What we say at the beginning...

Dina Stander

First words matter when we open ceremonial space, whether we are sitting under a tree on our own, or with a group of family, neighbors, and friends. Our first words ground us in space and time, giving us a moment to find our feet and embrace our intentions. Our first words help us find our footing for our first steps. This poem by Joy Harjo is one of my favorite places to begin: 

Eagle Poem, BY JOY HARJO

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

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