In the end of July this year Swami Atmananda from Shatan Ashram in Dumka participated in The Four Winds Association´s 20th Anniversary Jubilee Camp in Finland, Northern Europe. He was accompanied by Swamini Anuradha who is treasurer in the ashram, and is originally from Finland. Swami Atmananda was invited to Finland to perform the ”Hawan” Fire for World Peace.
THE FOUR WINDS ASSOCIATION
The Four Winds Association has been organizing gatherings and events since 1996. It was founded by like minded people who felt the need to preserve and nurture the spiritual inheritance and traditions of the world´s aboriginal people, as well as to find ways for modern people to live in harmony with nature. To accomplish these goals the association co-operates with representatives of different nations from around the world. The roots and old ways of the Finnish peoples are, of course, an important resource for the Four Winds community. Four Winds is a non-profit organization, and all the work is performed by volunteers.
THE JUBILEE CAMP
The camp took place in the beautiful natural surroundings of lake Rausjärvi in the middle of a lush Finnish forest. About one hundred people participated in the celebration. The programme was full of intriguing and heart warming experiences. A huge tent, the American native people´s teepee, was the central point of the gatherings. The camp started with a ceremony for opening the Four Directions. The Finnish shaman Johannes Setälä, Carrier of the Northern Fire, the representative of the West, the wizard Charles Lawrence from USA, and a Nenets woman from Siberia, an acknowledged film maker Anastasia Lapsui … and many more colourful people rich in traditional knowledge and ways took part in this and many more ceremonies.
Among them was Barbara James Snyder from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California in USA, and observer for United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. We had Rollanda Kongar, expert of Tuvan shamanism, and Christiana Harle, Wise Woman and a Shamanic healer and teacher now living in Finland. Three Buddhist monks visited shortly.
The center focus of all the ceremonies is in honouring our Mother Earth and all the elements of nature. From the Mother´s loving lap we look up to Father Sky and ask for his blessings and protection. The Sacred Fire is kept burning all through the days and nights with appointed Fire Keepers taking turns in watching and feeding it. People listen and tell stories, study traditional ways, drum, sing and dance. Healing, renewal, prayer, silence, meditation, poetry, playfulness and creativity happen in many ways. The elders celebrate together with all age groups and the joyous sounds of playing children can be heard all around the camp.
And, in the late evening, the most Finnish ”ritual” of them all: hot sauna with steam, and a jump to have a swim in the clean, cool lake water! The Great Spirit that created us all can be experienced in a multitude of ways.
THE HAWAN CEREMONY
It was a delight to participate in the Hawan. The fire place was built outside and, of course, in the traditional way. Swami Atmananda talked beautifully about the importance of praying for Mother Earth especially in these restless and rapidly changing times. We all have the same concern. For many it was the first time to offer food and ghee for the Fire to accompany their prayers. We had a gentle rain falling on us, but that did not matter. It cleansed us. Before the ceremony we heard about the important work that is happening in Shatan Ashram. At the dinner we have tested the special Indian food Chole Chawal made by Swami Atmananda as prashad of the rituals.
The Four Winds association will go on with it´s mission for many more years to come. Camps, workshops, concerts, drumming circles, seminars etc. And many, many more traditional and new paths will be taken hands joined, together as universal friends.
Activist in Four Winds