Saturday, July 23, 2011

Learning Lessons

For those of you who hang out with me, you've heard me share this rap, but I'll reiterate just for the hipstory of it.

The gathering was under siege by the United States Forest Service (USFS)  from the late nineties until 2008 with the worst years seeming to be from about 2001 building to the incident in Wyoming in 2008 (where the USFS cops shot pepper spray guns at folks in Kid Village). 

During these years, myself and many long time experienced gatherers put most of our time and energy into dealing with the USFS not into dealing with our own internal issues.  I'm not saying those of us who did that where right or wrong, I'm just saying that from my point of view that's what happened.  I know personally that besides endless permit issues, I spent a lot of time trying to keep my family, especially my young brothers and sisters, from getting arrested.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  When I have it to do over again, I may do the same thing only I'll have a different perspective on it.

However, ten years in the gathering is an entire generation. An entire generation of people who started coming to gatherings where main council rarely happened, people weren't willing to step up and focalize things for fear of being labeled a "leader" and going to prison for it like so many of our very wise long time gatherers did.   An entire generation where proper sanitation techniques weren't being appropriately shared with new kitchens, where recycling has gone the way of poodle skirts, where people didn't feel main council was a good place to bring their problems, concerns or ideas for the positive evolution of the planet.

During these years, there was a lot of focus on the "individual" nature of the gathering as proof we shouldn't have to sign a permit and very little focus on the "collective" nature of the gathering.  Even though we are individuals, we are also creating a temporary community which has a "collective" nature.  I'm not talking in a legal sense because I feel as if trying to define who we are in reaction to law is a losing proposition. We need to define who we are based on our collective and individual visions of what this gathering, this family, this world can become. 

Starting in 2009, we started having main council daily from July 1 through 6 (excluding the 4th).  (Thank you David and Cody for your hard work in grounding our gathering.)  I feel the energy shifting.  People are coming and discussing real issues on the land. Nuts and bolts problems that we need to solve together.  We do have a shortage of long time gatherers and especially the "earlies" at main council.   The less experienced gatherers are hungry for what you have to share.

The hipstories have returned with people sharing collective stories from 1972 on to the present. We have workshops galore now after years of diminishing workshops. 

However, we can't drop our own traditions for ten years and then except people who never knew them to pick up the moment we stop feeling under siege from the government.  Since the spring of 2008, I  have created an annual blog for each gathering where I rap about stuff I have learned in my years of gatherings.  This is just one way to share the hard won knowledge and wisdom of this family.  I know other people in this family are doing their part to share the wisdom in whatever manner each person sees fit.  We really need to ramp this up, but not from a place of, I'm smart and you're dumb, but with this entire history of how we got to this point.  Because the problem isn't the less experienced  gatherers, its the more experienced ones who dropped the ball (for valid reasons).

Some experienced scouts started a page on Facebook to discuss scouting and share their knowledge with less experienced folks. (Great idea) and the discussions and ideas are flowing freely there on the topic of site selection.

This year specifically, I felt that lack of a site specific Rap 107 contributed to our struggles with keeping people camped back from the creek and not swimming in the creek. It was my understanding that some of the younger family didn't want the environmental impact of the paper. I can respect that
position, but we need a very small Rap 107 (printed on 100% recycled paper) that everyone gets coming in which includes site specific issues like Bull Trout eggs getting ready to hatch - hence we need to protect the creeks.  That sure would have save me personally a lot of stress.

I'm sure everyone reading this has other ideas on how we can increase the speed at which people are learning gathering basics and our hipstory. I truly believe this is the heart of the various problems so many people are bitching about. 

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Peace out!


  1. I don't remember why there were 2 gatherings in 1993... Alabama & Kentucky. That would be interesting to find out. There was a division of Family. So, anyways, there were also 2 Vision Councils. After many days, at the Kentucky Council, there was consensus to have both Eastern & Western States on Interdependence Day. The teaching of Interdependence - that we all are dependent upon each other, is necessary for our future tribal survival. Mother Earth cannot and will not continue to support 15,000-30,000 people traveling across the United States of America to one location for any reason. It's no suprise the gatherings are dying. You can't hold on to this part of the Rainbow Family legend of having "One National". Of course there was One in the beginning. It was the beginning....

    It becomes more and more difficult to teach and preach Interdependence when no examples are around.

    Without Change there is no Evolution.

    Take it or leave it. There will be less and less ability to travel across the continent in the future. Then it will be too late to adapt.


    Precious Vision

  2. I would love to become more active with the Rainbow Gatherings. I just found out about them this year and attended for first time in Washington. It was an amazing experience all around. One that I will never forget.

    I would like very much to become more involved, but am not quite sure how. I do not know who the members of the council are and exactly what they do. I have visited multiple websites and read about the event, found this blog and am a part of the FB community. It seems like there is information out there, it is just in numerous places that are not always easy to find.

    Perhaps some type of first timers guide or basic info could be put out there or some type of council contact list. I did read about the revitalizing of the newsletter which seems awesome and the FB page for communities across the nation is also very helpful.

    If you have any other resources that are out there about the council, who it is, and what it does, please pass it on this way.

    Thank you,

  3. I came to rely much on your postings in preparing to participate in the 2011 gathering. Thank you very much for doing this.

    This posting is a very compact and compelling call to review what has been done over the years and to act to help the Gatherings continue to preserve a basic right in assembly and to help the process evolve along with changing conditions (both good and bad) in society, technology, spirit and vision.

    Again, I felt fortunate to attend with my family having been absent for so long (16 yrs) and to be able to lend the knowledge that I have gained along the way to help in my small way with the issues you raise above.

    Even were I unable to attend future gatherings, I would still like to lend whatever assistance that I can to support the gatherings, and will continue to be in touch.

    Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do in spirit and vision.

    Eagle Master (so named by my lovely daughter so many years ago at a gathering in Colorado)
    San Juan County, WA

  4. Karin you are amazing!!I too am so greatful for this blog you have done for the past few years....There is alot of info out there, I kinda like how the right thing hits me at the right time (11:11)
    I do see the need of a small handout with rap 107 and maybe the rap about leaving..Came apon a group down by kiddie village,they were a small cluster maybe 3 tents. The kids were the only ones by a personal fire, had to stop and lovingly explain this was a huge safety issue for thier kids, and for the gathering as a whole-no shovel no water bucket. They were newbies and I asked if they had read any raps before coming. No they hadn't but were very kind about listening and doused their fire, after I suggested they pool with a community fire(commuity is how we grow)
    Will try to print as many 107 raps as I can before next year. Dreampeace mama T

  5. '89 Humboldt National Forest was my first, have skipped recent years though as Babylon thinkers seemed to be encroaching closer and closer into the heart of the gathering (all the us-vs-them) I have friends and neighbors who work in the Fish and Wildlife, DNR, USFS, and the local PD and they are just people

  6. Much love and thanks to you from holland Karin
    i saw my first glimpses of rainbow family in 86 ... peaked with visions i turned into webpages ... but now ...different story.
    I hardly attend anymore though do search out the vids very regularly.

    "some of the younger family didn't want the environmental impact of the paper."

    that's rich innit? Paper is weak tea .. spent stage of the multicrockracket of thanatopic destructions via literacy now metastasizing us all down and out via E-waste. No up and up for this brainfeverocket, the earth doesn't fall away but gets a toxlock even while and as we are supposed to live on it. How much plastic invades and gnaws at the rainbow vibe ... how many legal assault does it endure ... how many more years will it withstand this that and the other 'extension'? Stands to reason that i who had such utopian visions of the tiny adjustment to drum culture for a true compost connection ... rock rumble crumble humble humus .... am now prey to distopian despair ... triggered in this case by your dry observation.

    let's not drink to that.