By Deanna Jenne’
Two international days happen this month. Both deeply intertwined with each other and close to my heart: Women’s Day and World Water Day, March 8 and 22nd. Women and water go together; you might say that they are ‘cut from the same cloth’ or that water and women are kin to each other but not exactly ‘hand in glove’ or as ‘two peas in a pod’. In many traditions today, women are still the water bearers and they are the caretakers of water. Our watery wombs bear life. The symbiotic relationship women and water have with each other births and heals life. Our emotions, psyche and mystery ‘run deep’ like the water of a well.
While we may have lost touch with the ancient wisdom of the feminine, our blood and bones carry this knowledge. Around the world today women are rising to awaken us that the earthly waters are in peril. It is time to take a stand for water, not just in March but on every day. Now is the time to Love Water. This is the cure to the perilous future we face.
Water is life giving just as women are mysterious life givers. A woman’s fecundity is represented by her juiciness, her watery nature, her fertility and ability to carry and grow a child. Nothing grows in a dry desert. When the baby is ready to be born the amniotic waters burst forth, the “waters break” and the container or placenta that holds the child lets go. These waters carry the same minerals as Grandmother Ocean. Indigenous stories remind us how life springs forth from her and are made from her.
The promoters of International World Water Day are suggesting that WE ‘bless the water’. I’m provoked by the notion of blessing water—this is the same thinking that has gotten us into the perilous trouble with water in the first place.
As long as humans maintain power over, thinking that we can bless water and that our act of blessing water has an effect on water, we maintain the colonized mindset. It is audacious to think that we can bless water, which is a gift to humans for the very purpose of blessing life. This is a hierarchical way of thinking.
Humans cannot override water. Water is holy. For a human to be bestowed as holy, purified or cleansed, in other words ‘baptized’ – an act that introduces one to the sacred and holy and asks favors of God, the gods or the goddess, they must be blessed by water. By its very nature, Water is Sacred. To be blessed by Sacred Water means to make one sacred. Water is the elemental being that carries the blessing of life to humans and other matter. Without water we die in three days. Water does not need us in the way we need water. Perhaps the notion of blessing the water has come about because of our awareness of the preciousness of water. We’ve been given a finite supply of water and it is running out through our waste and carelessness, pollution and overuse. We cannot afford frivolity with water any longer. Pure water is becoming scarce. Women have an innate desire to preserve and protect water because we carry the mystery of life within us.
I would like to share what I’ve learned about how to be in relationship with water:
One day I prayed to know how to protect the waters where I live from a possible oil/gas development. I listened for an answer. The waters spoke to me, more in pictures than in words, seemingly grateful for my concern. In a manner of speaking, water needed our help. I was reminded of our delicate and intricate relationship with her. She responds to us when we are grateful. The teachings from my path say that humans were given a mind, but having a mind comes with great responsibility: to keep it in check with the heart we must give gratitude. In this context of asking water how to help protect it, the message shown to me was to give thanks to her. She said, ‘above all else that Water Comes First’. Water is the first sign of life; water is life.
A reciprocal relationship with water by humans is important. Reciprocity is not hierarchical. It fosters equanimity. Give thanks to water and she will awaken. I saw that water could fall asleep when her relationship with humans had begun to wane over the last few centuries. Women were the caretakers, the gift givers, the relationship builders. When the Indigenous people who had these instructions were no longer here and able to maintain the relationship with her the waters began to succumb to the take over of land, the drilling, dams, diversions, artificial rains, cloud seeding, subdivisions and just plain wastefulness of water coming out of your tap. She showed me how sacred beings do fall asleep when humans forget how to be in right relationship with them.
Hence, water will bless us as long as it is kept awake by our gratitude. When one gives gratitude, the heart listens and the mind relaxes. The mind will be able to serve the heart knowing and wisdom of life. That is the ancient agreement that humans made in order to have a mind.
Water also said that she would rise up to take care of herself, as this is her nature. I took that to mean that water’s protection was innate when humans did their part simply giving gratitude to her.
The oil and gas company did not come to our valley after this. The Colorado River found its way back to her mother, Grandmother Ocean, after sixty years of running dry before reaching the Sea of Cortez. The Morelos Dam near Yuma, Arizona was opened so the water could rush back to the embrace of her mother. A handful of rivers in the world have been given their legal rights that any ‘person’ would, should and could have in recent years the Ganges and the Yamuna Rivers of India, and the Vilcabamba River. The Whanganui of New Zealand is recognized as a “living entity” and the Atrato River of Columbia is a legal entity with personhood rights. Shouldn’t all rivers be given their legal rights as living beings? In the United States, hundred-year-old laws prevail over rights of a person. Isn’t it time to revisit these antiquated laws and give water back her voice?
When Europeans found their way to Mexico in the 15th century, the city of Mexico was surrounded by water. Then there were at least 46 rivers running through the sacred valley of the Aztec. Over time, the city has laid down concrete and concealed these waterways and the people refer to them as the invisible rivers. Now, only one river, the Magdalena, flows freely through the area. Recently, a water sustainability law was passed that recognizes the rights of these waterways, the right to flow and to be free from pollution. There are many movements, spurred by the remembering of the Original Instructions as they emerge from the deep waters of the Indigenous people. Their mission, once again is clear: to protect the waters.
Atmospheric rivers, waterways in the sky, are a phenomenon of the warming air, which we call climate change. I know that when rivers are not honored, when they are pushed out from their natural waterways by industrialization and progress (such as the Los Angeles River who has lived in a concrete path since it was paved in 1938) find other ways to be, because rivers carry the life blood of Mother Earth; they are her veins and arteries. They find their way underground or in the sky. When these atmospheric rivers fall out of the sky, deluging the parched land, such as the recent downpours and floods on the coast of California, I sense that this is the earth’s way of bringing balance. Perhaps it’s even a blessing. And, given the population and destructive nature of water, it’s just a highly inconvenient truth.
Today a group of people are waking up and reclaiming the Los Angeles River as a vital and living being. More and more we see that water and humans must have a reciprocal relationship in order for both species to survive, and thrive. These are a few examples of how a few people are making a difference in the lives of many, not limited to humans. We are regaining our awareness that waterways are living beings and that Water Comes First. Water is sacred and meant to bless us and other forms of matter. When we treat water with respect by honoring its mysterious capacity to bring forth life, we also honor the land, the trees, the air, the animals and plants and people. Hence, we “save the earth”, we make different choices about how to live in a sustainable, reciprocal way. By giving gratitude, we humble ourselves to the sacredness of this elemental being, life restores to balance.
When we stop to say Thank You, with an additional offering of tobacco here in the Americas, water responds. When water is acknowledged as sacred it gives us the blessing for life to go on. Just as Japanese researcher, Masaru Emoto learned and taught that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water, that love actually purifies the crystals that make up water, so does our simple gratitude awaken water to rise up and bring balance to the world. Water’s nature is to seek homeostasis, balance, equilibrium.
On March 22nd, people around the world are gathering to bless the water. Please, gather water knowing that it is sacred, and bless yourselves, your children and others. Water is precious and sacred. When you give it thanks, it restores itself and life around it.
For water to purify itself it must rain and run deep into the earth, filling the aquifers and underground rivers, re-emerging as springs and lakes and rivers. A river or creek must find its way back to its mother, Grandmother Ocean. She hears the song her daughter sings and remembers that song, and remembering the cycle that water intrinsically knows how to do, turning her back into rain that nourishes the land once again. The cycle completes itself. It has completed itself for millions and billions of years.
When humans entered the scene, we made a sacred promise to give gratitude to the life giving waters. Women are the caretakers of Water, so it is our responsibility to see that this happens with all of our people. It is imperative that we honor water again, just as our ancestors did. Now is the time. Our waters are in peril. Our prayers of gratitude can restore the water cycle.
(The author of this is listed below – she didn’t give me permission to post this….but then she didn’t say i couldn’t!)
To contact me, I can be reached at 970-210-9520 or firstname.lastname@example.org