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Tribal Knowings; Beating Drums

The Rainbow Gathering

The Rainbow Gathering found its place within my life as soon as my bare feet touched down on the lands of New Zealand. I was to spend the year wandering amongst the vast and rolling mountains, everlasting valleys, and crystalline waters that wove magic throughout the country. The same magic that glittered early mornings, waking up to the rising sun peeking his rays over the holy greens, was, in fact, the same magic that brought the word of Rainbow Gathering to me. Passed down through the generations of connected ancestors, Rainbow Gathering has lived amongst us all for centuries. 

Existing all around the world, in whichever month, The Rainbow is a gathering of fellow brothers and sisters in a predesignated, donated, piece of open, free, Earth. This land is donated, for a month, by a nearby farmer or "owner" of the grounds; starting near the time of Full Moon, and ending around the New Moon. Before the Gathering begins, seed camp takes place for those who feel called to build up the community for the wandering Rainbow People that will join a week later. Created with resources from nature, tee pees, The Welcome Tent, shelters, the Kitchen, the Sacred Fire pit, and of course, The Shit Pit, are all orchestrated.  

The word of when, and where, a Rainbow Gathering takes place is left to mysterious magic. If one is fated to a Rainbow Gathering, the Universe shall conspire to led them there. The Rainbow Gathering is a coming together of fellow human beings; uniting in peace, love, honor for Mother Earth, celebration of divine connection. The month, or however long one feels called to stay, is spent living in pure nature in a tent or personal shelter, attending workshops hosted by the creative minds of the Family, dancing and wildly running naked in the open, basking in pure freedom to do, co-creating music and art, celebrating our meals with dancing and singing circles around the Sacred Fire, coming together in talking circles. The Rainbow Gathering is a space of, not only natural external landscape, but moments allowing Us to connect to our natural internal landscapes. 

As the skies poured down rain for the first five days after I arrived, the Rainbow family spent most of our moments in the tee pees or in the smoking tent. The beauty, and importance, of shelter and fire has never been made stronger to me than it was during these days. These shelters were ideal for holding in the heat of the fire and the warmth of our united bodies. They say that life is all about perspective, and I perceived that the weather, although cold and dampening, brought all of us together, literally, to such close spaces. Relying on one another to keep warm, in temperature and the hearty warmth of uplifting company. During those dark rainy days, we gathered in the tee pee, creating music with our own instruments, guitars, drums, harmonicas, banjos, rain sticks, maracas, any object that could make a sound, we used it. Co-creating to the pulsating rhythm of music. The small fire in the center, we circled around, drying our naked bodies, laying our wet clothes on the rocks to warm. 

Our Rainbow community lived within the ever-stretching valleys of the mountains, about an hours drive from Motueka, the nearest town. Surrounding us, were the dense forests climbing the backs of the rolling hills, our crystal river that supplied the Family with drinking and cooking water. In the center of our main land, lay the honorable Sacred Fire. The Sacred Fire is the centerpiece that keeps the Gathering woven together. The place in which we come together before our meals to join hands, encircling the Fire, to dance and sing the Rainbow Tribe songs, songs that have been sung since the beginning of the Rainbow celebrations. As the night sky would unfold itself, a black tapestry decorated in galaxies of the Milky way, the Moon would hang herself for us all to adore. Drums would begin to beat, howls would be bellowed, and, around the Sacred Fire, the Rainbow faces that pranced around in sunshine hours before, were transformed to wild enchanting animals of the Night. 


Food circle had ended; some brothers and sisters stayed by the Sacred Fire for her warmth. At night, the Sacred Fire was also fed; the stellar collection was collected during firewood missions. On this particular rainy night, I decided to take a wander under the skies away from the fire. As I walked, I felt the dampness of the moist air cover my skin. Light cool air brushed lightly against the surface of my bare body. In this moment, I began to make out a dim orange light through the mist. As I grew closer to the glow, the familiar sound of deep beats began to echo through my body. This sound, pulsed the core of my Being.

Now, I stood just outside of the tee pee in which the vibrations came from. As I entered, faces of my beautiful family looked up towards me, acknowledging, accepting, my Presence. I admired their bodies that glowed orange with dancing shadows of red from the fire. Surrounding the stampede of flames we circled, was a ring of fellow brothers and sisters beating tribal rhythms into the night. I closed my eyes and allowed the rhythms to channel through me, moving me as they pleased. I felt a natural wildness burn inside of my body. As I felt my deep Self become tranced into the pulse of the drums, I realized I had been guided here; I had traced ancient footprints into a realm foreignly familiar. 

I was led to an open space circling close to the fire. Sitting down upon the ground, light shone down on a drum awaiting the next collaborative symphony, beckoning to join. I leaned forward to reach for the drum; there was no hesitation as I stretched to unite with the instrument. As we touched, I felt as if I, too, was the instrument; we would play each other. 

I spread my knees apart, my naked thighs wrapping around the body of the Drum; like the caress of two lover's dressed in satin skin. The warmth of an internal fire glowed deep in my body; I felt the core of my Being become hot with electricity. As I looked across the fire, my fellow tribe, eyes closed gently, all beating passionately to static pulses that danced fluidly as One. I listened to the beats around me and allowed the music to freely move within my body, to be created. Listening to one another and responding naturally from a place beyond us all. 

I felt transcendent, I believe we All did. Co-Creating, joining together, to open spaces in which Spirit was free to channel. Spaces in which we, as individuals, were free to unite to these places within ourselves. And, as we each took the path that led us together at the Rainbow Gathering, we were perhaps able to find that these spaces are created when we open our hearts, open our minds, and undress the layers we have created in our lifetimes, and connect as One. 

As the cyclone storms had finally passed, the Rainbow family awoke to the face of the Sun one glorious morning. Howls and cheers were yelled from the tents, scattered over the mountains. Breakfast food circle was spent dancing and singing for our Sun, honoring and celebrating the warmth that cascaded from the skies, and flowed from our hearts.

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