Tag Archives: Daughters

The Century of the Daughters.

I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. This is why, when researching my book Trailing Sky Six Feathers, I began my exploration of the Sedona region of Arizona with Oak Creek River – the feminine face of Water. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist thought that I was familiar with: Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. Always, I waded into the water so I could feel with my feet the pulse of the arteries of the entire area. I would lie down on larger, flat, dry rocks in midstream or perch atop rock rills and watch the water swirl around my feet, feeling a great sense of familiarity with the universal feminine through this dramatic and melodious river.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

This connection with the feminine was naturally carried into my peace activism. I have been musing about this, particularly reflecting on the annual Ottawa Friends for Peace Day – now in its 13th year. I realized 15 years ago, when I founded Friends for Peace that I was making a conscious choice to focus my energy and work on the local, my home city of Ottawa.  My focus was on mindfulness in schools, city environment, youth at risk and above all else – on the empowerment of women. I am astonished by the results – more true to say “blown away.” For at the local level there was continuity with great women who helped make things happen.  There is now a two week Peace Festival in Ottawa that precedes the Friends for Peace Day – which has become the final bookend of the Festival.  It has all grown in ever increasing concentric circles. The foundation of mindfulness and the empowerment of women through the 50 organizations we partner with have taken root in our northern city. All use some form of the Friends for Peace mandate – peace, planetary care and social justice.

Each year Friends for Peace presents Peace Awards to Canadian citizens who have devoted their lives to securing peace, planetary care and social justice.  The majority of the Peace Award recipients are women. The funds raised from the day are used to issue Peace Grants to organizations, in Ottawa and internationally, and we make a point of honouring women who run organizations that make a significant difference.  In particular we have supported youth organizations to burst on to the local scene guided by magnificent people – I refer to these friends as Kick Ass women. For instance Orkidstra is led by Tina Fedeski –www.leadingnotefoundation.org  – which she established in September 2007. It gives children from under-served communities the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and sing in a choir. They are creating a quiet social revolution in the city. The Dandelion Dance Company is the creation of Hannah Beach – www.hannahbeach.com/dandelion – this Ottawa based youth dance theatre company explores social issues through movement. Their repertoire is driven by the experiences, reflections and passion of young women who range in age from ages 13 to 19, and include children’s rights, hunger, authenticity, bullying, stereotypes and inclusiveness. Both youth organizations perform regularly at the Friends for Peace Day.

The drive is to foster a strong cadre of people in the locality of Ottawa who make a difference and women are in the forefront of this endeavour.

Dr. Ian Prattis

Ian is an award winning author, scholar, peace and environmental activist.  As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion he taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Globalisation and Consciousness.  As a meditation teacher he encourages people to find their true nature, so that humanity and the world may be renewed.  Ian is a Zen Teacher, giving talks and retreats round the world.

For Further Intel: http://ianprattis.com/Profile.html

The Water Element

Excerpt from Chapter Six of Trailing Sky Six Feathers. The setting is Sedona, AZ.

I simply marvelled at the surrounding scenery. It felt like being in nature’s cathedral, in the centre of a natural temple. The Red Rock country emanated a sense of familiarity that many people visiting for the first time feel intensely. I was no different. After settling into my simple yet comfortable cabin, on that first evening I took a flask of coffee, bread and cheese and sat at the foot of Eagle Rock, the aboriginal name for Bell Rock, not far from Quail Ridge. I carefully looked over maps of the area to acquaint myself with the region’s ambience.

http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html

I saw that Oak Creek ran through the Red Rock country like a thread drawing the canyons together. My exploration began with this Water element. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist thought that I was familiar with, Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. This is why I began my exploration of the region with Water. Oak Creek was fed by spring water from the sacred canyons and she carried their unique energies in one stream.

I began at Red Rock Crossing, fully aware that I was being guided by the feminine qualities of the region. But not aware of how deeply this river ran through me. I arrived at the crossing by taxi and asked the driver to return for me just before sunset. I stopped to look around at the awesome vista around me. This was where Oak Creek runs by the west side of Cathedral Rock, a majestic, soaring rock formation that defies imagination. I looked for the tall figures in the central towers, representing a Male and Female figure standing back to back. The myth was that they embodied the eternal values of harmony with all elements, earth and peoples. Black Elk’s prophecy of the hoops of all nations interconnecting with harmony, no less.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock’s sandstone towers cast a shimmering reflection in the waters of the creek. Water, rock, sky, wind and fire, elements bound together in a seamless continuum. That is what I felt as I walked in the shallow waters with my hiking boots strung around my shoulders. From Buddha Beach, what an apt name, on a bend of the creek, I found a trail that led to the sandstone towers. I chose not to climb them. It was enough for me to stand in awe below them, with my feet firmly planted in the waters of Oak Creek. This day was about Water, not my ego.

Ian & Carolyn at Oak Creek Cathedral Rock

I learned more about Oak Creek and its surroundings with several days of exploring Oak Creek Canyon to the north of Sedona. Always, I waded into the water so I could feel with my feet the pulse of the arteries of the entire area. I would lie down on larger, flat, dry rocks in midstream or perch atop rock rills and watch the water swirl around my feet, feeling a great sense of familiarity with this dramatic and melodious river. It was easy to explore the rim of Oak Creek Canyons, as the Schnebly Hill Formation was available by road from North Sedona, as it stretches into the highlands of the Colorado Plateau. I also took Brewer Road to the end and walked down the path leading to perhaps the most beautiful part of Oak Creek and listened deeply to the rhythm of this river.