Words Before All Else

It is common to begin the day and all ceremonies by expressing gratitude to/for all with which we share life and asking assistance from other benevolent beings
The following is based on Chief Jake Swamp's booklet on the Thanksgiving Address as expressed in the Haudenosaunee tradition.
                                        Words Before All Else

1. The People: We bring our minds, hearts, bodies  and spirits together as we give greetings and thanks to each other and for each other as People.                                                                                                                                     R: And now our minds are one.

2. Earth Mother:  We are thankful to our Mother, the Earth, who gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.                                                                                                            R. Now our minds are one.

3. The Waters:  We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms—waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.                                                                                                   R. Now our minds are one.

4. The Fish and marine mammals:  We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the waters. They cleanse and purify the waters. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.                                                                                                                              R. Now our minds are one.

5. The Plants:  Now we turn to the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, flower, working wonders, sustaining many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.                                                                                                                       R. Now our minds are one.

6. The Food Plants:  With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. For longer than we remember, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living beings draw strength from them also. With one mind we send Food Plants greetings and thanks.          R. Now our minds are one.

7. The Medicine Herbs:  Now we turn to the Medicine Herbs. From the beginning, they are instructed to take away sickness and elevate human consciousness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.                                                                                                                 R. Now our minds are one.

8. The Animals: We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.                                                                                                                          R. Now our minds are one.

9. The Trees:  We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some give us shelter, shade, water. purify the air, others fruit, beauty, and other useful things. For many peoples, a Tree symbolizes peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank all Tree life.      R. Now our minds are one.

10. The Birds:  We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator has given them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. To all the Birds—from the smallest to the largest— we send our joyful greetings and thanks.                                                R. Now our minds are one.

11. The Four Winds:  We give thanks to the Four Winds. We hear their voices moving in the air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they bring us messages and give us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.                  R. Now our minds are one.

12. The Thunderers:  The Thunder Beings, with lightening and thundering voices, bring with them the waters that renew life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 R. Now our minds are one.

13. Grandfather Sun:  We now send greetings and thanks to Grandfather Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandfather, the Sun.                                                                                                                 R. Now our minds are one.

14. Grandmother Moon:  We put our minds together and give thanks to our Grandmother Moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, binds all the female cycles, and governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.                                        R. Now our minds are one.

15. The Stars:  We give thanks to the Stars who spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon light the darkness, bringing dew to the gardens and growing things, guiding our paths. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.                                                      R. Now our minds are one.

16. The Enlightened Teachers:  We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we are instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.                                 R. Now our minds are one.

17. The Creator:  Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, the Great Spirit, and to all the Luminescents. We send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on our Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.                                                                                                                                                                             R. Now our minds are one.

18. Closing Words:  We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it is not our intention to leave anything out. If something is forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.                                                                                                                                         R. And now our minds are one.