Categories
Indigenous Knowledge

Orange Shirt Day

Today is a day of remembrance for those who were affected by residential indian boarding schools. A day to give love to those little children taken from their families, some lost and some wounded for what seemed like forever. But today in a sea of orange, there is hope… as we call back to mind each of those beautiful souls, those who have suffered because of their differences, we can hold them in love and light, and let them shine their beautiful light to the world through us. Through our awareness, we can acknowledge and then take action in a new direction. In the direction we desire to see in the world.

Orange = Self Expression

When we hold space and bring awareness to a story, we have the opportunity to change the ending… to heal the past and create a beautiful future by sending the love now.

Growing up as a native american in Maryland I felt out of place because my bone structure was different from everyone else’s. My mom always told me that it was because I was native. I didn’t like it very much. My name was also different… Raine… I got made fun of often…. “Raine Raine go away and don’t come back.” My name was very native, or hippy. I didn’t always like it.

Going back to the reservation in North Dakota and visiting my cousins… life was so different for them then it was for me. We would usually visit during the summer for a week or so before driving back to Maryland. I would run in fields of wild grass, sweet grass and sage… never realizing how sacred it was. I would see life for the people on the reservation and feel many things, as they lived differently then I did. Living on the reservation wasn’t something I desired to do.

There was always one thing that stuck with me though… the sacred spiritual knowledge that I felt in my bones, deep down within my being….calling out to me to remember. I felt it when i danced in pow-wows.

When I was 12 I was honored with a naming ceremony….See my parents, even though they believed in religious teachings, always had an underlying connection to spirit in their lives. During my naming ceremony, our medicine woman shared that it was uncommon to be given the same name in ceremony that your parents named you. And that the creator told my mom to name me Raine Dawn because that was who I am… so my Anishinaabe name is Raining in the Dawn Woman.

After that experience, I began on a deep journey into spirituality (unknown to myself at the time, but looking back that is where it started) through Baptist, and Pentecostal religions… along with a deep connection to the holy spirit and feeling called to work with the youth, I started to really align who I was with who I am. Through attending a christian college to be a youth pastor, to going to Towson University to be an Art educator…. uncovering that deep connection to spirit that I felt within.

The path is so magickal and I feel so honored to be given the opportunity to be me, and share what I know and see with the world.

And all of this beautiful life because my grandmother and her grandmother and her grandmother made choices and took actions in ways that allowed me to flourish and become who I am today. Because my mother had a vision, to love her children and give them a life she never had… I am who I am today. I am grateful for the journey… as it reminds us we are all connected. <3

Categories
Art Education Existence

Connected

Amethyst Retreat Center hosted a Community Weekend event with the focus on the Gift-Giving economy structure. There were many creative and talented people there sharing their gifts; reiki, massage, art, readings, astrology, herbalism, nutrition, wellness, music, and more.

We are all connected.

The gift I shared was of self-awareness through creative expression. I asked attendees to consider the following questions:

How can we use art to remind us of our connectedness?

What happens when we remember we are all connected?

How do you connect with yourself, and others?

When someone was ready to respond, we presented them with a community mural that had been sketched out and painted the night before. The mural is our visual representation of the importance of our connection. Each mark adds to the whole of the image, and is vital in representing the energy of the space!

I have to give a shout out to my two awesome helpers, Rachel and Elijah! Both of them were there from the beginning helping to fill in spaces and make sure it was ready to be painted on the next day. Thank you!!

So, the design has a lot of elements to it! First I wanted to honor the Susquehannock Indigenous people, who inhabited the land before we were blessed with it.

In the Susquehanna River there are petroglyphs from the Indigenous people on rocks all throughout! A few of these petroglyphs were incorporated into the design…. human, thunderbird, water, and Manitou (the Great Mystery or Creator.)

The center of the mural is a totem of the Amethyst crystals, a rising thunderbird, and the spiral sun of the Amethyst logo. In the center of the thunderbirds chest is a handprint that symbolizes all those who are not seen and recognizes their being.

A sunrise over the Susquehanna river covers the garage doors.

The left of the mural is a flower of life surrounded by concentric circles in colors of the rainbow.

Each attendee left their mark on the mural in response to their remembering that we are all connected. The marks created by each person added to the creation of the mural, like we each add something to the play of life.

connected

I am beyond thrilled with the outcome and in awe of life because of each and every beautiful soul that shared themselves for this project.

Thank you Karen for believing in the vision and hosting such a beautiful community gathering.

There were so many other amazing things happening while I was painting away. Music by artists Natalie Lain, Grace Mahar, Daniel Flatley, Don Kovacs. Bhante Soma and Nancy Romano, Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple PA led us in a meditation with singing bowls. Tai Chi with Breanna. Yoga and Sound with Phyllis Vara. There was a Plant Walk with Calyx Liddick, Director, Herbalist, Teacher at Appalachia School of Vitalist Herbalism & Ecology, and a demo – Installing Solar Panels on a Tiny House with Bob Newmyer.

A Gift Economy talk where we gathered to hear the stories of transformation and the wisdom shared by individuals who are answering the call and are cultivating their gifts into services that inspire, heal, and nourish others. Karen Kovacs facilitates a group discussion with Erin Shrader, Calyx Liddick, Jennifer Rabenstein, Nicole Sharkey, and myself.

On Saturday and Sunday morning there was breakfast made by Lisa and a community potluck on Saturday night.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this weekend happen, and to everyone who attended! Together we create beautiful things, especially when we remember we are all connected.