2015 Gathering

The 44th annual rainbow gathering of the tribes is happening in the Black Hills of South Dakota." (The consensed areas include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and South Dakota.) For posts related to the gathering location including directions and site updates, click here. For the Howdy Folks, click here. To find out specifically where the gathering will be, you need to understand how we find our "home" each year. Click here for an overview of the process. To make it into the gathering without a ticket, click here. Please ignore all rumors of cancellation. Copy and distribute this information freely.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rainbow Gathering 101

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.

Spring Council Info

Updated June 16 @ 7:30 a.m. California Time

Spring council is when gathering participants come together and figure out where home is and create the energy that puts the gathering into motion. As with all things gathering related, no experience is necessary. All you need is a desire to be of service to your family.

Spring council is the planting of the seed that unfolds during seed camp (when we build the gathering), and blossoms on the 4th of July.

This year spring council starts on June 17.  Many  year's spring council happens in the general area where the gathering will end up, but not always. Please be prepared for what ever unfolds. 

Once spring council reaches a decision by consensus or by foot, people who are involved with spring council usually make the information freely available. Word of warning:  Sometimes the first set of directions and/or other information is incomplete, so check your sources  before you head out to make sure you have the "updated directions." Please triple check where you are headed.

If you have not already connected up with the scouting process, but have sites, please email me so I can hook you up with others who are scouting.

If you plan on coming to spring council, be prepared for cold and/or wet weather and rough conditions. Have your own methods to boil or filter water. Bring food. This is not a gathering so all the support systems normally in place won't be up until sometime during seed camp.

That being said, people generally help each other out, seeing the gathering start from nothing and turn into a small town is an amazing experience, and the friendships you make with other people can be long lasting.

Many years sensitive natural resources guide our behavior. This year spring council is happening on land sacred to the Sioux Nation and many tribes. At least some tribal members will participate. Please show respect for the people who consider the Black Hills sacred land and for their culture. We are asking people to treat spring council as a ceremony, treat our hosts with the utmost respect, and bend our traditions to accommodate theirs as best we can. If you have been drinking, please stay away as we are being welcomed to council here and we do not want to offend our First Nation brothers and sisters.  Please wear appropriate clothing as some tribal members may take offense at nudity. This year, I hope that sensitive cultural intersections will guide our actions. Council in respect for all people in attendance and the beautiful land that is welcoming us. 

Spring council will take place in the state of South Dakota near Hill City South Dakota about 35 miles southwest of Rapid City, South Dakota. Rumor has it that a taxi ride from Rapid City to Hill City costs about $40. Directions to the spring council location will be available here and the usual places on June 15. If you plan on going, please know that the National Forest in South Dakota may have a fire ban. You must have a permit to build an open fire. Click here for details. Depending on how you read the regulation, it either expired on May 28 or is on-going. Consult with family already on the land before you build a campfire.


From Rapid City, SD, take Hwy 16 south west to Hill City, South Dakota (about 30 miles)

From Hill City, South Dakota go west 20 miles on Hwy 17 (Deerfield Road). Continue past Deerfield Lake 3 miles to the Intersection of 110 & 17.  Go 12 miles up Castle Creek to the intersection  of 117 & Castle Creek.  You have found the spring council site.

Topo Map of intersection of 110 & 117

If you need more information, stop at the Hill City, SD Visitor Center. Click here for more info.

Please stay off Hwy 85 until further notice!

Please note this is not the gathering site. The situation is in flux. If you're not planning on being on site by June 17 or 18, please check back on this blog for updated information.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The 4th of July Rainbow Style

Circle on July 4
Copied from Steven Hager's Blog
The silent prayer/meditation for world peace is the culmination of our attempts to create a peaceful and harmonious gathering. Starting as the sun rises on the morning of July 4th, the gathering will become silent. As people wake up and get ready for their day, most people respect the silence. As people are so inclined they head to main meadow to pray for world peace, do yoga for world peace, meditate for world peace and all sorts of other mellow and silent manifestations of creating the energy of world peace and the healing of the planet. .

We hold this peace in preparation for the arrival of our children. The children's parade (meet at Kid Village a few hours before noon if you have kids and want them in the parade) will come into the center of the circle. Please hold the silence until all the children (even the ones at the end of the parade) have made it into the center of the circle. Our children our are future and deserve our respect. Oming can start when most of the children are in the circle. PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WIDELY.

At some point before breaking the silence we will om. Not a short 1-2 minute om, but a long drawn out 15 minute or 30 minute om. If we are all focused and om together, not in a hurry to get it down, but to be with it in the moment, we can create energy that will change the world.

Each of us has a crucial role to play in this sacred ceremony that is the core of the Annual Gathering of the Tribes. This is why I and so many people I know go to the gathering, dig shitters, chop wood and carry water. This is why so many people dedicate so much resources and energy to the gathering. Please if you choose not to participate, please be silent and let those who wish to create a sacred ceremony do so.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rumors, Speculations, and Innuendo

It's that time of year folks.  The time when people are getting antsy to know where home will be this year.  Some years we have an easy consensus to plan for such as in 2011 when all we knew was that home was somewhere in the State of Washington. With two thousand miles or more between South Dakota and Maine, planning is a bit harder - but that makes it all the more of a journey.

People are bickering in on-line forums, rumors are swirling about the infosphere like flies on shit. The energy seems so negative that you are probably wondering why you are even involved with this crazy trip.

"The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination."
~ John Schaar

If you understand John Schaar's words, then you'll understand how your journey to the gathering may unfold.

However, while you're waiting, you can be preparing. To prepare for getting into the gathering without a pesky mandatory court appearance ticket, click here.

If you're vehicle is in top notch shape, then how about gathering supplies to bring to the gathering? For info on how the food movie works and to help out, click here.

For info on how the medical movie works and to help out, click here

Or plan a workshop that you'll give at the gathering, collect art supplies for an art camp, start collecting food grade 5 gallon buckets, or make hand painted signs or banners with the raps on them (click here for some of the raps).

Rather than succumb to behavior you wouldn't tolerate in your third grader, be one of the folks creating the path to the future. The rewards are so much greater.

Getting Into the Gathering Without a Ticket

How to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket!!!
Court Appearance Ticket

Every year the United States Forest
Service Law Enforcement (USFS) Incident Management Team (the cops) attempts to write as many tickets to family coming home as they possibly can to justify their presence. They give out tickets for broken tail lights, failure to use a turn signal in a deserted parking lot at 2 AM, lack of seat belts, controlled substances (even just a trace amount), beads hanging from your rear view mirrors, lack of insurance, prescription medications if the label doesn't clearly have your name on it or you can't prove who you are, dogs off leash, a vehicle missing a front license plate even if you live in a state that does not issue a front license plate and a lot more violations of the letter of the law.

However, these tickets are not the type of citation you would probably receive for any of these issues in your hometown. These are mandatory court appearance tickets. There will be special court dates set up just for us, so we can go to the local courthouse, fire station or visitors center and go before a magistrate. In the past, charges have been reduced, fines were often minimal and the court has allowed people to make payment plans ranging from 90 days to pay $75 to 18 months to pay $25 depending on the hardship cases people have expressed.

If you do not show up for your mandatory court appearance on the date indicated on your ticket, a Federal Bench Warrant will be issued for your arrest. Then the USFS LEOs will come into the gathering looking for you. If they find you they will arrest you and put you in jail until the next court date. If this happens on a Friday afternoon, you will be in jail until Monday. If they do not find you at the gathering, the next time a law enforcement officer for any reason stops you, your ID will be run through the database and you will go directly to jail.

Of course, everyone is free to manage this situation as they wish but I strongly recommend you go to your court date. I have seen people charged with crimes that could potentially result in a six years sentence walk out with a $500 fine and three years’ probation. Many people end up with charges being dropped. Keep in mind that every year the dynamic is different and these results may not always be available. There are lawyers at the gathering (I am not a legal expert) who attend the court dates and will assist as best they can although I recommend you catch up with them before your court date to gain a better understanding of your specific charges and strategies to get the charges dropped or reduced. If you do not know these people personally, go to INFO and let them know you received one of the magic tickets and you need legal assistance.

Want to come home without a ticket?

Make sure your car is 100% legal, all windshield wipers, turn signals, tail lights in perfect working condition. Have a legal, licensed driver with liability insurance. Make sure all small children are securely fashioned in the right car seat for their age/weight. Click here for info on car seats. Do not use anything illegal in your car that could be smelled by a dog or law enforcement officer. Don't drive under the influence!  We want your journey home to be a safe one.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Gathering is a Completely Free Non-Commercial Experience

The rainbow gathering is a 100% free experience of our humanity, love, and sincere desire for peace on this planet and the universe. There is no charge to park (if someone offers to take you're money, please say no thank you)!  Admission is totally free. Food is lovingly prepared by all the kitchens and is served free either at dinner circle in main meadow or "off the rails" at the kitchens.

All on-site medical care is free. Need to see a doctor or a nurse?  Totally free. Prefer holistic practitioners that may include acupuncture, massage, Reiki, etc. Again totally free!

Filtered drinking water is free, free, free (although be forewarned, sometimes lines form at the filtration stations).

Have a problem with anything at all, head over to INFO where you guessed it, the information is totally free (although sometimes we throw in jokes at no extra charge).

Basically, once you are home there is no need for credit cards, US dollars, checks, etc. except for two small basic exceptions:  Supplies you bring and The Magic Hat 

Are you wondering how we create a temporary city in the woods that is totally free to everyone on the planet?

Well, I'm here to explain it to you.

Everything we eat, bandage ourselves with, all our medications, printed handouts, etc. is paid for by anyone and everyone. There are two ways that you can be part of anyone and everyone if you have the means to do so.

Method 1 - You buy it and bring it. You go to a store in your town or on your way to the gathering and buy the necessary supplies. Then you bring them with you and distribute them appropriately.

Method 2 - You donate US dollars to a Magic Hat, all the dollars are combined, and then people focalizing that effort use all donations to buy in bulk.  

If you can buy in bulk or get discount rates, go for it and bring the supplies. If you have food stamps/food card, then you're only option is Method 1 as The Magic Hat does not accept food stamps.

Method 2 can include giving cash to the Magic Hat via the Magic Hat Parade as shown in the video below, it can include donating cash ahead of time for CALM (first aid) supplies, or it can be given to a kitchen's Magic Hat at the gathering. (Note: kitchen's that feed off the rails may ask for donations but you are not required to donate to eat).

Now there are a lot of areas that need cash before the gathering.  This year I'm focusing on clean and safe drinking water and health care because I believe that keeping our family health in the woods is a top priority. Other people will have other priorities.

Please note, every donate ahead of time PayPal link is managed by a friend of mine and I trust them 100%.

CALM / MASH / FIRST AID - These are the folks who help us heal when we are not feeling well. Click here to see the needed supplies to bring or to make a cash donation on-line. If you want to bring supplies, it's best to email now for the up to date list of what is needed.

Food - Cooking is hard work at the gathering. Click here to see the process by which your cash or food donations become dinner. Remember to donate $$ early as it takes 1/2 week or longer for dollars to become a meal.

Clean and safe drinking water
for everyone including the
Rainbow Family - It's no joke

Drinking Water.  Team Hydration creates hydration stations that provide safe, filtered drinking water to keep you hydrated and healthy. H has a great website on water filtration systems at the gathering. Make sure to check out the files for a DIY drip filtration system. Remember only .2 micron and below is what we are after to keep everyone at the gathering healthy. There is a PayPal link for donation to fund water filtration and piping systems on that page or click here. I've known the brother who maintains this system for a very long time and can vouch that any funds donated will go to providing drinking water to family at the gathering.

Just a quick reminder, anyone who asks your for money on the way into the gathering is doing so to line his or her own pocket.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Images from 1972 and 1973

Check out these amazing photos from the first gathering in 1972 and the second gathering in 1973.   Same beautiful smiles then as I see now. 

CALM (Center for Alternative Living Medicine)

Today's blog post on CALM comes to you from  guest blogger MB. Just an FYI to all who are suspicious of donating money to the gathering online, I personally know MB and many of the CALM folks and know that they are doing an amazing job saving lives with minimal equipment. Lot's of opportunities exist to support healing our brothers and sisters. For those of you who are knew to gathering, CALM is one of the main first aid stations at the gathering. Visit them if you're not feeling well, get injured or just want to talk about healing.  To learn more about CALM, click here.

CALM needs to have a variety of different supplies on hand because we never know from year to year what we will need.  Some years we see a lot of burns, while others involve roll-over accidents on the road Home.  We have treated heart attacks and diabetic shock, seizures and jungle rot, broken ankles and pains in the necks (ahem).  Wingnuts? Yep, we treat em.  A stick stuck in your foot because you really, really want to walk barefoot at night?  Yep, we treat that, too.

By getting donations early, we are able to be savvy Internet shoppers and get the best value for supplies. Once we are on the land, we have to purchase from pharmacies, with costs that are 3x what they are online.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? Donate money to our PayPal or WePay account at the bottom of this message.  Give cash or a check to one of the CALM bankers. Every $10, $20, $50 and $100 donation helps immensely. I can assure you that all of them can be trusted as they all put in way more money into supplies then they get back. Please do not bring in your old prescription medications, homemade tinctures or unlabeled herbs. We cannot distribute prescriptions, and tinctures end up unused unless they are made by a known and trusted source.

 If you have supplies that you would like to donate, please check with us first as they may not be what we really need. If you plan to bring supplies, check with us first by sending an email to CALM or AGR  to make sure that this is something that we can use. If you use FaceBook, there's a CALM page there as well.

If you want to donate something material, we need batteries!  AA non-rechargeable are best.  We rely heavily on radio communications and with radios being always-on 24-hours a day for 2 weeks, we go through a lot of AA batteries.  Remember the helicopter evacuation in Pennsylvania 2010 the morning of the 4th?  That was made possible through radio communications relayed from person-to-person and then via a call to Emergency Responders.

And finally, CALM could always use Builders! We start serving the health needs of the Family as soon as we leave our homes­ which means that we are often so busy, it’s hard to find time and energy to put up a tarp or to make benches.  Please stop by and plug in!

The healers are here to serve the Family. Let’s have a kind and safe Gathering!


If you are a healer and want to plug in ahead of time, sign up for the CALM email list by registering here or visit Rainbow Medicine Facebook or email MB for supply/donation questions:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wisconsin Family Potluck

Every year the folks in Wisconsin hold a potluck around this time of year. This year, they want family who are scouting in the region to join them.  Please see the comment someone made to this post. I'm not sure what is or isn't true.  This is NOT spring council which starts June 17.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Whose Job Is It? (Rainbow Rap)

Once upon a time, there were four people.


There was an important job to be done and EVERYBODY was asked to do it. EVERYBODY was sure SOMEBODY would do it.

ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it. When NOBODY did it, SOMEBODY got mad because it was EVERYBODY’S job.

EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it., but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn’t do it.

It ended up EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have done in the first place.

The moral of this story is that when you find yourself saying "SOMEBODY" should pick up the trash on the trail/make a sign to mark a kitchen/organize the parking lot/dig a new shitter...

Remember: YOU are SOMEBODY !!! Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted to be?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Oracle

Sort of a table of contents of the Oracle
The Oracle was a collectively produced bookish publication put together as part of the planning efforts for the first gathering  which took place near Granby, Colorado in 1972. For the Rolling Stone Magazine version of what happened on July 4, 1972, click here

However, for today, we'll be focused on the Oracle itself and a bit of Garrick's Hipstory.

Garrick's rap on the Oracle Hipstory: The Printing

The plan was to print 5000 copies. We printed extras of some of the sheets (each sheet was a 8 1/2 x14 inches folded so there were four pages on each sheet) and so to make the full number of copies we used some additional sheets to make 5k. Some sheets misprinted and I'd guess there were about 4800 complete copies, then an additional 200 copies with varying numbers of sheets missing.

The printing was at Visionworks Press in Eugene, Oregon which was managed by Kate Jackrabbit and Sean O'Reilly of the Lost Cactus Cowboys. We collated the pages, working day and night at The Free University (right next door) run by Eugene's counterculture power couple, Bill and Cindy Wooten. At first we sewed the pages together with purple thread but that was so time consuming that after a while we got large rubber bands to put along the middle crease to hold the books together.

144 pages, plus the gold colored cover. We intentionally left the middle centerfold blank - kind of like the Silence - so that everyone could fill it in themselves with whatever they felt belonged there most. Of course pretty much everyone left them blank rather than color something in. Lastly we used all the extra pages up, so there are some copies floating around that have 16 or 20 or 24 pages missing. They were all given away for free starting right outside the Free U, and emanating out from there in the many directions.

Cars left loaded with them in their trunks heading east, southeast and so on. When the Woodstock Family got their copies, they - with Day, from Woodstock Earth at the helm - reprinted 2000 copies in black and white with a tan cover. I could hardly believe my eyes when someone at Strawberry Lake handed me a copy - and it was the reprint!

In the original we tried to divide the book into halves, with more or less everything in the first half about the envisioned upcoming Gathering, and the second half about all the other aspects of the emerging world peace culture: organic gardening, holistic child-raising, women's rights, home birthing, recycling, (some of these words were hardly in the language at that time!), wind and tidal power, herbal remedies, companion planting, as well as information about the Hopi's struggle at Black Mesa (which they had given us to use and reprint if we wanted to), and many other topics most of which are widely known about today. But 4 decades ago a lot of this was pretty new stuff for most people.

We wanted to print in a rainbow of colors, and while it looked really beautiful, the pages printed in yellow ink were almost impossible to read! And the pages in yellow-orange ink almost as difficult! Ahh, the excesses of youthful enthusiasm. A year later some of us worked on a revised edition which never got published...we were trying to undo, or re-do some of the slightly unwieldy phrases that we had written, and which didn't quite read as well in print as we had thought.

In the early 1980's Baker Paul set up the first large-scale bakery at the Gatherings in 1981 at First Idaho. He rigged up piping thru the stone - not mud - ovens which made for showers that were frankly a lot more fantastic than the baking facility!  He worked on a book he called Rainbow Oracle 2, which he printed maybe a hundred copies of, and which was mostly about how the next generation of Rainbow Gatherers were stepping in and stepping up.

That's sort of where we are at today, really. There is a next generation that really is doing pretty much all the infrastructure, and all the coordination and footwork. It would be beautiful to see a new edition of the Original Oracle, and even better to see a renewed Oracle that could bring the vision forward, not just for us old-timers, and not just for the current Riders On The 'Bow, but for the generation that is yet ahead of us.

~ ~ ~ End Garrick's Rap ~ ~ ~ ~

If you'd like to seem a somewhat tattered copy of the Oracle in PDF format, click here.

Please note the oracle is copy righted under the following Creative Commons license:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.