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Universal Burqas

Sunday's Ceremony~Universal Burqas at Texas
Woman’s Dance, in Switzerland, and in New York

        At the Ranch, a new ceremony for the Woman’s Mysteries in the dance this year was about the Universal Burqas. One of our Board Members Sharon Burney, who is now a law student in Houston, had a vision this year; it was to make a prayer in the form of a Burqas. A Burqas is the cloth or scarf that many women ‘have to wear’ in the Middle Eastern Countries. Sharon’s vision was to make a universal Burqas; then have one of the sisters be wrapped up in the Burqas; we would read the written prayer; and then make a prayer of our own as she was unwrapped in one of the rounds dedicated to the Universal Burqas. Sharon was not able to come to the dance this year but sent the black piece of the Burqas. Part of a grant from Dreyfus Foundation for Woman’s Mysteries helped buy the rest of the 21 yards of material, which made up 8 directional colors representing all colors of Women and the Universe. In dreaming the ceremony, Sharon saw 21 yards of material wrapped around a woman making her a symbolic prisoner of the Burqas; as it is unwrapped it will symbolize this woman’s freedom and symbolize a prayer for freedom for all women all over the world.

         As we begun the ceremony at the ranch, our Burqas girl who was born in Iran didn't make it so First Lady Starr Grimes was tagged to be the one who is wrapped up. Getting ready for the dance, Diane Webb did the sewing on the 21 yard long material; Ralissa Shannon and Amanda Wolf were choreographers. 

        Starr stood in the hot sun and as the Burqas started to be wrapped around her...she said it was hot, confining, and felt like she was in prison. The Burqas Prayer was read as she was being wrapped. In turn each girl went to Starr and pulled off a section. There was not a dry eye in the place. It was an amazing ceremony and prayer for women. I want to have video's made about this one.

        The first women to pull a piece of the Burqas was Hiroko from Japan, as she spoke the prayer in Japanese; Angelique from Switzerland spoke in French, Dutch, and German; Annie Tirotta spoke in Spanish and Portuguese; and then each girl got to speak their hearts and prayers. Finally, I went up to Starr who was crying and asked her did she want to be free? She said, “Yes, as a prayer for all women to be free” and I gave the Burqas a tug. It came off her and we all gave a big cheer as she danced from the hot confines of the universal Burqas.

        In New York again we did the same ceremony. This time our Burqas Girl was Judith Anderson, who works with CEO’s and has traveled the world to Afghanistan, etc. working on issues concerning women. She was thrilled when I talked about the ceremony and said she wanted to be wrapped. When she was wrapped, she was in tears. She has had to wear Burqas and didn't like the feeling and now her whole body was wrapped. Again she chose to go on. As we pulled the last piece of the material of the Burqas, she jumped free and cheered, “For all my Sisters all over the world.”

        In closing, this ceremony was so simple but has been so powerful. In each of the three places, women were excited and grateful for the ceremony. As one put it, it feels like more than making a prayer, for a second I am a part of them and they are wrapped in me.

        One of the sisters wrote: Dearest Thunder, Sharon and All who envisioned and prayed the Universal Burqas into being - Thank you! 

        There is not one of us who hasn't known the fearful touch of tyranny or oppression-discrimination in one form or another in our life time...Thank you! 

        May the world join in this prayer for all women, in every land, of every color and faith, of all ages, sizes, dispositions and partner preferences... and then may we add all hu~man~ity into this prayer, too! Thank you! 

        For this Sacred Ceremony that says by its mere existence that Equality is yet a dream to be full filled and that each of us is to step into responsibility to achieve that freedom for self and for our Sisters...Thank you! 

        For this prayer that moved me beyond tears and struck a chord so deep that it has traveled to the heart of the Mother and returned to mine, that I might thank you all.

        Pila maye aloh! May we walk the Beauty Way upon Maka Ina Wakan with Peace, Love and Respect for all within our hearts, minds and souls?  After all, we ARE all Relatives!  Mitakuye Oyasin. Helen Heron Heart

         The Prayer

This Cloth represents the Global Burqas.
It is the collective symbol of the oppression of women.
It represents the past and present tears and fears of our Mother, Sisters, and Daughters
It is also a prayer for the future of the 5 rights necessary to achieve equal rights for women.
You have the Right to Life
You have the Right to Equality
You have the Right to Equal Protection under the Law
You have the Right to Be Free from all Forms of Discrimination
You have the Right to Be Free from Torture and other Cruel Inhuman and Degrading treatment or punishment.
As you unwrap this cloth,
Unwrap the Burqas placed on your mind,
Unwrap the Burqas placed on your heart,
Unwrap the Burqas place on your body,
And Unwrap the wounds inflicted upon you,
Return to your true Essence.
Embrace your Divine Feminine.
Allow MAAT to become You.
Live and Love in Beauty.
You are Freedom in the Flesh for the Entire world to see.
You are Woman.

Signed:  Sharon Burney

(I, Sharon Burney, Dedicate this to Mary Elizabeth Thunder for her efforts to bring out spiritual perfection in me and others. Inspired by Professor Edieth Wu, author of Global Burqas, Texas Journal of Women and the Law, Spring 2005)
(I, Mary Elizabeth Thunder, am happy to fulfill the vision of Sharon Burney. I dedicate the Ceremony of the Burqas to Sharon Burney, Professor Edieth Wu, and the Dreyfus Foundation for Health for their willingness to support our dreams of visions of sharing with the Woman’s Mysteries. I remain grateful to all for their dreams and visions of a Better World! Aho Mi Takaye Oyacin)