Appointed Officials Set To Okay Illegal Coldwater Spring Project

 

Ducks at Coldwater Spring as it was...

Ducks at Coldwater Spring as it was…

Two sets of appointed officials are lined up to okay a project that explicitly violates the law. The Metropolitan Council is promoting sewer replacement construction that contravenes the Coldwater protection law by threatening the flow to this 10,000 year old spring.

UPDATE: * The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District meeting to discuss & vote on the sewer project permit  was postponed to Thursday, March 26 to allow more time for the public to comment.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is set to permit the project with assurances about “contingency plans” for unforeseen circumstances, “restoring” Coldwater Springs after “temporary” dewatering, and orders to monitor the spring daily during the 2-year construction project.

Take action. Ask that sewer construction be redesigned to the location of the current pipe without tearing up the north end of Minnehaha Park and threatening the flow to Coldwater Springs:

Adam Duininck, Chair, Metropolitan Council, 651-602-1390 or adam.duininck@metc.state.mn.us

Lars Erdahl, Administrator, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, 952-641-4505 or lerhahl@minnehahacreek.org

National Park Service, 651-293-8438 or http://www.nps.gov/miss, click on Coldwater and follow prompts

THE LAW – Section 1.  [PROTECTION OF NATURAL FLOW.]

Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs.  All projects must be reviewed under the Minnesota Historic Sites Act and the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act with regard to the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs. (passed in 2001)

 The language of the law is specific, forbidding “any action that may diminish the flow.” Not “temporary” dewatering, not permanent dewatering—no “action that may diminish.” The language of the contingency planning (below) is slippery.

Coldwater is the last major natural spring in Hennepin County, is where the soldiers who built Fort Snelling lived (1820-23) and where a civilian pioneer community gathered to service the fort. Some consider Coldwater to be the birthplace of Minnesota. The spring furnished water to Fort Snelling 1820-1920.

THE PROJECT: Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) project 1-MN-344 Tunnel Improvement:   A sanitary sewer pipe is scheduled to be replaced at the north end of Minnehaha Park. It is an underground construction, about 45 to 50 feet below the surface, with two 18-foot diameter access shafts cut through bedrock at either end, and a 44 by 60-foot subsurface vault. Groundwater “will just flow around” these subterranean buried structures after construction planners reported at Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board meeting (1/29/15).

 A replacement 1,000-foot pipe would run horizontally below Minnehaha Creek, the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line and Highway 55 to replace a 1930s-era sanitary sewer pipe. The project is scheduled to run for two years from this summer to June of 2017.

 Both groundwater and deep well dewatering is planned that is, pumping water out from above the limestone bedrock and below in the sandstone. Daily monitoring at Coldwater is called for.

Assurances by experts of “no loss of flow” from the Highway 55 reroute resulted in the permanent loss of nearly a quarter of the flow to Coldwater. MnDOT was court-ordered to monitor the spring flow for 20 months post-construction. Despite the Coldwater protection law a permanent, daily loss of flow of 27,500 gallons was reported.

Before Highway 55 reroute construction the flow to Coldwater was measured at about 130,000 gallons a day. Now the flow rate is about 84,000 gallons daily. Adding the 27,500 daily dewatering lost to Coldwater to the current flow of 84,000—there is a mystery loss of more than 18,000 gallons

Coldwater Spring

Coldwater Spring

CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR PROBLEMS 

Consultants at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District meeting admitted that the “contingency plans” are unknown, that conditions are “unforeseeable,” that an observer will be on site to come up with “reasonable solutions.” 
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Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – Interview Part 3 The Future

Part two of this interview series with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone ,  guests at Heartland Spirit Festival , this continues from the second portion of our interview. This section of the interview focuses on life in Ireland and a look into where deity work is moving Neo-Paganism in the future.

 

Janet and Gavin

Janet and Gavin

Nels (N) : What happens when Pagan culture get truly in touch with their deities?

Janet (J) : This is the manifestation in Ireland, which is truly wonderful the resurgence of many of the old faith festivals. I am one of only five legal pagans in all of Ireland allowed to legally marry people. A legal solemnizer. I am on the health board as a hospital visitor. Ireland is a tiny island, but this is a major break through. Around 1982 Stewart  and I won the first witchcraft case in Ireland and changed the law which had made witchcraft illegal. It went to the high court in Dublin, and was given compensation because when “Eight Sabbats’ (A Witches Bible) came out a journalist called it devil worshiping, porn blasphemy. We won the entire case and were taken out be all the high court judges for a champagne reception.

Gavin (G): This really explains what has been going on in Ireland at the moment. One of the effects of working the way we have is that now the deities don’t care whether you are Pagan or not. They want to come through, they want to speak, and they want the connection to develop. This happened in Ireland because as the Catholic church began to lose control from the early 2000’s the people of Ireland still wanted that connection to their spirituality.  Initially they sought it through the Catholic church, but now  we now find ourselves involved in ceremonies with the general public, particularly one at Samhain every year in County Meath at the Hill of Ward, also known as Tlachta.

J:  Tlachta is the only witch goddess in the whole of Ireland that the church fathers, the monks, tried to write out of the history. But they ultimately failed.

Hill of Tlachta

G: Brid is not technically a witchcraft goddess, although some people say she is. Tlachta is the only goddess where the word witchcraft is actually associated with her. Every year there is a procession up the hill and the witches group, along with the Druids, are the ones that lead it.  When we get to the top we tell the old story  of her, and the traditional Samhain fire is lit. The majority of the people behind are not Pagan. They are good Catholics who are probably off to church on Sunday.

J: Half way up the hill is the well of Tlachta. We have a woman cloaked doing trance work and beside her we have a Knight in full armor, so if anyone hassles her, he is there.  All the witches and Druids pass with their flaming torches and behind them come all the villagers singing, “Tlachta Lady, goddess fair, light your night on moonlit air…..” . They sing a chant to this goddess as we light our fires. These Catholics are singing to a Pagan goddess. When they have all passed the parents bring their children to the lady of the well, Tlachta herself, to prophesize for them. To put her hands on them, and bless them.

Video from Tlachta Samhain Ritual

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Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – Interview Part 2 Deity and Trance

Part two of this interview series with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone ,  guests at Heartland Spirit Festival , this continues from the first portion of our interview. This section of the interview focuses on the current practice of  Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, what they have experienced with deity work and integrated.

Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

Nels (N) :Is it easier to speak to the deities now?

Gavin (G) : Something interesting is going on, as Pagans we have been waking the gods since the 1950’s. Voudon and the Caribbean traditions has a few hundred years on us! When you go to a Voudon Bembe, with its ecstatic drumming and dancing,  they come through really strong, riding (possessing) the participants. We are now reaching the point where this beginning to happen now in modern neo-paganism, even though it has only been fifty years.  This is because we have been waking the gods up. We have noticed something interesting as we have done the work. We are forming a Neo-Pagan pantheon. We only have a finite amount of energy to give the gods as spirits as they wake up.  You see the same gods and goddess coming up all the time in our community. Hecate, Brid, Isis, Morrigan, Freja, Odin, Diana etc.  Because there is only this finite amount of energy for them, they are congregating and forming a  new pantheon.  All awakened gods from different cultures forming a pantheon, and redefining roles.

Hecate Photo: wikimedia

Over the years as we done trance possession we have kept having Hecate appearing, even though neither of us have felt inclined to work with her,  but now it seems we haven’t got much choice! As we did the trance prophesy she started coming through at almost every event and  public workshop. We had strange occurrences.  On one occasion we started  conversation wither her in Connecticut through a priestess in trance, and she finished with us, unprompted with a priestess in California.  Now it has reached a point where when she comes through somebody, I will know if it is Hecate, because she will burst into fits of laughter when she knows it is me!

Janet (J) :  The last time it happened in America she turned around and said to Gavin, “Oh God, it’s not you again”.

G:  She has been developing and evolving and  has taken on the role of teaching trance with in this new ‘pantheon’.

J:  She is taking on the role of a psychopomp for trance, quite fascinating.

G:  This does  mimic what happens in voudon. She is taking the same role as Elegba/Ellegua.  You also have other deities fulfilling other roles as well. That is what is starting to occur, as simple as that. You see it where Brid is taking over the healing role. Brid is forming into three Brid’s, the triple goddess Brid consisting of the original Celtic Brid, Saint Bridget, and Maman Bridget from Voudon. Every priestess we know who works with Brid has found that is what is occurring. Suddenly they get this dark aspect of Brid, this dark earth goddess, the Maman Bridget from Haiti. It is getting drawn to them to balance the other two aspects.

J:  There is the Brid of fire, who says right, you are going to be my priestess but I am going to put you through hell, put you on my anvil and beat the shit out of you! She is an initiatory type of goddess.

G:  The Morrigan is a protective type of goddess, the Macha.  We are also seeing that Freya, who is taking on a different type of role. She is a goddess of journeying.  Which is how this all started for us, by working Freya.

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Coldwater Spring – The New History

Coldwater Spring is being replanted tomorrow (see Paganistan Weekly below), and how can restoration not be a great thing?  How this sacred place has gotten to its current condition, a bulldozed and denuded site, ready for the National Park Service (NPS), to “restore” is a very long story.  Susu Jeffrey tells it better than most anyone, and her recent article in the  “Southside Pride” community newspaper gives you an update (reprinted in full at bottom). There remains an ongoing struggle to have this site declared, as the Minnesota Historical Society supports, a Dakota traditional sacred site,  a “Traditional Cultural Property (TCP)”.
About Saturday’s NPS restoration event. Susu adds:

The National Park Service told the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community that they could not hold a pipe ceremony on opening day at Coldwater Park, Saturday, September 1, 2012. The community held a pipe ceremony anyway while the National Park Service brought in an armed man in a bullet proof vest. People considered this disrespectful at a sacred site. The park service refuses to honor the Traditional Cultural Property/sacred designation at Coldwater.The National Park Service clearcut most of Coldwater and now wants volunteers to plant toothpick trees where NPS wants new trees. NPS has solicited donations for new trees: $1,000 for a dozen; $100 for one tree. It’s an extremely dry year for new trees.  Survival is iffy.

Other Coldwater Spring events:

Offerings for the Sacred Spring on the Harvest Full Moon, Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gather at the entrance to Coldwater Springs, 7 PM – This is a crafty, child friendly gathering.

Native elders have asked people to leave offerings  “for the ancestors” at Coldwater. We will make natural offerings from the beautiful “weeds” around the front gates. The federally recognized Lower Sioux Indian Community Council declared Coldwater a Traditional Cultural Property and “sacred” in 2006. Unfortunately the National Park Service refuses to acknowledge Coldwater Springs as a sacred site for Native Americans and others.

Traditional group howl!  Full Moon celebrations at Coldwater have been observed every month since 2000.

Sunset 6:56 PM (55-minutes earlier than last full moon) Moonrise 6:27 PM (1-hour, 6-minutes earlier)

Solstice 2003 at Coldwater Spring

DIRECTIONS: Coldwater Springs is between Minnehaha Park & Fort Snelling, in Minneapolis, just North of the Hwy 55/62 interchange. From Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right, & drive South on the frontage road for ½-mile past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and into Coldwater to park free.

This gathering is free and open to all. Note: This is not a “special event” since the National Park Service is not issuing any special use permits for Coldwater Springs until late spring of 2013. Info: http://www.friendsofcoldwater.org

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Kirtan from the Heart – Gift to Sacred Harvest Festival

A Kirtan in Sanskrit means  “praise, eulogy” . It originates in India and has spoken only forms and the more “liberal” Eastern Indian sung forms.  It is a call response form of expression of devotion, and is at its essence a ritual to the Gods.  It is from a world of 100’s of millions of Hindus and some forms of Buddhism, who celebrate their spirituality through the Kirtan. Alliances between these forms of spiritual Pagan expression are flourishing on the West Coast of the USA. Polytheists find more similarities in their worship than the vast cultural differences between Eastern practice and Western Pagans. Relatively new to Midwest Pagans, but becoming increasingly popular in “New Age” and Yoga based communities, the Kirtan movement is growing. Neo-Pagan connections to call and response, and voice based devotional ritual seems a logical extension in the range of Pagan practice.

Sacred Harvest Festival guest, Yeshe Rabbit, brought this workshop as a taste of this form of expression. The workshop guided participants through, “… a magical progression to align body, mind, and spirit.”  I was drawn in and enthralled by the magic of this workshop.  The power of Rabbit’s voice was inspiring to festivants as the sound drifted through the village. The workshop participants were ecstatic afterwards, and bliss enveloped the village for the week. Jai Maa!  *

Gift yourself seven minutes, close your eyes and join in the song as you hear the culmination of what was  over a 90 minute ritual Kirtan.

Listen to Kali Mata – Kirtan From The Heart

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Jai Maa : This is a call to the Divine Mother, ‘Maa,’ a singing of Her glory. Literally, ‘jai’ means ‘victory,’ although we often translate it as ‘hallelujah’ or ‘praises.’ Speaking ‘Jai Maa’ in puja (worship ceremony) is an affirmation of the Divine Mother’s blessings, a chant of gratitude for all Her gifts and the challenges She provides that help us grow spiritually.

Nels Linde