Mini-Manual For Rainbow Gatherings

A Mini-Manual For Rainbow Family Of Living Light
How to put on a gathering and keep it healthy

Rainbow Family of Living Light

If you are new to Rainbow Family Of Living Light Gathering Of The Tribes, this manual can help you understand the basics of how things are usually done.

We have a tribal anarchy here, where we take care of each other because we recognize that we are all One. The gathering works because each of us takes the responsibility for doing what needs to be done and for teaching new folks. We strive to share, love, and respect each other without anyone getting hurt, physically or emotionally. Many hands working together make a strong tribe.

This Mini-Manual continues to evolve, collecting our experience and wisdom into one place. Your contributions are welcome.

The Name

Any gathering that bears the name “Rainbow Family Of Living Light” is a completely free, non commercial event. There are no admission fees. All supplies are donated by gatherers, or paid for with money donated to the Magic Hat. No money is exchanged within the Gathering. This frees us from legal and licensing entanglements, and protects our Constitutional right to gather on public lands.

Our Gatherings are also open to all peaceful people. There are no invitations or memberships. No one is turned away, and only violent behavior will get you expelled. If you have a belly button, you can be a Rainbow. You become one simply by deciding you are one, and your voice is then equal to any other Rainbow’s, be it your 1st gathering or your 40th.


Experienced scouts teach new ones as they inspect many potential sites discovered from topographical maps, aerial photos, Google Earth, and following leads from local people in the chosen area. They coordinate thru volunteer regional focalizers, and by attending Scouting Rendezvous Counsels in early spring.

Site Criteria

A Gathering site should have:

Good water – deep springs or well protected surface water – enough to fill the drinking, cooking, and washing needs of hundreds or thousands of people. They should be at a distance from the main camp, to prevent contamination.

Open meadows – for counsels, workshops, pageants, and frisbees. Keep meadows clear of individual camps.

Firewood – A good supply of dry dead wood lying on the ground for fires.

Parking space – large enough for several hundred cars and vans, within reasonable walking and shuttle distance – but separate from the Gathering proper. For the young children, elderly, and handicapped, the walk in should not be too long and strenuous. Alternate parking should be arranged for the physically challenged. Only supply and emergency vehicles should be allowed into the main Gathering site.

Only one road – or as few as possible. You will want one road for ambulances and heavy supplies, but you don’t want easy access for car stereos, beer coolers, and a rowdy party scene. Conversely, don’t set the site at the end of a dead end road, and set a trap for yourselves. Place it on a thru road so there is both a front and a back gate.

No one site will have all these in equal abundance – for instance, good springs are often on a steep mountainside far from a broad flat place good for parking. Look for a balance for all these needs.

Howdy Folks

When a site has been chosen, a Howdy Folks notice is sent to local volunteer focalizers and posted on various websites, Facebook, and other computer networks. This notice contains instructions for getting to the site and a map. It also has phone numbers for getting information while on the way. The volunteer focalizers make copies, and send them out to their mailing lists. They also may distribute them at local Rainbow and New Age events.

Seed Camp

At least a week before a Rainbow Gathering is to start, a dedicated group of people arrive early to find and develop water sources, set up the first kitchen, dig the first latrines, and inform the local Forest Service of our impending arrival. They design the layout of the actual gathering by developing trails, selecting a Main Circle site, marking parking areas and setting up Welcome Home. A co-operations counsel and banking counsel are set up to address the needs of Seed Camp.

This is a time when you can work intensely with a few other people and form some deep friendships.

From this seed grows the flower of our Gathering

The Forest Service

We cooperate with the rangers of the USDA Forest Service in doing the job they were hired for: protecting this land. The local rangers are notified of a Gathering’s coming no later than the first few hours of seed camp. We honor their ecological concerns for a site, and we treat them with respect knowing they became rangers because they love the land as we do. In the past, rangers have given Rainbow Family valuable tips about sites and water, and provided the event with seeds for reseeding and trees to be planted.

Remember though that some forest rangers are also law enforcement officers that have the power to make arrests if any laws are being violated.


This is the Cathedral of Nature that we gather in, and we keep it that way. We disturb the environment as little as possible allowing the environment to remain pristine.

Riverbanks and wetlands are vulnerable ecosystems. Plants of older phyla – like mosses and ferns – are especially fragile. Cactus is more vulnerable than you might think. We might be walking thru animal’s hunting grounds. Stay on the forest floor and the dry meadow.

Remember that insects are also wildlife. Give an anthill its space, and before you throw wood into a fire, look to see if it’s home to some bugs. Never use insecticides. Thiamine, B-complex vitamins, citronella, and raw garlic can help keep biting critters away.

DON’T LITTER. Birds can pick up small trash and cigarette filter tips causing harm or death. Other animals may ingest items not natural to their environment, become entangled in twine, suffer illness from toxic debris or injured by sharp objects. Broken glass is a danger to all creatures’ feet. Pick up trash left behind by others.

Use things where they lie. The more you move, the more you will have to put back. Hang tarps from trees, make structural members out of branches – rather than cutting and setting posts. Never cut a living tree, or break off limbs. Use only dead wood found lying on the ground. Stripping bark hurts birch and aspen trees.

Pick one place for the swimming hole, and don’t go into a stream anywhere else. Leave beaver ponds, nesting areas and other aquatic homes undisturbed. Even moving river rocks can upset the balance of fragile ecosystems.

Don’t go near any place baby animals are kept. The way animals defend their young is beastly.

Make a few trails and stay on them. Don’t crush underfoot a whole area. They should go over ground that will stay high and dry after a rain. Form a trail just by trampling, and a circle area by tushwhacking (everybody sitting down), rather than by cutting plants down.

The Earth is our mother and we must take care of her.


If you gotta go, go to a latrine. If you don’t know where one is, ask at the nearest kitchen. Don’t wait until the last minute to find one because there may be some walking involved. Know where the nearest one is before you go to sleep at night.

Never leave waste unburied. Flies will find it, then they will land on kitchen food, people will eat that food and get sick. Irresponsible disposal of human waste can easily create a very sick camp.

How to dig, use, and maintain a shitter:

Find a place over 300 feet from streams or springs, and never uphill from a spring at any distance. Mark a trail to it with signs and ribbons.

Dig a deep, narrow trench, one you can straddle with your feet. A foot wide and 4 feet deep is the best.

Keep the soil in a neat pile for fill-in later. Cut out sod, and preserve it for replacement over the filled hole. If on a hill, dig the trench crossways to the slope and place the pile uphill from it to prevent a washout if it rains.

Avoid having an open trench. Build a solid, fly-tight cover with lids. Wash these covers daily.

Keep lyme, or ashes from a nearby fire, in a can nearby. Sprinkle it over your “donation”, to make it unattractive to flies, then add some dirt to completely cover it. Large coffee cans with plastic lids can keep toilet paper dry and clean.

Wash your hands and scrub them thoroughly after using the latrine. Maintain a plastic jug nearby, with a lid, and water containing at least 1 percent chlorine bleach inside and mark the jug.

Check latrines daily. When they are full to within 18 inches of the top, fill the remainder with the saved dirt, mound the dirt over it to allow for settling, and dig another latrine. Inform the nearest kitchen where the new shitter is.

Digging a latrine is a most holy task.

You haven’t been to a gathering until you have dug a shitter.


Our water sources are our lifeblood, and they must be protected from the very first day that people arrive on the site.

The safest drinking water comes from springs. Streams or ponds with a good constant flow can also be used. Any water source designated for drinking is marked off with strings or ribbons, and no campsites or latrines should be uphill from them or within 300 feet. People should stay away from them unless involved in obtaining water.

Never pour liquid wastes into a water source, or on the ground nearby. Instead, dig a gray water pit at least 300 feet away.

Never use soap in a water source. Soaps will pollute the water killing aquatic life. Take a bucket at least 300 feet away to wash. Even bio-degradable soap like Dr. Bonner’s can kill fish and micro-organisms.

Never dip a canteen or a cup into a water source – use a faucet on a pipe or a common dipper instead.

Drink only water that you know is safe, that has been scientifically tested, adequately filtered, or boiled. Even the purest looking water can contain micro-organisms that can cause severe intestinal illness. To be absolutely safe, water should reach a rolling boil for at least a few minutes.


On any site fire is a danger. There may be fallen and dead timber, and dry grass in meadows. Don’t throw matches or cigarette butts on the ground.

Have a shovel and a bucket of water near your fire at all times.

No personal fires. Go to fires by kitchens or in boogie pits.

Use only dead and dry wood found on the ground for fuel. Never throw plastics or synthetic materials into a fire. This creates toxic fumes.

Select a safe location. Watch for overhanging snags of deadwood. Keep your fire low – sparks can fly far; even live trees can catch fire.

Beware of root fires. Line the inside and bottom of your firepit with rocks. Scrape the ground free of loose duff, leaves, and grass for at least one foot around your pit.

Watch your fire at all times. The wind can rise or shift directions quickly. Stray sparks can bring disaster. Embers can flame up again in a wind. Don’t leave your camp behind until your fire is completely out and cold.


A Fire Watch crew walks the camp to make sure all fires are properly tended, and that buckets of water are nearby. We all help them out by being watchful ourselves.

Smokey says,“Only YOU can prevent forest fires”


Expect it. And hey, it takes rain to make a rainbow. These blessed rains can become the time when people gather closely together under tarps sharing intimate conversations and creating good times. Many memories and tight friendly bonds are built during these quieter interludes, enjoy the time.

Don’t build anything without thinking about how water will run off it. Do not place your tent in a low spot or gully. Dry riverbeds may flash flood.

Don’t blaze trails in ravines that will become muddy quagmires under thousands of feet when it rains – keep trails on rises. That little brook you’re stepping over now can become a turbulent river in a thunderstorm. Put fire pits on rises or sloping ground, and provide a drainage gap.

Cover tents with tarps, and tie their ends close to the ground so wind doesn’t catch them like a sail. Keep kitchen supplies under cover. Cover bulletin boards with clear plastic.

Remember: water runs downhill.


We don’t mix all our garbage and trash together, doing so will make the local landfill landfull. We separate our refuse, recycle whatever we can, and dispose of the rest in a nature-friendly way.

People should take their own trash home with them as much as possible, thereby spreading out the task of refuse removal, and not overtaxing the cleanup crew. Pack it in, pack it out and feel free to take extras bags if you have room.

For trash that you see on the ground and pick up, there are recycling stations at every kitchen, and at places with many passers by around the gathering. Each has seven containers – for:

metal that is bought as scrap, like aluminum, copper, iron and steel.

glass of any kind. (These first two are taken to a local collection point.)

paper that can be burned safely or recycled depending on focus and energy.

plastics and other materials that can’t be burned without making toxic smoke and obnoxious odors are placed into plastic bags which are taken to a dumpster or landfill at least 100 miles from the Gathering.

organic matter, food waste that will eventually go into a compost pit. Every kitchen has one and you are encouraged to use them, just ask at any kitchen for friendly directions.

lost and found, to be left for its owner until the Gathering ends. If items are found Information would be a good place to leave them as well as a great location to look for lost items. Many items are found after a gathering and diligent efforts are made to return them to proper owns through internet groups and notices on various websites.

free bin, stuff offered that someone could still take and use. Leftovers from this are taken to a dumpster or landfill.

The Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Shanti Sena the peace keepers

We call our security system Shanti Sena. This means “peace army” in Sanskrit, and this term was first used by Mahatma Gandhi’s followers. If a problem develops, calling “Shanti Sena” loudly will bring assistance.

In truth, everyone is a peace keeper. We all watch out for each other. Often a group can prevail in a conflict where a single person can’t. Some of the Family are professionally trained in conflict resolution, and they can be summoned for help.

We respond with non-violent methods only. Talking is tried before any attempts at physical restraint and is done with compassion and respect to deescalated tensions. If physical intervention can not be avoided, any actions will be tempered and done gently without inflicting injury. We love all our family.

We lighten the burden on Shanti Sena by:

watching out for our own valuables, camping in groups with others, and watching the camps of our neighbors when they are away.

We are ALL Shanti Sena


Neighborhoods make the Gathering more fun with the people they introduce you to and also lessen the impact on the environment. All camp needs – such as latrines, water, child watching, or security – can be focalized around a neighborhood fire.

When you arrive, look around and find a concentration of tents to set up your own near. Kitchens are some of the places neighborhoods form around, as well as special areas like C.A.L.M. or Kid Village. People from a certain state or city often camp together. Contact the people in them, get to know them.

Lone campsites are easy targets for thieves, and are surprises for people walking thru the woods in the dark. Neighborhoods provide the only security for when you are not in your camp.

Love your neighbor

Main Meadow

Main Meadow is the epicenter of the Gathering, located in an open field large enough to accommodate many people. It is where we have Dinner Circle and various prayers, celebrations, and events, including our Silent Meditation for World Peace on the morning of July 4th. There should be no tents or fires here. The meadow is for all, and its energy should be kept clear and pure. Trading Circle should not be in sight.

Main Meadow can get loud at times, as well as completely silent. Co-ordination with Kid Village and C.A.L.M. about the three places’ relative locations is a good idea.

Dinner Circle

Every evening kitchens from all over the Gathering bring food to Main Meadow for Dinner Circle. An OM is said, a few brief announcements are made, and everybody sits down and waits for servers going around the circle to bring food to them. All food served is vegetarian and has been prepared to be wholesome, nutritious, flavorful and consciously procured with many considerations. If you have special dietary needs visit an active kitchen for advice, kitchens hold many counsels focused on providing the best for care for everyone’s nutritional needs.

Bring your own dish and eating utensils, and some water to drink. A person precedes the servers with bleach water for washing hands in an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy throughout the gathering.

The Magic Hat also goes around the circle with several minstrels offering an opportunity to contribute money for purchase of bulk supplies. If you feel called and can help provide a donation know that will be used wisely to everyone’s benefit and through open counsel processes.

We are a circle, within a circle with no beginning, and never ending.

The whirlwind will not last the morning out.

The cloudburst ends before the day is done.

What is it that behaves like this?

The earth and sky!


We gather in counsel circles to voice and to creatively resolve the issues and concerns of out ever-evolving Gatherings. Participation in a counsel requires a focused mind, patience, respect, a listening ear, and an open mind – as we make decisions on how to best serve the Gathering. There are counsels on all workings of the Gathering, including Seed Camp, Co-operations, C.A.L.M., Shanti-Sena, Fire Watch, Vision Counsel, individual kitchens, and planning regional gatherings.

Counsel Process

Rainbow counsels are an open process where everyone is invited to listen and speak. We sit in a circle and pass a feather (or other sacred object) around. Each person speaks in turn while holding the feather without being interrupted. The holder has the right to admit or reject input from others. Other people in the circle talking across to each other do not aid the discussions. If there is too much noise, anyone can call, “Focus” to restore attention to the speaker.

Sometimes counsels can be more open, with the feather placed at the center of the circle, trusting that everyone can recognize their perfect moment to speak. At other times it is helpful to have a facilitator to keep an impartial focus.

Remarks should be stated as briefly as possible. Nothing destroys the process more than making long-winded orations without regard for others waiting for their turn to speak.


Consensus is how we govern ourselves. This means coming to solutions acceptable to everyone, not just a majority.

While discussing issues, if a resolution starts to seem clear, a speaker may call for consensus by silence. If no one objects to the proposal, then consensus has been reached. Those who have objections may block consensus, which causes counsel dialogue to resume.

A block should only be made from a place of clarity and good conscience. Egos should definitely be checked at the door. Counsel can be both rewarding and exhausting but serves the best interest of many.


Focalizers are any people willing to volunteer and be kind conduits of energy and information. They help focus people’s efforts on tasks that need to be done as well as providing general knowledge on a host of topics including suggestions for volunteer opportunities that may interest you, always room for more hands and smiles.

They are not like leaders in Babylon. They are not placed over us; nor elected for terms. They are appreciated because they have gained peoples trust, are considered to have good wisdom, are able to help facilitate common goals, and have exhibited beneficial skills, energy and talents that have garnered positive successes through cooperative endeavors.

Anyone can volunteer to be a focalizer to whatever degree one chooses. If you see something that isn’t being done or needs energy, take the initiative to participate. Over volunteering can easily cause burnout so lovingly delegate often in the interest of sharing the chores always working at a comfortable pace that brings enjoyment. Sometimes there are new family wanting to be useful with their own special savvy, they may also have hidden talents that are waiting to be developed into purposes for the greater good.

Resilient focalizers respect consensus, avoids egotism, empowers people, allowing them to learn, build confidence and to participate even at the price of inefficiency. We are all learning skill sets while honing our better traits in a cycle of giving and sharing together.

C.A.L.M. the Center for Alternative Living Medicine

C.A.L.M is our family’s healing arts center. If you are injured or ill, come here, especially if it’s something that may be contagious. The volunteers at C.A.L.M can provide health information, kind medical care, helpful supplies and offer preventative aids such as condoms and personal care items. Natural, alternative medicine is encouraged here. Treatment that gets to the root of dis-ease is sought, not just temporary remedies.

C.A.L.M. always need donations of medical supplies, antibiotics, herbs, tinctures, and homeopathic remedies. The level of care for the family is of the greatest importance and welcomes concerned doctors, nurses, EMT’s, and therapists of all kinds – to volunteer on a continuous and on-call basis. Healers and workshop leaders can also plug in here. Through this specialized communal effort everyone in the family is uplifted either through the needed patient care, general overall health of the gatherings, sharing of unique expertise in many medical disciplines and the fellowship of service so profound it builds lasting bonds of friendship well beyond the gatherings.


Information is a great communication center and serves as a networking hub, community bulletin board and a best reference for current news, scheduled events, rumor verification and consistently able to support the good vibe of the gatherings. Various counsels and focalizers congregate here daily with announcements, request and building comradery among those involved and anyone wanting to participate in the gathering dynamics. Anyone with anything noteworthy to share should come here so they can pass the word as well as what’s happening now.

Lost and Found and Rumor Control are here. Printed handouts on a variety of subjects can be distributed or received on a host of interesting topics of much importance. Road maps, ride sharing, caravanning, travelers aid, bulletin boards, announcements and various counsel circles are nearby. Lost items often find their way here, this has been instrumental in the return of stuff during and well after the gatherings.

There is a Volunteer Here board for people seeking places to plug in and help. People needing assistance can make their needs known here. It is also a place to report a large emergency concern.


Most day to day business is focalized thru Co-operations, which meets several times a day. Workers and people with special knowledge are found, tools and supplies are located, those who have are connected with those who have not.

Every area of service checks in with Co-operations daily. Work crews can use this as a base for organization. Plans for new camps and construction should be communicated to here, so that conflicts over land use and campsites can be avoided.

The Magic Hat

The Magic Hat is the fund-raising instrument for any Rainbow event. The Gathering is available for free to everyone, but the supplies needed to keep everyone well-fed and healthy cost money. This includes food, bleach, toilet paper, medical supplies, batteries for Shanti Sena radios, and gasoline for shuttle and supply vehicles, among more. By giving generously to the Magic Hat, each of us helps to provide for all.

The Magic Hat appears at Dinner Circle every evening (sometimes in the form of a real hat, sometimes as a 5-gallon bucket), and is sometimes carried thru the camp by a parade of minstrels. The rest of the time it sits on the counter at Information. Be wary of individuals with containers claiming to be the “magic hat”. Some individual kitchens (like Kid Village) have their own “magic hats”, which are legitimate, but these only support those single kitchens.

The money in the Magic Hat is stewarded by a Banking Counsel of at least three persons. No money is given out except by consensus of this counsel. The usual place this counsel meets is out in the middle of Main Meadow shortly after Dinner Circle has been served and the people present have finished eating. This is the time that requests for money can be presented.

Main Supply

Food and materials bought with the Magic Hat are pooled and distributed here. Individuals can bring donations here as well. This allows money-saving bulk purchases and helps cut down waste.

Every day a Kitchen Counsel is held with representatives from all kitchens. This counsel produces a shopping list for the supply runners. No one except this counsel decides what is bought. The runners buy the items on the list and nothing that is not on the list. After returning, they give receipts and change to the Banking Counsel, and then Main Supply has a meeting where the supplies are given out to runners from the individual kitchens.

Only kitchens that bring food to the main Dinner Circle get supplies from Main Supply. To avoid suspicions of favoritism, people working Main Supply do not work in individual kitchens. Main Supply cannot be a kitchen itself, serving out food to individuals, and people working Main Supply do not eat from the supplies directly.


Food is obtained from Supply, paid for with contributions to the Magic Hat, and prepared by the helping hands of hundreds of volunteer choppers, slicers, peelers, fire tenders, stirrers, and chefs. Serving styles and times are up to the individual kitchen counsels and focalizers – some serve all day, some have specified meal times, some send all their food to Main Circle. Some offer only specialized fare like popcorn or coffee.

Food sent to Main Circle is completely vegetarian. Some kitchens may choose to serve meat at their own locations, but meat is hard to preserve in the woods, and may adversely affect those people who generally only eat vegetarian fare.

Kitchens are kept CLEAN. There is no faster way to spread disease than to serve contaminated food. Enclose kitchens with railings, and place hand washing stations at entrances.

Volunteers in kitchens wash their hands before working with food. They don’t work with a communicable disease. They use only clean knives and chopping boards. Work surfaces are washed with bleach water before and after use.

Everybody brings their own bowl, cup, and spoon to a Gathering, and washes them thoroughly after each use. Food is served by servers with designated tools. People do not serve themselves with their own utensils.

Supplies are not stored on the ground, but up on pallets, shelves, or logs. They are covered with a tent or tarp, for protection from the sun and rain. They aren’t placed near anthills. Pets are kept out of kitchens, as they get into food and knock things over.

Every kitchen has a dishwashing station with four containers (usually standard 5 gallon buckets):

one for scraping into;

one with hot soapy water, for washing;

one with clear water, for rinsing; and

one with water containing 1 or 2 capfuls of chlorine bleach or vinegar for disinfecting.

The water is watched and changed regularly. Pots and pans should not sit around dirty for hours, attracting the insect life.

Compost (garbage) pits are dug nearby for vegetable wastes. They are filled in gradually, like latrines. When the contents come up to within a foot of the surrounding ground level, they are filled in completely. A mound of dirt is left on top, to level out by itself as the garbage underneath decomposes and settles. Waste water goes into grey water pits. It is not just poured out on top of the ground.

If the flies start to have their own gathering around your compost pit, then it’s time to cover some of it up.

Kitchens constantly need firewood and water. Many make a habit of bringing a piece of wood whenever they visit a kitchen. Others, upon seeing an empty water container, will fetch water without being asked.

Front Gate

When you volunteer for Front Gate, you get to see it all come in. The parking lot crew greets the world with hugs and info. They maintain an organized and secure parking area, and make an around the clock commitment that involves:

greeting new arrivals and giving out information, traffic control, security, auto repair, maintaining a kitchen and fire circle, and an active Shanti Sena.

Front Gate and Welcome Home are frequently understaffed, so setting aside a morning or evening to volunteer is always appreciated. Alcohol abuse needs special attention in this area.

Bus Village

Bus Village is for those who come to the Gathering in campers or live-in busses or vans. It is a community of its own, with kitchens, counsels, work crews, and Shanti Sena. It is a place where electric entertainment is allowed and appreciated.

Bus Village people are well situated to help with Front Gate and Welcome Home.

Welcome Home

The Welcome Home center is set past the front traihead , at the end of the shuttle ride and where most of the hike in has been completed. It provides a place for people to rest from their journey in. They may be offered tea, coffee, or water. They are given printed copies of Raps 107 and 701, and informed of conditions peculiar to the current Gathering.


Shuttles are large rugged busses or flatbed trucks, that can provide almost continuous service that is safe and reliable. Drivers need relief regularly. Riders should help with gas and repair expenses.

Kid Village

Kid Village is a place for children to find other children, parents to meet other parents, and all to share and grow with the joys of educating our children. It facilitates meeting the needs of pregnant and nursing moms. It has shade, playthings, a kitchen, and people who enjoy and are good at playing with children. Kitchen help, musicians, storytellers, and game leaders are always welcome. It should be located at a distance from Main Meadow and any boogie pits to minimize noise at night.

Trading Circle

Barter and the mutual exchange of crafts and like are encouraged. One thing exchanged for another thing, or for a service performed. Money changing in the temple is unacceptable – nothing is sold for cash. Using money means we could be defined as a commercial event by the Forest Service, which would complicate our relationship with them.

Trading new, commercially produced goods is in bad taste. The gathering is for sharing hearts and works of our hands, not for making profit and all the funky energy that comes with doing this. There is a long-standing consensus that Trading Circle not be directly on the main trail, where the people it draws can block traffic on the trail, and not in sight of Main Meadow and its sacred ceremonies.

Sweat Lodges

Sweat lodges are sacred spaces for mature ceremonies which purify the mind and cleanse the body of toxins. They are built with care and in traditional manners, those who lead the sweats are schooled in the old ways. The space should be respected as a temple and not disturbed by behavior or vibrations that is less than sacred.

Don’t come if you have an infectious disease. Do come with an armload of wood.


Workshop for learning can be taught by anyone on any subject. Large meadows or comfortable shady spots can be designated for them. There is a workshop board at Information for posting times and places. Typical workshop subjects include yoga, massage, nutrition, plant walks, elders telling hip-story, and sister/brother/brother-sister circles.


We welcome non-polluting and low energy technology. Hand tools and alternative energy devices – such as solar or wind – are appropriate to a Gathering. Electric generators, chain saws, and gasoline powered tools are not.

No boom boxes! Artificial sound carries far in the woods, and forcing your own musical tastes on others is not cool.


Always ask permission before taking a picture of any other person. This includes groups as well as individuals. Most people will say yes, but no means NO. Excessive picture taking can make people tense and kill spontaneous moments of bliss.


We make our own music here, and everyone is welcome to join. Acoustic instruments only, please. Stereos, boom boxes, and radios can douse a creative spark in others.

Share your song with us, even if you are not used to performing. In a group of musicians, listen and blend instead of dominating – especially in a drum circle. Harmony is the point.

If you start music, respect the other musicians within earshot who have already started, especially if you are drumming. (Drums can carry like a rock ‘n’ roll amp.) Don’t try to compete with them, go over and join them instead. If it’s late at night or early after sunrise, be conscious of folks nearby who may be sleeping. Musical harmony plays with social harmony.


Clothing is optional at the Gathering. We accept people and their bodies without judgment or shame. Many people like the feeling of freedom, or like to be cool on a hot day. Nudity is natural. It is NOT an invitation for sex or a “feel”.

Be cautious of sunburn and poison ivy if you go naked. It’s a good idea to at least wear sandals. We go naked only inside the gathering, and not in any place visible from a public highway.

Love and Loneliness

Many in our Family have found deep and satisfying relationships with other Family members many of which sprang into being at their first Gatherings. The freely given affection, the easy conversation, and the sudden promise of openness here may inspire hearts to start searching for their one and only, to build up big expectations, and to be disappointed.

Meet people by volunteering and working with them in meaningful projects that you both enjoy. Engaging in fun activities like making music or enjoying theater are great ways to spend beneficial time and can be further enhanced by attending workshops and spiritual exercises. You will see your new friend and perspective love interest in all their moods, really getting to know each other in more depth is a good start for a solid relationship and it all starts with sharing time together.

Be patient and give time for friendships to unfold and grow by themselves. Don’t measure them against your expectations. The Spirit will show you your soul mates, if you let the energy become easy and patient. Many people will be put off by sudden propositioning, and not everyone is in the same state of wanting that you are.

Remember, if the other person says no, but you do anyway, that is rape, which is a crime among us as well. We are all worthy of equal respect.

We are opening up in sweet surrenderto the luminous love light of the One.


What you use is your own business. What you abuse is often everyone’s business.

It has long been a tradition in our Family to discourage alcohol at a Gathering. Alcohol energy can easily threaten. We respect a person’s right to drink, but we do not respect difficult drunks. The primary reason we gather is for peace.

Some intoxicants can have mind-expanding and sacred uses. However we actively discourage giving powerful psychedelic drugs like LSD to people who don’t know what they’re taking, or who don’t have the experience and mental stability to handle them.

Remember also there’s no guarantee on what somebody you don’t know gives you on the trail. If in doubt, spit it out. If you observe an overdose, freakout, or other drug caused problem, contact Shanti Sena and C.A.L.M. immediately.

Read Raps 151 & 515 for more.


A Gathering is not a good place for a pet. Dogs fight other dogs, kill wildlife, get into food, and shit everywhere. Sudden changes in their environment spook and stress them to the point where they snap and bite.

We know, of course, “not your dog”. So-o-o-o-o … if you must bring your pet, be responsible. Keep them under constant watch 24 hours a day, on a leash, out of kitchens, meal circles, and councils, and away from wildlife. Clean up and bury their droppings. Parvo is real.

Read Pup 107 for more.

Hug Patrol

The Hug Patrol covers the Gathering to insure that nobody who needs a hug goes without one. You might be stopped and asked for a hug anytime, so you should be prepared to give them your cooperation if you wish. (Nobody is obliged to receive one if they feel uncomfortable.)

Joke Toll Booth

The Joke Toll Booth sometimes appears on a main traffic artery in the Gathering. All who approach it are required to tell one joke before they may pass. The jokes collected go to help the merrimentally challenged find gainful enjoyment in our community.

The Silent Circle for Prayer and Healing

On the fourth of July, from daybreak until high noon, the camp is hushed. There is no talking at all, and no playing of drums. It is a wonderful exercise in communication without words.

People gather in Main Meadow to meditate for world peace and the healing of the earth. This is a time of profound energy. The silence is broken with a resonant OM which continues until the Children’s Parade enters the Circle, shortly before noon.

Please respect the morning silence. There is plenty of time in life for noise.

Regional Gatherings

In addition to the North American Gathering from the 1st to the 7th of July, there are many regional gatherings throughout the year. Find out about these at Information, regional focalizers, and on the Internet through Facebook, Community Calendar or the Quick Resource Connection

The Rainbow Guide

The Rainbow Guide is a non-commercial directory of our Family, compiled and published every year by volunteers with your contributions. The Guide helps the family to connect with each other thruout the year. The printed version is distributed at Information every summer at the annual North American Gathering. The is also an online version.

The Guide crew usually bases its operations at Information, where cards are available to be filled out by those who want to be included. Submissions can also be sent using our online entry site.

All Ways Free

Our free, non-commercial Family newspaper, All Ways Free is an open forum for the expressions and visions that make up the Rainbow Family that takes essays, stories, letters, poems, and art.

It is produced entirely by volunteers and everybody is invited to contribute their heartsong, as well as funds for printing. It is available at Information every summer at the North American Gathering, and it can also be obtained by contacting the A.W.F. focalizers.

Vision Counsel

At Vision Counsel Rainbow Family. Much of the focus is on determining the location for next year’s Gathering. The council starts at noon on July 7th, and continues until sunset. If no consensus is reached the first day, it convenes at noon every day thereafter until consensus is achieved. This can sometime take a few days, so be prepared to be patient.

Clean Up

Clean Up begins before you leave your house. Think carefully about what you pack; do you really need it? Do you want to deal with packing it out?

Clean Up begins the moment you arrive If you don’t disturb the environment to begin with, you don’t have to clean it up later. If you pick up trash all along, there isn’t a large amount at the end.

After the last day of the Gathering, the camp is drawn inward from the perimeters to one central camp, thence to the front gate and the parking area, then out the gate and down the road.

Campsites, bridges, and kitchens are dismantled and disappeared. Every last cigarette butt, pop tab, and bottle cap is picked up; every string is untied and removed. Compost pits and latrines are filled and covered with a dome of dirt, to allow for settling. Logs, rocks, and branches are scattered. Campsites are strewn with grass and leaves. Firepits are drowned with water and covered over with dirt.

Paths are broken up, ground packed hard is broken up with pick and shovel, and bare spots are reseeded. Potential areas of erosion are shored up. All traces of our presence are removed. The site is returned to its natural state.

Vehicles leaving the Gathering help by taking at least one bag of trash with them, to a dumpster at least 100 miles away. Don’t impact the small towns near the Gathering. Recyclables are taken to appropriate collection points.

In a year’s time, you won’t be able to tell that a small city of people lived here for weeks.

In all ways,we walk lightly on the land.

Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization! Live Lightly with the Land and People!


8 Replies to “Mini-Manual For Rainbow Gatherings”

  1. I am just now learning about this wonderful group. I am very interested in joining the Rainbow gathering this summer in Colorado. How do I register?
    Thank you
    I found this by word of mouth by my 27 year old son. We both would love to be involved in this community.

  2. Bus Village, where electric entertainment is allowed, My electric guitar would be all right and a100 watt sound system be ok, I run use of it like open mic, talking poetry singing but it can be loud, thought many prefer being loud when expressing them self, really want to be ok, before I bring it

  3. I am a nurse living in steamboat. I would like to volunteer for C A L M. I also have a small amount of supplies I can donate, bandages and dressings.

  4. I just read an article about a guy busted for fentanyl possession packing a Sig 9mm. Does not seem to fit in.

    1. It may be true as there is wide drug dependancy in America and since the democrats are hell bent on destroying America with open borders it is highly likely that this drug was at the gathering.

  5. This seemed amazing is there gatherings pretty frequently throughout the us or only on set dates I need this kind of positive energy in my life🫶🏽🌼

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