, those who come with purpose, get to play out their responsible pathway by uplifting, inspiring, and changing the "dirty kids" minds (perhaps even their diapers) hence with these two elements the Gathering continues...

    From this, one could deduce that those with "dirty kids" syndrome only wind-up in Gathering by sheer accident, or maybe brot thar buy the Yin edecated folk...

    one could extrapolate that this META-BORE... continues the stereotype of many, many (miss-perceivers) of the "happenings, gatherings, festivals, lifestyles" of the emergent peoples... that of the DIRTY HIPPIEs syndrome of the 1960's... has graduated to the DIRTY KIDS syndrome of the 2010's... lot of "observers" wrote, spoke with "authority" on Dirty Hippies...

    my rap is:

    YARN and YEARN-IN -- balance, Rainbow-style:

    Every Person, individual, winds-up, attends, etc... a Rainbow Gathering WITH PURPOSE...

    One attends... and even if they themselves spin some YARN to others (or even their own-self) concerning Why they came to Gathering-Home....

    ALL COME HOME VIA YEARN-IN: in their individual hearts and minds is a Yearn to be where they are accepted, can be themselves, be Welcomed, etc... this includes "locals" who attend via curiosity... and this includes politicians, reporters etc... who always have a choice of assignment... it takes effort upon these beings parts to actually do the do of attending...

    i got to qualify that Government folks i.e. Forest Service, etc.. attend via DUTY... however, even these folks "Volunteer" for these assignments...

    And, one other is the folks like the folks in Minn. 1990, who got stopped for a tail-light, on a highway near the Gathering and were brought to the Front Gate, where (after some bargaining)... Front Gate/A Kitchen crew... "Dad" Dave Carpenter (infamously called 'kegger dave") bought/ransomed - paid on-the-spot fine -- of $100 dollars to the Feds, State Police... [then, these folks, freed, never heard of the Gathering or Rainbow... upon being Invited-inn did enter, attend...) mom, dad, two kids... loved Gathering - Gathering is noun and verb.
    {suppose should thank the Feds/State Police sum}

    As Jesus related...

    ENJOY (the) DIRTY KIDS of all the Generations to Be Welcomed Home

    i heard him say this, clearly --

    jesus had just come out of the shitter (he got good thunks shitting) and sure enuf he just up and come out with this Rap... {of course, it was cleaned up for the printed version... many generations later}

    People can tell whatever Yarn about coming Gathering... their Yearn to be Freely themselves AND be accepted as a "brother or sister, other" is why they come Home...
    whether it be Dirty Kids or Wall Street (on vacation) ... folks like the mixture, the blending...

    and iffn u actually look into the hearts and minds of any individuals who come Home... EVERYONE OF the Folks is "Twisty", "wild" AND SEEKERS.

    peace, love, just us,
    barry, plunker, montana

  13. Yes! What Michael said! Karin, please stop this and take it down. Everyone is upset and feeling hurt and angry. This should not be the way we start this years gathering! Taree, Rainbow of Light

  14. i thought it was very good.i liked the portayal of energy rather than (individual)people.. i didn't think that (green flower) was betrayed as a negative force.or that (blue flower) is nec. all poaitive.i see both these energys in rainbow, and have,as alot of people trying to explain rainbow to people who've never heard of or experienced it,tried to outline and decribe in fair light,both.and the way they work.its hard.
    i'm younger though,and have only been coming to Rainbow for a few years (holy mackeral i'm getting old.)anyway.i Love you Humans and Beings and Family.hope to see you there.
    and thank you Karin,i think it was a good thing you wrote this.

  15. I think Barry was dipicted great in this ying yang scenario. In fact if anything I think a few things were left out...such as the fact he is a lying creepo who hooks up with impressionable young people and brainwashes them to think he has some divine connection to God or Jesus and the tribes of Israel. But if you have a single ounce of education in your brain you would know what a weirdo this guy is!

    Dont get to mad Barry but some know the truth about you and have every intention of bringing you down. You speak of truth??? Well we know your truth and so will everyone else soon enough. Peace right back at you child molestor!