Only by recovering the body can we begin to heal the world itself, for as mind is to body, so culture is to planets.



Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, first proposed in 1943, is essentially Western psychology’s interpretation of the ancient Eastern Chakra system. The Chakras first appear in Hindu spiritual texts complied by Veda Vyasa in about 1500 BC. Today, both the systems are represented as pyramids mapping the layers of human needs. In each, the foundations are based on meeting basic survival needs while the highest level is focused on spiritual matters. Both systems recognize that when our basic survival needs are endangered our capacity to address our higher order needs is limited.

In the Chakra system these needs are mapped to the physical body. The Muladhara/Root Chakra is found at the base of the spine. It represents our needs for nourishment and sleep in order to act effectively in the world. Anxiety can make it hard to rest and digest – as we are consumed with uncertainty and fearful about what the future holds for our daughters. While sometimes we find ourselves challenged by unavoidable catastrophic events – it’s important to recognize when our needs are sometimes compromised by design. When the hard earned rights our ancestors fought for are taken away we feel it in our bones. We experience the ground as a slippery slope. However, if we allow our resources to stay depleted we have played into their hand. We must grieve, process, and get to work.

The Root Chakra is sometimes represented by the elephant headed deity Ganesha – Lord of the Senses and Remover of Obstacles – here to realign our senses and perceptions to our actions. Anodea Judith writes, “We have to be able to focus on what we want and be specific about it. We have to be able to stick with it long enough for manifestation to occur.” It took nearly fifty years of concerted effort for us to be at the mercy of a supreme subordinated court that works to dismantle rather that to convey rights. We have work to do.

Through this five senses ritual we can work through some grief, come back to the present, gain perspective on our challenges, prepare to stand our ground, take action, and claim our rights. Everything will be oriented around 5 to align with the past five decades. Organize yourself or your circle for a sunset ritual – determine a location, check for the time of sunset and plan to arrive and set up at the location 30-40 minutes before. Pack a pad, pen, blanket to sit on, and layers appropriate for your local weather. Bring a full bottle of water and a thermos filled with hot aromatic root tea like ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger, or licorice – sweetened to your liking. Download or print the ritual below. When you arrive come to seated in easy pose on your blanket – facing West – with your water, thermos, pad, and pen at hand. Set a timer for 15 minutes before sunset.

  • Sight: Open your eyes and direct your focus to the horizon line where the earth curves away – just beyond the 3 mile mark. Take in all the obstacles in your line of sight people have had to overcome over the last 50 years to get you to this place right now as you take five long slow breaths.
  • Touch: Soften your eyes. Feel where your sit bones, knees, and feet are connected to the ground, put your hands to the earth, imagine all the people who have walked this land before, while you take five long slow breaths.
  • Sound: Tune into the sounds of the wind in the trees, grab your pen and paper and write the first two parts of your lament. (An ancient four part poem for when all you hope for seems out of reach.) Think Blowin’ in the Wind or  Go down Moses 1) Address your lament to the Universe, 2) Vocalize your complaint. Stop when you’ve finished or when your timer sounds. We will come back to finish this. 
  • Taste/Smell: Open your water and take a sip. Imagine all the tears that have been shed over this issue, including yours. Ritually pour the water into the ground with five long slow pours. Inhale the wet earth as it receives the tears.
  • Touch: Stand to watch the sunset. Feel your feet on the ground and imagine them growing roots deep into the earth and pulling nourishment back up through you giving you strength with five long slow inhales.
  • Sight: Continue long slow inhales as you watch the sunset. Between the horizon line and the sun lies a stretch of 93 million miles and we can see it. Imagine you can see the obstacles before you being removed one-by–one until you reach what you desire.
  • Sound: Sit back down into easy pose. Tune into the hopeful sounds of the birdsong, grab your pen and paper and write the second two parts of your lament. 3) Your boldest ask of the Universe, 4) Your statement of confidence in the outcome.
  • Smell/Taste: Open your tea and inhale its aromatic roots with five long slow breaths. Imagine it is the smell of success. Sit in silence sipping your tea and reading or singing your lament.