New Moon Ceremony

More than 40 people formed a circle on the kite lawn at 7:30 Wednesday evening May 13 in a monthly New Moon ceremony.  The events are  conducted by signatories of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty. 

Penny Opal Plant, one of the signatories and owner of the Gathering Tribes store on Solano Avenue, opened the proceedings with a brief explanation of the treaty, and called on all participants to become active in defending Mother Earth.  (A detailed explanation of the treaty and its purposes is at

After opening remarks, Penny’s husband touched each participant in the circle with a brush of eagle feathers, and another celebrant distributed pinches of shredded tobacco leaves, traditionally used in indigenous ceremonies.  Another celebrant then delivered a lengthy prayer both in English and in a native language about the philosophy of the Treaty and the special importance of water to women and the earth, and related topics. 

This was followed by announcements of recent news and upcoming prayer vigils, rallies, and demonstrations for Native American rights and conservation of the environment.  A number of the participants were also active in the Idle No More movement.  

Then celebrants were invited to come to the center, where Penny had set up a bucket, and to contribute water.  More than a dozen participants brought water in bottles, jars and other containers from sources both nearby and far away. 

Then the circle drew tight around the bucket, with the younger women forming the inner circle with hands outstretched over the water, the older women around them, and the men forming the outside ring, all with a hand on the shoulder of the person in front.  A young woman said a prayer for the creation and all living beings within it. 

Celebrants then sang a soft, beautiful song in an indigenous language and followed a young woman carrying the bucket to the nearby water’s edge, where the water bearer carefully descended the rocks and poured the contents of the bucket into the Bay, just as the sun set on the western horizon.  

This was the most beautiful religious ceremony I’ve ever attended, and probably the only one where I could subscribe to just about everything that was being said.  

The New Moon ceremony has a Facebook page, here.  The ceremonies are held in the park on the eve of each new moon.  The next ceremonies will be held Thursday, July 12; Saturday, August 11; Sunday, September 9; Monday, October 8; Wednesday, November 7; and Thursday, December 6.  The meeting place is the lawn next to the parking circle at the end of Spinnaker Way.  

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