Today marks the ninth day of an Orca Whale vigil in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Tahlequah, a female Orca also known as J-35 of the J-pod of the Southern Resident Killer Whales, has, as of late last night, been pushing and carrying her dead baby girl for eight days, during the pods migration to southern British Columbia. While it is not unusual for an Orca to carry their dead baby for up to seven days, Tahlequah’s is now an unprecedented vigil and is capturing the world’s heart and attention. Photos online are absolutely heart-wrenching. We know that Orca grieve over loss, but to swim this many days, continually lifting and pushing a sinking body as she migrates with her pod is simply unheard of and a very difficult task for her to undertake.Passing San Juan Island on that first evening of the baby’s death, a resident watching the pod observed, “At sunset, a group of 5-6 females gathered at the mouth of the cove in a close, tight-knit circle, staying at the surface in a harmonious circular motion for nearly 2 hours. As the light dimmed, I was able to watch them continue what seemed to be a ritual or ceremony. They stayed directly centered in the moonbeam, even as it moved. The lighting was too dim to see if the baby was still being kept afloat. It was both sad and special to witness this behavior. My heart goes out to J35 and her beautiful baby; bless it’s soul.”When I feel into Tahlequah and her motivations behind the incredible ceremonial procession for the pod’s dead baby girl, she is indeed grieving, along with the pod, and it is so much more than that. We know our Whale Brothers and Sisters attempt to communicate with us and this is also Tahlequah’s calling out to humankind for help, trying to reach us through such a lengthy and heartrending display that is capturing attention all around the world, as if saying, “Do you see us now? Are you watching yet? Do you understand? Will you help us?”There is much on the net about the Orca plight, which is human-created, and they (and we in their loss) are quickly headed for deep tragedy as we continue to lose them toward an end of extinction. “I told the governor it was going to happen. More and more will happen. We are losing them. The whales are not going to stand for it. They are going to pass away.” – Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research and a member of Governor Jay Inslee’s task force on Orca recovery in Washington State.We feel their calls and their plight. We know the waters are slowly heating up, their food source is dying off, and that they hold a mysterious power and deep emotional connection to us as humankind.Tonight, I will head to Alki Beach in West Seattle, taking the Ancestral GrandMother’s Drum, and will ask all my Grancestors to join me in sending love, strength and courage to my Brothers and Sisters of the Water, and especially the Orca, in the Drum’s sound current that travels through land, air and sea. Feel free to join me on Alki or from wherever you are in the world, as the more Drums and intention we send out, the stronger the message. I will begin Drumming at 7:00 pm Pacific time in the United States, with my feet in the water. I will be at Ocean’s edge at the junction of 59th Ave SW, and Alki Ave SW to set up around 6:30 pm.We hear you Tahlequah. We are with you, grieve deeply with you, and hold all our Brothers and Sisters of the Water in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. We hear you, darlin’.If you feel moved to step out and answer Tahlequah’s call in your own way, please find links below where you can gather more information.Resources and Pathways:The latest local news story as of last night: blessings upon Taylor Shedd, of Soundwatch, who has been on the water following the pod for days, capturing photos and watching Tahlequah carefully, carrying her story to the world. More on Soundwatch: article on Tahlequah and her ceremonial vigil, from the Center for Whale Research: They also have Orca research on their site and ways to donate to assist.Governor Jay Inslee’s site on the task force on Orca recovery: information on the task force, including contact info, and a list of who is on the task force at Puget Sound Partnership: beautiful article in Hakai Magazine, about whale and human communication, and the history of indigenous connection and communion between whales and Arctic peoples: the Parliament of Australia, an article with research on the heating of the oceans:

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