Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Parking Information!!

Please refer to THIS MAP while reading the following information.

An email has gone out to a lot of people saying that parking on FS552 is full up, and that folks should go park on the back road, near Back Gate/Supply.

I just spoke with someone on site (June 29, 1pm) who says that they do not know if FS552 parking is full, but that parking along 119 still has quite a lot of parking. This means you can still come in the front way, but that you will have to walk a bit further (or catch a ride) to get to the trail head. 119 is the long Forest Service Road in toward the Gathering, and 552 juts off of 119 like a little cul-de-sac and the trail head is there. So, if you choose to park on 119, you will need to park and then walk down 119, and turn onto 552 to get to the trail head.

The other option is the Back Gate/Main Supply road which is FS209. People have been asked in the past not to use this road unless they were with a kitchen, but it is now open to all, now that parking at the front gate is tight. This is a narrow road and turn-around is tight, so it was the opinion of my informant that if you have a bus or a trailer, you would prefer to park on 119 and walk to the front gate.

Driving from one gate to the other is estimated to be about 40 miles.

A-Camp is located at Front Gate also, and those wanting to avoid that are advised to park on FS209. There is a sort of Bus Village at Front Gate, but my informant was guessing it was mostly full.

Back Gate has some meadow parking but it is hilly and those sleeping in their vehicles would not find level ground. Best parking is along the side of the road.

Be advised that both roads have soft loamy shoulders, and all drivers are advised to get out of their vehicles and check the hardness of the shoulder before parking. Folks are finding that their wheels are sinking a couple hours after parking in some places and need a tow out of their spot.

Directions to Both Gates Here:

Front Gate (FS119 and 552):
(Borrowed from Welcomehere.org)
From the North via Warren, PA: I86 East to US62 South, follow to Warren PA. Continue on Market St 0.3 miles, Turn right at Pennsylvania Ave (US6, Business Route, West), travel 0.2 miles Turn left at Hickory St Bridge, proceed 0.1 mile, slight left at Crescent Rd, 0.4 mi, Continue very briefly (150feet) on Mohawk ave, continue onto Pleasant Drive(SR3005). Follow signs toward "Hearts Content Recreation Area" Follow Pleasant Drive for 11.1 miles. Make a left on SR2002. Keep following signs for "Hearts Content". Drive 5.8 miles, passing "Hearts Content". Make a right onto FS 116, make an immediate right onto FS119, follow for exactly 5.8 miles to FS552. Follow FS552 to designated parking areas. Welcome Home! This is the recommended way in from the north, obviously there are alternates. Here's the google map version

From the East, via Sheffield PA: Go to Sheffield PA, One tenth of a mile from the end of Route 666 (where it meets Route 6) there is a Uni-mart gas station.Turn onto this road and cross over the bridge. Continue onto High St (State Road, SR2002)and follow for 11.2 Miles. Make a left onto FS116. Make an immediate right onto FS119, follow for exactly 5.8 miles to FS552. Follow FS552 to designated parking areas. Welcome Home!

Back Gate (FS209)
From the town of EAST HICKORY, take HIGHWAY 62 to Route 666 East.
Turn LEFT of Yellowhammer Road, also called State Route 4006
That will become BRECHT RD. also called T330
That will soon become Forest Service Road 209
Stay on FS209 to HOME.

From Sheffield, PA Take 666West
Turn right on Yellowhammer Road and continue as above to HOME.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Effects of Rainbow Gatherings on Local Residents - Part Two

This video includes interviews with townsfolk and merchants of stores and lodges near past Rainbow Gatherings. They were asked for their honest opinion of how the event went, the effects it had on their business, and what advice they would give to people in towns near future Gatherings.

The Effects of Rainbow Gatherings on Local Residents - Part One

What exactly IS the Rainbow Gathering?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cell Service on the Site & What To Do in an Emergency

Cell Phones

Many folks have been asking about whether there is cell phone service from the site.

Without speaking to the finer points of whether we should USE cell phones at the site, let me just report that folks whose phones use the CDMA network (including Verizon, US Cellular, etc) are finding that they get good reception up on the road, and sporadic service down in the site.

People on the GSM network (ATT, Sprint, TMobile, etc) have spotty reception on the road, some texting capabilities, and not much at all down in the site.

Anyone on one of the Tier 3 networks are going to find no service past the last good size city.


What To Do In An Emergency

The CALM/Shanti Sena folks are a little concerned about the ability of any person on site being able to call 911 and have an ambulance or even a life-flight helicopter come out on an emergency call, without doctors who are already on site being able to arrive on scene first to determine if such measures are necessary.

Remember that calling 911 is only to be used in an immediately life threatening emergency. If you find yourself in a medical emergency, (or threatened in any way), please call out loudly for help from Shanti Sena, and someone with a radio will be at your side quickly to bring assistance. They will asses and determine the best course of action, if evacuation is necessary and if so, which method to use.

Parking at the Gathering & The Hike In!

I received a call yesterday from a friend on site with some good advice about arriving at the Gathering.

The directions to the Gathering will land you on Forest Service Road 119 taking you to Parking on FS 552.

Most parking is along the side of the road. The Parking Crew (and the Forest Service) is asking all vehicles (who do not park in a lot) to park on the west side of the road, which is the LEFT side of the road as you drive in. Yes, this will involve crossing over the center line and parking on the opposite side of the road, going in the wrong direction.

ADVISORY!!! It is strongly advised, before parking, that you get out of your vehicle and check the softness of the side of the road. make sure the ground where you wish to park is HARD. There have been a lot of people who pull over the proper distance off the road, everything looks great, they park and walk away, and return a couple hours later to find two wheels have sunk into the ground, requiring chains and a bigger vehicle to pull the car out. The issue is NOT so much mud, but just soft, spongy ground. However, more rains may exacerbate this problem.

Please make sure your vehicle is legal, remove all hanging things from your rear-view mirror (the latest reason to pull you over) and that your tags are current and your brake lights and turn signals work. Please drive the speed limit for everyone's safety!

Supply is located on FS209, and people are being asked not to drive on this road unless they are a kitchen bringing in their equipment. Kitchen vehicles may park at the closest spot above their kitchen and hike stuff down through the trees. The same issues with soft shoulders apply here. I've also been told that no large vehicles should attempt to drive up FS 209 to the supply camp, as they'll get stuck.

The hike in from the parking area is a "long but refreshingly easy" walk in.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

News Articles About Pennsylvania Gathering

Thought you might be interested in reading some of the local news about the Rainbow Gathering out of Warren, PA, a town very close to this year's National Gathering. There are comment sections full of debate after each article.

They’re Baaack! - By KARA WHITE - Posted: June 23, 2010

No Cause for Alarm: Rainbows tell Residents, 'Don't Be Scared' by Brian Ferry - Posted June 23 2010

Rainbow Family Crowds Erie's Federal Courthouse to Answer Infractions - by LISA THOMPSON - June 25, 2010

Feel free to post more links as you find them in the comment section below this post.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shitting in the Woods

If you're not clear on the concept, don't just shit randomly in the woods. There are shitters in the vicinity of all the major camps/kitchens. Mostly we have slit trenches. Make sure to cover your shit after using the shitter - break the shit - fly - food connection. Shitters should have a can of ashes or lime at them. If they don't, it's your job to fix it. Go to the nearest kitchen and see what they have available.

Don't pee in the shitter unless you're pooping as well. Pee in the bushes, under a tree where people aren't likely to walk or sit. DO NOT DROP TOILET PAPER ON THE GROUND. Sisters - bring some wash clothes. They make great reusable wipes for peeing. Rinse it out at the end of the day and when it's dry you can use it again. Our cleanup crew hates having to pick up little pieces of toilet paper left under bushes. We are all the cleanup crew and it's easier to not litter in the first palce.

All dog shit needs to get into the shitter and get covered up. If you brought a dog, you are responsible for your dog and make suring other dog parents are being responsible for their dogs.

Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using a shitter. COVER YOUR SHIT. Your ability to successfully shit in the woods is necessary to keep us all safe and healthy.

Just an fyi, the shitter shown in this photo is an example of a very high tech shitter for the gathering. Be prepared to straddle and squat. Toilet paper is not always provided at a shitter. Many people bring their own.

Seed Camp Versus Gathering

While the dates of the gathering are announced as July 1-7 or July 1-4, the reality is that you can't put a date on when the transition from Seed Camp to Gathering takes place. Many years I'm sitting at Dinner Circle with a friend and we look at each other and said, today is the first day of the gathering. That day can take place on June 25 or July 1 or .... It varies year to year.

During seed camp, the ratio of law enforcement to gatherers is very high and many people who come to seed camp become victims of overzealous law enforcment activity. Once the gathering starts, and especially closer to July 1, the number of people on the roads coming in increases significantly. During the early days of seed camp, you may have one car every couple of hours. Then all those cops with nothing better to do jump all over that unfortunate person and her/his traveling companions. Closer to July 1 you may have multiple cars an hour or even a minute coming in with the same amount of law enforcement staffing. Now of course, someone is going to fall victim to law enforment insanity, but the odds of any one car getting caught up in the madness are dramatically less.

Food for thought.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Serving as Witness

The USFS LEOs are doing their best to arrest as many people as possible to justify the almost one million dollars a year they spend on coming to the gathering to arrest people. If this sounds like circular logic, it is. Most year's the arrests are for marijuana possession (mostly very minor amounts), interfering with an officer (i.e. talking to an officer), or the very dangerous broken turn signal.

Many times, the only evidence that keeps someone out of prison is the evidence collected by other gathering participants via still camera photos or video footage. Time and time again, charges on our family have been dismissed because someone cared enough to video the incident. Now before you go all gung ho on video taping, I'm hearing rumors that video taping officers in the line of harassment (or duty as they call it) is illegal. I'm trying to sort through the rumors as best I can on this fact.

That being said, please bear witness to your brothers and sisters. Obtain as much information as you can and write it down as it's happening. If you don't know the person, bring everything you collected to INFO. Write down their name, license plate number, their camp, the names of the officers involved, as much detail of what happened as you can - all this will be helpful.

It is terrifying to be arrested in a place you don't live, but even worse if your friends and family don't know what happened to you. Let's make sure we are there with love, legal assistance and proof of what really happened for every belly the cops drag out of our gathering. The courts usually believe the word of cops over hippies and punks, so we need the evidence to prove our side of the story.

To gain a better idea of the costs and staffing associated with this year's gathering, it can be helpful to look at costs and staffing for the 2008 gathering. Thanks to a FOIA request, that information is available here.

By the way, the photo shown above was from this year's gathering.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Courtesy some good brothers and sisters.

Informational Videos about the Rainbow Gathering

This post is geared more toward the people who live in and around this year’s Gathering site.

Many folks who live in small communities and hear that the Rainbow Gathering is coming to a forest near their town, get very concerned and hear a lot of conflicting information about what to expect. This wonderful pair of videos were created to inform townsfolk and merchants about what to expect. They are entitled,

The Effects of Rainbow Gatherings on Local Residents. Part 1 and 2.

This first video is a short 4 minute introduction to what the Gathering basically is, and looks like:


This second video is 9 minutes and includes interviews with merchants and business owners who lived in communities near where the summer Rainbow gatherings have occurred in the past. The merchants are asked to describe the experience once it ended and to give advice to the people who live in towns where future Gatherings will take place.


The individuals who are in this video represent only themselves and should not be considered leaders or spokespersons for Rainbow Gatherings.

Mud Camping Joy

I live in an arid part of the country so I really enjoy camping in the wetter parts of the country where the rains come regularly, bushes grow like crazy and mud is everywhere. However, I find that camping in wet conditions requires a bit of planning to insure happiness.

I really, really, really like my tent and everything in it to stay dry. If you have one of those cheapy tents with a small rain guard that only covers the top of the tent, your tent and things in it are going to get wet unless you bring tarps to cover the tent. Most tents can handle a little bit of rain on the sides, but we might have more than a little bit of rain this year. The better tents have rain flies that reach the ground and insure an inch or two gap between your actual tent and the rain fly (much better).

When you look for a spot to pinch your tent, look at the way the water flow is going. If you pitch your tent in an area that floods when it rains, you will not be a happy camper. I usually tarp under and over my tent in these conditions, plus the good old trench around your tent that you learned as a scout always comes in handy. Also, having a spot in front of your tent that is under a tarp and has dead wood on the ground will give you a place to get out of your muddy, wet clothes before you go inside your tent. This makes me happy as I hate sleeping in mud.

Trails at gatherings can get a bit muddy when it rains a lot. There is a reason that most cities have sidewalks, but that's another story. If you want to be happy walking around the gathering, visiting kitchens, going to workshops, or dancing around the drum circle, foot wear is critical. Tennis shoes don't cut it - the mud will suck them off your feet. Flip flops don't cut it - they will break in two steps. Bare feet are not advisable. The mud is going to have dog pee in it, plus what ever creatures live in the mud in the Allegheny National Forest are going to find their way into your feet. Heavy duty solid leather hiking boots, snow boots, rain boots that reach your knees. These are the types of shoes that will make you happy. Make sure what ever boots you wear have excellent and deep tread or you'll be slipping and falling in the mud.

Make sure to bring a rain poncho or what ever good rain gear you have. Many people find that a small tri-leg camping stool makes life nice when you're tired of standing. Alternatively, having a small tarp that you can sit on when you feel like sitting down is very nice.

Keeping the trails functional is the job of each and everyone of us. When you come across an especially muddy part of a trail, find some down dead wood and lay it on top of the mud to provide a way for people to pass. Or find duff (dead and decomposing bark, leaves, and wood in the forest) and fill in the mud.

Cop Movie (Rerun)

Earlier this year on this very blog, I wrote a piece on how to minimize your negative experiences with law enforcement. A couple of years ago I wrote another version on that. I strong recommend that you take the time to reread these posts so that your journey home will be great.

For your ease of use, I've included links here. You will be a happier gatherer if you read these articles.

Playing the Game

LEO Harrassement

Tips for a safe journey home & a Positive Gathering

Friday, June 18, 2010

Town Hall Meeting June 22

A town hall meeting has been scheduled from 7:30 to 9:30 PM on June 22 (new date). The meeting will take place in Sheffield, Pennsylvania at the "Lions Den" ...the local lions club hall. 4 W Main St Sheffield, PA 16347

The purpose of a town hall meeting is for participants inthe Rainbow Gathering and the local community to talk, ask/answer questions, and address concerns.

This is an open meeting. We strongly encourage all individuals in the communities surrounding the gathering to come meet with us and ask what ever questions are on your mind. We strongly encourage gathering participants to attend the meeting. The best way to make sure we have a positive impact on the community is to meet the community face to face. Person to person communication is very effective. As always, no experience necessary.

It would be great if we can show the clean up video and the merchants video at the meeting. Hopefully someone can scrape up the equipment. The hall costs 30 dollars an hour and we have it for 2 hours so we will be passing the hat at the meeting to cover the rental.

We welcome all media to attend the town hall meeting.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this meeting, please email me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Directions from I 80 iyour heading east

UPDATED 5:30 PM on June 17.

Two sets of Directions from two different people.

Set # 1 Heading east on i80. Exit Wesley go north to franklin then get on 62 north towards tidioute. Go 100 feet
East of gas station. Sign info tba. Turn right on road going up the hill towards hickory creek area. Drive 2.5 to 2.8 miles. Exact mileage tba. Turn left on fs119 and continue to fs552. Go to parking. This info came from a scout who will verify mileage and name of turn off from Tidioute tomorrow. Roads are as good this way as other ways.

Set #2 This info, which came from a sister who actually drove parts of it.
I would suggest Eastbound I80 folks take Shippenville exit, take 66 North to 322 West to 208 East to 36 North to 62 North & continuing on 62 North /6 East all the way to Warren (which might be the safest bet since Heart's Content Rd has a sign saying "Warren 17 miles" ) then taking Pleasant Drive to Hearts Content…OR having someone try up 62N past East Hickory & Tidioute almost to Irvine/Rocky Gap Area and trying that Right turn onto "Lenheart Rd" then right onto Pleasant Drive. I don't know if this route could potentially end up at a dead end like Queen Rd did. Taking 666 for us was THE LONG WAY – another 90 minutes more than we anticipated. I think straight into Warren would truly take less time because of better roads and straighter-shots (less little cutoff county roads)

Gathering with Kids (Rerun)

There's a great guest post by a good friend of mine on last year's blog on how to gather with kids. If you're coming home for the first time with children, click here and read on.

We are our brothers and sisters keepers

Just a reminder to folks that when we gather, we gather together, to look out for each other, love each other, feed each other and heal each other.

Last year at the New Mexico Gathering, someone allegedly reported to the cops that a hand gun had been spotted in a camp. That brother or sister did not understand the Rainbow way. This caused a major incident and if the US Marshalls had not been present to work with us to keep everything chill, we could have easily had a repeat of Kid Village 2008.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. If you observe something that seems off and you're not sure what to do, go to INFO - they will be on the Main Meadow and can make sure that the rights folks are sent to investigate the scenario rainbow style.

As to the "hand gun" turns out it was a cap gun used at a wedding to sound off the marriage.

Two year's ago on the Wyoming Gathering blog, my friend posted a great rap on peace and such things. Please take the time to reread it if you haven't already.

Please come to dinner circle at night, find out when and where the workshops are being held. Or check the workshop board at info. There are a lot of people with awesome information to share. Please learn, put in to practice, rework and share the wisdom this family holds.

For an old but great rap on Shanti Sena, click here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Updated Directions from the North

There are people working on Directions from I-80 but I still haven't heard back. In the meantime, these are the updated directions from the north. If you come up from I-80 and make it to any of the points listed here, please shoot me an email and let me know what worked so I can share the info with the rest of the family. We have an update on the Gathering Updates blog of how to get from I-80 to the gathering. Click here.

From the East, via Sheffield PA:
Go to Sheffield PA, One tenth of a mile from the end of Route 666 (where it meets Route 6) there is a Uni-mart gas station.Turn onto this road and cross over the bridge. Continue onto High St (State Road, SR2002)and follow for 11.2 Miles. Make a left onto FS116 (sign says Mayburg). Make an immediate right onto FS119, follow for exactly 5.8 miles to FS552. Follow FS552 to designated parking areas. Welcome Home!

From the West via Warren, PA:
I86 East to US62 South, follow to Warren PA. Continue on Market St 0.3 miles, Turn right at Pennsylvania Ave (US6, Business Route, West), travel 0.2 miles Turn left at Hickory St Bridge, proceed 0.1 mile, slight left at Crescent Rd, 0.4 mi, Continue very briefly (150feet) on Mohawk ave, continue onto Pleasant Drive(SR3005). Follow signs toward "Hearts Content Recreation Area" Follow Pleasant Drive for 11.1 miles.
Make a left on SR2002. Keep following signs for "Hearts Content". Drive 5.8 miles, passing "Hearts Content". Make a right onto FS 116, make an immediate right onto FS119, follow for exactly 5.8 miles to FS552. Follow FS552 to designated parking areas. Welcome Home!

Please drive slowly on all roads, especially on SR2002 and ALL FOREST ROADS as road conditions are poor in some areas and can be unsafe even at moderate speed.

Watch out of people walking on the roads.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Signs Needing a Ride from Kansas to Home

This is a message from some friends. If you can help out, please email.

Last year it was decided in Womyn's Council to do something to educate 'newbee' Rainbower's about some of the more important information and survival tips...to pass this on to the next generation and combat what has been perceived as increasing hostility and disregard for some of the more valued Rainbow traditions.

Mama XXX agreed to spearhead this effort and she and I devised an idea for a series of informative signs to be posted at Main Trailhead and the other major arteries going in and out of Main Circle. (think the old 'Burma-Shave' ads mixed w/ the Rainbow Rap and you get the idea...)

These signs are of CorePlastic and have metal stakes. They will be used year after year if properly maintained. She paid for them and I have done the artwork/lettering. They are boxed and ready to get to this year's Gathering.

I am BEGGING for your help in getting these signs to the Gathering. If YOU or ANY of your council/circle of contacts can get through Kansas I will bust my hump to get them to a responsible party for transport and posting. I'll even drive them to Salina/Kansas City/Lawrence (I-70) or Oklahoma City (I-40) if that what it takes.

Now, if you want to help with this, we need to have a responsible party deliver and set these up at the main trail heads as well as gather them up for retrieval at the conclusion. I realize this is a big job, but it'll go fast and even get you a lot of hugz...not to mention those ever popular Karma Points!

As a longtime Brother, I swear this is the only time I'll beg for your direct help. The signs are 18" X 24" - about 50 of 'em. Stakes are also in a box, around 24" X 36".

So, PLEASE use your connections and help me get this done. Heck, I even think you'll agree with most of them!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Directions to the Annual Gathering of the Tribes

Consensus has been reached.
From Sheffield Pennsylvania (south of Warren, Pennsylvania) go south on Highway 948 for 2 miles
Turn right onto Road 666. (There is a height restriction of 7'6" on Road 666 south of the turn off to Road 116.)
Continue to Road 116 and turn right
Go to Road 119 and turn left.
Drive 5 miles to parking.

Kitchens, please see the information on the Gathering Updates blog.

Welcome home.

I don't have real orderly information just yet, but if you go to the Gathering Updates blog, you'll see misc information. There are a few people out Monday and Tuesday trying to verify alternative directions more oriented to coming from Interstate 80 and/or the West end of the forest instead of the northeast. As soon as I receive confirmation, I will post the alternatives. Until then, keep in mind that just because roads exist on a paper map or mapquest, doesn't mean it's a good way to go.

Just an FYI, this is the site of the 1986 Pennsylvania gathering. We're on rerun mode.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where to go

If you're heading home today, please follow the directions to Spring Council below and pay attention to the various addendum post on the updates blog.

Until family on the land announces a site, PLEASE head to the Spring Council site. Once they are ready to announce a site, the information will be posted swiftly in all the usual places.

If you're not planning on coming home for another week or two, we will have directions to the specific site by then. The site will be in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania (where Spring Council is taking place).

Safe journeys!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Consensus from Spring Council

Here's the info I have at present.

word from spring council reached a consensus that "the 2010 rainbow gathering will be somewhere in the Allgehany [sp] National Forest".

About 30 people at spring council. Council continues...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CALM is still short $$ for critical supplies

This family is full of hard working nurses, doctors and medics who will be on the land for the Rainbow Gathering 2010 dealing with all sorts of emergenices from twisted ankles to heart attacks. Every year they work themselves to a frazzle taking care of our health needs for free. No questions asked.

In April, I shared information on needs for CALM aka First Aid. Unfortunately, we came up short. Not enough people promised to bring the needed supplies and very little cash donations were made. There is still time to plug into CALM and make sure the needed supplies are available. To see my original post, click here. To make a donation, click here.

Advise on Rattlesnakes, etc

Today's guest post is from a great sister who has been gathering for many years. It started out as a response to concerns about rattlesnakes at gatherings. My two cents is that poisonous snakes exist everywhere in the USA. However, for those who aren't familiar with the east, here's a my take on snakes and east coast gatherings. It rains a lot more along the east coast than west of the Rocky Mountains. This leads to a lots of small shrubby plants growing in the woods. Small shrubby plants are good places for snakes to hang out. Enough said and on to our guest post by Carla.

************Guest Post*************

Please, folks, be very, very careful about any advice given by non-medical professionals about how to treat rattlesnake bites. Everything you learned in boy scout/girl scout first aid training is up for re-examination. Some of the things that were recommended a couple of decades ago can actually kill people. If you haven't had recent training, brush up!

Because I myself do not know the most up-to-date standards of emergency care for snake bites, I googled it. Several good sites popped up, with what looked like authoritative information. here are some contradictions among them but there are a few points that stand out. Bottom line: get the person to qualified medical treatment immediately!
  1. DO keep the person calm, and immobilize the limb as much as possible. You don't want adrenaline or movement to increase the heart rate and blood pressure, thus pushing the venom through the body faster than it is already going.
  2. DO keep the affected limb below heart level.
  3. DO get the person to the hospital immediately. Avoid any situation that causes delay. In the case of a gathering, EMS should be called. While a gathering evacuation vehicle can get the person out and down the road, transfer ASAP to a fully equipped ambulance with trained personnel is the ideal.
  4. DO NOT apply a tourniquet. Tourniquets should always be the LAST LINE OF DEFENSE in an otherwise imminently lethal situation, as the person will very likely lose the limb below the tourniquets due to lack of circulation. When a tourniquet absolutely MUST be used, do not loosen it intermittently. Doing so can cause a lethal drop in blood pressure. Also, when a tourniquet is loosened, it allows a massive influx of venom to the system that may stop the heart. Now, if you are bitten by a snake with a neurotoxin that kills within seconds or minutes, or if you just amputated your foot with your weed-whacker and are fifty miles from the nearest hospital, by all means try the tourniquet--what have you got to lose? But in a gathering situation? Probably not. If you are the first person to respond, get qualified medical folks to come to the scene to make these decisions
  5. DO NOT apply electric shock. This is an unproven treatment. http://www.docsdetecting.com/docsplace/aoi/snakbite.html
  6. DO NOT cut open the skin on or near the bite to suction out the venom. Snake bite victims often lose limbs to secondary infections, and this is a good way to make sure they get one.
  7. DO NOT apply cold or ice to the area.
  8. DO NOT provide the victim with alcohol.
  • Some sources say to wash the wound with soap and water. others say not to
  • Some sources say that a wide compression bandage above the wound can slow the venom. Such a bandage should go all the way around the wound, and should be loose enough to slip one finger under. Other sources say that there is no evidence for effectiveness--but there is no evidence that it harms
Other caveats:
  • While there are indigenous healers in other parts of the world who do use botanical treatments that actually work against the various harms of snake bite--including anti-inflammatory, coagulant, detoxification, and neutralization properties--those alternative treatments are not available in this country, and in any case need to be further researched before any recommendation could be made that they be considered as an alternative to standard anti-venom treatment. Click here for reference.
  • There are many people at gatherings who claim to be "healers" who have no training other than the books they have read, and no qualifications other than huge egos. There are also many very gifted practitioners who provide excellent emergency, first aid, and alternative treatments to gatherers in need of medical assistance. If you are bitten by a snake, ill, or injured, please use common sense when trusting your health and well-being to someone you don't know. It's okay to be skeptical, to want a second opinion, to ask what others know of someone's knowledge and skill level, and to request assistance with getting medical care in town.
In general about your health and safety:
  • Be assertive about your needs, your likes/dislikes, preferences, need for privacy/modesty, and respect for your wishes about what is done to your body. If you don't feel skilled enough in being assertive, make sure a friend accompanies you to any consultation about your health. This is true in both a gathering situation, and in a mainstream medical situation.
  • If anyone touches you during any massage, medical examination or treatment in a way that is inappropriate/coercive/assaultive SPEAK UP!! It is never okay for someone to manipulate, coerce, trick, or force another person into unwanted physical contact. Neither the mainstream medical profession nor the alternative healing communities want predators in their midst.