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.
As 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.
As 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.