Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hope and the strawberry fast

Some pretty excited people today with the naming of the new Cabinet that includes lots of women, some indigenous Ministers and a name change for Aboriginal Affairs to Indigenous Affairs.  Lots of hopeful words around the Kumik circle.

Strawberry Heart Painting by Irina Sztukowski - Strawberry Heart Fine Art Prints and Posters for Sale:

I have been speaking with Sophie over the past month as I would like her to do the strawberry fast where "pubescent girls are expected to abstain from berries or berry products for one year, during which time they meet periodically with older women ("aunties" and "grannies") who instruct them about basic life skills they will need as adults..." description from "A Recognition of Being" by Kim Anderson.  I received a similar teaching from another Elder I met which who suggested that I consider doing this with Sophie.

Sophie has been thinking about it, and she is worried about giving up strawberries, but she has agreed to give up blueberries.  I am planning to give her the related teachings with her next moon time.  The Anderson book is a great reference and I appreciate that she lays out the linkages between these times of ceremony and the understanding of the sacredness and power of womanhood.  Anderson speaks to the fast as a symbol for the need to take care of what goes into our bodies because it they are sacred places and they need to be thoughtful of what goes in regardless if it is food, the people you spend your energy on or who you choose to have sex with.  It is also a teaching of self-discipline and in some versions there is an initial ceremony where "the girls are repeatedly offered berries which they much refuse" where part of the ceremony is about learning to say "no" and to make choices.  This is, she says, part of reclaiming sex as understood in the western mind and bringing it back to part of the sacred and the sacredness of the female body.  Have any of you done the berry fast?

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