Indigenous people in traditional cultures maintain a personal relationship with the Earth, along with the animals, elements, rocks and trees, fire and sky, water and wind—as the Lakota Sioux say, “All our relations.” They tend to these relationships—honoring them not just with prayers, but with the other half of communication: listening. Thus, they know that the Earth speaks—lovingly, like a mother to her children. And though they feel the Earth reeling from the damage we are doing to her and know that she is capable of raising her voice like any put-upon mother and saying, “Enough!,” the Elders say she continues to call us to love. Even the activists at Standing Rock, facing militarized police with tear gas, dogs, rubber bullets, and firehoses in freezing temperatures, insisted upon loving prayer for the police and the pipeline company employees, as well as for the sacredness of their own cause.
Because love is the only way we can transform scarcity, greed, and conflict into sufficiency, sharing, and peace.
“We,” as in all of us.
Our interview this month is with Kahuna Kaeli’iliahi, a priestess in the lineage of the Hawaiian god Lono, who says that the Earth’s message is one of aloha. We’re honored to share insights from Mayan elder Don Jose Munoz on what the Mayan calendar says about our current time; West African shaman Malidoma Somé, who talks about making peace with 2017–a fire year; and Eskimo-Kalaallit elder Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, from Greenland, who says that the melting ice is changing the Earth–and he hopes, melting the ice in the heart of man. Anthony Rubino writes of a personal encounter with indigenous wisdom and the power of place, and we also share creation stories from the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Lakota Sioux. There is powerful poetry from Autumn Bernhardt, Aziz Dixon, Babo Kamel, and Angelina Llongueras; plus MOON Shine, Movies You Might’ve Missed, and beautiful wood carvings from Skokomish artist Andy Peterson in this month’s Gallery.
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The image of Skywoman is by 18-year-old Yzzy Struss, who writes, “Skywoman is said to be the first human on Earth, and understood how to honor the gifts of Earth by giving back and caring for her creatures. We are the sons and daughters of Skywoman and, while most of us have forgotten how to care for our Great Mother, there are those who keep this practice alive. We must listen carefully to what they have to teach. We must not scar our mother in greed, we must be thankful for the water she pours forth graciously for our use, and protect this precious resource.”