This Glossary is reprinted from "People of the
Rainbow; A Nomadic Utopia," by Michael I. Niman, published by the
University of Tennessee Press (ISBN 0-87049-989-0). Contents are
copyright 1997, University of Tennessee Press, and appear here by
permission. For more information about "People of the Rainbow," visit
web site or contact him via email - Mike@mediastudy.com
- "A" Camp
- Alcohol Camp. A place where chronic alcohol drinkers congregate and drink,
usually on the perimeter of a Gathering.
- Alcohol Hat
- "A" Camp money collection. Used to buy alcoholic beverages.
- All Ways Free
- Rainbow Family Newspaper.
- Ally-O Council
- Meeting with Forest Service officials.
- See Om.
- The world outside of the Gathering. `Mainstream' or `mainline' society; the `straight'
world (From the Book of Revelations, via Rastafari).
- Banking Council
- A Council convened to decide how to spend Magic Hat money.
- Barter Lane
- A place at a Gathering where people congregate to trade crafts, camping
supplies, books, etc. Same as "Trade Circle" in function, but linear instead of circular in
- Boston Rainbow Family Picnic.
- A person at a Rainbow Gathering who does not contribute much work; overly
spiritual and out of touch with the physical realities and demands of the environment.
- Blissing Out
- Sitting around or wandering around, enjoying the Gathering, in a carefree state.
- Bus Village
- A large camp of live-in vehicles. Usually located a good distance from the central
Gathering area, as Bus Village must be accessible to vehicle.
- Business Council
- A Council convened to deal with Gathering logistics, Family policy and
other organizational concerns.
- (Formerly M.A.S.H.) Center(s) for Alternative Living Medicine. The Rainbow
Healing unit. Formally M.A.S.H. Transformed into C.A.L.M. as it grew from a first aid station
to a comprehensive medical unit.
- To agree by consensus.
- A univalve shell, usually Cassia sp., with a hole cut in the tip. Blowing through the hole
makes a mellow sound to call people together for Councils, meals, workshops, meetings, etc.
The practice is part of the Family's self-conscious primitivism.
- Cooperations Council
- A Council convened at a Gathering to foster communication between
the diverse sub-Councils involved in coordinating the Gathering.
- Council (v)
- To meet as a group with the aim of reaching consensus on a given topic.
- Council (n)
- Any group of Rainbows meeting to make a decision. Usually refers to the Council
which meets between July 1 - 7 at N.A. Gatherings.
- Short for Road Dog.
- Dogging It
- Living the life of a Road Dog.
- Downtown Rainbow
- The congested central area of a Rainbow Gathering.
- Dived (a)
- Pertaining to an item retrieved from a garbage dumpster.
- A person who demands a lot from the Gathering and does not return anything.
- Unhealthy habit forming substances ranging from sugar to crack.
- Dumpster (v)
- The act of retrieving food or other goods from a garbage dumpster.
- Dumpster Dipping
- Neologism by U.S. National Park Service Ranger Chris Malanka
[3/15/90]. An activity like Dumpster Diving, except involving the retrieval of contaminated food.
Malanka does not explain why anyone would want contaminated food.
- Dumpster Diving
- Same as Dumpster (v).
- Dumpster Score
- An item or group of items retrieved from a dumpster.
- Politically correct alternative to the word "elder," which people often interpret as
meaning leader or authority figure.
- Someone who has been to many Gatherings and is supposedly knowledgeable about the
Family. Rainbow ideology states that elders, while wise, are not leaders, as the Family admits to
- To take responsibility for making sure a given task is accomplished.
- A person who has taken responsibility to make sure that a given task is
- A homosexual male Rainbow.
- See Faerie
- The Feather
- A feather or other focal object, passed around a council circle to identify the
person who is speaking.
- To organize a project
- A volunteer responsible to serve as a conduit for Rainbow Family information to
both Family members away from the Gatherings and to the public; also responsible for
overseeing the organization and publicity for local area Rainbow Family events.
- Focus (v)
- Pay attention to, or respect, the speaker or council procedures.
- Free Box
- An box where Rainbows leave unwanted or surplus possessions so that those who
need them can pick them up gratis.
- Front Gate.
- The main entrance to the Gathering.
- Fuck You
- "A" Camp greeting used like "Hello."
- Full Ride
- Staying at the Gathering from the start of Seed Camp through the end of Clean-Up.
- Same as `Front Gate.'
- Gate Crew
- The people who work at the Front Gate, welcoming people and delivering the `Rap
- A person who stands on the perimeter of the Council circle, advising late arrivals
as to what has been discussed and what is currently being discussed, what consensus decisions
have already been made, etc.
- Green Energy
- Ground Score
- An item that is found on the ground.
- The Guide
- A printed directory of Rainbow Family members. Also known as The Rainbow
- A Rainbow who lives on the road, constantly traveling.
- Habit Hat
- A money collection for purchasing coffee, tobacco, sugar etc. to satisfy addictions.
- Happy Trails
- A common goodbye to people leaving the Gathering. From the signature
sign-off song of the Roy Rogers/Dale Evans television "Western" of the 1950's.
- To enter into peaceful harmony with people or the environment.
- Harassment and hassles of Rainbows by government agencies and the police.
- Personal feelings, emotions, observations and visions as articulated at Gatherings.
- Heartsong Council
- A meeting to share heartsongs as a group therapy, and often as an
introduction to Business Councils.
- Heil Holys
- A derogatory description of self-righteous Rainbows.
- Type of light refracting quartz crystal generally found near Herkimer, NY;
- Hey Now
- Greeting, used like "Howdy."
- Collectively told oral history of the Rainbow Family. The Rainbow Hipstory is
recited each year at the North American Gathering. Anyone is free to join in the telling of the
- One who participates in the telling of the Hipstory.
- High Holy Hippie
- A derogatory description of Rainbows who feel they are part of a power
group, entrenched hierarchy or `old guard' of the counter-cultural movement.
- High Holy Rainbow
- Same as `High Holy Hippie' but is specific to Rainbow Family.
- Descriptive referring to 1960's countercultural lifestyle, derogatory when used by
non-Rainbows, often to anachronize Rainbows. Also used among Rainbows as familiar greeting
- Used in Council to express agreement with the speaker. Also name of a southeastern
United States Rainbow Family publication.
- Someone who lives on the road (see On the Road), has lived on the road for a while,
likes living on the road and intends to keep living on the road.
- An authentic unpretentious down to earth person. Someone who lives a honed down
At the Gathering.
- Howdy Folks!
- The written announcement of a Rainbow Family Gathering or event.
- Hug Patrol
- A group of people who wander around Gatherings hugging people.
- Info Center
- An area where information is exchanged. Consists of an information booth and at
least one bulletin board. Information ranges from news of the outside world, time and place for
workshops, maps of the Gathering site to suggestions for dealing with insects.
- Kiddie City
- A camp for parents, children and expectant parents. Provides childcare, special
activities and special meals for children.
- Kiddie Village
- See Kiddie City.
- Kids' Village
- See Kiddie City.
- Southeastern United States mountain bio-region.
- Free or nice.
- Kind Bud
- Free marijuana.
- Magic Hat
- Money collection for the common coffers. Usually used to fund Main Supply.
- Magic Bedpan
- Money collection for the CALM medical facility.
- Main Circle
- Usually a central area where the Council meets and where the July 4th (for North
American Gatherings, dates differ for regionals) meditation and prayer celebration occurs. A
dinner, prepared by many different kitchens and carried over in five or six gallon buckets, is also
usually served here.
- Maine Regional Rainbow Gathering.
- Main Trail
- The central, most heavily traveled trail at a Gathering.
- Main Supply
- Distribution center for kitchen supplies.
- Sometimes used interchangeably with C.A.L.M. to refer to the medical unit.
- Specialty at Taco Mike's kitchen. Formally a living animal - not necessarily a cow, pig
or chicken - now food.
- The spectacle transpiring in front of you at any giving time. Often refers to ridiculous
antics. Most popular movies: `The Gate Movie,' `The "A" Camp Movie' and `The Cop Movie.'
(From Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. [Wolfe 1968]).
- Rainbow Coffee. Often made `Field Style' with grounds in the bottom of the pot. A
splash of cold water before serving helps sink any floating grounds. Grounds often get
reincarnated for future pots.
- National Gathering
- Refers to the annual North American Gathering.
- North East (North America) Rainbow Family; formerly, New England Rainbow Family.
- Rhymes with "sewage." Derogatory description of a New Ager.
- 1) The sacred syllable A+U+M, pronounced "ome" as in "home" or "holy" in the Rig Veda
(e.g., the hymn to Siva [Chan, Ismail Ragi and Raju 1969: 25, 29n79; see also ibid., 35]). 2) One
of the most important mantras in Tantric (Tibetan) Buddhism [e.g., Evans-Wentz 1960; 1967:
127, 301, 312, 320n2, 340], in which "when the disciple's mind id properly attuned, the inner
vibrations of this word symbol together with its associations in the consciousness of the initiate
... open his mind to higher dimensions" [Kapleau 1966: 346]. 3) This Tantric sense, perhaps via
the translations of Evans-Wendt's work which occurred in the 1960's, seems to inform Rainbow
usage, in which it becomes a somewhat desacralized pacifying syllable that people chant,
typically, before meals, after Councils, during meditations and prayers, in order to "harmonize"
vibrations." The exact route from Tibet to Rainbow is obscure, however, since North Americans
tend to lump all "Eastern religions" together in practice [e.g., D. 1966: 261].
- Om Circle
- A circle of people chanting `Om,' usually to harmonize an up-tight situation,
sometimes used for coercive purposes.
- Chanting `Om.'
- On the Land
- At the site of the Gathering.
- On the Road
- Pertaining to a lifestyle whose adherents are on an extended trip or have no
- Refers to anti-marijuana laws.
- Any social-political activity with a goal; e.g., with the word `Council,' to describe the
mechanism by which the Council reaches decisions.
- Rail Tramp
- See Tramp.
- Rainbow Dark
- Sundown or thereabouts. Vision Council rules require proceedings to cease at
- Rainbow Noon
- Roughly, when the sun is high in the sky, usually between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
depending on season, location and mood of those who need to know when it's Rainbow Noon.
- Rainbow Time
- A system of keeping time without watches. Rainbow Time is whenever enough
people think it is whatever time it is supposed to be. Rainbow Time usually runs about an hour
behind clock time, but may be as much as an hour early.
- Rainbow Trail
- An extended trip, taking in numerous Gatherings.
- Rainbow Runs
- Diarrhea contracted at Gatherings, usually attributed to change in diet or
water as well as soapy dishes.
- A cross between a blissninny and a High Holy Rainbow, usually loud and obnoxious.
Often used by "political" Rainbows to describe "spiritual" ones.
- Rap 107
- A written or oral introduction to the infrastructure of the Rainbow Gathering.
- Rap 107 Below Zero
- A written or oral introduction to the infrastructure of a Winter Rainbow
Gathering. Developed by the Great Lakes regional Rainbow Family
- Rap 115
- A written or oral request asking people to treat bothersome drunks at Gatherings with
love, not anger. Often described as the "flip side" to Rap 151 (see below).
- Rap 151
- A written or oral diatribe explaining why alcohol is discouraged at Gatherings;
promotes benefits of an alcohol-free space.
- Rap 420
- Legal information primer explaining individual rights when faced with police
- Rap 701
- A written or oral guide to the etiquette of cleaning up after a Rainbow Gathering.
- Rap 911
- A written or oral reminder to travelers coming to or leaving U.S. Gatherings about
their rights in regards to searches of vehicles by the police. Also advises travelers to caravan as
protection against police harassment and to document all instances of police harassment.
- Road/The Road
- See On the Road.
- Road Burn
- A state of mind one slips into after being "on the road" too long, e.g., exhausted
and wanting to settle down for a spell.
- Road Dog
- Someone who calls the Road home. c.f. Hobo, `Dog.
- Road Kill
- A dead animal found on the road; dead animals in general. See Meat.
- Rumor Control
- The act of containing run-away rumors within the Rainbow Family; `Info
- Someone who delivers messages, supplies or food between two points at a Gathering.
- A plan, sometimes dishonest, for getting something for less than its value.
- Time when most people are leaving the Gathering and dispersing.
- To obtain something by purchase, trade or chance.
- Shanti Sena
- Peacekeeper. Also group that considers themselves "leaders."
- Shanti Sena Council
- A Council convened at a Gathering to discuss peacekeeping and to
collectively train people in non-violent crisis intervention.
- Sherpa Patrol
- Group or individual who helps people carry supplies to camps and kitchens.
- A Rainbow Latrine.
- Shitter Patrol
- Group or individual who builds and/or maintains latrines.
- A vehicle used to move Rainbows back and forth from the parking area to the trailhead
into the Gathering.
- Sisters' Space
- An area reserved exclusively for women.
- Sisters' Meadow
- A meadow reserved exclusively for women.
- Sisters' Circle
- A place where women council together.
- Six Up
- Slang for gun or armed police officer.
- See Snifting.
- Looking to meet someone, primarily for sex. Most snifters are men looking for
- Supply Council
- A Council convened at a Gathering to coordinate collective supply purchases
and to distribute supply donations to camps and kitchens.
- Grateful Dead band tour.
- Trade Circle
- Same as "Barter Lane," only a circle.
- Trader's Row
- Same as "Barter Lane."
- Hobo or Road Dog, who hops trains.
- Frustrated, neurotic.
- Vibe (v)
- To emit a non-verbal or feeling signal to someone else (from yoga; e.g., [Evans-Wendt
- Vibe (n)
- A non-verbal signal or feeling. Also can be used to describe a mood.
- A person who has been chosen by the Council to monitor the Council mood. If
the mood is becoming argumentative or in any other way non-conducive to a healthy Council,
the vibeswatcher momentarily interrupts council for a breather, an Om, a stretch, jumping jacks
or the like.
- A picture of how things should, could or will be.
- Vision Council
- The Council which chooses the general area (state, country, or region) for the
following year's Gathering. Also discusses direction and goals of Rainbow Family.
- A tasty morsel of food, easy to eat but not a meal; also not too sweet (From prison
- Weekend Rainbow
- Someone who only participates in
Rainbow activities when on vacation
from a job and `mainstream' lifestyle. See Yuppie.
- Weekend Hippie
- Someone who only participates in countercultural activities when on
vacation from a job and `mainstream' lifestyle. See Yuppie.
- We Love You
- Greeting, usually shouted in unison by a group of people. An unseen group
elsewhere in the Gathering usually answers with another chorus of "we love you," which might
be answered by yet another group.
- Welcome Fire
- A fire kept burning at the `front Gate' to welcome late-night arrivals, heat coffee
for new arrivals, etc.
- Welcome Home!
- Standard Rainbow greeting for someone who is entering the Gathering from
- Welcome Soup
- A pot of soup which is always warm at the Front Gate for new arrivals
(Quebec Rainbow tradition).
- Someone with a job.
- Like a wahwah, but very sweet. Usually candy or donuts. (From prison slang)
"People of the Rainbow; A Nomadic Utopia,"
follow this link!