Enraizada / Deeply Rooted: Ceremony and Song
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Enraizada / Deeply Rooted: Ceremony and Song

Enraizada / Deeply Rooted: Ceremony and Song

Enraizada / Deeply Rooted: Ceremony and Song

Editor’s note: This selection is a prayerful audio ofrenda from Niria Alicia, climate justice organizer and activist who is deeply rooted in ceremony. Niria recorded these songs—the first two of which she wrote, and the third of which is a traditional Nahuatl song—during the quarantine as ofrendas for meditation and strength. They are her gifts to you.

If you haven’t yet, I encourage you also to listen to Niria Alicia’s interview, in which she describes her involvement in the Run4Salmon, a prayer journey led by Chief Caleen Sisk of Winnemem Wintu. The second song that Niria Alicia sings came to her and the group during the Run4Salmon journey.
—Marcy Carbajal, Ed.

Enraizada (Deeply Rooted)



Welcoming in the sacred energies of the universe. Giving thanks to the direction of the east, el rumbo del Quetzalcoatl. Greeting and giving thanks to the sacred direction of the north, el rumbo sagrado de Tezcatlipoca. Turning towards the west and giving thanks to el rumbo de Xipe Totec, to the south, offering our gratitude and our love to the sacred direction of el Huitzilin. Looking up into the sky, out into the universe, out into the cosmos, lifting our hands and calling in that precious divine energy, giving things to this beautiful direction. And kneeling down, bowing before our sacred Tonanzin, our Mother Earth. Giving thanks to her for holding us, for loving us, for taking care of us in these times. And then looking deep inside into the direction of our hearts. Maybe you want to feel your heartbeat and put your hand on your heart in this moment and send some love to your precious heart. Give thanks for this gift of life.

Good day to you, my relatives, my name is Niria Alicia. I chose to open up this grounding practice in the same way that my elders have taught me to open up any ceremony and to close any ceremony. This practice is so powerful because it expands our consciousness out in all directions. So as to connect with the greater universe that we are all a part of. I also know that each direction has its own meaning for different people all over the world. So I welcome you, at the end of this, to close off in whatever way feels right to you, in all directions, and just offer your gratitude and your love to each direction, focusing lastly on your heart, the direction of your heart.

I want to start by saying thank you for saying yes to your wellness. Oftentimes, when we are faced with challenges, when anxiety is heavy on our chests and when sadness is weighing heavily on our hearts, the first things that we start to say no to are the very things that bring us wellness. For me, those medicines have always been prayer and song. And so today I want to share with you music and prayer, and maybe the sound of a little bit of the birds and the water, all the things that help me return to my center and help me ground into this existence and to be here, in the here and now. It’s so easy, with everything changing so fast, for us to slip into our fear, our sadness, our grief, and to miss the opportunity of being with what is here now. 

One beautiful word, or lesson of wisdom, that my mom left me was in high school. I struggled with depression and anxiety, and she didn’t really know, and she didn’t really understand how to help me, but she said one thing to me that changed my life. She said, “If you're suffering, offer your suffering. Don’t suffer in vain.” And when she said that to me, it just completely changed the way I even viewed my own suffering. She said, “offer your suffering for those who have less than you. For those who are less fortunate.” She couldn’t understand why, even though I had food and shelter and a family, I still had immense grief in my chest. And so, ever since she said that to me, I have tried to ask myself and invite myself back into this practice—into offering my suffering up to the universe, to suffering with intention, and seeing it as an opportunity and as an invitation to connect on a deeper level with the greater suffering of our world.

And so I hope that, whatever suffering you have in your heart today, you will maybe just put that down, or that you will give it back to the earth, and just offer it right back to Mother Earth. Or offer it to the millions and possibly billions of people in these times who are suffering from lack of access to water, from lack of access to healthy nutritional food, for all our incarcerated relatives, for all our endangered species. Just connect with that. And maybe you also will feel a little lighter and feel a little more connected to the wider web that we are all connected to. So I want to ask for your permission to pray with you and pray for you, as well as sing to you. Whatever you’ve got to do to get comfortable, get in your body—maybe you want to lay down, maybe you want to sit down—whatever it is, feel free to do that in this moment.

So with that, I want to introduce some of the songs that I will be singing for you today. The first song is called “Ritmo de la Luz,” rhythm of light. The song came to me here, during this quarantine—and you’ll hear the lyrics—I believe that I received the song to sing in the mornings, to help set a vibration and intention and a rhythm that can help me orient the rest of my day, despite whatever comes my way.

The second song that I would like to offer is a song that came to us during the Run4Salmon prayerful journey that Chief Calleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu tribe leads. And this song is a powerful song that helps us reconnect to the celestial mystery that these salmon connect to when they are returning home. And you’ll understand more once you hear the lyrics, but it invites us into listening to the stars and flowing like the salmon right back to our homes once we’re done flowing and swimming in the depths of our oceans.

The third song I want to share with you to ground us deeper into our existence and into this moment is a Nahuatl song that we sing a lot in ceremony. And this song, we sing to our Sacred Mother Tonanzin. It’s a loving song that I hope, when you listen to it, you will let it carry you back into your body, back into your breath, and that you will let the song just melt away any frustration, any sadness, any pain that you are holding in any part of your body, mind, spirit, or heart. I hope that this song can give you that peace of mind and can remind you that our Mother Earth loves us so much, and she’s still ready to provide for us in these times, despite all the harm that we’ve caused her; she’s still our great teacher of compassion and forgiveness.

And lastly, I will close us off with a prayer. I hope that you can revisit this recording whenever you want to be in that journey, in that invitation of how to transmute our pain and our worries in these times, and melt into these songs that offer us that vibration to return to oneness and to return to peace. Even if it’s just for one moment. I hope you guys enjoy it. I’m sending you all so much love, whoever you are, wherever you are. We’ll get through this. It’s just a matter of time. And we must trust in that.

Ritmo de la Luz 

[Timestamp: 10:30]

El cielo se pinta de colores. 

Los campos se visten de flores. 

Y nuestros corazones vibran al ritmo de la luz. 

Y nuestros corazones vibran al ritmo de la luz. 

The sky is filling up with colors. 

The mountains are blooming with flowers. 

And our hearts dance into the rhythm of eternal light. 

And our hearts dance into the rhythm of eternal light. 


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Salmon Song 

[Timestamp: 12:27]

If we listen to the stars in the sky, 

We will walk in harmony with everything that’s alive. 

We'll be rivers running through the sky

from the oceans to the mountain till the salmon arrive, 

from the oceans to the mountain till the salmon arrive. 


Huey Tonanzin 

[Timestamp: 16:15]

Huey Tonantzin, Tonanzin. [Our great venerable Mother Earth*]

Huey Tonantzin, Tonanzin. 

Huey Tonantzin, Tonanzin. 

Huey Tonantzin, Tonanzin. 

Ipalnemoani [Giver of life]

Noyolotl tatzin [Our hearts vibrate]

Tlazocamati, Tonantzin. [Thank you, our venerable Mother Earth]


Noyolotl tatzin

Tlazocamati, Tonantzin.


*Loose translation from Nahuatl


[Timestamp: 18:01]

Giving thanks to our Great Mother, Tonanzin. Letting these vibrations, this medicine, this music vibrate deep down into her earth core and ripple outwards into all of creation that exists on her skin, in her soils, in her rivers, deep down in her oceans, blessing our sacred Mother Earth, and those of us who are here living in these times. I hope that you receive this medicine. I hope that you let these beautiful vibrations ripple inside of your oceans, ripple inside of your hearts, and nourish each and every single one of yourselves. May it wash away any anxiety, any frustration, any worries that may cloud your mind and your soul in these times. May these songs remind us of the power of Mother Earth. May the songs remind us that we are all one, and may the songs remind us of our strength in our unity and how much our Mother Earth loves us and how she will love us through each other. So let us sing these songs in times that are troubled and let us be Mother Earth for one another. Let us be nourishing. Let us be compassionate. Let us be caring with our children, with our elders, with our plants and our animals. Let us be this vibration for the healing and for the joy of all life. 


Photo Credit: Lu Aya. Image courtesy of the author.

Photo Credit: Lu Aya. Image courtesy of the author.

Song and Ceremony by Niria Alicia

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