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Song Of Each New Sun Songs of Bleeding: Women's Moon Lodge CeremonyExcerpt from the book, Songs of Bleeding
With honor I greet this new day
Great Mystery, I thank you for all of my gifts
MotherEarth, I thank you for the honor of sleeping and walking on your breast
Brother Sun, I thank you for returning your warmth and light this day
Sister of the South, I thank you for the beauty and laughter you bring today
Sister of the West, I thank you for the dreams and visions of the night
Sister of the North, I thank you for the lessons and teachings you bring today
Sister of the East, I thank you for the inspiration of my being here today
Grandmothers, I thank you for your guidance as you speak through my womb cycle today
All My Relations, I honor your presence in this world we share together
I give only kindness and love to all that I meet today

Song of the Blood Lodge Excerpt from the book, Songs of Bleeding
In ancient times, the women's Bleeding Lodge was a structure set apart from the rest of the community where women would go to dream and communicate with the Ancestors when they were bleeding. Since life follows the cycles of the Earth and Moon, activities of our Ancient Ancestors also closely followed the cycles of the earth and Moon. The women all cycled together, ovulating at the full moon and bleeding at the new moon.

When women started to bleed, they left their homes and families to go to the sacred introspective space of the Bleeding Lodge. The Lodge was honored and respected by the entire community, for the dreams and visions of the bleeding women brought vital survival information such as planting and healing knowledge and guidance on community relations. When there were questions that needed to be answered, the women would go to the Lodge and ask the Ancestors. All questions were always answered by the Ancient Ancestors. The entire community benefited through the powerful gifts of the women's bleeding cycle.

Since our Ancient Grandmothers probably all bled together, many women shared the Womb Lodge at one time. Ceremonies to honor our womb cycles, celebrate the cycles of the Earth and Moon, and rites of passage were developed by these women from visions and dreams during their bleeding times in the Sacred Lodge. These traditions were passed down in the initiatory rites of the Blood Lodge from mother to daughter.

As our current culture has separated us so far from honoring the cycles of the earth and Moon, these ancient women's rites have become almost forgotten. But, as we granddaughters of these ancient women dream during our bleeding cycles, fragments of their powerful honoring and healing ceremonies fill our spirits. We know that there is a wisdom within our wombs that is our birthright.

The spirits of the Ancient Ones have returned to teach us the ways of honoring and healing the Earth. It is no coincidence that these Grandmothers are feeding our dreams at this time when the Earth is in dire need of the healing ceremonies of the Blood Lodges. We must return to the old ceremonies of honoring if we want to heal ourselves and our planet. The answers to our survival questions will come through the Blood Lodges.

During our bleeding times, our Grandmothers can help us remember ancient ceremonies, wisdom and rites of passage. We must remember to ask, and they will teach us. The Ancient Ancestors know all the answers and they will help us remember everything we need to know, just as they have helped our Ancestors.

Our Blood Lodges today are not usually a particular physical place but more an attitude of community that occurs whenever women come together in any Sacred Space to honor and celebrate our bleeding cycle. So, we make our womb-space wherever we meet...a spare room in someone's house, in the basement of a local church or YWCA, or any private outdoor place where women can be safe and uninterrupted.

The Bleeding lodge is when women come together to celebrate the ancient ceremonies of honoring our bleeding cycles, communicate with the Ancestors, share our gifts and pass the women's wisdom on to our daughters. The Lodge reminds us that we live within the cycles of the Earth and Moon. When we honor our cycles, we honor the cycles of life. When we honor our wombs, we honor the Great Mother. Remembering and recreating these ancient ceremonies will bring right relation to all Children of Earth. Perhaps, eventually, Bleeding Lodges will once again become respected women's places in our communities.

Morning Ceremony Excerpt from Chapter 4 of the book, All Our Relations
Every morning Joe and I wake up and greet the light of Grandfather Sun as the new day begins. We hurry to get dressed and run outside. Our dog Willow follows us with her tail wagging. We can't wait to say 'good morning' to All of Our Relations.

The Stone People smile under our feet as Joe and I gently walk over them on our way through the garden. We say hello to these Grandmothers and Grandfathers. We know that the stones are our oldest ancestors for they have been here since MotherEarth was formed.

I am happy this morning to see the flowers sharing their beautiful colors and fragrant smells with everyone. The bees buzz gratefully and the little butterflies dance around the blossoms, greeting this day in their own ways. I pick a small daisy and tie it into my hair before going on.

Sprouts are coming up everywhere in the garden. Row after row of little green leaves reach through the soil to greet the sunlight. Sunshine will make the sprouts shoot up quickly and soon little flowers will appear and grow into vegetables. Before long, we will be filling our baskets with the blessings of our garden, gifts to us from MotherEarth and FatherSky. Joe and I stand barefoot in the garden, feeling the soil squish between our toes. Under our feet, we can feel MotherEarth's heartbeat. We reach our hands up to the sky and we can feel the golden energy of FatherSky. We know that this is magic.

Big, fluffy clouds roll by overhead. As we watch, they change shapes. I see a dragon and a turtle in the clouds. Another cloud looks like a smiling chubby face. Joe points to a wispy cloud that looks like a bird taking off. On the hills far away, we can see little clouds of fog still clinging to the treetops.

Along the garden's edge, the spiders weave their webs in the tall grass. The many patterns of the spider's webs tell us all the stories of the Earth. The sun's light shines on tiny beads of dew that have collected overnight on the webs and they sparkle. As Joe and I watch the spiders weaving in the grass, we think about all of the things we want to do today. A fly flies by and gets caught in one of the webs. This spider has breakfast. Will we achieve everything we set out to do this day?

We know that each and every one of Our Relations are special and we share our love with them through the sparkle in our eyes. Joe and I know that today is a gift to treasure. We are grateful for our family and all of the gifts we have to share. We laugh and play and enjoy the day until the darkness of night and Grandmother Moon calls us inside to dream again.

Exercise: Dance of the Winged Ones Excerpt from Chapter 9 of the book, All Our Relations
Gather a circle of friends together or do this dance to honor the Winged Ones by yourself. Either way, it's a lot of fun! The dance is done in a clockwise direction around a circle (move to your left). You can dance in your yarn circle after the Morning Ceremony or just imagine a circle on the ground to dance around. Someone can drum or rattle while the dancers 'fly' around the circle. Think about each Winged One when you dance their dance and thank them for being here to brighten up our world.

In the first round, flap your wings and fly like Crow circling overhead. Sing the crow's song, Caw...Caw. Answer each other's caws like crows talking to each other as they fly through the Sky.

The second time around the circle, spread big turkey wings and fluff up those long feathers. Fly little short hops like Turkey who stays close to the ground. Can you also gobble like Turkey?

In the third round, you are Owl flying through the dark night. Open your eyes wide and spread your wings far. Fly silently with fluffy, soft feathers like Owl soaring through the night.

Now, you are Hummingbird. Use your hands to make tiny hummingbird wings. Move your little wings fast, faster, and faster still until they are moving so fast you can hardly see them. Dance in small circles like Hummingbird flying around the flowers. Stop sometimes to poke your long beak down into the flowers to drink the sweet nectar.

Circle around as Hawk this time. Spread your majestic wings and glide through the air, searching for a tasty treat on the ground. Look around with clear vision and see things happening far away. Can you make a long whistle like Hawk?

Now, dance around the circle as your favorite Winged One. You could fly like Robin, stopping to dig up earthworms with his beak. You could perch and coo like Dove. You could even be Eagle, the highest of flyers. If you are dancing with your friends, each person can take a turn naming a Winged One and showing the others how that bird flies. Everyone can follow, dancing around the circle to honor that Winged One. Perhaps the Winged Ones will even join in your song and dance as they pass by overhead.

The Web of Life Excerpt from the book, Grandmother Spider and the Web of Life
When the Universe was still so dark that not even shadows could be seen in the night, Grandmother Spider sat in her web in the Sky World, waiting and watching. No one knows how old Grandmother Spider is, or how long she sat waiting for the Universal Mind to awaken. But, every Creature Being who has ever lived knows her song and dance as the weaver of the Web of Life.

From her web, Grandmother Spider observed the first thoughts as the Universal Mind awakened from the dream. Seven energy beings floated out from the shining light in the center of the Universal Mind and solidified into bright, shining stars who went out to take their places in the Sky World. Grandmother Spider took a very deep breath and softly began to sing her weaving song while she danced across the Sky. As she spun her thread, Grandmother Spider envisioned the Web of Life. Within moments, she had woven her web connecting the seven stars and creating the Spirit Doorway through which all of the rest of life would enter.

The seven stars reflected the spectrum of all colors within their glow. Dancing with the colored light, shadows came into being as the darkness took form. More thoughts flowed from the Universal Mind, entered through the Doorway of the Seven Stars, and took their places in the Sky World. These became more stars, suns and planets. Then, many other thoughts entered the Universe, each one taking a specific place according to the universal dream of harmony. Each thought was a spirit essence who dreamed an individual dream for manifesting life. Grandmother Spider spun her web around each new energy being and the Universal Web of Life shimmered in the reflection of Great Mystery's light.

Singing her song and weaving the Web of Life, Grandmother Spider continued with her work. The Sky World filled with light and life as her creative process unfolded. As the stars, suns and planets prepared to give birth to their children, Grandmother Spider spun her cord even longer, so that all of the newly born could be included in the Web of Life. Grandmother Spider continues to weave the Web of Life throughout every cycle of creation.

All life everywhere in the Universe is connected by the Web of Life. We are not separate beings. We are each a part of the Great Mystery, manifesting as an individual awareness in a separate physical body, but sharing the same energy as all other life. The energy web is anchored within our center and is our connection to the Great Mystery.

Along with Grandmother Spider's web cord, we carry within our center our dream for living that includes a promise and a purpose. Before we came into the Earthwalk, we chose the gifts and talents that help us create the reality that we envisioned. We also chose the lessons and challenges that motivate our learning and growth. Our dream for living carries a specific vibration of sound and color that guides our spirit essence in it's flight from the Universal Mind, through the Sacred Cave, and into the womb of our physical mother. During our Earthwalk, we live our choices and lessons, and develop our talents and gifts, as we meet each situation and challenge of our growth. We must remember our purpose and promise and focus our life in this direction if we are to be happy and fulfilled.

Grandmother Spider weaves the Web of Life around us when our spirit essence enters its physical body inside the womb of our mother. From feet to head, our spirit essence is woven together with our physical body as Grandmother Spider sings her weaving song to us. When she completes her weaving, Grandmother Spider does not cut the cord, but leaves an energy trail with her weft thread that goes out from our center to connect with the next Creature Being that will enter the Web of Life.

The gift of Grandmother Spider is the personal energy web that we walk with throughout our entire life. This energy web allows our spirit essence to experience our senses, emotional feelings and physical pain and pleasures. This connection also allows our physical body to develop an intuitive perception of Universal Wisdom. Through the web, we can work with energy for creativity and healing. Our personal energy web maintains our connection to the Web of Life and the Great Mystery. This gift of Grandmother Spider insures that we are never alone, for through it we always share the love of All Our Relations.

Our energy web surrounds our physical body, enveloping it with a vibrating energy that is our personal rhythm. Our energy web is connected to our physical body through energy centers that are the communication channels between our physical body and spirit essence. Our mind is the link between body and spirit essence, interpreting and directing the flow of energy back and fourth. Breathing and movement enables our body to direct energy and our thoughts to affect our physical health. To live in comfort, we need to maintain a balance of body, mind and spirit within our personal energy web.

Grandmother Spider is always busy with her work, as the creation of life is happening at every moment. After connecting each Creature Being within her vibrating threads, Grandmother Spider goes on to the next, spinning out a continuous cord in her never ending dance. A Creature Being enters the Earthwalk, then a Plant Person, a Stone Person, a Water Person, a Four-Legged, a Two-Legged, and on and on. For each of these, Grandmother Spider weaves a personal energy web and extends her cord out from this Creature's center to continue on with the weaving of the Web of Life.

The Web of Life is a beautiful braid that holds the energy of all life together. Grandmother Spider's dance of spinning and weaving continues indefinitely, as new patterns within the web are being woven every moment when each new life enters the Earthwalk. At the other end of Grandmother Spider's tapestry, the web is always unraveling, as every spirit essence travels back through the doorway of the Sacred Cave to the Spirit World when life is complete.

All life shares an equal place within the Web of Life. The gifts and contributions of each and every Creature Being are very important for the survival of MotherEarth. Each Creature Being, in following through with the performance of their specific life task, affects the welfare of all the other Creature Beings in the web. Without the benefit of even one Creature's work, the Web of Life would lack the energy of wholeness necessary for the circle of life's cycles to continue on with their rhythm.

Exercise: Weaving the Web Excerpt from the book, Grandmother Spider and the Web of Life
This started out as a children's activity but is equally fun for all of us who still remain children in our heart. This exercise is done with a circle of people as an affirmation of our connection with the Web of Life and a way of bonding the relationships within a group.

You will need a big ball of yarn or string. Have everyone bring an object that represents one of his or her gifts to place on a blanket in the center of the circle. For example, the object can represent a favorite activity or skill of the person, such as a tool, paint brush or crayon. The object can also represent a favorite thing or special interest, such as a flower, teddy bear or photograph of a pet. Everyone will sit in a circle with their gift on the blanket in front of them. The eldest woman in the group will take on the leadership role of Grandmother Spider and will direct the exercise.

Begin by having everyone place their hands on their center, left hand first with right hand on top. The pads of the thumbs should be touching and pointing towards your head. The group takes five deep breaths together, inhaling slowly to let your breath circulate to every part of your body and exhaling swiftly to release any physical stress or thoughts you are ready to let go of. The five breaths will put everyone in the present and allow the energy of the group to harmonize. Direct everyone to feel their connection to the Web of Life through their center where they carry Grandmother Spider's cord.

Grandmother Spider begins by telling the story of how she weaves the Web of Life. Use the story of Grandmother Spider in this chapter and embellish it with any details that you feel inspired to add. Tell about how Grandmother Spider weaves all of MotherEarth's Children into her web as they emerge from the Sacred Cave, and finally, she weaves the Two-Leggeds into the web. Be sure when telling about all the Creature Beings connected within the Web of Life, to say a few words about the gifts they bring to share with others in the web.

When Grandmother Spider gets to the part in the story where the Two-Leggeds are connected in her web, take the ball of yarn and tie the beginning onto your belt or make a loop around your waist to symbolize the connection that we have with the Web of Life. Say your name to the group and pick up the object you have brought, stating the gift you bring to share with the rest of the Web of Life. You can also chose to share why this gift if important to you and how you use your gift to benefit All Our Relations in the Web of Life. Continue to hold your gift and pass the ball of yarn clockwise (to the left) to the next person. This is the direction that brings life into being.

Each person will take the ball of yarn and connect at their center by wrapping it around their waist. Each person says their name to the group and speaks about the gift they have to share with the Web of Life. As the ball of yarn makes its way around the circle, we feel the energy of our connection with each other. We appreciate the gifts that each has brought, recognizing that everyone has a special gift to share and that no two persons or gifts are exactly alike. We allow each person the opportunity to speak, without interruption, as we connect our web. Everyone can say whatever he or she wishes as long as they are holding the ball of yarn, and everyone has a chance to speak and be heard. When the weaving is completed, acknowledge that all of the gifts shared within the circle have created a place of wholeness.

It is easy to visualize our connection in the Web of Life when we are wrapped up with yarn. When one of us moves, our action directly affects our closest neighbors. If one person attempts to get up and walk away from the web, s/he cannot move away without taking the entire web along. This is a good time to include teachings about interacting with All Our Relations in a responsible way or a visualization of sending a thought of honoring All Our Relations out to every Creature Being in the entire Web of Life. We visualize our thoughts merging together within the web that we have created within our circle and then going out on the Web of Life to connect with All Our Relations on Earth.

When we are finished, the last person to connect the web begins to disconnect her/him self by unwrapping the yarn. When s/he hands the ball of yarn to the next person, s/he thanks them for sharing their gift and gives them a hug. The web continues unraveling, all the way back to Grandmother Spider. Each person will leave this encounter knowing their connection to the Earth family and the affects of their thoughts and actions on the rest of the Web of Life.

Spider is a teacher of Earth connection following the Taino tradition of the Caney Indian Spiritual Circle and the Wisdom Wheel teachings of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge.

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About the images on this page:
  1. Tree with Sun - Stock Photo   © Viesti Associates, Reference B8 0993-639780 HH

  2. Reawakening, Remembering, I am the Life Tree - Illustration by Tenanche Semiata-Akuaba,   © 1992

    As a visionary artist and healer, Tenanche paints native goddess images and self-portraits and uses these images in her ritual and healing work. Her work has been widely exhibited and is in private and public collections in the US, Mexico and Costa Rica. Tenanche has illustrated the ceremony masks, shields and scenes from the Women's Lodge dances in Songs Of Bleeding.

    Tenanche is the creator of Crystal Radiance Essences - rose, flower and gem essences that encourage healing through vibrational therapy - and is currently writing her first book about the essences.

  3. Mountain Sunrise - Computer-generated graphic by Peter Shefler,   © 2002 - 2008

  4. Snow Geese - Photograph by by world-renowned nature photographer and Canon "Explorer of Light" Arthur Morris, from the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park Exhibition, On a Wing and a Prayer.   © 1999 Arthur Morris

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