I woke this fine morning and flipped through Earth Prayers From Around The World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. I was looking for something related to the first day of summer, and landed on an Iroquois prayer.
While reading it I thought about how the indigenous way of life, which lasted in North America for more than 10,000 years, has been replaced by invaders intent on developing an unsustainable way of life based on greed, exploitation, depletion, and a total separation from nature.
In only a couple of centuries much of this land has been rendered either unsuitable or unavailable for anyone trying to live a 'wild', free existence in partnership with local life and elements.
And yet, this time of year people that still honour the natural world celebrate the numerous gifts of Mother Earth.
And what about the people intent on destroying this way of life? How might they celebrate with a modern prayer that honours what they value, namely technology, progress, and profit?
I suggest it might look something like my adaptation of the native prayer, with apologies to the ancient authors of the original words.
We return thanks to our provider, the Economy,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the dams, reservoirs, and bottling factories,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to multinational pharmaceutical corporations,
which furnish medicines for the treatment of our (industrial) diseases.
We return thanks to Monsanto for GMO corn,
and to GMO corn's siblings,
soy bean and rice,
which give us life.
We return thanks to the carbon in the atmosphere,
which, moving the air
has given us profitable, job-creating problems to solve.
We return thanks to nuclear power plants and electric lights,
which turn night to day, and make the sun and time irrelevant so we can be ceaselessly busy.
We return thanks to the fossil fuel industries,
that have looked upon a small group of people with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to governments and their corporate friends in the military-industrial complex,
in whom is embodied all goodness,
and who direct all things for the good of the elite... and all
Somehow that doesn't sound as nice as the original. It also doesn't sound as right, or as equal, respectful, or sustainable.
I try to imagine the capitalist empire engulfing all corners of the world, and then continuing to flourish for thousands and thousands of years. But all I can muster is a vision of a smouldering planet.
In order to avoid this, we would be wise to adopt the ways of our native hosts. Another prayer from my book speaks to a cooperative, life affirming approach that is crucial for our continued survival.
It makes for a good meditation on this joyous, sunny and warm day.
|"Summer Solstice", by Amy Giacomelli|
Grandfather Great Spirit
All over the word the faces of living ones
With tenderness they have come up out
of the ground.
Look upon your children that they may face the winds and walk the good road to
the Day of Quiet.
Grandfather Great Spirit
Fill us with the Light.
Give us the strength to understand,
and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives
to all that live.
- Sioux prayer
May we remember to walk as we all once did, and can again - as relatives to all that live.