Kali, Rainbow Gathering, Om Shalom, 1996
Rainbow Gathering at Om Shalom
We arrived at Om Shalom just in time for morning circle. There was already a circle of around 30 people and the feeling was one of unity and purpose. Many times over the next week of the seed camp I was impressed by the creativity and power of the people who had gathered to plant the seed. Of course we had issues to work out: where to put what? The harmony of the camp was so strong that the issues were quickly resolved. By the end of the week we had an amazing kitchen, welcome centre, healing area, kids area, chanting circle, yoga area and chai shop. It was fully happening!
At this point we still had no idea how many people would come. We were feeling really good together, one family united and ready to embrace each other in love with open heart and mind. As we gathered momentum, in tune with the waxing moon, workshops started to happen, the chai shop began to buzz, the central fire place was going off with drumming and dancing each night. The chanting tipi began to glow each night with beautiful heart songs, lifting people into blissful union with the divine. The numbers stayed at a comfortable level - around 800 people at the height of the full moon.
Sitting in the evening circle, surrounded by dancing and singing and didgeridoo playing, and everyone simply coming to be together to share and listen is what the Rainbow Gathering is all about for me. Feeling connected to so many people, even when I don't know most of them personally, lifted me so high! I feel supported in my way of being and know that I'm not alone but surrounded by a huge loving family which exists all over the world.
As the full moon approached people began to gather around to create an amazing full moon ceremony. Again, it was beautiful to see the unity of the family reflected in that ceremony. We came together for the evening meal in total silence, which was maintained throughout the entire meal, enabling us to centre ourselves for the ceremony.
First fire makers and didgeridoo players came forward. The fire makers called in the fire spirits, using only two sticks in the ancient traditional manner. This fire was then carried by seven children to seven Agni Hotra fires (ancient Vedic ritual fires) which were lit for purification and re-energising of the land. The flame from theses fires was then transferred to the central fire, which symbolically represented the purification from attachments and fears through the transformational power of fire
As the central fire grew the didgeridoos began calling out to the dancers. The dancers danced to the four elements, in turn calling out the Rainbow Serpent which spiralled around the four directions and back to the central fire, announcing the beginning of the general celebrations. As the moon began to wane the whole energy in the camp mellowed out and became soft and quiet. Many people left after the full moon so by the time the vision circle began we were a small intimate family of around 250 people. The vision circle was another highlight for me. To sit and listen to everyone's dreams, to their feelings, their hopes and fears was just amazing. So much love and light was experienced over the three days of the vision circle; it was a blessing simply to be there and listen.
Now the gathering is over and there are about 30 of us left cleaning up the camp so that we can leave the place more beautiful than when we arrived. What an amazing gathering! I give thanks to the Great Spirit for all that was given, for the beauty reflected in the circle, for our strength and unity, for the peace and love in our hearts. Love and Light!
Mark, reprinted from Tribe magazine, 1996