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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)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Trip of It All

I've often thought that going to a gathering is a bit like taking a trip. Advanced preparation helps -- after all you don't want to be out in the Rocky Mountains with no jacket at 2:00 a.m., but is preparation the key to a successful gathering?

Yes and no.

For those of you who recognize the phases of a good trip, many people have an idea of what they want to happen. Perhaps stocking the fridge or cooler with fruit juice and pizza is your idea of preparation. Maybe it's the music. You want to be listening to your favorite band. Location can be key. Do you want to be at home with close friends, in the woods, or on the dance floor at a concert?  All these things matter, up to a point.

You start out with all your preparations. Excitement builds, you start feeling the effects of what you are doing.  You try to stick to the plan.  And that my friends is the crux of the problem.

The trip like the gathering often has a different plan for you. Perhaps the trip comes from the center of the universe speaking to you in hushed tones. Other times, its waves crashing on the beach. Getting bigger and bigger until you are caught in an under tow and getting your head bounced off the bottom of the ocean like a basket ball (not so subtle).  The more you resist, the worse things get.

When you first realize you're struggling, panic can set in and you can resist what is happening. This moment is when your friends can help you relax, surrender to the universe and where it is trying to guide you, open yourself fully to the magic.  Don't just go with the crashing waves, BECOME the crashing waves and you will land on shore safely.

The gathering is no different. Many of us arrive with an intention, a focus, a plan.  Great ideas like an art camp, a huge bank of shitters near the main meadow, a kitchen that will kick out dank zuzus in the wee hours of the morning.  Planning for these things is great and I do it all the time.

Having the sleeping bag and tent, a warm jacket and thick socks can make the chaos enjoyable. However, just like when trippin, at some point you need to latch onto your Zen Mind, Beginners Mind.

But what does that mean?  

It means being present to what is happening around you and plugging in to the best of your abilities.

It means listening to what the universe is trying to teach you and I guarantee that every gathering is trying to teach you something. It's your choice how you want to learn the lesson. If you are actively listening to what the gathering and hence the universe wants you to learn, then the lessons may be challenging but not painful. If you close your mind to the words of the universe, then the universe will probably speak about a bit more loudly and with more force. 

Make your preparations and once you are home, be prepared to altar the plan significantly. Take time to walk through the gathering in silence and listen to the wind in the trees, the sounds of children laughing, and the pain and suffering in many hearts. Open your heart to those who need love, share your food with those who are hungry, lend and arm or shoulder to those who need help, and the messages from the universe will ring as strongly as the bird songs in the early morning.

Monday, May 30, 2016

All Ways Free

All Ways Free is a rainbow gathering newspaper that comes out many years at the gathering. It often includes a map of the site and other cool info.  Folks are in the process of raising funds to print this popular publication.  Copies of past editions of All Ways Free are available on-line.

Howdy family,

Finch here! I am helping Roach, the All Ways Free focalizer this year, to raise funds for this year's issue. All Ways Free is a rainbow newspaper that is totally free and noncommercial. We need to raise just under a thousand dollars this year, to bring 3,000 issues to this year's rainbow gathering to hand out for free! If you could toss $20 or $100 into the hat, it would really help keep u
the paper above water.

You can donate via Go Fund Me.

Your support would mean a lot to me. Thank you so much! We love you!

- Adam Finch Buxbaum

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Spring Council/Counsel/Circle -> Seed Camp

*** Updated June 14 @ 11:30 AM Cali time ***

Spring council is over. Folks have moved onto the site. Click here for details.

*** Original post ***

Spring council/counsel/circle  (spring ccc) starts June 10. Spring ccc will be held in the southern portion (Manchester district) of the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont.

People who have been scouting have said that they are still considering several options which will be presented to the council for consensus. The location of spring council will not be at any of the sites under consideration for the gathering.
Spring ccc is where the site for the 2016 gathering will be determined and gathering layout begins. There may be travel to see sites the scouts propose, lots of walking, discussion and consensus. All are welcome to participate in the process.

However, if you come, please be self sufficient. Bring clothes for warm, wet and cold weather, good boots/shoes. Water and Food to share, shelter (tent, sleeping bag, etc) your own cup bowl spoon, all the stuff you'd need for gathering & a sense of humor. 

As a refresher, the purpose of spring ccc is to determine where home is. The individuals who have been out scouting will have information to share about the site(s) they found and the family on the land at spring ccc will have to reach consensus by silence or by foot on where we will be.  Directions to spring CCDs will be available on wed June 8th.  If you are heading there now go towards the southern section of the green mountain national forest of Vermont.  (The Manchester district of the forest)

Please be advised that from spring ccc, the gathering moves into Seed Camp.  Folks at seed camp find and develop water sources,set up the first kitchen and dig the first latrines, locate and mark out the parking lot, lay out trails and remove obstructions, locate Main Circle and dig the fire pit, and set up a welcoming entrance to the gathering.

This is a time when you can work intensely with a few other people and form some deep friendships. 

From this seed grows the flower of our Gathering.

Just an FYI, early in the gathering is when law enforcement presence can be the most intense as ratio of cops to gatherers may be high

This is a great time to form relationships with the USFS resource personnel, work out an unsigned operating plan with the rangers, and set up a process by which the USFS personnel can meet with gatherers on-the-land.  A specific location and time is a really good strategy as then everyone in camp knows where/when to be if they want to meet or not meet with the forest service. It takes many voices to do this work.  If you are not sure what an operating plan is, check out the collection of past operating plans on-line.

Directions to spring council/circle/counsel

Directions to spring council-
From Manchester take highway 11 east.
Turn left on Main St toward Peru.
At general store, Left onto Hapgood pond Rd (also a sign saying wild wing xc).

Drive  roughly a mile till fs22.
Slight left onto fs22, then 3/4 mile to fs21, then left onto fs21.
At fork in Rd with the small stop sign, stay left on fs 21, site is 2 miles on your left at the rock stack.
Mostly road parking, save spots in the small lot for those that can't get around as well.

For a handy map, click here.

If you're looking for a major town, try Albany. There is a bus that heads up to the Green Mountains. https://www.vttranslines.com/bus-schedules/ 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Music as Magical Peacekeeping Tool

The Earth Is Our Mother
For family who are more musically included, we have a long tradition of chants and songs not for performance, but for participation. Many of these songs are call and response or chant type songs. We use these songs to create community, help people be more peaceful and create the energy we wish to see in this world.

If you do not already know some of the rainbow songs, there are on-line websites that have the information.  If you play an instrument or even if you do not, try to learn these songs.  Then when you are at a gathering, I'm sure you will find a moment that is calling out for family singing and you will be prepared.

Thanks to family who have taken the time to make this information freely available.
Bliss Fire Website
Welcome Home Website

Singing is one of the best tactics to improve the vibration of the gathering. I've even seen people sing to break up hostile situations, calm the anxious, and create community among random strangers. Be the magic!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Creating a Healthy Gathering Through Hand Washing

One thing that goes a long way to keeping folks at a gathering healthy and safe is washing hands - a lot. And I don't mean just rubbing your hands with sanitizer, but actual biodegradable soap (Dr. Bronner's is great) and filtered or boiled water. Some awesome Rainbow engineers have designed a hand wash station that's transportable and light weight. One goal of a Rainbow hand wash station is to make it hands free, so no one picks up germs in the process of washing their hands. (A smaller setup of this same type can be used for soap dispensing). If you're not up to speed on drinking water issues, Hawker has a great website showing what he's done in the past and discussing issues in greater depth.

Here's a great drawing of what I'll explain in words below. Thanks TimBear.

"From our experience, the primer bulb check valve can fail if the water gets trash in it. The solution we found was a small piece of filter material (like the filter from a wet vac) or fine mesh screening (a couple of layers of panty hose) around the end of the water intake. The pvc pipe allows you to direct the water where you want it, even if there is no tree where you want the water." - TimBear's words, not mine. What ever you do, make sure the grey water is at least 300 feet from creeks, rivers, and ponds and preferable somewhere where no one is walking. Dogs and people can get into the grey water and spread the germs all over the place and that's not healthy.

The key is a one-way syphon valve. It's made of rubber and can be squeezed by hand. Each end has a place to clamp hose onto. I usually get them at my local Marine supply store. Hook it up to some clear plastic tubing - one end to go into a bucket of filtered water. It looks like this:

The other end should be fastened somewhere (if not using TimBear's Pipe method) and hopefully have a drain system so people aren't standing around in gray water. To conserve water, get spare sun shower nozzles and put it on the end. These are $5-10 each from a camping supply store. They work great for the "faucet" end. Here is a photo of one.

Then to wash hands, all people need to do is pump the black syphon ball with their feet, and water comes out the shower nozzle. Portable hands free hand washing and kids love it!

Filtered water is best for hand washing. Providing an alcohol based hand sanitizer and/or a bleach wash as a final step is a great idea, but please label the ingredients so people can make informed decisions.

I also like to make a sink to minimize the amount of mucky grey water around the faucet. I've used a plastic bowl in a round tomato cage. Then drill a hole in the bottom and put in a connector so you can clamp a discharge pipe and run the waste water into a gray water pit. WARNING! HIPPIES CAN BE DUMB. Every time I use my sink setup, someone thinks we should recycle the gray water by putting it back into the fresh water container. THIS IS UNSANITARY AND IS WORSE THAN NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS AT ALL. So if you use a sink, please make a sign telling people that the drain DOES NOT go into the water source.

I'll be bringing a few extra setups to give out - but we needs lots of them. If someone(s) are looking for a great public service project for this year's gathering, here's a great one. Let's make sure we have enough hand washing stations scattered around the gathering so that people can't help but wash their hands at least twice a day. Every year I promise to make them at home and bring everything but the sink, but it doesn't seem to happen. Sure is easier at home with my tools.

Clean hands creates a healthy gathering.

Just a quick reminder, no soap in any surface water. Biodegradable soap only biodegrades in the soil.  All soapy water should be kept 300 feet from surface water like creeks, rivers, ponds and springs.  Don't be the dufuss who tries to wash your hands, clothes, hair, body in the creek. All you're doing is creating dirty water for the animals (2 and 4 legged) who drink the water.

Monday, May 16, 2016

How to gather (AKA 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.