Earth, My Body

A gathering song affirming the elements that make us up.

The chorus is passed in the folk tradition, author unknown. Verses one and two are by Sarah Pirtle, © 2003 Discovery Center Music, BMI. Verse three co-authored with Ellasarah Wolfzahn-Deters, © 2011. Ellasarah adds vocals on this song. She suggested that we create a third verse together, and we chose seasons as the theme.

Lyrics

Traditional:  

Earth, my body.

Water, my blood.

Air, my breath

And Fire, my Spirit.

 

New verses:

1. I am the Earth walking.

I am the Water talking.

I am the Air dreaming.

I am the Fire streaming

Into hands and heart

This is how we start round again.

 

2. I am a Heart walking.

I am a Heart talking.

I am a Heart dreaming.

I am a Heart believing

There’s a world out there

That really cares for the whole.

 

3. I am the summer walking.

I am the autumn talking.

I am the winter dreaming.

I am the springtime greening

Into hands and heart

This is how we start round again.

The Story Behind the Song

The work of Miriam MacGillis, Thomas Berry, and Brian Swimme on the Universe Story brings us into implications of deep ecology.  I wanted to emphasize that we are part of the earth and not just on the earth. I went into a forest by a river, and while dancing with the greenery of the trees and the blue of the water to find the meaning of this, I let words form that would extend the traditional song.

This can be a starting song to summon people together. It’s a gathering signal at Journey Camp to say that our community circle is starting. It works well to sing it standing and do the hand motions described here.

Hand Motions:

Earth, my body. Tap legs, then cross hands and tap shoulders.
Water, my blood. Make wave-like arm motions.
Air, my breath.  With your hands show you’re sending air from your mouth.
And Fire, my spirit.  Clap on the word, “fire.”
   
I am the Earth walking. Tap legs in rhythm.
I am the Water talking. Make waves, then with one finger wiggle lips humorously.
I am the air dreaming.   Pointing index fingers brush and move upward.
I am the fire streaming  Clap on the word “streaming.”
Into hands and heart Gather two hands and circle the described sphere.

This is how we start round again.

Use the same motions for the second and third verses.
Specify where the clap comes in each segment.
Clap in these places --

In the chorus:  and FIRE my Spirit.
In verse one: I am the fire STREAMING.
In verse two:  I am a heart BELIEVING.
In verse three: I am the springtime GREENING.

The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for star is used above as the hand motion for “the air dreaming.”  Lottie Riekehof in her book, The Joy of Signing, explains how this sign is made in ASL:

“Move the right index up along the side of the left index, alternating hands, and repeat several times. Origin:  Index fingers striking each other like a flint to represent both the light and the twinkling.” (The Joy of Signing, p. 219).

Drawing: Create a circle and with an X divide it into four parts. Draw an element in each section with air in the east, fire in the south, water in the west, and earth in the north quadrant.

Discussion:
What does it mean that you are water talking?
We are over 70% water -- how can the water inside us help us make changes? 
What does it mean that you are a heart walking?
What parts of you relate to each season? How are you like each season?

Related concept: The Canopy of Respect
Imagine that we are extending a tent canopy over this group to say that here is a place where we care about each other.

Dance for Verse Two:

I am a Heart walking. Join hands and walk in a circle six steps to the left, then turn.
I am a Heart talking. Now turn and walk six steps to the left, then face center.
I am a Heart dreaming. Walk six steps in and clap twice.
I am a Heart believing. Raise your hands up together,
   
There’s a world out there  and as you bring them down, imagine that you are
That really cares for the whole. extending the canopy of respect over the whole group.