A fire was lit, bringing spiritual warmth and physical comfort to the people standing close to its welcoming flame. Tobacco from an honourable hand was offered to its coals and the fire, at that time, became sacred. The spirits of the nearby human beings stirred when the energy produced by the fire’s sacredness reached them. With that, the ceremony began.
Friends from Ottawa travelled to my home at Kitigan Zibi on November 23. They took the time out of their busy lives to join me in prayer. And then, of course, to celebrate with a thanksgiving feast afterwards. Our purpose was to stand as one in the circular energy created by the fire and request wellness and health for our families, friends, neighbours, colleagues and the life in the nearby forest.
Many heartfelt words were spoken. The spirit of the sacred fire captured not only the truth of what was being said but also the humility, honour and respect which poured from the heart of each speaker. A young woman removed her moccasins from her feet when her time to speak occurred and stood in the snow, leaving her feet bare for all of the moments it took for her to express herself in the most eloquent manner possible. Some of the older people in the circle recognized the young woman’s action as a ritual, perhaps performed by human beings long ago, at the time of the Freezing Moon ceremony.
I remember about 30 years ago mentioning to an elder how I believed that the trees in the vicinity of our ceremonial sites must be happy when human beings acknowledge them by requesting, through prayer, wellness and vigour for the forest. “You’ve got it all wrong,” the elder stated. “It is the trees who are in constant communication with Creator requesting enlightenment for us, the People. For it is not the trees who have lost their way. It’s us.” I instantly agreed.
I love trees! I could never have been a lumberjack, especially at the time when settler lumber barons acquired untold wealth by the cutting down of the old growth forests of Algonquin Territory. No ceremony was done for the trees before they were felled. Not a word of acknowledgement was spoken for the birds, animals, snakes and so on whose sanctuaries were destroyed when their forest home violently disappeared.
Does the life of a turtle or bear have a higher measure of worth to that of a great pine tree who has lived for 400 years in the eyes of the Good Spirit? I wonder?
The circle which was conducted at my home was special for human beings. But the trees which encircle the lot where my house stands were very much part of it. Their wisdom and pureness of energy is something no human being will ever live to match. Of this I am certain.
At this spiritual time, as Mother Earth sleeps, we ponder the beginnings of our faith beliefs. We rise as one, to acknowledge the right all human beings have to embrace and love spiritual teachings they feel are filled with Creator’s blessings.
Our spiritual guides, those who arrived here with the first moon of winter, speak to us. Through them, we request a joyful and accident-free winter for all our family members, friends and also, for all the good people who make up the citizenry within the perimeters of the Algonquin Homeland.