As mentioned before, the tobacco (chanupa) ceremony was so multi-faceted that it will take many posts to capture the ongoing depths of healing and symbology.
The first part of the ceremony took place outdoors at a local sacred well which is being tenderly minded by local people. We were blessed with dry weather despite persistent rain in the earlier part of the day. A prayer of 'Greetings and Thanks' (see an earlier post) commenced the occasion and what became
apparent so quickly was not only the depth of respect for all living things but also the acknowledgement of the sacred union which brings those things into being. The pipe was a clear representation of that union (the clay bowl symbolising the mother, the pipe the father and the tobacco the children; the smoke or breath arising from it - the life-force or spirit.)
Standing in a circle we passed the pipe to each other offering up many prayers for those affected by the Tuam Mother and Baby Home.
By now Tuam (Tumulus) represents all burial mound and all hidden truths so we were acknowledging both the personal and the collective.
|A child's face at the bottom of the well|
Erika blew the sacred tobacco into the well where it billowed into the cracks and crevices. It's currently dry, so it'll be interesting to see if there any changes in the coming months.
All in all the ceremony was deeply moving and we're so grateful to Erika for bringing the blesséd wisdom of the Americas to us, connecting the desire for healing to both nations.