Farming with Reverence

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About GreenFriends Farm,  by Guinevere McGregor

The mission of GreenFriends Farm is to advance innovation and integration of ecologically-conscious farming and land management practices through education and demonstration.

Greenfriends Farm is the organization of individuals and resources with the goal of applying Amma’s teachings of selfless service to care for Mother Nature by developing and managing an agricultural based directive on the M.A. Center land in San Ramon, California.

Greenfriends Farm has three main areas of focus: Agricultural development and crop production; land stewardship of the M.A. Center land; and educational outreach through workshops, courses, and internships.

The agricultural component of Greenfriends Farm has the primary goal of developing an ecologically based farming system for food crop production on the arable lands of the M.A. Center property. Bychildplanting applying innovative organic farming techniques to an overall farm ecology design based upon permaculture principles, safe and healthy food crops will be produced for sales, donations, and ashram use while enhancing and maintaining soil health and land quality.

The land stewardship component of Greenfriends Farm shares the vision of caring for Amma’s San Ramon ashram land, watershed, plants, and wildlife by helping to develop an overall land management plan that recognizes the potentials and possibilities to utilize land resources to meet ashram goals, while protecting, restoring, and preserving the land ecology.

The educational program of Greenfriends Farm offers course workchildrenplant and experience in permaculture, ecologically based farming, and land stewardship directions by attracting educators and experts in these fields to teach classes while utilizing the ashram farm and land resources as a living laboratory for innovative research and demonstration.

Green Friends Farm also strives to educate families on steps they can do to conserve water and energy. We also strive to offer opportunities for families to connect with nature and all her gifts.

For more about Green Friends Farm: www.commonvision.org

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Gratitude for Mountains

 We offer Gratitude for Mountains

The mountains inspire us by their great beauty, the way they lift the earth toward the sky, the way they offer us vision. So many spiritual seekers and teachers have gone to the mountaintops to offer prayer and receive guidance. Mountain spirits and Stone people speak to us of ancient mysteries and are generous in sharing their wisdom.

Working with the air and waters, Mountains weave weather and waterfalls. A single Mountain may cradle a whole series of varying ecosystems, nourishing multitudinous life forms.

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And within mountains are the buried treasure of gems and minerals and fuels which we humans have loved and desired through so much of our history.

We are thankful for these treasures and also we are sorry—for all the depredation that our mining them has caused. We ask forgiveness of the Mountains for our ancient and present excesses and we ask for the release of the greed and short-sightedness that still leads to plundering and destruction.

We offer our intention to honor and treasure the Mountains and Minerals, the Crystals and the Stones, as the revered Beings they are, to learn from them and to live in a manner harmonious with their well-being.

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Have you had an inspiration on a Mountain? Or become intimate with the quiet speech of Stone People? Do you work with Crystals and Gems to channel healing? Or perhaps you have been miner, or you havelived in a mountain cave. Maybe you are an activist showing your concern for “mountaintop removal”, or you are a guide for mountain hikers. We invite you to share your experiences, in honor of the Mountains. Post a comment, or email aprilthanhauser@gmail.com, if you’d like to contribute an article to our newsletter.

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Tending the Fire

By Mark Carlin In any story telling about the nature of fire it must first be said that speaking about fire means speaking of a great relative.

The little bit I know comes first and foremost from an older way of photo 2seeing and being in relations with fire. The stories that follow live in me during all my fire tendings, whether in the home during the long wood-burning season here in the north country where the resetting of logs and kindling and birch bark is a required morning ritual, or in those ceremonial outdoor fires used for sacred intents.

Out in the rolling hills and big skies of southern South Dakota, past western Minnesota's fertile dark farm land held in the bowels of the great Red River Basin, past the old quarries of red pipe stone where ancient peoples still come to gather the solidified blood of their ancestors to use for prayer, over the mighty Missouri River and out toward the wind and the prairie grasses, out in a small reservation community, there are people keeping their annual ceremonial sun dance tradition alive. I met an old man there who tended the fire. He shared with me stories of his younger days, when he worked on a road crew, turning the wagon trail into a road through his territory. While most of the attention was focused on the events at the dance ground, this man was always in the back, always on the side at those sacred ceremonial grounds. Younger men and women came to assist and learn from him, through the days and nights of the 4 day dance. Without holding court for teaching, but simply by serving the fire and the stones and the people, this man shared his wisdom: he had been doing this for a long, long time.

Building a fire requires larger base wood, mid-size branches or split wood, birch bark, pine needles or dry leaves, and finally very small kindling or twigs. People often place paper or flammable things on the earth, top that with a few pieces of wood, light a match to it, immediately add on some larger pieces of wood, and then crouch around blowing like heck and hyperventilating.

Instead:

Build a fire like assembling pieces of its body, with respect to its life. Set a foundation first, like bones that will hold the body together. Inside, place wooden heart, liver, gall bladder, intestines and lungs. Atop place skins of bark, needles, cones. And then atop that add hair of dry and fine twigs. All the while be mindful of the balance between space and matter. Like a newborn, for fire to birth into life requires room to grow, to emerge. Fire wants to breathe, allow enough space and room for its body to spread, and not suffocate. Ask permission, especially when making an outdoor fire. Ask for help from the winds that they may breathe gently into her, into him, and ask that no harm come and promise that in return this fire will be tended well.

In Bedford, Indiana one time I was attending a large mens’ councilIMG_1192 where we concerned ourselves with ceremonial aspects within our organization. It was a 3- day event, and it was customary that a central fire be started and tended all the while. Because it was multi-generational and we all were learning from each other, the responsibilities of tending the fire were handed to several young men, energetic and strong by nature. During our time the fire ebbed and flowed as it will, sometimes becoming quite smoky and stubborn. The tenders, not wanting to fail in their obligations, felt they had to work the fire intensively at times. In the morning of the final day a senior traditional man who had traveled quite far spoke up. He said "I have been watching this sacred fire being tended and I thank you for doing this for our gathering. But I must tell you, it hurts my heart to see how you treat old Grandmother. You need to be more gentle with her, for she has been around for a long long time. She needs a respect that all elders deserve. You must not toss more wood on, or use a fork or shovel meanly or sternly. You need to treat her arms and legs and body as you would your own grandparent, you need to carry her, work her positions with the same tenderness as you would your own grandmother. She is wise and generous, and deserving of greater respect."

The Wildness of Fire

Bradford Goshorn is a ceremonial fire tender and also an active member of a ‘wildland hot-shot crew,’ working to suppress the wildfires in Oregon and Northern California. In this article he responds to questions posed by a member of ONE: Do you see fire as a being?

Absolutely. Fire is sensitive to our thoughts, words and actions, just Fireas any human being is. Around ceremonial fires I have noticed the fire completely change, just from my having a different thought pattern.

There was a wildfire in the Santa Cruz Mountains a few years back that defied fire science. On my friend’s property was a peace pole with prayers for world peace written in several languages. This pole was in the middle of a nob cone pine forest with thick manzanita as a partial understory. The fire completely burnt everything for miles: houses, whole trees, structures. Nothing was standing except this peace pole, with no burns or damage whatsoever. There were burning logs all around the standing pole. To me, the fire knew of all the prayers that were said at the peace pole, and did not harm it. I see fire as a highly intelligent being.

How do you communicate with this Being?

 Communication begins with respect and gratitude for the place fire has in this world. The conversation begins in the heart. It is customary in many North American traditions to make offerings to the fire. These could be of tobacco, cedar, tree saps. These are the three I use the most.

Just like with any being, we can talk to the fire; I believe it enjoys our company and conversation. I feel it is always necessary to be sure and listen well to the fire. It is a great elder. I believe it is important to listen when elders are speaking.

In working with the fire in a ceremonial way, what is your role?

The role of a fire tender begins long before the actual ceremony. Itphoto 3 begins by harvesting wood. Each type of ceremony takes different kinds of wood, some short, some long; wood species makes a difference too. Some ceremonies have the fire going for a few hours, others all night or even for several days. The role of the fire tender is to continuously maintain connection with the fire. The primary focus is to keep the fire burning in the desired format for the particular ceremony. It is a good place to learn. In some North American tribes it was customary for a person to work a sweat lodge fire for four years before ever entering the lodge.

With what attitude do you approach fire?

With great respect. Nearly every ceremony begins with fire. It is a great elder that holds ancient wisdom. A close relative and medicine man once told me, “The fire is the true shaman, we just relay the message.”

There are times when I am so humbled by fire all I can do is put my head down and say thank you. It is difficult at these times to even look at the fire. I come to the fire wanting to learn and better myself. I see my relationship with fire as similar to human relationships. It takes time to gain trust and open up to one another. And when the connection is made, it takes continuous nurturing.

How and why did you start firefighting?

It began by wanting to build my relationship with the fire. I have been working with ceremony for about five years, which really is not long at all. And I live for being in the wilderness backpacking. So wildland fire work became a blend of the two passions. I have been doing forestry work and have been a certified arborist for a number of years. I had a long working relationship with trees and the forest. An essential component to the life of the forest is fire.

It is an amazing job being on a wildland hotshot crew. There are not many in the country, and we are blessed to work where few humans ever set foot.

What is your attitude toward fire during the fire-fighting?

It is a ceremony. I approach the fire humbly and with great respect. I do my best to make an offering to the wildfire at least once a day. If we are in a good place within ourselves, a wildfire can show us amazing beauty and offer great insight. Just as in any ceremony, there is something to learn around any fire. Here there is a high level of wildness. I feel humans could use more of this wildness and rawness of life. It gives me a deeper appreciation for life when I am in these kinds of situations.

How can you avoid seeing fire as an enemy? Or do you?

In the first fire class I ever took, they said that fire is our enemy. I told my internal fire, right away, that this is not true. When I arrived at home I lit a fire and made offerings to it, explaining I would never be fire’s enemy or work with it in a fighting way. I try not to use the word firefighter. Fire suppression makes me feel better. It does not seem like a good idea to be an enemy with any aspect of Mother Nature. She is beautiful and brutal all in the same moment: something I have no interest in calling my enemy. Fire is an elder, a teacher, a protector and a dear friend.

What is the prevailing attitude of firefighters?

The majority of folks who are into wildfire suppression are there for the money. It is an extremely physically demanding job. Normal days are 16 hours a day. Many days we work 24-36 hours straight, with a 50 lb pack on the whole time. It’s difficult work, which pays well.

There are some people in the Forest Service who see the need for fire in the forest. We do a good amount of forest management and prescribed fires when not on wildfires. A good number of people also acknowledge that fire is a wild creature, and have some level of respect for the fire.

What are some ways fire teaches us and serves us—beyond the obvious keeping us warm and cooking food? 

Fire brings people together--around a ceremonial fire, campfire or wildfire. Communities unite and help one another when a wildfire is in their area. Friendship is made and laughs are had around campfires. Culture and tradition is made or maintained around ceremonial fires. Stories are remembered and songs are sung. With this unity we are able to move into a more trusting environment with one another.

How can we be of service to the fire?

I believe service begins with gratitude. I offer thanks to the lightning beings who brought first fire to the land. Also by paying our respect to the trees and sacred wood—for fire needs something to feed upon. I make offerings to the trees standing and those that have laid down before preparing any wood for a ceremonial fire.

It seems there may be some social fears of fire, especially in a wildfire setting. Fire is an essential component to a healthy forest. Allowing for wildfire and safely implementing prescribed fires is a great service to fire and to a healthy forest.

Lovingly tending to a fire seems to be the greatest service--treating fire with the same tenderness and respect as we do with those we love.

How do you think we as humans can best harmonize with the element of fire?

It seems humans want control of all that surrounds them. This is true with our relationship with fire. Many times there is an illusion of control over fire if it is in a ring, barbecue or contained pit. Even in a wildfire setting, there is a “control line” around the fire. The need for control comes from a place of fear.

Fire can do much more than we sometimes think. I saw a sweat lodge fire burn for a good 24 hours after the last piece of wood was placed on it. This fire was sprayed with a hose for at least 10 minutes—not a usual practice, but it was a dry summer day. And still a day later it was extremely hot. I believe the best way to harmonize with fire is to humble ourselves and have great respect.

How can fire teach us to live in a more balanced way?

 Fire is excellent at cleaning. This may be in the forest or in the depths of a person. Fire can be very destructive, which can create healthy openings for new growth. Trees need carbon to grow, which is a product of fire. Pathogens, fungi, blights, and other tree diseases are cleaned by a good forest fire. This is a form of balance. We can acknowledge the unhealthy aspects of ourselves and allow those places to be cleaned by the fire, which in turn provides the fertile soil for the places we want to nurture.

A thick and dense forest is unhealthy and unbalanced. There is little to no room for wildlife. This is similar to us humans. When we are balanced and healthy there is openness, space for movement within our internal canopy.

Gratitude for Fire & Fuel

 

 We offer gratitude and respect to fire and fuel. We offer our thanks to the spirit of fire, who has sustained the survival of our species, warmed us through freezing times, cooked our food, and given us vision. We ask for a balanced relationship with fire, so that excesses of wild fire do not devastate us, and so that excesses of fuel consumption cease to despoil our planet.

We honor the workings of the element of fire in our spiritual as well as our physical lives. We celebrate the inspiration of creative fire.

We also recognize the spirit of petroleum, gift of the ancient plants, and we look forward to a new, non-exploitative relationship with this Being.

 We ask for release of our habits of over-consumption. We give thanks for those who are leading the way to patterns of living which no longer over-use the fossil fuels.

And we send out our intention to live in deep respect for Grandfather Fire.

from John O Donahue’s To Bless the Space Between Us “In Praise of Fire:"

Let us praise the grace and risk of Fire

In the beginning, The Word was red, And the sound was thunder, And the would in the unseen Spilled forth the red weather of being.

In the name of the Fire, The Flame And the Light; Praise the pure presence of fire That burns from within Without thought of time. ….. As fire cleanses dross, May the flame of passion Burn away what is false.

As short as the time From spark to flame, So brief may the distance be Between heart and being.

May we discover Beneath our fear Embers of anger To kindle justice.

May courage cause our lives to flame, In the name of the Fire, And the Flame and the Light.

Spring Fling Highlights

ONE seeks to gather and connect people who are heeding an inner prompting to align our lives and our goals with the well being of the earth. Our first public event turned out to be just such a gathering, giving encouragement and inspiration to all who participated. At Celandine Farm in Boylston, MA, our hosts Chris Berg and Cynthia Werth greeted us at their fire-circle. Chris explained the opening fireimportance of the sacred fire as a continuity of a long tradition; honoring fire as an elder, friend and guide. Pam Montgomery, from whose vision ONE has sprung, led us in a ceremony of greeting the spirit forces of the 7 directions; we could feel their benevolent energies coming to join us, strengthening our intention to work together. We then, as a united group, stepped into experiencing first- hand some of the facets of ONE’s action in the world:

  • From Chris and Mark Carlin we learned some practicalities of Earth Stewardship: how to make our human imprint more gentle composting toiletsand harmonious with the processes of nature—in this case by building and operating a simple composting toilet system. Mark shared that he had dreamed of finding himself in a situation in which many systems of the industrial world had broken down, but in this dream he still felt confident he could take care of life’s necessities. This workshop showed us one of the ways!
  • Next Pam guided the group in a miniature sample of ONE’s educational facet. From her vast reserve of knowledge of the weed walkplants and their multiple healing powers, she introduced us to a few which were growing right around our feet. Pam teaches internationally about how to communicate with the plants and how to receive their healing gifts. ONE hopes to connect many teachers and healers who honor spirit in nature and are willing, like Pam, to share their knowledge, passion, and expertise.
  • Chris and Cynthia then took the group on a heart-felt and inspirational tour of Celandine Farm. They have dedicated themselves to serving and honoring the earth and are living antour example of sustainable livelihood on their small suburban farm. On their 2 plus acres they grow vegetables, raise livestock, keep bees, compost, and run Green Heart Healing Center. Today they shared their sense that a certain area of their land was suffering, perhaps from some former abuse. Together our group joined in a ceremony for earth healing for this place. ONE regularly invites us participation in earth-healing ritual through its new moon and full moon Gratitude Circles and encourages people to come together for ceremonies like this one.
  • During the whole morning time, children were participating in thechildren2 event in their own way—joining in ceremony, making art, planting seeds, and going on a scavenger-hunt-turned-upside-down: instead of collecting items from nature, they sought them out to offer them little gifts.
  • After sharing a home-cooked feast, we all gathered for the Council of All Beings. We followed a (very abbreviated) model of the (often 3-day) ritual designed by deep- ecologists Joanna Macy and John Seed. The purpose is to commune with specific nature beings—like maskanimals, plants, landscapes, weather--and to speak on their behalf. After a meditation to connect with a nature ally, each person crafted a mask to represent that element of nature. Then we gathered in council and each masked person spoke from the point of view of their ally. Wind and wild water spoke, airing grievances and giving advice, as well as mycelia and frog, crow and deer. As words flowed around the circle, we all were drawn deeper into understanding of our fellow beings. Each had things to say about the suffering caused by humans, but each had advice for the humans as well, and gifts of hope and wisdom. The Council of All Beings, ceremonial in nature, incorporates earth-inspired creativity and it can be a springboard for activism on many levels. It is an apt example of the multi-faceted workings of ONE.
  • We concluded with another gift from the green beings: in a practice based on the tradition of limpia--cleansing, we gently brushed each other with healing plants and offered words of blessing.

Several people left with prized raffle winnings—like wild-crafted morel mushrooms, coupons for healing sessions and original art, and all of us with inspiration and the sense of connection with kindred travelers.

Gratitude for Air

We offer gratitude for clean air, for refreshing winds, for the ability to breathe freely.  And we send gratitude to those in positions of power, who are taking action to keep our air breathable. We  ask for the release of motives of greed or misunderstanding that seek to block such action in the name of profit or progress.  We send our love and gratitude to the beautiful element of air and we take time to appreciate its working in us. We may do breathing practices or simply breathe deep and give thanks! We  offer beautiful words, sent out through our breath to Air.

Listen to the air. You can hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it. Woniya wakan, the holy air, which renews all by its breath. Woniya wakan, spirit, life, breath, renewal, it means all that. --(John Lame Deer as cited in Earth Prayers ed. By Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon)

Wild air, world-mothering air, Nestling me everywhere…. This air, which, by life’s law, My lungs must draw and draw Now but to breathe its praise --(Gerard Manley Hopkins as cited in Earth Prayers)

May New Moon Gratitude Circle Tonight

Tonight's the full moon in Gemini, queen of duality, and I'm offering gratitude for ONEness and connection.

All the outreach efforts of ONE on the East Coast have been focused on our Spring Fling this Saturday. So we haven't posted a new message re gratitude circles for this new moon. The Spring Fling itself will be an offering of gratitude.

Still, I'd like to invite any who can, tonight, to join me in special gratitude for our Organization of Nature Evolutionaries and all who are and will be drawn to us, and the awakening in all of us to our deep deep connection, with each other, and with Mama Earth. On the full moon we can ask for the release, in society, of outmoded cultural paradigms of separation and, in ourselves, of outworn patterns of isolation. Tonya Lemos gave me this great word "connectivity". I'm offering gratitude for connectivity in all its forms. Next month I hope to focus our gratitude circle on the pollinators, who are a fine example of this.

Jaclyn, a member of the journey to Ecuador with Rocio just sent out a shout to the fellow travelers: "what if we all pray every day for the people with all the money and power to awaken to the earth and to their hearts and souls?"

Perhaps tonight, and onward, we can offer gratitude for this awakening, and the intention for it to spread and reach and touch us all including those in the "seats of power"  And give thanks for ONE as a catalyst for this intention!

with love and great appreciation!

April

Gratitude for Predators

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We begin with gratitude for wolves, for their wild beauty, for the work they do to keep balance in wild environments, for all they have taught us and continue to teach us about loyalty, kinship, cooperation and courage.

We  acknowledge a long sad history of human hostility toward wolves, especially in European cultures, to the point of our bringing the wolves to near extinction. We  send our loving intentions to heal presumed conflicts between wolves and humans, particularly with respect to our “livestock.” Further, we  affirm our intentions for the flourishing of wolf families and the preservation of their ecosystems.

On the full moon, we can release (perhaps with a howl) our ancient and useless human fears and biases in relation to wolves and other predators. We  offer gratitude for all that is being done toward establishing methods of peaceful coexistence between people and predators, and send out our strong intentions for these methods to succeed and prevail. And we  offer love and appreciation for the wisdom and beauty of the wolf.

Personal reflection on predators:

 When a small group of us had gathered on Lambert’s Cove Beach on Martha’s Vineyard to hold a water blessing, a woman approached us in distress. She had just seen a drowned coyote washed up on the beach. This was of course a disturbing and unprecedented beach find, but what seemed to upset her more than the dead coyote was the possibility that more four-legged swimmers might follow, and with more success. The prospect loomed of a coyote population on Martha’s Vineyard, a place hitherto free of any predatory mammal larger than skunk or raccoon.

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An occurrence like this during a time of ceremony really gets my attention. A short time later,  I read a headline in the Boston Globe (April13): “Mountain Lions in the Garden...experts say big predators are on their way—and New England may not be ready.”  I’ve begun to think more deeply about the relations between humans and the large predators. I want to understand our mutual history—much of which has involved our  efforts to exterminate them.  As I  examine my own feelings, I find  contradictions: cheering for more diversity of wildlife on Martha’s Vineyard, in New England,  and also fearing for the life of my beloved, wander-prone cat. I have good friends who are farmers with sheep to consider. Still, I believe that peaceful coexistence is possible and necessary  between humans and all  the wild natural world, and I long for a time when false separations are overcome and we remember our kinship with all life.

On a regular basis I receive alerts from wild life organizations on the plight of wolves and on the smart, courageous, and generous  efforts being made to save them. I read more about wolves—their actual lives and their cultural symbolism.

I read that in some tribal traditions wolf has been known as the Pathfinder. I would like  to acknowledge this and  to offer gratitude to wolf as a Teacher: of the importance of family and cooperation,  and of courage to live and find a way forward in an unknown future.

World Water Day Gathering @ Spirithaus-Oakland, CA

By Vanessa Rodriguez

My first organized gathering which was inspired by the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers' call for us to gather our tribes and pray to our sacred waters on ‘World Water Day’ -May 22nd 2014.

 After a beautiful trip on the island of Maui, I had difficulty integrating and recalibrating back on the Mainland. As I asked for guidance, a dominant memory came through of the water ceremony I had attended while I was there. It was both beautiful and intense and it left me questioning deeply how to make a difference on this planet.

Erin WWNight AltarAs I continued to ask for guidance, I found out about the Grandmothers' World Water Day gathering and heard a strong call from spirit to organize community on this special day. Spirit’s message told me to gather folks from all different ‘tribes’ to pray and offer a collective healing to the waters of our planet - and I finally understood how my time in Maui had prepared me to be able to follow through. The impact of such a responsibility felt bigger than me; I resisted but still moved toward the discomfort - and from that came a night full of more beauty than I could have ever dreamt up.

We gathered in West Oakland at a local artist’s live/work space. The ceremony was designed to be created in the moment and with no particular structure. Together we allowed spirit to move through and around the circle in an improvisational and organic manner, allowing for the  collective prayer to be formed by individual offerings of song, dance, poetry, spoken word, readings - all of which inspired a touching discussion around what water signified for each person.

Erin WWDay AltarAs we sat before the beautiful altar created for this ceremony, we each placed our own water in the center as the vessel for healing our Divine Mother Earth. We placed our prayers and intentions into that water to be spread far and wide. We shared deeply and we shared authentically. Great respect and apology was spoken toward our waters. Some questioned how this ceremony was prompting them to make big changes, and how this felt like a big responsibility.

Great awareness emerged around how often we forget water's sacredness. The magnitude of this awareness invited us to consider how much we fall asleep to this sacred source, how without it we could not live. The presence, the energy, the vibration felt like we had all woken up and come home.  Among a gathering of all ages, all cultures and all races, something of magic happened on that night, something beyond us - anchored in the earth below us and above us, in the city of Oakland and in our hearts.

The feeling in the room generated a buzz, a vibration that many experienced. The space felt safe, reflected in people’s transparency and thoughtful language. One attendee said he felt like he could hear everyone’s thoughts - as if our hearts and minds merged and wrapped around the entirety of the circle.

We followed the closing of the circle with a musical jam session with local musicians, beautiful singing voices and dance. Special connections were made among strangers and people spoke of collaboration and healing through art and culture. The alchemy created on this night was a beautiful gift not only to each person present but also to the greater planet. 

In Gratitude for Water: March 1, 2014

by April Thanhauser

 ~ New Moon Gratitude Circle March 1 ~

This circle I did alone in my house, trusting that in fact I am part of a larger circle—by virtue of the interlinking network of ONE. I began by carefully watering all my house plants, feeling into the sensation of dry earth, thirsty roots, receiving the blessing of falling water.

Then I filled a pretty bowl with water. As I drew the water from the tap I thanked it, acknowledging the journey it had taken, once upon a time rainfall itself, down through the ground, through the aquifer into my well, then pushed and pumped up through pipes, plastic and copper, to make its gracious entrance through the chrome faucet. What a gift I receive thus, many times a day.

I placed the bowl on my altar—a little square table set for the sacred, with candles, burning sage, and a green plant. I called on the 7 directions, with thanks and a request to help me. I spoke my words of gratitude into the bowl of water, sending love through my hands and my breath. I meditated for a while in silence, feeling both the longing of parched earth and thirsty plants and the fullness of rainclouds, replete with moisture, poised to pour it forth. I conjured in my imagination the falling of gentle raindrops, the sigh of happiness when they touched the earth, when they sank in deep. I imagined the transpiration of the plants, the waters mixing with sunlight in the holy alchemy of the leaves. I felt the lifting of water back into air as well as its sinking deep into the earth.

Then I took my bowl of water outside and tossed it with my fingertips into the air, watching it fall in scattering drops, beseeching water spirit to bring rain to the thirsty places on the earth, and offering my gratitude for the abundance of moisture where I am now: snow, ice, mud and rain. I closed my circle with thanks and acknowledgement of those with whom I had joined in making these intentions.

*         *         *

We’ve recently learned that the 13 Grandmothers have put out a call to join them - from where ever you are - in a water blessing ceremony on March 22, World Water Day. Click here to read more about it - and register to participate.

Let’s join our circles with them in ceremony for the waters!

New Moon Gratitude Circles

On the New Moon of March 1st, 2014, ONE is starting a new series: Gratitude Circles. Prior to each New Moon, we will post the theme here. We invite you to join us, where ever you may be, to magnify the power and presence of our healing intent. If you would like some guidance on how to hold your gratitude circle, you may visit our Ceremony page to watch this video outlining some ingredients you may choose to include. It is by no means prescriptive. You are welcome to be as creative as you like. We would love to hear about your adventures - so leave us a comment here on the blog! For our first New Moon gratitude circle, we would like to engage all willing participants in ceremonies of gratitude for rainfall, and the shared intention of bringing the blessings of abundant rain to California and other draught-stricken places on the earth. We will join hands across the web of ONE on March 1st. If you can gather a small or large group for ceremony, great; if you are seemingly alone in your home, know that you are connected to other well-wishers and thanks-givers across the land. Light a candle, breathe, remember the blessings of rain, open your heart, and take it from there…

Here are two traditional prayers, excerpted from Earth Prayers  (by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon San Fransisco, 1991):

~~~

Cover my earth mother four times with many flowers.

Let the heavens be covered with the banked-up clouds.

Let the earth be covered with fog, cover the earth with rains.

Great waters, rains, cover the earth. Lightning cover the earth.

Let thunder be heard over the earth, let thunder be heard;

Let thunder he heard over the six regions of the earth.

--Zuni Prayer

 ~~~

Waters, you are the ones who bring us the life force.

Help us to find nourishment so that we may look upon great joy.

Let us share in the most delicious sap that you have,

as if you were loving mothers.

Let us go straight to the house of the one for whom

your waters give us lifeand give us birth

For our well-being let the goddesses be an aid to us,

the waters be for us to drink.

Let them cause well-being and health to flow over us.

--Hindu Prayer

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