Carla / Rainbow Family:
WHAT IS THE RAINBOW FAMILY OF LIVING LIGHT?
First of all, be prepared for a different answer from each person
who responds. Rainbow is different things to different people.
Most of us, though not all, who consider ourselves part of the
Rainbow Family, have attended the Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes,
which takes place from July 1 - 7 every year. The first gathering
was in 1972, the invitation to it reading as follows:
We, who are brothers & sisters, children of God, families of
life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of
humankind calling ourselves Rainbow Family Tribe, humbly invite:
All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals
--out of love.
All nations & national leaders -- out of respect
All religions & religious leaders -- out of faith
All politicians -- out of charity
to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing
our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among
all people. This gathering to take place beginning July 1, 1972,
near Aspen, Colorado - or between Aspen & the Hopi & Navaho
lands - on 3000 acres of land that we hope to purchase or acquire
for this gathering -- & to hold open worship, prayer, chanting
or whatever is the want or desire of the people, for three days,
but upon the fourth day of July at noon to ask that there be a meditative,
contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world
may consider & give honour & respect to anyone or anything
that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature
upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world -- asking blessing
upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively
proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace. -
The 3000 acres never materialized, and the first gathering took
place partly on private land offered for temporary use, and partly
on National Forestland. As you can see, this was intended to be
a onetime event. However, people liked it so much that gatherings
continued to happen annually on federal lands, each year in a different
state. The length of the gathering has since expanded beyond the
original four-day span.
For many years, there was only the one gathering, and the spiritual
focus was foremost in the minds of everyone who attended. Most folks
were identified with the "hippie" movement of the times,
engaged in establishing alternative social, economic, spiritual,
political, and/or environmental consciousness. Many were involved
either in the Peace movement in the cities or the communal, back-to-the-land
movement in the country. In either case, exploration of alternative
spiritual systems and states of consciousness was often a common
Sometime around the mid-1980s, folks who felt it was too far or
too long to the annual gathering started coming together for smaller,
regional gatherings. People all over the country developed local
and regional bonds.
In the past few years, the spiritual focus has been less obvious,
due to the huge influx of people who may not realize the central
purpose of the gatherings. These folks may come to party, to hang
out, to find like-minded people, to gain support for their political
causes, or whatever. Who knows? (I sure don't, since I haven't spoken
with all of them.)
The interesting thing is that we all consider ourselves to be part
of a huge, extended family, no matter what our reason for gathering,
no matter what our spiritual or religious or political or economic
or social views may be. And many people who have not yet had an
opportunity to attend a gathering also feel they are part of this
Another interesting thing is that there is no formal organizational
structure. There are no membership qualifications, no fees or dues,
no leaders, and virtually no rules other than the one of "peaceful
respect." Each year, individuals take personal responsibility
and work together with others on whatever they are inspired to do,
from office work, to scouting, to building the kitchens at the gatherings,
to hauling in food and first-aid supplies, to peacekeeping, etc.
Every project undertaken operates essentially on a consensus basis.
Participation, communication, and cooperation are how things get
It is nothing short of miraculous.
The gatherings are free and non-commercial, and everyone is welcome.
Each person is asked to bring their own camping equipment (this
all takes place in remote areas of the National Forest), their own
cup, bowl, and spoon, and whatever they might want to share to help
the gathering happen (tarps, shovels, musical instruments, bulk
food, etc.). No one will be turned away because of lacks in these
areas, however. The Magic Hat is passed at mealtimes and around
camp. Donations are used to buy food in bulk for the kitchens and
whatever else may be necessary for the communal well-being (plywood
covers and lime for the latrines, first aid supplies, etc.).
Besides the work that goes on to help the gathering happen, there's
also lots of accoustical music, drumming, dancing, workshops, herb-walks,
council circles, sister circles, brother circles, brother-sister
circles, people hanging out, people bartering, people enjoying nature,
people meditating, chanting, and praying, people talking politics,
people talking spiritual and personal growth, people visioning the
future, people doing bodywork and other healing work, ...
The list could go on forever.
For me personally, the Rainbow Family is where I have found my
greatest opportunities to learn, to grow, to celebrate, to be one
with my fellow beings and my mother Earth, to serve, to pray, to
play. The gatherings for me are living theater, evolution in process,
creativity manifest. I am passionately in love.
Picture twenty thousand people in a sunlit meadow, standing silent
in prayer, holding hands in one huge, unbroken circle. Picture a
parade of children approaching, singing songs, their countenances
bright with enthusiasm and face paint, baloons and banners waving
in the breeze. Picture the breaking of the silence with a cheer
from the circle, then the silence returning once again, to grow
slowly into a thrum of voices united in a single OM reverberating
through the valley and on to the hills beyond. Hold the OM in your
mind. Let it spread through and around and in you. Feel it pass
from hand to hand and heart to heart.
The magic, the connection you feel is the essence of the Rainbow
Family of Living Light.
Peace, love, and light