Babylon?! That’s Rasta talk!
So very long post. But I have to be honest, the idea of Rainbow in Taiwan was a total shock to me. This is my journal entry from my experience at the world gathering of Rainbow 2014. I’ve never shared ths with anyone because all of the details in it are 100% true and it’s one of those stories that you describe to a friend and in the back of your mind youre thinking “Naww they probably think I’m full of shit.”
But you all are strangers on the internet so I figured what better place than here! (4 years later hahah) .
This is part of a huge journal I was writing for my whole european trip so some of the writing is extremely rushed but the experience with David (and his behavior in the talking circle) is A) 100% true, including the tooth part. B) Totally underwritten as it was genuinely one of the most terrifying moments of my life. The man literally became a demon before my eyes.
But for anyone who might be curious what these are like. .
Its getting dark and Mihau says we should get off the bus now. We are in a very tiny village in the middle of who knows where and apparnetly the Rainbow camp is a ways along this dirt road through these fields. Should take a couple hours to walk there. Its getting dark though, so fuck. And this is not an area with electric street lights. Some trucks with fruits and veggies pass on, greet us and tell us we are heading in the right direction. Clearly on their way to Rainbow. Nice to see we arent alone. We walk through fields and villages. Some of them very very poor. Lots of dogs, scary dogs and pitbulls and such in their yards rabidly barking at us. Kind of scary. Every shack and house has violent dogs trying to get at us and by this time its pitch black dark. We continue on through a field with absolutely no light. Extremely dark. Andrew has a flashlight but thats about it. We navigate literally in the middle of nowhere and find other travellers also on the way to Rainbow. At this point there are maybe 10 of us trying to find our way. Weve still got a long ways to go. Its cold and kind of miserable. Luckily we come to a path in the woods where a truck pulls up behind us. We hop in and theres about 6 people inside mainly from the netherlands. Theyve driven ( a couple of them, the rest have hitched) all the way across Europe to Rainbow. So cool. Clearly people live in this caravan. We cram in and hope for the best as we bounce around and make our way toward Rainbow.
We are let out at the welcoming center. Which is just a bonfire with a few guys standing around in a field. Apparently we are close to the main camp. Everyone calls eachother brother and sister and greets eachother with an excruciatingly long hug. Its a bit obnoxious , but an experience. They inform us we are pretty close and that they need help digging shit pits and that they are serving dinner. We continue on through the fields until we start to hear the main camp on the other side of some bushes. Its pretty hard to navigate our way to them and we spend about 20 minutes trying to find a path through the trees. There are several tents already set up around us so we are definitely there. Finally thanks to Andrews flaslight and some people in some tents we find a path to the camp. We cross a field and catch sight of about 300 people sitting around a huge campfire awaiting dinner. We’re there.
We make our way to the campfire and are greeted by many, many hugs. Hello brother. Welcome sister. etc etc. Pitch black, with the exception of some torches and the fire. We are freezing too and it is then that Becky informs me I probably should have brought a dish for meals. Shit. And they dont wash them here except for ashes. Luckily Andrew has an extra for me. The kitchen crew pases out dinner into our bowls. Buckets of some slosh. Who knows , but it isnt bad. All vegan. We all shout thank you for the food and sing and listen to some announcments and makee our way from the fire to find a place to set up our tents. I will be sharing with Avi. We cross the very damp field and find a place to ourselves. We set up tents, about 8 of us, and I act as a torch man to assist. All I have is a sleeping bag and its wet and freezing and really kind of miserable. And with that, I crawl in with Avi and we call it a night.
Wake up the next morning. Talk about the worst night of sleep of my life. So cold, wet, incredibly uncomfortable. Apparently no one could sleep. And we caught a pretty bad wind draft overnight through all of our tents. Swedish girl whos name i cant pronounce is crying when we wake up. But she traveled here from Sweden. And will rough it out. She journals. A lot. Avi and I decide enough is enough and make our way out of our tents into the morning talking circle. There are about 50 people gathered around the campfire, early morning, to discuss activities, plans, and responsibilities for the day. Standard practice. Apparently the rule of the circle is thou shall not speak unless thou has the talking circle stick and if you just join the circle you must let the stick pass the entire circle once before taking a turn. Ive got Avi and Becky on my right and a man, David, (So many davids) on my left. Although there are no set leaders in Rainbow, it is clear that David is leading this circle. Hes a real tough scary older guy from Liverpool. Braids in his hair, maybe three teeth tops, just tough and appears crazy. The stick goes around the cirlce as we all shiver from the cold, wet morning. Many people take the opportunity to thank everyone for joining them and allowing them the freedom to escape modern civilization for a bit. It is much needed for many people. Some people live thiss life permanently and I dont understand that extreme. Some people are fucking nuts here. And there are definitely ex convicts. One guy, every time he gets the stick, just bows his head and cries for five excruciating minutes before someone gently takes the stick from him. Other issues brought up are that more help is needed in the kitchen staff, more garbage pickers are needed as a previous festival used this field and littered, we need to dig more shit pits, there will be relationsip workshops all day and massage workshops, and we need to build shelter to protect some of the tents from advancing thunderstorms (shit…). Finally some guy comes rushing across the field and tries to make announcement. “Brother” David says. “Please. wait until the stick passes the circle once before you speak”. Apparently the guy says the issue is important but David refuses to let him speak. A couple others try to chime in and David gets pissed. This is not a guy you want to piss off. The outsider grabs another elder from the circle , explains the situation, and comes back. The other elder lets the man speak and David loses his shit. David literally starts to take on the phsyciality of dragon… A DRAGON… and starst to FOAM… yees… FOAM at the mouth… Loudly emitting liquids and noises from his mouth as the man tries to speak. It is fucking terrifying and I realize then that shit… I am sitting next to this crazy man. I dont know what hes on… or maybe hes just insane. Hes literally got foam spilling down his shirt as he sucks the entire energy and attention from the circle. The man stops speaking and we all watch as David starts to shake and ultimately gets up , runs around the circle screaming and announcing to us all that he is a demon. Perfect. And there are children present. Granted hippie children, but still children! Finally david shuts up and we realize the man is here becaue the Hungarian police want people to move their trucks off some guys yard some miles down the road.
Awkward silence for maybe 2 minutes as 50 of us realize how cults are started. Its terrifying and no one knows what to say. Who will be the first to get murdered by David?
Finally David breaks the silence and says hes fully aware of what hes done and says it was for the integrity of the camp. He tells us hes walked here from Liverpool and he will give his life for the talking cirlce. He then promptly rips one of the remaining teeth out of his mouth and smashes it with a rock. Next to me. Splendid. Then we go one by one and talk of our emotional reactions to Davids outburst. I choose to pass. Wise choice. Then the circle breaks and I am absolutely petrified.
Avi and I take up garbage duty and spend the next hour picking up garbabe. People thank us and wind up just milling about the camp, sitting, smoking, chatting, discussing life , the universses, etc etc etc. I partatke in some conversation but the whole thing kind of frustrates me. People talk of getting away from Babylon. Modern society . Living a more pure life with nature. But society is where it is due to evolution. These people are burning firewood for fucks sake. Its all messed up. I come to realize that maybe I dont need to spend another night here. I was miserable last night, and experienced a lot of talk of the universe and existentialism on the camino and am in Europe . I should be seeing European cities and I could always come back to rainbow in the states. A great experience i recommened to everyone really but after a day of being physically miserable Im ready to move on again. Hard decision to make, especially in the company Im with who talk of tranquility and pureness and escape from the evil empires. And all I want to do is go back and find some people to get drunk with in a nice cosy city. I walk about the camp amongst the nudists. And several people having sex in the bushes requesting music men. (Fucking is common in the first few days of rainbow but after then everyone is pretty filithy the reaminder of the time). I decide I will attempt to get back to Budapest that night but am embarassed about my decision. Everyone else is in it for the long haul and I lasted a day. I see Avi in a massage workshop and Andrew in a mediation workshop as I gather my bag and head past the kitchen tents onto the road to hopefully take me back to the nearby village. From there, I have no idea how to get to Budapest but Swedish girl whos name I cant pronounce helps me make a sign for hitchiing. As I try to sneak out of the camp, David comes up behind me. Shit! I am going to die. Brother? Where are you heading ? he askss. I lie and tell him Im heading back to Budapest to bring more people here. As I move on I notice he has a small stake in his ear with fresh dried blooding streaming down his neck. This guy continues to give his body to the camp. What a trooper. I walk hours by myself through the fields and pass the welcoming center. They tell me Ive still got a few hours of walking to go to get to the nearest village. I walk on and run into two Hungarian guys also trekking their way to the village. They call themselves political extremists who vehemently oppose the government in Budapest.
And then more about hitching back to Budabest but super off topic from Rainbow.
So yeah, I can’t wait to see this in Taiwan! (HAHAHA)
TLDR; my journal entry from a World Rainbow Gathering experience
Somehow I doubt this will all transpire in Taiwan
Doesn’t sound like something I’d like to do
Do I have the talking stick now? Iulus Grun, that was an awesome post. (Would love to hear your experience of the Camino.) Besides TVBS, I’m thinking maybe the Community Counseling Center should get a heads-up.
Check out Red Room or drum circles around town, Tiger Mountain events, drop by Dulan, or the summer Hualien mountain camp, some similar souls hanging around.
I’m pretty connected to different lifestyles, but always wonder how and why people continue to live out their existence in baggy tie-dyed pants, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Lesson learned: beware of Davids.
Beware of 2-toothed Scouse Davids more to the point. Sounds fucking terrifying.
Great post (brother). I imagine most people’s experience falls somewhere between bliss and yours.
“existentialism on the camino” - I might have to borrow that phrase .
Fuckin’ in the bushes… where did I hear that before?
Frigging in the rigging?
Maybe, dunno… these days as you can see I’m too spiritual and I don’t know much about the sins of the flesh.
Are you denying the human nature of Jesus?
Ooh, organic and grass fed?
Or just organic?
I volunteer to provide full-body henna tattoos (women only…men have too much body hair).
Are you forgetting my bird nature?
I’m definitely not forgetting your fish nature.
I fish men, AFAIK I’m not a fish myself.
I’d have had to know about it first.
My mother didn’t know man.