July 7, 2008
Someone walks by as I'm writing this on my electronic organizer which can connect to the Internet, but not at 9000 feet in a remote National Forest - and asked me if I was "getting a signal?"
States of Consciousness
I talked with Beetha oustide the Early Birds' kitchen-camp. I was exploring the idea of accessing states of mind that psychedelic compounds offer access to, but without compounds.
He mentioned "controlled folly," that is, letting go, as well as "angel walk," as an exploration of positive affirmativeness, where people praise and affirm each other over extended periods of time. Right there at Early Birds' camp, I also talked with two young folks who trip a lot, to find out their thoughts about tripping naturally. One mentioned DSM extracted from Robitussin (an over-the-counter cough medicine), which gave him an experience of tripping in synch with a friend. The woman mentioned complexity as a way to access trippy states naturally, through music, for example, but other ways as well. She also mentioned a book by some French researchers, - Paulwell and Bergier "Magic of Egyptians." I'll look it up. I think I got the worm. Rainbow is a fascinating resource for this kind of anthropological research. Are psychedelic compounds kinds of technologies, that then offer access to novel kinds of information technologies - one's own ideas? Rainbow is an amazing source for perspectives on psychedelics, - technologies for the mind. (I'm only interested in these effects naturally).
When I asked Beetha about how he would access loving bliss naturally - a question I'm interested in - he observed that he saw drumming as a way for him and others to access loving bliss, as well as natural trips, and as a group. People can do this together - by coming in sync with one another through music, like drumming, which is a relatively accessible way to make music. Beetha also mentioned music and dancing as ways to do this.
Yes! - Ethnography of counterculture is a great lifetime project ...
Circle in the meadow is like what I imagine Indian festivals in India to be like. Food was served to us, as if to mendicants, with two rings of people - all hippies - facing each other, and 2-3 people bringing around a huge pot of food and serving us in our bliss-ware, our bowls and spoons, - ah, bliss, this food is good, and we're hungry.
Camps or kitchens at Rainbow are open to anyone coming in for food when it's served. When one camp stops serving food, another starts, but in a distributed way - intensely distributed - but organized very organically or loosely.
Technologies are adopted at Rainbow but very slowly. There are dish cleaning stations, which are three water containers for wash, rinse and bleach, with foot pedals, - very quaint, but effective. There was one solar generator for electricity for the Granola Funk
Theater (at Rainbow for 14 years). People use technologies of tents and camping gear, including solar showers, but apart from the one solar electrical system, there was no electricity so I didn't see one laptop computer. There were no vehicles powered by engines, or megaphones for group communication, and no sound amplifiers, even in the largest circles, so communications were curious. All this expressed to me a kind of back to the land hippie-vision, in sync with nature. I liked this gathering a lot. It was 1972 in many ways, except in date - how was it not? - but I also wondered where the creative developments in instantiations of hippie-mindedness are. Perhaps Harbin Hot Springs in northern California is an example of this. Rainbow is a partly a gathering where a lot of people take trips, - drugs are technologies of the mind here. I could imagine Beetha from NY as a kind of Carlos Casteneda-like teacher in these ways. At Rainbow there's a geography of countercultural memes, with freedom at its core.
Things emerge and happen in hippie ways here, - it's far out.
Rainbow is pretty harmonious and wondrous - a hippie life emerged around a couple of high mountain meadows and lodgepole pine forest over 4 weeks - and people tuned in, turned on and dropped out. From this connectedness, love emerged, - counterculturally. How did this happen?
In the 1960s and 70s, people gravitated pretty naturally and fulsomely to the the counterculture, partly in reaction to Babylon. The 60s were a very innovative time, as well as very attractive and sensible to many. Everything was questioned and explored creatively, and a counterculture with its own language emerged. This is still around, but not as widespread as then, and the Rainbow Gathering creates it again.
This black guy who has been cooking a lot at the Early Birds' camp says to people sleeping around its fire, - "Wake up - everybody's going home" :)
Rainbow Gathering is free ~ "All Ways Free" is the banner on its news sheet. It doesn't cost anything. And so it brings out the salt of the earth, hobos, hippies, Ram Das, and everyone else - the human condition, America today - and it's harmonious. There might have been 10000 people attending .... Rainbow is wild.
This Rainbow Gathering was also very American - surprisingly to me - I only overheard one young British woman. There were very few folks from other countries that I saw.
And the food is free and good. Camps & kitchens make it in abundance. These are tucked around the meadows in the woods. And each camp is a budding culture itself. People gravitate toward them because of affinities they feel: "Crucual kitchen," "Early Birds' camp," "Popcorner," "Handicamp," Kiddie village," etc.
I see this Rainbow Gathering as a kind of people's action, a "Be in," - occupying a national forest for a month. And it just happens because of a shared vision. And some stragglers probably stay on my the summer.
Thanks to the 150 law enforcement from 2 different regions outside Pinedale, WY, for (mostly) staying away. The way to lessen their influence, someone observed at the Vision Circle on July 7, 2008, is to not hold a gathering on National Forest land or BLM from 2 - 3 years, and then their budget would dry up.
The shortest distance in to the meadows was about 1.5 miles from the gates or parking areas, so everybody carried a lot of stuff in for their own camps.
"Hey brother," "hey sister" were familiar greetings, as were "take it easy brother - loving you."
"We love you" was shouted a lot, by circles and individuals.
Body cleanliness questions at Rainbow are rewritten for a week vis-a-vis American culture here - everybody got dirty and dusty. Everything is seen a new in counterculture.
At the Vision Council on the last day, the feather was passed around a large circle of people and most everybody spoke.
Loving Ovens', a person, first choice for a site for the Rainbow Gathering next year is the Vince Lombardi parking lot along the Interstate in New Jersey. But many people talked about New Mexico, New England, and Washington State.