Where will the gathering be?

We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2017 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the state of Oregon. To learn the process by which we find home each year, click here.

To find out how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here and check out the right side-bar.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Brief Summary of Gathering/Forest Service Relationships

I find it helpful to have a basic understanding of situations in order to make informed decisions going into the future.  While my understanding of the relationship between the gathering and the United States Forest Service (USFS) is just one perspective, I hope that putting together a brief summary of how things have gone may help myself and other to see the big picture.

As I wasn't around until the late 1980s, I will try to keep my summary focused on things I do know and let others fill in the rest.

At the first gathering of the tribes, the USFS told family that a gathering could not happen without a permit and that no permit would be issued. People gathered anyway, often times hiking in through the woods to get to the site.  The next several years, the issue disappeared from the radar. From 1976 to 1980 permits were signed, often under protest. If you're interested in the details, read Plunker's summary of the permit issue from 1972 to 1983: Permit Herstory.

In 1984, the Forest Service enacted a regulation requiring a permit for any expressive assembly of ten or more people on Forest Service lands. This was unenforced for a year and a half before the Service attempted to apply it to the gathering in Arizona in 1986.

In 1987 at the North Carolina gathering, the state tried to tell us we need a permit for all public gatherings. After a lot of legal wrangling and an elephant, Judge Dave issued a consent decree that theoretically was not a permit, but .....Judge Dave was so taken with his experience in 1987 that he has written a book about it called Judge Dave and the Rainbow People. All didn't end so well as some of the cleanup crew where arrested. Click here for the consent order.

In 1988 at the Texas gathering, the USFS demanded a permit and when family just said no, they blockaded the gathering and refused to allow ingress to the gathering site. Family walked around the blockade to bring in supplies. The situation wound up in court. The judge presiding over the hearing was Mr. Justice or as he is more commonly known in Rainbow Circles Justice Justice.   This regulation was deemed unconstitutional because not all groups of ten or more people were required to obtain a permit. In other words, if people attending the gathering were sharing information, fliers, beliefs, etc, then a permit was required. However, if they weren't, then no permit required.  For Plunker's rap on what happened, click here.


The USFS Group Use Regulations governing "special events" were struck down at the 1988 gathering in Texas --visit these sites for more info:
The USFS regrouped and tried to write regulations governing special events that would stand up in court.  It took them quite some time and if you're interested in a perspective on how that all happened, read the PC&U's article, From the Trenches.  (This article was written just after the Wyoming 1994 gathering).

In late 1995, a new set of group use regulations was published by the government that required any group of 75 or more people to apply for a "Group Use Permit" under the Non-Commercial Group Use Regulations.

In 1996, one individual signed a permit and then later tried to rescind it. For a summary, see the Ozark Gazette article.  Folks gathered and so it goes.

In 1997 at the annual gathering in Oregon, the USFS tried a new tactic: they came with arrest warrants for people they deemed "secret leaders"  and then these "secret leaders" counter sued. We had an amazing council for days on end with the USFS and worked out an unsigned operating plan on the land.  (You can find copies of a few of these plans here). Finally, the USFS bullied a woman in Portland who had a child at the gathering to sign a permit, which she did. This woman was not at the gathering nor did she have any influence over the gathering. The incident commander at this gathering was from the resource branch of the forest service and in his report stated that the permit was an obstacle to an effective working relationship. For a repository of great information on what happened in 1997, click here.

Wrangling over the permit continued at the Arizona gathering in 1998.  While a small victory was won by a gatherer, it was a technicality and had no great impact on the future course of events.
For a summary of events, see the Arizona Republic Article or the New York Times article.

During the 1999 Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania, 3 individuals were chosen by the Forest Service's Incident Command Team as "secret leaders," and cited for not applying for a group use permit. As Rainbow is a leaderless, self-created temporary community, these charges were totally bogus. Unfortunately, due some legal maneuverings by the USFS, the "Rainbow 3"  lost their case (they weren't allowed any witnesses, among other things). An attempt was made to bring the case to the US Supreme Court, but the justices declined to take the case and the "Rainbow 3" spent time in the federal prison system for refusing to illegally sign a permit. For more legal information, click herehere or here or read the article that appeared in Legal Affairs.

Moving out west for 2000 in Montana, a cat and mouse game played out between the "secret leaders" with some of them sneaking in and out of the gathering to avoid continued legal harassment and the USFS. Three people were picked out by the Forest Service as “Rainbow leaders” to receive tickets for camping without a noncommercial group use permit. One of the defendants challenged his ticket. The Forest Service replied, as they had in the previous cases, that the group use regulation was a constitutional time, place, and manner restriction that is narrowly tailored to fit the specific government needs of protecting Forest Service resources, insuring public safety, and deciding between competing uses in a way that leaves open ample alternative channels for expression. Furthermore the signature requirement was a valuable means of ensuring that the group would adhere to the terms of the special use authorization and of protecting against fraudulent statements. All three defendants were sentenced to jail time although the sentences varied.

The cat and mouse game continued in Idaho in 2001 with tickets for all despite the fact that a permit application was made and denied.   While I don't have the exact number of citations issued for being at a an "illegal gathering" (One with more than 74 people and no permit), there's a great article from the Boise Weekly on the issue and my guess is over 500 if not closer to 1,000 people received the magic ticket.   The governor issued a declaration of emergency. The USFS even went so far as to inform the local chapter of Trout Unlimited that they would be unable to perform restoration work in conjunction with gatherers.  By the 4th of July, USFS mounted officers were seen joining in the celebration for world peace and the positive evolution of the planet. The Idaho Stateman published an article on the cleanup.

In 2002 the gathering was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and drinking water was in short supply. The USFS tried to smoke us out by dumping drinking water en route to the gathering. but the local townsfolks  help out.  Then the USFS refused to issue a permit to an applicant.  Finally, the USFS decided that the illegal gathering could happen on one side of the river but not the other.  The infamous "west bank" of the river became off limits to everyone although every evening after they USFS LEOs went home for the day, we gathered there for dinner circle and for the silence on the 4th.

In 2003, a long time gatherer approached the USFS and promised to sign a permit for the gathering in Utah. He followed through on his plan meeting with officials before hand but the situation with the USFS was as bad as ever.  The USFS expected the permit signer to be responsible for every detail of the gathering and we all know that was doomed to failure.

Prior to the California 2004 gathering, meetings and telephone calls with the USFS took place in an attempt to find a workable solution for both sides - including a meeting with the head of the USFS in the Haight-Ashbury library in San Francisco.  Despite attempts to trying to work together, things didn't work out and the gathering was once again declared "illegal." Again someone not affiliated with the gathering signed a permit, but the USFS kept up it's campaign of intimidation, people were cited for being at an illegal event before the permit was signed, and the USFS declared the site off limits to nudity despite the fact that nudity was legal at this location before the gathering started.  People who were cited for being at an illegal gathering or being naked by their tent were treated to a visit to kangaroo court: a makeshift court just for us in some random building located in a small town near the gathering.

West Virginia in 2005 marks the first time the annual gathering relocated under pressure from the USFS.  A permit was signed for a location that the USFS wanted us to be on, many people received tickets for being at an "illegal gathering" and kangaroo Court was set up at the local visitor's center.

In 2006, the USFS put up road blocks at the Colorado gathering in a failed attempt to prevent people from entering yet another "illegal gathering," many citations were written to people at the gathering, folks walked in through the woods (just like in 1972), kangaroo court took place in the local Fire Station and someone applied for a group use permit, which the Forest Service denied.  For Karin's recount of these issues, click here.

Arkansas 2007 was an attempt to work with the upper levels of the USFS  on a cooperative solution and the USFS took an unsigned operating plan worked out with gathering participants on the land in lieu of a falsified signature on a permit.  Life didn't change that much and the LEOs pulled pepper spray guns at family when they arrested a young woman (without bothering to inform her that she was being arrested).

The tension escalated the following year in Wyoming 2008. Again, the USFS accepted an unsigned operating plan worked out with gatherers on the land in lieu of a permit.  Unfortunately, the tension between the heads of the USFS who agreed to the unsigned operating plan model and the LEOs on the ground played out in the LEOs shooting up Kid Village with the same pepper spray paint ball guns they pulled the previous year. For perspectives on this situation from gatherers, click here.   For the report from the federal government on this incident, click here.

And by my accounts, Wyoming 2008 marks the absolute low in the relationship between the United States Forest Service and the Rainbow Gathering.

The New Mexico gathering in 2009 was a strange one.  Again someone not affiliated with the gathering signed a permit.  Everyone was jumpy after 2008. The US Marshals were there to baby sit the USFS LEOs and despite some scary moments, the US Marshals kept the USFS LEOs peaceful (that's not the official party line but I spent a lot of time on that movie and myself as well as others I know believe this to be true).

Then starting with Pennsylvania, 2010, gatherers on the land, working cooperatively with USFS resource and law enforcement personnel continued with the unsigned operating plan model.  The day we counciled on the actual operating plan, the head of the forest and the law enforcement incident commander sat in council with us, passed the feather, and worked together to address concerns, issues and problems.  :)

That relationship continued in Washington 2011 with really awesome USFS LEO leadership working with folks on the land.  An unsigned operating plan was worked out between gatherers and USFS resource personnel.

Tennessee 2012, Montana 2013, Utah 2014, South Dakota 2016, and Vermont 2017 continued the unsigned operating plan model with varying degrees of cooperation between the Forest Service on-the-ground. This mean the gathering and gathering participants are not being targeted or ticketed for being at an illegal event.  

All this brings us to this year. With the regime change in Washington. who knows what to  expect. I will be writing up some thoughts on that as a separate blog post in the next week or so.

If you've managed to read this entire post, you now have a clue.  If you managed to read all the links, you actually understand the journey we've been on with the US Government.  As far as I'm concerned, gatherers sharing love and acting peacefully took on the US Government and we're still standing - quite an accomplishment family.  I know many of us have had differences of opinions over the years on how to deal with this situation and I think this saga proves that we're on a good path, one with many perspectives, a bit of bickering, and more love than my heart can hold. 

Additional References

USFS Non-commercial group use regulations

Welcome Home's FS Regs page

Butterfly Bill's nice summary of court cases.

Butterfly Bill's stories of gatherings' past.

Karin's archive of FOIA Requests

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who's Job Is It?

Thanks to whoever made this beautiful image. Click image to enlarge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

So You Want to Focalize a Kitchen?

In my humble opinion, the gathering needs more kitchens like it needs more dogs, but for some  reason, everyone wants to focalize a kitchen. That being said, being part of the kitchen provides an amazing growing, learning experience on working collectively and provide safe and healthy food in the woods.

However.....

The reality of focalizing a kitchen goes something like this.

Main Supply won't provide all the food for cooking if you're feeding the gathering at large - either off-the-rails or at dinner circle. This means you provide much of the free food in the woods. While some kitchens have a donation can on the counter for after people have been fed, in reality most of the cost of food is born by those running the kitchen. Bring 500 to 1,000 pounds of food to get started. You'll need to provide pots and pans for cooking, 5-gallon water buckets for dish washing, filtered drinking water for you and your crew and hopefully for all gatherers. You'll need to chop wood, haul water and wash dishes in addition to cooking. You'll need to make sure you provide sanitary cooking and serving facilities, keep sick people out of your kitchen, deal with late night movies and work your ass off.

If you've never plugged in with a kitchen at a gathering before, you might think about joining your energy with a well established kitchen to get a sense of how hard cooking in the woods can be before you strike off on your own.

If you're ambitious enough to serve main circle, make sure to be at kitchen council so your kitchen gets some of the supplies (often around 11 AM near Info). But keep in mind that even those kitchens serving main circle only get a portion of the food they serve from main supply.

Sure late night zuzu cooking is fun, but it also is hard to work around all the tripping hippies -- especially those who need baby sitting at 2 AM.

You'll also need to have some serious shitter movies going down. Not only for your crew but for anyone who is attracted to your camp. This can mean digging one or two new shitters every day from June 28 to July 3 when the gathering population swells.

When the gathering is over, you get to disappear your kitchen so no one knows it was ever there. You get to haul your trash out, bury your compost and fill in your shitters.

What do you get for focalizing a kitchen?

More personal growth than you ever imagined possible in a couple of weeks. More stress than you can imagine and more people smoking you out that you could ever wish for if you're kitchen is dank. You get to move your kitchen three times because the US Forest Service keeps changing the rule on how close to surface water the kitchen can be - play it safe and go 500 feet if you want to avoid the move your kitchen game.

You get people bugging you at all hours of the day and night because they're hungry or thirsty. You get random dogs digging through your supply tent and eating the food you just hiked three miles on your back. If you leave your kitchen unsupervised by trusted kitchen crew, you come back to a kitchen missing pots or oranges or a tarp.

The wonderful tarps you strung over your kitchen collapse from rain in the middle of the evening meal. And above all, you get to have a complete temper tantrum when your nerves snap because no one wants to help wash dishes or dig the next shitter.  Of course, you can plug into an existing kitchen and learn from experienced family how a great kitchen works. (Try the Ovens, Kiddie Village, Iris, Musical Veggies, Granola Funk, Instant Soup, Fat Kids, Tea Time, Warriors of the Light and BARF to name but a few of the great kitchens. Ask at Info when you get to the gathering).  Most kitchens welcome new people who are willing to work.

It's a wonderful magical crazy ride and worth every second if you last. But please, please, please read the Kitchen Mini Manual so you don't get your family sick due to lack of proper hygiene.

If you've every plugged into a kitchen, please share your words of wisdom.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Brain on Nature

When I get into the woods, my brain changes. The way my brain works changes.  The way I interact with other life on this planet changes.  Being in the rhythm of the woods is a magical part of the gathering. Everyone changes in the woods.

I connect with human beings under the canopy of Douglas Fir and cedar trees. My brain slowly returns to rhythms marked by sunrise and sunset, rain and sun. It is a helpless feeling at first because I am so used to the endless push to analyze texts, fix computer problems, and tame databases.  The pace is relentless not just in what I am doing but in the already identified list of things to be done.

Walking on forest duff, I deal with that which is in front of me. I slide into non-logical ways of knowing and stop thinking in words. Under the panorama of stars, I awaken all my ways of understanding. As Glen Slater writes in his article “Cyborgian Drift,” ,“the privileging of the intellect over other aspects of being—animal sensation, instinct, aesthetic response, intuition” is a form of “Blinkered vision”  (180).

Remove your blinkers family!

Turning off the computers, the phones, completely unplugging and focusing all my attention on the beautiful smiles in my presence, the tiny wildflowers in the meadow, the sound of the drums at night rolling out across the hills helps me reconnect with deep love,  with the energy that is around me now and I am present in a way that I am not present all the time.


At the gathering I deal with specifics and tangible issues.  Chop wood, haul water, cook food, dig shitters, hold the hands and hearts of my family and place my heart in their hands.  My brain away from computers and electronics changes, slows down, feels the love that it all around me.

I know quitting addictions is hard. The first few days you may feel disoriented, lost, unable to function but give it a week and feel the calm in your heart, the clarity in your mind.  Feel the love that is all around you. If you can't quit, keep your addiction to yourself. Please respect that many people who gather, do so to get away from electronics and the state of mind that goes along with them.

Some of you may disagree, may argue that your brain on computers is who you are and you would be no different away from the gadgets.  There's only one way to find out.  Take a break.  See what happens when you love and work at a human speed, not a computer's speed.  Hear the wind in the trees, see the butterflies in the sky, share a story with the person next to you  (especially if you don't know her/him) instead of the one on the other end of a gadget.  Find out who you are when nature is speaking through you.

 Gaia doesn't text.  The creek isn't on Facebook.  The tree's aren't on social media. Take a week or two out of your life to experience this other world and find out who you are On Nature.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Rituals Do and Mean

The filmmakers of Ritual Nation explore ritual in our lives not just related to rainbow gatherings, but I think shows the importance of rituals in our lives and specifically at the gathering. Shot in the 1990s, it's a beautiful introduction and statement about why people gather in many different ways. Especially relevant to the big rituals, which happen at the gathering, like the prayer for world peace.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Fever (or How to Prepare for the Gathering)

Now that spring is here and the gathering is still months away, what's a home sick gatherer to do?

Now is the perfect time to start getting ready for the gathering.  So here's a random list of steps you can take now to create a positive gathering for yourself and others this summer.

Make sure your car is 100% legal. All brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, registration, insurance and nothing hanging from your rear view mirror.  The cops seem to like to pull people over and write mandatory court appearance tickets for the littlest thing.  Who needs the hassle of a mandatory court appearance ticket just because you forgot to fix that broken tail light?

Make sure your camping equipment is in good shape. Check your tent for leaks. I'm hoping we'll see rain this summer and camping is much more fun in a dry sleeping bag.

Check out thrift stores, garage sales and swap meets for things you can share with others at the gathering: tents, 60 quart cooking pots, sleeping bags, cast iron grills, very large metal mixing bowls, hiking boots, digging shovels, pick axes, rain gear, etc.  Once you get to the gathering, ask around and someone will be sure to need what ever you brought to share.

Have a garage sale of your own and send the money you make to CALM, the Rainbow Guide, Team Hydration or the Magic Hat.

Get in shape.  Yup, at the gathering you'll be walking for hours every day so now is the perfect time to get in shape.  Try walking an hour a day for starters if you're not in the habit already and plan to be up to four hours a day by mid-June.  You will have more fun at the gathering if you can experience it.

Plan a workshop or camp focused on your special talent.  Some ideas are singing, drawing, ocarina making, drum making, meditation, yoga, belly dance, Tai Chi, sewing, caring for dogs or cats (probably not a great idea to mix dog and cat camps),  massage, or beading.  Start getting your supplies together and your friends lined up to get there early and find a great place for your camp.  Then arrive a week or so before July 1st and start creating the camp.  You are the rainbow magic and the gathering happens because individuals like you share your unique talents with other gatherers.  Don't forget to announce your workshop at breakfast/dinner circle, post a notice on the workshop board at INFO, and maybe make some signs on the main trail informing people of when and where the workshop takes place.

Plan a fundraiser for CALM or a mini-CALM that you support.  Every year the gathering treats hundreds of people from blisters to heart attacks at no charge to the patent. Remember just because everything at the gathering is free, doesn't mean we get everything free. Medical supplies aren't cheap and it costs thousands of dollars each year to keep everyone healthy.

Get involved with scouting.  If you like to read maps and walk the land, email me and I'll hook you up.

Build a rickshaw or other fat tire wheeled device powered by human or animal energy to help transport mobility impaired gatherers and food supplies to kitchens - you will be one of the most popular people at the gathering.  

Start a list of all media outlets in the consensus states (see top of blog) and get together with other folks and start contacting people with positive information on the gathering.

Get your first aid certification so you can help keep our family healthy.

Rehearse your best rainbow story for Hipstories on the night of July 5, than share your hard won wisdom with your family.

Starting going to your local circle (or start one if there isn't one already) and plan a camp like Muskogee, Oklahoma camp or whatever city you live in.  Get together with folks in neighboring cities and plan a regional camp.

Get a job and earn money (or set aside some money from your existing earnings) to donate to the magic hat on the land to feed your family or to buy a boat load of fruits and veggies and bring with you to share with the hardworking kitchens that are feeding you.

Learn how to play guitar and share your music with your family. Learn some of the Rainbow songs now and teach them to people on the land. Or become a wandering minstrel (trail musician) and share music in tense situations.

The most important lesson I've learned through my gathering experiences, is that the more I give to the gathering, the more the gathering gives to me and the more I grow and evolve as one of the amazing creatures on this miraculous planet. I can't wait to see your amazingness on display when I hug you on the land.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shanti Sena Basics

Some would say the phrase “Shanti Sena” means “peace army” from Sanskrit and has its roots in Gandhi’s concept of non-violent volunteer based peace keepers. While in gathering lore, some would translate the phrase as peace scene.  No matter the logical translation you wish to put on it, I translate it as being part of a family and looking out for my family in peaceful ways.


As many of my friends point out, “Shanti Sena” is a verb not a noun. In other words, no one “is” Shanti Sena, but many people “do” Shanti Sena. Most functions at the gathering are verb rather than noun based.

In a culture where individual liberty and communal needs often clash, countless opportunities arise to “do” Shanti Sena and keep the peace.



Before we worry about keeping the peace, we need to define “peace.”  For different people, “peace” takes on different connotations. For some, acting peacefully precludes any acts of physical violence, but yelling is considered peaceful. For others, cussing is not peaceful. For every one hundred gatherers, there are probably ninety different perspectives on what “peace” means. When we gather, I believe that 99.999% of gatherers have every intention of creating peace. We’ll get back to the 0.001% later.  So how then do we create and increase the peace at the gathering and take those skills into the world at large?

In my perspective, the single most important aspect to “doing” Shanti Sena is to be observant. Sure there are big movies that happen and lots of gray haired folks get involved with radios, but most of the time when a big movie happens, the root cause was a failure of each and every one of us to pay attention to the hurt, suffering, pain and/or stress building up around us.  (As an aside, not everyone with a radio has a clue.)

Reality check!  Going to a gathering, especially for the first time, can be very stressful. It’s a crash course in a brand new culture. Access to food and filtered drinking water can be hazardous. Being unprepared for the conditions can leave people cold and wet or sitting up by a fire all night to stay warm instead of sleeping. Many people who take medications for chronic conditions often seem to space out on taking their meds, leaving their health further compromised. Dehydration, low blood sugar, and lack of sleep are just a few of the stressors gatherers experience -- add to that doing activities or substances that are new to you. When one small thing goes wrong, people who are stressed out can explode.

Being observant means noticing that some belly is having a hard time or a bad day. Allowing each of us to be our own unique self means not telling other people what to do. Telling people to eat or drink can backfire. So what’s a kind loving brother or sister to do?

Pay attention to the people around you. Notice if they seem to be struggling, are confused or look disoriented. Offer to share your water or an energy bar you might have on you (always good to bring lots of these). Introduce yourself and make a friend. Usually people are more willing to share their troubles with a friend, than someone just trying to fix a problem. Share a song or a joke if the vibe feels right. Sometimes people are in their own head space and don’t want to interact. That’s OK.  You can still stay near them (but not too near) just in case they need help. If it’s two am, please don’t walk away from someone. If someone wants to wander the woods all night, grab a couple of friends and trail after them just in case they need your assistance.

If someone doesn’t have a safe place to sleep, try to hook them up with a camp that can help. If they have small children, Kid Village is a great place. But there are lots of other kind loving camps at the gathering that have the space to squeeze another body into a crowded tent or provide emotional support. If you yourself are new to the gathering (blessings to you for helping others), you can stop by INFO and ask for some advise.

If you find a lost kid, you and a couple of friends should escort the child to Kid Village. Make sure to take the child up to the kitchen and announce very loudly that you have a lost child. DO NOT JUST DROP THE CHILD OFF AT KID VILLAGE. 

If someone is having a health crisis and is willing, take her/him to CALM. Most of the larger kitchens/camps like Fat Kids, Loven Ovens, and Kid Village (to name just a few) have medical people as well. If the person isn’t willing to move, find someone with a radio and medical people will come to your location. If that doesn’t work, send a runner to INFO or CALM with as much information as you have about the situation. By taking care of people’s critical needs before people reach the point of explosion, we create the peace we want to see in the world.

Other times we have conflicts that arise from differing lifestyles. For example in 2002, the gathering site was small and we ended up with Tea Time and Yoga Space next to each other. Talk about a mismatch in energies. Tea Time likes to stay up all night, serve tea and make raucous noise at 3 AM. The Yoga folks are more into silent mediation and mellow energy. Two distinct energies colliding is a classic gathering issue. If we want each camp to be free to express their own vision of peace and love, what to do?  When space permits, it’s always best to camp in an area that meets your vision of what comprises peace and love. So don’t be expecting to sleep in silence until noon every day if you’re camped in Kid Village as kids wake up early.  But ….

As to the 0.001%, when the situation gets a bit crazy, yell “Shanti Sena” and other people will come and assist. With a circle of people, we can try to get a council going where the parties’ involved and random calm and centered gatherers can sit down and listen to each other.  Keep in mind that sometimes people’s emotions are volatile and getting a council going is difficult at best. Then what?



SITTING down on the sidelines and oming tends to help ground energies. If nothing else, it makes misbehaving people feel a bit silly and often times that breaks up the situation. This doesn’t mean the root cause of the problem is solved, but at least it buys some time and space to work on the issues. I’ve experienced a beautiful voice singing an appropriate song calm everyone down as well. Peaceful, mellow music helps everyone feel better.

Sometimes problems don’t seem resolved at the time. That’s OK. Rainbow magic takes time to work. I’ve sat in circles with people who were full of anger. At some point the primary people stomped out of the circle and didn’t return.  Then a day or two or three later, I ran into those same people again, very happy and peaceful. Rainbow magic doesn’t always have a logical cause and effect.  Sometimes, just hanging out with someone for six hours prevents someone from getting lost in the woods (yes it really happens and if it’s cold out can be a cause of death), drowning in a lake (yes this has happened multiple times at gatherings) or wandering up to the road and getting arrested (you know this happens). Plus you’ve just made a new friend. The more we get to know each other, the more we create community. The more we actively work on creating community, the more we increase the peace.

If you are not able to help when the universe calls you, please, please, please, make sure someone else helps. Ask others for assistance, guide the person to one of the larger kitchens, go to INFO or CALM and let them know what’s going on. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Many years, we have Shanti Sena councils or workshops at the gathering where people who have “done” more Shanti Sena share the lessons they’ve learned with those who have “done” less or no Shanti Sena. As with everything gathering related, we are all of us teachers and all of us students. In the spirit of sharing other ideas on what Shanti Sena is and does, here are some other voices on the subject.


From Welcome Home with links to multiple Shanti Sena Raps by well respected family (must read).
From Niman - a scholarly look


My Rap from 2008


Ask not what the gathering can do for you; ask what you can do for the gathering.

We are our brothers and sisters keepers.