The Rainbow Gathering, a huge annual convergence of counterculture people that happens somewhere different every year also uses the Welcome Home saying as its motto. I believe "Welcome Home" is also posted at the Oregon Country Fair, another similar gathering occurring in Veneta, Oregon every year in July. It's also a phrase I hear every year when I go to the Sundance each year held at the spiritual and cultural encampment near Mt. Hood, Oregon every year.
What do all these gatherings have in common? A tribal way of living for a few days. I think that this kind of event returns us to our tribal instincts and indeed we are HOME for a few days when we go to these gatherings. The Rainbow Gatherings, Country Fair, Sundance, and Renaissance Fairs all feature communal cooking, public dancing, music, bartering and sharing, campfires, and a way of relating to each other that I rarely find in today's busy, hectic life. Honoring Elders, valuing differences, singing and laughing together: these are things that are hard to find in our superficial, conservative society, yet they are the cornerstones of tribal life.
When I hear Welcome Home, I am glad to be taken back to a more primitive side of myself, and it's always a little difficult to return to my ordinary life after the tribal respite. Have you ever noticed how patchouli and sacred sage smoke don't wash off well? The smell lingers.