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Sunday, September 21st, 2014
1:00 pm to 4:00 PM

A Harvest Ritual facilitated by Katja Esser

There is some homework involved.  Please, check out the preparations below and take some time with it. The preparations are part of the feeding of the spirit world and deepen the work we do.

Morning glories cling to the tall corn people, intertwined they feverishly grow towards the sun.  Their short lived purple face tempts the hovering humming birds, while the silky hair pours like milk out of the corn’s tassel awaiting its pollination. A late summer garden’s jungle of interconnectedness, where paths have disappeared under the exploding leaves and swollen fruits have become hard to reach.  A bustling, humming world of bees, crickets, and birds that thrive in the wild thickets of Mustards, Beans, and Brussels Sprouts.  Fat tomatoes await their summer tan as they hang heavily from their stringy vines.  A lush garden overflowing with infinite yields of flavors, textures, and nutrients, where seed made the journey from sprout, to flower, to fruit only to mature into seed again, so life can continue.  We honor the harvest, the completion of a growing season as the fall approaches.                        

Honoring the Equinox is acknowledging the moment that the sun rises opposite from where it is setting making the day and night of equal length.  As light and darkness are inseparable, they come into equilibrium in this short lived moment after which the nights get longer.  It is the beginning of autumn, the season that celebrates the culmination of its growing season before it detaches from its outer form. 

Ritual is the dance of interconnection that allows us to feel our intimate participation in the drama of the universe.  We gather in sacred time and space to celebrate and ritualize this moment and give thanks for the harvest and the seed that assures the continuity of life.  We acknowledge the unseen forces and the elements as it is no small feat for the sprout to come to fruit as many do not make it and in a time of changing climate, unsustainable agriculture, and increasing population this is especially a concern.  In ritual we strengthen our connection with the living world that surrounds us and recognize we are an integral part of it.  We feed our relationship to the spirit world, to bring us into balance and alignment with the Divine Order. 

We live in a moment in time where the light is becoming brighter and the darkness is getting deeper.  The deep seeded separation that is surfacing shows all aspects of darkness that have not come into love yet.  To become love is to be connected and present to all that is and have a compassionate response.  By embracing the darkness and the light we find oneness, to judge these opposite forces we encounter opposition.  In the trance of right and wrong, a stability is created that does not allow for change, nor does it allow for love to enter.  We have to love what is for the change to occur and invite what is problematic to sit with us and talk to us.  As the light carries the seed of darkness, the problem carries the seed of its solution, we just do not know it yet and only through the engagement with that part we can find the solution or the transformation.  Even when nature may indicate that it lets go, the reality is that nothing is ever wasted and all gets transformed to feed the new life.

We are in a mineral year according to the Dagara people of West Africa, mineral being the element that holds the records and stories of our planet; it is connected with information and creative ideas.  Conductivity, memory, transmission, and foundation are a few of the aspects of mineral.  This mineral year coincided with major portals that challenged our core beliefs allowing for deep change to occur.  We are being primed to move into our purpose to fulfill our particular destined niche to assist in the evolution of life.  We are raising our awareness, inform ourselves to move beyond our ignorance.  We are shifting consciousness as we move from a carbon to a crystalline based frequency to become heart centered transmitters of energy that see with clear vision.  We harvest our unique gifts from our particular stories and experiences that have given us the exact tools we need to fulfill our purpose.  Many times the worst that ever happened to us turned out to be the thing that was needed most to move us in a new direction.  We have the ability to dialogue with the parts within ourselves that we reject, separate, and project on the world around us to get to know these parts and transform them to ultimately support our mission in life.

The intention for this ritual is to love and embrace what is, to give gratitude and appreciation as we try to make sense of a world in deep separation.  Everything is an expression of the Divine.  All is in perfect order placed in our midst to continue to evolve and express.  All fruits have the function to hold the seed for future life; all evolve through collecting data from trials, adaptations, and collaborations to survive changing, challenging or new environments.  Plants or other species of life respond to imbalances and can pose a problem first before it figures out how to fulfill a particular niche to restore the balance or answer a deficiency.  Symbiotic relationships in nature are win/win solutions.  We can look at the harvest in our world as a response to a particular problem that has become the problem but carries the solution inside.  It is our job to become conscious of our reaction to the world around us and notice what it mirrors in us as we separate and judge and feel it trigger our unconscious beliefs. 

The preparation and what to bring:

- Maybe you have already gone through this process this year and you can just do the symbol on the cloth, if not this is an opportunity to dive in a different way of relating to parts of you.  We touched upon this at the Summer Solstice and we are taking it a little deeper.  What we do not tolerate in ourselves we will not tolerate in the world around us.  Look at an emotional response or trigger you are having as you look at an aspect of the world in its current state.   For this exercise we are not looking for a heartfelt compassionate feeling.  You could try something that is not terribly loaded and it may take some courage to look at that part in you that you have not been aware of that keeps reacting and blaming.  I ask you to have a conversation with the part of you that you have rejected, the part of you that you criticize and judge.  Be curious about that part in you, respect, acknowledge, and appreciate it.  Ask why it is there, what it is serving, what it is afraid of.   Ask it all you want to know.  Sit in its company. Ask what it wants from you.  Get to know this part of you.  Do this dialogue in writing and clearly differentiate between the part speaking and you speaking.  On a small white piece of natural fiber fabric of about 10 inches square create a symbol of the original part and a symbol of its transformation if any.  It can be two separate symbols, it can be the symbol transformed.  You may use both sides of the fabric.  You may draw it, sew it, it is up to you.

- Now have a conversation with that part of the world you have been reacting to.  Ask it questions and see what answers would come to you.  You can either do it by asking spirit or by creating a written dialogue or by means of divinatory tools.  See if you can come to an honoring, appreciation, respect or even can love it.  Take a life stick of about ½ inch thick and with a length that goes from your elbow to your middle finger and sharpen the point so it looks like an arrow.  Take white strips of natural fabric of about 1 ½ inch wide and 1 ½ foot long and place these as streamers over the length of the arrow.  One strip would contain words of what you love, appreciate or honor in the situation or people we judged.  What message, prayer would you write on the second strip that would be an invitation to a new outcome?  The third strip what seed of solution, or contribution may you possibly envision because of this occurrence.  It is kind of having the genie out of the bottle and how do we engage this genie to get to know it and may it have a seed of the solution for us.

- Bring a fruit that symbolizes the internal or external shifts that have occurred for you since the beginning of 2014

- Bring your crystal of clear vision that you bring back home again.  

- Bring flowers to feed the spirit world.

- And bring drums if you have them.  Bring your own water and a potluck dish to share for after the ritual.  Please, bring your own plate, flatware and cup.

- Please, bring the items at whatever stage they are in.  We do our best to fulfill the requirements.  Let it not deter you from coming if you did not get it done.                     

Cost:  America’s Stonehenge is privately owned but is open to the public. The entry fee is $11 for adults.  In addition there is a suggested $5 donation per adult at the ritual site to cover expenses. 

Please, bring a friend and pass this information on.

For more info contact Katja:
(617)365 4024

Katja Esser is an inspirational artist, mask and costume designer, ritualist, teacher, photographer, and performer. She has exhibited her work in the Netherlands, New York and Boston. Katja has studied different forms of movement and voice. She has created sacred ceremonies for the seasons since 1992 for small and large groups of people of which the summer solstice at America’s Stonehenge is most well known. She is very involved in African based spirituality with Malidoma Somé and the East Coast Village which has brought her to Africa a few times.  She draws from a variety of great teachers such as Martin Prechtel and Emilie Conrad. Katja creates rituals and gives talks at colleges and universities. Katja has sung with Bonesong, an improvisational sacred singing quartet that sings in a cave. She performs with the Theater Behind The Mask in schools through Young Audiences and at First Night. She created a performance around ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ with Ricardo Frota in which she appears in a full tree costume that took her a year and half to make. Katja launched last year her Apprenticeship program ‘Courting the Living World’ in which participants activate their intimate connection to self and planet.  Katja has an extensive website www.ritualexpressions.com at which her work can be viewed.

 Physical address: 105 Haverhill Road | Salem, NH 03079
 Mailing address: P.O. Box 84 | North Salem, NH 03073
 Phone: (603) 893-8300 | E-mail: info@stonehengeusa.com