Elly and I have arrived at the root clogged ground where we make our nature art in honor of the new and full moons. The earth is soaked, our shoulders and hair damp from the moisture dripping trees, the sky heavy with oxford gray. But here we are on this inclement full moon day at the end of January 2021. I feel like a guest at a supper party. I want to give something back to the earth, our hostess, who provides a table groaning with abundance.
The gift we can provide as humans is creating something from nothing because creating is one of the gifts of our species. Creativity lies at our essential core, but as modern people we have been taught that only the rare few can claim to be creative. Hogwash. From the moment we are born we are co-creating with our world.
For the last few months, Elly and I have been giving back by making time to create visual art out of the materials nature provides right where we stand: pebbles, twigs, fallen leaves in all the shades of autumn, dead grasses. We add simple things from home on occasion – spent match sticks from lighting prayer candles, crumbled bits of sage from my smudge stick, grains of honored corn meal…
Usually we make a circle with an identifiable center, a simple mandala.
The process is spontaneous and intuitive. Standing side by side, we close our eyes and fall silent, listening for guidance on how to begin. Breathing quiet questions into the invisible field of life force all around us: Who am I in this moment? For what do I pray? For what do I yearn? What does the world need from me now here?
We wait in silence.
Then a few words flow of blessing, gratitude, prayer. We shake small rattles. I ask for guidance from the ancestors of this place, ask for vision from the beings all around us – the plants, the trees, the creatures both seen and heard and those who are not, ask the energy of the cosmos coursing through our vibrating, living bodies to show us what to create today, how to make artful prayers that express gratitude.
Tuning in, listening, listening. It doesn’t take long and the ritual is simple, though humble, reverent and true.
Somehow we know when to stop rattling, when to open our eyes, when to share. And every time we do – I mean every time – we learn that the world has shown us how to proceed. There is no doubt, no conflict. This synergy doesn’t surprise us as much as it did the first few times, but never the less, the grace provided still gives me chill bumps.
Elly and I look at each other and can hardly stop giggling with the joy of discovery. We’re meant to honor being at home on the earth. We’ve recognized that the stars, the universe, are the larger womb from which all life has come. And we’ve seen how deeply our lives belong to this blue green marble spinning in space. Our love and gratitude are wrapped by wonder.
Our mandala needs to express the spiraling energy of galaxies –the arms radiating from the center. We see concentric circles. They represent both the endless waves of rippling energy at the quantum level, as well as the web of life’s intricate and endless weaving. I see 5 limbs spiraling and Elly says that feels right. I realize that the classic star shape we all learn to draw as kids is five pointed and that Michelangelo’s iconic human form stands with 5 limbs stretched wide – the fifth being the head and neck.
We smile as we share an epiphany. Making decisions is so easy this way. Elly points out that we’ve simply tuned into the same energetic field of wisdom. All we have to do is step into it. Trust it. The impact of this revelatory experience opens to a vision: Imagine how different our world would be if everyone tuned into the greater wisdom we all share before taking any action. Corporate boards would make entirely different decisions. Imagine if schools began supporting and nurturing children’s intuition, instead of stifling it. For the rest of our lives, all our rational behaviors would be informed by the greater intelligence.
The mandala grows effortlessly and as we finish up, we make prayers of gratitude for the whole process. As we begin to pack up our things, Elly notices a small red droplet on my purple egg shaped rattle. She looks closer and calls me over. “Can you believe this?,” she exclaims. “It’s a ladybug!!!”
I can’t imagine why she’s here at this time of year and all alone sitting on a plastic egg.
But something deep in me stirs: Ladybug is a gift from spirit to affirm our homing. We’ve been pouring our love into our Earthhome which is under huge duress. I flash on Greta Thunberg’s statement: Our house is on fire! …I want you to panic. Then the old nursery rhyme races through me.
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire
and your children are gone.
Mystery has affirmed our prayers. Elly googles with her phone right there on the spot and learns that this rhyme relates to Christianity and the separating of nature worship from church worship. Later I also google and learn that the old nursery rhyme may relate to the times when pagans had to go underground, when priests were told they could only preach in buildings, when the goddess was relegated to the shadows – or it could relate to the farmers who released ladybugs in the spring for nurturing their crops and burned their old crops in the fall, letting the ladybugs know the fires were starting so they’d leave and wouldn’t get burned. Though we’ll never know the origins of this old nursery rhyme for certain, ladybug’s presence connects us to our human ancestry and affirms the power of prayer. Elly and I receive her blessing.