Mother Water

Mama Donna Henes, USA

Internationally renowned urban shaman, eco-ceremonialist, ritual expert, spiritual counselor, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. www.donnahenes.net

(Submitted by the author)

When people think of the earth and of the terrestrial environment, they invariably associate it with the color green. But, as that famous photo of Planet Earth taken from space shows, this is a blue planet.

Earth is the only planet known to have water. It is, in fact, covered with water over nearly three-quarters of its surface. Oceans and rivers, ponds and streams, lakes and falls, glaciers and seas run like veins through a living body, carrying refreshment and nutrients to all its parts.

Water is widely seen as the bearer and preserver of life, coursing through all of nature as river, as rain, as dew, as sap, as blood, as sweat, as tears, as milk. Because water is such an essential element, it has come to stand for the origin of all life - cycles, seasons, species - and its sacred renewal. The Hindu Vedas refer to water as the Most Maternal, the original sea at the beginning of time from which the whole world emerged.

We, being the children of this earth who is our mother, mimic its make-up in our own bodies, which are also comprised of close to three-quarters water. Before we are born, we are cradled in the belly of our creator for the better part of three-quarters of a year, suspended safely in an ocean-sac of fluid. Tethered like embryonic astronauts, tied to the source of our sustenance, each in our own saline universe. We even had gills like any other acquatic creatures.

Once we are born, and for as long as we shall live, we need to consume quantities of fresh water daily in order to maintain the smooth functioning of our systems. Deprived of adequate water, we quickly become dehydrated - a state in which we can survive for only a very few days. Without water, we die. We depend on it directly, drinking it for life. As do all other beings. Hence, our indirect dependence on the presence of water for the health, well being and abundance of the animals and plants, which we eat and wear - without which we could not live.

Despite the fact that our planet is awash in water, usable water is not necessarily readily available. A staggering 97% of Earth's water is in the seas and marshes - way too salty to be potable. Or it is frozen solid, locked in ice, perpetual permafrost. Fresh surface and ground water, replaceable only by rain, represents a tiny fraction, 2.5% of the world's total water supply! It was not much of an exaggeration for Coleridge to write: "Water, water, everywhere. And not a drop to drink."

If all the world's water were to fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon. And that miniscule supply gets dirtier and more polluted every day. More than 2 billion people have no access to clean drinking water.

It is time for the family of Humanity to care for our ailing Mother Water.

Image credit: 'Earth, Water, Air' by Linda Brunker. http://www.iol.ie/~brunker/artist_new.htm

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