Subject: Re: RAP it up:)!
>Now's a good time for the folks still posting to agr, to talk some more and
>teach while you can;) There are many folks reading that will be going to a
>gathering for the first time
Here's something I posted last year. Hope it lifts some spirits.
I've been seeing this question pop up from time to time. And so I'll take a crack at answering it. Of course we all know about the neat colors in the sky after a rain storm. The Bible says that it was given to remind us that we need never fear the world will be destroyed by flood. It was reported to have happened once before.
To me Rainbow represents the culmination of the Spirit that began this nation. It is potentially the greatest manifestation of Freedom on the Earth. Of course its 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.
Learning to travel with the emotions of the Heart we'll cross that Rainbow Bridge. Ah Ho To All My Relation,
1994 Dan D