Florida River Blessing
Water is a mysterious substance still not completely understood. It has been researched by scientists, philosophers, psychiatrists, theologians, artists, and poets.
I’ve noticed that rivers and streams from a satellite view are comparable to the medical views of the human body. That started me looking at different habitats as the organs of the earth doing similar jobs as organs in a body. The Rivers are the arteries and veins. The lungs are the trees processing carbon dioxide and oxygen; the kidneys are the swamps and marshes removing toxins from the water. My question is: Where is the mind? Where is the spirit? Is that where the humans come into the story of the living earth? Deepak Chopra once said, "Humans are the consciousness of the universe experiencing itself."
Water has been used in spiritual teachings by religious groups and indigenous cultures throughout time. It has been theorized that water molecules can be rearranged by sound vibrations, environmental conditions and that emotions can alter water and show changes in frozen water crystals. Water has the ability to record information and mix with virtually everything around it.
Masaru Emoto, who is the author of “The Hidden Messages in Water '' 2004 New York Times Bestseller, claimed that human consciousness could affect the molecular structure of water. There is so much more we don't know about water and now science and the ancient traditions of the world are starting to match up, that prove many theories of old world cultures.
Anything that lives depends on it. Water holds many forms including gas, liquid, and even a solid state. It can form to any shape it’s held in and levels itself when left alone. Water is affected by the gravitational pull from the moon and the sun to create movement over the earth called tides. It creates waves through the connection of the earth’s floor and winds above. When consumed, it creates movement within the body allowing healing, lubrication of joints, and sound through your vocal-chords. If you drink enough water, it will show improvement in your moods. Water is often associated with hope, intuition, dreams, inspiration, and journeys in many cultures around the world.
With the recent oil pipeline protest, an ancient phrase from the Lakota people has emerged as a worldwide anthem: Mní wičhóni.
People say it means ‘water is life’, but it is difficult to translate a verb or experientially focused language. I’ve been told by a Lakota elder that the direct translation is Mni = Water, Wi = Light, Choni = Life". The indigenous cultures of North America (aka Turtle Island), learned this intuitively by living alongside the earth. Buddhism experiences water as the life giver and symbolizes purity, clarity, and calmness. Taoism teaches about water as wisdom being able to flow around difficult obstacles that block the path, and can cut stone and even move mountains. It has a relationship with time and change, rhythm and movement. Christianity has many Bible verses associated with water. Like in John 7:37-39, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
There is a growing movement to re-recognize the earth as a living and conscious life form. Some countries, like New Zealand, have recognized that river waters show indications of the health of the local environment and gave the rivers the legal rights of a human to insure longevity of life.
This brings me back to the "Why". Why should we gather to bless the lifeblood of our local earth? This started back in 2008 when a Native Elder named Basil Braveheart came to Florida to give a talk on quantum physics and Lakota tradition actually being one in the same. I had to hear what he had to say, and was amazed at how this Elder carried himself with honor, strength, and humility. Basil visited the river and decided to do a Blessing of The Waters Ceremony. 175 One hundred and seventy five people came out to Marywood Retreat and Conference Center (a Catholic retreat center along the Saint Johns river) to participate. As Basil spoke about the importance of water and his personal relationship with it, a Bald Eagle flew over his head and almost touched him. Sundancers who came with Basil drummed and sang sacred songs and the river water was passed around, ending with a procession of people to the dock to pour the water back into the river. Basil explained that the community can keep this blessing going and encouraged us to continue it in our own way. We have, and this January will be the 15th Annual Blessing of the River.
Join us for the 2023 annual River Blessing
Where: Alpine Groves Park, next to the 1800's riverfront home
Address: 2060 FL-13, Switzerland, FL 32259,
When: January 28th 2023, Saturday at 9am
This is a free and public event where the community gathers with local River-keepers to share appreciation for the waters of our local earth, and offers a quiet blessing in their own way. River-keepers will speak about their personal connection to the waters, and then pass a bowl of river water around for all to touch it, held within the sound of a drummed heartbeat. Following the passing of the bowl, we will walk to the river and offer the water back into the river.
The River Blessing is an indigenous inspired, nondenominational blessing of the river in Florida. The annual blessing was started in 2008 by Basil Braveheart, a Lakota Elder. Location may vary from year to year.
This event is sponsored by Earth Kinship LLC, St Johns County Parks and Rec and the Stetson Kennedy Foundation.