Where will the gathering be?

Where will the 2014 gathering be?
Near Heber, Utah. Click here for directions
Who is invited?
Every person with a belly button. If for some reason, you lost your belly button, you are invited as well.
What you really need to know:
How to Get Into The Gathering Without Getting a Mandatory Court Appearance Ticket.
How to Contact Someone?
If after reading the information on this blog, checking out the links on the right hand side, you still have questions, concerns, or problems, email random gatherers for assistance.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What ever happened to recycling?

Image Source
In the good old days when the snickers bars hung from trees, shitters dug themselves and the water tasted like champagne, gathering participants used to recycle.  According to the guru of garbage, Swami M. Om, in 1979, she set up recycling stations, but a lack of understanding about recycling ran rampant.  (Yes kiddies, in the 70s and 80s only hippies and tree huggers were into recycling).  Swami M. Om realized she would need to teach people how to recycle. Following the 1979 gathering, in a meditation she saw the seven catagories of trash and how they aligned with the seven chakras.  She used comedy and song to teach recycling to this wonderful, crazy family using The Seven Garbage Chakras. To read more about Swami M. Om, click here.
Image Source

We had a wonderful brother by the name of Dakota who for a number of years focalized recycling by sorting through a gigantic pile of trash left behind by less educated gatherers.

By 2004 or even a few years before, we handled recycling by hauling all the trash to a location in the parking lot and then dedicated volunteers would open every bag of trash and sort through everything, separating out anything we could take to an identified recycling center.  In more recent hipstory, a wonderful brother named Dan D. took on the task of focalizing sorting and places to take the recyclables - but it was basically the same process.  Depending on where we were located that could be plastic, paper, glass and metal or just aluminum cans.  This method left much to be desired. Instead of every gathering participant doing their share of recycling and hauling trash a handful of people did it for everyone (bless you trash sorters - you are the best of this family - right up there with our shitter diggers). 
Tennessee 2012 gathering trash pile with family sorting

Then this year in Montana, most of the trash went straight to dumpsters (unsorted) and off to the dump. While we (the magic hat) paid the dump fee, this family has gone from recycling trendsetters to trash generators. Even burning paper in Montana in 2013 created a bear nuisance as the bears can smell grease on ashes for some time. After we left the gathering, some black bears moved in and dug up our pits.
 So what are we to do?

Don't bring it in the first place. Don't bring cans, bottles, or plastic containers that you are not willing to take with you when you leave the gathering and take at least one hundred miles away from the gathering before you put it in a recycle container.

We are all the clean up crew. Anything you bring to the gathering, you are responsible for taking out of the woods including used tampons, used diapers, dirty clothes, broken tents, cigarette butts, bottles, cans, plastic containers, glow sticks, lighters, rope, tarps, etc. 

So what can you leave behind?  You can leave your and your pets' feces in a shitter, your toilet paper in a shitter, your urine in the woods, food scraps in a compost pit, and buried fire pit ashes.  You can leave grey water (used water for bathing, washing dishes, teeth brushing, etc.) in a grey water pit at least 200 feet from creeks, rivers and ponds. No soap decomposes in water. Dr. Bronners or biodegradable soaps degrade in the soil and we want the micro organisms to neutralize the grey water before it hits the creek and makes wild animals in the area sick. For more info on low impact camping, visit Leave No Trace.

Now that the problem has been revealed, what are we going to do about it?

Some ideas (please add more):
  • Education, education, education both before the gathering and at the gathering.
  • Find out where the recycling centers are in the vicinity of the gathering during seed camp and keep the recyclables flowing to the center every few days.
  • Don't leave everything inside the gathering until July 7 - take your trash and recyclables to your car every few days.
  • Set up recycling stations around the gathering or in the parking lots from the start of seed camp.
Visit some of these websites and learn more about recycling:
Natural Resources Defense Council
I Want To Be Recycled

Saturday, January 18, 2014

On Creating Community

One of the ways in which we create community at the gathering is by creating hundreds if not thousands of smaller communities or camps. Each camp has its own vibe and its own focus. Some camps are a handful of friends who have pitched tents next to each other. At the opposite end of the spectrum are large camps with large kitchens that feed the entire gathering complete with banks of shitters, elaborate advanced planning and hundreds of people plugging into the kitchen.

Camping in community is the heart of the gathering.  Not only does camping in community allow people to look out for each other and watch over each other's belongings, it allows people to practice consensus based decision making (if that's how the camp decides to operate), meet new people, share and learn from each other and create the energy that the camp feels is needed at the gathering.
Building a kitichen creates friendships

The beauty of a gathering is that pretty much anyone is free to plug into any community (with the exception of Sister Space which is yonis only).  Some people come to a gathering and never leave their community. Other people camp in one community and visit other communities for fun, to participate in workshops, or to work. One of the ways that peace happens at the gathering is by people locating themselves where the habitats of those around them are copesetic.

If you've never been to a gathering before, I recommend you arrive early in the morning, then hike in and wander around the gathering checking out the camps and trying to find a place that will contribute to your creation of a positive gathering. (Keep in mind that sometimes the most challenging situations create the best learning situations.) If you're looking for a particular type of camp (like one based on religious beliefs or dietary styles), stop by INFO and people can point you to camps that would accommodate your preferences.  As always at the gathering and life in general, listen to your gut. If something doesn't feel right for you, no explanation necessary, just pick up your gear and move on down the trail.

I suppose I could give a rundown on some of the camps that are generally at the gathering, but I'm not sure I want to do that. Each gathering is different, and whatever I may say about a camp today based on my personal past experience, may not be true in Nevada or Utah in 2014. Each community consists of many people and it's the combination of people that make the community what it is. Since no two gatherings ever have the same mix of people, nothing is ever the same.

However, there are usually camps dedicated to most of the major world religions, geographical areas, theater, activism, abuse of alcohol, abuse of herb, raw foods, bridge building and more. 
Map from H the F

For those who like to know what they're getting into, that's not really the best way to experience the gathering. Come, explore, meet people, learn about yourself and others, share the best of yourself with the gathering and you will have an amazing experience. That being said, here are links to info on various camps that other people have compiled and the map (above) from the 2013 gathering showing some of the larger camps.

There is a list at WelcomeHome
and at Rainbow Gathering 2.0 has a long list of links to various tribes. 

Here's a great video called Where Are You?on finding places at the gathering just for fun! You'll be doing this a lot once you're at home.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

On Belonging

I often find it hard to explain to people my perspective on what the Rainbow family means to me. Some gatherers argue that we are individuals, but I have always felt that while we are individuals, we mean more to each other than the random people who show up at a football game. I view the gathering as a big dysfunctional family. However, the word ‘family’ is loaded with baggage so sometimes it’s easier to use other words.

I’m reading a book called The Values of Belonging by Carol Lee Flinders (co-author of the Laurel's Kitchen cookbooks) as she puts forth the principles of belonging in the introduction to the book. Reading them, I felt she was expressing what the gathering means to me in terms of our relationships to each other. She makes the point that the values of belonging say “This is where I belong” while the values of mainstream Western civilization would say, “This belongs to me.” If you want to learn more about her and her work, visit her website . In the interest of sharing, I’ve included the bullet points from the book highlighting the values of belonging which for me expresses some of the best aspects of gathering. 

From the Healthy Yummy Website
  • Intimate connection with the land to which one “belongs.”
  • Empathetic relationship to animals
  • Self-restraint and custodial conservatism
  • Deliberateness (being present)
  • Balance
  • Expressiveness
  • Generosity
  • Egalitarianism
  • Mutuality
  • Affinity for alternative modes of knowing
  • Playfulness
  • Inclusiveness
  • Nonviolent conflict resolution
  • Openness to spirit

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Scouting 101

The first Scout Rendezvous, called by Thanksgiving Council, is happening May 10 at a location to be announced shortly before hand on this blog and all the other usual places. Scout Rendezvous is generally a one day get together for people who want to go out and scout and is not generally held at a place where you could camp. 

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary to participate and new blood is always needed provided you can be self sufficient, have a dependable car or gas money to donate to someone who does, and want to do the hard work.  The more people who come prepared with potential sites to the Rendezvous the better.  Do your homework before you come. I realize that weather conditions may preclude actual walking (Step 7 below), but map work should be done ahead of time and if you come to the Rendezvous with sites in mind, bring the topo maps and all the research you've done on the area: endangered species, first national (tribal) land issues, grazing permits, etc. For all you know, someone else scouted that site last year and found some reason why it was unworkable. It's hard to find sites for the Annual Gathering and it's important we use our collective wisdom in site selection.

If you've never been scouting, here's my short list of how to scout (based on the collective wisdom that has been shared with me and my own hands on experience).  We generally gather on lands managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS) but some areas of the country do have good land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We don't gather in federally designated wilderness areas, national park, or national monuments as these areas are not compatible with our needs due to one of the following reasons:  no cars, focus on protecting wild life and land, need to preserve sensitive ecosystems, and entrance fees to name but a few.

Step 1) Pick a gathering or gatherings that you personally attended.
Step 2) Find those gathering sites on a topo map. I was taught to use 7 minute maps. Many university libraries have good collections of topo maps. Or visit topo zone maps online.
Step 3) Once you find the topo map, correlate the parking lots, kitchens, main circle, and various camps you remember with spots on the topo map so that in your head you can see a gathering on a map.
Step 4) Pick a national forest or area under BLM management that you feel would be appropriate for a gathering - if you're planning on  scouting for the annual gathering in 2014, we're looking in Nevada or Utah. 
Step 5) Look at the topos for that area trying to find a site that has the qualities you liked about the previous gatherings you've attended. Some of my personal favorite features are a good hike in at least 1 mile, closer to 2 if it's an easy hike because I feel that the harder it is to get into a site, the more committed people are to staying and creating gathering reality. For a large gathering, having a main meadow and a couple of separate smaller meadows is a good thing, water is of course necessary. Places to hike away from the main part of the gathering for people wanting to get away. Two roads in and out to the gathering site (Front Gate/Back Gate). No roads into the gathering site proper or the cops will drive into the heart of our gathering.
Step 6) Make sure the site is far away from civilization to minimize gatherer/non-gatherer conflicts and runs into town for booze.
Step 7) Go out and walk the site and see if it has what the maps showed and the above mentioned features, if it's workable and if it has the magic. In my experience, if you have done you're home work on five sites, maybe one is workable as there are always issues that don't reveal themselves until you are on the land.
Step 8) If you found a site in Step 7, research environmentally sensitive habitat in the area, endangered species, private property and water rights. Check for ranchers who may have permits for grazing during the gathering. If nothing turns up, we may have a winner. If something turns up, you'll want to bring all your info to the Scout Rendevouz and discuss further with experienced scouts.

Thanks to all my family who are spending time and money scouting for this gathering! We Love You!