Joseph Hakim Anderson

Chanting for the waters around us

Quite a few posts from the past few months (Seattle Soul Cartography, Licton SpringsSparkles on the water, South Jetty) have been explorations of local bodies of water and what they mean to me. That is actually just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Water is close to my heart: in my watery birth chart there are five planets in water signs (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune). I identify as water, feel as water, communicate as water, grow as water, dream as water. In 2012, as I was working through the consequences of my mother's passing the previous year, I made an intuitive decision to go and visit as many Western Washington rivers as I could. I sat by the water, got my hands in the water, sang songs to the water. That was really the experience that set me on the path to seeing the natural world as my source of spiritual guidance, and shamanism in particular as my path.

I've been cooking up an idea for some time, and the moment has come to move forward with it. 

I want to spend time with by the bodies of water in Seattle.

I want to sit beside the lakes, creeks, and other bodies of water in the Seattle area, and play my drum and chant.

I want to offer blessing and healing to the water, and receive the water's healing and blessing in return.

But I don't want to do this alone.

I am looking for men and women who are willing to chant with me by the bodies of water in Seattle.

For intimacy, for focus and intention, I envision each session as having three participants: me, one other person, and the body of water we are honoring.

Here's what I'm asking of those who choose to participate:

  • We will each prepare:
    • A simple chant to share. This could be something made up or already existing (it doesn't have to have anything to do with water per se). Spontaneous creation on the spot is also fine. Intention is what counts - singing voice, experience, the song chosen - none of that is of any importance to the efficacy of this work.
    • A water blessing to share.
    • An intention for healing and blessing for ourselves or for our loved ones.
  • We will arrange to meet at an agreed-upon public location (usually a park) next to a body of water. See my preliminary list below. 
  • I will bring a drum or rattle, and I will invite my partner to bring a percussion or other instrument.
  • We will offer our chants and blessings to the water, and ask for healing and blessing from the water in return.
  • We'll spend a few minutes in silent reflection.
  • We'll share what has emerged for each of us from the experience.
  • I expect the session will last about 20 minutes or so.
  • Afterwards we can get a cup of tea and talk about the experience, or our spiritual path, or the wonderfully or terribly beautiful things happening in our lives.

This project was conceived a couple of months ago and really gathered steam on my trip to the ocean in early November. Last weekend, as an inaugural act, I met my dear friend Daoud Miller at Licton Springs; we chanted and drummed in the rain and had a fine time. More sessions will be happening soon.

What do I mean by "bodies of water"? Wikipedia says it can be any "significant accumulation of water". In my immediate neighborhood, within the city of Seattle, that means:

  • Piper Creek
  • Thornton Creek
  • Ravenna Creek
  • Haller Lake
  • Bitter Lake
  • Green Lake
  • Lake Union
  • Lake Washington
  • Licton Springs
  • Salmon Bay
  • Union Bay
  • Puget Sound

Here in our watery northwest world, to the north, south, east, and west, there are innumerable other candidates for doing such an exchange of blessings: rivers, lakes, straits and passages and of course the mighty Ocean beyond. But the modest list above is a good place to start.

I'm starting slow and small and quiet. We'll see where it goes!