Circulo de Mujeres: Essay/Photographs: Calling All Beings of Fearless Compassion

Photograph by Mexican photographer Ana Elena, Monterrey, Mexico, November 28, 2012
Photograph by Mexican photographer Ana Elena, Monterrey, Mexico,
November 28, 2012

Calling All Beings of Fearless Compassion

Copyright © 2012 by Alice Walker

On December 2, 2012, my mother, Minnie Tallulah Grant Walker, who was born in 1912, would have been 100 years old.  To celebrate her birth, and that of friends and relatives born (under the sign of Sagittarius) on the same day, two sister/friends (Monica Belaunde Montero of Peru, and Yolanda Aguilar Padilla of Mexico) and myself of North America, held an Indigenous and Women of Color circle at Casa Madre, my meditation and writing retreat in central Mexico.  It was attended by women from Mexico, Iraq, South, Central and North America.  Below are  a few photographs of the two day event. Our time together was spent in many kinds of prayer: in dancing, in eating well, in drawing and painting pictures, in covering each other with mud; in laughter.  It was filled with painting rocks; with speaking, blindfolded, of our ever evolving sense of “the divine” while walking beside a listening  friend; and  with bathing away all sorrows and regrets in Mother Ocean.  In closing, we sang of the end of tears.

We were guided by women shamans in the Mayan and Quechua traditions.  The keeper of the sacred fire was a young man of the Aztec people.  The provider of space for our seaside devotions was a gracious and beautiful young man of Mexico who cares for land entrusted to him by his grandmother.  It is appropriately named: Playa Paraiso. 

My Mexican son, Manuel Vejar Castañeda, took dozens of wonderful photographs; these few are of the preparations, the entering into sacred space, the cleansing of each participant by smudging with incense.

May each of us cleanse and purify our hearts, minds, and spirits, in this season of inner turning,  in order to take the best care possible of Mother Earth.  May the lessons of violence, expressed most profoundly in war, become crystal clear to all: Unless all children everywhere are free of the fear of being killed simply because they exist, no child anywhere is safe from unanticipated harm.  The murder of children, whether as “collateral damage” or otherwise, will always be a universal boomerang.  Where does one hide one’s own children, having obliterated children miles away?

Children look to adults and elders for protection:  if this protection is lacking, or when it is destroyed anywhere on the planet, the most “oblivious” young child somehow knows all about it. Indeed, there is nowhere to hide in the glass house of the planet.   May gathering together to deepen our compassion for those who are killed and maimed and those who maim and kill lead us to a necessary strengthening of  our resolve to end war and terror anywhere we encounter them.  May we listen carefully to those  whose words do not match their deeds, and reject whatever is an affront to truth, and therefore to peace.

Our circle of mature women did not discuss the above awareness in words.  We did not need to.  That we are all now praying directly to The Great Mother, or Great Being of Whatever Name that generates the highest All, is clear to us.  In our humility before this profound mystery, we hope only, for the sake of frightened beings everywhere, but especially for the children of the world who must think all adults are insane, to be heard.  Not by those in so-called “power” because they are powerless, ultimately,  to lead us out of the tragedy of violence, waste, mismanagement and failure in which our world has fallen, but by the Great Force of Life itself, whose hallmark is Surprise, which is our strength.


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