We Love You

Click here to find out where the gathering will be.
Click here to find out how to get into the gathering without receiving a mandatory court appearance ticket. (check the right hand side of the page)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanks Giving Council Info

Updated 11/24/15 8:00 AM Pacific Time

Howdy Folks!

Thanksgiving Council 2015
Thursday, November 26 - Sunday November 29
Melrose, NY
We're asking that folks don't show up before Wednesday,
to give our hosts time to prepare. Anytime on Wednesday is fine. Thanks!
 This is a working council and not a Rainbow Gathering. 
All who come should be ready to participate in the process.

42.828744, -73.626228
11 Grant Hollow Road Melrose NY 12121

From Albany NY:
I-787N to Exit 9E. (NY7 East Troy/Bennington)
At the Exit Stay in the Left 2 Lanes
At the second light make a Left onto NY40 North
After 3.5 miles make a right then an immediate left to stay on NY40 North
After 3.5 miles make a light right onto Grant Hollow Road,
Grant Hollow road is immediate after Rice Mtn Place
Arrive at the second driveway on the right, it will be well marked.

Please follow parking directions on-site and please park sensibly!
Thanks again. Looking forward to seeing you all.
Feel free to bring musical instruments and all good things to share.

If you plan to take public transportation to Albany, bus, train or plane, & need a ride drop a line to the FERN FaceBook page so that things can be coordinated. If you do not FaceBook, email me with a phone number and I will share with others.

Come totally self-sufficient with enough warm clothes, bedding, tents, personal items, toilet paper, etc. Weather will be low to mid 50’s day, low 40’s/high 30’s at night.

Although people have committed to cooking, there was no talk of getting food supplies.  Please bring enough food for yourself and to share. Several folks have committed to cooking over the weekend, but so far no one has volunteered for Thanksgiving Day.

Council will begin Friday, with the most active discussions on Saturday.  People are expected to clean up on Sunday and leave by mid-afternoon as this is a private, family-owned farm.

There is plenty of space for parking and setting up personal tents. There is a workshop where we can council if there is inclement weather and for some folks to sleep.  We’ve been offered indoor space by our hosts for folks over 60, folks with health care issues, and families with young children. If you are young, healthy and show up before the indoor couches have been claimed by those who need them you will be asked to give that space up. The workshop currently does not have heat - a wood stove with 10’ of pipe would work if you can donate one, if not there are a few propane and kerosene heaters we could use. There's a mash style tent somewhere on the property complete with floor and liner, just like the old nerf tent, which is possible for insulated working space...

We will set up a kitchen outside, permanent or temporarily.  There's a barrel, clay, rocks, and straw if folks want to build an oven. Outside fires can be made as needed.  Kitchen equipment will be brought on Wed. with more coming on Fri. There will be several 2 burner coleman stoves, a turkey fryer type burner or 2, a few 5 gallon pots, a large frying pan, cambros (if needed) water/coffee service, baking pans, and a few other parts and pieces to make a kitchen. If folks want to bring more they are welcome to do so.  Some kitchen tarps will be needed to make an enclosure, especially if it is windy.

***Please keep your dogs on a leash or tied up.  This is a family farm with a goat and chickens. We do not want to see any harm come to these animals. Please be respectful of the family who generously donated their home for this council.***
For an easy to print PDF of the information above, click here.

****** Older Updates *******

Thanks Giving Council (T-Council) will be held at on a farm approximately 30 minutes north of Albany in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

If you are considering flying to T-Council, Albany, NY is the place to land.

The report that we were given was that there is inside space for a number of people to sleep, although, if if a large number of people attend, other options will need to be explored.

Planning for the council is still underway and I will be updating this blog post as new information becomes available.

For more information on T-Council in general such as the why and how, click here.

there was a conference call on monday night (11/9) in which a small number of trusted family participated.  we were still waiting on a report about the logistics of the site we have chosen near Albany.    We will be having another conference call this upcoming Monday at 9pm.    hopefully folks who are interested in kitchens and cooking will attend.   it would be helpful to know who will be bringing both cooking equipment and various food supplies.

it was emphasized in our conference call that this is not a rainbow gathering.  IT IS A WORKING COUNCIL  and those who come should be ready to participate in the process.   It is also important that everyone be self-sufficient.  Although people have committed to cooking, there was no discussion about getting food supplies.  Please bring food for yourself or, even better, bring food to share.    so far several folks have committed to cooking over the weekend, but no one has made a commitment to cooking on thanksgiving day.    It seems that all of the cooks I have spoken with have other, blood family, plans on Thursday.

Actual counciling will begin on Friday generally with the most active discussions being held on Saturday.    People are expected to help clean up on Sunday and to leave by mid-afternoon as this is a private, family-owned farm.

there is plenty of space for parking and for setting up individual tents. There is a workshop space, where counciling can occur if there is inclimate weather.  There is also space in the workshop for folks to sleep.

I have copied some of the comments sent to me by the person who has scouted out the site:

*one problem is that the workshop currently does not have heat - a wood stove with about 10 feet of stove pipe would drop right in - i'm in search of something to borrow or trade - if worst comes to worst i've got a few propane and kerosene heaters we could use. also, there's apparently a mash style tent somewhere on the property complete with floor and liner - just like the old nerf tent - i'm looking into this as an option for more insulated working space... *

*for cooking, it's pretty much what we bring. They are replacing the stove in the house this week and should have one by thanksgiving weekend. thats you're basic house stove. we're welcome to setup a kitchen outside - permanent or temporarily - there's a barrel, clay, rocks, and straw if folks want to build an oven... we can make fires outside as needed.*

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Why Gather? (Guest Post)

Excerpts from All Ways Free Summer 1997. (Reprinted from All Ways Free, Winter ‘88) - Written by Garrick Beck

Why should anyone want to go thru the 1001 tasks that are the life-support system of the Rainbow Gathering? Hauling large rocks for bakery ovens, digging & filling latrines, tending medical emergencies, installing water pipe systems that need to be taken apart,…sorting garbage, not to mention doing all this with the added difficulty of our own problems: upset or belligerent people, alcoholics in rainbow clothing, rude or unhygienic behavior; and sometimes with only minimal help or even opposition from the public service of the government.
Why do it? Why face all the problems, all the maps & mailings, all the fundraising for printing; all the long-winded discussion over procedures; why consume all this time of our lives? For what? Why gather?
We are utterly capable of seeking and finding the pure natural experience without subjecting ourselves to all this trouble. So why do we put this on our shoulders and go on? Why do we do it? I mean: Why gather?
Because   we love each other. We really do.
Because   we are creating something new and beautiful….
Because   we hold the vision of a peaceful world in our inner eyes - in our hearts - and we make it real in this outside world.
Because   is a thrill to experience a cooperative society.
Because   only when we take personal responsibility for the needs of each other - water, food, security, fuel, healing, childcare and recycling - do we take mature responsibility for our lives.
Because   the children need something gentle and loving to look forward to.
Because   it is important to teach and learn as much as possible about human cooperation.
Because   we are fed up with war economy & economic exploitation & political over lording, and we want to try something else.
Because   gathering teaches thousands of people, even tens of thousands, respect for the earth, the water, the plants & the animals.
Because   even the addicts, the dissolute, the spaced-out space cadets, the drunks who come are in need of love, and every society must care for its own.
Because   laughter, music, celebration and rejoicing in life are needed in this world in great measure.
Because   gathering unifies ancient tribal wisdom with current ideas and technologies.
Because   we want to inspire hope that it is indeed possible - and in fact pleasurable - for people of all kinds to live in peace.
Because   our councils are open to everyone to speak, we hear ideas, poems, stories and wisdom from the seven corners of the earth.
Because   the work and play-shops are education’s, the massage delightful, and the music rich with interlace harmonies.
Because   light and life and love deserve to be celebrated by lots of us.
Because   when we hold hands in our circles we can feel the energy that moves the atoms and the moon and stars.
Because   gathering teaches us to have faith, to trust each other, to believe in good and goodness, and to have the strength - in the face of the rest of the world - to carry on.
Garrick Beck (1988)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Collective Wisdom on How to Gather

Over the years, the collective wisdom of gathering participants have put together information on how to create a positive gathering for yourself, other gatherers, and the land upon which we gather.

The original version of this is the Mini Manual of Gathering Consciousness.  Normally appearing in the Rainbow Guide each year,the Mini Manual, for short, covers in a brief 8 pages, how to positively create and participate in a gathering.  Click here to view the entire Mini Manual in PDF format.
As with everything gathering related, gathering participants creatively re-imagine how to share knowledge with each and every one of us on an on-going basis. In 2014, I first saw the Where Do I Poop pamphlet.  Click here to view Where Do I Poop in PDF Format. If you choose to print it, the first page is the back outside cover and the last page is the inside center-fold.

Please note these files make take a few minutes to download. Please read, download, copy and redistribute this information freely.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Scouting 101

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary to participate and new blood is always needed.

Fall is the perfect time to go check out those spots in the consented to areas and see what they look like on the ground. It's hard to find sites for the Annual Gathering and it's important we use our collective wisdom in site selection.  If you Facebook and want to get plugged into technical discussions on using on-line mapping tools or ask other people who have scouted if a particular site has been looked at, email me and I'll get you plugged into the FB page for scouting discussions.

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. If you are looking at state or county owned land, then you will also have to research regulations,  laws, and permit requirements regarding gatherings on these lands.

Here's are the basic steps:

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. There are many on-line mapping tools these days so feel free to use what works best for you.
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 2016, we're looking in the
public lands of the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.
Step 5) Look at the topo maps for that area. Try 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. Places to park cars where the plants can handle it.
Step 6) Make sure the site is far away from civilization to minimize gatherer/non-gatherer conflicts and frequent runs into town.
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 homework 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. You'll want to bring all your info to discuss further with more experienced scouts. If you don't know how to plug into that effort, reach out to me (see link above) and I'll plug you in.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kalif (RIP) Celebration of Life August 30

Kalif - Celebration of his Life & Vision

Where: 367 Burns Dr., Space 9, Yuba City CA 95991

When: 2-8 PM, Sunday August 30, 2015.

We invite all friends and family of Kalif and Green Style Analytics & Consulting to celebrate Kalif's life on Sunday August 30, 2015, 2-8 PM

For Basics Bring:
Potluck finger-food, chair, drinks

For Art and Laughter Bring:
Musical instruments, stories of Kalif to share, silent auction donations ...

For Kalif's Wall at the lab Bring:
Kalif and son Drake feeding folks in NYC
A photo, art, memento or saying containing the passionate call to activism in the name of love, justice, equality and the earth that Kalif so loved to post on Facebook (before his strokes started slowing him down).
Kalif with his love Catherine

Saturday, August 22, 2015

On Belonging

I often find it hard to explain to people my perspective on what my 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.

In The Values of Belonging by Carol Lee Flinders (co-author of the Laurel's Kitchen cookbooks), 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 stay, “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 of her values of belonging which for me expresses some of the best aspects of gathering. 

  • Intimate connection with the land to which one “belongs.”
  • Empathetic relationship to animals
  • Self-restraining
  • 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?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Thanksgiving Council 101

The annual gathering of the tribes, which takes place over the 4th of July, has a cyclical process. While various regions in the USA often host a Thanksgiving get together, this blog deals with the annual gathering. In South Dakota this summer, vision council on the land reached consensus that the 2016 gathering will take place in the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.

But then what?

Because the Rainbow Gathering has no leaders, no board of directors, no staff and no one in charge of anything, we depend on people working together to do all the preparation for the gathering in the north east. So over the years a process has come together to make sure that planning is open to everyone who wants to be involved.

The year starts off with Thanks giving Council or T-Council over the four day weekend of the same name. This is a time for people interested in plugging in, talking about visions for the gathering, discussing scouting, strategies about legal issues, etc. to get together.

T-Council generally takes place in the state or region where we will be gathering although sometimes it happens in other areas not to far from the consensed upon areas. It's usually a camp, cook, council, share heart songs kinda of thing. Often but not always, the people at T-Council pick the dates for the Scout Rendezvous and Spring Council. Often times a PO box is established for snail mail and a banking council is formed to deal with any donations.

As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a willingness to participate. Keep in mind this is not a gathering, it's a working council and the way this council unfolds sets the tone for the gathering.

For direction to T-Council, click here.

I'm hoping that there will be a real mix of generations at T-Council. We need older people, we need younger people, we need more experienced gatherers and we need less experienced gatherers to come together to create a vision for a peaceful, healing and fun gathering in 2016. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gathering Basics

Just an FYI, no one speaks for the gathering and there are as many different opinions as there are gatherers. For a hipstorical perspective, click here. For a more recent perspective, here's a great video for those new to the gathering that was done by some folks in Oregon in 2012.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Where will the gathering be?

Usually when someone gets on my email list, this is the first information I send them. So to you out here in blogsphere, here's that same information.

From the invite to the very first Rainbow Gathering in 1972:

We, who are brothers & sisters, children of God, families of  life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of humankind calling ourselves Rainbow Family Tribe, humbly invite:
  • All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals -- out of love.
  • All nations & national leaders -- out of respect
  • All religions & religious leaders -- out of faith
  • All politicians -- out of charity

to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among all people. This gathering to take place beginning July 1, 1972, near Aspen, Colorado - or between Aspen the Hopi Navajo lands - on 3000 acres of land that we hope to purchase or acquire for this gathering --  to hold open worship, prayer, chanting or whatever is the want or desire of the people, for three days, but upon the fourth day of July at noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world may consider & give honor & respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world -- asking blessing upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace.

The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills has consensed to invite all peoples, out of love and with respect, to gather peacefully for silent meditation in the morning of July 4th, 2016 until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the public lands of the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.

Thanks giving council

The next step in the process of landing on a site is always Thanks giving council (T-council) which takes place over the four day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  This is a time of people to council and share their hopes and dreams for the 2016 gathering.  If you have potential sites you think are worthy of scouting in the spring, bring topo maps and forest service maps.  Directions to T-council usually come out in the first half of November. Check back then. If you're not familiar with T-council, read more here

Scout Rendezvous

T-council usually picks dates for one or two scout councils. Scout councils/rendezvous is a time for people out scouting to connect up, share information, talk about scouting efforts. As with all things Rainbow, no experience is necessary, just a desire to walk, learn, teach and share. If you come, please be self sufficient - have green energy for gas, food, etc. You don't need your own vehicle if you can be a positive traveling companion, but $$$ are always in short supply for scouting, so please bring enough for yourself and some to share with the person whose vehicle breaks down.

Spring council

Spring council is when all potential sites for the gathering are brought to any people who want to be involved in selecting a site. The council usually takes one to seven days and normally ends with either a consensus by silence among people at the council or an exodus of the majority of people heading to the preferred site. Spring council goes until a decision is reached by consensus or by foot. The exact location for this council generally isn't determined until one to two weeks before spring council starts. Until the spring council process reaches a site, there is no home.

For those of you who think the site is picked in advance and want to get the 411 now so you can book plane tickets.  I'm sorry, but there is no site picked at this time. 

Keep in mind that weather conditions (which are unpredictable) play a part in all of this. So let's say someone finds a great site during the summer of 2015 (and I have no knowledge that anyone did or will), for all we know come the first week of June, 2016 that site is still under snow, then what? Keep in mind that 4 feet of snow at a gathering is rough (anyone remember Washington 2011?).

Drought and high fire danger can have the same effect. A great site that was nice and wet in August 2015 can be dry as a tinder box in June 2016. If the Forest Service has a no open fire ban on that site that looked so great last year, guess it's not looking that great this year. Available water can change year to year as well depending on snow melt.  Conditions change all the time.  The family needs to find the best possible site for the health and safety of gathering participants and the land on which we gather.

For details on spring council/circle/counsel, click here.

Seed Camp

Once Spring Council reaches a decision, people move onto the site and start Seed Camp. Seed Camp is about creating trails, building kitchens, digging shitters, taping springs and dealing with the United States Forest Service. Historically, law enforcement harassment is highest during Seed Camp so if you are planning on being there, take the necessary precautions to keep your self out of the system if you so choose or need to. Bring your own food and drinking water. Bring first aid kits.  

The Gathering

The main day of the gathering is July 4 when we observe silence from dawn until high noon and put our energy into manifesting world peace, the positive evolution of the planet and other good things.  Many people observe this with a prayer or mediation for world peace. Others do Yoga for world peace, blow bubbles for world peace, etc. Basically, if it's a silent, gentle energy then it fits in very well.  As to when the gathering starts, that's dynamic.  It's usually one day during the last week of June when some friends and I look at each other and say "today it's a gathering."  (of course you may pick a different date than I do when it feels like a gathering and not like seed camp).

The earlier you come the more self sufficient you need to be and relationships with the Forest Service can be rougher. On the other hand, showing up for seed camp allows you to influence the way the gathering goes. If you show up later, say after June 27, then most (but not all) of the drama has subsided.  Traditionally the dates are listed as July 1 to 7, but most years people start leaving in droves on July 5th.

Click here for directions to the gathering will be available on this blog.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization!
Live lightly with the Land and People!
Please Copy and Distribute This Information Widely

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Vision Council Consensus

Consensus #1: We support AIM Grassroots and the Lakota people's continuing struggle to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier

Consensus #2: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills would like to reaffirm that counsel process is realized by reaching consensus on the land. We would like to encourage individuals to question all sources of information and to dispel any illusions of "officialness". Know your sources.

Consensus #3: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills reaffirms that consensus implies only the agreements of the people on the land. We do not have representatives, especially on the internet.

Consensus #4: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills has consensed to invite all peoples, out of love and with respect, to gather peacefully for silent meditation in the morning of July 4th, 2016 until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the public lands of the White and Green Mountains National Forests in the states of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.

Consensus #5: The 2015 Vision Counsel of Rainbow Family of Living Light on the land in the occupied 1st Nations territory of the sacred Black Hills encourages individuals to use open counsel processes to allocate limited accommodations such as access to closed roads, special needs parking locations, and fireplaces.