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Earth MotherSunday, September 20th, 2015
1:00 pm to 4:00 PM

A Harvest Ritual facilitated by Katja Esser

There is some preparation involved that you do at home.  Please, check out ‘what to bring’ below and take some time with it. The preparations are part of the feeding of the spirit world and deepen the work we do.

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.  It gives us a moment to pause on the Divine Marriage, that brings all opposites into balance or neutrality.  One cannot exist without the reference to its counterpart.  As light and darkness are inseparable, they come into equilibrium in this short lived moment after which the nights get longer and the energies begin to pull inside.  It marks the beginning of autumn, the season that celebrates the culmination of its growing season before it detaches from its outer form.

The story of this year’s garden paints a picture of surviving and resilience, as well as death and decay.  Sunflowers gloriously blossom, some hang by a thin thread, their stalks marked with big bruises tell a tale of recovery and determination.  Each season, packed with its unique challenges, continually reminds us that even when nature freely gives, to not take anything for granted.  The fragility of life faces us daily allowing us to feel the joy and grief, as we witness failures and adaptability. Concerns arise as to what will feed us when sprouts do not make it to seed.  Ritual and celebration accompany the relief we feel when after much effort and hard work we can bring in harvest so we can get through the winter and have seed to plant for next year.

The story of my garden reflects the unsettling in between time we find ourselves in as the old ways and structures are unraveling.  My garden needs three years of adding the right amendments before it comes into balance.  This is a small cycle versus the galactic 26.000 year cycle and the movement into the Aquarian Age.  We may need some more time before we can ease into the energies of the New Era.  Within the great cycles we have the rhythms of the small cycles that assist us to navigate through this awkward time.   

According to the Dagara cosmology of West Africa we are in an Earth year.  Their cosmology reflects what lives in the consciousness of the world right now.  Our attentions are focused on food, gut health, abundance, finances, soil health, a new way of caring, coming home, feeling supported, and being grounded, which are all qualities of Earth.  At the same time we see our landscape shifting on every level as old forms need to break apart for the new to be born which brings a lot of uneasiness.  We see amazing expansiveness, love, and connection and we also see extreme contraction, fear, and separation.  Everything and everyone is being challenged right now.  We begin to realize that our Earth and the lives upon it matter and that the very life on Mother Earth is at stake in the form we know it.  Innovation, adaptability, and resilience have to be looked at as the extreme weather patterns are announcing a new cycle in the life of Earth.  We have to let the contractions unwind and welcome what comes our way, as the strong energies push us to transform.   It is like the compost pile which is nature’s way to neutralize that which is harmful or no longer useful.  As it heats up it erases the traces of the old and turns it into the nutrient rich foundation that supports the new life.  It is telling us that in the pause between the turning of the heap a lot of nutrients, support, and information become available.

As we roll into the fall season we look at the culmination of nature’s expression, its death, and its transformation needed to sustain the new life.  Life is a constant feeding through which it shifts form.  Our harvest is nature’s sacrifice.  The fruit has to die to release the seed.  The seed has to die to birth the sprout.  Life does not exist without death at its center.  The small cycles reflect the big cycles.  It is the fall season that prepares us to go within and come into stillness where the old ways can transform, become neutralized, get reset, and composted.  When we shift to neutrality we can come into rhythm and right relationship with all of creation and remember to keep Mother in mind with every step forward.  Ritual activates our intimate participation in the drama of the universe by feeding and honoring the infinite relationships so we can come into rhythm with the symphony of life.  Without these rituals we fall into a state of forgetfulness and discord that creates the illusion of separation.  It is this separation that has brought us to the edge of losing our fertile seed which ultimately endangers the continuation of life.  For us to go forward as a specie we have to begin to feed the Earth with our prayers, with what is in our heart, and with our creativity to keep the Earth alive and us in rhythm with the universe to assist the greater expression and evolution of life.  Here lays our contribution and challenge, to dance with what is, to love and let go, to give expression to what we feel in praise of life, so we may touch and feed the spirit world.  

The intention for this ritual is to honor our sacred relationship with the forces that make up life and to compost and transform what no longer serves us.  To come to the understanding that what is beneficial to us may be detrimental to another; my harvest is natures sacrifice and my release may become the rich compost to serve something else.  We live on the death of others more so than any other species.  There are a lot of spirits that have not been fed for what we have taken and all energies need feeding to stay alive.  If they do not get it they will take it creating the imbalances we are facing with the continuous wasting of lives.  Personal questions arise – Are you bringing forth the fruits of your labor?  What is the price of your harvest?  Who needs to be acknowledged, praised, and given gratitude to for your harvest to have come into being?  And what needs to be composted that is no longer serving you that may ultimately serve something greater?

The preparation and what to bring:
- Bring a 1 foot yellow square of 100 % cotton fabric on which you create one symbol or more that pertains to either a physical condition, an emotional state, or a belief which you are ready to transform.  
- Who needs to be fed?  What spirit of which element (either a particle, teacher, friend, or ingredient) has contributed most to you, for you to manifest your harvest? Can you follow one thread to its origins?  Create a necklace, braid, or string of gratitude, beautifully decorated with natural found or created compostable materials tied into it, pertaining to the various entities that contributed to your harvest.
- Bring a fruit that symbolizes your gift to the world and come up with one phrase that brings that into focus.
- Bring flowers to feed the spirit world.
- Bring drums or rattles, if you have them. 
Bring your own water and a finger food/snack to share for after the ritual. 
- Please, bring the items at whatever stage they are in.  Do your best to fulfill the requirements.  Let it not deter you from coming if you did not get it done at the same time. The potency of the ritual reflects what you put into it.

Cost:  America’s Stonehenge is privately owned but is open to the public. The entry fee is $12 for adults.  In addition there is a suggested donation of $8 or more per adult at the ritual site to support the continuity of this sacred work. 

Please, bring a friend and pass this information on.

Decorating the Earth Mother

For more info contact Katja:
(617)365 4024

Katja Esser is a multi-disciplinary artist, ritualist, teacher, performer, and healer, who inspires through self-expression. She has run annual seasonal rituals since 1992 of which Summer Solstice at America’s Stonehenge is most well-known.  Her singing and her extraordinary elaborate masks and costumes bring forth beings from another world.  Katja has facilitated drumming circles, workshops in sound, continuum-based movement, ritual, and maskmaking.  She studied with Emily Conrad, Malidoma Somé, ALisa Starkweather, Eric Bornstein, Martin Prechtel, Saruah Benson, and Tim Kelley and various healing modalities to facilitate a shift in consciousness. She performs with the Theater Behind The Mask in schools through Young Audiences and has appeared at First Night Boston for a number of years.  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 has created an apprenticeship program called ‘Courting the Living World’, nurturing a sacred intimate connection with planet, spirit and self through creativity and ritual. She facilitates grief rituals, sacred sound circles and ancestral rituals.  Katja recently released a video production combining her music, poetry, and images of the story of water in ‘Prayer to the Beloved Swift River’ that can be viewed on YouTube and her website.  She currently focuses on sacred geometry gardening and nutrient dense food.  Katja has extensive websites: www.ritualexpressions.com and www.ritualexpressionsevents.org 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