We Are the World
I did not want to host the Earth Walks at my home that November 2 in 1998. As an Indigenous friend who had considered moving in as a housemate had said, there were “spirits” there that were not good. I had certainly seen evidence of that myself. I moved to Rio en Medio after I had to leave my Upper Canyon Road home since it was being sold. I could not find a rental in Santa Fe that I liked and the Rio en Medio location, though way above my price range, was in the country adjacent to an acequia (irrigation canal), orchards, a small pond and a small stream. I could see the Jemez Mountains from the place, which was to me the symbolic fire on the mountain” volcano that was part of the McKenzie Klan emblem on my mother’s side of the family. But once I moved to the house (actually a 5,000 square foot double wide mobile home that included an attached carport, full basement, two story greenhouse and studio) I discovered many negative aspects of the place.
Search as I did, I could not find another suitable location for the Earth Walks for Health weekend. There were to be people attending with serious health problems so I called our guide for the weekend, Maria Elena Orona to ask her advice. Maria Elena was of Mexican Huichol/Raramuri/Tahono O’odam ancestry and was considered a “dream healer.” She was also a devotee of the east Indian avatar Mata Amritanandamayi. I trusted her guidance implicitly. In truth, she told me, there are spirits moving everywhere, spirits that have not found their final resting place. We were to be doing a purification ceremony that she said would create a doorway of light for the spirits to pass through for their own peace and for our healing as well. I decided to offer my home, but little did I know what was to take place–on many levels.
Maria explained that Winter Ceremony is a time of acknowledging, thanking and receiving the blessings of our ancestors and in so doing helping health and bring benefit to not only those souls and our own but those to come in the future. Those who came to this particular Earth Walks included a mother and her three daughters whose husband/father has passed about a year before and people from Indigenous, Hispanic as well as Anglo ancestry. We did several rituals with Maria Elena which were to “purify the mind,” and created an altar for our loved ones with their pictures, sharing flowers, candles and prayers. Dinner was delicious, a portion of which was first brought to the altar with a prayer by Maria Elena.
After the evening concluded, I felt a deep sense of peace not only for myself and the others but for the land we were on. It was my sense that this valley with its relatively constant source of water had been a place of intense struggle and conflict over time, at least since the coming of Europeans. When I first moved to Santa Fe, I was told as an outsider Anglo I would not be welcome. There had unfortunately also been a history of drug and alcohol abuse in the valley. By the time I moved here, much of that had changed, but I felt that the sad part of its history lingered in dark shadows and recesses.
After the ceremony and all had gone to sleep, I walked into the open field below the house. The clouds parted and the moon emerged. I felt so positive about what had happened that I spontaneously broke into the song, “We Are the World.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9BNoNFKCBI It truly felt that the Winter Ceremony had helped to lift at least some of the disturbing energies of the valley that night. As Maria Elena said, “we helped open a portal through which these and other souls may be with God.” Just before that time, my father had passed and I felt the ceremony helped Daddy on his journey. It was the week of my birthday as well and I felt thankful for the gatherings with Earth Walks participants that had occurred and those that were to come. We are the world indeed and I prayed that the healing work that night in some way might be of benefit to others.