At this season of the year, when we celebrate the point of the darkest time and the time of the returning light, I share about women and the earth.
In Fall, I was invited to a gathering envisioned by Diane Longboat, a Mohawk leader from the Six Nations area. I had an experience there, during this time of prayer, ceremony, and silence, for the earth. I prayed for the waters of the earth. It was just in my own, natural way. At one point, with eyes closed, I suddenly saw a stream that had come so close to us. It ran alongside the building, to my inner eye, and it was unmistakable that this was a response. In the moment I did not think. It just was. But afterwards, I was filled with wonder that nature responded to our consciousness.
“Woman and Earth are inseparable,” wrote Thomas Berry. “The fate of one is the fate of the other. This association is given in such a variety of cultural developments throughout the world in differing historical periods that it is hardly possible to disassociate the two. Earth consciousness, woman consciousness; these two go together.”
This I knew. But during the council, I felt it viscerally, as if a linking up took place in my body. It comes from an intimate knowledge that our consciousness is received by the earth.
Recently we had heavy rains that came in the middle of a drought. During a break in the rain, I walked up to the hill close to where I live. I stood watching a stream that joyfully flowed along a pasture. The creek bed had been dry for months until now.
I then noticed a woman walking down the hill after feeding her horses. She stood watching the creek with me for a moment. She spoke sadly of the foxes, the deer, the vernal springs that she felt would be impacted because the land here was going to be developed.
“Ask the land what it wants,” I said. She turned to me, astounded. “Someone else just said that last week! I’ve never heard that before.” In her eyes, I saw a sudden lifting of a veil, a realization that she could consciously relate to the land in this way.
I returned home and fell asleep for a few minutes. In this state of what I thought was sleep, there came an image. I saw the creek. Just there. So similar to how the stream image arose during the Women’s Dreaming Council.
Life speaks to us. Life helps us to understand how we need to be.
I saw this reflected again in our circle for women at the shelter. Jordan, in her early forties, told us that she became homeless only four days ago. She is grateful to be in the winter shelter, but it is a difficult place to be.
In a quiet voice, she shared at the end of the session.
When I heard you speak of meditation, I knew I needed to be here. My family tells me to put on a happy face, but what I hear from you is that I can be with the feeling of sadness, loss. Because I know that is what’s true for me. I believe we are all spiritual women in this circle. Coming here, I feel empowered, loved and strengthened. I haven’t felt this in a long, long time.
And then she read aloud what she wrote that morning during the circle.
When I stand on the Earth…I feel grounded, I feel renewed, I feel as one with all of creation.
When I stand on the Earth, in nature, I feel calm, nurtured, more loving. When I stand on the Earth, I am resonating in tune with her.
When I stand on the Earth, I feel like my best, most complete self.
I want to remember these things, wherever I stand on the Earth; When people or circumstances feel overwhelming. When people are unkind and cold. When I feel like I’m about to break…I am still standing on that same Earth that comforts me and refills me.
Everywhere I stand is on beautiful Earth. Because the Earth loves me, everywhere I stand, I stand in love.
May we feel the warmth of her words, through which such wisdom speaks. May we each listen deeply to what life asks of us – and how we need to be. May we remember our closeness to the sacred earth.