Saturday, May 29, 2010

Begging for Dollars Round Two (Drinking Water)

Every year, thousands of people show up at the gathering without water filters. The water quality at a gathering can change within minutes. At 9 AM the spring water may be good, by 9:15 AM a dog has pooped on a crack in the waterline and everyone who drinks the water without filtering ends up with a case of the runs.

Last year some amazing family did a hydration station on the edge of main meadow so our family could be safe and healthy. This same group of amazing folks are planning on doing something similar this year. But new filters costs $$ and it's hard to buy filters in the areas around the gathering. Kicking in a few dollars now will help keep our families' intestines in good working order.

My promise is that any money donated on this website will go to people purchasing supplies such as water pipe, water filters and fixings to insure everyone has enough clean water to drink. Or donate via paypal here. If you want the names behind this project (and it's not me), email me and I'll share more detail. $10 donated know helps out in a major way.

It's up to us to make sure our family has clean and safe drinking water at this gathering. If you prefer to buy fixings, I can put you in contact with people who understand what we need to buy. I'm not this much of an engineer.

Spring Council Directions

*****Updated Directions*******. I received a call from a sister at the spring council site Friday, June 4 in the am (Cali time). The exit numbers on Interstate 80 have changed. The old exit and the new exit is listed on the sign. but if you're coming off I-80 - use New Exit #111. Then turn right on 153 and right on 219. From there the original directions are good. There is a lot of construction on the roads so be cautious. About 10 people are at the council site now. Hopefully more will be arriving shortly. Sheets Convenience Store no longer exits.

Here is another set of directions from downtown Ridgway PA, at the intersection of 219 and 948 (Main Street):
Take Main Street (948) West approximately 1 mile
Turn Right on Grant Street follow for 2.2 miles
Turn left onto Bingham Rd then in 0.6 miles turn left to stay on
Bingham Rd
In 1.6 miles continue on Forest Road 135 Approximately 5 miles

Spring Council June 4 - 6, 2010

Spring Council is when people get together and share the info on the possible sites available for the gathering, discuss the prons and cons of each location and then reach a decision of sorts. It can be a consensus or a migration by people to the site. It generally takes one to seven days for the process to play out. If you come to Spring Council, please be self sufficient and and prepared to feed and water yourself. Spring Council is happening at the site of the 1999 Annual Gathering of the Tribes.
Directions to Spring Council: Ridgway is about 115 miles North East of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warning! These directions are based on the directions used in 1999. Things may have changed since 1999. Check back in a couple of days as I might have updated directions then.

From the North , Northeast & Northwest Hwys. 90, 17, & 6 lead to US 219 south to Ridgway.

From the South, East & West take Interstate 80 to exit 18 and follow US 153 north. At Penfield take US 255 to St. Marys and take PA 120 west to Ridgway. Heavy, large vehicles PLEASE use this route. Cars and small Vans only may use Interstate 80 to exit 16 and follow US 219 to Ridgway.

Warning: US 219 North is steep, twisty and dangerous for large rigs - DO NOT USE THIS ROUTE. If you are checking a map for another route coming from the south also avoid 949 north as it leads to Arroyo Road which has a narrow bridge with a 3 Ton limit.

In Ridgway at the intersection of Main St. and Broad you will see a Sheets Convenience Store on left go straight through 4 lights. Site is approx. 9 miles. Go up a steep hill and over a narrow bridge. Speed limit is 30 mph. You'll see a sign for Little Drummer, keep driving. There is a sign for ATV Timberline Trailhead. Then at the intersection of Arroyo Rd and Spring Creek Rd. make a right onto FS 136 (not marked, dirt road). Go north 4.5 miles towards Owls Nest. Welcome Home!!! Follow speed limits - 20 mph on dirt roads.

Until Spring Council reaches a decision, there is no answer to the question of where the gathering will be. However, given the large number of states scouted for this year's gathering and given that Spring Council is usually (but not 100% of the time) less than 100 miles from the gathering site, one can draw infererences.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Post on Shanti Sena

This comes from a wonderful sister Medicine Socks bit I will add my two cents. I never support duct taping of people. Sometimes we need to restrain people to prevent them from hurting themselves or others and then rolling them up in a blanket or sleeping bag is much more loving than duct tape.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ On to the guest post ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

it's been a while, i'm too old, poor and crippled to involve myself in rainbow gatherings nowadays, so this qualifies as something like armchair quarterbacking...

but i was once all gung ho, a regular local folkielizer and all about dealing with the some major instances of weirded out shit that sometimes came up at the getherings i was part of...especially around kid village... so here's some shanti sena lessons i learned in the trenches

first of all, it means, translated literally, something like peaceful scene. at a gathering, if everything's mellow, if everyone is feeling alright and nothing much is going on, that is shanti sena. there is a marked absence of drama. no one has to do anything in particular about anyone except mingle and enjoy.

shanti sena also became a term for a clique of people who, at gatherings, styled themselves a kind of affiliated crew of plain-clothes, radio toting, duct tape weiding rainbow hippie police force. some of these guys and gals do a great job, others, well.... these people may have sincerely thought of themselves as peacekeepers, but some of their attitudes, imho were pretty obnoxious, kind of a weird mix of biker/hobo/ dope dealer/ ex marine/cop-brotherhood and some of em drank heavily and lived in hotels off campus somewhere... whatevah...they had dramas of their own, but at times they did deal with flarings of violence inside or dangerous situations with the LEO at the gates effectively enough...

then there's the people at gatherings who put their energy into constantly teaching & lovingly demonstrating basic rainbow, at councils, at dinner circles, in workshops and ongoing conversations with the newbies. if no one around seems to know what shanti sena is, or how to shit in the woods, or build a proper campfire, or help in a kitchen or where to put the "garbage".. to paraphrase mother jones, who said, "don't mourn, organize!"...don't bitch; teach teach teach
teach teach! *that* is true shanti sena, in my book, or what i like to call pre-traumatic stress prevention. the more you get these teaching memes out and get conversations going among gatherers about how to deal with a crisis if it arises, the more peaceful and calm the response will be whenever somebody yells shanti sena!

shanti sena is like that kipling poem, "if" If you can keep your head while all around you others are losing theirs... *that* is shanti sena. it involves remembering to breathe, and slow your heart rate down. it involves knowing how to get, and stay, clear headed in a crisis. and knowing how not to do *anything* until and unless you have effectively calmed and centered your own damn self, until you know as much about the situation you're addressing as it is possible to quickly assess,& until you're sure that you're coming from a place of alert, calm strength and compassion, and a fair degree of certainty that you can handle whatever's happening when something out of hand and really threatening is potentially unfolding. if you can't calm down, if you feel at all overwhelmed by the swiftness with which a violent situation is escalating... then it is quintessential shanti sena to get your overwhelmed ass out of the way... but if you're cool, and you decide to stay.... it helps if there's more than one of you, best if there are enough strong people to contain a really violent individual without hurting him (or her). once contained, you need enough gentle people to keep the vibe around such an action as calm as possible. not too many people, at that point!

people who can stay cool and focused are key.

then you have some decisions to make. is this someone who can be reasoned with, talked down, who may, once their grievance is understood and addressed, be willing to calm down and stay peaceful of his own volition? if that's the case, peer counseling can do wonders to diffuse a tense, angry, but essentially rational human being who actually *wants* to find a solution to whatever set him off. or are you dealing with a crazy? i'm sorry to be so blunt, but often shanti sena situations arise when someone at the gathering is, for one reason or another, experiencing a psychotic break, is operating on aggravated sleep dep, rampant ptsd and/or spasms of pure inexplicable violent impulse...& i've seen sad, bad things happen under these conditions... people trying to trail a raging psychotic & discretely babysit him without impinging on that person's freedoms get to watch a terrified, often violent and frighteningly delusional poor soul battle his demons for days on end, becoming weirder and more at risk as the days tick by of hurting himself or others... i know this seems like a cop out, but in my experience, i feel to this day we might have spared many a poor psycho and all those who got caught up in the babysitting movies a lot of anguish if we had just quickly secured & duct taped em, got to phone quick and got a parent or sibling or someone to come get their sick puppy & take him home or some other
mellower place than a gathering for a real crack up...

that said i know a few gifted healers who really do know how to help a body navigate the terrifying inner landscape of psychosis. there are shanti sena shamans, soul retrievers, spirit world energy workers, who understand intuitively what it's going to take to get a freaked out
freak through the worst of it, how to help him break down the old disfunctional precepts of his consciousness, how tto guide lost souls til they break on through to the healing side of their nervous breakdowns. if you can do that, boy... that's great... more power to you. you know who you are, and you are a boon and a blessing to any gathering. then again..

if you're one of those sorts who merely wishes you were an aikido master or a cop or a magical healer, please take your woo woo bullshit as far from the crisis as possible and go chant and shake your fake honky indian yaya sticks over there... please! shanti sena! keep the scene peaceful! over that-a-way!

Silent Prayer/Meditation for World Peace

(Photo from National Geographic)
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 24, 2010

Calling all folks out scouting for a call

Individuals involved in finding sites for spring council and the 2010 gathering have asked for a call-in conference Friday, May 28 at 9PM EDT, as an opportunity for other individuals who have scouted across the states to offer any relevant input before any decisions on the spring ...

Please respect the purpose of this call as being for those people who have been scouting on the land. The conference lines usually have a maximum number of participants and we want to make sure all family who have been scouting can participate.

I strongly recommend that if you want to participate in this process that you call 908-I-Gather (442-8437) and leave your number. Or email for more information sooner rather than later.

As of today (5/24/2010), the info I have is Friday May 28th, 9 PM Eastern Time. 605-715-4920, enter code 409029# when prompted

Things can change rapidly on these Rainbow calls and if you want to be involved, you better involve yourself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Playing the Game

Karin's Ideas on how not to pull the Go Directly To Jail Card

There is a game that is being played at the gathering every year, and if you don't know the rules, it can really make your gathering miserable. Just a quick hello to Law Enforcement reading this post, you already know the rules you are using, so read or don't read (makes no difference to me).


When you come home this summer, the roads leading into the gathering will have strategically placed teams of law enforcement officers from the United States Forest Service whose sole goal in being there is to bust you for something. Now of course, they're hoping for something large like an ounce of pot so they can prove to the powers that be that they are protecting the public from hardened criminals. However, they will take anything they can get. This means that broken tail light, a failure to use a left turn signal even though you're in a parking lot at 2 AM and no one else is around. The list goes on and on: beads hanging from your rear view mirror, lack of car seat for a five year old child who is really skinny, faint brake lights, etc. They will stop you, pull you over, and find something, almost anything and then write a mandatory court appearance ticket. While they do this, they will take a photo of you in addition to all the usual stuff.

If you don't show up on time at the mandatory court appearance, the USFS LEOs and the US Marshals will come back to the gathering, use the photo they took to search for you by face, arrest you and take you off to jail. (Yes for the most part, even a broken tail light will result in a mandatory court appearance when you are in the vicinity of a gathering even though back home that would not be the case).

This game doesn't stop at the road, but continues into the gathering. If you see cops, please put your dogs on leash and take whatever steps necessary to be 100% legal. If they stop you for smoking a joint, take the ticket and go to court.

This is the game. I recommend trying not to play. If, however, you do end up in the game, DO NOT BLOW OFF YOUR COURT DATE! Some years the courts are so overwhelmed they are will to take a $10 fine for some stupid infraction. I personally have had experiences ranging from paying a $40 fine with six months to mail in the money to having all charges dropped. Both of which trump spending a couple of days in jail. Therefore, let me say it again: Do Not Blow Off Your Court Date. If you receive a ticket and you're not sure what to do, go to INFO and ask who to talk to. Most years there are various lawyers who show up at the gathering and many of these wonderful brothers and sisters will go to the court dates and be there to provide free legal advice. Take advantage of what ever help people are willing to provide if you don't have your own lawyer.

If you blow off your court date, a federal bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and you can be yanked off the street at any time in the future and sent directly to jail, you won't pass GO and there won't be family around to support you. Please deal with it as right away. Many times if there is a fine, you won't have to pay it right away.

Karin's tips for a safe journey home:

If you plan on driving, make sure your car and driver is 100% legal-all lights work, valid insurance and registration, seat belts, car seats for children. Our government assumes that we are criminals. Please try to arrive during daylight hours as the roads into gathering sites can be tricky and we want you to arrive home safely.

If you will be sharing a ride, please meet the folks you'll be riding with at a local coffee shop, make sure you feel comfortable traveling a long distance with them, and establish the ground rules. If you are coming via bus, plane or train, try to connect up with a ride from your destination before you get there. If you are planning on hitchhiking, please travel with a buddy, only bum rides during the day and if you get a bad feeling from a ride, PLEASE don't take it. There will always be another one. Make sure you know the laws regarding hitchhiking in the state we will be in this summer.

*Always* say no to requests for search, no matter what they tell you. It is not illegal for cops to lie to you, and they often will do so to get your consent to search. "You might as well give us permission, because if you do not, we will go get a warrant and you will be here for hours." This is a bluff. Don't fall for it. Their time is much more valuable than yours.

If they insist on searching over your objections, don't prevent them physically in anyway - but continue to repeat "I do not consent." Ask for names and badge numbers, write down time, place, and what happened in detail. Every little thing matters in a court of law, even the things that don't mean much to you or me. If you can, take pictures, videos, and/or tape recordings. If you are not being detained, but can observe and/or record family being detained, please do so. the 5 minutes of video you provide may help keep your brother or sister out of jail.

Also, if they ask you if you have contraband, and tell you that if you have just a little bit and give it to them that they will not search you, tell them no. Never, never, never incriminate yourself. That means don't consent to anything, don't give them anything but your license, registration, and proof of insurance, don't admit to anything. When approaching the Gathering site, remember that you're coming as friends in somebody else's back yard. Treat the local folks with the courtesy, respect and concern that they deserve as members of the Family of Humankind. Be Loving and Kind. Don't be rude, steal, trash the town, disturb the Peace, or try to "shock" people. Be mindful of others' sensitivities. Remember the original Golden Rule when dealing with BOTH Babylon AND Rainbow: Treat Others the Way you want to be treated! Please, make your journey a safe one. Don't be under the influence while driving.

Let's all get home safely.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gathering at the Movies May 20

We Love You was filmed at the 2008 Annual Gathering in Wyoming.
Author Michael Niman who wrote the book People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia and Consulting Producer on We Love You is hosting a screening of We Love You at Ani DiFranco’s performance space in Buffalo on May 20th. After the screening Michael Niman will lecture on the history of harassment the Rainbows have experienced by Federal Authorities.For details on the screening, click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Informal Scouting Rendezvous

Scouting has moved up north. The next informal rendezvous will be held at the 1991 annual site, in granville vermont, may 10th-11th. Directions: Take Vermont 100 to Granville Vermont, head west on FS 55 (West Hill Road), make the third right onto FS207. If you come to join the scouting effort please be self-sufficient and ready to travel.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rites of passage (Guest Post)

Today's Guest Post courtesy of my beautiful sister Turtle. Enjoy!

Viva La Familia!

For those of you who are not aware of it, at last year's N.M. gathering there was a call from the Family (both old and new) for a creation of something that our young tribe has been sorely lacking and desperate for!

Rites of passage.

Lets face it, everyone is getting older, times are changing and I personally have heard alot of disenchanted youth in the Family calling for a more substantial tribal way of life. They (the youngers) don't know exactly what it is they are needing, they just know something crucial is missing at our gatherings, something cohesive and tangible that will exercise them, MOVE THEM! Ignite their souls!

Meanwhile, the olders are having councils focused on how they (as older people) can help bridge the widening rift between the seasoned gatherers and the youngsters. With substance abuse seeming to be more prevalent during gatherings, the cry has been called by the oldsters to look at our tribe and find solutions (and quickly) that will show the youngers that we appreciate them and need them, healthy and whole, in our tribe! .

The answer: Rites of passage pertaining to every crucial aspect of Gathering in happy, healthy ways. From scouting to cleanup. From legal liaison to ALL WAYS FREE and guide making. All of you out there who have worked and sweated to glean knowledge from every person and way so that we may live free, happy and high, NOW IS YOUR TIME TO PASS THE SACRED INFORMATION ON!
People who know the ways of;
  • Kitchen focalizing
  • Parking and road crew
  • Front gate
  • Welcome Home stations
  • Recycling
  • Clean up
  • Info. booth
  • Magic hat/Banking
  • CALM/MASH medicine
  • Santi Sena
  • Council focalizing
  • Main supply
  • Water
  • Scouting
  • Fire patrol
  • Shitter digging
  • Oven baking
  • Drum circles
  • Leagal laisons
  • Public Laisons
  • Dinner circle focalizing
  • Bus village focalizing
  • Trade circle focalizing
  • Kid village focalizing
  • Town Criers
(what else)? the list goes on....

Those of you who know these ways, well, then you are the ones I'm talking to!

Pass it on folks!

Please take the time before the next Annual Gathering to brainstorm what vital information would make up a "class agenda" pertaining to whatever particular aspect of gathering that you are saavy on. Go so far as to write an outline on what you would try and touch on throughout a series of days if you were to have an "apprentice".

Then give serious thought to a particular "rite of passage" that could be given to an apprentice when the time was right. What exercise of the spirit would be most benificial to a newby under your tutelage? If the newby passes thet challenge, what can be bestowed on them that might bring honor and pride? An apron in the kitchen? A pair of gloves for shitter digging? A special hat? What?? I don't know..but you will!

Then prepare yourselves mentally and physically to reach out at next years gathering and find that special someone. At least one person, maybe more! But know that however many, you will be interacting with them consistantly! Patience and understanding!

If someone does not have the ability to "get around" so good, ask some of us middle folk (not youngers, but deffinately not olders) to help you find someone to be your apprentice. It will be someones distinct pleasure, I am sure.

Lastly, please take this endeavor VERY SERIOUSLY! This ain't no joke folks! By approaching this new stage of gathering with dedication and compassion, not only will you ensure the continuation of our gatherings and our tribe but, most importantly, you can change a young person's life, forever. We all have our personal stories of how and when the Great Spirit called us to the Family and we all know how much it changed our lives. Now, we must live for the youngers, the future of us all!

We must live for our 7th generation within the Family.

We must strive to survive!

Viva La Familia de ArcoIris!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Parking Lot Crew

The gathering only works because each of us pitches in to take care of everything that needs to be done. One project that needs some young energy is the Parking Lot Crew.

The joys of working parking are staying up all night and helping family park safely and legally so when they go back to their car it hasn't been towed.

You get to stand on a dusty road, flag down people who don't want to stop, help them find Handicamp if necessary or which ever parking log is closest to where they are going.

While you're doing this critical job, the USFS Law Enforcement Officers drive up and down the road and almost run you over. Some of our A-Camp brothers and sisters show up to help and you have to make sure they don't get run over. The kitchens forget to feed you. Some days you're out there in the pouring rain or the blazing sun.

The parking situation can change daily as the cops change the rules. You have to find the owners of people who parked in the wrong spot so their car doesn't get towed. Then there's the people who don't listen to your advice and drive off the road and need your help getting them towed out. Or they have a flat tire, or a dead battery or they locked their keys in their car.

Then there are the emergency evacuations. Coordinating with CALM, finding drivers, and making sure people who need to get to a hospital get there safely. Sometimes you'll be all alone. Sometimes there will be 5 people talking to you at once about their emergency.

So why help out in the parking lot?

Because it is so amazing to see all our beautiful family come home. Because the person who is having a horrible gathering because they parked where you told them not the park and now you've gotten them towed out and they are grateful to you. Because you helped someone get to the hospital and maybe saved their life. Because you prevented someone's car from getting towed.

We always need new folks helping out with the parking scene, especially our younger family who can be up at 4 AM and park that weary family with the crying baby who just drove for 36 hours to be with you! Because you can keep that campfire burning and provide a cup of Joe for a tired traveler.

If you're interested, drop me an email, or just show up and tell who ever is parking cars that you want to be someone hero.