November/December 2011 Spirituality
Gratitude Ceremony for the Earth
by Colleen Benelli
Gratitude heals our hearts and minds. This holiday season, focus on what you are thankful for by bringing together family and friends for a gratitude ceremony.
With one mind, send greetings and thanks to the natural world. At the altar, the ceremony facilitator lights the center candle, then says the invocation, intention and the prayer blessing of gratitude for the Earth. After the main prayer, each person lights a tea candle from the center candle, and states what they are thankful for and blesses the Earth.
The ceremony includes the blessing, “Greetings to the Natural World,” which is the Iroquois Thanksgiving Address. This prayer was given to the people of all nations as a “give away” by Iroquois Elder, Jake Swamp, and the Iroquois Nation. A “give away” means that people have permission to use and adapt the prayer.
Create an altar: For the centerpiece, you can use a large plate, center candle, sage, earth, cornmeal, tobacco, crystals, flowers and tea candles. You may use any item that represents gratitude to you.
Invocation: We are gathered here in celebration of this time of thanksgiving to remember all that we are grateful for. We welcome each other to this table and we are grateful for this time together. We welcome the creator, and the blessed ones of all the people gathered here. We welcome the spirit of gratitude. We welcome our own divine heart.
Intention: We send this ceremony and our thankfulness out to the world and to the World Peace Grids at the North and South Poles, and Jerusalem where it is joined by the gratitude of so many others. These prayers are collected in the light, and sent to all the people on Earth.
Greetings to the natural world: Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.
We are all thankful to our mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning. To our mother, the Earth, we send greetings and thanks.
We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength.
We turn our minds with gratitude to all the fish life in the water that help cleanse and purify the water.
Now we turn toward the vast fields of plant life. With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the food plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive.
Now we turn to all the medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness. We are happy they are still among us, those special few, who remember how to use these plants for healing.
We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use the bodies as food for our people.
We now turn our thoughts to the trees, and with one mind, we greet and thank the tree life.
We put our minds together as one and thank all the birds who move and fly about over our heads. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life.
We are thankful to the powers we know as the four winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and a giving us strength.
Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the thunder beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life.
We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest brother, the sun. Each day without fail, he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life.
We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face, we measure time, and it is the moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth.
We give thanks to the stars that are spread across the sky like jewelry. When we travel at night, they guide us home.
We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way were instructed to live as people.
Now we turn our thoughts to the creator, Great Spirit and God, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is around us, we gather our mind together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the creator.
Now our minds are one.
I am thankful for: Now we take the time to give our personal thanksgiving. Look into your heart, state all that you are grateful for, and send your personal blessing to the Earth and creator. When you are finished, please light your candle using the flame from the center candle.
Closing: We gather the gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness spoken here and we ask that it be felt by all life on this beautiful Earth. We honor our blessings and we choose to remember them each day. We ask the creator and the enlightened ones here to help us remember. Thank you.
Colleen Benelli teaches Reiki as a lifestyle. Her unique style of healing and teaching blends shamanic techniques with her mastery of Usui/Tibetan and Karuna Reiki®. Visit www.reikilifestyle.com.