Grandmother Moon, 50 degrees in mid-January, major snowstorm

Posted January 11th, 2012 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on Grandmother Moon, 50 degrees in mid-January, major snowstorm

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Yes, all those things and more…this is what it means to be alive in Milwaukee right now.

Last night I attended/participated in a ceremony for Grandmother Moon at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center north of the city. It was part of the Center’s series, ‘Spiritual World,’ and the program included Moon Time Teachings with Dennis Hawk (Mesqwaki/Cherokee) and his wife Cyndi Miller-Hawk (Stockbridge/Munsee Mohican), who co-led the ceremony.

Now I know why we have been graced with these magnificent warm clear January nights to indulge in the winter moonlight. Hawk said they had been praying for 6 months, since being invited to do the program, for a beautiful clear night for the ceremony. It could have been 5 below zero or a major snowstorm. Instead, it was in the low 40s and crystal clear.

Part of the ceremony happened indoors. Drumming and chanting called in the spirits of the four directions, the animal spirits, our own, and then tobacco was passed for us to take into our hands, to place our prayers and intentions, and then the tobacco was put into a sea shell to be taken down to the lake.

We walked out into this amazing night, the lake glistening in the moonlight. We walked down to the beach where Miller-Hawk lit the pipe and offered prayers to the four directions. Then Dennis Hawk walked to the water’s edge to place the tobacco offerings into the lake. He then offered a chant to Grandmother Moon that put a chill down my spine.

Today it will be 50 degrees in Milwaukee, 25 degrees above normal. Overnight, the snow begins and tomorrow into Friday our first winter storm – and it’s going to be a good one! 5-10 inches of snow, ending in blowing and drifting. I can hardly wait.

What do I want to say about it all, on this amazing sun-drenched January day? That this is what we are a part of, this is who we are, what we are, what creation is, and is what really matters.

And we as a culture, from our Age of Enlightenment certainty that the mind matters most of all and makes us so blessed superior to everything else, that so much of that Judeao-Christian overlay that puts the human at the high end of evolution and meaning and significance (made in God’s image, after all – which one might question if one had been on the beach in the moonlight last night, that we are unique in that sense), our capitalist economy that sees nature as resources to be exploited for economic ends, or our belief that any part of us can exist outside nature – we as a culture have lost this meaning.

This is one reason why it is so easy to continue fracking, opening up iron ore mines in pristine woods, or putting oil and gas pipelines across our lands, or taking advantage of Canada’s ravaging of Alberta’s boreal forest for tar sands oil, or damning more rivers for electricity, and on and on…

We have lost the meaning of who we are because we believe we are somehow outside history and nature, a superior being that need not pay attention to what is at work in the very earth and solar system that is our nature and home.

We came to this land and started ripping up everything that keeps us in touch with that nature and home.

Part of our healing must come from the recovery of this sense of who we really are. I want to say something bold here – that standing on the beach last night offering prayers to Grandmother Moon was more important than what was going on in the New Hampshire primary. In fact, the latter cannot even come close to the significance of that ceremony.

When we as a culture relearn this, we will be on our way to re-knitting the ripped up fabric of our world, to learning again how to live, and to live meaningfully. When we are prepared to offer up to the moon and stars, the sun and skies, the animals and other sentient beings, and to one another the offerings of gratitude, compassion, reverence, and humility that this sacred world deserves – because of what it has given us, after all, things like ‘life’ – we will find ourselves on the path that can heal our world and save our people from a terrible future.


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