GANG: Summer Solstice Garden Party honors Pachamama

In the evening of the same day as the Children’s Workshop, we reconvened again, this time to enjoy GANG garden greens with pesto, bread, beer, wine, lemon-water, and various other sundries that arrived, including fresh peaches! — with which we made a peach cobbler and topped it with ice cream.

Ranging in age from two to nearly 90, about two dozen neighbors and friends of the GANG garden gathered, ate, listened to me talk as an astrologer a bit about that day’s portentous exact conjunction between revolutionary Uranus and primal Pluto, designed and participated in a ceremony to honor the fullness of the summer season, listened to Aaron and Daniel’s wonderful pipe and drums, fanned out to place little painted shards in various parts of the garden, and then reconvened to each draw an animal from the Medicine Cards deck (I got “spider”),

read what the book said about our particular animal and summarize how its meaning relates to us personally (for me, spider weaves her web from the infinite creativity of the universe), while we sat and drank beer and hung out in the growing evening cool until, after four hours, I finally had to tell everybody that it was time for bed!

Here’s a few more photos to give the flavor of that wondrous evening just past, which was designed and executed by the three graces who have agreed to be responsible for the garden during the 2012 gardening season.

Stephanie, a recent IU graduate and the Director, on the left in this photo (with her friend Leah, visiting from Germany)

and Stephanie’s two Indiana University SPEA interns: Sarah (in striped dress), an undergraduate (here’s the wonderful Garden Party flyer final she designed for this event),

and Alexandra, a graduate student, with her fiancé, Jose.

The three young women and I had agreed beforehand that we would throw out an invitation to do a Solstice ceremony to the group assembled. Ask if they wanted to do it (not everyone present was accustomed to such ceremonies), and if so, what shall we do?

So, when the time came, immediately Jose, who is Peruvian, suggested that we light some “holy wood,” which he had brought with him for this purpose from Peru. He told us that shamans burn this wood, which is dedicated to Pachamama (“pacha” means land, Mama = mother), Mother Earth. He asked that we ask her blessing and express our gratitude for her continuously regenerating gifts of food, water, air, and fire.

Aaron suggested that we combine this with a ceremony to the six directions (including Earth and Sky), and that when it was our turn to pass the wood around that we take some of its ashes, state either out loud or silently, some wish that we make for manifestation, and throw the ashes into a tiny fire. Perfect! These two ideas became the basis for our ceremony.

Aaron, with his friend Sarah, a Sarah Lawrence undergraduate who is volunteering at an ecovillage near Jasper, Indiana this summer.

Afterwards, we each took one of the little shards that the children painted in their Children’s Workshop that afternoon, to place at various points around the garden. Here’s one, next to a recently planted blueberry bush.

Our thanks go to CONA (Bloomington Council for Neighborhood Associations) and neighbor Georgia Schaich for the generous $100 check to help defray the food and drink costs for our neighborhood Solstice Garden Party.

Now it’s Monday already. Back to the garden! The three graces, Stephanie, Sarah, and Alexandra, invite everyone for a 6-8 p.m. work party each Monday evening during these summer months. Hey, the blackberries are ripe! Come join the GANG!

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