Re: Greetings
29 Oct 1993 07:09:54

In article <> (EarthChylde) writes:
>greetings, hugs & peace to all! I'm a young hippie & love such wonderful
>things such as peace & freedom & am new to the usenet. a few weeks ago I
>stumbled (ok, more like tripped somewhat gracefully) across this newsgroup.

Welcome home, sister! <grin>

>What is the Rainbow Gathering?

You'll get a different story from each person you ask, depending on where
they are in their own life. The Gathering brings us together, and it's
a state of mind, too. Any one of us on the net could answer your question,
and I haven't seen any FAQs here yet, so maybe this is as good a time as
any for a round of story-telling and speculation.

I live in a big, Eastern, industrial-type city (by choice), and I'm in
my mid-30s, so I have my own particular perspective. Some in my family
(my blood family) have been in the Rainbow family for 15 years or so, and
I started going to local potlucks and regional and national gatherings
maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Then there are the really old-timers, and lots
of youngsters (in their late teens and early 20s, mostly passing through,
I suppose), and children too. Some live on the land, some on the road,
and others are doing the city thing, one way or another.

What's the Gathering? That's when we get together. "Welcome home!"
means you're already there in spirit, and when you get to the gathering
you're reminded of what the "civilized life" has been hiding from you.

Here's the rap I give my friends about the national gathering:
Once a year, people get together in a natural area, usually a National
Forest, for several weeks in June and July. Actually, it's concentrated
on the week around July 4, but some people are at the site ahead of time,
laying the groundword - digging the "shitters", piping water from springs
to kitchen sites, and getting to know the local folks.

Fairly early on, the state and local police get interested, and the feds
have learned to look for the gathering, so there's a certain amount of
negotiating, most of it informal but some of it in the courts. "The right
of the people peaceably to assemble" is written into the U.S. Constitution,
and National Parks are federal land, so the courts have generally supported
the Rainbow Family's right to gather, but every year there's a new twist.
Just by showing up, the Rainbow Gathering puts the First Amendment to the
test. In this day and age it's a contest every time. "Ignore all rumors
of cancellation" is the byword during the spring.

Expect to get hasseled on your way in, and on the way out, too. The police
will stop vehicles on any excuse and search. Usually there are a number of
cars that get impounded and at least a few arrests. (And you thought it
was all peace and love? Wouldn't *that* be nice!) In the face of this
repression, the gathering tends to form a crusty outer edge, mostly roadies
who have to deal with the cops all the time. But once you get in, and
you see so many beautiful people, and hear the music, and feel the natural
environment around you, it's .... well, "Welcome home!"

"Welcome home" comes with a grin, and to tell you the truth, the cheek
muscles get sore within a day or two. You never saw so many teeth before!

There are a thousand and one things happening. Everything is for free,
but think of it as an elaborate, week-long potluck. If you have it, bring
"green energy" to put into "the magic hat" which is passed around at the
council circle; it goes into buying supplies from the outside world. I
usually bring dry beans, rice, vegetables, and other sundries to
contribute at one of the kitchens. One of the best ways to participate is
to join the folks working at a kitchen, and expect to work there for a
most of your stay (off & on). You'll get to know a handful of people well,
and you'll get the satisfaction of knowing that *you* are part of making
it happen. Other tasks include: digging new shitters and filling in the
old ones, reinforcing trails, and spreading good vibes to those who feel
lost or unhappy. Shit is real, there are lots of heavy feet going back and
forth, and it's not always easy to get up on the bliss wagon (and sometimes
much too easy to fall off).

Depending on who you are, who you know already, and where you're coming
from, you'll find yourself engaged in other activities, too. This is a
chance to stretch yourself, and to meet people from other walks of life
(they're now part of your *family*). Some activities, unfortunately, have
a way of intruding on other people's activities. Drumming, for example,
tends to interfere with sleeping. Keep that in mind, please, if you
like to drum (or if you like to sleep at night). But remember the general
principle too.

The national gathering is thousands of people at once, very big and
sometimes uncomfortable. I think that a lot of people are turning to
local and regional gatherings because of difficulties that have developed
in recent years. But national gatherings are an important time to come
together and share the vibes and information about what's happening across
the continent, and to hear the news from other gatherings elsewhere in the
world. Gatherings were never easy, actually; it's just that the problems
change, and new arrangements will develop as the family gets older and
younger people join in. So I'm optimistic, basically.

Anyway, that's my rap. What's yours?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | * Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. | | * The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life. | | | | - Lao Tsu (Tao te Ching) | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .

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