Ceremony for the Waters

Ceremony for the Waters

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States—for the Santa Fe watershed—Liz Gold and Munro Sickafoose

We did our GEx in the Santa Fe River canyon where the river once ran free, before it was dammed and diverted for drinking water for the City of Santa Fe, making it one of America’s most endangered rivers. It now runs dry south of the city, instead of returning to the Rio Grande. What used to be a reservoir behind an earlier dam has been allowed to return to a wetland and riparian area, with the help of beavers—but we learned when we arrived that the city is now diverting even some of that vital river water to irrigation ditches, making our ceremony even more poignant.

In a spot overlooking the old reservoir, we told our stories and sang our songs, and our ceremony was blessed by the calls of red-winged blackbirds and the presence of swallows, a raven, and even a butterfly that flew right into our circle. We poured out our grief and began to experience joy. After making our bird from items everyone had brought for the altar, as well as local wild flora, we walked to the river, past cottonwoods and wildflowers, and poured the waters we had blessed into the river to heal her and all the waters.

On Sunday we will bring some of the water from the reservoir and from our Earth Exchange to a Medicine Water Wheel ceremony further down the Santa Fe River at Frenchy’s Park at 6 pm, honoring the solstice and the full moon.