WRITINGS

A COLLECTION OF OFFERINGS & PRAYERS

The path to reconciliation starts with honest acknowledgement of our past, with open eyes, and open hearts for a better future. It is time for us to be in good relation with one another. We can do that by learning and unlearning how to give thanks in a good way."

Matika Wilbur & Adrienne Keene from All My Relations Podcast



This week, back in elementary school, we’d make “Indian” headdresses and pilgrim hats from construction paper, we’d sit all around a table together, and the teachers would pass down the myth of Thanksgiving.


You know the one I mean. The friendly but savage “Indians” welcomed the civilized but persecuted pilgrims arriving from Europe in 1620 with open arms, handing over their land in a bloodless and amiable deal so these hero white folks could build a great nation, a nation of freedom and opportunity. To celebrate this deal, the “Indians” and the pilgrims shared a great feast, and each year, we celebrate this national holiday to mark this coming together.


How utterly ridiculous. This is colonialism’s revisionist history - a story created by the conquerors to erase the conquered and cast themselves as heroes. It is a more palatable tale, meant to keep white folks comfortable and reinforce the so-called American ideology of Manifest Destiny.


The “Indians” were actually the Wampanoag people. When the pilgrims invaded, the Wampanoag had been engaged with Europeans for at least a century, years of bloodshed, disease, and violent slave raiding already informing their understanding of the colonists. The Wampanoag leader, Ousamequin, sought an alliance with the English Pilgrims against the rival people, the Narragansetts, at first, but this alliance quickly dissolved into one of the most horrific colonial / Native wars recorded (known as the Great Narragansett War or King Philip’s War). This war devastated the Wampanoag people, and today, the Wampanoag consider Thanksgiving a day of mourning, grieving the decimation caused by the Pilgrims’ entry into their homeland.


How did history become myth?


According to an interview with David Silverman, author of This Land is Their Land, the mythmaking began in 1769 and continued on after Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863:


For quite a long time, English people had been celebrating Thanksgivings that didn’t involve feasting—they involved fasting and prayer and supplication to God. In 1769, a group of pilgrim descendants who lived in Plymouth felt like their cultural authority was slipping away as New England became less relevant within the colonies and the early republic, and wanted to boost tourism. So, they started to plant the seeds of this idea that the pilgrims were the fathers of America. What really made it the story is that a publication mentioning that dinner published by the Rev. Alexander Young included a footnote that said, “This was the first Thanksgiving, the great festival of New England.” People picked up on this footnote. The idea became pretty widely accepted, and Abraham Lincoln declared it a holiday during the Civil War to foster unity.


It gained purchase in the late 19th century, when there was an enormous amount of anxiety and agitation over immigration. The white Protestant stock of the United States was widely unhappy about the influx of European Catholics and Jews, and wanted to assert its cultural authority over these newcomers. How better to do that than to create this national founding myth around the Pilgrims and the Indians inviting them to take over the land? This mythmaking was also impacted by the racial politics of the late 19th century. The Indian Wars were coming to a close and that was an opportune time to have Indians included in a national founding myth. You couldn’t have done that when people were reading newspaper accounts on a regular basis of atrocious violence between white Americans and Native people in the West. What’s more, during Reconstruction, that Thanksgiving myth allowed New Englanders to create this idea that bloodless colonialism in their region was the origin of the country, having nothing to do with the Indian Wars and slavery. Americans could feel good about their colonial past without having to confront the really dark characteristics of it.”


It’s time we own the truth of our history and stop handing down a colonial myth through the generations. Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Native Americans or unity, and instead, serves to reinforce colonial white supremacy.


I challenge you to tell the real story around the table this year.


Written by Lily Heaton



"You have stolen our land, and buried it to the ground. You oppressed us, we were banned.

Always misunderstood for being tanned, not a single word from taking my house. You have stolen our land.

You said you paid, but it was planned, and now we are being kicked out. You oppressed us, we were banned.

And you say: we eat from your hand, but you get food thanks to us. You have stolen our land.

Immigration would like us to be canned, but why would we let you be? You oppressed us, we were banned.

How can you say we need to understand?, this was ours to begin with. You have stolen our land, You oppressed us, we were banned."


Poem by Meowlli



Here are some ideas to begin the process of re-imagining and decolonizing Thanksgiving:


  • Begin your day or gathering by offering a Land Acknowledgment followed by a moment of silence in honor of this Day of Mourning. Learn whose lands you’re on here.

  • Read the poem called “Stolen Land” by Meowlli

  • Tell the truth. Read about the true history of Thanksgiving and any of the provided readings below.

  • Take a walk. Be with the trees, soils, birds and experience of earth in that moment. Intentionally stand together in silence as you quietly acknowledge the land you touch and the original peoples of that place.

  • Envision what gratitude in action looks like. It has never been enough to simply be grateful for the first peoples and the land. Share heartfelt gratitude… but don’t let it end there. The following list is from @hopemagick

  1. Amplify awareness about missing & murdered indigenous women.⁣

  2. Get familiar with #landback and why it's a good idea for not just indigenous folks but the whole planet.⁣

  3. Follow accounts that educate about indigenous rights, traditions, practices, joy, and beauty.⁣

  4. Donate to one of the hundreds of indigenous organizations that need financial support.⁣

  5. Weave gratitude into the fabric of daily life as a means to connect with Spirit. Gather to give thanks for our life's harvest with community more than once a year.⁣

Here are some more ideas:

  1. Give/pay tax/reparations to your local Indigenous tribes.

  2. Learn about the Native Foods of the lands you occupy. Forage and harvest native foods growing in your local area. Support local Indigenous farmers. These relationships are necessary for developing a deeper understanding of the lands we call home.

  3. Join a solidarity action taking place between Nov. 23rd-29th. Indigenous grassroots people on the frontlines are calling on people to join them in solidarity as a national call to action to support and respect our sovereignty.


Here are some Indigenous accounts that we encourage you to follow: @indigenousclimateaction @riseindigenous @indigenouswomxnclimb @nativewellness @decolonialatlas @iiycfamily @poetagoddess @therednation @wecan_intl @ndncollective @indigenousrising @1492landbacklane @kanahus.tattoos @sodalitemedianews @willgeorge36 @shanchief @yintah_access


FURTHER LEARNING



#dayofmourning #ThanksTaking #DecolonizeThanksgiving #reckoning #dismantlewhitesupremacy #unlearn #gratitudeinaction #embodiedactivism #spiritualjustice



A great change is taking place at a molecular level within humanity, and it is also impacting all natural systems and all creatures. Everywhere you look today... you will see a world preparing itself for a leap in consciousness. Such times are inherently unstable and a deep collective fear of the coming change is moving like a spectre through our world. The fear of freedom."

Richard Rudd, from the Gene Keys



A global pandemic.

The polarization of a nation.

Anthropogenic climate disruption.

Extreme ecological degradation.

Sixth mass extinction.

Political implosion.

Civil unrest.


This is what the growing pains of collective transformation look like. As we enter the holy dark time of the year in the northern hemisphere, we are given the opportunity to make peace with the collective shadow.

The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to see. We either push it away, deny its existence or disavow it all together because we are embarrassed or ashamed. But here’s the truth: our shadow is a part of our magick. It can bring up fear of who we are being called to become, and regardless of whether or not we want to see it, it WILL show up. The shadow beckons us deeper into ourselves, individually and collectively.


This is what’s happening on a global scale. The shadow of collective trauma is making itself known because we as a people (especially those of us racialized as white) can no longer deny its existence. By virtue of living as modern humans, we can no longer deny the role we play in the systems movement toward extinction. We are part of the greater organism and intelligence network of Earth who is communicating to and through us through the discomfort of these times. It is for our own good and for the health of our planet that our shadow is communicating to us in this way. It’s an alert. But are we listening?


The foundations of an old world order (founded on white supremacy, colonial capitalism, enslavement, heteropatriarchy, industrial extractivism) are dying as we bear witness to Empire in its death throes. Look around and you will see that all aspects of life - from the environment, our political and social structures and world economy to religion, science and technology - are undergoing drastic change. They're crumbling before our very eyes.


We can either deny what’s happening, go along like business as usual and continue feeding the hungry ghost of our collective shadow (which will only grow in size) or we can turn to face the thing that scares us most. We must reckon with our collective past.


We must reckon with the fact that humanity has a pathological relationship to Earth which is characteristic of Empire.


We must reckon with our own disenchantment from Earth and our own bodies.


We must reckon with our experiences of historical and intergenerational trauma, how this came to be and why.


We must reckon with being dislocated from the land and how that was necessary in order to go along with and participate in the violence of capitalism.


We must reckon with our complicity in these systems of abuse and violence.


We must reckon with our power and how we choose to wield it.

Understanding history and where we come from helps us to see more clearly the relationships among consciousness, power, and reality. The question ceases to be, How did we get here? and becomes Where can we possibly go and how?


On the micro level, you may be sensing the presence of shadow in your own life as you navigate the uncertainty of these times (remember, shadow does not equal negative or bad - its a part of our magick). This might show up in your system as waves of fear, anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, etc. You might notice the tendency to hold your breath, hold tension, keep yourself distracted from being with what is by staying busy. Whatever is coming up in your body or presenting in your patterned ways of being, the invitation now is to be with what is so that it can fully move through your system without getting stuck. Name it, say hello and let it know you’re there and you’re listening. Give it space.


Change always brings with it the discomfort of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Change brings with it grief. Grief for what is no more. Grief for what has been lost. Grief of disillusionment.


Choosing to face our shadow isn’t easy, but it does heal. Denying the shadow seems easier, but it hurts and perpetuates unconscious harm. When we choose to embrace our shadow, we grow in personal empowerment and contribute to breaking the spell of collective amnesia. We begin to make friends with the dark. We begin to remember. The shadow doesn’t seem so haunting anymore, because it is understood and respected in the way that it serves us.


So the question is, "How do we face the dark on the edge of annihilation? How do we find the dark within and transform it? How do we dream it into a new image, dream it into actions that will change the world into a place where no more horror stories happen, where there are no more victims?" (Rain Crowe)


Transformation isn’t supposed to be easy. We are made resilient through the process of growing and becoming, which demands of us discipline, discernment and vigilance. It is a spiritual work that many are undertaking now.


Join us in this January to explore the spiritual journey of shadow work as we seek to create Earth Culture rooted in relational and ecological embodiment.


Stay tuned for more information about Sacred Studies coming soon!



FURTHER LEARNING & PRACTICES

Caliban and the Witch
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#HolyDark #ShadowWork #Healing #Transformation #SpiritualWork #SacredStudies #CollectiveTrauma #Awakening #ChangeIsComing #Reckoning



We need to dream the dark as process, and dream the dark as change, to create the dark in a new image. Because the dark creates us." Starhawk



With just a few days left before Samhain (and the US presidential election), we wanted to provide you with some resources and inspiration to ground and serve you in your preparations for this holy time of the year.

Samhain is an ancient Celtic festival of the Dead occurring in late October and early November (usually celebrated on Oct. 1st and Nov. 1st). Meaning "Summer's End" in Gaelic and pronounced saah-win, Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest and darkest half of the year. For many, Samhain also is the beginning of the spiritual new year.

Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects Nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies back with killing frosts, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. This contributes to the ancient notion that at Samhain, the veil is thinnest between the world of the living and the realm of the Dead and this facilitates contact and communication with the spirit of our ancestors.


This year is extra special and potent because Samhain will fall under the energetic influence of the FULL BLUE MOON in Taurus and is the first full moon to occur across all time zones since 1944. This is an important time for centering, grounding and harmonizing our energy in nature and allowing the full moon to recharge and restore us as we prepare for what is to come.

For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving and to further adjust to their being in the Otherworld by spiritually communing with them.





ANCESTORS PRAYER


Hail the Ancestors,

You who walked the path,

Who lit the way before us,

Who gave the first sacrifice.

May your road be clear

As you return this day.

May we stand tall with you.

Making you proud in our work.

You stood against oppression.

You lifted up the downtrodden.

You welcomed the stranger.

We pray we have your strength.

Ancestors, we see you!

Ancestors, we honor you!


Written by Rev. Michael J. Dangler



SAMHAIN RITUALS


Here is a list of items to incorporate into any of the following ritual ideas listed below.


Crystals

  • Carnelian: Healing, peace, protection, sexuality

  • Moonstone: Balance, divination, feminine influence, the Goddess, healing, hidden knowledge, insight

  • Obsidian: Depth, divination, grounding

  • Onyx: Protection, self-defense, self-discipline


Herbs / Plants

  • Cinnamon

  • Clove

  • Copal

  • Decaying leaves

  • Myrrh

  • Pine needles

  • Garlic

  • Mugwort

  • Myrrh

  • Rosemary

  • Sage

  • Yarrow

CORD CUTTING

  1. As we come to the end of a cycle it can be an important and liberating practice to cut away any energetic and psychic ties that you sense may be holding you back or binding you. Being energetically connected to people, places and spirits is not necessarily a bad thing (since this is how we form healthy bonds) unless that connection or energetic tie is no longer serving you. Cord cutting allows you to let go of people, stories you might carry about yourself and/or patterns of relating and being that you’re ready to let go of.

  2. To perform this portion of your ritual, first get clear and spend some time journaling about what cords you will be cutting. Set intentions. When you are ready, bind your hands, feet or other areas of the body that you sense need releasing with black cord/yarn. Cut the ties to symbolize an energetic release. Complete this portion of your ritual by burning the bindings.

There are many other ways to celebrate Samhain including some of the following examples offered by Selena Fox from Circle Sanctuary:


RITUAL OF RELEASE

  1. This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.

SAMHAIN NATURE WALK

  1. Take a meditative walk in a natural area near your home. Observe and contemplate the colors, aromas, sounds, and other sensations of the season. Experience yourself as part of the Circle of Life and reflect on death and rebirth as being an important part of Nature. If the location you visit permits, gather some natural objects and upon your return use them to adorn your home.

ANCESTOR ALTAR

  1. Gather photographs, heirlooms, and other mementos of deceased family, friends, and companion creatures. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface, along with several votive candles. Kindle the candles in their memory as you call out their names and express well wishes. Thank them for being part of your life. Sit quietly and pay attention to what you experience. Note any messages you receive in your journal. This Ancestors Altar can be created just for Samhain or kept year round.

FEAST OF THE DEAD

  1. Prepare a Samhain dinner. Include a place setting at your table or at a nearby altar for the Dead. Add an offering of a bit of each beverage being consumed to the cup at that place setting, and to the plate, add a bit of each food served. Invite your ancestors and other deceased loved ones to come and dine with you. To have this as a Samhain Dumb Supper experience, dine in silence. After the feast, place the contents of the plate and cup for the Dead outdoors in a natural location as an offering for the Dead.

ANCESTOR STORIES

  1. Learn about family history. Contact one or more older relatives and ask them to share memories of family members now dead. Record them in some way and later write accounts of what they share. Give thanks. Share what you learned and have written with another family member or friend. Add names of those you learned about and wish to honor to your Ancestors Altar.

CEMETARY VISIT

  1. Visit and tend the gravesite of a loved one at a cemetery. Call to mind memories and consider ways the loved one continues to live on within you. Place an offering there such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, or a libation of water.

REFLECTIONS

  1. Reflect on you and your life over the past year. Review journals, planners, photographs, blogs, and other notations you have created during the past year. Consider how you have grown, accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travels, and learnings. Meditate. Journal about your year in review, your meditation, and your reflections.

RENOVATE

  1. Select an area of your home or life as a focus. Examine it. Re-organize it. Release what is no longer needed. Create a better pattern. Celebrate renewal and transformation.

BONFIRE MAGIC

  1. Kindle a bonfire outdoors when possible or kindle flames in a fireplace or a small cauldron. Write down an outmoded habit that you wish to end and cast it into the Samhain flames as you imagine release. Imagine yourself adopting a new, healthier way of being as you move around the fire clockwise.



RESOURCES


#Samhain #CelticNewYear #DayOfTheDead #Transformation #Threshold #RitualOfRelease #EarthBasedWellness #EcoSpirituality #SacredCeremony #HonorYourAncestors



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