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Hags, Hippos and Haws

The Hag is in the Hawthorn. I see her here, emerging from her summer slumber, decorating herself with ruby wonders as if for one last dance before the cold sets in. She holds the way all up the valley by the tumbling stream. Her herbal magic - if we know how to accept it - can support our hearts, circulating our blood by keeping artery-ways clear and flowing. Even just to marvel at her gown of berries is to immerse one's self in the beauty of the flowing medicine of this earth.

This valley of hawthorn is full of flowing earth-medicine as Water's story of circulation and flow is also here for the telling. This late summer trickle of a tumbling stream rises from deep within the ground of these hills above me. This tumbling stream, on ground once covered with glacial ice, has been water in so many guises. Water veiled as sheets of rain, snow, hail, of gossamer clouds, a geyser's steam, of mountain mist, spray of whales' breath, lap of oceans' waves, of sweat across the back, blood within and tears without of animals magnificent and small and all of humanity. We're all basically in, and of this swishing stream together. Each a decisive droplet making up the whole puddle.

Water here is Water there, wherever we find ourselves on this blue-green planet. The ancient ones of Water know this. Hippopotamus the 'river horse', or as the Yoruba people of Western Africa call them 'erinmi', 'elephant of the water', are distantly related to Whales. Go back a few million years and they are one and the same. Whale and Hippo have the same ancient mother. We know in our bones how ancient Elephant and Whale are, so it is no surprise how very 'Ancient Mother' Hippo is as they wallow and birth in the river.

The Ancient Egyptians had a half-hippo goddess, Tawaret, who was a protector of childbirth. They knew a lot, those Ancient Egyptians. But not enough it seems as Hippo is extinct there now. There is something we are not getting, not hearing, not understanding deeply enough about Water. I know, there's been research, Emoto and all manner of well dressings and blessings...and yet we still, as a species, continue to mess up Water.

I heard tell of a river source in South Africa at risk for the sake of a citrus farm. It is happening now. What is left of the wildlife of the bushveld, including the river-birthing hippo, could face a 'death in days' scenario once pesticides run in these waters. Its going to be hard for those of us thousands of miles away to justify a juicy bit of fruit for breakfast knowing the hippos died for this little delight. Especially when we could steward our own lands better than we do to grow our food.

I look up at the nearest ancient Hawthorn in this British valley and wonder at the patience of the Old Hag. Her response: Protect the Waters; Intend Life for All.

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Unknown member
Sep 01, 2021

Thank you Sue for reminding us how precious water is.... and as women (who might do most of the house cleaning) it behoves us to respect what goes down the plug-hole... for many of us are too "clean" and willing to slosh bleach and anti-bacterial products around. I live with a septic tank so have to use only biodegradables - but let's all think about what chemicals we are pouring back into the cycle. The hippos will appreciate it!

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