End of Mayan Calendar -Rainbow Gathering… Part 1
End of the Mayan Calendar Rainbow Gathering.
December 19th, 2012 in Palenque, Mexico
This journey started two years ago with the death of my best friend of 22 years, and it was her short lived life that became my catalyst to live what is left of my life to the fullest- to push the boundaries; having no limits and saying yes to just about everything (just about), and actually living the dream I have for my life. Learning to accept her death and move on with peace was found much, much later during my multiple and profoundly magical treks through the Sahara Desert in Tunisia, which changed the game completely. But let’s start at the beginning…
It all began with attending the December 12th, 2012 Rainbow Gathering in Palenque, Mexico (a must see) as it was going to be the end of the Mayan Calendar and supposedly the end of the world as we knew it to be was thought by some. I bought a Delorme In Reach (which is quite a handy device if you want to go way off grid) as I was planning to do a live feed stream of the event, but when I arrived there, sadly I realized this was not going to be an option.
For those who have never been to a Rainbow Gathering before, it is quite an experience. First, traveling around Mexico can be super fun as well and getting to Palenque where the gathering was held was crazy in itself. But once I arrived at the event, I knew that it was going to be special in more ways than one, and I knew that there would be something that would change in me by being there.
And I also learned very quickly that filming is heavily frowned upon at Rainbow Gatherings (maybe it was because mostly everyone is mostly or completely naked?), and creating a live feed was even more so taboo… so my apologies for lack of footage here- guess it was really one of those “you had to be there” moments in time…
Right when the truck dropped us off (I was fortunate enough to start my journey with an amazing girlfriend from CA- we call her Megajuggles) at the entrance, my first thought was – “wow- what a great location!” The gathering was held on a plantain farm that is still the most beautiful place I have camped at yet (and I have camped in many places around the world!) My friend was not feeling well, so we found a good spot for her to relax while I navigated and explored the area for a place to set up my amazing tent hammock and her gear as well. The farm was more like a fairy tale forest with lush green plants everywhere and a series of several waterfalls, large stones and small pools that ran through the center of it. Breathtaking.
After finding the center of the camp (where the kitchen, silk aerials, and main gathering circle could be found) I started searching for the perfect place for our things. There were already about 1000 people there and more arriving every minute so I got super lucky when I scored a spot for my hammock on the island in the middle of the river with trickling waterfalls that surrounded it. I also found a perfect place for Megan’s tent right across from there not too far from the rivers edge which was awesome. After claiming the spaces, I went back for my girl who was steadily getting worse with her stomach sickness but was relieved when I told her the excellent news that we had scored amazing camping spots and we could set up and make soup.
(EXTRA: If your are looking for the best backpack camping stove ever click here)
We set up and as she was getting pampered, I went to help in the make shift kitchen that was surprisingly well equipped. Really well equipped actually- they had everything – massive pots and pans (actually the biggest I have ever see) and all the other necessary tools needed to feed- what was it going to be? 4000 people?! Right – so I went to volunteer and learned that the whole system ran solely on volunteers- to prep, cook, clean, donate money to buy the food supplies – everything. Amazing I thought as I started cutting open coconuts (which is an awfully hard job I have to admit, but added a nice flavor to the fruit salad in the end). As we prepared the huge tubs with piles and piles of diced fruits and other foods, I met some very interesting people and heard some crazy travel stories which made for a colorful welcoming to this rainbow community.
After preparing the food, there was this loud shout from the kitchen – “Food is ready – 10 minutes!” After that some distance away, another group yelled the same thing, and this continued all the way down the river, the voices traveling further as if they were an echo in a tunnel getting softer and softer as they finally faded away completely. Effective I thought as I listened to how they communicated to the whole camp when it would be time to eat.
When it was time, everyone started arriving in a massive field that was next to the kitchen and river. We were then instructed to sit in a large spiral like circle, back to back, and before any food was served, there was a ceremony of sorts- some singing, some gratitude, some love. I like this I thought as I watched in amazement at this unfolding of community that was happening- that I was a part of.
When the rituals were finished, volunteers came along dragging the massive tubs of food- they had salad, fruits, and even rice with delicious curry vegetables – and they were crazy fast in serving everyone who was patiently waiting their turn. Impressed is an understatement. After dinner a large fire was lit in the center and as I roamed around listening to the various bits of conversation, laughter and drumming, I thought to myself, well if this is the end of the world, I am happy to be right here, right now.
This experience is already changing me… I can feel it all around me 🙂
Part Two… coming this week
of the possibility of the end of the world as we know it – December 21st, 2012 at exactly 12am
And this is where things get REALLY INSANELY INTERESTING..