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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Sending Love to the Water - Blessing for the Catawba River

By Lisa Moore

A few years ago Omileye Joseph-Achikeobi Lewis believes she received a calling in a dream to help our ailing waterways. “I was shown that water is rapidly dying and we are with it,” says the Lancaster, SC, resident. “I was also shown that the state of water reflects the state of humanity. You can’t improve one without improving the other.”

With that awakening Lewis founded Humanity4Water, a campaign that raises water awareness by creating a new, dynamic relationship between humanity and water resulting in a mutual improvement. This project strives to help those across the world who may face a future without clean, drinkable, useable water.

Lewis feels that saving our planet begins with education and a sense of connection. Humanity4Water raises awareness through monthly water blessing ceremonies at various locations around the world. In honor of Earth Day, she will hold a blessing for the Catawba River on April 24th near the Catawba Reservation in Rock Hill, SC.

Last year, the Catawba was named the “Most Endangered River in the US” by American Rivers. a national river advocacy group from Washington, DC. Fourteen NC and SC counties lie in the Catawba's basin. The river helps power both states through 11 hydropower plants, four coal plants, and two nuclear power facilities.

Threats to the river include the dumping of industrial and agricultural wastes, land development that spills silt and tainted runoff into the river basin, dangerous levels of mercury in fish due to coal-burning power plants, the daily transfer of millions of gallons of Catawba water to neighboring river basins and the drought.

The blessing ceremonies are simple, organic, non-denominational and open to all ages and cultures. “They always include the elements of a simple ‘thank you’ from everyone, a discussion on ecology and humanity and healing songs to the water,” states Lewis, an author and energy healer originally from the UK. “Individuals have found being at a water blessing to be very healing, uplifting, educational and motivating.”

Lewis says her group aims to include Native Americans in the blessings because she feels they are the sacred caretakers of the land. “They love nature and, like many indigenous individuals, have a lot of knowledge about how to heal and create harmony in nature,” she says. Beckee Garrison, the medicine woman of the Catawba Nation, will partner with Lewis for the blessing.

Though the intention of the event is reverent, it will be uplifting with healing drums, singing, snacks and fun activities. Lewis encourages people to come with gratitude and a commitment to helping our waterways and ecology. “Clean, pristine water is one of the most sustaining, nourishing and healing things human beings can have,” she concludes.

The Catawba Water Blessing will occur on Friday, April 24. Participants can gather from 4pm onwards at the Catawba Cultural Center at 1536 Tom Steven Rd. in Rock Hill.

Bring your drums and other instruments. Info:, [email protected] or 770-498-3472.

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