In terms of homemade ceremonies, my family does not have many. I grew up in a roman catholic household so some of the “ceremonies” we performed were things such as praying before meals, going to church on Sundays, and celebrating Easter and Christmas with my extended family. This was more or less all we did in terms of ceremonies. I do not think this is wrong at all, but after visiting the RIIS and speaking about spirituality, I am able to recognize that there are other ways of knowing/other ceremonies that exist and I feel as though this allows me to better appreciate views other than my own.
My family is full of cattle ranchers and farmers and, without the land, I would not have the opportunities I have today. My family, and in the past myself, can sometimes take the land for granted and get caught up in our profits and efficiency over anything else. We need to, somehow, give back to the land that we take so much from and overall truly appreciate it, because I now realize that we have without a doubt, failed to maintain a healthy relationship. The quote from Kimmerer’s The Offering that resonated with me was when the mother said, “Leave this place better than you found it”. This is something my family can definitely employ. A way that this can be done is by making sure that we are not over grazing the land we have our cattle on, rotating the fields we use when harvesting, employing the most environmentally friendly practices we can, and really taking a moment out of our day to give thanks to the land.
A small thing that me and my dad do that feels to me as a type of offering or more so appreciation for the land is taking walks through our pastures. When the water is running and the sun is shining, every year, without fail, we will put on our rubber boots and walk through the land. As stated in the Kimmerer text, this something that I feel is “a ceremony that makes it home”. We take time from our busy days and completely soak in our surroundings. My dad has always had an appreciation for the land we use and I can see this in him when we go on these walks together. So, though he does get caught up in the western side of his job frequently, doing these small things reminds him how grateful he should be for all the land has given to us. For this reason, I think that as a family we can take more steps towards physically and mentally giving back to the land on a regular basis or maybe go on these walks more often because it really allows us to take a step back from all the numbers and increases our appreciation.
My visual seeks to represent the fact that I am nothing without the land. My body is made up the land and for this reason, I need to give back and practice offering more frequently. This representation was created at White Butte where we went on our class trip. I decided to create it here because the environment we were in was a very similar landscape to that of the land me and my dad take our walks on. The small river, the evidence of cattle, and the sun brought me back to the numerous times we gave our offerings and appreciation to the land. I really felt a connection to this area for that reason. This brought to my mind that I need to, in some way, reciprocate all that it has given to so that I do not take and take until there is nothing left. I also hope to inspire my family to practice this reciprocity as well and practice more offerings with them because this really does change a person’s perspective. I need to make sure I am doing everything I can in order to preserve, appreciate, and give back to the land through my everyday practices.