. Butterfly Bill's Rainbow Stories

BB’s Home Page

Picture of Butterfly Bill with the Magic Hat

I at the
Rainbow Gathering
in West Virginia,
June 2005

It was the morning of Jan. 2, 1992, and I had been sleeping in Lafayette Park, across from the White House in D.C., with two Rainbow friends, Mojo and Georgia. I had laid on the ground a blue plastic tarp, laid some blankets over it, then lain on one side and turned the other side over me - making a taco out of myself - and gone to sleep. At about 4:00 I had to get up and take a leak, so I was sliding out of my creation trying to disturb it as little as possible so that the blankets would still be warm when I got back in between them. I heard giggling, then Georgia’s voice saying, “Do you mind if we call you Butterfly?” I asked why, and she said I looked like one coming out of its cocoon.

I thought about it for a few months, and decided - no, I didn’t. It was appropriate. I always flitted around from one thing to another at a gathering, never staying too long at one place (I remember somebody once saying, “Ya know, this is the first time I’ve seen you sitting down.”) I like to wear bright colors like one. And in many ways the Rainbow has made me come out of my cocoon and start to fly about. Coupled with my Babylon name (which I had never disliked), it made a nice alliteration.

I had decided previously that I would only take a name that was given to me by someone else, after hearing some of the pretentious appellations that others have given themselves. This one met that criterion.

Further down this page:

Other alt.gathering.rainbow
Rainbow Lore & Literature
Rainbow Hipstory
Forest Service Regulations
Rainbow Videos
Other Rainbow Sites

Butterfly Bill’s
Rainbow Gathering Stories

All of the material on this site that is named on this page has been posted to public forums or has been passed on from other sources on the internet. Reproduction of any of it on other websites is not only permitted, but encouraged. (This entire site will be replaced by a picture of a woman with ugly lipstick after I am deceased and no longer able to make payments to my web host company.) I ask for the courtesy of naming this site as a source.

Posts I made to alt.gathering.rainbow
and my Live Journal page:

The Cold Easy Gathering – my experiences at the 2004 California national Gathering (Read this first if you have never been to a gathering; I explain some of the Rainbow lingo here)

The Short and Sweet Gathering – the 2002 Michigan national Gathering

The Ad Astra per Aspera Gathering – the 2003 Utah national Gathering

The Seven Up Gathering – the 2005 West Virginia national Gathering

The Hard Walking Gathering – the 2006 Colorado national Gathering

The Muddy Trail Gathering – the 2007 Arkansas national Gathering

The Fallen Tree Gathering – the 2008 Wyoming national Gathering

The Sabbath Gathering – the 2009 New Mexico national Gathering

The Stairway to Heaven Gathering – the 2010 Pennsylvania national Gathering

I did not attend the 2011 Washington national Gathering

The Fat Kids Gathering – the 2012 Tennessee national Gathering

The above stories are woven into a single one, with some additional material, that covers the span from late 2000 until the gathering in 2012 in my book Rainbow Gatherings, vol. 2.

The Long Walking Gathering – the 2013 Montana national Gathering

The Heart Attack Hill Gathering – the 2014 Utah national Gathering

The Virgin Gathering – my very first gathering, the 1987 North Carolina national This story is the first chapter of my book Rainbow Gatherings, which tells of all my other gatherings up to 2000

The Grateful Dead – another chapter which tells of my first Grateful Dead concert and its parking lot scene

Hospital Story – my treatment at a veteran's hospital for congestive heart failure in the fall of 2000, an event that affected my gathering for many years after

Coming Out – how I came to wearing “women’s” clothes in public

A Good Story – an incident while driving home from the Arizona Gathering

BB goes to a Peace Conspiracy event – the Peace Conspiracy, a group similar to the Rainbow Family in their culture and anarchistic organization, but different in the way they tolerate some behaviors that are taboo at Rainbow Gatherings

I went to the Fall Fun Raiser – an attempt at a concert to raise funds for the Rainbow Guide

I went to the Fall Fund Raiser (not the Fun Raiser - that was last year) – the second year

Applegate Fall Fun Raiser, third year – the third and last year I went

I got to talk with Robbie last week – my friend Robbie Gordon's treatment by various cops when they tried to bust him for marijuana and they arrested everyone for not having a permit at a regional gathering in New Mexico in 2007

Monthly Meeting at Shannon Farm – a place where consensus really worked: the monthly meeting at an intentional community I once lived in

Memorable threads on alt.gathering.rainbow:

  BB’s home page   Top of this page

a.g.r. logo

Banking Reports – in 2 parts, where the Magic Hat money came from and went to in 2003 and 2004, and the reasons many people don’t want to be on the Banking Council

Death Camp – in 5 parts, a mother and a family of children challenge the Rainbow order with disruptive pranks

Goddessmyass – in 5 parts, one of a.g.r’s best trolls starts a discussion about men and women, the love that arises between them, and the frustrations that come with it

A meeting in San Francisco – in 7 parts, a meeting between some Rainbow gatherers and some high-level Forest Service officials stirs up controversy; most of the reasons gatherers are opposed to permits are expressed here

Miranda, Raven – in 6 parts, one of the most prolific posters to a.g.r. tells of her agonies and joys as a handicapped gatherer and as the mother of a son who goes to prison

The New Waveland Café – in 9 parts, a Rainbow style kitchen serves Hurricane Katrina refugees on the Mississippi Gulf coast.

Rainbow Book Update – The peculiar problems one has when trying to sell books about the Rainbow Family

Seed Camp Journal – John Tarleton tells of his experiences preparing for the 1999 Pennsylvania national gathering

Shanti Sena – in 9 parts, the voluntary security system used at all Rainbow Gatherings

Vision Council – in 5 parts, the council on the 7th of July that decides the location of the next year’s gathering

Rainbow Lore and Literature:

  BB’s home page   Top of this page

All Ways Free

Rainbow Camps & Kitchens

Rainbow Jokes

Rainbow Chants

Rap 107

All Ways Free – the Rainbow Family newspaper, distributed at the national gathering each July

An Encyclopedia of Rainbow Camps & Kitchens – with an emphasis on their distinctive customs

Rainbow Chants – that you might hear by a campfire at a gathering

The Canonical List of Rainbow Jokes – a collection of contributions from many alt.gathering.rainbow posters

The Rainbow Guide Mini-Manual – the latest version, as a web page

The Rainbow Guide Mini-Manual – the latest version, as a PDF file suitable for printing

The Rainbow Guide Mini-Manual – as it appeared in the 1995 edition; it has been translated into German and French

Rap 107 & Rap 701 – both on one page, as a PDF file suitable for printing

The Rainbow Raps – Raps 107, 121, 151, 420, 515, 516, & 911, as well as Pup 107, and the Access & Kidz Rap, all linked from the Online Rainbow Guide page

The 7 Garbage Chakras – Swami Mommy's paradigm upon which the recycling stations are set up at Gatherings

In Rainbow – a dog and his kid – LuAnn Turner’s cartoon about how to treat your dog at a gathering

Why Gather? – Garrick Beck explains why we go to gatherings even with all the difficulties

I’ll Make No Apology for Rainbow – Miranda, Raven explains why she goes to gatherings

Shanti Sena: the Basics – how we maintain security and keep the peace without resorting to violence

Shanti Sena Mini-Manual – Shanti Sena procedures in more detail

Shanti Sena Story – Carla Newbre tells of a time when Shanti Sena went well

How to make a Rainbow Guide – instructions for sorting and compiling Rainbow Guide entries with Microsoft Word & Excel

Rainbow Hipstory:

  BB’s home page   Top of this page

7 Garbage Chakras

A Dog & his Kid

The First Rainbow Gathering, Chapter 5 – the beginnings of the Rainbow Family, described by Phil Coyote

The First Rainbow – Now tells of his visit to the very first gathering in 1972

Armageddon Postponed – A Rolling Stone article about the first gathering in 1972

Wherever Two Are Gathered...
Further Letters on Rainbow’s Origins – two articles about the beginnings of the Rainbow Family by Jodey Bateman

Shanti Sena Hipstory – how Shanti Sena came to be, by Plunker

A Camp Hipstory – Plunker tells how A-Camp arose

Rainbow Recollections: 1996 Missouri
Rainbow Recollections: 1998 Arizona – two Gathering reviews written by Guano

The New Waveland Café – Hawker tells the story of a Rainbow style kitchen that served Hurricane Katrina refugees on the Mississippi Gulf coast in 2005

The Ozark Thanksgiving Gathering, near Billy Creek
Austin Update – two Thanksgiving Councils that happened in 2007, one in Oklahoma, one in Texas

Forest Service Regulations:

  BB’s home page   Top of this page

Forest Service logo

Title 36 Part 251 Subpart B – that deals with special uses of the National Forests, with the parts about permits

Title 36 Part 251 Subpart B précis – distilled down to the Rainbow relevant parts

Title 36 Part 261 – that tells what is prohibited on National Forest land

Court Cases – a condensed version of the history of the permit requirement, and challenges to it in court

The Permit – a more detailed history

Permit Herstory – Plunker’s letter to the Forest Service describing the history of permits from 1972 to 1983

A Brief Summary of Gathering/Forest Service Relationships – Karin Zirk’s history of permits and what the Forest Service has done to try to get the Family to sign them

Legal Hipstory – Plunker’s narration of the Rainbow Family's legal proceedings since the beginning

2006 and 2007 Operating Plans – examples of operating plans that were worked out between the gatherers and the resource rangers of the Forest Service

2010 Operating Plan – the operating plan that was accepted in lieu of a permit in 2010 in Pennsylvania

2011 Operating Plan – the operating plan that was accepted in 2011 in Washington

2013 Operating Plan – the operating plan that was accepted in 2013 in Montana

Noncommercial Group Uses Regulations FAQ – A Forest Service site about applying for permits

Rainbow Family Gathering 2013 Final Incident Summary – what the FS Law Enforcement Officers say to the public about the Rainbows

2010 US Forest Service FOIA Documents – what the FS Law Enforcement Officers say to each other about the Rainbows

Karin Zirk’s Rainbow site – an index of operating plans, clean-up reports, minutes of town meetings, FOIA documents, and other stuff of legal interest

Rainbow Videos that appear on other sites:
(to give you an idea of what one looks like
 if you have never been to a Rainbow Gathering)

  BB’s home page   Top of this page

Forest Service logo

Warriors of the Rainbow – a documentary recorded at the 2004 California national Gathering  [time: 25:31]

Rainbow Gathering West Virginia – recorded at the 2005 West Virginia national Gathering  [10:19]

We Love You – recorded at the 2008 Wyoming national Gathering  [39:37]

Rainbow Gathering 2009 – recorded at the 2009 New Mexico national Gathering  [8:59]

The Secret Life of Rainbow – recorded at the 2011 Washington national Gathering  [49:52]

Rainbow Gathering 2013 – recorded at the February 2013 Ocala regional Gathering in Florida  [10:21]

1st Rainbow Gathering: Granby, Colorado 1972 – in 2 parts

Part 1  [4:03] (There will be an advertisement appearing at first)
Part 2  [3:54] (There will be an advertisement appearing at first)

Experience the Rainbow - 1978 – in 5 parts, recorded at the 1978 Oregon national Gathering

Part 1  [7:37]
Part 2  [8:25]
Part 3  [8:13]
Part 4  [8:38]
Part 5  [9:20]

2013 Rainbow Gathering Wrap Up – A Forest Service ranger explains the Rainbow Gathering to a meeting at a Rotary Club in Dillon, Montana  [42:40]

Rainbow Spirit – Chants and songs recorded shortly before the 1997 Oregon national Gathering  [2:08:24]

The Rainbow Musical 2011 – performed (in English) at a Rainbow Gathering in Portugal; written by Tom Thumb, who also wrote a book, Somewhere Under the Rainbow  [36:18]

Bread of Life – pictures of a large Christian camp at the 2004 California national Gathering  [9:44]

Krishna Kitchen – pictures of Hindu chanting and kitchen activity at the 2005 West Virginia national Gathering  [27:31]

Jerusalem Camp – pictures of Jewish worship at the 2008 Wyoming national Gathering  [2:50]

Fat Kids Kitchen – several of the kids respond to an interview inside their bus  [17:22] (There will be an advertisement appearing at first)

Instant Soup Kitchen – jamming on the afternoon of July 2, 2011 at the Washington annual Gathering  [3:43]

Sweet Om Alabama Kitchen – recorded at the 2013 Montana national Gathering  [5:52]

Rainbow Gathering ~ Dealing with Freedom – in 2 parts, recorded at the 2009 New Mexico national Gathering, with an emphasis on conflict resolution & Shanti Sena

Part 1  [13:39] (There will be an advertisement appearing at first)
Part 2  [11:45] (There will be an advertisement appearing at first)

Shanti Sena Hipstories for Rainbow – Barry “Plunker” Adams talks in a coffeehouse in Missoula, Montana about the origins of the Rainbow Gathering and his experiences doing Shanti Sena  [59:57] (Plunker speaks for only the first 33 minutes)

Colorado Rainbow Gathering Roadblock 2006 – Rainbow gatherers form a circle around armed Forest Service law enforcement officers enforcing a blockade and make them retreat, on June 21, 2006  [9:26]

2008 Wyoming Rainbow Gathering Kid Village Attack – On July 3, 2008, after Forest Service law enforcement officers have taken an arrested Rainbow brother thru Kid Village, a mistaken call of "Fire!" has been raised, and many Rainbows who were at Dinner Circle in the main meadow have converged on the kitchen, a confrontation arises where the police respond by firing pellet guns and threatening with live ammunition  [9:27]

Other Rainbow sites:

BB’s home page   Top of this page

welcomehome.org – the first “unofficial” site, with links to more

welcomehere.org – A good place for information on upcoming gatherings

The Online Rainbow Guide – with all the Rainbow Raps

Karin Zirk’s blog – information on preparing for the gatherings and news about gathering happenings

Washington 2011
Montana 2013
Nevada/Utah 2014
Midwest or New England 2015

alt.gathering.rainbow – the Usenet group, viewed on Google Groups (There has not been as much activity here in the last few years as there was ten to twenty years ago; most of the Rainbow discussion now is spread out among several Facebook groups. Many of these can be found by just typing “Rainbow” into their search window)


Butterfly Bill’s Facebook page


BB’s Home Page

This page was last updated on January 8, 2015.