(Posted 1 week after writing)
Rainbow Gathering. Ukraine. I absolutely love it. I sure love where the wind seems to blow me these days. For those of you not familiar with these events, they are gatherings where people try to live up to more of an ideal. There is no money transacted although “love” is given into the”Magic Hat” after meals. So no vendors. No concessions. No drugs (although I hear in American Rainbow Gatherings that drugs can be a problem), no alcohol, no bad vibes. It is hoped that people will help out where needed (food preparations, general cleaning and site maintenance, digging what they lovingly call “shit pits,” giving free workshops, etc.
This is the main European gathering for the year and at the moment there are about maybe 700 people here, down I’m told from a peak of 1,500 or so for the full moon (which is the centerpoint on the calendar for the European gatherings.
What I think I love the most so far (I’ve ducked off just now to a sweet spot by an energetic little creek about 4 days into my stay here to keep the electronics energy out of the camp) is how welcoming people are here and how easy it is to meet people. The main approach for me is to carry my tea mug to a camp with a fire going and sit down and share some tea. I always try to have some snack to share or some honey to keep it balanced. And suddenly I have new friends. Last night, I ended up in a camp sharing tea and stories and songs with people from England, Denmark, Latvia, Belgium, Spain, the Ukraine, and actually another Californian (as far as I know there are only 3 people here from the states).
My favorite part is also the more difficult part for me, stepping into an unknown group of people. Something in me always seems to carry a fear that I may not be welcome, or that I may be imposing or interrupting something. I can get a little anxious, and pass up many camps if they are not close to a main path. This is very good training for me, as it never fails that I feel welcome, even among groups that are fully Russian or Ukrainian (and probably 60% of the people here are either Russian or Ukrainian.
There is something quite interesting I want to share here. When I was in England at the “Buddhafield” Festival, I did a session with a career counselor type. I nearly canceled it several times as I am very clear that I don’t want a “career” at all in my life. His eyes actually rolled in this peculiarly British way when I told him that my life was amazing. In a way he didn’t really know what to do with that. Anyway, at one point in the session, I was lying flat on my back with my eyes closed and “visioning” my future and what came up was clear in apparition but vague in application. What arose was an image of a large group of people holding hands in a circle with a pyramid-type frame in the center. The feeling associated with this was that everyone around the circle was equal, although I think I harbored a secret fantasy that I was the silent leader of the group. The setting for this vision was peculiar as it was in the mountains. I remember thinking that was strange because I love living near the ocean so much. So what I’m leading to though is the first night I arrived here there were calls being yelled out and relayed for “Food Circle!,” eventually graduating to “Food Circle NOW.” When everyone gathered together, a circle was formed around a large fire and everyone held hands and sang, which then morphed into an “Om” chant. What I realized in that beautiful moment was that the vision I had for my future was actually happening before my eyes. It was the same mountainous setting I had envisioned. While there was no pyramid structure in the center, the central fire provided a similar purpose of channeling energy into the center of the group.
Deep down, I am loving it here. It is a special place. Actually I think I am most drawn to people who are in their hearts good people, who are trying to make the world a better place. The lovingness and welcomingness is quite tangible and powerful. I spend a lot of time in my hammock resting during the day too as it’s an easy place to generally decompress. I also start the day off with a nice long meditation as the sun rises. Here people sleep in late so I get the place largely to myself in the mornings. I think I’ll hang out here by the river another hour or so before helping out in the kitchen and maybe getting a little Frisbee going in the main field before breakfast (which usually gets around to being served after normal lunch time). I love that too, the lack of urgency or control to make the event proper. Last night there was a great drum circle happening around the central fire which delayed dinner by probably another 45 minutes. You could hear a few people who likely still like having more structure trying to get the drum circle to breakdown but it was happening and what’s another 45 minutes to wait when the moment is perfect exactly as it is.