Ceremony and the Raven

Evening, Lake ChamplainThis morning we put aside our frustration and despair and spoke with the land and spirits. The mosquitoes, which had been fierce, quieted their attack, and even the birds calling stopped to listen. We like to open the altar outside whenever the weather allows, but of late have not had the heart to do so. The last time we opened the altar was the only time all summer we have heard the calls of the Hermit Thrush.

We awoke feeling sad and angry. The news on the racial, social, and climate fronts has been heartbreaking. We’ve been feeling overwhelmed, unable to see how we might contribute significantly to much-needed change. We’ve also been asked to aid others who are thinking they should do more than they possibly can. We remind others to do only what they are able. As we do so we remind our many selves to do the same, even as some selves feel frightened and desperate for change.

In the brief ceremony we spoke to the Creator, Pachamama, and the spirits about our gratitude for our lives and our concerns for the present and future. We acknowledged we humans are not caring for the futures of our grandchildren, let alone those of all species who will follow us in seven generations. This is a great sadness.

After the ceremony we came in to respond to e-mail and do other tasks. Online, we discovered a brief video posted to my Facebook account. In the video, a wild raven, perched on a fence, allows a woman to remove porcupine quills from its face. After each quill is removed, the raven squawks and complains, then allows the woman to soothe it and remove the next quill. How familiar!   (Watch video.)

Watching the video, we were once again reminded that ravens are immensely intelligent creatures, that humans are not the only ones who seek aid from others, and that all life forms are profoundly interconnected, in life as in story. We were also reminded that small things, even removing quills from an injured animal, can be powerful ceremony, and profoundly healing to those in an ever-widening circle.

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5 thoughts on “Ceremony and the Raven

  1. Nice inspiration. Watching the video it reminded me that such are the healing processes. People come for healing and sometimes it really hurts them but they stay firm in their intent asking the healer for more help. Thanks!

  2. Starksboro. Very hot summer day, like today, a few years back. My husband and I stop by the ball field on our way through, to let the dog run. In the distance, a batting cage. Soon, I realize a raven is stuck inside, flying back and forth. It was acually panting. We raised one end of the net, but it kept flying too high to find the exit. So I repeatedly motioned to fly low. It stared at me, then the opening in the net, and flew out, circling once for a last goodbye. I am so glad we happened to be there. Now, as I remember this and read your post, I am reminded that individual acts of kindness (and individual choices about how we behave in the world) add up to a lot more change than we know. We all cause a shift when we act with love. THANKS.

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