What kind of relationship do you have with the Ancestors?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yesterday while at the thrift store - Beverly Scott

"I looked down at her and thought I should warn her of the dangers. I should tell her of the predators. I should tell her oh honey there will be time enough for that."

Beverly Scott reveals from her daily life moments here that transform the mundane into the transcendent. There is nuance and knowing in the normalcy of our daily, pedestrian travails. If we are able to stay open to the gift of the insistent and energetic world of spirit, of our most intuitive human connections, we are able to find that space of a lovely, flowing and important humanity. Beverly, in these moments illuminates that insistence, that intuition from the heart of the divine feminine. - Ukumbwa Sauti

Yesterday while at the thrift store I experienced the collapsing of time. I didn't go in there to be enthralled, We went in there because we mistakenly thought it was half-price day and Gene likes to "beat the system".

Two dollars for a designer men's shirt makes more sense to him these days than 125.00 dollars for the same shirt packaged beautifully and handed to him with a smooth mix of deference and self satisfaction.

I like fancy stores and the thrift shop, which is why my bounty is always thirty or forty dollars and his is never more than twelve. It's also why my closets require more pruning, more often than my rose bushes.

We split up at the front of the store and I decided to check out the shoes first. I had no idea I was about to be transformed into a child and receive a gift so precious it took my breath away.

There were shoes on both sides of the aisle and as I entered I saw some cute flat slides in a black and a light tan basketweave pattern. Beeline. Hmmm, yes I think I can fit these. Let me see, so I dropped them to the floor grateful they were stapled together so I didn't have to wrestle one to try the other on.

I hadn't noticed her until then. She was sitting on the floor with her head down, deeply engaged in buckling the strap of a silver rhinestone platform heel. She wore red socks and was already wearing the other shoe. It would be a long time before those shoes fit.

She had long chestnut brown hair which provided a curtain for her face so she didn't see that I had been transformed into my thirteen year old self and teleported to a shoe store in Chicago called Baker's on 63rd and Halsted Street. There I was trying on my birthday present. A pair of white patent leather strappy platform heels.

I could hear the bustling and exchanges between the salespersons and customers and feel the butterflies spiraling around in my abdomen.

I walked in my shoes and felt so tall, and beautiful and empowered because I had earned the money and rode the bus by myself to make this statement to the world.

I am a teenager and I am vulnerable as hell. Let me explore and express myself. Let me try to wrestle back my sexuality from the molester. Don't grope, oogle or trick me. Let me be.

Instead the world heard. She ready. She fast. She asking for trouble. Get ready it won't be long now.
Then I was snapped back to present day.

I looked down at her and thought I should warn her of the dangers. I should tell her of the predators. I should tell her oh honey there will be time enough for that. But something inside so strong would not hear of it. She still hadn't looked up at me and before I knew it the words had reached my tongue and began to roll out of my mouth.

Ohhhh those are soooo pretty. You look beautiful sweetheart. My words ooozed with love and acceptance.

That's when she raised her head and turned her face to me. It was radiant, innocent, beautiful and still flashed the visual of where her imagination had taken her. Then she smiled a smile so pure and filled with gratitude and pleasure those butterflies returned, I grew wings and felt more than a womyn. No I felt fully an empowered and authentic womyn who had just done a sacred thing and we both knew we would be forever connected through this encounter.

I did the twinkly finger wave bye bye and left her to her dreams. I scanned where I found the flats spotted two more pair I liked grabbed them and went to meet my husband. He had two great shirts a dollar a piece but I had the peace that surpasses all understanding.

The End

- Beverly Scott

I want to tell you about my Mom.- Kathy R.

"It was an emotional struggle to finally make the decision to move Mom into a nursing facility. It damn near broke my Dad’s heart. He took care of Mom with the devotion of a true soul mate but it was becoming too much for him, even with me there in the house to back him up."
In this sharing, Kathy reveals her exploration of a familiar, but consistently difficult awareness of the transition of a loved one as they move closer to their role as an Ancestor. This writing reminds us of the relationship of death to life, of our lives to history, recent and ancient and the tender space between mother and daughter. - Ukumbwa Sauti

I want to tell you about my Mom.

Back while I was growing up my mother was a force to be reckoned with, she was kick-ass before the

term was invented. When most women of her day married young and started families my Mom moved across the country to a university to study opera. She lasted two full years on her own and admitted to me while I was in my teens that toward the end she existed on a couple of pieces of fruit a day because money was non-existent. Eventually she gave up her dream and came home where she and my Dad reunited and started dating. She had a full-time job and a home of her own - on her own - long before it was considered proper behavior for a young woman. My Mom was something of a scandal back then and I dare say she enjoyed the label.

Mom and Dad dated and eventually eloped and were married by a Justice of the Peace. A church
wedding was out of the question because of religious conflicts between the two families. Mom was
Methodist and Dad came from pure Irish Catholic stock, and well, at the time marriages between different faiths didn’t happen often.

I came along soon afterwards followed by my brother fifteen months later and my sister surprised them both five years after me. Mom was never supposed to have had children because of a heart defect. When she was barely out of toddlerhood she had scarlet fever and it damaged her heart for good. Any one of us kids could’ve killed her, but here we are so she managed to pull it – us - off.

When Mom was in her mid to late-thirties her heart and her health started to fail. Mom and Dad made
the decision for her to have open heart surgery. It was beyond risky since it had only been done in our
area a few times. I remember the day the school principle came and got my brother and I out of class to tell us that Mom had made it through the surgery. I didn’t really understand the significance at the time but I remember feeling relieved.

Years later after Mom was healthy again she went on to work in a large city school system where she
built a library in an elementary school that had never had one. It was in a basement and not easy for the kids to get to but she made that library a haven for those kids. It was full of light and laughter with handmade mobiles of famous cartoon characters that would be easily recognizable today. Those
mobiles are still in the family, packed away nice and safe, faded somewhat but ready to be hung up and used again.

Eventually the school closed and Mom had other jobs until her retirement more than 20 years ago. The woman who was a rebel and a force of nature started to slow down until one day she fell and hurt her hip. The hip wasn’t too secure anyway but that fall started Mom’s downward slide. Instead of fighting to get her mobility back she sank into a depression that nothing and no one could pull her out of. She refused to follow doctor’s orders to start walking again. The family tried to encourage her to get up and start living again but Mom always was stubborn as all hell so she sat in her chair in the livingroom and did very little to stop her own physical deterioration.

After that Mom had one physical set back after another. A shattered thigh bone was reconstructed out of a metal plate, wire, pins and screws. Her other hip had to be operated on and she had colon cancer that was thankfully discovered before it took hold. We almost lost her many times, once from a bleed out, from several bouts of pneumonia, wounds that became infected, and fall after fall. It was during this time that her mind started to deteriorate. She started to forget things, dates and places to start. She gave up her crossword puzzles when she couldn’t remember the words anymore, her handheld games went unused, and she started watching television with a blank stare. The once formidable woman who kicked ass and took names started to fade away.

It was an emotional struggle to finally make the decision to move Mom into a nursing facility. It damn near broke my Dad’s heart. He took care of Mom with the devotion of a true soul mate but it was becoming too much for him, even with me there in the house to back him up. She had many, many health issues by the time she was finally admitted into where she is now.

Today Mom has zero mobility, doesn’t remember most of her own past, and sometimes when I visit she looks at me and I wonder if she remembers who I am. She can feed herself but her food has to be ground into a paste so that she won’t choke on it. She weighs a fraction of what she used to and her bones show through her skin.

The woman who busted my ass when I needed it, was rude and uncompromising at times, was
independent and confident as hell is now a fragile being living somewhere between this world and the next. She tells me she sees her mother, father and older brother here and there. I see it as a sign that she’s getting ready, or being readied, to cross.

My Mom will be an ancestor soon. I won’t be ready, I’ll never be ready but she’s told me for years that once she crosses she’ll put pennies in places I won’t expect to see them to let me know she’s okay. I expect that when I cross and become an ancestor that I’ll see her again in all her kick ass glory.

- Kathy R.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"2016 into 2017: Water Reflects Fire" - Ukumbwa, WAC Team Blogger

2016 into 2017: Water Reflects Fire

(reposted from "Indigeny & Energetics", Dec.29, 2016)

In the Dagara tradition from West Africa, 2016 is/was a Water year. The 6 is a feminine, receptive, internal marker numerologically.

2016 is not your problem as all to many people have suggested it was. 2016 has been your blessing. 2016 has been a time where we had opportunity to gain insight from deep-seated, deeply submerged, deep water issues that plague us. We got a chance to see, to resolve, to feel...deeply.

We were deeply blessed by the resistance of Africans and others to state violence against African people,the presence and emergence of African women creatively, courageously within that and related struggles, the resistance of women and indigenous people to patriarchal and colonial violence. We witnessed a sharp rising to the surface of xenophobia, racism, heterosexism, misogyny, great lack of political clarity and vision, retrograde narratives of discompassionate exploitation and disregard for humanity and Mother Earth Herself. It's as if our shit just rose from the bottom of our socio-political sewer and we could deny the stench no more.

We were...and ARE...blessed by the sacred work at and of Standing Rock. If you don't realize the fundamental history-resolving nature of that dynamic, then 2016 actually alluded you.  You missed 2016. We have been blessed by 2016.  

And we should not miss the fact that, celebrities aside, many many many people (and species) have crossed over to the Other Side, from Brazil to Nepal to Aleppo to Chicago and beyond.  Just take a moment to go inside, feel the ocean-heavy weight of what that means. Sit in the depth of that aquatic emotional tsunami waiting to happen. 2016 reveals itself to be sacred womb pregnant with gifts of spiritual Ancestral insight. 

And if we have the utter bravery to do it, we will actually weep for 2016. We will weep its passing.  We will grieve what we found out about the diamond bright treasure of humanity at the same time we had deep water reflection into the distortions of inhumanity to peoples, water and sacred earth, to the feminine divinity that birthed and constantly rebirths us all. We will grieve the pain and the often latent joy of 2016, still flowing through us as we live....and breathe....alive to see the end, the death of it, the transformative cocoon-break of it, the dissolution of it, the absorption of it, the larger spiritual river flow of it.

And the Dead do not leave us...though they do change their address.  They are available to us. Corporeally. Communicatively. Actually.  Vibrantly. And we are called...if we say we love and miss Those that have passed over, this or any year....to consider how we will carry the blessing, the gift of Their transformed, transmuted lives in our minds, our bodies, our words, our works. If Those lives meant anything, how do we integrate the best of Them into the fabric of our social becoming so They then know beyond a shadow of a doubt that They have not been forgotten? 

And 2017 is a fire year. And the Dagara have observed fire as the portal to the Ancestors. They reveal Themselves, Their wisdom through this powerful element that brings light, vision and incites our passions, illuminates our dreams. 2017 is an opportunity to explore the blessings that we have been given...on purpose...by our Ancestral legacies. And while fire allows us to reduce and burn away all that we do not need, it also lights the way toward seeing our path, sparking the impulse of life into a world turned upside down by exploitation, injustice and oppression, fear and self-loathing.

The 7 marks a feminine energetic.  And we know we must support and acknowledge the divinity and primacy of that creative force, that creation story. What lies in the pregnancy of human, spiritual existence waiting to be born? Who are we yet to grow into, gifted powerfully now by the newly Ancestored energies of our icons, loved ones and faithful and flawed relations?  Our Dead are in US. Their gifts waiting to be reborn...in and from us.  We are the composite treasure of their transmuted recent and ancient lives. We are Their sacred immortality. WE are.  We. Never broken, but reconstituted by the mortar of their now timeless existence, the constantly rebuilding dynamic foundation of Their every aspiration for our transcendent greatness. 

And here we stand at a precious nexus like every nexus, every crossroad presents us with space and motivation for enlightened contemplation and powerful healing choice, pondering the meaning of a myriad deaths, of painful loss and continuing mortal struggle to keep the rest of us here in love, safety, validation and compassion to finish our sacred duties upon this blessed earth, this embattled earth buttressed by the bones of our Ancients, their blood now fused with the dust of time.  

Breathe that in.

The Dead have left precisely to carry us through to our next shining moment, here at the sparkling mountain spring of this new baktun, clean cold river rushing down to bring life to All, flowing like fluid gems of sacred healing clarity...incessant...unrelenting.... 

Find your feet.  Keep them on the ground. Ask Them how to continue your good walk on your path of life.  Ask those who have done it before you.  And as we stand here at the juncture of 2016 into 2017, here at the anniversary of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee at the hands and Hotchkiss guns of the USAmerican colonial cavalry, remembering still that a woman gave birth to a child at Standing Rock, the greatest unification of indigenous nations in modern memory, as Africans born of brutally displaced indigenous African Mothers and Fathers struggle for meaning and liberation and peace and ujamaa in Kwanzaa, at the present moment of the continuing destruction of lives in Aleppo, in Palestine, in Congo, we are reminded that we have much to do...and much that we have been given....and that there is a wealth of wisdom in the Ancestral genius of those that have come and fought and lived and loved long before us.  

2016 was not in and of itself a problem. It was our greatest gift as we stand here in the midst of our problematic challenges, pathologies, crippling privileges and passions. Even on the largest and largely unseen level...we all got here...together...troubled...fighting...bent and broken....healing...resisting...triumphant and transcendent.  Together. Our Ancestors birthed us all into this moment.  Now.  Here.  Present...holding the blessings of the sacred water of 2016 as we see in it the growing sparkling inner reflections of the fire of 2017.

Asante, Wakale. 

We walk forward.