I have been housesitting for friends this week, so I have with me only a minimal shrine, some incense to burn, tap water to offer. I decided I would write some prayers for the day and share them here, as well as say them later, perhaps with an offering of hot dogs and beans (my celebratory national holiday dinner *g*)
Prayers for Independence Day
Great goddess of these western lands, Columbia,
We whose ancestors came here have not always lived well.
We did not honor the gods and spirits who already dwelt here.
We were often brutal and dishonest toward the people of these lands.
We often took what was not ours and used it for our own gain and used it up.
And yet we recognized you and gave you a name, albeit the name of an invader.
Come to us now, Dea Columbia,
not draped in stars and stripes or wearing liberty cap,
but crowned with tobacco leaves and buds of peyote,
dressed in fine leathers or hand-woven gown,
bearing sheaves of the golden maize, heaps of tomatoes,
all the foods these lands have given the world.
Teach us to belong here as those who are born here,
teach us to eat and to drink what we find here,
teach us to use well the mind-changing plants,
teach us to speak to this land’s gods and spirits.
Make peace between us and our gods of the old lands
and the ways of this new land whose spirit you are.
On this Independence Day, hail to you, Columbia!
Hymned by so many poets before me, goddess Liberty,
you lift your lamp still by the door and still summon those
who seek a better way of life. Gift between allies, your noble statue
embodies the best of what we call America.
Mother of Exiles, shine your light on our future.
Bring greater liberty to this land of the free.
Bring greater justice to this shrine of democracy.
Bring greater wealth to the poor’s huddled masses.
Bring illumination to our understanding.
On this Independence Day, hail to you, goddess Liberty!
To the Founding Fathers and Mothers
On this anniversary of Independence Day
I call on George Washington, first President
of our nation, commander in chief, general
of the Revolutionary War, and on his wife Martha
I call on John Adams, second President of this nation
on his wife Abigail and on their son John Quincy,
sixth President of our nation, on their daughter Nabby,
who died of breast cancer, and on their other children,
Susanna, Charles, and Thomas.
I call on Thomas Jefferson, composer and signer
of the Declaration of Independence,
third President of our nation,
and on his wife Martha and his mistress Sally
and on his children, both free and slave
I call on all the signers of our Declaration of Independence
and on their wives, their children, their slaves,
their unrecognized, unremembered helpers, supporters, enablers.
I call on our Presidents from James Madison to Abraham Lincoln,
on their wives, their children, their servants, their slaves.
I call on the generations of Native Americans who helped European settlers,
fought with them, made treaties with them, were made war against by them.
I call on the Founding Fathers, the forgotten Founding Mothers,
the Native Americans and enslaved Africans,
the immigrants from Ireland and Italy, Germany and the Ukraine,
Russia, China, and lands around the world, drawn by
the torch of Liberty held aloft over New York harbor.
Hear me, noble ancestors, as I pray to you for help.
Help us to live out the potentials of Jefferson’s words,
that all men are created equal, that all human beings are persons,
that all persons have equal rights before the law.
Help us to keep separate church and state,
never to let one dominate the other,
never to let them join hands and become one.
Help us to treasure and conserve the lands
that were clean and wild and revered by their people
when our ancestors came to these shores.
Help us to do no more damage to our land,
no more damage to the lands of other sovereign peoples,
no more damage to the poorest among us.
Let there be liberty and justice, prosperity and peace
for all Americans.
Honor to the ancestors of the United States of America!
Honor and blessing to them, and may their blessing be upon us.