Text: Nazaré Soares / Edit: Frances Sosta

Photo: Sylvia Jonshon, Water, Plant Medicine & Mycology in the Arts, Kirsten Museum. Mars 2022

Six months ago under a  new moon in Capricorn, we placed an intention for the birth of the project ‘Water, Plant Medicine & Mycology in the Arts’. The vision, a humble offering from the land of Monchique, in the Algarve, arrived while I was immersed in deep water, fasting.  Trusting the knowledge of the body and surrendering to experience extreme natural forces, opened the access to a clear covenant with the 7 directions, the Elementals and the land allies. The spirit has a clear message for my heart. In this context, the project was born.

Just a week after my vision, Lise Hovessen, founder of Project RÅ RO at Kirsten Kjaers Museum in Denmark invited us to visit her and begin a dialogue about the water gathering project. It feels like it was destined to happen in that land; the first water gathering took place shortly after in North Jutland, Denmark on the occasion of the following spring equinox. For the first time, we gathered locals, artists, sauna masters, grandmothers, peace activists and mycology wizards to join in communion with water and the land. Under the full moon, we welcomed the coming spring and the new astrological year while honouring water and receiving her magic and healing.

At the beginning of any project, it is often the case that we encounter various challenges. But despite having received limited funds, the gathering occurred in March 2022 celebrating the spring equinox and World Water Day. 

It was blissful. On this occasion, we learned that just like water we needed to adapt and move with flow and ease through the limitations. Letting sink deep into us a sense of trust and surrender towards our project, allowing the program to find its own rhythm and pace. 

These were magical days at Kirsten Kjærs Museum. ‘Water, plant Medicine and Mycology in Nordic Arts’ came from water prayers to blossom in many different localities. Just like seeds we’re watering and nourishing the desire to keep learning from water spirit and more-than-human bodies and to keep gathering internationally. Amongst all the special contributions I would like to mention the following key moments

On the first day, Sylvia Jonshon and Lena Maria Jacobsson took us for a walk through nature and a guided introduction to the land. Along the walk we sang together the IN of Gratitude to Nature (印, pronounced ‘een’), we prayed and blessed nature and the elements, especially honouring water and the ocean through our voices. Similar to the Sanskrit mudra, IN is a precise combination of hand and arm movements, deep, peaceful breathing, and accompanying vocal sounds that attune us to the laws of nature & harmony. We also sang ‘May peace prevail on Earth, a prayer’ that was introduced to Japan and the world in 1955 by Masahisa Goi. Today, this universal message is still the cornerstone of Byakko Shinko Kai’s work for inner peace and world peace. 

The space was opened through IN prayer and medicine songs.  Afterwards, we walked around and learned about local animals, plants, water bodies and other sentient spirit beings of the land. 

On the second day Mia Maria Børresen Hanmer, a Danish medicine woman, facilitated a sauna/sweat lodge; in there, fire and water work in union: steam releases emotions triggered by cellular touch, temperature and energy; embodiment, events occur somatically, through the skin, inner body liquids, fascia and fluids, It moved us deeply inside. 

In the evening artist Marita Isobel Solberg, a member of Invisibledrum since 2020, performed ‘In my Water Dreams’, a gesture of embodiment with wool as a magick thread that allows weaving to become a form of life in itself, a creation of watery gestation. It was planned a performance in 4 parts but at the end made it into one. Marita brought stones, wool, herbs and her body as elements mixed with the water. She held a space where the body could accord with the material through a dialogue that allowed the spirit of the project to express itself, to weave itself just for a moment through all of us. We received the magic yarn that connects wool, human and water.

On World Water day it was a great honour to take part in the powerful water ceremony and ritual by grandmother Jane Folsted supported by Mia Maria Børresen. Joining memory through water and offering it back to the marine source of all life we were in gratitude and communion of all waters.  By the sea we continued the circle chanting and dipping our bodies into the sea, celebrating the union of waters. Jane is a medicine woman that has lived 68 years and has walked the shamanistic path for the past 35 years

As a closing ceremony, Luna de Agua Song, a libation ritual, was held by myself. A geomantic invocation of the celestial wheel through the fire, water and stones. Dowsing songlines and inviting the public to take part in the ceremony. By aligning body, intention and spirit we searched for deep elemental synchronicity and cosmic healing through water swirling.

We had a wonderful program and contributors. We learned from Dieko Offord about Birch mycology and its waters, diving into the wonders of Chaga tea. We connected deeply with our fascia and body through Viola La Spina‘s yin yoga guidance and tea ceremony. We were enchanted by the magical voices of Tatiana and Marita. We received the magick of water and fire, connecting generations at the Blue Lagoon at the equinox sunset. We were inspired by the beautiful film works from water to water and for water by Christine Linnea & Lèa Molinier, Eva Bakkeslett, Sophie Louise Pedersen, János Gábor, Cris Marcondes and Inês Sambas.

We felt honoured to receive the wisdom of water and messages from Mother Earth through elders around the world thanks to Tribute Earth’s Manavai films. MANAVAI is a World Water Gathering – a self-organizing movement of culture, wisdom and science united by water.

We are in deep gratitude to all contributors and supporters that helped to make it happen, to the plant world and to the water spirit. Learning how to listen to the songs of watery bodies was a blessing. We felt in communion with, and a strong commitment to the spirit of the project and how it will keep unfolding in the future of our work

‘Water, Plant Medicine & Mycology in Nordic Arts’ was Curated by Lise Hovessen & Nazaré Soares. Supported by Nordic Culture Fund & Dáiddafoanda-ad hoc. 

Check program below :