After years of depletion and non-Indigenous farming practices, the land that we first stepped onto was in great need of the vitality that our traditional practices bring to the Earth herself. These traditional practices not only involve the many ceremonial offerings given throughout the cycle of the year over many years, but they also include a transformation of the landscape. What was once a tired hayfield, is now becoming a biologically diverse healing space.The photo above and below shows the batey during the early days. The single maple tree in the foreground as well as the large boulder next to it and a number of the stones around the circumference of the batey were all brought from our prior ceremonial grounds. Many of these stones already had petroglyphs on them.
As Tainos, as Paleros, we are always seeking spaces where sacred ceremony can take place and healing can occur. We look for where the Nsimbi call out from, where the spiritual energy is palpable, where trees embody the expressions of the Nsimbi, Cemis, and Muertos. While it is good to seek out healing from the Nsimbis, from Mother Earth, from the ancestors, it is also vital, especially at this point in time, that we also extend our hand in healing these spaces.
When creating a ceremonial space, we do not always start with a pristine space. Very often we begin in a space that has been abused, has been depleted, or literally used as a dump. Our previous ceremonial space first began to be created by removing tons and tons of trash. This ceremonial space began as a tired hay field.
The photo above shows the same batey today. The large tree to the right next to the stone is the same ceremonial tree pictured in the first photo. The batey itself is now surrounded with trees who are growing at a tremendous rate. Trees are powerful healers of Mother Earth as they renew the soil, embrace a wide variety of life, and empower the water cycle through their shade. Many of these trees were planted by us, others simply sprung up in the soil around the batey, to which we had added compost.
Many of the Nfindas in which Paleros play are becoming overburdened with spiritual debris. As those who are seeking healing from healing spaces, it is a powerful step forward to also create those healing spaces by renewing the fertility and abundance of Mother Earth. As long as Mother Earth is being poisoned and abused, healing and health will be the exception rather than the norm that it should be.