Blessing Mt. Ashland - Report by Robert Brothers Ph.D.

Dear Friends,          
                                                              
On the morning of the ceremony, when the sun popped out
from behind the hills with golden light into a bright blue,
cloudless sky, happy were the hearts of many throughout
the valley who had not seen such a sight for weeks.  Birds
sang, squirrels poked their heads out curiously, and many
people smiled at the thought of standing on the snow on
Mount Ashland, blessed by the warmth of the sun as we
blessed the mountain with our love.
 
By the time that Larry, Albert, Creighton, Summer, Brad,
Dave, Critter, and friends had set up 160 chairs from Bellview
Grange in two rows around a big circle on the snow, a few
clouds rode in on the wind, as if not wanting to miss anything.
 
As Rico was setting up Talia's sound system, plugging in to
a long orange cord snaked out from the shop by the ski
area's Mike Dadaos, people were gathering around the circle,
talking and finding places to sit amidst the silence of the
quiet slopes, our voices becoming softer as we felt the
peaceful welcome of this special place.
 
In the middle of the circle, Suzanne was arranging boughs
and tulips around the base of a large white crystal sound
healing bowl that Amari had offered, now half full with ancient
water from Tubb Springs poured in gently and gurgling by
Michael.  From the surface, sun and clouds looked back at
us, united with Earth by the magic of water's reflection.
 
Then, slowly, the steady, heart-beat thump of Devon Strong's
drum grew stronger, calling us into listening and prayer, tuning
our hearts to the deep devotion of his prayer in Lakota, a song
of loss that honors the full circle of the sacred hoop of life and
death.  Earlier, Devon has placed his family's Eagle/Buffalo
staff at a cardinal point in our circle of chairs, and later he
offered water around the crystal sound healing bowl with a
buffalo horn, adding water from his farm to the hoop.
 
Beginning the Invocation, I called out, giving thanks to the
Spirits of the Mountain in the rising ♫, sustained, or falling
tones of the Takelma language,
 
Beautiful sun, du-u bay-ay . . .
Beautiful mountain, du-u sohm . . .
Beautiful snow, du-u pah-ahs
 
Oh Mount Ashland, Ahl-ketah, Cloud Catcher,
Snow Holder, Water Bringer
 
After giving thanks for all of the Mountain's blessings, I
closed with these words, "And we pray that we may bless
*you* today" and turned to see something that shocked
me with joy -- beneath the sun blocked by clouds above it
was the upward-curving arc of an ice crystal rainbow
around the sun -- a huge smile beaming down at us with
dazzling beauty, carrying a feeling of love that
stayed with us throughout the ceremony, and will never
be far from our hearts again.           
 
"We are the one's we've been waiting for," sang the 13
voices of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, accompanied by
Christine Leonard's drum, echoing the message given
by the Hopi Elders at the start of this millenium.
 
Jack Falls-Rock, spiritual leader from a traditional Pitt
River family, brought out his hand drum and began a prayer
song, accompanied at times by Jen Ambrose with a Native
American flute.  Jack closed, using an Eagle bone whistle to
salute the four directions, and was followed by three other 
Native people he brought with him who also offered prayer songs,
accompanying themselves with hand drums:  Mario Gonzales,
Rocky Verdugo, and Lowitcha Falls-Rock, Jack's son.
 
Norma Nakai Burton, from Unity in Ashland, offered a prayer
and a very inspiring visualization.  She asked all of us to offer
up to the whole circle our visions of what we wanted the future
to bring.  Voices high and low, soft and loud, called out the
names of dreams ... peace, equality, clean water ... and at
the end, Norma asked for the voice of a child to be heard who
might have gone un-noticed among all the other voices.
 
Talia Rose began her prayers with a song, "Hey Cante," with
title and chorus in Lakota, "Oh heart, it is good!", celebrating
the vision of the return of the Buffalo, of bringing hope to hearts
that are hopeless.  Then she put down her guitar, and moving
to two other cultures, sat at her beautiful, tall celtic harp and
offered a song of prayer to Yemaya -- the Yoruba and Afro-Caribean
Goddess of Water and Ocean who is receiving greater recognition
now, as water ceremonies spread all over the world.
Rico Herrera followed with a brief and beautiful flute solo.
 
Krsna Deva (Bhakti Yoga, Vaishnava) offered a prayers in
English and Sanskrit for the waters and the Earth, holding in
his hands water gathered by his mother, Prema Mayi, from the
Jamuna, one of India's most sacred rivers.
 
Reverend Pamela Nelson-Munson (Ashland First United
Methodist Church), offered a beautiful prayer based on Psalm 121,

"I lift up my eyes unto the Mountains."
 
Coach Louise Rouse offered a very powerful song to water and
life, introduced and concluded with the deep, earthy sounds of a
friend's didjeridoo.  She poured water blessed from ceremonies
of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers into
the crystal bowl of water at the center of our circle.
 
Dr. Gerry Lehrburger (Jackson Wellsprings) offered a prayer
that mixed Hebrew and English, expressing hope for world peace
and honoring of the Earth
 
Windsong and the Women’s Sacred Singing Circle joined
six voices together with Windsong's guitar for two joyful and
inspiring songs praising Water.  The first was an old Rainbow
Family classic, and the second was a new classic, Windsong's
original composition familiar to us from its debut at last year's
ceremony, "Ode to Water".  Before these songs began,
Windsong touched our hearts by sharing her feelings about the
tsunami in Japan, about how the Water felt great sorrow about
having to flow over the land like that and cause such great
suffering.  Understand the compassion that water has for us
raises our own feelings of oneness with our source:  "Mother
Water, I'm your daughter."
 
Avina, a young girl from Williams, asked if she could offer a
prayer, stepped up to the mike, and opened her heart to us
with a soft clear voice singing in praise of the rain, the water,
the snow, and all of Earth -- gifting us as only the young can do.
 
Nancy Bloom showed us her rattle, a beautifully twisted branch
grown from Mount Ashland along Deer Trail lane.  She told us
how she had wondered why she always felt very grounded when
up high on the Mountain in the clouds, and had just learned why
-- Mount Ashland is all one huge rock, called a pluton, a
volcanic plug that reaches as far down into the Earth as it
reaches up into the sky.  Nancy then brought out her hand
drum to sing a rendition of "Ancient Mother" addressed to Mount
Ashland: "Ancient Mountain, we hear you calling,  Ancient
Mountain, we hear your song, Your sacred waters give us life
all year long."   Finishing her songs, Nancy then walked
around the circle, held her drum in front of each one of us
and tapped it gently, sending blessings straight to our hearts.
 
Don Diego and Beth Brown, fresh from a journey in Mexico
among the Mayan and Totonacan peoples, surprised us with
their appearance again this year with their contagious and
sweetly humorous gypsy energy.  Beth shared a song that
had just come to her, "In praise of impossible things" ...
bumblebees, water, and peace itself ... all "impossible" in
their special properties of flight, flow, and love, yet each
essential to our lives.  "Impossible things?  bring 'em on!" 
Then Diego brought out his mandolin and joined voices
with Beth in a medley of Rainbow Family classics,
"Somos Unos ... We are One".
 
Still singing and playing the mandolin, Diego led us in a
friendship dance around the circle, moving to his left and
doubling the circle on itself, greeting each person as they
then turned and joined in the turning flow of energy.
Halfway around, swinging back again, until the circle
un-wound itself back to completeness -- only now we
were closer, joining hands, all singing together.
 
Giving thanks, reaching out, touching and falling into
the snow, we spread our love like a blanket of
blessings reaching all around the mountain from snow
crystal to snow crystal, waiting until snowmelt in
spring to run down the mountain into the creeks,
rivers, ocean, and back up into the water cycle,
spreading blessings to all beings around the world.
 
Walking up to the crystal bowl of water in the
center, we dipped our fingers in, blessed ourselves
with this water which had soaked in our prayers,
and then sprinkled the water out on to the
waiting snow.
 
Later, this water journeyed down the mountain to the
potluck where it was shared again, and will continue
to be shared, like all blessings, as drops are poured
into other waters in other ceremonies, spreading
over-flowing blessings that cannot be contained.
 
-> Detailed Thank yous ...
 
Unexpected guests:
Jack Falls-Rock's friends
Jen Ambrose, Mario Gonzales, Rocky Verdugo,
Lowitcha Falls-Rock (Jack's son)
Don Diego & Beth Brown
Avina
Rogue Valley Peace Choir participants:
Director - Heather Hutton
Tenors - Sally McKirgan, Avram Chetron, Beth Geismar
Basses - Ron Hertz
Altos - Elizabeth Aiken., Mary Ann Jones, Naomi, Dominique
Sopranos - Nona Donahue, Carolee Buck, Christine Leonard,
Lucy Scheuer
 
Women's Sacred Singing Circle participants:
Windsong, Helene Bisnaire, Jane, Diana Burke, Kat Del Rio,
and Harmony Eden
 
Set-up and take down:
Drivers:  Larry Morningstar and Albert Pepe.
Helpers: Brad Carrier, Dave Mizerak, Creighton,
Critter, and Summer Creller
 
Sound System:
Power, Mike Dadaos, Ski Ashland;
Equipment, Talia Rose;
Set-up and fine-tuning, Rico Herrera
 
Crystal Sound Healing Bowl:
Offered by Susan Amari Gold;
Set up by Suzanne Mathis McQueen and Michael Bianca
 
Potluck:
Venue: Chris Hedges, Marla Welp, Monique Torok and Barry
Tillman, CultureWorks
Co-Sponsorship:  Sharon Miranda, Webspirit Community
Set-up: Kathleen, Van and Joya Fleming (Earth Family Sound
Healing)
Music: Van Fleming
Food: Ann Ethridge, Dana Mari, Janett Sultzbach, Judy Azna
Green, Lily Favell, Summer Creller, and more . . .
Clean-up: Kathleen & Van, Dana Mari, Barry Tillman,and more . . .
Under-stage treasure hunting cleanup, Joya Fleming
 
ok now ... who and what am I forgetting ??
 
159 people were counted in the circle of the ceremony, and
many more were joining us from other places around the planet,
including Prema Mayi in Spain, Kevin Village Stone and Lindy
Danton in Clear Lake, and Reed and Mahapai in northern
California.
 
Many thanks and much love to all,
- Robert Brothers, Ph.D. 707-601-0818
facilitator, Earth Devotion Support, www.EarthDevotion.org, and GoodNews FortheEarth on Facebook
facilitator, Blessing Mount Ashland, www.blessingmountainsinthesnow.org
board member, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, www.lomakatsi.org
helper, Agnes Baker Pilgrim Fund, www.agnesbakerpilgrim.org

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