Secret Prophecy of the Grandmothers
WE, THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF THIRTEEN INDIGENOUS GRANDMOTHERS, represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come. We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future. We look to further our vision through the realization of projects that protect our diverse cultures: lands, medicines, language and ceremonial ways of prayer and through projects that educate and nurture our children.
Inuitlu allailu sisters, our time of sharing has come.
In a magical valley, protected by the ancient spirits of the towering Catskill Mountains, a sacred fire was lit.
Surrounded by the golden woods and in the cool, still, evening air of mid-October 2004, the flame initiated an unprecedented and historic gathering of thirteen indigenous Grandmothers from around the world, keepers of their tribes' teachings from original times. The Grandmothers had come to fulfill another ancient prophecy, known by many of the world's indigenous tribes: “When the Grandmothers from the four directions speak, a new time is coming.”
The council, which had been spoken of in prophecy and seen in visions since time immemorial, finally emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. The Grandmothers' participation in the council had been foretold to each of them in different ways. When they were very young, a few of the Grandmothers had been told by their grandmothers that this was their destiny. All of the Grandmothers had been invited long ago, in a time before time as we know it, to meet at the coming of the Great Turning to become a force for peace in the world. Prophecy revealed to each one that they must now share even their most secret and sacred ways with the very people who have been their oppressors, as the survival of humanity, if not the entire planet, is at stake.
The urgency of the world's situation requires a global response. The Grandmothers, living legends among their people, represent tribes from the Arctic Circle; North, South and Central America; Africa; Tibet; and Nepal. As the wise women, curanderas, shamans and healers of their tribes, they were bringing to the council new visions and new prophecies for humanity, their tribes' rich and varied sources of wisdom, and each tribe's unique and secret teachings for living within the Divine Order of all things.
Until recent history, in every part of the world, communities of indigenous peoples functioned as if One with their particular environment. As a result, the many tribes of this earth mirrored the lands of their origins and thus revealed the great diversity inherent in humanity. The unique culture of each of the thousands of indigenous tribes evolved from their necessary participation with the animals, plants and the climate of the land in which they lived. Traditions, rituals, stories, art and music were created that were specific to their place on Earth as the flowers and trees found there. This is why indigenous peoples say that if their connection to the land is gone, as has happened to most Native Americans, they are no longer who they were.
Some tribes, like the Cheyenne and Lakota, are taught that their first language was given to them by the animals and sounds of nature in their environment. This first language is still used in ceremony and ritual because according to tradition these sounds have the power to open the doorway to the Spirit World. Legends remind the tribes that all they know they learned by observing the various families of nature and that their role in return is to respect Mother Earth and be Her caretaker. Such intimacy with nature has enabled those who have remained on the land of their ancestors to live from the land and still maintain the Earth's balance for tens of thousands of years.
Basic to each tribe's survival, the Grandmothers say, was their ability not only to live in harmony with nature but with one another. The strength of the tribe was founded on family, and the well-being of each family was essential to the well-being of the community. Nature was seen as mirroring the different roles within a family. The common wisdom was that we are Spirit alive in the flesh. The Earth was seen as the Great Mother, the giver and nurturer of life.
Because of their absolute dependence on nature, indigenous peoples held that all of life was sacred. They did not see themselves as separate from nature or the cosmos, the Grandmothers tell us. So what was done to the Earth and the inhabitants of the Earth was done to themselves. Everything was a part of the One. The animals and plants or Earth were never objectified. The objectification of nature opens the door for mistreatment and lack of respect.”The one who sees 'thou' is not the same as the ego seeing an 'it'.”
In accord with the inherent authority within a family, traditionally the women elders, the grandmothers, were the ones who were looked up to as guardians to watch over the physical and spiritual survival of the family, and thus the tribe. They became the keepers of the teachings and rituals that allowed the tribe to flourish, and they upheld the social order. In many of the tribes around the world, including the great Iroquois Nation, the Council of Grandmothers was always consulted before any major decision was made, including the decision of whether or not to go to war.
Indigenous peoples lived in a communal system that was based on reciprocity—everyone sharing what they had and everyone taking care of everyone else. There was no hoarding, thus no one in the tribe ever went without and all prospered equally. Food brought back by the hunters was for the the whole tribe. If one hunter was particularly skilled or successful, there was no concept of keeping more for himself as a result. Instead, he was given a place of honor in the tribe.
Since there was no perception of scarcity, except what the whole tribe experienced, there was no need for excessive accumulation of personal holdings. The tribes knew what they needed to do to sustain themselves sufficiently. Most had learned that sharing and transferring increased the value of what was given, and accumulation beyond the point of enough actually stopped the flow of resources. When everyone benefited, the individual benefited more. Now, for most indigenous people, one step out of their community and into the modern world, and they can't eat or find shelter or live without money. One day in civilization can wipe out thousands of years of sustainability.
We can learn from the tribal system how all of humanity can thrive today, the Grandmothers remind us. And indigenous peoples can also learn from the modern world how to sustain themselves when moving outside of their traditional communities.
Also common to indigenous peoples, the Grandmothers say, is an honoring and dependence upon the Spirit World, the world that is accessed through nature. Among many indigenous peoples, the stones are the most revered spirits. In fact, the most ancient memories are attributed to the stones as the stones are among the oldest beings on the planet. Most indigenous teachings hold that it is in the heart where the living spirit can be seen, and within that spirit is the very essence of the Creator, or the divine force. The simple act of picking up a stone, and holding that stone being in silence, changes a person in subtle and profound ways. Finding the worlds within stone spirit reveals further worlds within oneself, the Grandmothers teach us. Having the courage to look within and without was an important attribute in most indigenous cultures. In fact, having such close contact with nature made such an inner journey unavoidable.
Visions, dreams, prayer, ceremony and ritual are the means to access the sacred Spirit World through nature, the Grandmothers tell us. Ceremony and ritual allow participation in the myths or archetypes or ancestry of the culture and serve to take one out of any shallow 'ordinary' reality. Rituals powered by intention focus concentration, enabling access to more rarefied levels of the mind for communication with the spiritual realms for prophecy and guidance and to influence events. That is how knowledge of the healing powers of plants was first gained, how understanding was developed about the importance of honoring the four directions and the five basic elements: earth, water, air, fire and light. Anyone who has ever been swept away by the beauty of a sunset or found an answer to a problem while communing with nature has caught a glimpse of the worlds that are open to indigneous peoples who foster this true knowing.
Spirituality's highest purpose is to touch a mystery beyond words, which is perceived only in silence and solitude, the Grandmothers relate. Listening within the silence puts one in touch with the energy, vibration and spiritual forces that are at the heart of Creation. The realms are real, not of the imagination, and can only be reached by a quiet mind and by practice. This does not mean there is a lack of critical thinking, only that fighting the experience of connectivity, the now, while approaching that moment, blocks the experience of knowing. The Grandmothers show that we must return to our own inner spirit and the spirit of the all which we have abandoned while looking elsewhere for happiness.
The Grandmothers know there has been an undeniable corruption of humanity's spirit. The global human family, a macrocosm of the tribal system, is lost in confusion and sickness. We are disconnected from ourselves and the planet that nurtures us, body and soul. Violence and war have bred hunder, poverty, loss of culture, and a lack of understanding concerning basic human rights. Our waters, the blood of our Mother Earth, have become too polluted to drink, and the air in some places to polluted to breath. Do we really want it this way, they ask? Do we not want a future generation? We have lost the most fundamental teaching: that all life is sacred. All life is One. The Grandmothers say we will wake up from our trance now, as the Earth has begun shaking.
Prophecies of each of the Grandmothers' traditions state that we have entered the Purification times. The purification process is a natural cleansing of all the accumulated negativity caused by being materially instead of spiritually oriented. All of life must be honored and protected again, allowed their natural source of shelter and nourishment. Since all of the living cosmos is connected, the Grandmothers teach that healing, quality of life, and spiritual evolvement are never separate from politics and consciousness. Culture that does not derive or base itself on nature's harmony has no roots and can't survive long. Without a deep connection to nature, people drift into sickness, grow negative, and destroy themselves spiritually and physically. Deeply connected to nature, we witness beauty everywhere, including wholly within ourselves.
Each part of the world spectrum holds wisdom, a key to reigniting humanity's pure spark. The Thirteen Grandmothers came in council to share their prayers, rituals and ceremonies to create global healing and forge an alliance creating one voice. They speak of ways of bringing about sustainability, sovereignty and a unified alliance among all the Earth's people in the interest of life and peace.
The Secret Prophecy of the Grandmothers
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