The first couple of days were very difficult: I didn’t know anyone, had no idea how things worked, or didn’t, had to fight my city-girl instincts every step of the way. But I hiked up the Bulgarian mountains for more than an hour with all my luggage to get there. I wasn’t going to give up easily.
No electricity, no bathrooms, no buildings and ‘mobile phone’ was a dirty word. Where can I pitch my tent? Anywhere you want. Where can I pee? Use your common sense. Where are the sh!t pits? Ask around. We washed our dishes and utensils with ash and dirt, disinfected our hands with vinegar, wiped our a$ses with leaves, washed clothes in buckets and used watering cans to shower. With no one in charge, the “Rainbow Gathering”* is a self organizing chaos. “If you see a job, it’s yours” is their motto. Volunteers came early and set up a make shift kitchen area, shower area and the main fire area where we had communal vegan meals twice a day. All the rest is up to you. Once I made peace with dirt, aka mother Earth, things got better. Houses (aka tents) appeared and disappeared. Foot paths appeared and got abandoned (will eventually disappear). People came and went. Life in Nature! My city mind was crying foul all the time, yet my body was going “Yaaaay!”. Little by little, I started adapting to the Rainbow ways. Combing hair is unnecessary. Fire smoke, ash and dirt are cleansing. There’s a plant with big velvety leaves, when kissed by the morning dew, makes a perfect wet towelette. A shrub has thin spindles, perfect for cleaning between my teeth. No mirrors. No cell phones. No alcohol. No hot showers (unless you want to light the fire and wait). How did we pass the time? Singing, dancing, drumming, playing games, chatting, sharing our passions with the community. During food circles, people walked around announcing whatever they want to offer or receive. Always a great variety of workshops from herbal remedies to yoga to arts and crafts to (my personal favorite): Tantra! In addition to the communal meals, many camps cooked delicious food and shared: chapati, crepes, pizza, risotto with wild mushrooms, tea, coffee, chocolate…etc. How much does it cost? Up to you. The whole gathering is run by volunteers and is donation based. After every communal meal, the magic hat is passed around with music and dance and people give what they want. Before long, complete strangers became family, united in love, music and Nature. I had been offline for almost 3 weeks and didn’t even miss it! This brought to light my unconscious addictions.
When we place more value on love, instead of money, magic happens. When we trust people to be responsible adults, they act as such. Even though almost everyone smoked (this is Europe after all), I never saw one cigarette butt on the ground. We were around 600 people around the full moon, and a little over 100 towards the new moon. Where there no problems at all? No, a few tense moments occured. They were met with community love, compassion and communication. That dispelled the tension and brought back harmony.
Rainbow Gatherings happen almost all the time all around the world. That’s where people living in the flow hang out. Just enjoying the present moment and making it the best we can. Next time you see a dirty hippie on the street, don’t jump to any conclusions. S/he may be an x-corporate executive who ditched the Matrix.
This was my first Rainbow Gathering, I’m sure it won’t be the last. I just have to ease myself out of city addictions: meat, ice cream, flat beds, chairs and washing machines 😸
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