|A Message to Heal the Earth|
|Wednesday, 31 August 2011 00:00 | Written by Charleen Touchette | Blog Entry|
In Oregon in the 1980s, when our second son Sage was an infant in his cradleboard, our family hosted an Inipi Lodge for the Portland Indian Community where purification ceremonies were led by Lakota Medicine People. I participated several times a week, which brought me lots of dreams and visions. But one of these visions was special. So I decided to immortalize it.
I took out paints and sketched the three distinct scenes of this vision into one painting. First, the Earth from above with a green snake stretched out along the San Andreas Fault and the Rocky Mountains rising to the east from Alaska to Mexico. Then, the snake’s transformation into a huge serpent that towered over the Earth with its smiling face in the sky. Next, four horses—yellow, white, black and red—raced nose to nose in perfect harmony across the sky from east to west, then stopped and hovered by the snake. From the east, a gigantic bare-breasted woman with a peaceful gaze appeared wearing antlers, a red skirt and a crescent moon under her womb.
I showed the sketch to an artist from Mexico who did powerful work as a medicine man and healer. He recognized the woman from his Huichol traditions and said she was a woman of peace who came to tell me to bring a message to heal the Earth through my art and work with artists.
Over the years, many people from cultures as varied as Hindi in India, Sami in the Arctic and Hopi in Arizona, shared their knowledge of similar entities within their cultures. The Sami know the woman as Reindeer Woman. Reindeer are the only ruminants whose females grow antlers. Like the bison for Plains Indians, reindeer provide food, clothing, utensils and shelter for the Sami.
The Hindi have a story of a woman of peace and a benevolent snake, very different from the Judeo-Christian story of the woman and the snake that resulted in humankind’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
An initiate into the Hopi Snake kiva was astounded by my “Deer Woman Vision” painting. He said, “We Hopi know that woman, but I can’t tell you her name because you aren’t Hopi.”
As time passed, I connected with others worldwide who were given this message. Together, we embody a living network dedicated to bringing our relationship to air, water and Earth back into balance.
People talk about sacred sites and mountains, but everywhere is sacred, as is every being when in balance. It can take a lifetime to figure out life’s purpose (apart from the employment that pays the bills)—the real one that fills our days with inspiration and our hearts with joy. Decades later, I see that my life’s path was always tied to a personal connection with Earth, sky and water.
The message of my 1983 vision is that working for the Earth is my real job. Each day, I use the resources available to share the knowledge I have learned from my grandmother, indigenous teachers across the Americas and my direct experience in nature with everyone who lives on this Earth, so together we can help heal our home. This job gives me purpose and direction. I am grateful for this message from the Earth.
[Charleen was interviewed on Brian Frisina's "Make No Bones About It" radio show (which deals with native news, interviews and events) on KAOS 83.9 FM radio, Olympia, WA. The program is archived online if you'd like to listen. - Ed.]