Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going?

Where in the Appalachian Bioregion are we going? The consensus was for the White Mountain National Forest (in the Northeast), or the Appalachian states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia. Spring Council selected a site in North Eastern Tennessee.

If you're not familiar with the gauntlet on the road into the gathering, and want to avoid a mandatory court appearance ticket click here.

For the Howdy Folks and directions to the gathering, click here. For the United States Forest Service Incident Command website with groovy maps and updates, click here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nothing Changes But The Changes, Slick

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Gary Busey said these lines to Kris Kristofferson in the remake of the film A Star is Born staring Barbara Streisand, which came out in 1976. I was a teenager then, but the words have stuck with me all these years.

Before I go any further, I would like to send out a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to the earlies who helped shape the gathering and the folks who have taught me so much over the years. I honor you, respect you and even when I disagree with you, I do so out of love for this amazing, crazy family that is nearer to my own heart than any one person could ever be.

Some of you may know I’ve been trying to raise money for CALM for medical supplies. This journey like many had a surprising ending. In talking to many people involved with providing medical care at the gathering, a common theme has come up. One if you’re around the Internet these days has been heard in a variety of ways. 

The gathering itself is alive and well, but like any living creature, it grows and sheds skin, eats and shits.  New camps form and old camps fade away.  Partnerships arise and dissolve and all this is as it should be.  But some needs stay the same. People need to eat, they get sick and require help, everyone needs to feel safe.  What keeps the gathering alive is that the way in which we care for each other changes as do the people whose hands are hard at work.

Creating a temporary community without leaders is hard work. Doing it in the woods is even harder work. Since so many of us have grown up in a world with leaders, sometimes we fall into old patterns, old ways of living. Ways that don’t always fully honor our consensus process, talking in circles, making room for all the voices (soft and loud). There is a wealth of experience at the gathering, but sometimes we have to make room for the new voices on the scene to share their perspective.

So to the earlies, the folks who’ve been doing this longer and better than I ever have, let’s think of our younger family, those in their twenties and thirties as toddlers and let them use their legs to explore the ways in which they can continue the amazing trajectory of human growth and wisdom that is this gathering we all love.  Don’t abandon them. Stand on the side lines and don’t intervene unless someone looks like their going to fall down the stairs or poke an eye out with a long stick.  Let our younger family fall down a few times in the grass in the same way you let a ten month old child plop on her/his ass before clapping your hands and cheering.

To my family in their twenties and thirties, you are older now than many of the earlies were in 1972.  You have new ideas and the strength to climb hills carrying injured family as I once did. You are much wiser than you know and full of ideas that need to be explored. These new ideas won’t all pan out, but in learning to create the world the way you want it to exist, you will learn more about yourself and life than you could even imagine.  I love you.  Thank you for sharing your dreams and wisdom with me.  If some of the more experienced gatherers are a bit verbose when sharing hipstory, please be patient. We live in a strange culture where twenty or thirty of forty years of service to a vision leaves your body too tired to carry out what’s in your heart and leaves your heart feeling a bit like you no longer have a place in this world. Such is the circle of life and it’s not nearly as fun on the down side as it was on the upside.

To everyone, from the very youngest to the very oldest, once upon a time we had First Aid/MASH and then an evolution  occurred around 1979/1980 and CALM (the Center for Alternative Learning Medicine) came into existence and was a central place for people to get free health care in the woods.  For the last few years, CALM has been splitting apart as people with different visions fail to harmonize and our amazing healers have tried to help their family in different ways. It seems to me that the time is ripe for a new generation of family (yes you in your twenties and thirties) to re-vision what free health care in the woods looks like.  It doesn’t have to be called CALM. Call it what you will, but we as a family need a place where healers of differing modalities come together, to share, to learn, and to treat all our family with respect and provide the best health care only love can create.

This year, 2012, in the Southeast is the time and place where this needs to happen as that old CALM is fading into the sunset.  If we don’t get this together, our family’s health is in jeopardy. There are many healers scattered about the gathering, but having the focused effort goes a long way to providing for our own needs on the land and not burdening local hospitals with providing care for an endless array of aliments that could and should be treated on the land. We need a place of love where sprained ankles get bandaged up and mind explosions are soothed. We need a place where exceptional care is provided and the cooperation between healers is sincere and full of love.

To my less-experienced family, please create a strong, focused, peaceful healing center at the gathering starting with Spring Council and beyond. Please reach out to more experienced healers to get the hipstory on why things where done a certain way and then come up with a better way once you understand the reasoning behind what has happened in the past.

To my more-experienced family, please let the less-experienced family try it their way. Offer your assistance but don’t try to take charge. Let the youngers experiment with a loving and cooperative way to keep us all healthy and when asked for assistance, offer your wisdom in the form in which it is requested.

This is an opportunity for a new and better healing center that can be co-created by people who love to heal and are willing to try.  Once you’re on the land, make it happen. Talk to others who care about this issue and see if a core group coalesces.  Pool  your resources and the magic will happen.

Reach for the brass ring family. Reach for the brass ring.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
~~George Santayana


  1. Well said, sister! Thanks for what you do.

  2. Ho! I look forward to stepping up and playing a new role this year. And hope I'll have some Kidz to help pull things together. Tigger has done a great job working with the Kidz and I hope it'll result in a cohesive, inclusive CALM this year.

  3. Thanks again Karin, you have really said it here....I hope and pray that a smattering (as many as possible) of old and new gatherer's read and get your message. Love'n ALL, mama T

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  5. Karin,

    The article: Getting into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket

    Doesn't actually tell you what it says it does. It offers great guidelines for managing once you have a ticket - but not how to avoid getting one.

    I love this site - but as one who is interested in actually avoiding a ticket, that particular article maybe should be renamed?

    Lovin' ya!

  6. There's a link to that in the post called "Greatest Hits" However, here's the direct link. http://washingtongathering.blogspot.com/2011/05/tips-for-safe-journey-home-positive.html

    1. Thanks! ...for getting back to me, and being a conscientious person, and giving of yourself, and maintaining a great and helpful site! -The above person who wanted ticket avoidance info-