A Healing Walk through Canada’s Tar Sands

A Healing Walk through Canada’s Tar Sands Dystopia by Clayton Thomas-Muller — YES! Magazine.

Many of us are grieving for the Earth and what is happening to our beloved home, waters, land and natural resources. The Cree Nation lead by Clayton Thomas-Muller will walk across the Canada Tar Sands to pray for Mother Earth. It is a healing walk.

I have been following Clayton Thomas-Muller for a few years now and his vigilante voice to stop the Tar Sands in Cree Nation. Here is an excerpt from Yes Magazine article, “Highway 63 is the only road to Fort McKay Cree Nation, one of Canada’s wealthiest yet most polluted First Nations, where water needs to be trucked in daily to meet the community’s needs. The highway loops past vast human-made deserts in the form of tailings ponds wet and dry, and then past an archaic Suncor/Petro-Canada facility with black carbon-stained cracking towers that belch hellfire into the morning sky. The highway finally meets the junction that leads to Fort McKay and continues onward past the industrial metropolis that is Syncrude, Canada’s largest tar sands operator, operated largely by ExxonMobil.”

We can put our hearts with the Cree Nation and Mother Earth and walk to heal her and ourselves at the same time. I recently read a powerful essay on the subject of grieving for the loss of the commons by Ellen Friedman http://www.commonsparkcollective.org/

I hope you will find you are part of the solution and why we are working so hard to protect the Earth from the onslaught of destruction.

New Moon Water Ceremony in Northwest Wisconsin

Saturday, July 30- There were thunderstorms surrounding the valley in late afternoon. Water sisters arrived at the Hospitality House in Minong. We began by dressing up in skirts. Sandy Stein mentioned that when women wear a shawl and skirt it represents mountains and being close to Mother Earth. A skirt worn in ceremony is respectful and helps women remember that we are feminine energy and connected to Mother Earth. We put our sacred items together to carry them out to the sand dunes. I had on my glass water pendent that Worth Cooley-Prost had made for me. Sandy wore her medicine bag. It is good for women to have their very own medicine bag. We have several small beaded butterfly medicine bags made by an elder Marilyn Vig, Rice Lake, WI. I will exhibit and offer them for sale in September at our online store at http://stores.ebay.com/happytonics

Rainbow after storm

Rainbow after storm

While still at the house we witnessed a rainbow. This was a beautiful sign.

Then it started to lightly rain again as we walked to the sand dunes. Sandy Stein said, “Rain is good.” I responded, “After all we are praying for the water.” We felt blessed as we entered Sacred Space and the rain began to lighten up and then stop.

Sandy, Deborah and Godavari met the sweet fern for the first time that is now growing over the dune and into the site. I love this fern, years ago I put my intentions on the fern and wished that the fern would climb the dunes from the other side. Each of them smelled the plant and were joyous when they smelled the sweet fragrance having never smelled anything like it before.  I reminded water sisters that we needed to be silent as we entered Sacred Space.

Sweet fern.

Sweet fern.

We put our individual sacred items on the blanket alter in the sand. Before we began the Nibi Wabo (Water Song) each of us added our pure water to the water bowl to marry the waters. We tried to smudge but couldn’t get a match to light the sacred sage; it was too damp. We each took a pinch of tobacco in our left hand. In turn each spoke their intentions of remembrance before beginning ceremony and added a pinch of tobacco to the basswood Two Headed Bear Dream Bowl handmade by Frank Galli. The bowl was made especially for Water Ceremony offerings.  Then I gave a short talk on the observations of water to the sisters.

Message: Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer is one of the Ambassadors of the White Buffalo Family in Oregon. She is with them now and doing ceremony as we stand in circle. Worth Cooley-Prost is traveling from Arlington, VA to the Carolinas. Worth is standing with us in ceremony at the same hour where ever she is. I remembered Shelley Ruth Wyndham, Cape Town, South Africa, who asked that she be remembered each time we stand in Water Ceremony. She is with us in ceremony.   Mother Earth is going through a Great Cleansing and weather is and will become more violent.  We are to stand firmly grounded to the earth and hold any fear in our feet which is solidly planted in communication  with Mother Earth. We are not to let fear rise up through our bodies. We are not to be afraid when great and turbulent changes occur around us. We are to know that Mother Earth is protecting us. We are the Water Walkers, water sisters and water teachers.As women we are called to protect water. We are not alone. We are here to grow in healing energy work as we band together all over the world. Each of us in our own environment is here to teach others not to be afraid and to help people cross over the rainbow road after a storm. We are here at this moment to personally adapt to Climate Change and its consequences. We need to learn what our agricultural plant growing zone is and may be in the predicted future. We need to plant appropriately while we look towards the future. Current plant zoning is changing. In Northwest Wisconsin instead of planting the same species of downed trees ( Birch, Red Pine and Jack Pine) of the last storm in Minong on July 1, we need to look at a zone or two further south and plant accordingly. We need to personally adapt and teach others to adapt. There is no sense in old programming of being alarmed when our immediate world is changing and negatively lamenting the changes. If we survive I believe this is sufficient enough to be grateful. The solution: Think positive because we are still here doing our work. Adapt! This is the message.

Then we sang to the four direction, using our birch bark clapping sticks.  The clouds were getting black and thunder clouds came closer. After concluding the Water Song we ended ceremony sooner, packed up our ceremonial objects and headed back to the Hospitality House. Before we left the sand dunes, Sandy put down the sacred items she brought to the ceremony. These were a shell and rock. I left a tear drop shell in a special place also which was significant because we were blessed by rain during ceremony.

Parched sand dunes from drought.
Parched sand dunes from drought.

One of the observations I have noticed since I started working on water issues and Water Ceremony, with the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites, is that I am forever thirsty. Northwest Wisconsin experienced a seven-year drought .  I am conscious of having a dry mouth and wanting to drink water.

NOTE: Parts of this state’s North Woods and the adjacent Upper Peninsula of Michigan are the only areas in the continental USA experiencing “extreme” drought. It’s the region’s most severe drought since the 1930s and its longest dry period since the 1950s, says Roy Eckberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Green Bay, Wis. Learn more at http://www.usatoday.com/weather/drought/2010-06-24-drought_N.htm

Artesian well with spout and cup
Artesian well with spout and cup

I am grateful for all the rain in 2011 even though we have had to deal with strange, unpredictable and more frequent violent storms. Even the clouds have changed to forms I have never seen before. Now I keep a weather radio on.

I am secure in knowing  that there is pure water at the artesian well in the woods where sweet water flows to the surface from deep within Mother Earth. What a happy woodlands it is that surrounds the artesian well. Even though the trip is long and I need to drive 60 miles round trip from Minong to Shell Lake and back, I am happiest when I am drinking this precious pure water.

After the Water Ceremony Godavari wrote, “Thanks so much, so very much, for having us at your place, especially right after the trauma of the storms, when it must have been hard for you to get ready.  I like that it rained on our ceremony.  In Siddha Yoga rain is auspicious (highly beneficial, a good omen) because it is a blessing upon the  earth and its people.  As you said, it is life itself.  After our ceremony, I began drinking water with much gratitude, knowing we are blessed to have clean water on this part of the earth.  And inside, I feel a purification beginning, which the water ceremony seemed to launch.  Purifying me of anger and resentment, making space for greater love.  So in a personal way too, I am grateful to you for leading us in honoring water, in honoring Mother Earth.

Note: Godavari  means goddess of a holy river, and there is a River Godavari, as they call it there, near the Siddha Yoga ashram in India.

Worth Cooley-Prost says, “My part of Water Ceremony was brief and on the move, but held my Heart and I hope added something Good to the whole. My old (85 now!) friend Dot, who co-founded the Light Group in Kinston NC in the early 1970s, brought me a little container of water from there. (It used to be artesian well water, now it’s a mix of that and water from the Neuse River… anyway, Water from close-to-me Ancestors’ home since 1841 or so.) And our car smelled so wonderful with sage lit!

Tonya Whitedeer Cargill is a Clan Mother of the Bear Clan of Medicine Creek Metis in Laytonville, CA.  She holds women’s circles and Grandmother Net of Light Ceremonies.  She is one of the Ambassadors’ for the Sacred White Buffalo Family in Northern Oregon.  She is currently working on a novel that is coming to her through Spirit.  Tonya works with endangered species Medicines of the Green Nation and maintains a Medicine Walk open to the public to educate all those that come to her land named through Spirit as Medicine Creek. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites at http://waterblessings.org/

Mary Ellen Ryall is a Council Guide of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Ryall is the author of My Name is Butterfly published in 2011 by Salt of the Earth Press. The book will be available on Amazon shortly.

The fully illustrated children’s book gives testimony of why native plants are important for pollinators. The charming book teaches about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and its only host plant milkweed. Over the last eight years Ryall has planted milkweed at the sand dunes. Monarch butterflies flitted about the day of the Water Ceremony. This is another good sign that the monarch butterfly abounds in Minong in and near the sand dunes.

 

Day 11 – Let’s Vote and Speak Out about Climate Change

I am awed that we have reached so many VOTERS through Brighter Planet. As of 9:30 p.m., 193 conscientous citizens have voted for our grant proposal.    Thank you.  We are still plugging for VOTES for Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden in Shell Lake.  For those of you signing up and VOTING now please click on http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100 and give us your support.

 Happy Tonics hopes you will listen to testimony about climate change by Ross Gelbspan, author of “The Heat Is On,” on his Web site at http://www.heatisonline.org/  It is no longer about when.  It is about how we are going to adapt to Climate Change. 

Cherry tomago

native tomatoes raised in containers at Lakeland Manor

  All of us need to bring the message home that we need to protect biodiversity and plant native grasses, wildflowers and crops to withstand climate change.  I am hopeful of seeing many rain barrels in place this year in Shell Lake.  Andrew Eiche, Executive Director of HUD Housing, told me he plans to grant our request for a rain barrel for resident container gardens at Lakeland Manor, senior housing, in Shell Lake in 2010. 

 I called Jeff Parker, Director of Public Works, Shell Lake, today about donating a rain barrel for Friendship Commons where the girl scouts are going to plant a container garden with an Aldo Leopold Education and Pheasants Forever Grant.  The seniors are pleased that the younger generation will be involved in beautifying outside the center.  The educational garden will teach others about growing bee pollinator, butterfly (second more important pollinator), herb, flower and veggie gardens.

Happy Tonics is thrilled that Shell Lake is starting to get the message that we need to grow local and organic food. 

Borage a bee plant

Borage a taste of cucumber and bee plant

 We need native plants for pollinators.  It has taken Happy Tonics a few years of teaching environmental education to reach the public on a deep and profound level.  Protecting Mother Earth comes natural to Happy Tonics.  Nick Vander Puy, reporter at News from Indian Country, wrote on his Facebook blog recently something to the effect, “Our grandchildren will ask what did you do during the Great War for the Earth?”

 It is all about the baby steps and teaching others how to grow their own food in sustainable ways to adapt to Climate Change.

Be happy Voters where ever you are.

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