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Rainbow Gathering

"Welcome Home,"

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.

 

"I brought my three children with me. Its always a good time and never a problem for me." 

 

After the feast everyone brings out there drums and dances. 

 

"I just live off the land and wait until the next gathering," said KY. 

"Sure I don't have any money- but so does no one else when they die." 

 

"My kitty makes for a great hitch hiker. She's got these claws that help her and stick to me whenever we are climbing onto our next train."

 

Moo Moo Cow falls asleep in the arms of her new momma around the campfire at Center Circle on February 7, 2015. 

"Some people don't like photos but I think its important to put Rainbow on the map," said Rainbow Jerry. 

"Im glad you girls are here to get a real story of Rainbow family. I just wish more people would just do what makes them happy. Rainbow makes me happy." 

 

The sun sets over Center Circle on February 7, 2015 after everyone has eaten. Before the feast was shared between the 40 or so people around the circle everyone let out an Om prayer and linked hands to let the energy flow between them. 

 

"This isn't like anything you've ever been to before. Everyone shares and you are accepted." 

"Why people don't do what makes them happy is beyond me. People go to their jobs day after day, completely unhappy. I don't understand why they just don't go to work- like me," Buddha.