As you know, one of several reasons we were doing the ceremony at the sacred spring in Chimayo was that the hillside around the spring burned last year. Well, on our way to do the ceremony, we could see clouds billowing up from an enormous fire burning in the national forest on the other side of the mountain [see photo] because of the terrible drought and high winds we’ve been having (due to global climate change). Within an hour, the Pacheco Canyon fire had consumed hundreds of acres of the Santa Fe National Forest. We knew we were doing the right thing.

When the six of us arrived at our site, there were three ravens sitting in the cottonwood tree above the spring—a mother and two full-grown youngsters (“teenagers”), already bringing new life and radical joy to the site! The mother flew off, but the youngsters stayed up over our heads for quite a while as the mother flew around the canyon calling until she finally persuaded the youngsters to follow her. We already had two Radical Joy birds without even trying! [see photo of mother bird silhouetted as she took flight, and then 2 photos of the youngsters]

We also found the wounded earth was already blooming with wildflowers near the burned tree skeletons. [see photo of yellow flowers & burnt tree] We used some of these blackened branches, some dead branches, and some colorful rocks, to create our big Rad Joy bird. Its eye is the shell casing from a bullet—a wonderful transformation of violence into beauty. [see photo] One of our group also cut out a little white bird from a sheet and put it by some of the burned wood, where it looks very much like your logo (both the bird and the black refuse). [see photo]

We also cleaned the spring, planted flowers along her bank, drummed, told stories, and sang songs to the spring and to the sacred mountain. One member of the group told about the dream she’d had the night before, in which a group like ours had come together to replant corn (the local native crop) on a wounded area on federal land (which this is). The group decided that it was OK to do it because this land belongs to all of us, and the government would benefit because of the minerals that the crop would bring to the surface of the earth.

We also talked about the Superfund site that is 10 miles from here, where a dry cleaners dumped all their chemicals directly into the ground. The chemicals reached from the top of the water table, 4 feet below ground, to 240 feet below the ground! They poisoned two municipal wells, which had to be closed. The plume spread almost to the Rio Grande before cleanup finally began several years ago. Some of our group had taken clothes to be dry-cleaned there in the ‘90s.

We made a second Rad Joy bird from a very birdlike branch draped with little flags on which we wrote messages. We will take the bird to the Superfund site tomorrow, along with some of the water from the sacred spring.

We took lots of photos and even a little video of the spring itself so you can hear her voice. And we’ll take more photos tomorrow. Thank you so much for this wonderful idea and an amazing experience. Liz & the Chimayo spring group P.S. More tomorrow!


6/20/11 – OK, here’s our update:

The nearby fire that started yesterday continues to build and has now consumed 900 acres of our beautiful national forest, due to drought and months of bizarrely high wind caused by global climate change. (In the attached photo, the fire burns in the distance; the clouds overhead are from the Arizona fire, hundreds of miles away. A raven flew into the photo, and there is a startling blue eye in the center of the sky.) 

How wonderful that in our ceremonies around the globe we could do a little something to give back to this blessed planet where we live, which is so profoundly wounded.

Gold (2)Today, my partner Debbie and I took water from the sacred spring to the Superfund site 10 miles away. We circled the building where the containment is being managed, pouring out droplets of the spring water as we went, and poured droplets also around each of the twenty or so lids in the ground where they excavated little wells for treating and for monitoring the water. I also sang a song to the water as we went.

We also brought with us a Radical Joy creation we all made together yesterday. Near the spring, we found a stick that looked much like the spine of a bird. It also looks like an avanyu, the water spirit of the Tewa people who live in pueblos all around us. The Superfund site is actually on their ancestral land, so it was extremely appropriate. Yesterday, we also made prayer flags with messages to the water, which we hung on the bird/serpent. We mounted our Radical Joy avanyu on the barbed wire fence and took a photo.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving us this beautiful way to bring joy to our troubled hearts and this wounded earth.

Hugs to everyone around the globe,


P.S.: I’m attaching photos of the fire today, the map of the Superfund site, and of course our Radical Joy avanyu. I’ve also uploaded photos to my Facebook site.