The Burligton Free Press
Rainbow Family shares its Wealth
Gathering is group's 20th
By Betsy Liley
GRANVILLE - A rainbow-colored sign on a narrow dirt road through
Green Moutntain National Forest reads:"Welcome Home."
It's a familiar refrain from the dozens of people gathered along
the trail in Granville, as they greet newcomers with hugs, handshakes and hearty smiles.
About 300 campers are secluded in the lush forest preparing for a
Fourth of July celebration that could be compared to a family reunion. Only the
varied license plates on the cars and trucks parked along the road indicate the group's
By July 1, attendance at Rainbow Family of Loving Light's national reunion will be at
"As many as 20,000 people will come together and take part in participatory government instead of representative democracy. Twenty thousand people will gather in a circle on Independence Day and pray for peace," said Water Singing on the Rocks, a Kentucky man who arrived in Vermont on Monday.
This will be the 20th year the Rainbow Family has gathered in a national forest for the
Fourth of July. It is their first national gathering in the Northeast. The loosely knit group believes in the First Amendment right to gather on public lands and focuses its energy on peace and Earth.
The people working near the main camp are friendly, cooperatively building latrines,
establishing a water system and creating as many as 30 cimmunity kitchens that will feed the crowds.
Kitchens are built from saplings, strapped together with twine and covered with tarp
roofs. Tents are scattered throughout the soods. Burlap bags hang neatly from crude sawhorses labeled for recycling of glass, aluminum and other products.
There is no electrical power. No chain saws. No cars or trucks. No telephones.
The Family members come from all walks of life, from the United States, Canada and
Some are urban doctors and some lawyers; some Hare Krishnas and some homeless;
ome 1960's political activists. Some use their given names; others have chosen Indian names or names that reflect a political ideology. The universal moniker is brother and sister.
"If you ain't got a bellybutton,you ain't a Rainbow. Everybody's a Rainbow. Some just
don't know it yet," one Family member said during a meeting Monday night at which Family members met with residents over their concerns.
"What we're attempting to achieve is unity of spirit," Kendo said during a break from
building a kitchen called Love Works, Bliss Being Home.
Dumpster meeting Formerly homeless in Berkeley, Calif., Kendo discovered Rainbow
Family in 1984. "I met someone doming from a dumpster. I was going to a dumpster," he said.
The Family has become his life.
"There are some people that stay together all the time," he said,
mentioning his schedule of moving among regional gatherings. "Our God provides.
One person has the vehicle. The other has the gas," he said explaining how
Across the road a woman dressed completely in white scrapes bark
off long, thin trees. They will be the support for a teepee that will house a conflict resolution
So we can keep the grooviest peace. We have a lot of federal
opposition," No Guns of Santa Cruz, Calif., said.
"We really do love each other," she said, mentioning some
internal disagreements among the Rainbow Family.
No Guns, 43, is a seamstress who has attended gatherings on and
off since 1972. She points to her white cap, dotted with Arkansas quartz that
look like small Christmas tree lights. The material is almost an equal mix of cannabis and
cotton, she explains proudly. Her 18-year-old son will join her at the gathering.
She said she fears outsiders' misunderstanding of the group.
"I asked Bernie Sanders and others to look behind the scenes," she said.
Family members have requested and received more than 700 pages of
federal documents through teh Freedom of Information Act, she said. "This looks like the equivalent of a covert intelligence on the counter culture in the United States. ... It
needs some hard eyes."
Vermont was chosen as the site for the 1991 Gathering for safety among other
considerations, No Guns said. Curls of skinned bark are piled neatly behind her.
"Tell me we aren't an endangered group," she said. "We are the safety net for all
mankind's problems, really working it out."
Listening nearby is Roberto, a Washington D.C., activist. He begins to smoke a hand-
Gert Harris, who owns the Granville Country Store, said bulk tobacco has become one
of the store's most popular items, along with fruit, coffee and cheese.
The Barter System. Roberto talks about a trading circle that will form, with everything from chocolate to quartz crystals to craft items. Commerce is by bartering, not money, he said.
Money is unnecessary at the gathering, except to contribute to the Magic Hat as it goes around the daily circle.
Money in the Magic Hat is used to buy supplies that will stock the kitchens and
provide medicall supplies and other needs, Family member Joan McMurray said during Monday night's local meeting . "People are not stigmatized. ... Nobody watches. 'Did they pay so thsy can eat?' "Red Moon Song, a 36-year-old mother of three, said. Educational programs- weaving, yoga, healthgul cooking, growing sprouts and others -are part of the gathering's routine.
Near Bus Village, Water Singing on the Rocks is waking up after four days on the
road. A 'CALM' sign hangs inthe back window of his green-and -white school bus.
About 70 people from his tribe - CALM, which stands for Center for Alternative Living
Medicine - will attend the 1991 Gathering.
CALM members could be chiropractors or herbalists, for example.
Another of the many Rainbow tribes is Shanti Sena, meaning peace keeper or peace
During Monday's meeting with residents, Water Singing on the Rocks talked about a
woman diagnosed with glandular cancer who sat with a group of gathering healers.
"The cancer is in remission. By October there was no sign of cancer in her body," he
Free Press Staff Writer
"Marijuana is a sacrament for me. Marijuana is not a drug," Water Singing on the
Rocks said earlier in the day, sitting in the back door of his bus. "I have favored the
legalization of individual choice, the legalization of drug use and the total reclassification of marijuana as a herb."
Rainbows oppose harder drugs, alcohol, guns and violence.
"The vibration that comes from alcohol is not conductive to
praying for peace, hugging and learning," Water Singing on the Rocks said during the Monday
He asked local residents to be a part of the Rainbow Family's reunion: "We invite all of you to come to the gathering. When you come, you'll find you are part of the Family.
Vermont Report |
PCU Administrative Record |
Rainbow Regs Page