Sunday, July 9, 2017

National Rainbow Gathering: Oregon 2017

I just returned from 2 weeks(June 25th-July 7th) at the Rainbow Gathering. I took daily notes of my experience and will share those with you.


-Dadum Yoga Fusion: Met a yogi brother named Dadum, who had been coming foe years and we combined our forces of Kundulini and my Kaleidoscope practice. Had some huge groups(50+) for 10 straight days at Hippie Noon for 2+hrs of wholesome yoga. Probably had 150 unique folks come join us.

-Libraries: Two libraries came to the gathering, one up on the hill, and another at Tipi Village. Read a couple great books there Beautiful Trouble , an encyclopedia about activism and A Paradise Built in Hell:, about how folks come together in crisis and disasters.

-Vegans: Met about 20-30, many saw my shirt and instantly connected. Held a veganism circle where we talked about our experiences, especially those about Rainbow. There was meat at some kitchens, and LOTs of eggs/dairy, but thankfully main circle meals were 95% vegan, and there were 2 all-vegan kitchens (instant Soup and Sundar). I had a lot of folks ask me questions about veganism(protein, plants feelings etc) and some wise ass remarks("I love free range vegans) but overall it was positive.

-Instant Soup:
I plugged in and camped near arguably the best kitchen there. Clean, coordinated, delicious meals(split pea, chickpea curry, thai peanut, minestrone etc) from trained chefs, 24/7, always had water/food, quite area away from hub bub/drum circle.

-Krishna (Sundar): This kitchen was great as usual from these folks, a wholesome, drug free oasis. Epic kirtan chants, nice shady spot to lie down and relax. Havala dessert and dahl!

-Ohana fire song circle: This Hawaiian themed fire song circle occurred almost nightly, and was a pleasure to walk by it and stay for a bit, listening to Fantoozie and company play amazing music. (In general the music there was AMAZING; flutes, drums, folk songs, angelic voices)

-Glowing Feather: I remember GF from Montana in 2013, so it was cool to see him again, only this time I actually hung out with him here and there, he came to kaleidoscope and offered his improv dance expression with us. He also freaked a lot of us with some health scares one morning, when a brother from CALM(medical team) came racing in with a cart to help him. Love his spirit.

-PDX crew: The first part of the gathering I was exploring more solo, but around the 1st most of my Portland friends started rolling in so it was nice to see them and help show them around. Having my close buddies there really boosted my energy and was a great experience to share, not to mention just more vegans to synergize with.

-CALM: This is our medical team...on top of it for taking care of the family out in the woods. I had stepped on a sharp stem and punctured my foot on like the 5th day and finally came in and got it bandaged by the wonderful Tori, complete with foot bath, scrub and medical wrap!

-Yeast guy: Person who screams "YEEEEEEEAST!" at dinner circle, keeping B12 high.

-Healing Center/Massage table/trades: Towards the end of the gathering i started plugging in with this healing center near main meadow, offering massage, and also gave some at Instant Soup and with friends. Probably gave about 20 or so to folks. I even gave a massage for a CrimeThinc booked called Days of War/Nights of Love from an anarchist who was handing out free pamphlets in trade circle.

-Intersectionality disccusion: I was lucky enough to attend this discusion, providing much neeeded nuanced perspective on some of the challenges and blindspots of Rainbow; such as toxic masculinity, lack of diversity(POC/queer) and ways we can help with that in the future.

-Consent: There was a BIG push for consent awareness and there were several councils set up for this discussion. Such an issue within the hippie community, especially out there in the woods...can be some sketchy stuff.

-HipStories: Stay in some early day stories from the gatherings (80-92), gleaned some interesting knowledge about how they interacted with locals, weather/location issues etc. 5 Hours of stories here

-Vision Council: Sat in on the 7th Vision council that was for folks to speak their heartsong(truth) and help decide on the next gathering spot. Some really amazing sharing...friend Chris nailed it with talking about oppression and the lack of awareness here, Lakota member shared beautiful prayer that had everyone in tears....powerful circle.

-Crystal Crane Hot Springs: After gathering I went to this nearby hotsprings, and helped soak off the duest and grime.

Low Lights:

-Sickness: An outbreak of Norro Virus hit us hard...thousands were sick, including half my friends. I had thought I had escaped unscathed, but felt the achy weakness hit me hard on my last day there, and sure enough it was coming out both ends that night when I was camped at the hotsprings. You would hear/see people puking and moaning all throughout the gathering....rough stuff.

-Loud/mosquitoes: This is not a place for serenity. Lots of drumming(ALL NIGHT) make it challenging to find spots where you can't hear it....had to move behind a ridge on the outskirts. Also, the mosquitoes at times would really be attacking me...I sleep with a bivy sack, so no tent, so buggies like to eat me :)

-Lonely camping solo/missed ladyfriend/romantic gathering: I felt pangs of loneliness, especially earlier on as I hadn't made connections yet and my PDX crew hadn't arrived. I solo camped the entire time so I kinda missed out on that experience. Also was missing my lady friend...the gathering is a very romantic place.

-Drugs: Everywhere. Felt out of place as straight edge...even marked my hands with black X to show solidarity with folks, but ran into only a couple. Mary-J was casually consumed like oxygen, so many pipes/joints/dabs seemingly at every kitchen/fire circle. Aggravated my eyes/throat. Tension around people having bad trips on LSD...didn't experience it first hand, but we did have a person come up to kaleidoscope one day who was attacking our group(physically hit a person) who seemed to be going through psychosis...saw her later and she seemed better.

-Lack of intellectual/deep convo at times: I think the Mary-J had something to do with this, but often times there wasn't much profound being said in the larger circles/kitchen talk. I had more meaningful 1:1 convos thankfully.

-Roughness/Toxic behaviors/Masculinity/lack of respect: Perhaps the worst offense there....many rough and tumble, road dogs, dirty kids were offputting at times. Heard lots of shouting, arguing, yelling at/being physical with dogs. I've heard over the years this shift in the demographic of the  family has been a growing concern.


All in all, it was a positive experience, and if I am a gathering is close by, I may decide to go again. It also provided a much needed break from my PDX routine and allowed me to get back into my flow and shine as I used to.

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