September 3, 2016
Healing the Caloosahatchee with the power of prayer
Holley Rauen lives on the Caloosahatchee River, but you won’t catch her swimming in that brown water.
“I care about the water,” Rauen says, “but I will not put my finger in it. It feels poisonous to me. I just want to do something positive about it.”
That’s exactly what she did Saturday, when she and a group of about 100 gathered in Centennial Park for their second water-blessing ceremony this year.
As people battle over Lake Okeechobee water releases and the future of Florida’s fragile environment, Rauen says she wanted to try something simpler and arguably more powerful: Prayer.
“I really do believe that we can help heal the waters of the world,” she says. “I really do believe in the power of prayer and sound. … It’s transformative.”
Southwest Florida has been plagued by dirty water, dead fish and toxic algae blooms related to the federal government’s controversial releasing of water from Okeechobee to control lake levels.
Rauen, vice president of the Happehatchee Center in Estero, organized Saturday's event and timed it with another water ceremony happening at the same time in Delray Beach.
The ceremony involved scooping a bucket-full of water from the river and pouring it into a blue glass jug in the middle of a prayer circle. After that, clear water from an Alva well was added as the group played music, sang and prayed in several languages. Then the water was poured back into the river to work its healing magic.
Even if the blessing doesn’t heal the waters, Rauen said she is convinced it can help make things better. Credit that to the power of positivity in the middle of the battle over Florida's water. “We need to figure out how to fix it," she said. "Prayer brings people together in the heart. And then we can talk to each other — instead of yelling at each other.”
Rauen and her group plan to perform the ceremony on the first Saturday of every month. For information, visit Facebook and search for the group page “Honoring Our Sacred Waters.”