Spiritual Advocacy and Water Flowing

In this essay, I am exploring a theme I call, Spiritual Advocacy.  This year in Fort Myers, among other activities on the Earthways Shamanic Path, I have been learning about the concept of Spiritual Advocacy starting with the Element of Water, since it is so central to our “Florida Lifestyle.”    Southwest Florida is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. There’s Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the Southern end of the peninsula. The Caloosahatchee River runs from Lake Okeechobee, to the Gulf of Mexico.  There is the Everglades to the South of us.   We are not “land locked,” we are Water Flowing.

I am blessed to have several good friends with passion in their hearts and they began hosting a series of Water Blessings. The first one was in April. Then, they attended a Water Blessing conducted by people in another part of Florida, and brought back songs and stories.  Last month, they launched our monthly Water Blessings ceremonies.   I’ve attended these local Water Blessings as my schedule will allow, and they are very uplifting.  They are nurturing.  I feel replenished when I attend these Ceremonies.

And to me, that’s part of the whole point of these Ceremonies:  we honor the Water and our land, when we conduct Ceremonies like this.  And when we honor the elements, we honor ourselves.  Ceremony is nurturing and it feeds our souls.

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Reflections on a Water Ceremony, September 2016.

And by doing Ceremony, we then realize what active steps we must take (besides prayers and ceremonies) in order to protect the element we are celebrating.

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, what do you do to feed your soul?  And, when you have fed your soul, what mission is revealed to you?  What action is required of you?

Share Your Peace With Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the Big Waters all Around You.

(c) 2016 to present,  Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path, All Rights Reserved.

 

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Changing Seasons, changing lives

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Rainy Season: Afternoon thunder shower forming over the Mid-point Bridge from Cape Coral to Fort Myers, FL. June 9, 2015

I think it is FINALLY Rainy Season here in Southwest Florida.  I have traditionally marked it as starting June 15th, plus or minus a day or two, since the Earth does wobble a bit on her axis.

It seems to me that this time of year, is the start of the new year, in Southwest Florida.  Many Pagans I know, start their year at Samhain (October 31st) when it is said that the the veil between the worlds is thin.

But the way I look at it, this is the start of the new year.  This is the time of year when school is out for the summer, and people are graduating, getting married, and moving away.  Some people do all of that in a whirlwind week of change.  The rest of us, go see them off:  we go to graduation ceremonies, to weddings and we help people pack up and move.

In Southwest Florida, all of that is happening as we slog into Rainy Season.  When I place an emphasis on “Rainy Season,”  I am talking about the Wheel of the Year, in accordance with the weather here in Southwest Florida.  (This concordance is in contrast to the Pagan Wheel of the Year celebrated by a lot of pagans:  Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lunnasagh, and Mabon/Autumnal Equinox.)

Here in Southwest Florida, we have Rainy Season,  Hurricane Season, Autumnal Equinox, Dry Season, and, Fire Season.  The Solstices and Equinoxes are interspersed in this annual cycle, but I’ll talk about that more, in another post.

After we do all those family rituals and ceremonies, then it is a smart time to do a ceremony to honor the shift of what “was,” and recognize that everything that follows, is new now.  In Southwest Florida, the Rain is very cleansing.,  It usually hasn’t rained a whole lot since about mid-October.  The Earth is dry and everything is kind of dusty.  The Rains literally wash the dirt away.

Once the daily afternoon thunder showers start happening, here in Southwest Florida, then the accompanying element of Humidity, rears its head.  (Humidity is another face of Water.)

In Southwest Florida, our whole way of approaching daily life, changes in Rainy Season.  It must, because Rainy Season is characterized by Rain — usually daily afternoon thundershowers, high Humidity, and Heat.   We also have a high UV index, because we are so far South, we are in the Tropics.

This time of year, I tend to get up earlier, because I want to get a lot of things done before it gets too humid.  I want to sit on the lanai in the morning and bird watch and read Facebook, until it gets too hot to sit out there.  I need to do yard work, before it gets too hot.  I should run to the grocery store, before it gets too hot.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll go to the Beach, before it gets too hot.  So, I have to prioritize and decide, before it gets too hot.

This time of year, by about 10:00 AM, it is usually over 80 degrees and Humid.  If you can manage it, you don’t run errands from noon until after it has rained.  For one thing, it is too hot to be out, if you don’t have to.  For another thing, once it starts raining, seems like everybody forgets how to drive on wet/slippery roads.  This is a particular problem, because the daily afternoon thunder storms occur during rush hour.

On the other hand, there’s less traffic on the road this time of year because the Snowbirds left just before Easter, and, the Tourists haven’t all arrived yet.  {That’s a distinction I’ll save for another post.}  So, for a few weeks, the restaurants are less crowded, and so is everything else.  It is just hot, and everyone is exclaiming that to each other.

When Rainy Season starts, in Southwest Florida, we do a Water Ceremony.  After setting up sacred space, and after acknowledging the Great Spirit and Father Sky, the Big Water, and Mother Earth, and the Four Directions, then we thank the Rains for coming, for without it, we’d all go hungry.  We honor the aspect of High Humidity, because that’s about all you CAN do about Humidity.  We drink water, to honor the Rains and because this time of year, that’s just smart to stay hydrated.

After the daily afternoon thunder shower, the plants and the Mother Earth usually drink up all the water very quickly, and what wasn’t absorbed gets steamed off…

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After it Rains, June 2015.

The point of the Earthways Shamanic Path, is to learn what the natural rhythms are where you live, and then, honor those rhythms.  In doing so, you will Share Peace With Our Earth.

Ants in the bathroom

It is dry season in Florida and all creatures need water.

I have ants in my bathroom.  They make a very long trek each day, all day, every day, to climb into my house then up the smooth side of a Tervis Tumbler and then down into the waiting reservoir of cool water.  I don’t leave the water there for the ants.  I am leaving it there for my cats.

Each day, I refresh the water for my cats.  Sometimes I do this by pouring water from another cup, into the water cup on the floor.  That way, I can fill it to the rim.  Other days, I pick up the cup from the floor and rinse it out in the sink and start over with fresh water.

Every day, I rescue the ants.  They can’t help it if they are thirsty.  There’s usually a line of ants along the edge of the glass where the water meets the glass.  I rescue these by putting my thumb under the lot of them and raising them up like a mini-tsunami.   And there is always a group of ants swimming together in the middle of the cup, holding each other up. 

I rescue the ants, and put them on terry cloth towels to dry out.  I ponder the confusion the ants must experience when they are placed down on the towel, far away from the scent of their path, their line of previous ants and wonder what they will do when they encounter the loops of the terry cloth.

On becoming a Shaman step one, go for a walk

How does one become a Shaman?  It can be a long  journey and one should start by taking a walk.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will take a walk outside on a regular basis.  Even if you visit a gym and walk on a treadmill, I encourage you to walk outside on a regular basis.

Walking stimulates the body, and the mind, and the spirit. 

Making a commitment, focuses your intent.

When you walk, please look at your surroundings.

  • Take in the air temperature.  Smell things.  See the sky, the clouds, the sun or the moon and stars.
  • See the birds flying and the trees they land in.  Look at the leaves and buds and twigs of the trees.  Notice the different forms of trees.
  • Listen to the sounds — the birds, and other natural sounds.  Try to hear where they are coming from.
  • Touch the earth, touch the grass, the plants, the rocks and sand that covers and forms the earth.
  • If you are near a body of water, go visit it.  See what color it is, if it is tidal, what do the waves look like, and are there critters in it/on it that you can see?
  • What has changed since the last time you walked here?

The Gulf Oil spill: Murder of our way of life!

MURDER!

That is how many of us who live in Southwest Florida are feeling right about now, as we watch , what is it day 40?  — We are watching the spewing, the oil plume, every day and we feel that BP has committed MURDER and they should be made to pay.  They have Murdered our water, our very way of life.  This is what the water looks like now in May 2010.  How long will it take for the oil balls, the tar balls, the goop, to drift or slide or roll, in to our shores?

Caloosahatchee River Water-May 2010-WhaleMaiden

What will happen to our mangroves?  Our estuaries?  This is where the fish lay eggs and where the hatchlings live.  What will happen to our fish?  Our Snook (“Schnook”)?  Our Mangrove Snapper?  Our Mullet?  Our Grouper?  What about the Pompano?  What about the Sheepshead.  People fish for these and many other fish all over Southwest Florida, day after day.  Fishing is a pastime for visitors, and is a livlihood for many, many people. 

Beyond us as a species, beyond the people who play and fish in the water, and who drink this water, there are the Birds and Sea Turtles and all manner of other species who depend on the water being clean and just right for them.  When the oil comes (And we feel it is only a matter of time, really,) and the oil soaks into all the nooks and cranies of the mangroves, it will coat all the roots and branches with oil and kill everything in its path.

This isn’t a particularly good picture– I got the focus off a bit — but it shows you what the base of the mangroves looks like.  Each one of those b rown things is a root going into the shallow water.  This is the way our land is formed here in Southwest Florida.  How do you clean the mangroves without destroying them?

Mangroves at Sanibel by WhaleMaiden