2011 Rainbow Gathering in Washington State

The Rainbow Gathering was absolutely wonderful. I spent six days with 20,000 happy hippies in one of the most beautiful natural settings imaginable. It rained a lot up till the day I arrived (June 30) and then was sunny and warm every day, though the nights were very cold. There was still a lot of snow on the road when I arrived:

Snow on road

I made my camp near the D.R.E.E.M. Reality kitchen. The vibe was very high. Here’s a pic of the meadow by the camp:

dream reality meadow

I stayed up till dawn singing the most amazing songs with resonate meditative harmonies around the camp fire. The first night my friend Diego led many of the songs. Here’s a pic with him on the left:

Diego and me

Diego sang songs in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. He is an amazing musician full of much love. The environment was vibrant with life. Everything was deep green. The smells were rich and full. Folks made bridges over the many streams like this one:


I also spent a lot of time at Lovin Ovens just down the trail. The specialize in baking sweet rolls and pizzas. Yumm! They made their ovens from steel drums embedded in mud which was adorned with art:

lovin ovens

They filled  the wooden racks with their baked goods:

lovin ovens 2

And here’s another kitchen by the river with tee pees:

kitchen on river

And here I am by the main trail with lots of folks passing by:

me by main trail

Here’s another view of another big part of the gathering.

meadow and tps

I wandered through the forest for six days, but did not see every camp. The gathering was HUGE! There were kitchens for every kind of person. There were Christian camps like the Bread of Life (which served much filtered water for the thirst travelers) and Jesus Camp and Christ cafe. There was a Jewish Camp, a Krishna Camp, and even a kitchen called “Nic at Nite” that would hand out free cigarettes to anyone who asked. I had tea and great conversation at the Chai Bahai Cafe. Here’s a pic of me standing on the stage of the Granola Funk kitchen – note that the whole structure was made from fallen logs found at the site:

gfunk stage

And here’s a bunch of folks by the main trail:


There was art everywhere … and a lot of it was based on the pattern of mandalas (see my recent post on the Bible Wheel as a Mandala):


It’s wonderful how everything came together. I felt very much “at home” in the Rainbow. My first gathering was in 1988 in Texas. It was transformative. I also made it to the Pennsylvania regional gathering in the Allegheny mountains that same year, and the national gathering in Nevada in 1989. But then I got distracted by life, and began following the path that led to the discovery of the Bible Wheel and fell into conservative Christianity, cut my hair, and forgot the Rainbow for nearly two decades. It’s good to be back home!

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7 comments on “2011 Rainbow Gathering in Washington State
  1. Jennie says:

    I visited a foreign land of a people trying to create a utopian society – reminders of the goals of our founding fathers. The rules are not posted but kept in check by peer pressure: treat all with patience, respect, and tolerance. Be helpful, warm and hospitable and share what you have.

    I was compelled to visit maybe out of curiosity, maybe to rediscover something lost. When I heard Christ’s Café was out of food, it was motivation to move beyond fear.

    I asked a forest ranger how to get there, and he asked me if I had lost someone up there. My indication that I did not look the part and that there were many grieving parents looking for children born with gypsy souls.

    There were miles of cars parked along the side of the road. I was surprised at how affluent some were. I heard the LEOs (law enforcement officers) were checking plates and towing cars to Tacoma . What I saw were signs in Woodland welcoming the Rainbow people and the Forest Service created maps with rainbows and “Welcome Home” written on them. In contrast the 2008 the Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming was met by LEOs shooting non-lethal bullets into their Kiddy Village to apprehend a dealer.

    I got out of the car to hear for the first of many times, “Welcome Home Sister.” At first it was unnerving to be met with such kindness and yet so heart touching it brought tears to my eyes. I parked beside a couple from California also in their 50s, looking unusually well kept. I traded them some dog biscuits for sunscreen and loaded up my backpack full of food. The couple flagged down a volunteer shuttle driver for me and a kindly gentleman with his beautiful 2-year old blonde grand daughter offered a ride. It was stuffed full of other hippies and more standing on the bumper holding onto the roof rack. His Suburban and his grand daughter were filthy. How many times did I avoid volunteering to drive somewhere because I had not vacuumed my Suburban that morning? The hippies were very grateful to have a ride. He asked for donations for gas but no one had any money. The wonderfully serene girl I sat with offered to play her flute for him, I offered him food. His granddaughter was asking for mama so he stopped at his camp and allowed us to walk the rest of the way (about three miles).

    I met people from Florida , California, and Portland along the way. This was their fourth or fifth gathering. I was following an adorable young man who was erasing bad things people had written on cars. He left the smiley faces and peace signs. His mom and I shared the same name and age so he felt attached. We walked and talked for a long time. He had been traveling ever since graduation. He lived in a commune in Humbolt county and felt like he had found a home.

    People offered us oranges, strawberries and water along the way. At first I gratefully took them and then thought there are some who would think it would be very kind to help an “elder” find enlightenment by slipping her drugs. From that moment on I didn’t eat or drink.

    I passed a wholesome looking mom walking with her kids. The kids proudly proclaimed they had found license plates from every state except Virginia. We passed a cycadelic painted school bus with people lounging on top. There was a man with a fishing pole with a bong attached as bait. I laughed and laughed. The mother stopped to take a toke. I was hit with a wave of profound sadness regarding the balance between responsibility and freedom.

    Inside the “middle gate” I was helped down a steep path. I was given hugs by teenagers proclaiming it to be hug your elders day. Even the dog going up the path licked my hand and everyone said, “Welcome Home!”

    As I got closer I could hear music and drumming. Then there was a beautiful green clearing with a slow moving clear creek. On the right were the Medicine Warriors with a man who looked like an Indian guru leading yoga, there were people trading and giving away herbs and painting people. On the right was an African drum camp dedicated to a musical cause.

    Through the forest and around the corner was a huge meadow. Some lamented about the crushing of vegetation near the path and others remarking how a gathering this large did not have garbage anywhere.

    I stopped at the information booth and spoke with an elder. Talking with him was like diving into clear, calm, water. I asked where Christ’s Café was and noticed a slight twinge. Hippies are suppose to be all accepting but can they really accept a people who believe in a religion as mainstream as Christianity?

    He directed me through the trading meadow. There were thousands of people sitting on small blankets. Some were announcing “random pocket trades” anything in their pocket for what was in your pocket. There were people holding signs for free drugs, people offering licorice, free condoms, beads, facepainting, signs announcing a wedding, signs directing people to various camps and finally the music tent where drummers were randomly feeling the music within the crowd and playing to the beat. Sometimes singers came up with words, other times just music. One of the singers put his hands on the ground; evidence of a connection with the earth.

    When I arrived, I found it wasn’t Christ’s Cafe but Jesus’ Kitchen. My pack was at least 50 lbs so I thought – close enough. The Minnesotans said they had been praying for food. They had nothing to feed anyone tomorrow as they gave out Bibles. I unloaded my pack and they counted it as a miracle.

    The peace and love both hippies and Christians are striving for can only come through Christ but so many hippies have only known the pain of the Christian judgment.

    Hippies would say it isn’t about the drugs; but the drugs are there. A kid was explaining that there are hippies in the camp and others who look like hippies but are just tweekers. It isn’t about how they dress or about being naked although some prefer that, and it isn’t about the sex, although that is there too. They believe in peace and yet get in altercations with the LEOs and each other. They believe in love yet they will scream at the hot dog vendor near the gathering for charging a dollar instead of giving their hot dogs away. Some will desert their families – how loving is that? Many believe in a healthy organic lifestyle and yet will put drugs in their body. Being a hippie is about peace and love for your brother, yourself, for nature and for spirit. It is about living simply and not allowing money to rule your world. It is about being transparent and not hiding the person you are because you are beautiful.

    Christians would say it isn’t about the judgment but the judgment is there. It isn’t about the rules, but the rules are there. It isn’t about conforming and fitting into a mold although Christians try. It is about love but how welcoming are we? It is about acceptance and allowing the holy spirit to heal and change people but so many times we try to force the spirit’s hand. It is about peace and love for your brother, yourself, a marvel at nature and especially for the God who created it. It is about evolving, expanding your heart, serving, and becoming better not on the outside but on the inside. It is about putting nothing before God including money. It is about being transparent and not hiding the person you are because you are a beautiful child of God created in his image.

    The Christians ministering at the gatherings are not happy about the growth of the gatherings but I would say I am. I am grateful that so many people are searching because they are making advances in finding. Hopefully they will experience what Christ’s love is about.

    John Wesley in 1766 postulated the concept of Christian perfection, a moment in the life of a Christian at which the regeneration effectuated by the Holy Spirit results in a “perfection in love” which means that at least at that moment one is being motivated wholly by love of God and neighbor, with no taint of sin or ulterior motives in effect. While such Christian perfection is expressed in outward action, it is also the effect of grace.

  2. Jennie,

    Thank you for sharing your insights and observations. The Rainbow includes all “colors” and it has as many contradictions as any other human endeavor. I’m glad you pointed some of them out. Your post was very moving.

    I too noticed that Christianity is perceived with some suspicion by many Rainbow folks. I think that’s because it is the “mainstream” and “institutional” religion. Familiarity often breeds contempt. But it’s also a big part of the American political debate, so folks may be reacting more against the right-wing politics than that actual Gospel message. And there is another thing – most folks interested in spiritual things at the Gathering are looking for spiritual practices to help them grow, evolve, raise their consciousness and become closer to God. Hinduism offers yoga, Buddhism offers meditation, various New Age teachings offer I Ching, Tarot, or other methods of divination. What spiritual practice or discipline does Christianity offer? That seems to be a big difference. Folks are told to pray the sinners prayer, and then they learn doctrine. It can seem like nothing but a head trip. I’m not so sure Christianity helps much with real spiritual growth. Folks want to experience God and higher consciousness. They don’t want their minds restricted by dogmas.

    Thanks again for your insights,


  3. Hey there Jason,

    That’s an interesting perspective. All I can say is “I’m glad I’m not him!” He seems like the sort of guy who only sees the clouds and rain but never the rainbow. Very sad.


  4. Kathy Robertson says:

    We have an adult son who is missing from the Rainbow gathering. He was last heard from Jun 24th and he has not contacted anyone since then. We are all very concerned as he has some serious health issues. Do you have a way to post a picture and info about him. His name is Dennis Robertson, also goes by Yeramy he is 32 soon to be 33 and he does a lot of flint napping and was going to trade some of it. Please if anyone had any contact with him please let us know. Thank you so much!

  5. Hi Kathy,

    I’m sorry to hear about your missing son. I hope he will be found soon. I would be happy to post a picture and information about him. Please send it to me at richard@biblewheel.com and I will post it.

    All the very best,


  6. Mick (Mad) says:

    “I’m not so sure Christianity helps much with real spiritual growth,”
    When I read this response of yours I was not surprised.
    But sadened, yes.
    I’m sorry people like myself have left such a negative impact on the world, that the pure genius of Jesus’ teaching could be so overshadowed, so that people like yourself would place it on the backburner with little regard as compared to other beliefs.

    Anyway I thought I’d pop in check out the forum and say hello.

    “The number 232” thread by France 232 on pyramids caught my attention.
    On post #51 you quoted the gematria for Isaiah 19:19-20 calculated to 5449.
    I thought you may be interested to know that 5449 is the 722nd prime when including 1. Which is 19² (361) x 2.

    I’m sure Frenchy will get a kick out of that!
    By the way, he wouldn’t happen to be the infamous Watchman by any chance would he?
    If you bait him he just might reveal himself for the 4th time!
    Let’s see if he forecasts anything in the near future.
    Anyhow his minds being poisoned by the whole lure of Kaballah and Zohar occultism and doesn’t realize what squaring the circle is all about.
    He quoted Clarence Larkin, who was somewhat wrong.
    Squaring the circle requires compass and square and no calculations.
    The Great Pyramid is not a perfect pyramid with 45° slopes. When you do the math 365.242 sides gives a height 258.27… not 232.52. Therefore the Egyptians had to alter the angle to get the ratio of the octohedren it represents (thus twice the height) to the circumference to add up to Pi.

    This required more than a square and compass. So that part of the article was way off cause as we all know Pi is transcendental, ie. its both irrational and whole integers don’t divide into it; right?

    Apart from that one point what was brought up was still most profound.
    If you recall I spoke about torsion fields or zones. Well when you recreate an octohedron according to the Cheops dimension and place a crystal of a certain array within the same dimensions of the shaft within that pyramid and charge it with a Tesla coil it will open a door to another dimension. It has been done before and freaky shit has happened. Like animals dissapearing from the test site and reappearing minus their heads. Cut surgically clean off. Items on benches would dissappear only to reappear minutes later at the same height off the floor but displaced a few meters away and would fall to the floor in full view of the experimenters.
    No shit Richard. These things are easy to make!

    Isaiah claimed to be quoting God himself, Verbatem, when he called the pyramid a
    1. Altar
    2. Pillar
    3. Sign
    4. Witness

    You yourself worked out the Gematria to be 5449. Do you think that it’s a coincidence that it happens to be the 722nd prime (numeralizes to 11, remember: number of the prophet, Rev 11 the 2 prophets, the two pillars at the temple) of which equals 19²+19² which just so happens to be perfectly revealed by the reference Isaiah 19:19 when the term of the semi colon is interpreted as multiplied and duplicated.

    It might be interesting if you kept this thread going.
    Your uncovering of 5449 was no accident!

    May you reach enlightenment!
    All the best to you and yours.

    PS. I don’t expect to see this on your blog, but it would be nice to hear from you.


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