I didn't take my camera with me into the gathering. The Rainbow gathering is a place where people go to get away from the cameras. Some people are offended by them, other people don’t mind. The rainbow gatherings started in 1972, and have been gathering ever since then. Every year the National gathering takes place in a different location, in a national forest.
Getting to the right place in the national forest was something I thought would be more of a challenge. No reception, and little direction to get to the rainbow family. We had coordinates, and a map that was drawn by hand, with arrows that made little sense to me.
After we had found the path, and the made up parking lot filled with hippies, old cars, and dogs, we were as close as we were going to get with the Thelma.
I was welcomed by everyone at the Rainbow. The saying “Welcome Home”, and “Loving You” was said to me, with genuine hugs throughout my trek in.
I was at the gathering for a week. This was a week without a shower, without a toilet, without service of the outside world. It was just how its supposed to be.
I was fed by multiple strangers, I was given gifts, I jammed out with numerous musicians every day, there was music playing everywhere I went.
There was a day that I went out adventuring with my guitar, and I was walking on a path playing. From across this huge field filled with green plants, there was a saxophone player, and he and I started doing a duet from around 500 feet away from each other, while walking closer and closer through the field. People all around this field started cheering and howling from this performance as we got closer. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. It felt like a dream, a really raw reality that was forming.
--- Some interesting facts about the gathering ---
- Every who has a bellybutton is welcome -
- No money is used at rainbow. If you want something, you ask, or you trade. If you ask the universe for something you need or want, it may be provided -
-There are different camps and kitchens set up, and anyone is welcome to any anytime -
- Food is free. If your hungry, someone has something for you -
- Zuzu’s is a slang term for “treats”. If that be chocolate, or coffee, it’s a Zuzu. -
- There are no official leaders of rainbow, everyone has a voice, and is entitled to an opinion. There is no membership, or anyone who has an power of any kind. -
- Nic at Night is a camp of people who run around the gathering yelling “NIC AND NIGHT, If you have a cigarette, I need a cigarette, if you need a cigarette, I have a cigarette”. Cigarettes for all -
- When you hear "Six UP" travel like sound waves through the forest, that is an indication that police officers are patrolling through. This means if you are doing something the police won’t like – put it away before they get there. If you hear six up, help the family out and make sure it can carry on by doing your part and yelling SIX UP -
- Six Up, Giddy up! - Patrolling on horses -
- People that come to the gathering confuse it as a festival. This is false. Yes, at night you can see a huge drum circle and bon fire going on, along with fire spinners, and l.e.d hula hoops being thrown into the air, but this doesn't make it a festival -
- Rainbow names. If you have been to the gathering for a few years, chances are you have a rainbow name. I got lucky when someone gave me mine this year, which I hear is good luck with my first gathering. Miss Breeze is my known rainbow name -
- Lastly, Leave no trace behind. Pack it in, and pack in out. Everything that is brought into the gathering, is taken back out. Everything must go out of the forest if it wasn't already there. If you have pocket trash- there is someone who is there to collect it from you -
Next time I might get photos, but this time I wanted to experience without my camera. I can’t even begin to write about the experience I had at the Rainbow gathering. It was beautiful and intense to put it in such small words.
It was for the first time in my life, 4th of July was actually meaningful and memorable.
My mind will always have an etching of the morning of the 4th. Where everyone wakes up, and stays in silence until the holding of hands of the om circle at noon. I held the hands of two strangers, both of them in tears, including myself. We were in a circle around this very large piece of land, with thousands of people in the biggest circle you can imagine. Where all of us where Oming, and for the first time in my life, I prayed. We all prayed. The prayer was for world peace.
At the end, after I hugged the people I held hands with, I sat in this field. I was in tears. (As I write this, I cry)I couldn't bear to hold in all this energy I just received from everyone’s energy flowing through each other through ours hands to our hearts. The positive energy and love from all these people, in one setting, was too much for me to handle. I cried the hardest I have ever cried before.