RAINBOW FAMILY GATHERINGS: Unofficial Community for Rainbow Family
I'd been on the road for two years but had never heard of a Rainbow Gathering although I'd met the Love Family in Seattle, the Krishnas in Ft Lauderdale, and a few road dogs here and there. Me? I just traveled, trying to see everything, and my next destination was Quebec. I stopped at the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis on my way there and found a Howdy Folks for the 1983 World Peace and Healing Gathering near Watersmeet, Michigan. It was only the first week of June, early, but I made my way there and arrived on June 10th. I would stay for a month.
There were only about 100 brothers and sisters there on the tenth. I had no idea what was going on but quickly set up camp then moved in the next day with the Neo-Buddhist Cowboy Martian camp. There was a work council that I went to for a few days, I worked on shitter digging and helped set up kitchens.
I was sitting around one of those kitchens one afternoon thinking about all the people I'd met with cool Rainbow names and mentioned to some of the brothers that I'd like to have one too. I was given the name Darkstar. I tried it out for a couple days but Darkstar didn't fit me. That's when I realized my birth name, Dale Alan, could be loosely translated as Valley of Peace so I became Peaceful Valley Walker.
I don't know when I got it. Maybe it was after being dosed at the Solstice. I was no stranger to hallucinogenics but had never experienced them in a semi-spiritual setting. I blissed at the drum circle most of the night then went to sit on the hill where I could watch the sun rise.
I sat there on the hill, at peace, then the mosquitos woke up and started to attack. I reached for a nearby yarrow (an aromatic that repels mosquitos), ran my fingers up the stalk stripping the leaves, crushed them between my hands, and rubbed it over my face and head. As soon as I did, three dragonflies flew in straight at my face. Two flew past my ears and the third swerved up over the top of my head. That cleared the mosquitos but they soon returned. When they got bad again, I reached for the yarrow and as soon as my fingers touched the stalk, the three dragonflies returned just as before. The mosquitos came back again too only this time I barely even thought about reaching for the yarrow but before I could even move my hand the dragonflies returned. Then the sun rose.
From there I went down to the river for a morning swim. There I met Cole, he was baptizing people. I asked him to baptize me too and it was after that that I truly felt like a rainbow.
I don't remember much more from that gathering. I remember the turtle soup at Hobo Hilton. People were on the trail upset that they had killed a turtle. I had no qualms about it and went there for supper.
The next thing that really stands out is from after the gathering. I rode out with some family and an hour or two later we stopped at a supermarket. I didn't think much of it until I was in the middle of the store. Instead of a wide sky above me, there was a high ceiling and bright flourescent lights. Instead of a breeze and the sounds of nature, there was an unnatural stillness. All of a sudden the store around me went out of focus. I was experiencing culture shock having for the first time in my life seen through the veils of illusion.