“Dwelling, whether in our own home, in our town, or on our beautiful planet, is not primarily about inhabiting, but taking care of and creating that space within which something can come into its own and flourish. It takes time and ritual for real dwelling, the Grandmothers say. Ecological systems are far too complex for even the greatest scientists to fully understand or figure out how to control. So we must have respect instead of knowledge and honor the mystery, which is what will actually bring us further in our understanding of our individual and collective place on this Earth, an understanding that science could never reach. In fact, the true essence of civilization is learned through observing with humility our true place within all of Creation… What needs to be developed is a deeper, more personal sense of connection with the Earth and our place on it. One way to create a deeper and more personal sense of connection is by holding rituals, ceremonies, and festivals. Rituals and ceremony are sophisticated social and spiritual technologies, refined by indigenous peoples over many thousands of years, to celebrate and nurture the world order of a particular place. A proper relationship to the land and the natural world requires the whole of our being, the Grandmothers say… Afterward, we are not meant to be in the same place psychologically or spiritually as before the ritual.”
-from “Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer their Vision for Our Planet” edited by Carol Schaefer
Recently, some friends and I went on a “Sacred Sounds” hike in the Kananaskis with Julie Walker of Full Circle Adventures (www.full-circle-adventures.com). The full day hike was a ceremony where we honoured the ancestors of the land while we healed with the sounds of nature and the didgeridoo. We hiked through a traditionally sacred site of the Blackfoot First Nation. In one clearing, we saw the remnants of a sweat lodge and the arbour where a healing sun dance were held. Prayer ties filled the surrounding trees. We did ceremony in an old medicine wheel to ask the ancestors permission to proceed on our hike to the ancient petroglyphs of their ancestors. Our prayers were confirmed with strong gusts of wind that came out of “nowhere.” We sang songs and said prayers; the ancestors were pleased to be honoured. I thought I’d post some of the photos from that day here.