Holidays Archive


A VERY old Thanksgiving Prayer

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Long before pilgrims, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois, or The League of Six Nations) had an opening prayer for gatherings. Still spoken today, Ohenten Kariwatkwa (which literally means “Words That Come Before All Else,) is used to remind us of our inter-connectedness with each other, other living beings, and the cosmos.

There are many versions of Ohenten Kariwatka. It is up to the speaker to chose what the gathering of people will express gratitude for. Consider this as you express your thanksgiving today!

FYI: The Haudenosaunee are considered one of the world’s oldest participating democracies (over 800 years!) and they are credited with contributing the formation of our own nation. Their leaders spoke at our Continental Congress in 1776, and you can see their influence in our Declaration of Independance and Constitution.

I suggest that today, we also express thanks and gratitude to The People of the Longhouse!

Words That Come Before All Else

~ The People ~*~

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been
given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living
things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and
thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Earth Mother ~*~

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for
life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she
continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we
send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one

***

~*~ The Waters ~*~

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and
providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms–
waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send
greetings and thanks to the spirit Water.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Fish ~*~

We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to
cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are
grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the fish and send our
greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Plants ~*~

Now we turn towards the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the
Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our
minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for
many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Food Plants ~*~

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from
the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries
have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them
too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and
thanks.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Medicine Herbs ~*~

Now we turn to all the Medicine Herbs of the world. From the beginning, they
were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal
us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to
use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the
Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Animals ~*~

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life
in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our
homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it
will always be so.

Now our minds are one

*****

~*~ The Trees ~*~

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who
have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade,
other with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a
Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the
tree of life.

Now our minds are one

~*~ The Birds ~*~

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly
about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they
remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To
all the Birds– from the smallest to the largest–we send our joyful greetings and
thanks.

Now our minds are one

*****

~*~ The Four Winds ~*~

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their
voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They
help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing
us messengers and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and
thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one

*****

~*~ The Thunders ~*~

Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With
lightening and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life.
We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our
Grandfathers, the Thunders.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Sun ~*~

We now send the greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day
without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day.
He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and
thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ Grandmother Moon ~*~

We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the
Moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of women all over the world,
and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we
measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on
Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the
Moon.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Stars ~*~

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see
them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the
gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With
our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Enlightened Teachers ~*~

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come
to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind
us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send
greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ The Creator ~*~

We turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and
thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here
on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds
together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the
Creator.

Now our minds are one.

*****

~*~ Closing Words ~*~

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we
have named, it was not our intent to leave anything out. If something was
forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their
own way.

Now our minds are one.

Read the original post on the Gaia Girls blog.

gaiagirls Lee Welles is the author of the Gaia Girls book series.

Strong, Green Shoots an '09 Prediction

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

I am positively giddy. This rotten economy is going to do something that all the well-meaning progressive programs (and/or faith-based for that matter!) could not. As the money stream slows to a trickle for most families, the idea of luxury will change. And yes, the kids will whine about it. But, this is a good thing.

Many of us perked our ears to Richard Louv and his look into the future of the “Last Child in the Woods.” I predict that the lousy economy is going to beget the “nature-child reunion” that Louv speaks so convincingly about.

When the next digital toy does not arrive to provide another 2-6 month diversion, children will seek stimulation elsewhere. Our brains are wired to want to play with new objects and figure them out. I was reminded of this (more…)