Even if we prefer to talk about positive, creative action rather than focussing on negativity, no explanation of the RCL vision would be complete without stating the obvious fact that our planet is going through devastating, man-made changes that threaten life on earth. 1.5 acres of rainforest is being cut down every second; agriculture pumps poison into our food, the soil and the water; our oceans, overfished and full of plastic, are dying; the air is polluted, the climate changing, the polar ice melting, the next nuclear disaster waiting to happen – in short, scientists describe our era as the greatest “mass extinction event” on earth since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
This situation is fuelled by a dysfunctional, unethical, unjust and outdated global political, social and economic system of human organization, based on increasing consumption and economic growth on a planet with limited resources. Capitalism is a mathematical equation which doesn’t add up; the system is consuming itself in the name of profit.
Human beings are increasingly separating themselves from nature and therefore also from their own true nature. We fail to understand planet earth as a complete ecological system and our place within it.
Our current global living solution is grossly unsustainable and drastic changes will take place whether we like it or not.
Much human energy is wasted on activities which only serve to perpetuate the system. Many people seek their freedom from the oppression of this system by succeeding within it, materialistically speaking, and therefore fuelling a vicious circle. The people of the world are ready for true change but most of us cannot even imagine an alternative answer to the vital questions of how we will feed ourselves, receive healthcare and raise our children.
Many of us hope for political solutions to these problems but nation states act only in self-interest in a global struggle for resources and power; the only global solution offered by politics seems to be war.
The answer lies within each and every one of us. We are waking up to our individual and collective responsibility. Many now see themselves within a greater context and are prepared to use their lives for the benefit of all. We must be the change we wish to see in the world.
We are creating a visible alternative living solution of true freedom, dignity and equality and a life in peace with ourselves, each other and Mother Earth. Our world is based on openness and inclusiveness, tolerance, non-commercialism and sharing. It’s about the freedom of each and the unity of all; it’s the literal belief that we are all brothers and sisters. We have to transform our current fear of lack into a widespread trust in abundance if we want to change the direction in which humanity is heading.
We peacefully distance ourselves from the destructive and exploitative parts of the system by manifesting a legally protected independence, yet we consciously interact with the system, even through capitalist means, when this makes the most sense. Rather than cutting ourselves off completely, we stay connected in order to influence our surroundings, in anticipation of the day “capitalism” becomes “shareism” and all becomes one. We focus on creating the reality of our dreams rather than fighting against what we don’t like. We grow our own food and create our own energy; we maintain our health by drinking clean water, breathing fresh air and living in a holistic way where everything that enters our bodies is treated as medicine; our children grow up in communities where living is learning... We fulfil our basic needs by living in oneness with nature.
To do this we need access to lands and the legal protection to remain there. But we don’t believe in land ownership and borders; the land does not belong to humans, humans belong to the land. We want to free lands from human exploitation and return them to their rightful owner – Mother Earth – and take on roles as guardian communities.
There are many similar visions, lands, communities and networks already in existence in the world, but as most insist on private ownership and hierarchical decision-making they often feel isolated and, while blocking the perceived negative energies they seek to avoid, they also fail to attract the energy they hope to receive.
People need more land and the land needs more people to create abundance in sustainable communities – RCL is aiming to bring them together in a tightly integrated network whose openness ensures a free flow of energy, people and donations and whose non-hierarchical structure truly empower individuals and communities through a real sense of belonging.
An old Native American prophecy, also reflected in many other indigenous cultures around the world, states that “when the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.”
The rainbow family – an unorganised and leaderless group of people from all corners of the world and all walks of life who gathers in open, temporary communities in nature following a “leave no trace” policy – has been in existence for more than 40 years. The vision of RCL was born from the wishes of the rainbow family to make their gatherings permanent and sustainable.
At a large global gathering in Palenque, Mexico, at the end of the Mayan calendar in December 2012, talking circles to agree on a common vision for a network of permanent communities following the ideology of rainbow gatherings was attended by hundreds of people from around the world. The outcome, after a week of discussions, was the Rainbow Crystal Land Declaration of Common Intention (DCI) version 1, the start of a Scouting Mission for land in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the establishment of the first RCL community in Costa Rica in March 2013. The DCI was amended and expanded into a version 2 in Costa Rica and at the world rainbow gathering on Vancouver Island, Canada, in September 2013, and the Costa Rica community consensed to create the Scouting Mission in the Andes in March 2014. The Hungarian national rainbow gathering in July 2014 gave birth to a community which currently seeks RCL status. After a legal review by professional lawyers, version 3 of the DCI was consensused at the RCL in Costa Rica (still technically the only RCL and therefore a Global Consensus) in August 2014. A land in Poland, already owned by a Foundation which seems close to fulfill our legal guidelines, was offered as an RCL at the world rainbow gathering in Hungary in 2014. Simultaneously, an invitation to seed a community in Peru with an intention to become an RCL, although the issue of land ownership is still unclear, might bring the Scouting Mission in the Andes to a happy ending. In February 2015 the original Scouting Mission in Oaxaca, Mexico, is again picking up pace, but following a slightly modified RCL vision called "Healing Crystal Land", and it remains to be seen if the RCL Network will accept this expansion of the vision in a future Global Consensus. Lands have also been offered as RCLs in both Brazil and Fiji but no community has so been seeded.
This document or constitution is a valuable tool that enables us to stay connected and follow the same path, and to open up and communicate the vision accurately to the world. Still, the DCI is only a document that reflects the true vision that lives and grows in our hearts, not the other way around. Whilst being an open framework that will change as our network grows, rather than being a set of strict rules, the DCI also contains certain radical founding principles that shouldn’t be watered out.
The DCI is divided into four parts. Part I describes our general vision and values.
Our long-term vision is of a global garden of abundance where everything we need is freely available and therefore all borders, land ownership and systems of control or organisation, including RCL, become unnecessary and simply disappear.
To do so, we will start by creating pockets of free lands wherever we can and welcome people to come and create communities that live and work there. We don’t primarily work for money; instead we will cultivate the land in a responsible way and harvest everything we need from nature – food, water, energy, building materials and other resources. A harmonious co-existence between humans and nature in a complete ecological system where all the parts benefit, flourish and persist through time is what we mean by sustainability. We have to find a balance between protecting and rehabilitating the natural ecosystems and using the land to fulfil our needs.
It would be difficult for each community to produce everything it needs in isolation, both in terms of limitations of human energy and what can be cultivated in a certain climate zone. But a worldwide network of such lands that freely share their products with each other can achieve self-sufficiency. Caravans - ideally powered by renewable energy sources, such as bicycles, horses or sailboats – can spread the food, seeds, knowledge, human energy and other products throughout the network.
While our communities are open to everyone who hears the calling of our common vision, it is more important to be sustainable than to be open. This is where the central idea of “carrying capacity” comes in - any piece of land has a limit of how many humans it can sustain, as is the case with all species on earth. In nature, the maximum density of animals is set naturally according to the food supply and the social structure of the animals. With human beings it really is much the same thing, but this limit can be set by the community inhabiting the land. This is simply an ecological limit demanded by Mother Earth which applies to all humans equally. If we go over this limit, we must either make use of unsustainable agricultural techniques (such as chemicals) to increase food production, or use money to bring in food from the outside, both of which are outside of our vision. If we are too many people on a piece of land, we must create Scouting Missions to find new lands and create new communities.
We also subscribe to the idea of “social sustainability” - there is a limit to the amount of people who can live harmoniously and cooperate effectively within a system of consensus-making on a day-to-day basis.
So our RCL communities are open to all within the limits of sustainability; we do not discriminate against anyone because of gender, age, race, nationality, religion, culture, beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. The people living in the communities are free and equal; we include, share, cooperate and solve conflicts peacefully; and we show deep respect for all creatures.
“Equality” can have many meanings; one of them is that we see everyone who is present in an RCL as a community member; never, for example, as a “tourist” or a “customer”. While greater respect might naturally and organically be shown to a person of greater integrity and with greater experience, we see ourselves as having equal value irrespective of how much time we have spent on a particular piece of land. Our communities welcome all who share our fundamental intentions and wish to live in and contribute to a community; we welcome visitors, nomads and those who wish to spend a long period of time or stay permanently alike.
Everyone in our communities has the right to take part in all decisions. No one else can decide something for you if you don’t agree. The community decides communally how the land, buildings and resources will be used. “Openness” doesn’t mean that external forces can exploit and remove the resources of the land without the permission of the community living there.
We know we have to use money to bring food and resources in from the outside world, at least in the beginning, but in the future we believe that money will not be needed anymore, that we will share whatever we don’t need without expecting anything in return. Little by little we will stop using money or any other form of exchange within RCLs, between RCLs and with our neighbours.
Part II of the DCI is more complicated because it deals with the practical organization of the RCL communities.
It firstly deals with our decision-making processes. The basic principle is that everyone who would be affected by a decision must be given a chance to participate in the decision-making and have their concerns taken into account. A consensus is reached when all concerns have been responded to and everyone is satisfied by the decision. A natural, unspoken consensus can exist in the general vibration of a group or it can be formalised in a talking circle where everyone is given the right to speak without being interrupted.
As such, everyone currently present in an RCL Community makes decisions on matters related to that community and that land; we call it Community Consensus. If a group of RCLs is owned by an RCL Organization (more on that later), everyone currently present in all those RCLs must be given the opportunity to participate in decisions dealing with the running of the Organization by making Organization Consensuses. Finally, decisions relating to the whole RCL Network, such as changes to the DCI or the allocation of global resources, must be taken by everyone currently present in all RCLs everywhere in what we call a Global Consensus. Finally, the donation of a land to the RCL Network may come with a condition, such as “never cut down this forest”. The RCL Community considering the acceptance of the land must judge if such a condition follows the vision of RCL and, if so, turn the condition into a Founding Consensus for the new land. Such a consensus is only changeable in special, unforeseeable circumstances through a Global Consensus.
A Founding Consensus can also be used to give an RCL community a fundamental common intention beyond that of the RCL Network in general, such as a certain spiritual practice or the focus of communal energy towards a common project, be it cooperation with local indigenous tribes or the creation of a circus.
We make consensuses in face-to-face circles, never on the internet. But we may use our Common Website (www.rainbowcrystalland.org) as a tool to collect all the decisions of the various RCL Communities into a Global Consensus (and possibly an Organization Consensus if there is a big distance between the RCLs owned by an RCL Organization). Any RCL Community can make a Community Consensus to put a Global Consensus Request on our Common Website and all the other RCLs must consider this request and through their own Community Consensus either agree with or block the request. All the Community Consensuses on the same matter will be collected on the website and if everyone is in agreement, a Global Consensus is reached. If such a consensus is not easily reached and the internet becomes a discussion forum to reach the decision, a more suitable way would be to make a Global Consensus for a time and a place, anywhere in the world, to hold a face-to-face circle with the power to independently reach a Global Consensus.
Our Common Website (with user-selectable privacy levels) is a communal project that will help us to communicate, receive donations and to enable us to be open about what goes on with donations and legal issues. An “Observer” from each RCL Community, selected by Community Consensus, can request such information from other RCLs. But beyond checking for Global Consensus Requests at least every two months, no one is forced to be on the internet. We hope each RCL will at least include the name of the community, a country and the contact email of the community’s Internet Focalizer in order to aid communication and to enable the RCL to participate in Global Consensuses.
We want to grow slowly and make a few communities that really do work instead of a lot that don’t work. We want to help new communities stay true to the common vision and we want to help them get started. We also want to give potential donors the trust that the money they give really goes towards fulfilling our vision and not into someone’s pocket. A new RCL or Scouting Mission looking for new land must therefore be accepted through a Community Consensus in another RCL or at a world rainbow gathering in order to be welcomed into the network. It is possible that some communities out there will exploit the name “RCL” but only those communities accepted by other RCLs through a Community Consensus are guaranteed to follow this vision.
An RCL is defined as a land with a permanent, sustainable community that fulfils our guidelines for legal protection. The land and everything on it, except personal belongings, is under the guardianship of the community, and the usage of the land, buildings and resources is decided through Community Consensuses. No individual will own or be able to sell parts of the land or the structures on it, but the community can give a person the right to use a part of the land for a project or to build a house and to live there if this is judged to be beneficial for the community. You must get the permission of the entire community before you make changes to the land or the structures.
A Scouting Mission can be created through Community Consensus in an RCL or at a world rainbow gathering. A Scouting Mission will search for land to receive as a donation or to purchase. We don’t wish to fuel the neo-colonial system of land-grabbing from locals and natives by throwing money at them; we instead wish to secure lands for the benefit of all, we want locals to share their lands for reasons beyond financial gain, and we wish to create communities that are as open to locals as to anyone else.
Part II of the DCI also points out that each community and each individual inside a community are responsible for themselves. You enter RCLs at your own risk and you have to be personally responsible for all your actions, and especially if you choose to break the local law. If you hurt yourself, there will be no one to sue.
Appendix A of the DCI is a checklist of things to keep in mind when an RCL Community considers accepting another RCL into the network; such as the donor’s understanding of RCL, clarity on legalities, the existence of drinking water and if there’s a group of people ready and willing to go and work and create a community.
Appendix B deals with the legalities surrounding land ownership. This Appendix can be referred to when setting up an RCL Organization and when an RCL considers accepting a new RCL Organization into the RCL Network - just like accepting a new RCL, a new RCL Organization must also be accepted into the network through a Community Consensus in another RCL. Finding legal solutions is just as much a process of evolution as any other aspect of the RCL Network.
As free human beings living in self-organizing communities, we do not need a legal structure internally for ourselves. We choose respect and trust over control, politics and bureaucracy.
While our long-term aim is to create a world in which law and bureaucracy is obsolete, we have to interact with the legal system in order to have the protection we need to create abundant communities in peace. We can’t simply declare land as “free” and expect the legal system to recognize it. This system needs a name on a land registry document.
Registering the land in the name of one or more elected individuals from the community is of course an easy way out but this is a solution we seek to avoid for a very good reason – it will create a legal hierarchy of rights and responsibilities that might disturb the natural flow of the community. The individual(s) will be given legal rights that can be abused to the detriment of the community, and likewise, the individual(s) will carry legal responsibilities on their shoulders that could be abused by the community. It would be very unfair for one or more individuals to be legally responsible for everything that happens in an open community.
We must protect our own right to be on the land, an owner from responsibility and the land from exploitation.
Our ultimate ideal is to peacefully achieve full political autonomy within liberated lands that are accepted and protected as such by the external legal system. This will no doubt be very difficult. One possible way to do so, if a very dedicated lawyer feels such a calling, could be to achieve a status as an indigenous tribe in the UN which in turn might give us rights to establish autonomous indigenous reserves within nation states.
The temporary solution is to find ways to give us some kind of legal protection to stay on the land forever, to ensure equal rights and responsibilities for everyone present and to maintain our ideal of decision-making by consensus of the community. While we do not need to be the owners of the land, the most likely legal scenario will be some kind of common land ownership through a legally recognised organization.
Our ideals will guide our RCLs to find suitable legal solutions for themselves according to the widely differing legal systems in the different nation states of the world. Each RCL must explore the local legal system (and its loopholes!) to find a solution that comes as close to our ideals as possible.
The answer might be an NGO, a non-profit organization, a trust, cooperative, legally recognized social movement or even a religion. If the RCL Organization must have a director or board of directors, could the Organization’s internal bylaws limit their powers? Could everyone on the land automatically become members of the Organization and could the Organization’s decision-making process be defined as consensus of its members? Or could everyone present in an RCL become a director? Could an individual owner simply sign some kind of parallel legal contract that limits both their rights and responsibilities? The owner might even be an external organization as long as our ideals are maintained. We obviously need to enlist the help of lawyers who can think outside of the box! Our DCI and the explanation you’re currently reading would be valuable tools to aid the lawyers in their understanding of what we are seeking.
We prefer trusteeship over outright ownership in countries which acknowledge trust law, but we in any case want to legally state that we are the guardians of the land on behalf of all of humanity, Mother Earth and all beings.
By saying that no one should receive a salary or profit financially, we mean that the RCL Organization should be non-profit and reinvest all profits in the community and that no individual should have a legal entitlement to a salary through the RCL Organization. This should curb corruption and induce trust in donors. It does not, however, limit the community’s way to handle money any way it wishes through consensus on the community level. Although we in the end wish to be free from all kinds of commercialism, a community may use an RCL Organization to generate a communal income as long as no individual has a legal entitlement to any part of that income or the potential profit. The RCL Community runs the RCL Organization, not the other way around.
Finally, we do not wish to borrow money on a community or organization level for several reasons - we don’t want to participate in an exploitative and enslaving financial system, the responsibility for such a loan might be confused in an RCL, and being in debt will force the community to focus on generating money. We only accept unconditional donations.
Firstly, we need donations of land. RCL only works if a land is donated completely unconditionally. A land owner must be prepared to legally sign over the land to an RCL Organization. If a land owner wants special rights to the land, it would be better if he or she divides the land, retains a private part of the land and unconditionally donates another. Land can also be found or purchased through a Scouting Mission. The legal process involved in receiving a donation of land and finding a suitable solution for ownership is an important part of the work of the community living in the RCL and is beyond what we expect from the donor.
An RCL might be situated on any piece of land that can support permanent, sustainable living. Although the main kitchen of some rainbow gatherings traditionally is vegan, the only way for communities in the far north and south of the planet to sustain themselves might be through hunting and fishing. Irrespective of an RCL community’s wishes and chosen living solution, we believe that all animals are to be treated with respect and humility.
The easier the access to the RCL, the lower the threshold of motivation needed for people to arrive. Wild, remote lands may therefore work particularly well as RCLs. This will help to ensure that people come to RCLs for the right reasons and therefore create stronger communities. RCLs close to towns, travellers’ trails and tourist attractions may more easily be overwhelmed by the energy of those who seek to take advantage of what the RCL has to offer and may therefore have to operate with a stricter control of the openness of the community, such as an enforced carrying capacity, a minimum period of stay, a certain proportional composition of visitors versus permanent residents, etc.
We want a large proportion of each RCL to be set aside for the maintenance or rehabilitation of the natural ecosystems and original vegetation of the land.
Lands that can’t support sustainable living or lands earmarked for protection without human interference can also be included in the RCL Network as “Sub-RCLs”; they might be owned by an RCL Organization and managed by a nearby RCL Community. Even city houses could be linked to RCLs in this way; they might become cultural centres and places where nearby RCLs can offer the overflow of its abundance as free meals to the city population.
Secondly, we need people to find common visions and come together to create sustainable communities where everyone feels welcome, valued and empowered.
The communities are “open” – what does that mean?
It means that there’s a sign saying “welcome home” at the entrance to the community, not “go away”. It means that we welcome all who wish to live in community, without discrimination but within the natural limits of sustainability.
We are all of equal worth. Exclusion is never a complete, long-term solution to any problem. Any solution for the world must include everyone. We are all the colours of the rainbow. We are the full range of diversity yet we are one. Some people fear the issues that openness can bring to communities yet we see that being closed does not truly solve these issues but instead create other ones. When open communities don’t work it is because the community is not strong enough, not because of the openness. Open communities that do work are potentially much stronger than hierarchical communities. With strong, continuous, shared intentions and visions, an open intentional community will benefit from being open and the world will benefit from the community. While our DCI offers a general intention for a network of communities, each community will benefit from having their own specific intentions and specific roles within the network.
We hope that each RCL will enjoy a beneficial mix of vibrant energy and a helping hand from short-term visitors, stability and the ability to focalize projects from long-term visitors, and vital continuity and vision-carrying efforts from permanent residents. It is absolutely essential that the longer-term community members operate a strong welcome centre for new arrivals in order to harmonize energies, synchronize efforts and to activate transient energies for the benefit of the land and the community. Regular talking circles on both practical and personal levels are of equal importance.
On a practical level, we hope that each RCL will at the very least be able to offer new arrivals a welcome and a tour, a place to pitch a tent and some communal meals. Whilst the expectation of some kind of community involvement from new arrivals is obvious, we also have to allow people to land and find their feet. This might not happen overnight. We are moving from a system of rules and “being forced to do things we don’t really want to do in order to support ourselves and our families” to a new way of willingly contributing our energies to communities for the greater good, and while we have to accept that we are all at different stages of this process of inner transformation we also have to actively work to find balance on this level.
It is vital that RCL Communities attract permanent residents. How? It could be draining to live permanently in an open community. The answer is probably the same as to the question of how an open community can deal with transient and inharmonious energy. Our vision and our DCI offer a few protection mechanisms:
• “Carrying capacity” – a limit to the maximum number of residents can be imposed.
• “All land-use projects or projects involving the structural change of the RCL require Community Consensus” – no one can make an important decision without your consent.
• “The ownership of all structures and resources on RCLs are communal but the usage may be private depending on community agreements” – privacy is possible! You may ask your community to let you build a permanent house and to have the right to use it privately. The community will approve if it judges this to be beneficial for the community. The community must carefully consider such an agreement of privacy. Communities could lose a lot of strength if they are full of empty houses – we are not building holiday homes! A house-builder must accept not to own the house and that the house will be used for communal purposes when the builder is not present. What happens when the builder leaves the community for an indeterminate amount of time and then returns is for each community to consider. The builder shouldn’t expect to be able to move straight back in if someone else is living in the house unless this has been clarified with the community. We also believe that an RCL wouldn’t follow our vision if it divides the whole land into private-usage pockets and fills the carrying capacity with permanent residents, which in effect puts an end to its openness.
• “...every person has the right not to be on the internet through any kind of media” – RCL guarantees personal freedom from the internet and, for example, that exact directions to your land and community will not be posted publicly unless the community so wishes. You are in control of your community’s privacy on our Common Website.
• “We show deep love, respect and humility in our interactions” and we focus on “the evolution of consciousness”. Open communities require open hearts to function. We take an active part in the personal development of everyone. An open heart means direct, open communication. Loving and respectful interactions might sometimes mean gentle, compassionate nurturing, care and encouragement and at other times the most effective healing may be brought about by brutally honest, ego-breaking communication. We resolve conflicts before they become energy blocks that affect the entire community. Heart-sharing and emotional release circles have proven very effective in freeing blocks and harmonizing personal relationships. This is a never-ending process. As a final resort, anyone is free to ask a destructive individual to leave the community, seek learning elsewhere and return when they are ready.
We have to show deep respect and humility towards existing communities, guardians, cultures and land-management projects even if a piece of land is “free” and a community is “open”. A level of cooperation that values giving at least as much as taking is fundamental to RCL philosophy. Organic growth and common sense is more important than blind adherence to guidelines in a document. In the end, RCL offers freedom for communities to interpret the DCI guidelines in the way that works best for them!
Another aspect of utmost practical importance is our relationship with locals and neighbours. We are not here to repeat the European mistakes of the last five hundred years. The locals are our teachers, not our subjects. They have probably lived on the land for generations and their knowledge and co-operation can make or break an RCL. We value indigenous knowledge and ways of living and offer our support to indigenous people around the world. When we offer to share our last piece of bread with our neighbours we can establish a culture of unconditional giving and a deep sense of unity beyond the imaginary borders of our RCLs. We are distancing ourselves from the artificial man-made systems of greed and exploitation but we are facing the real world and the real people within it with open hearts.
Finally, while we make no rules on the network level, we want to make everyone aware that RCL Communities might choose to follow such rainbow gathering traditions as the limited use of alcohol and chemical drugs, the freedom from the vibration of electronics in communal areas, and the emphasis on great sensitivity when taking photos or filming. Always ask for permission! Some RCL Communities may also intend to limit the use of plants of power to certain times and certain ways.
If a rainbow gathering is a school to awaken our inner knowledge of how to live in nature without leaving a trace, RCL awakens us to fulfill our basic needs in harmonious co-existence with the earth, or to “leave a sustainable trace”.
The RCL vision demands hard work from dedicated individuals and communities. We enter these lands with an awareness of the social work involved – harmonizing open communities is a continuous process. We must be willing to pour our blood, sweat and tears into the soil. Creating abundance and self-sufficiency takes many years of hard work but this is a small price to pay for the privilege of being involved in such a process, of caring for nature and our fellow human beings and manifesting peace on earth. Our efforts will in the end be rewarded by nature when she does most of the work for us and we will be free to simply exist in peaceful, thriving, vibrant, harmonious communities where our time is spent on personal development, fostering meaningful relationships, learning, sharing and expressing ourselves through art.
All that’s needed is for people to take that step into the unknown and to truly live this vision.
Welcome to our common spiritual quest. Welcome home!