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Ceremony. Dreaming. Midwifing the Emergent System


Raising the Vibrations - Kitty


I really enjoyed being in London leading a Despacho offering of gratitude to the Thames as a part of a co-created ceremony called Water is Life, part of The Bigger Picture for XR and was very grateful that we were also supported by Sacred Earth Activism. While I brought the ancient ritual of Despacho, others brought songs, words, beautiful calling


Annie Spencer, elder, calling the other than humans


The whole of The Big One in April 2023, a mass movement of movements, incorporated many events, speakers, music, from many environmental groups and faith groups. Amongst this smorgasbord of offerings were the two Water is Life ceremonies and Aviation March and Biodiversity March upon which we carried the Despacho.


Bio-diversity March - Sol carrying the Despacho


Involvement with this mass action felt like a dream come true: of different groups coming together in gratitude to mother earth. The gathering of different movements with a common goal and listening to each other felt like a glimpse of what's possible.


The Despacho, which was aesthetically beautiful and was carrying many prayers, received a lot of smiles from onlookers. Several random people thanked us for our singing as well as the beauty of the Despacho. One woman thanked us for providing ceremony. She said that she had been to The Big One opening ceremony where there were interesting speakers and music but that she had been disappointed that there was no actual ceremony in her terms.


Connecting and placing prayers in beauty - Ali


When we were at TBO I really felt that by any other name the Water is Life ceremony was an action as well as a ritual. My experience of gratitude to nature is that it is a key to repairing our relationship with our biome and as such is an integral part of system change and as far as I can tell is fundamental to how we dream regeneration of our culture.


In the run-up to the King's coronation, the idea was generated in the mainstream media that in general modern-day Brits don't like ritual and are wary of ceremony. And this perception sometimes plays out in the environmental movement too. My lived experience of being at TBO is that this idea is misplaced. TBO was billed as a 'movement of movements': a wonderful coming together of many groups who are concerned about climate change and some of these groups are faith-based, many are not faith-based, but there was mutual respect, tolerance, and a will to listen deeply to each other, to what is needed. The mass 'die-in' at the end of the bio-diversity march was a very powerful moment which everyone on the march participated in. As such this was an example of a simple ritual during which everyone was silent in reverence to nature and what is being lost.


Despacho, birds, juxtaposed with police - myself, Jen and Todd


As we try to navigate our way forward with the spectre of climate change and social collapse, we are journeying into the unknown, we are being called to look at how we are in the world, how to live in harmony with life on earth. And for guidance the obvious groups to look towards and listen to are indigenous cultures. Indigenous peoples already know how to live in harmony with life on earth because they have never forgotten, as we have. Ceremony, ritual, above all gratitude, are inter-woven in daily life in these cultures.


Beautiful souls coming together in service to life - in the background: preparations for the King's coronation - juxtaposition of realities!

I very much appreciate working with XR in a ceremonial capacity (I co-led ceremony on Waterloo Bridge in April 2019, I created a Despacho for the Shell 7 at Southwark Crown Court, I created many ceremonies for Polly Higgins). My sense is that ceremony, held in an inclusive and open way, draws people and brings out a deeper connection. These events encourage connection with nature as well as with each other.



Wherever this type of offering (ceremony) is placed it is central to system change. This type of engagement (ceremony) plays its part alongside Ecocide law, political change, green politics, peaceful disruption, Citizens Assemblies, renewable resources and sustainable futures. There are many ways of doing ceremony as you know. Despacho is a visual, living prayer and so it speaks to people in an embodied and inclusive way, and makes space for deep listening to other than human voices.


the next generation offering the Despacho to Thames, Water is Life

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