Wisdom from Seanmháthair Gealach (Grandmother Moon)
Day 18, Waning Gibbous Moon 🌖
5 days to Winter Solstice
As we approach Winter Solstice — The North in the Wheel of the Year, and in some Medicine Wheels, home of Mama Earth — this is a natural time for introspection, to dig deeper into our Selves, and a good time to examine our relationship with Self, others and Gaia.
One of the foundations of my practice is being in relationship with Mama Earth and with all those I encounter and interact with in this life journey . . . and most importantly, being in “Right Relationship” with them, and how to honour that. For some, right relationship includes the concept of Ayni.
I first heard the word Ayni when I travelled to Peru’s Sacred Valley many years ago. Ayni, pronounced “eye-nee”, is a Quechuan word and an important basis of their spirituality, their way of life.
Ayni tells us that everything in the world is connected.
“Today for me, tomorrow for you.”
In an Ayni “right relationship”, all participants receive what they need. . . and live in balance with each other, in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual respect.
And Ayni is not limited to our relationship with others. It also speaks to the balance and exchange of energy between our Self and Mama Earth, Spirit, Flow, the Universe.
Almost every day, I walk in Nature, sometimes just in my neighbourhood along the rewilding greenways, and other times I go to the forest, the river or the ocean. Along the way, I observe, meditate, gather and forage.
And as I do so, I ask permission first and then leave an offering if the answer is “yes”. This is just one of the ways I can honour my Ayni / right relationship with Mama Earth.
I keep a little bag with me with materials I can offer, usually remnants from a herbal project or blessing ritual such as some handcrafted loose incense, sage leaves (or any local dried herb), sacred or ceremonial tobacco (or kinnikinnick, a local substitute), a favourite pebble, organic cornmeal, some milky oat tops, a pine cone, Rowan berries, etc. I always have a Bowl in my work room to gather these bits, then transfer them to my offering pouch as needed.
This morning, I replenished my offering bag as it was getting a little low. Lots of offerings lately! I added a couple of new things, as I was fresh out of masa/corn meal: oatmeal and nutritional yeast, plus some dried fresh sage, Rowan berries, cedar, oak moss and bits of loose incense. Try to use plants or items that are local to you, preferably organic or ethically harvested from the wild.
What’s in your offering bag?