The physical sites of the Sanctuaries of the Earth Mother will vary greatly in how they look, especially since they will appear in diverse ecosystems around the country – and the world. Each will also have slightly different uses based on the will of the circle of people running it. Yet each will work within the mission of SOTEM.
The first Sanctuary I see as a large property with different natural resources available on it. Places to build – and places to grow food. Places to sit quietly and learn – and places for group ceremonies. Places for people – and places for other creatures. The majority of the land will remain untouched, being kept in its natural state as much as possible.
Buildings will all be green construction and as much power as possible will be generated by eco-friendly means: wind; solar; and water. Housing units will be small and a communal building for teaching and eating would be present. Other temporary structures would appear as needed and be removed when their use was complete. Some people will live on the land and be caretakers for the land and all the people and creatures who come to it. They will also be teachers about the land and its’ uses. Other people will come, stay and teach and learn, and then go out to teach others. Still others – elders well versed in the wisdom of the elders and people educated in sustainable land use – will come periodically and share their knowledge. Children will be welcomed at all times and for as long as they wish to stay so they may learn, understand and accept the changes we need in how we live. Groups of young people will always be present, so they too can mentor other children when they leave. Service groups, such as AmeriCorps, will be welcomed in to work the land and learn, from an experiential approach, the old and new ways to work with the land and the people.
When I ran the Environmental Learning Center for Colorado State University in the 1990’s I learned many things about getting young people involved with a project like building a Sanctuary or running a center for education. I see, as most things I have done, this was more training for what Sanctuaries of the Earth Mother now faces. Many of we educators in northern Colorado banded together to create the Colorado Education Initiative. We taught each others’ students in their schools or in the community where they worked and learned. We were college instructors, like myself, K-12 teachers, alternative school teachers and service group leaders and teachers (AmericaCorps and YouthCorps). Soon students were teaching students – as well as us. A multi-leveled teaching and learning style evolved in this way – a circle of teaching and learning. This is one model I wish to reproduce in the Sanctuary we build together.
That gives some over-view of what this land might look like. I hope you can see it in your heart.
There are many, many more things to share. Look at the slide shows and videos, enjoy the pictures and read the words of the Sanctuary circle of people and become a part of the vision. All are needed – none are turned away.
Signs over the Sanctuary entrance from my vision in White Man, Red Road, Five Colors:
“All who come in a good way are welcomed here. Gather here to learn and teach and share our ways. Enter with heart open and ego left behind. No chiefs, only circles here. If this offends you, the ancestors will ask you to leave.” — The Earth Mother
Gateways to Understanding
“All creatures welcomed. Teach and learn; give and receive. Stay if you will share the ways of spirit and the Earth and practice the five colors in harmony, without ego or control.” — The Earth Mother