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  • Writer's pictureJean Linville

Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

November 22- November 26 Week 43 /72

The People

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.

I acknowledge, honor and give thanks

to those who brought me into this life of richness and beauty

to those who steward the earth and provide me with nourishment

to those who harvest wood, cotton and metals providing me with shelter

to the craftsman and laborer who create things to ease my work

Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.

I stand feet firmly planted

rain wets my cheeks mixing

with tears of gratitude

for all of creation

surrounding me and flooding

all of my senses in a wave of wonder

Now our minds are one.

The Waters

We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms- waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.

standing on the edge of the lake

I acknowledge the waters before me

some risen from underground springs

some having streamed across the landscape

some fallen from the sky

all flowing, flowing, flowing

someday slacking my thirst

someday tasting salt

someday rising back into the sky

to ride dark clouds to another shore

Now our minds are one.

The Fish

We turn our minds to the all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.

I stroke the surface of the lake with my fingers

shattering the reflections of the sky

peering down into the cool November waters

where leaves cloak the bottom of lake

vainly I search for minnows now grown

but they have moved into deeper waters

I send thanks to them on the ripples

circling out from my fingers

Now our minds are one.

The Plants

Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

most green beings are resting now

they shouldn't be wakened and so

I sing a soft lullaby as I pass where

trilliums, tiger lilies and milkweeds once stood

then bow with remembered gratitude

to the quiet garden beds whispering

thanks to dried sprigs of sage and thyme

releasing their flavor as they break

beneath my tender touch

Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

preparing a harvest meal is an act

of filling one's soul with gifts of others

hubbard squash and spinach

grains milled into stuffing flavored

with herbs grown and dried with care

cherries preserved and poured into pie

accompanied by tea leaves

coffee beans roasted

and mindful bites

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs

Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

given of harvest and seed

stems of browned leaves lay prone

Calendula, Comfrey and mints

paying homage to the soil that nourished them

Echinacea, Chamomile, Tulsi and Bergamot

storing energy beneath the ground

as cloves of garlic are tucked

hopefully in the still unfrozen ground

Now our minds are one.

The Animals

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

acrobatic squirrels on bird feeder wires

curious chipmunks taking quick side glances

mischievous voles tunneling everywhere

songs of wrens, raucous calls of jays

aquatic reconnaissance by beavers

birdbath frogs all sizing me up

giving me joy as I earn their trust

and welcome them to our shared home

Now our minds are one.

The Trees

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.

long stretches of

rain-streaked bark

unique leafless individuals

stand silhouetted against

cerulean sky blue memories of

spring buds followed by

young yellow-green leaves

then welcoming shade on a hot summer's day

an autumn of seeds dangling in bunches

all engulfing my mind with gratitude

as I take in one elongated breath

Now our minds are one.

The Birds

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-from the smallest to the largest-we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

our shore was graced

with the presence of two eagles

majestically perched

one on the tip of a willow

the other tucked in an oak

preening and calling songs

of the thermals to each other

while a tiny Carolina wren

perches not two feet from me

tipping her head side to side

flicking her jaunty little tail

up and down and then

singing a song that

dreams can be built on

Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

a strong wind is an easy reminder

but noticing the slightest of movements

stirring the air is the most powerful

can you feel the exhale of an ant

that joins with the chirp of the bird

the motion of my arm and

the splash of mallard landing

out on the lake building and building

into a gale force wind capable of fueling

fires thousands of miles from here

Now our minds are one.


Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

it is important to feel

the rolling rumble of thunder

work its way through every cell

shaking reminders

of fragility

of forces

of the dangers

of tipping the scales

Now our minds are one.

The Sun

We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

my skin knows

true happiness when bathed

in the warmth of the sun

just as the blade of grass

Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon

We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

the waxing gibous moon

grows ever so slightly

in the evening sky

making good company

for sending dreams

out on rising tides

Now our minds are one.

The Stars

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to the Stars.

I step outside seeking Orion

who brilliance transports me

deep in galactic time

the vastness of life swirling

around his belt then flying off

into blackness sprinkled

with worlds yet to be born

Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers.

soil, rock, wind, rain

earthworm, mountain, eagle, lake

sun, moon, stars, time

teachers all

Now our minds are one.

The Creator

Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

in the moment

senses attentive

life flowing in

healing sent out

Now our minds are one.

Closing Words We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way. Now our minds are one.

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