by Mandy Officer
Blessings to you as we enter a new chapter of seasonal change in celebrating the arrival of the autumnal equinox! Today marks the beginning of Navratri, the 9 day Hindu celebration of good over evil, as well as the International Day of Peace promoting respect & dignity for all peoples. What a powerful time to be alive on this planet. Great change is in the air. Collectively we are experiencing an upheaval of the elemental forces which have left millions across the globe without food, water, electricity or shelter. How do we process or feel this much turmoil within our being while somehow still maintaining our center? Even more, how can we quickly act to help our fellow citizens, our relatives, and what is the best use of our energy? It is hard to know which crisis to respond to. In our own region so many have recently lost their homes to wildfires, some carelessly started at the hands of others. In the south floods have ravaged the lands & winds have stripped the landscape bare. Even further south the Earth quakes with intensity while we helplessly watch vides of buildings crumbling & people scrambling for help. Across the globe people & animals are suffering at the imbalance of the elemental forces. What can we do?
In these times of feeling somewhat helpless to the myriad of catastrophes taking place, I am reminded to draw my energy back to myself and breathe, then pray. Whether you believe the forces of nature are intensifying due to climate change, geo-engineering or perhaps God’s way of punishing us for our misdeeds, I think the one thing most of us can agree upon is that a balance needs to be restored. I believe the only way to do this is by healing our relationship with the land. This involves cultivating an appreciation for the gifts of life that surround us. Each day we awake & are able to breathe in fresh air, that is a gift. That first sip of water you take each morning, remember that your life depends on that water. And it is time for all of us who recognize these gifts to stand up & be a voice for the Great Earth Mother, to thank the elemental forces so that they feel honored & appreciated. Indigenous cultures around the world have maintained practices for millennia that have ritually fed & honored these unseen beings. As colonization has stamped out many of these spiritual practices, many people have forgotten that we once held a much more sacred relationship with the Earth. And this is where the balance was maintained.
Recently I returned from an event in South Dakota called the Black Hills Unity Concert. This is a benefit concert to raise awareness around how the treaty rights for the Great Sioux Nation have not been upheld or honored. I have been blessed to support & watch this event grow over the last 4 years. This year, we had representatives of many nations come, an aboriginal elder from Australia, the Kogi tribe from Colombia, a traditional Tibetan musician & healer as well as chiefs of many tribes from across Turtle Island who came together to form an alliance, to stand up & protect this great mother of ours. It was amazingly powerful to witness the signing of a proclamation that recognizes our interdependence for not only our physical survival, but the survival of cultures that have a deep reverence for the gift that is life.
And so we can also make our offerings of gratitude as a way to restore balance, if only to heal our own connection with this primordial force. In this way, each day we can celebrate our own triumph of good over evil as we acknowledge all of the love that this Earth Mother holds for us.