Each of us lives in a cultural world created by the lives we have lived intersecting with our individual selves as embodied human beings living on planet earth. This cultural world is created via stories, music, mythic systems, and the humans with whom we have interacted during our journey on this planet.
From a Jungian or Depth Psychological perspective, the process of reflection allows us to create or modifies meaning. This breaking down of existing beliefs and creation or re-creation of new beliefs is a road with many obstacles. One can be left spiritually homeless when the old culture no longer works but a new culture has not yet grown up around us. One can find a missing wall in the old house that needs to be rebuilt differently than the old wall.
The rainbow gathering forces all of us to confront our cultural blankets and the holes that open up as we participate in creating a leaderless, egalitarian society open to all. Perhaps this explains the sadness I feel after five weeks spent at the gathering. I have many holes in the walls of my cultural house. I think this is why the local people resist us when we first land in their communities as our culture doesn't fit within everyone's cultural framework. Over time, bits and pieces of gathering culture weaves its way into the local cultural and what I imagined the gathering to be is reconstructed by what actually happens and the gathering.
The words that follow are my thoughts and experiences on the gathering in Oregon.
We need to have a generational shift where folks in their 30s and 40s start taking on some of the gathering wide functions like town Shanti Sena, relations with the tribes, parking/front gate, and other critical areas, which seem to be heavily focused by family in their 60s and 70s. The younger folks in this family are rocking it when it comes to kitchen, supply, cleanup, and councils. It is my sincere desire, that more people think about the big picture and step up to fill the shoes of the earlies.
There were a lot of sad moments for me at this gathering. I am trying to reflect on how I could have made a difference.
- A brother who used the "N" word towards the LEOs when I was escorting them that turned a mellow relaxed walk into a movie with the LEOs calling me racist. Using racial slurs never makes any situation better. I called out the brother who didn't use appropriate language but the LEOs were made at me. While I don't always agree with the LEOs job, they are human being with belly buttons and are as much a part of this gathering as I am. The "N" word has no place at a peace and love gathering. Let's leave the bullshit behind when we gather and be our highest self. And just for your information, the brother who shot the dog wasn't there that day nor did he come back to the gathering.
- My friend who was attacked during the silence on the morning of the 4th for trying to peacefully block cars from driving into the meadow. Disagreeing with someone's actions is one thing, but kicking them and taking their stuff is not O.K. And during the silence of all times. Have we learned nothing about creating peace?
- People who drove cars into the meadow to help our older family participate in the silence/om on July 4. We had parking just before C.A.L.M. that would have allowed older family to cut through INFO to the shade structure while still keeping the cars out of the meadow and the circle. I am so sad about this.
- The worst 4th of July I have every experienced. The entire morning spent dealing with cars in the meadow, my friend who was attacked, and other related Shanti Sena movies. I ended up with 5 minutes of silence and by the time I made it to the meadow, the om was in progress and I sat in the center of the meadow and cried at how badly we messed things up.
- I am so saddened by family who duct taped a brother for stealing. While I don't support stealing in any shape or form, this could have been handled in a more loving fashion. Leaving someone duct taped on the road is violence in my opinion. If folks wanted to press charges, he could have been escorted to law enforcement, he could have been walked out of the gathering, or he could have been baby sat until he decided to leave. Don't tell me that was better than the alternative. While I'm glad no one beat him up, this type of treatment is not worthy of this family. Leaving someone on the road in this state could lead to death. What happened to loving those among us who are hurting? Stealing stuff ain't cool, but what was done to the thief was horrible.
- I am heartbroken that so many cars in the parking lot were broken into, and that a supposed friend stole a friend's car. A dog getting shot was horrible and sad and I really wished my family kept their dogs on leashes. I don't like your dog's ass in my face while I'm eating dinner or having to clean up your dog's poop. If you love your dog, keep her by your side and out of other people's business.
- My heartfelt condolences to the families of the two men who died at the gathering and the family of those who died in a car wreck on the way home from the gathering. All my love is coming your way.
- After the second man died, the LEOs gave him a soldier's salute. Then the man's family walked through the meadow ahead of his body and our family lined up on either side sending love and prayers to all. I love my family!
- The meet-up of children and parents from Dirty Kid Village and Kid Village in Tepee Meadow to have a united children's parade into Main Meadow was wonderful. I love my family!
- Kitchens serving dinner circle rocked it this year. Lot's of tasty food and plenty of it most nights. I love my family!
- The amazing job everyone did with serving multiple concentric circles and the newly invented announcements being shouted in synchronous fashion by the food servers allowed us to hear the messages and kept the focus on "us." Great new addition to dinner circle. I love my family!
- The beautiful family protecting the creek from camping and who moved trade circle off the creek are my heroes. Every creek is sensitive. 10,000 people with sunscreen, bug repellent, essential oils, and/or lotions will pollute all water bodies. If we followed the practice of the Japanese of cleaning ourselves before entering the water, then maybe we would not have a negative impact on surface water. Our evolution to a water quality consciousness is in its early stages. Let's keep moving ahead.
- The Forest Service Resource folks who counciled with us staring at spring council and helped us understand the issues with each of the 8 sites we were considering. Dave, you and your crew are amazing. If you stay in Oregon until you retired, this is the last annual gathering you will have to deal with. Thank you for your patience and respect.
- The water crew who worked tirelessly to get water to the people. I love my family.
- A huge thank you to everyone who focalized one of the many amazing workshops. Our family has mad skills and they were being shared all over the place. I love my family learning and growing together!
- Family who helped family stuck in town make it home are the greatest folks I know.
- Family who sat in council and worked on issues of consent -- important, positive work and I thank you very much and hope we as a family continue in this vein of evolving our gathering.
- Sisters who gathered together to share sister space -- very important work and I was honored to be a part of it.
To all the people whose names I do not know who chopped wood, hauled water, consoled the sad, healed the sick, cared for the lost animals, and spread love around the gathering, I bow down to you. You are the ones who are keeping the dream alive and I want to thank each and every one of you. You are the warriors of the rainbow.
As for me, I will continue to reflect on my experiences and responses during the gathering and work towards a a greater understanding of how to have a positive impact on the world around me.