Saratoga Springs New York then and now

For the past 27 years, I have been estranged from my home town, home to my genealogy:  Great-Great Grandfather William Ryall, my Great Grandfather William Ryall, Grandfather James Ryall, My father William Alfred Ryall and mother Mary Rose Sullivan and our family of four children. My parents are gone now and like the prodigal son, I went full circle to the place of my birth and first 18 years of my life. I returned to memories, my heart, preservation, elegance, tradition and beauty. Saratoga Springs is a crown jewel in the league of fame and fortune.

Oran2-S.V_1 by Regis Brodie
Oran2-S.V_1 by Regis Brodie

My cousin Jim and wife Stephanie gave me two stunning pieces of pottery. One was made by my Aunt Pat. She has had a brilliant pottery and ceramic career over the years. She studied under Regis Brodie who permitted her to work on her craft in his art studio at Skidmore College. Matter of fact, he encouraged her to come.

The piece I have is a blue bowl that was crafted by using my Great Aunt Sarah and Mary’s doilies of intricate pineapple shapes. Aunt Pat stated that she made a paste like dough that she pressed the doily on.. Then she rolled the shape out to a flat sheet, which was somehow incorporated into the pottery. I feel like I have a intricate art piece that has my own family’s history in it. I  Sarah and Mary Renolds, my great aunts, were outstanding seamstresses, who at one time worked in the garment district of New York City. You can learn about Regis Brodie, the other famous potter at http://www.rcbrodie.com/

Sunday morning, Jimmy and I watched as hundreds of Canada geese flew over North Broadway in the biggest migration formation I have ever seen in my life. Later in the day, my sister, her husband and I saw thousands of Canada geese resting in the large reservoir. Jimmy lives on land that goes right to the edge of the pristine reservoir.  It is gorgeous to see beautiful water and forest, which was carpeted in oak leaves and a sporadic bright green ground-cover. To hear the sound of thunderous wings fluttering and geese honking, was to witness the power sounds of nature’s force in action. On reflection, it was a wonderful prayer I was honored to see and hear.

Water Ceremony at Hospitality House Minong Wisconsin

Milbert tortoiseshell butterfly
Milbert tortoiseshell butterfly

It was a cold and rainy day here in Northwest Wisconsin and yet a blessing considering that we are doing Water Ceremony and rain is always something to be grateful for. Animals totems today were a Milbert Tortoiseshell butterfly basking on Chrysanthemum in a southerly direction which looked like a fall aster to me and Canada geese flying east at sunset.

Worth asked that I recall anything that may speak to the stained glass she is currently working on. I was thinking colors like the brown, orange and yellow of the tortoiseshell. The Canada geese that flew over honking were grey, black and white. Somehow I was seeing colors when I closed my eyes.

Animal Speak says that the butterfly is a creature of change, color and joy. The butterfly is also the symbol of transformation because it goes through metamorphosis and becomes something brand new in the process. Canada geese when they show up “can show us where excesses are dissipating our life force and facilitating a congestion to growth and movement. They can teach how to get back to creative and beneficial experiences and expressions of emotion,” according to Ted Andrews.

Later in the afternoon I received emails that attendees were unable to make it to the Water Ceremony tonight except for one. Lindy was at a distance and I suggested that she not come all this way tonight and wait till next month. Two people were ill, one was at work and the other was traveling and in Minneapolis. Deborah called from MN. Being the Council Guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites I knew that it was important to perform a Water Ceremony with or without attendees.

I received a water pendant from Worth Cooley-Prost from Arlington, VA that is to be given to a woman in emotional need. In exchange I am sending her White Sage from the Midwest which is known as western mugwort. I was expecting a healing shawl in the email from Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. Update: It was at the Post Office and I picked it up this morning. I will bless the box with water from the Water Ceremony last night. The shawl is going to a Water Sister who is suffering a lot of stress right now due to work and family illness. I will be sending white sage out to Grandmother Whitedeer for her other half Threecrows.  Women who asked to be remembered in Ceremony were: Jennifer Lynn Engstrom-Bressette, Diane M. Stephenson, Grandmother Akasa WolfSong who was doing a Water Ceremony in Beloit, WI and Cassandra Winger. We join their hearts along with the Water Sisters here and afar and offer them up to the Water for purification, cleansing and blessings.

Water Ceremony September 27, 2011
Water Ceremony September 27, 2011

I was able to use the gourd that came from the woods. Two years ago I found a mound of earth with gourds growing on it. I never was so surprised in all my life to see the gourds growing in the woods. I picked many of them and one dried out nicely and became my ceremonial gourd. I danced with this gourd tonight in the Four Directions. I placed a bowl of my garden tomatoes, a Navajo robin egg corn cob, a glass bowl of fresh rain water and the gifts on the altar. I smudged the alter, myself and room. Then I used my birch bark clapping sticks to sing the Nibi Wabo Water Ceremony song and walked in the Four Directions. Somehow I always feel happier when I sing the chant. It is if the water is happy and I can sense this.

Perhaps a lesson for me tonight is to realize that I keep my promise to myself to do Water Ceremony on the New Moon dates at 6 p.m.

The next Water Ceremony will be October 26 at 6 p.m. Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer wrote that there will be a World Water Blessing event on Oct 28 from 12 Noon to 3 p.m. Pacific time. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites to learn more at www.waterblessings.org