Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Sep 10, 2006

Water Ingathering Ceremony

Today was the annual Water Ingathering Ceremony at my church, the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Terre Haute. This ceremony has members of the congregation pouring water into a communal bowl--water which, ideally, was gathered during summer travels. If someone forgets to gather water, or didn't go anywhere, they can use water symbolic of their summer journey (whatever that journey might have been.) Some of each year's water is saved and added to a bottle with water from previous years. Ours goes back to 1998, when we first added this lovely ceremony to our calendar. Sometimes a bit of that water is used for something special during the when some was used in the grief healing ritual done for me last April.

As I thought about what I might add to the bowl, I realized that we are within a few days of marking 6 months since Patrick's death, and it seemed that for me and Paul, this ceremony had very much to do with that. That feeling was intensified and confirmed for me when our service opened with the children standing before the congregation, shaking percussion instruments for our first hymn, an African-American spiritual called Wade in the Water.

A week after Patrick's death, his bandmates and friends held a memorial show, at which they collected money to give to me and Paul. We used the money to give an honorarium to Reverend Bill Breeden and to make a donation to the church. We specified that the donation was to go to the Religious Education program and earmarked to buy musical instruments.

I don't know if any of the instruments being used by the children today were purchased with that money, but that doesn't matter. It warmed my heart and came to me like a Sign that they were up there playing today.

When I went up to pour my water into the bowl, I said just that.

And then I said this:

As always, my summer travel was interior. Since the death of our son Patrick at the beginning of spring, Paul and I have been on a journey upon which no parent wants to go. But some of us must.

And the path is different for each of us - even when we travel side by side. And it long as it lasts.

Many in this congregation have provided us with lodging and nourishment along the way, have walked with us where they could and for this we are so grateful.

I have brought spring water with my tears in it.

There are also drops of five flower essences, ones I chose to work with on my journey through grief and loss.
Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, Bleeding-Heart, Forget-Me-Not, Borage.

Flower essences carry the subtle energy of fresh blossoms steeped in glass bowls of spring water placed in the early morning sun.

So I add from my summer journey a water of tears and new light and blooming things.

Blessed be.


At 9/12/06, 8:39 PM, Anonymous Carol said...

Serendipity. We sang Wade in the Water at our water ingathering this past Sunday too. Sophie and I poured in water from SUUSI. It's one of my favorite rituals.

At 9/13/06, 12:46 AM, Blogger Dudleyspinner's Tie Dye Rovings said...

That is a lovely cermony, It makes you feel connected

At 9/15/06, 8:12 PM, Blogger jackie said...

What a beautiful ceremony. Your strength and ability to share your very difficult journey amazes me. You are blessed to be surrounded by such caring people.


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