a man that went by the name of Pastor Joe said to us as my friend Andrea, two hitchhikers we had picked up along the way (Bird and Jay) and I rolled into the camping grounds. As we rolled further into the Ocala National Forest toothless people smiled at us and greeted us with "Loving You," and peace signs.
Andrea and I parked, packed our bags with food and walked through a makeshift campsite to ask for directions. Andrea had visited Rainbow Gathering a couple weeks before and made friends with some of the Rainbow goers.
Rainbow Gathering is an unofficial non-organization known as the Rainbow Family of Living Light. The first gathering was in 1972 in Colorado to pray for peace. It is now an alternative way of living, a community that crosses the United States and around the world.
The people who participate in these gatherings can range from train hoppers, road dogs (hitchhikers), hippies, kids, to me. Everyone is welcome to come and pray for peace, eat, sing, drum, dance and party. Kitchens are set up throughout the forest and everyone is allowed to eat as long as there is food. Each kitchen and campsite has a different name and different purposes. There was "Stockpot, BandCamp, TeaTime, Shut Up and Eat It, Green and Purple, Center Circle and more."
Money is not used, instead they all use a barter system where you can exchange things like a rattlesnakes head for a baggie of bud.
People stay there for about a month long- they begin to gather on the first of February and stay until the 20th. They are allowed to gather with the stipulation that all trash and campsites will be picked up so they can sign for their petition next year.