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Rainbows, Road Dogs, Drainbows, Modern Hippies, and the decline of the Rainbow Gathering in the United States

This in of itself is going to be a controversial blog piece on my experiences and observation of the decline of the sub-cultural phenomena of what is referred to as “the Rainbow Gathering ” and the “Rainbow Subculture”. I realize my writing this blog entry will cause some turmoil and distraught emotions by those who read it who are very much still part of this movement, and some may be quite angry with these thoughts, observations, and disclosure. I realize it may alienate some friends of mine, some of whom may be close. I apologize in advance for this, but have to state this is how I feel and have a need to rant about how I see the movement that I once greatly admired and proud to be part of in the distant past become a very destructive, ego-centric, and parasitic phenomena. I don’t know if there is ‘hope’ for this movement. I don’t know if it could ever go back to the beautiful experience that it once was. But as it stands with my recent experiences of watching it degrading over the last 20 years, I personally, albeit biased, believe it has lost hope. Some of its recent offshoot ‘commercial’ ventures seem to carry on some of its similiar aspects. I apologize in advance to those that this blog might offend. But I have a need to release it off my chest and vent. Perhaps this will serve as nothing other than to offend, but perhaps it might make change in the hearts and minds of those that that care about its destructive essence in this day and age.

Rainbow Gatherings are the encampments of a migratory nomadic modern day people who live in the movement as their home, merged with those ‘family’ that attend a few times a year, the family that do just the annual pilgrimage, and the weekend warrior types who setup temporary intentional communities wherever they travel. These events are typically established in outdoor settings, in every state within the United States of America, throughout Canada, and internationally in most countries. Often, the ‘non-organizing lot’ of the core family can be found at all of these gatherings, including those in countries outside of the USA. The entire movement of intentional community espouses and focalize on ideals of peace, love, harmony, freedom, and community; much to the ideals of the hippie and anti-war movements in the 1960’s throughout America. They borrow much of the ideology from the 60’s, the dress, the sub-culture, and claim to have their origins from that era. The movement consciously expresses themselves as an alternative to mainstream popular culture, consumerism, capitalism, and mass media. Central to the movement is the “Rainbow Family of Living Light” who are building a self-induced Utopian society comprised of bohemian and hippie sub-culture. It is quite possible that it is true that this movement was birthed in the 1960’s with the hippie and anti-war counterculture that was birthed at that time. The Rainbow tribe have throughout the years attempted to promote a longstanding rumor that the Gathering was/is recognized by the Elders of the Hopi people as the fulfillment of a Hopi prophecy. This was debunked by Micheal I. Niman who wrote in 1997 the book called “People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia”. He traced the Hopi prophecies to the 1962 book “Warriors of the Rainbow” by WIlliam Willoya and Vinson Brown who compares prophecy of major religious sects throughout the world and tales of visions from North American natives. This was stemmed from a portion of the legend that was erroneously attributed to the Rainbow because of the mention of the “Warriors of the Rainbow” in prophecy out of the phrase “When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow.”

Rainbow views the mainstream culture as “Babylon” believing that the mainstream’s modern lifestyles and systems of government are unhealthy and no longer in harmony with the Earth or nature. I can attune with some of this and was one of the forefront reasons that I became part of the Rainbow Gathering movement when I first embraced it in the 1980’s. The first original Gathering was held in Colorado during July 1972 – since then it has occurred annually in the United States around the week embracing the 4th of July weekend in some democratically chosen location on National Forest land. Regional and national gatherings spurred by local state groups and family occur in just about every one of the 50 states, and most local cities have at least a potluck either weekly, monthly, or quarterly to keep family together. The movement was so popular in the United States, as international attendance increased the movement spread outside of the U.S.A. boundaries into many other countries who have tried to re-create the beauty and balance that ‘Rainbow’ originally possessed. The largest gatherings have been composed of upwards of unreliable counts of 30,000-40,000 attendees at a National Gathering.

“Rainbow Gathering 2008: Wyoming, July 4th”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWvmVQ8Y0KI

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