2010 Prayer Vigil for the Earth

A Year of Partnership

The 18th annual Prayer Vigil was a partnership among the Prayer Vigil for the Earth, Turtle Women Rising and the many faith groups that have participated at the annual gathering over the past 18 years. Throughout the four day Vigil (October 8-11, 2010) rotating drummers kept the beat of Turtle Women Rising's magnificent drum, Kiya's (Grandmother's) Heartbeat, going day and night.

When other faith groups shared their offerings, whether the energetic chanting of the Sufi Zikr ceremony or the Shumei Taiko Drums, or a quiet story telling or ceremony from the microphone, Kiya's Heartbeat would drop back to a supportive murmur. At other times the drumming and many good singers around the drum were the central focus of prayer.  There was good synergy.

The partnership with Turtle Women Rising and its founder, Eli Painted Crow, and co-founder Deborah Guerrero worked out exceptionally well. Their ceremonies honoring the veterans present and taking a stand for peace merged well with the ceremonies honoring the Earth.

This year's event was in a slightly different location: still in sight of the Washington Monument but closer to the Smithsonian Museum and out of the direct line of sight with the White House. This led to more spontaneous visits from passersby and less nervousness from security officials on the Mall.

Around the circle were the familiar sights of the Jyorei Healing tent, the Labyrinth to walk in contemplation, Zoroastrian prayers, and tipis for quiet prayer. Songs of Rabbi David Shneyer, Mother Taylor offering her Yoruba songs, Dr. Zulu and the African drums in memory of Baba Ngoma (Father Drum), and many other contributions made the Vigil as memorable as ever. Like the ripples out from the pebble thrown into a pond, our prayers continue to go out into the world.

The gathering was blessed by the combined wisdom, which totals more than 900 years, of several of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.  As she always does, Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim put her hand out for a drumstick as she acknowledged the drummers at the drum.  Soon after, Grandmother Mona Polacca, Grandmother Tsering, Grandmother's Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance and her sister Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance joined the sacred hoop to sing and enjoy this common bond.  The magic of the Grandmother's was evident as they spoke from their hearts, through prayer at the sacred fire, the drum, and offered ancient prayer ceremonies to all who circled in silence.  Many received these blessings with grace, and seemed to walk away visibly touched, moved, and inspired.

The World Peace Prayer Ceremony led the All the Flags of the World in Prayer, sponsored by the World Peace Prayer Society. People joined together to bring peace to our hearts and our planet through the prayer "May Peace Prevail on Earth." This prayer for world peace carries a message of great hope and healing. It transcends barriers of nationality, race and religion to unite humanity in a call for the common good of all life on Earth.

Several gifts from nature occurred during our gathering underscoring our efforts for peace and unity. On Saturday, after words about the importance of water were expressed on the microphone, it rained hard for a few minutes out of the clear blue sky above us. A highlight of the last day was a visit from a large hawk just outside the circle that swooped down to take a squirrel.  The hawk, sacred to many traditions, was unable to lift her prey so sat there guarding it for a long time, giving a close look at our winged sister, unusual in such an urban setting.  We express gratitude for a visitor from the sky realm and recognize its call to each of us to honor where we came from and where we will return.  May we walk softly together on this Earth during our time here.

In addition, the gathering offered:

Native American Sunrise Ceremonies
Honoring John Lennon’s "Imagine Peace" on his 70th birthday, Oct. 9
Honoring Those Who Serve, welcoming home all military personnel, inviting them into our sacred circle
Sufi Offering with Osmanli Naks-i'bendi Hakkani Dergahi
Peruvian Shaman Condor Ceremony and a Despacho Ceremony
Children’s Blessing
Singing of the Crystal Bowls

Thank you for joining us in prayer for our Earth community wherever you are.
The Prayer Vigil for the Earth and Turtle Women Rising
Click Here for Photos from the 2010 Prayer Vigil for the Earth