Healing the Sacred Circle in a Land called Ocotillo

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Ocotillo stands at the crossroads of history.

Twenty-five miles west of El Centro in Imperial Valley Ca. this rural landscape has little to offer urbanites other than a portal to step back in time when ageless aboriginal cultures lived at one with nature. Ceremonies lasting four to five days with songs timed to the movement of the sun and stars managed all life passages. Indeed, so fiercely loyal were the inhabitants to nature and the earth that would be conquerors were astounded. In 1779, Spanish Lt. Colonel Fages summed up the Kumeyaay attitudes as follows, “This tribe, which among those discovered is the most numerous, is also the most restless, stubborn, haughty, warlike, and hostile toward us, absolutely opposed to all rational subjection and full of the spirit of independence.”

The Kumeyaay connection to the earth is strong and passed down through customs for generations. In spite of efforts to exterminate a way of life, unwritten stories of the past are kept alive on the wings of Bird Singers whose Bird Songs reach back to the unifying ancestral element of the culture.

Southern California Indians’ modern struggles for survival and historical cultural identity have taken a toll on tribes. The oldest known Kumeyaay ancestors have been traced back into prehistoric San Diego lands to 10,000 B.C. The Diegueno and Kumeyaay Indian peoples have lived in Southern California and northwest Mexico for at least 12,000 years.

To a people whose mother tongue is tied to the earth, the desert is the cathedral where ceremonies and rituals that manage all of life are held. Ancestral burial grounds are scattered throughout. Ocotillo is sacred ground zero for spiritual renewal for the people. As a worldwide assault on ancestral indigenous land by corporations controlled and motivated by profit have started to encroach on San Diego’s rural backcountry, ancient burial grounds in the area are being desecrated and a way of life is being threatened.

Ocotillo calls for the tribes to come together

At a recent gathering concern was expressed about the desecration of burial ground in the area, as well as other spiritual abuses to the earth by those to whom nothing seems sacred.

The people came together in a positive and hopeful spirit of healing, with the fire, dancing and singing, mother earth embraced the evening.

As dawn broke the sparkle of two bright images shown in the sky. It was a celestial message letting us know that Jupiter and Venus had been shining down on Ocotillo as the Kumeyaay leadership spoke to the Indigenous World with the breath of the Great Spirit.