Installation view of Sacred Bouquet
Installation view of Sacred Bouquet
Four-channel video installation
Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Close family and friends gathered on a quiet morning at our home in the Ortiz Mountains of New Mexico, on the unceded land of the Pueblo peoples. Together, we participated in a joyous, slow, quiet, walking movement meditation on a long dirt road in the high desert landscape.

Each person was holding a handmade sacred bouquet made of four native high desert plant species – the prickly pear, yucca, juniper, and pinon - each that honor parts of the body – the heart, the spine, the eyes, and the lips – connection to the land, and connection to each other.

As we walked, we periodically waved the bouquets in specific movements in the four directions, as well as above and below. After each movement in a direction we brought the bouquet in towards our hearts, sealing the action.

My dear husband, Jason Janusch, walked the two miles with us playing the guitar, grounding our movements.

This ritual is an interpretation of the Jewish tradition on the holiday of Sukkot of the four species, the arba'a minim (Hebrew: ארבעת המינים). During Sukkot, a ceremony with a plant bundle of native plants to the Middle East – the lulav, etrog, hadass, aravah - is performed multiple times a day over seven days inside the sukkah, a temporary dwelling. The bundle is waved in the manner that we did on our walk. This ritual symbolizes the rejoicing in the harvest, the body, and the gifts of these from the higher power.