In the yellow-brown, drought-burnt river valley, a group of people came together for a pagan rain ceremony Wednesday afternoon, hoping to bring rain to southern Alberta to nourish the earth and put out the wildfires that have filled our skies with smoke for weeks.
Later that evening, Lethbridge was wet with rain.
We talked to Caitlin Sommer a few minutes before the 2:22 start time. “I don’t want to take credit for [the ceremony],” she laughed. “Technically, I’m the one that organized it.” But she explained that the event was spurred by the Pagans of Lethbridge Facebook group where people had expressed interest in doing something.
“I have no idea how to have a pagan rain ceremony,” she admitted. “But I can create the intention of being at a certain place at a certain time to do something. That’s as far as I’ve taken it. I don’t know what’s actually going to happen here today.”
She did clarify that it would follow in pagan tradition, being cautious not to appropriate a rain dance. “We’re going to be diligent in pulling from our own tradition.”
Individuals brought gemstones, moon water, drums, a harmonium, and their energy to focus on the wish for rain.
After gathering at the Baroness Picnic Shelter in Indian Battle Park, the group moved to the grassy field under an open sky, sitting in a circle.
They began by acknowledging the history of the land and the first nations that have spent millennia on the very spot.
A plea was given to Gaea, apologizing for the way humans have treated the earth and asking for rainfall. Sitting crosslegged in a circle under the grey sky, rhythmic drumming and singing was complemented by happily chirping birds in nearby treetops.
The ceremony concluded with everyone joining hands in a circle and reaching up to the sky, pausing for a few moments, and then lowering them back down to the ground, signifying drawing rain from the sky to the earth.
Aside from being a practical place to meet with a field and a parking lot, the location was chosen because it is near the river. “If we can be close to a source of water,” explained Caitlin Sommer, “with the intention of creating rain, we thought that would make sense.”
But what of the precise start time of 2:22? Caitlin said, “I’m really big on angel numbers. Anytime you have a repeating digit, it carries a different energy with it according to numerology. So the energy that comes with 2:22 would be that all is well in the world, everything is going to be OK, there’s balance in the universe.
“It’s all about intention. If you have intention for something to occur then it’s more likely to happen. So if we want to make it more likely to rain, then any different types of intentions we can pull from would be beneficial.”
Later that day, rain fell on Lethbridge for the first time in weeks, quickly soaking into the dry ground and hopefully abating the wildfires in nearby Waterton.