Water Blessing at Cuyamungue

By Paul Robear

Water Blessing Ritual –  October 2014
Conducted by the Men’s Conclave

Water is the greatest of substances. The great flow of life is in water, therefore you give the water blessing.

As I shared in the last newsletter, Laura and I attended a Totem Pole Journey Blessing Ceremony on San Juan Island, Washington conducted by Lummi Nation elders.  At this event the tribal leaders shared that they collected water samples from places they visited on along their 5100-mile journey and conducted a water blessing ceremony.  I was deeply inspired by their passion to protect the sacred tribal waters.

So, I asked each one of the men attending the Men’s Conclave to bring samples from a river, stream, lake, or water source nearby their home.

  • Spruce Tree House Seep Spring – Mesa Verde National Park. This is one of the places where the Ancestral Pueblo people got their water. Still pure and drinkable we all shared a taste as part of honoring the ancestral peoples and the water that helped sustain them.
  • Pacific Ocean – San Diego. Gathered at Ocean Beach, by the Pier. Home to local tribe “Kumeyaay” – tribal members say they can trace their lineage back at least 12,000 years.
  • South Platte River – Colorado. Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived intermittently along the Platte for thousands of years before European exploration.
  • Arkansas River – Traverses the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. numerous tribes of Native Americans lived and traveled along the Arkansas River long before it was ever discovered by Europeans.
  • Hudson River – New York City.  A 315-mile watercourse that flows from north to south through eastern New York in the United States. The river was called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, the Great Mohegan, by the Iroquois,and it was known as Muhheakantuck (“river that flows two ways”) by the Lenape tribe who formerly inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river – all of present day New Jersey and the island of Manhattan.
  • Columbia River –  the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The tribal cultures in the Columbia River Basin could rightly be called Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum or “Salmon People” for how completely these sacred fish shaped their culture, diets, societies, and religions.
  • Pacific Ocean – Long Beach Washington –  Located on Washington’s southwestern coast where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  Home of the Chinook Tribe. Their ancestors have lived in the Pacific Northwest since the Paleo-Indian period, about 11,000 BC.
  • Salish Sea – coastal waterways located between British Columbia, and Washington state. Home of the Lummi Tribe who inspired our water blessing.  Coast Salish tribes stretch along the Pacific Northwest Coast, all the way up to  British Columbia, Canada.
  • Saco River –  Maine.  Runs from the White mountains to Merry Meeting Bay. Of all the major rivers in Maine, it is the cleanest. This water was gathered just above Indian Cellar where people have lived by the river for 7000 years.

Our ritual itself was created specifically for our group and the energy of Cuyamungue.  All water was introduced to the group, passed around to add our combined energy and added to a single vessel to bless the waters of the world. We found the process restorative, transformative and humbling.

We began by blessing the water. In the end, the real blessing was that the water was blessing us.