Monthly Archives: March 2007

Blessing the Source Waters

Last weekend, Becoming made its fourth annual pilgrimage to the source of the Potomac River in West Virginia. Our intent was as it has been each year:

to honor and bless the source of the waters that run through the land on which we live. We ask humbly for her to return and bring abundance to our land and our lives in this coming year.

As we drove from our cabin at Lost River State Park, I wondered if there would be a pool of water beneath the boulder or would everything be dry like last year. All winter, I have prayed for snow. I have visualized streamlets and imagined saturated mud. Everytime I wanted to curse the inconvenience of snow, I instead offered up a blessing in gratitude.

Was I heard? Did it work? Would the voice of one lone pagan in the city make a difference?

I’m not hubristic enough to believe that the forces of nature are bent by my desire, but still I cried when I saw water in the pool. Not as much as years past, but still there.

We lined up along the sides of the stream and made our praise offerings — songs, poems, heartfelt words, waters from other sacred rivers.

Water for water, music for music, poetry for poetry, life for life, a gift for a gift.
May our offerings be accepted.

The weather was overcast and foggy as always, but it’s not a Becoming Rite of Spring Blessing until and unless it rains on us. As I stood on a stone at the edge of the pool, in order to place our love-charged, heart-shaped stone directly into the pool, we asked for the spirits of the river to accept our love, our blessings, our offerings, and our gratitude. I dug away some of the leaves and mud, and water filled in. The source was there, but under cover. As soon as I plunged the stone into the pool, the skies opened and rained upon us. Yes! Yes! I believe that our offerings were accepted.

There is no shelter at the small park around this sacred spring, but that didn’t stop us from having a fun time with our lunch. Some of us wandered around the trees, while other sat on the tailgate barely sheltered by the hatchback. We ate our sandwiches, listened to music honoring the nature around us, and laughed with each other as we increasingly got wet.

Yes! Yes! Spring has returned and the waters will flow through our land, giving us life and blessings.

Welcome Spring

Spring Equinox Dancer

Last Friday we had our (hopefully) last snow/sleet storm, and the birds hiding in the trees were angrily trilling at the little ice pellets falling everywhere.

Yesterday, I saw that my favorite cheery tree (I mean cherry tree) on the corner of K and N Capitol Streets NE had budded little, bright green leaves over the weekend.

And this weekend, we make our annual pilgrimage to the traditional source of the Potomac River outside of Davis, West Virginia to welcome the return of spring and bless the running waters that nurture our local environment.

Today, I went to the Spring Welcome program at the National Museum of the American Indian with a friend from Becoming.

Thirza Defoe (Ojibwe and Oneida Nations of Wisconsin), celebrates the spring equinox with dances from the Four Directions: Iroquois Smoke Dancing from the Haudenosaunee of the east, Eagle Dances from the southwest, Hoop dancing and Fish Dances from the north, and Round Dances from the west.

Spring Equinox Dancer 2

I was lucky to catch this picture of her swirling around the sacred circle in her first dance about a young, sad woman who searches through the winter to find joy in the sun at the spring equinox. As the woman lifts up her arms to greet the sun, thousands of butterflies swarm from beneath her shawl and swirl around her. How ecstatic!

The Tree Show

I want to share with you The Tree Show, an art exhibit in Los Angeles that I found through a posting on Jason Pitzl-Waters’ The Wild Hunt blog.

The Cernunnos sculpture and The Tree of Life study and painting (as seen in this blog) are haunting, creepy, and intriguing. Mark Ryden’s work has a kind of through the looking glass quality that beckons you to step through into a faery world that borders on the macabre. Ryden morphs a post-modern collection of children’s toys, kitsch art, and animistic awareness into a compelling, almost surrealist, vision of the black heart of innocence and wildness in danger of turning malevolent due to threats of destruction.

OK, I’ll step out of art historian mode. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten to enjoy the pretentious jargon of that world… and I like to stretch those muscles occasionally. Really, something about this work intrigues me so much that I wish I could hop on a plane to LA right now to see the show in real life.