A Rainbow Guide

The following was compiled by Paul Gross rainbow@paulgross.com for people in my area (Ottawa, Canada) who are interested in learning about Rainbow. It concentrates on the practical, rather than the spiritual, side of Rainow. Some of it I wrote, most of it I pilfered. I apologize to any uncredited authors who see their words.

There are 4 sections: Personal things to bring; All ways free - Rainbow Family news; Welcome Home!; What is the Rainbow.


Personal Things To Bring

If it's not on this list, consider leaving it at (babylonian) home. If in doubt, leave it out.

If you bring it in, you have to bring it out (or give it away).

(The following list concerns travelling a long way to a gathering. Much of it is overkill for a weekend trip. Items in each section are listed in approximate order of priority. Items deemed essential are marked with "*". It's all just the opinions of a few persons, in any case.)

tent*, backpack* with extra straps, sleeping bag*, pad/matress (for sleeping on), sheet/blanket, tarp, bunji cords, hammock
hat*, portable jacket* with hood, good broken-in walking shoes/boots*, long pants/skirt*, bandana, socks and underwear, shorts, sweater, long and short sleeved shirts, raingear, a second pair of shoes/footware for swimming, towel, travelling back clothes (You need less clothing than in babylon. Bring clothes that protect against sun, insects, cold and rain but avoid overpacking.)
large plastic bowl* with a hole in it for a string or clip, cup* with ear, fork and spoons* with holes, water container* (wineskin), flashlight*, (Swiss army) knife, lighter/matches, plastic bags, string, extra batteries, camera (always ask before taking someone's picture), film
this sheet, road and gathering maps, keys, uniquely coloured messaging paper, method for identifying vehicle from a distance (ribbons), signs/flags (for marking campsite), ID/drivers license, timepiece and tickets if needed for travel
toothbrush, organic soap/shampoo/toothpaste (Dr. Bronner's), sunblock, toilet paper (one roll with coffee canister to put it in), Skin So Soft or other organic insect repellant, first aid cream/spray, bandages, moleskin, Tylenol/Aspirin, needed medications, dental floss, birth control, calamine lotion, water purifying method, calling cards
Green energy
Canadian/US currency, credit cards (You won't need any money once you get to the gathering, except for donations to the magic hat)
Lots of it!
crystal, portable musical instruments, pen, paper, starfinder, things to give/trade (Welcome Home! stickers)
Snack/Sharing Food
(delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals are served) dried fruit, peanut butter, nuts/trail mix, favoured sauces (BBQ, peanut), spices (no oregano)
Remember...at The Rainbow, shit happens. Go with it. Everything you need will come to you. Welcome Home!

All Ways Free --- Rainbow Family News

HOWDY FOLKS! You're invited to the Rainbow Family Gathering for World Peace and Earth Healing. Come share the spirit of peace, love and truth in the Cathedral of Nature. This is an absolutely free and non-commercial event depending upon your participation and support. No money is exchanged except contributions given freely to the Magic Hat. Our bank council maintains open books for inspection.

Come to share your visions and knowledge, and to organize workshops. Also bring creative, magic energy for Kid Village. The Rainbow Family embodies those who believe we are all sisters and brothers who seek to love and serve each other and all of creation. We join together to honor our connection with one another and this earth. We come from many paths to renew our commitment to peace among all.

What to Bring To a Gathering:
Besides positive vibes and peacefulness, bring sleeping gear, personal utensils, plates and bowls, rain gear, your own shelter, toilet paper and personal necessities. Please don't bring commercial soaps or insect repellents of any type. Don't wash in the water!!! Take a bucket at least 50 yards from the open water to wash. (Soaps will pollute the water. Even bio- degradable soap like Dr. Bronners can kill fish and micro-organisms.) Thiamine, B-complex vitamins, citronella and raw garlic (both eaten, and on your skin) can help keep biting critters away!

Bring truth, love and happiness. Bring large pots and pans, water containers, food-grade 5 gal. buckets, tarps and tents, and bulk food and organic produce for our communal KITCHENS. Bring your best friends. Bring instruments and make home grown MUSIC. Bring TOOLS such as shovels, picks, buckets, rope, hatchets, axes, hoedads (great for digging latrines!), etc. Bring your children and fun supplies, and prepare for shared, creative and magical CHILDCARE. Bring LARGE SHELTERS and tarps if you have them. Most of all, bring your SELF. We are a tribe of volunteers and the work in making each gathering happen and cleaning up afterward is shared by all of us. If you pack it IN, pack it OUT!!! Avoid bringing anything unnecessary, like plastics, radios/tape players, fireworks and other pollutants.

We give to our MAGIC HAT to cover costs. We base our gathering on respect for one another's differences and similarities. We've agreed over many councils that weapons and alcohol are unwelcome among us. If you can, leave your dog with a friend, because they get unruly in numbers and they shit everywhere. We must break the "shit>flys>food>you" chain! Responsible and happy campers don't get sick! Please bring your heart-songs, knowledge and vision to share. To have a healthy camp, our gathering also has these needs:

DISHWASHING -- bleach, 2-1/2 gal. spring water containers, heavy twine or light rope and 2x4's. LATRINES (Shitters) -- heavy precut plywood, bags of lime, toilet paper and 2lb coffee cans to keep it dry, and clean metal buckets and spades for wood ash. MEDICAL NEEDS -- First aid kits, healing herbs, tinctures and salves, band-aids, ace and gauze bandages, tape, "0 0" capsules, sterile cotton and gloves, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, iodine, washcloths, towels, wash basins, extra bedding, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, rescue remedy, vitamins (especially A, B, C), green (disinfectant) soap, aloe, charcoal, prophylactics and other medical supplies, massage tables, cots, healing hands and calm centered energy.

Welcome Home!

Here's a Rap -- reflected from the collective brilliance of the Rainbow Tribe. If you're not sure of anything, don't be afraid to ask for advice or help! We Love You!

Feel free to share any of your skills, knowledge, wisdom, creativity and stories with us! Post times and places for craft, healing or art workshops, demonstrations and fun stuff like that! Watch for notices of ongoing councils like AllWaysFree (July 3rd), Peace Projects (ongoing), Focalizer's Council (July 5th), AWF PeaceNet Council (July 6th), etc!. There's an Info Board at Welcome Center and near Main Circle.
The forest can be very dry and the fire danger is quite real. COMMUNITY FIRES ONLY!!! (minimum 20 folks per fire and a shovel and a 5 gal. bucket of water. No shovel, no water, NO FIRE!!!) Fires must be conscientiously attended to at all times. Use only dead and down wood. Due to sanitary reasons and the need to limit fires, we ask that anyone with kitchen equipment join an already established kitchen.
Use it wisely. Purify drinking water by a 15 min rolling boil or with 10 drops of Tincture of Iodine and then cover and let stand for 20 mins. Don't pee-pee or ka-ka in or near the wa-wa. Use (very little) soap or shampoo, at least 100 feet away from streams, and well below springs. Don't camp above or near springs or lakes. Please help your kitchen with water runs!
If you are sick or injured, please go to our CALM*MASH First Aid Station. Wash your hands after using a latrine and before eating. Use only your own cup, bowl and utensils, and clean them at a wash station. Don't rinse them in a stream, you could spread disease. If you find you've been bitten by a tick, come to CALM (Center for Alternative Living Medicine) for removal!
Wash your hands before entering any kitchen. Use 1 or 2 capfuls of bleach per bucketful of water for cleaning water. Wipe work surfaces with bleach water before and after use. Enclose kitchens with railings with hand washing stations at entrances. Don't work in a kitchen if you're sick or infectious. Keep animals (excepting humans) out of kitchens. Set up four stage (scrape, wash, bleach, rinse) dish washing stations both inside and outside of kitchens. Change water often if you use buckets.
Latrines & Compost Pits
Dig deep. Away from water sources and well below springs. Break the "Waste> Flys> Food> You" connection! Cover waste and toilet paper with wood-ash or lime, then recover the latrine. Cover latrines with plywood. Mark well and keep them safely lit at night. Fill latrines with dirt and ash when waste is within 18 inches of ground level. Set up, maintain and use wash stations at the latrines. Keep compost pits covered with black plastic or tarp and rope them off so people don't fall into them. Cover compost pits with dirt when contents are within 1 foot of ground level.
Animals & Plants
Don't bother, injure or kill wildlife or plants. Be aware. If you were unable to leave your pet at home, then clean up after them, don't leave them unattended, restrain them when necessary. Please feel free to tie up stray dogs in shade with water as they are a threat to our health and safety.
Peacekeeping (Shanti Sena)
We are all peacekeepers who share the responsibility of keeping this gathering safe and harmonious. Be involved! This is family!!! Be respectful to everybody. Be helpful! Camp with friends in neighborhoods and get to know those around you. Watch each other's stuff... There are those who prey, sorry to say... Peacekeeping includes keeping your own peace. Remember the Golden Rule... (Treat others as you'd like them to treat you!)
Magic Hat
This gathering is absolutely free and non-commercial. In addition to what we bring to share, let's provide for ourselves by contributing to the Magic Hat. It's our cooperative commonwealth, which provides food, medical supplies and other necessities. Decision making councils will be held daily; all who want may speak. We are a Participatory Democracy -- a tribe of volunteers. (If you want something done, do it!) All the work in creating and cleaning up this gathering is shared by every one of us.
Clean Up starts when you arrive at a gathering, not after you leave. If you aren't going to help pack out something you bring, don't carry it in. Better to have too little to use than too much refuse. Utilize and maintain our recycling centers and please carry out some trash before you pack out. Camp in the woods, not the meadow. Disappear all traces of your campsite.
Extend the peaceful respect of our Family to all those you meet on the way to and from the gathering. Take only photographs (ask first); leave only footprints (on established paths). Our gatherings strive to be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Ignore all rumors of cancellation, regardless of source!

Welcome Home!

What Is The Rainbow

...It is potentially the greatest manifestation of Freedom on the Earth. Of course, it's what everyone who goes to it makes it. There is never an entry fee. There are no mandatory costs. It is funded entirely by volunteer donations. This is one of its strengths. It is also run pretty much solely by volunteer energy. Theoretically, the only way something gets done is because people pitch in and offer their time, sweat and know how to make it happen. But there has been occasional guilt and power tripping from time to time. Hopefully, as everyone catches the greater meaning of the Spirit there will be more cooperation and less coercion. This is an ongoing prayer that somewhat succeeds and fails through each gathering.

At every gathering there is a nurturing process for the body, mind, soul, and spirit of those who attend. To feed thousands out in a National Forest, elaborate Kitchens have developed through out the years. The Kitchens as in many families are the center of the home. They are the hubs of activity. There are a myriad number of tasks with every Kitchen. Even in relatively simple Kitchens like the Donut Factory or Popcorn Palace there is a lot of work. Gathering fire wood, Hauling water, Carrying supplies take on vast complexities in different locations. Each site lends its own challenges and learning opportunities. But I say the greatest challenges and unique learning experiences come from the people. There are so many different people at a large gathering. And its great. You can walk into almost any kitchen and find a whole world, givers, a lot of takers, and sharers. Hopefully there is enough of a balance to cut down on burn out when someone approaches exhaustion.

Rainbow camp fires are really unique. You're not on somebodies property. You live in the area along with thousands of other people. It can be pretty cool. The conversations have a depth that is rare elsewhere.

Then there's the Circle. Every gathering is different. As said before its what those who come to it make it. But at every National Rainbow Gathering there is the Main Circle. And its a trip. In some ways its the main trip. Its what many gatherers come for. At the Circle we become One. We listen to everybody and we talk to everybody one at a time. Everyone has their chance to speak. This is truly one of the best things about a gathering. Of course when there are a thousand people sitting in a circle its a lot different then when there are fifty or twenty. But even with five people sharing a circle can be a wonderful experience.

Dinner Circle is often dominated by logistics and antics. There's a lot of messages being relayed. It can be chaotic. Trying to organize the feeding of five thousand people by twenty different kitchens at one time has become an ongoing art for some of us. It takes on various dimension when most of the folks believe in anarchy.

Then there's the passing of the Magic Hat. People are given an opportunity to contribute funds to go out and buy supplies and pay for various workings to brings about a safe Gathering for everyone. Often the largest funds don't start to come in till about the first. There's usually a delay when people start contributing and need to be fed. There's been many a lean beginning and fat ending. Thank goodness for people's patience.

Vision Council is one of the heaviest circles because its the time when the most people can say what they want in regards to the next years gathering. It traditionally begins on July 7. It has been known to go on non stop through the night to the morning and into the next night for several days. A few years ago we consensed to end the Vision Council at sunset and begin the next day. One of the main reasons was so people could see each others faces.

Consensus is one of the heaviest words at a gathering. It is the unwritten contract that we in theory and for a week in practise agree to live by. If we have problems we bring them up at our circles. Then we discuss them. During the discussion someone usually brings out an issue and asks for consensus. If no one radically objects then consensus is reached. Otherwise the person who blocks consensus expresses their concern and the discussion continues. Through this process we attempt to solve our problems. We haven't reached perfection but were still surviving.

The Drum Circle is probably our number one entertainment. Its main attraction is that its more fun to do than to watch. Twenty to a hundred people beating wildly on makeshift drums around a huge bonfire beats a night of TV.

Ya Gatherings are pretty cool. But they are more than just fun. They're life and an ongoing attempt to make it better. A genuinely higher nature can become active at a gathering.

Hope this gives some of you insight. You can find just about every problem at a gathering that you can find in a city. But in my experience I have never found in a city the wondrous, dynamic spirit that I have witnessed at a Gathering.

Of course there are a lot of other important aspects to Gatherings. I'm not going the name them now. But I'm sure others will be able to say things about them.

Ah Ho To All My Relations.
Paul Gross
Ottawa, Cananda