Friday, April 11, 2008

Rainbow Gatherings Revisited

"When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow." Hopi Prophecy

While writing yesterday's post, the world of the Rainbow family came back into my reality. It was at one such gathering that my sweet puppy Happy was almost lost for good. She had wandered away in her playful bliss and we stayed around a few extra hours after we needed to leave, to find her. She was SO very happy indeed when she saw us again. That was a close call though. These gatherings can be huge...talking up to 30,000 people! So its no little thing.

My friend Stacey commented about the rainbow gathering phenomenon and it started me thinking more about them and getting excited all over again. I did a little online research and found Wiki has a really great summary:

"Rainbow Gatherings are temporary intentional communities, typically held in outdoor settings, and espousing and practicing ideals of peace, love, harmony, freedom and community, as a consciously expressed alternative to mainstream popular culture, consumerism, capitalism and mass media."W

" The Rainbow Family of Living Light, also known as The Rainbow Family, are a group of individuals committed to principles of non-violence and non-hierarchical egalitarianism. Founded in 1972 in the United States, the Rainbow Family has held annual Gatherings in National Forests for the first week of July each year. The Rainbow Gatherings are non-commercial and all who wish to attend peacefully are welcome. There are no leaders, and traditionally the gatherings take place for a week, with a primary focus on the Fourth of July in North America, when attendees pray, meditate, or observe silence in a group effort to focus on World Peace. Thus, the name Rainbow Family of Living Light is a reflection of both the emphasis on welcoming people of all races, religions, ethnicity, and social status, as well as a spiritual focus towards peace." W

Yes Stacey, I attended the 1996 Annual gathering and a regional gathering at Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. It BLEW MY MIND. I had never before seen anything like it! It was almost dark when arrived in the remote location. We were greeted with "Welcome Home" and I must say it just melted my idealist heart. Temporary I come. Of course utopia does not exist, but it definitely affected the way I look at the world, and ignited a renewed since of hope!

It doesn't surprise me that the press was negative and sensational. How could that not happen? A bunch of subculture folks migrate by the 1000s to redneck village hehe. Its a dramatic culture clash. And just like any "church", there are people there for a variety of reasons, not all being pure. So although Rainbow Gatherings do attract their fair share of drainbows, druggies and curious georges, the heart is beautiful and delicious!

Just writing about the Rainbow Family and looking into it more has reignited my interest! I am a hippy at heart. And everyone who knows me knows that. Sure my innocent idealism has been squashed a bit and I am definitely more realistic than ever before. I have tinges of bitterness and interacting with my tribe is critical. Celebrating Earth, peace, love and an egalitarian, sustainable society keeps me hopeful and happy! Living in small town America can be very isolating.

Thanks Stacey for inspiring me to take a walk down memory lane and remember!

Oh...if you are interested in listening to some of the music that is shared at gatherings check this out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL! Yep! That's it.. at the National Forest. My parents forbade me to go visit (like all of my friends did ) and see what was REALLY going on. Kept hearing stories about signs "No Tampon Pullers" and other stuff- that's all I really remember!!

How awesome!!