GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Water Comes First, a weekend event of national speakers, film, music and more - all designed for expressing gratitude for that which we cannot live without - water - will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.
Coinciding with Earth Day, the Water Comes First convergence starts Saturday morning, April 20, at the Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St., with a welcoming at 9 a.m. by organizer Deanna Jenne' of Mesa, followed by an opening "Blessing of the Waters" ceremony by Ute Elder Kenny Frost.
Keynote speaker for the day, Elliot Cowan, author of "Plant Spirit Medicine" and a shaman in the Huichol Indian tradition, will give a presentation at 9:30 a.m.
A short film by National Geographic explorer Paul Colangelo titled "Sacred Headwaters: Sacred Journey" will be shown at 10:30 a.m.
The film showing will be followed by the presentation, "Understanding the Spiritual Realm of Water and the Importance of Water for our Future," by Frost, the Ute Elder.
After lunch, Leila Bruno of Pachamama Alliance, an organization that seeks to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture, will give a presentation titled "Awakening the Dreamer."
Charles Eisenstein is the afternoon keynote speaker. Eisenstein is the author of "Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition." Eisenstein graduated from Yale University with a degree in mathematics and philosophy and is an international speaker.
Frost will close the day with a ceremony of gratitude from 5:30-6 p.m. Singer-composer Timothy Hill will perform music throughout the day.
"The door will be open all day long for people to come and go," Jenne' said.
On Sunday, both Eisenstein and Cowan will lead workshops at the KAFM Radio Room. Eisenstein will teach "sacred economics" in the morning, and Cowan will share "lessons from the natural world" in the afternoon.
To cover expenses, people are asked to give whatever they feel the symposium and workshops are worth to them, Jenne' said. A suggested amount is listed at watercomesfirst.org.
For early risers, Frost and Denne' will lead an offering of "Gratitude to the River Ceremony" at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, 641 Struthers Ave.
Concerned about encroaching oil and gas development near her home in Mesa, Jenne' said she prayed and mediated on how to approach the issue. What came to her, she said, was "water comes first."
"We have to protect our waters - it is the essence of life. We need to love. When you love something, you protect it, take care of it."
For more information or to register visit watercomesfirst.org.