Lauren’s words for URI Inti Raymi Celebration

23 July 2023
winter solstice

It is my joy to be with you for this Inti Raymi gathering.  I am joining you from California where I live on the unceded lands of the Ohlone Lisjan people and within the Baxter Creek watershed.

Let’s all imagine for a moment what the Winter Solstice was like for the early, early humans.  At some point, they began to notice that the sun was setting a little bit earlier each day.  The sun – the thing that brought warmth and light to see with.  The giant source of energy in the sky that allowed plants to grow…and now it was going away a little more each day, leaving them in longer and longer periods of darkness, and cold.  And so the rituals began.  “Please, Sun, do what you must when you leave us each day but please don’t go away forever.  We need you!  We love you!  We are so grateful for you!  Let us sing and dance and drum for you so that you understand how much we want to be in relationship with you!” 

Today, of course, we understand the brilliant design of our solar system and Earth’s spinning relationship with the sun and – if we live in the Southern or Northern hemisphere -- we are able to honor and celebrate our longest night, our longest day and the points of balance along the journey, with each equinox.

Today, in the South, we say to the Sun, “Welcome back!  We have appreciated this time for rest and renewal in the darkness and now we – along with the plants and animals – are happily awaiting your return and longer visits with you each day”

When we consciously choose to be in relationship with Earth’s rhythms, we understand our role – we know when to lead and when to follow, what to pick and what to protect, when to burn and how much, when to stay and when to migrate.  Whether our ancestors were colonizers or we were colonized, a great majority of us find it nearly impossible, in the current moment, to step outside of the dominant system of extraction and exploitation.  In the remaining wild spaces around us, we are consumers in a system that readily practices deforestation, mineral/oil/gas extraction, and giant agri-business that destroys top soil and contaminates water. 

As a person of faith, I believe that our Creator continuously invites us to be in relationship with the living web that sustains us.  As we welcome this new season of growth and renewal today, it is my prayer that humans, everywhere, will embrace the privilege we have been given, to generously give our care to all beings.  Other species do this. 

With the gifts & abilities they have been given, other species are blatant in their care for the living system:

    • Trees give out oxygen
    • Birds sow seeds
    • Fungi feed the soil

Wouldn’t it be fun to act more like them???  May we, in this new year of life:

Practice healing with indigenous people everywhere. May we, with humility, un learn our overly-industrialized practices that harm us all.

May we teach our young people that we are nature and that that is good!  May biodiversity protection be woven through all their lessons at school and in their houses of worship, too.

May we, who are grown, show up shoulder-to-shoulder with our young climate activists, in committed effort to salvage some portion of their future.

And may we speak truth, with love and humility, about the ecological collapse and societal breakdown we see happening so that we might courageously embrace the Creator’s imaginative spirit that lives in each one of us.  It is time for bold and loving action!

Hafiz, a 12th century Sufi poet wrote,

Even after all this time, the sun never says to Earth, You owe me. 

See what happens with a love like that?  It lights the entire sky!


Thank you for allowing me to be with you today.  Peace to you all.  May Peace Prevail on Earth.