Today we have sun. We have had record Spring rains, following deep, deep winter snow . The combination has resulted in flooding throughout the state, especially here along Lake Champlain. Water levels fell a couple of weeks ago, only to rise again, surpassing the record levels set earlier in the Spring. The present warm, dry, weather is welcome.
The waters are dear to me. I feel connected to waterways in many places, and to the beings who inhabit and protect them. My spirit travels easily to the Amazon, Europe, and to may rivers and coves here in the U.S., and water, the beings who protect it, and the spirits of these places aid me as I work to heal others.
Our bodies are 98% water, and resonate to our watery world. Here, in the Northeastern U.S., Water is often placed in the West of the Medicine Wheel, holding the place of Emotion and Dreaming.( In Vermont, Lake Champlain, the sixth largest body of water in the U.S., provides the western boundary of much of the state.) The West is also the place of Middle Age, the land I inhabit now, in my 60’s. From this point on the Medicine Wheel I look to the North, the place of elderhood, the Ancestors, and Earth.
I have lived in dry places, including New Mexico, where the rain comes from the South, the Gulf of Mexico. Eastern New Mexico is a land dominated by the East, and the ceaseless movement of Air, the Wind. Water is scarce, and range wars still occur over water rights. When the summer rains come, they bring lightning and the risk of devastating wildfires. When the winter snows and rains arrive, we know the spring will blossom, even in the desert. Truly water renews the world.
When we human beings face loss or trauma, we may find ourselves living in an arid world, or flooded with emotion. Sometimes aridity and flood alternate, seemingly endlessly. This ebbing and flowing of water is the natural state of the upper Amazon, or the tidal marsh. The beings who live there have adapted to the cycles of flood and low water. Yet, these natural cycles, central to the structure of vast ecosystems, may seem alien to us when they occur in our inner worlds .
Often, we humans must learn to adapt to the cycles of flood and drought that are such significant aspects of our inner landscapes. In our inner worlds, flood and drought can be accompanied by desperation or despair, for few of us are comfortable with the absence of, or overabundance of, water, of emotion. We may fear death through desiccation or drowning. We want change, now! Yet, when we are able to wait, to have patience, the waters return, or recede, and our inner worlds bloom again.
I was thinking about all this as I read the latest blog post from Holy Waters. The post was by a guest, Luis Gilberto Rico-Ballester, the blog mistress’ father. He wrote about his Papa, who through love and ingenuity, turned an arid land into an oasis, concluding his essay, thus:
A few years ago I went to see El Pozo during a trip to Puerto Rico to visit my family. It was a very emotionally charged experience as I watched beautiful fish enjoying themselves in the blue waters of El Pozo, which has now become a pond. I could sense the presence of Papá and Mamá next to me. Then, as if emanating from El Pozo, I connected with the Holy Water, in the form of tears which flooded my eyes. It was a lasting tribute to my dad’s memory and love for water, and to the continuous support that Mamá gave him in the pursuit of his Magnificent Obsession.
Diana Rico, the blog’s mistress, like her father, loves water, finding it holy. The O’odham know the sacredness of water, and of desert. They, like Diana’s grandfather, have learned to be patient, and to allow the desert to bloom and bear fruit. They know we, like the land, are made of, and need both Water and Earth. Water nurtures Earth; Earth contains and shapes Water. Together they mold our worlds, inner and outer.
As we age, we are called to accept and honor the power of our watery emotions, and to value our journeys through the desert. This is challenging work that teaches us to embrace and love the world and ourselves, in all weathers. In doing so we are reminded we, like this Earth house in which we live, contain all that is. We are the Medicine Wheel, and we are, along with Pachamama, who births us, sacred.