Ceremony at Puget Sound, Washington, USA
My friend and I did a Heal the Waters ritual on May 1st! Though we had planned to be out there for only twenty to thirty minutes, we ended up spending an hour and a half! Wonderful things just kept unfolding...
We met at Sakai Park (right in the little town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island) and walked the trail until we got to the pond.
We were accompanied by all manner of Life and Beings: frogs, songbirds, mosquitos, ducks, a broken robin egg, loads of just-hatched slugs, the rain, and more.
The first place we planned to use as our ritual site (replete with park bench and just inches from the water) soon became impossible. A Canada goose promptly got out of the water, stuck out his tongue, and hissed. Literally, just three feet from the bench, not well-hidden in the brush, was his nest - with Goose #2 sitting on it! Out of respect for their home, we left and found another spot alongside the water.
We stood and sometimes crouched for the duration of our ceremony since we were in the middle of the trail. Water rained from above, traffic from the highway at rush hour became the sound of ocean waves, and we started our ceremony with three rings of my Tibetan chime. I made a small ring of dandelions that I picked at the site and added a nearby stone to the center: this became our altar.
We each told sacred stories about water from our past. Both of us recited details about our baptisms inside churches or in the Pacific Ocean (me). My friend told the story of growing up in the desert and how visiting a river became a significant, special family holy day.
I read In Praise of Water by John O'Donohue. My friend read some passages out of the Baha'i sacred texts about the divinity of water.
We also had music: we were serenaded by Frog and Robin (and her family), as well as Others. We emptied fresh tap water (that I had brought from home) into a large blue vase (that my friend had brought from her home). We then poured the water for each other into tiny vessels (blue and green, like Planet Earth). After thanking the Fresh Water, we drank it. Then we poured more water for each other into the little vessels; this time we said many words of gratitude for Lifegiving Water. Then we poured the water into the pond that offers Life to so many of the More-Than-Humans. We apologized for the harm that humans have done to that pond and to the waters of the world. We remembered Alex and his community in Uganda, those suffering in Sudan and Somalia, and so many others globally who do not have access to safe drinking water.
Then we stood silently for a while.
After more words of thanks, we bowed, gathered our items, and walked each other up the trail. It was a beautiful experience.
The next day we exchanged text messages and photos; each of us had savored this ritual and felt its healing impact on our evening…stretching into the following morning…and on our lives.
Submitted by Jennifer J. Wilhoit, Ph.D., host for HTW in Puget Sound, WA
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