This morning I touched a handmade piece of art glass because my friend Worth Cooley-Prost made it. Then I was clearing
out some old greeting cards and I found this note from Worth. She has walked on, but she left these words behind.
14 April 2013
“The Circle of Light in this piece were cut from glass placed under the sheltering arms of the Grandfather Oak that cover part of the balcony outside our room – on the day of the full moon eclipse in June 2012, thorough the [Venus not sure of word] transit the next day, and through sunrise the day after that –
Net of Light made for Mary Ellen with love and gratitude Worth Cooley-Prost 2012
The other piece like this, cut side by side from the same glass, was made for Grandmother Whitedeer.”
Grandmother Whitedeer is the founder of the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites. Worth was a member. I am a council guide of the Sisterhood.
Love and light,
NOTE: I do believe in the Veil of Light from the other side. Worth is surely doing her blessed work from the other side. I can’t help but think she is very close to us from afar. The photo of glass animals were made by Worth also.
Today I went out to my sister’s colonial farm. I brought my birch bark clapping sticks and some corn meal to put down. It was softly raining as I walked up though the woods on the foot trodden trail. I felt I was being led to honor my friend Worth Cooley-Prost who is ascended now with other masters. I just could feel her wanting me to do a Water Ceremony and so I walked up to the Wild Butterfly Habitat where I have my own refuge in a field. My chair was there and I was happy to be able to sit down for a respite.
I knew that I would gather my crystal rock and pipe-stone from a sacred Ojibwe place. I didn’t want to leave them behind knowing that I was moving. I want my sacred things around me. Personally I would rather have my sticks and twigs than furniture. They comfort me and give me strength.
In the clearing I began in the four directions. I chanted the water chant to Nibi Wabo and felt I was honoring the rain as it gently fell and that my friend was pleased.
There is also a stained glass hanging container that an elder friend made years ago. I thought about it and wondered what I would do with it in my new home? A light-bulb went off. I will hang it from a window and put water in it. It will remind me daily to set my intentions in my own residence. I will offer ceremony for the purity of water, that it will remain abundantly with the Earth, even though it is quickly disappearing at an alarming rate. I will continue to bless the water. She wants to be honored. We should never forget this life giving gift to all Beings that live on the planet.
We must never stop protecting her from pollution, toxins, nuclear waste, plastic, and sewage. She allows us to live as well as the trees, plants, birds, fish, and animals that often sacrifice themselves for us.
Today, I received an email from Worth Cooley-Prost, an artist in Alexandria, VA. She asked me to send thoughts to her of what I see and she asked that I pray for her Glass Exhibit called Portals. In response, I went on a Meditation Walk around the loop, a dirt road near my property. Along the way, I stepped off the beaten path into the sand dunes where we hold Water Ceremony in Northwest Wisconsin in season. The first thing I noticed was beautiful miniature soldier moss with their dainty little red hats. Some moss was already laden with the first signs of frost. As I strolled into this sacred space, I encountered deer foot prints and possible wolf scat. As I approached the sacred circle where we hold ceremony I saw a female adult deer near Jack pine who casually walked away and hid among fur trees and hard wood forest to the south. Then from the west, I heard a crow at about the same time as I smelled the aroma of sweet fern that was a dense colony and climbing over the dunes from the west.
It was here that I whispered Worth’s intentions for the Art Exhibit – Portals. Thinking on the meaning of portals I thought of dimensions, doors or gateways. First I realized that a female deer silently passed though a portal between Jack pines; an unseen crow flew through the air through a space portal and signified sound as it cawed. The sweet fern that now was growing over the sand dune came though another portal. They came through soil and aroma portals. There are all kinds of portals above us, below us, around us and within us if we open sacred space within, around and beyond us. We can even pass through portals to other dimensions that exist in the Universe. We can be thankful to those beings whom we can not see. There are portals beyond our understanding. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Sometimes in our human existence we can be hindered by our own thoughts. I pray that all my portals or gateways are open and that I am a conduit of understanding.
As a parting thought, I gathered a few sprigs of sweet fern to represent aroma, a dash of white sage to represent the sacred and furry native small bluestem seed to represent the feral cat I also saw as I walked around the loop a little later. Black and white, it paused long enough to gaze at me from a safe distance resting on a downed tree and camouflaged by leaves. I talked to the cat and told the animal that I loved him/her. I said a prayer that the creature would find food, warmth and shelter this winter. I hope to encounter the cat again. I will start to carry some dry cat food as I walk this way again in another Meditation Walk.
Now I will package the nature gift and mail it to Worth. She deserves my thoughts, reflections and intention.
Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
October 26, 2011 – 6 p.m. Hospitality House, 705 B Street, Minong, WI
Sponsored by Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites
Open to women who feel called to honor and respect water. Purpose: Support water issues that need our attention. To change negative impact on the world’s fresh drinking water supply for all living species all over the world. Turning our hearts and prayers toward positive energy and vibrations to heal water world wide.
Water Blessing Event
October 28 – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. May we all stand together with a single intention for water matter where we are on the Earth at this time.
Water Sister Worth Cooley-Prost sent the following Messsage:
Dear Ones! At long last, the convergence of time, energy and Heart allows for this long-overdue message.
[A new friend and I] talked about indigenous understandings of Now, and how I can’t imagine how I’d be able to look around in these times if I hadn’t heard Don Alejandro speak 11 years ago, how the Mayan calendar isn’t about the “end of the world,” rather about the accelerating unfolding of a whole new Time that’s very different from all that’s unraveling now. (I really like Tom Kenyon’s metaphor about 2012 or whenever — he says when his odometer turns over 100,000 miles, he doesn’t expect his car to disappear!) I think our unexpected hour together was a Gift to both of us, and recalled again the Hathors advice about the difficulties of chaotic nodes: “be curious and expect miracles.”
Turtle Women Rising 2011 was in Olympia WA this year, from sunrise on October 7 through the afternoon of October 10. I have the bowl that held the Water on the altar at TWR 2008 and 2010, both here in DC. It’s lovely bowl, about 16″
across and a graceful low, open shape in that hint-of-palest-green often seen in thick handmade glass, with a swirl of slightly darker pale green. It was in one of Coldwater Creek’s crazy online sales about 2002, marked down from probably $125 (never could’ve afforded that) to about $35. I loved it (and had a lot more money back then!), and ordered it thinking it would be beautiful on our diningroom table with fruit or flowers or just air. When it came, I realized that our diningroom table was
neither big enough nor clear enough for the bowl, so for about 6 years it sat up on top of a bookshelf in the diningroom. Then in one of the final planning conference calls for the first TWR, Eli said they needed a bowl to hold the Water in the
altar tipi, and I said, “Eli, I have the bowl.” Near the end of the final day of TWR that year, I’d left the circle to smoke a cigarette and just put my chair at the edge of things when I came back in. I remember sitting there watching
everybody singing and dancing, and thinking, “I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can bring the bowl that holds the Water.” We used it again in 2010.
So last Friday, Willy put two chairs and a little round table that came from the side of the road several years ago in a special, leafy grove part of the yard before he went to work, and later my friend Margaret came over with her drum. The several pieces of cloth covering the table were made by Mayan hands, African hands, and Indonesian hands, and though I’m sure the the bright red fleece with Native American designs was made in China, it came to me from Council on Indian Nations a couple of years ago. The bowl took up most of the table. The things around it included several stones, a tiny bottle of rose
quartz chips, a little basket with Haiti beads, some lavender, a Fourth Wise Man figure, and seems like a couple of other things I can’t remember at the moment. (I’d meant to take a picture but forgot; it must not have wanted me
to.) After smudging us and everything else, we filled the bowl with Water from the house and opened the space with prayers to connect with TWR and with all healing Waters around the world. I asked especially that the spirits of all the men, women,
children and horses of the civil war be honored for their courage and sacrifice, calling them back from their journeys and the traumas endured, so they can heal and return Home… and that Mother Earth be healed in all the places that have
held their pain and fear and anger for all these 150 years, and that all the Waters that touch that land — rivers, rain, dew, fog, snow, tears past and future — carry that great healing also.
Margaret brought a really beautiful drum, and I used my Ocean drum for the first time. I’ve always wanted to be where drumming is — Native American, Haitian, African, and those astonishing sideways Japanese drums — but somehow never really felt called to drum myself. Then last summer I ordered myself an Ocean drum for my birthday — synthetic covering on one side, clear mylar on the other, and filled with steel shot. I’d experimented with it a little a couple of times since… tilting it from side to side makes sounds of waves and surf… but this was the first time I really used it. Amazing! Each of the
times between opening the space Friday and closing it Monday afternoon — and the next night when Moon was full somewhere behind thick clouds — it’s given me something new. The first day, when I opened my eyes after a few minutes, the
sky and trees were in my lap! (The clear mylar side is like a mirror.) Also, the steel beads often make a yin-yang pattern. The next day I also used the beater that came with it, and after a little while realized there were subtle musical tones at the edges; they’ve been clearer each time. Another time when I looked down, I saw the ripple patterns around my thumbs holding the
edges. Looks like I have my drum — who knew?!!
When we came back to the house on Friday, the mail had come, bringing the sage you sent, Mary Ellen… so that’s been part of each visit since. When I went back to the space the second day, there was a line of sand or fine dirt around the whole front edge of the table. (Another time I’ll tell you the story of the six deer who came in January after I’d asked my grandmothers for guidance and protection and that I be able to see them and hear them clearly.) We took everything back in but the cloth and bowl when we closed the space on Monday. I’ve left the bowl there for the three days of rain we’ve had, and tomorrow will give the Water to the Earth there and it will go back on the high shelf until whenever its next time is.
Margaret is coming again for Water Prayers at 1:00 on October 28, so we will be among you all around the world. These are some fancy, fancy times, aren’t they? I’m so grateful to be here, so grateful to both of you that you’re in my life and in my heart. I do want to be a Water Sister, please!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continuing story. Latest updates are below at bottem of this post.
Ju;y 2, 2011 Storm saga: The temperature was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the valley yesterday. Late afternoon I went outside and felt a few rain drops falling. I raised my eyes and arms up to the sky and silently said, “Thank you.” The vegetable gardens needed rain. It was too hot and I knew the rain barrel was near empty. I would be grateful for rain and lower temperature. Midwesterners in Northwest Wisconsin are not used to torturous heat. Besides, I have Lymn’s disease again and not supposed to be out in the sun for the next 21 days while on antibiotics. Instead of working I decided to walk down the street.
I can’t help it. I am an Earthy woman who loves and lives within the elements. My passion is gardening and butterflies. I am more at home outside than in and have always been this way since childhood. When it started to rain more consistently, I turned around and headed home.
I observed clouds coming from the south. They could be viewed at the top of the Minong hills and looked like an impenetrable wall. I puzzled why were the clouds so low to the ground? I didn’t feel alarmed in that moment simply curious. I did not know that something significant was about to happen. I walked inside the house and began to watch a Netflix movie in the living room. While spread out on a sleeping bag, all of a sudden the electricity went off. Loud groaning and tearing sounds mixed with high wind pitch. The sounds were beyond any beyond anything I had ever heard. I got up and walked to the only space on the main floor that doesn’t have windows.
There I waited in a darkened hallway. I felt and heard the bones of my aged redwood home creaking and moaning and knew that the structure was being tested. The high winds roared down the chimney. I could hear the wind in the attic above me. At the same time, some knowledge more ancient than I made me realize that I was protected by a healing blanket around me. I was not afraid. I felt secure in this thought. With my bare feet firmly placed on the floor I felt connected to earth. I reached for the water pendent necklace hanging from a nail in the hallway and felt the water totem would protect me now. I grabbed the necklace and put it on. I held onto it and knew matter how forceful the rain and wind were, I would be safe.
My Facebook friend Worth Cooley Prost had given me a glass pennant neckland as a gift. She creates glass water jewelry. Worth is immersed in ceremony before and throughout the creative process. Her Earthly role is honoring and loving water especially oceans. I have not met Worth yet. I know her through mutual water work. I am a council guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites headquartered in California. Women carry the responsibility of honoring the gift of water. It is a woman’s role to protect water. The Sisterhood was formed to embrace water and to teach others to be grateful for the gift. Water is not a commodity that can be bought, sold or traded. It is a gift. Women share the role so that we can protect fresh water for present and future generations.
Notes: Thoughts on losing pine trees and birch. Bonding with an adult monarch as I lightly held my hand out and she walked on my fingers to reach nectar. Precious moment. A few weeks ago, I saw a mother monarch lay eggs on milkweed in this colony. The property maintenance people mowed over it a few days later. I hadn’t protected it quite fast enough. I did see that some of the milkweed continued to grow and quickly, low fencing was bought. This time by golly, I was going to fence the colony off. Today I witnessed the first monarch caterpillar to survive in this very patch of milkweed. Last year, July 4, 2010, I lost my husband to cancer.
July 5 – My friend Janice Organ contacted me via Facebook asking if she could help. Janice came today from Shell Lake. Both of us worked all morning to rake the back property and to pick up limbs and twigs. I feel so much better knowing that at least the open lawn areas are cleared of debris.
Janice Organ helps with storm clean up.
We had some transforming conversation too. Janice was able to see a mother robin teaching her fledgling to fly and also to pick juneberries ripening on a tree. It was thrilling to internalize the message. We all must learn to trust ourselves and fly. The old world order is becoming obsolete with deteriorating natural resources, diminishing world fresh water supply and humans being disconnected to the very natural world that supports life. What is needed now is to learn about sustainability of the changing environment and to find ourselves within the natural world order.
“Evidence of significant patterns of change over the past 10,000 years confirms that substantial ecosystem changes can occur as a result of changes in climate. Presuming future changes occur to the same extent as past changes, tribes that trace their ancestry to the wooded regions will slowly become overtaken by grasslands. Such that the entire nature of place for many Native peoples is likely to change.” Source: Climate Change Impacts on the United States. Chapter 12 – Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change by Schuyler Houser, Verna Teller, Michael MacCracken, Robert Goughs, and Patrick Spears.
The city crews came today to cut and remove some of the street laden fallen trees. I am grateful to them and the new Board members who are making sure that village residents are helped with the cleanup. It is massive. Did I tell you about Hoppy (sp) who works for electric company? He made sure after being three days without electricity that my neighbors across the street were given higher priority because my friend Henrietta needed oxygen. My roof and electric pipe on the roof are damaged so Hoppy made sure I had a temporary wire hookup so I too would have electricity now. What wonderful people who you can count on where there is a natural disaster.
July 6, 2011 – Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer recently published portions of this article in the July issue of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites Newsletter. She said, “Mary Ellen called me the morning after this act devastation…at first I was amazed at her bravery and calmness…but then I realized that she understands the prophecies and knows that we are in the midst of them now…these are the changes that are preparing for a New Earth to be reborn. If we stand in our Trust as Mary Ellen did and stand also upon and within her sacred space of Truth…we can all be survivors and teachers for our Mother Earth…AHO…. Grandmother Whitedeer
” The glass is changing now, too; like the lizards, the glass has told me that to do rather than vice versa. When I teach glass occasionally, the first Understanding is that you come to the glass with Respect, and you listen and/or feel what it holds, then you work. I think most glass classes teach about what to do to glass, how to make it into something you’ve decided to make.
To me, that’s backwards. Each piece of glass is absolutely different from every other, and if you’re in relationship with it, it Becomes. I open with sage and wear a yoke (I didn’t know that’s what it was when a friend gave it to me about 10 years ago, saying she didn’t know why she’d brought it to me; I took it to the studio with me a couple of days later, put it around my neck without thinking, and then knew I was to wear it when I cut and fire the glass.) The Prayer to the 7 Directions and my Ancestors is that what is True, Beautiful, and Good for the People come from those places through me and into the glass, and that each piece hold those things, and that its person find it. I ask the same of the glass while it’s firing, thank it when it’s through, and ask before any show that people come find their particular glass. There’s been some amazing specificity at times.
For several years, Soul of Blue and Flame pieces get cut in full sunlight and Ocean gets cut at dawn or as the moon comes up. Since last year, I’ve been taking glass out to the moon (or sun, depending on the glass and the energy) at partiuclar times — Mayan Day Out of Time last July, some major eclipses, etc. — and it stays until sunrise so it carries whatever it and Moon do together. It’s changing again the last couple of months, not clear yet where it’s going but do know that I’m doing very few shows this year. I know more Ice Ancestors (glass on clear selenite slabs) are coming, since seeing a photo of what my daughter did with the one I gave her after the exhibit that honored Uncle: it’s on a windowsill where first sun comes through it. As soon as I saw the photo, I thought, “Of *course* and won’t puzzle about how people can use or display them. That’s between the glass and the people, I’m just the pizza man.”