Last Sunday, we, JourneyWorks, hosted an Equinox gathering. The afternoon included prayers and blessings for the Earth, Japan, and the Middle East, and gratitude for the new harvest. Many participants brought gifts of appreciation to Pachamama. Our friends Richard, a Six Nations elder, and Dee, an Abenaki elder and medicine woman, spoke about their traditions and contributed prayers and blessings. We were honored by their presence.
After the ceremony, we invited those gathered to make prayer flags and tobacco ties to carry their prayers and concerns to the spirits. We then feasted and swapped stories about the coming of Spring and hope. Some participants took their flags and ties with them when they left. Others left their ties and flags for us to bring to the woods.
All of us who participated in the afternoon ceremony and activities agreed we need to conduct more ceremony. As we sat together, listening to one another’s concerns, we were reminded that many peoples across the world are suffering, and their suffering touches our own lives. Dee, spoke to the displacement of peoples and species due to pollution and global climate change. Others spoke about the ongoing illness and hardship created by the pollution of the Gulf. In the face of this, we sought to remember the Great Spirit asks only that we do what we are able, and that we resist the call of Despair.
Of course, being a gathering of Indians and our friends, there was much laughter. Being a contrary, I provided more than one unintended opportunity for mirth to displace the heaviness of concern.
Even though the snow still lies deep across the landscape, now is a time of harvest and celebration. Richard brought traditional Six Nations strawberry water as a gift to Pachamama. Strawberry water contains a small amount of maple syrup. Right now, in Vermont, we are harvesting sap. This is the first harvest of the year, and he lead us in prayers of gratitude for the harvest.
The afternoon brought together Indians and non-Indians, men and women, and those economically comfortable and financially marginal. Together, we sought balance in our lives. In the midst of concern for Pachamama and her innumerable beings, we expressed our profound gratitude to the Creator, the spirits and the Earth.