In June, while visiting friends in Santa Fe, I participated in the New Moon retreat, a gathering of women every new moon on land called Haelan Circle. Usually we meet in the Moon Dome. We call in the directions; smudge ourselves; discuss teachings from the Grandmothers, a shaman, healer, or visionary; speak in sacred counsel; and then spend time on the land in solitude and silence. Cary has a fire to cast in notes of things we want to let go of. It is a time of renewal, connection with our sisters, and to share concerns, gratitude, celebration and change.
The crisis in the Gulf was foremost on everyone’s minds and we felt helpless and angry, as well as compassionate for the wildlife, the degradation of Sacred Mother Earth. “Perhaps a meditation about visualizing the healing of the Gulf region would be helpful,” I suggested. “Let’s do a meditation while holding something round to remind us of the globe.” Cary responded by saying she could gather up large river rocks use as props.
In the center of the Moon Dome, Cary created an altar with flowers, candles, crystals and special objects given to her. Around this altar she had placed 20 river rocks. We were subdued, tuned in to the suffering caused by this traumatic tragedy happening within our Gulf coast. I suggested that we each choose a rock and hold it in our hands the way we would hold a precious child. As we deepened our breathing, in our calm meditative state, I led us through imagining a golden cascade of light coming down through our crown chakras and flowing along our spines to connect us with the earth, then flowing along our hands to encircle the “globes” we held.
I said to visualize ourselves as the Great Mother, sending love through our fingertips to caress the earth: the mountains and forests, streams and rivers, oceans and deserts, the four-leggeds, the winged creatures, the sea creatures, the rocks, trees, plants and flowers. “Imagine the Gulf region, the incredible blue waters, the beaches, the turtles, pelicans, dolphins, fish, shrimp, as whole,” I told them. I asked the women to visualize the beaches as sparkling and the waters cleansed, beauty and majesty restored, gorgeous and vibrant with life.
Then we repeated three times: “I am your mother and I love you.” The power in the room was palpable.
Afterwards, the women spoke of how they felt hopeful for the first time, how they felt relieved of a crushing burden of despair.
This meditation impacted me in a way I did not expect. For five years I had been carrying the guilt of my son’s death from suicide. Although I used healing tools from prayer retreats and counseling, rituals to honor his life, joyful arrivals of grandchildren and books published, and support from my spiritual community, I still carried a burden. This simple meditation of loving Mother Earth with my own body, my own hands, golden light sent from above as a gift, freed me from that guilt.
Later as I walked quietly through Haelan Circle, these words came to me: “This is the time when we are called upon to enact our greatness. We are the Ones with the power in our hands and our hearts to reach out, to bind the broken, to cleanse with our tears, to demand change with our anger, and to heal with our love. We are the emissaries sent forth to do the work of mending the web. We are the web and we are the Light of Divine Compassion. We are not alone. Ask and you shall receive – Living Waters, the chalice of over-flowing Grace. Out of many will come a single voice – a blend of the cry of grief and the cry of rejoicing. There is no separation between the Divine Within and the Divine Without. We are one and our love for creation is our love for ourselves. As we believe it, it shall be.”
Learning to visualize wholeness where there has been damage, brokenness and pain is a task of repairing the world – and in the process, ourselves.
Heal the Earth, a celebration in poetry and music of our connection with Mother Earth, will include musical interludes by Eunice Collette, a blessing by healer Chrisma McIntyre and poetry by Amy Unger-Weiss, Wendy Brown-BÃ¡ez, Nancy Cox, Nicole Lynskey, LouAnn Muhm and Zilla Way. Heal the Earth, a free event, will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, 6666 E. River Road, Fridley, MN, as part of Art at Rice Creek Festival, and it will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Healing Within Wellness Center, 3200 N. Lexington Ave., Shoreview, MN. For more info, call 612.437.3355 or visit www.wendybrownbaez.com.