The Missing Grandmother

Author: Tinah Bee

Sitting at the Well of Origin, that Pool of Wisdom, I ask: Where to find the Missing Grandmother.
Why is She missing in the world.
Why is She missing in my world.
I wrap myself around this question and listen and wait…..
What I hear is the sound of tinkling Ice, a Song so clear and still.
What I hear is the sound of tinkling Ice turning into the sound of melting Water. And the sound of melting Water is slowly changing into a soft Whispering, a Whispering that seems to come from all directions.
I wrap myself around the Whispers and wait….

Whispers of Water

I’m standing on a Path, the Woods behind me, Woods I just left after wandering around for years and years. Grandfather Oak stands in front of me and smiles at me.
“Welcome back”, he says.
“Come and sit with me and tell me about your adventures in the Woods”.
I sit down at his Foot leaning my back against his Trunk and a sigh is finding its way out before it allows words to come out.
“I have been wandering around for years and years, sitting at many Campfires of many Peoples. Meeting Grandmothers from different Cultures, from different Colors and different places. I heard a lot, I learned a lot. Stories, Songs and Dances. Ancient Wisdom seen through their Lenses. I learned a lot.
But while leaving the Woods all at the sudden I realized that I have missed one specific Fire, that I have missed one specific Grandmother, a Grandmother of the North, a white one. I didn’t found Her Sacred Fires. Did I miss it or don’t we have a Native Indigenous European Grandmother?”
Silence. “Grandfather, where is the Grandmother of the North, of my indigenous Heritage.”
“I cannot tell you where She is. You must find Her yourself. Rest a bit here and then continue your Journey. This Path will lead you into another Spiral of the Labyrinth of your Life. Only You can Walk that Spiral. Only You can Walk the Labyrinth of Your Life.”

tracks-in-the-snowAnd so after resting for a certain time I step back on the Path again, like a Cross-Country Skier stepping back in the Tracks again, to follow this Long and Winding Road, up and down and flat again, down and up and flat again, meandering like a river leaving debris on one side, showing erosion on the other side.
After a certain time I hear tinkling Ice again and the sound of melting Water. The Path widens and like a clearing in a forest there in front of me is an open space which sounds like a Cave, a large Cave.
Now I hear the sound of a burning Fire and a voice saying: “Welcome back. Welcome back. Come and sit with me by the Fire. Rest a bit and then tell me about your adventures in the Woods.”

And again I tell my story about my wandering around in the woods, sitting at many Sacred Fires, learning a lot and about missing one specific Fire, missing one specific Grandmother, She who dwells in the North.
How come that this Grandmother is missing in the world. How come that She is missing in my world.

“This Grandmother has never been missing in the world nor in yours. She has always been there. But many people are not looking into Her direction and so don’t see Her. She is not easy to find. She is not loud but silent. She is not spectacular but simple. She is hidden beyond Cultural Walls built from patriarchal Stones so one has to break down these Walls and has to dig really deep through snow and ice to get to Her. One has to reach beyond the war-like male dominant stories, songs, myths and legends to find Her, the Native European Grandmother, the white one. She belongs to the Circle of Indigenous Grandmothers but is mostly overlooked, forgotten, living so far away up in the very North. And who does like Cold and Darkness and is willing to set out on a Journey to find Her?”

“The Grandmother of the North has always been there.
Her Wisdom is Singing in your Blood, carved into your Bones, Woven into your Heart and Soul. She has been calling you and you finally heard Her and have followed Her Voice.
You can rest here as long as you wish and then I’ll send you back, back into the world. But before you go we will Sit by the Fire and I will Share the Secrets of the North with you. And I will offer you a Drink, the Mead of Memory, so that you will remember everything you’ve learned here when being back in the world. So it will be, so it will happen.”

I find myself back at the Well of Origin.
Do I still hear the sound of the burning Fire or is it the melting Water?
No, this sound is different.
What I hear is a Spinning Wheel.
Someone out there is Spinning the Threads and softly Singing a Song.
I listen and I hear a clear voice saying: “Good Morning, Granddaughter, welcome back” and a Spindle is laid in my hands.

grandmother-on-spinning-wheel

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ISA and the Staff Carrying Woman

Author: Tinah Bee

“You may not remember
But someone
in some future time,
will…”
Fragment of a Sappho Poem – 7th C.BCE.

northern lights ice fields

ISA = I Wait
And the Mystery within is contained and revealed

It was at Winter Solstice 2014 that Isa came my way. In the turmoil of changes She came to me with the Message to Sit and Be Still.
Be still and Listen, Listen and Feel. No plans, no solutions, just sit and be still.
It was at night before falling asleep that She invited me to come and stand on the Ice with Her experiencing spaciousness, feeling clarity and noticing under the Ice some soft rippling of the Waters, deep down below.
She helped me to slow down, to wait and watch things appear instead of pushing them into form. She helped me to wait for things to be ripened and ready to harvest or to let die. She helped me to stand strong in all this waiting and to always find my way back to the Center, the Center of my life, the Center of Life.isa rune

But Isa is more than Ice only.
The Ice Rune Isa is shaped as a vertical line, as a Stav or Staff.

Staff Carrying Woman
It was in 2012 that I met Isa for the first time during a workshop dedicated to IxChel, Mayan Goddess of the Moon and Waters, Childbirth and Death, Weaving and Rainbows.
IxChel leads me back to the Mayan Moondance.

 

top of Ixchel's TempleIn 1994 the Keeper of the Mayan MoonDance, Isabel Varga, decided the time had come to send the Dance out into the world for the Healing of Mother Earth and all Her Children.
During 4 nights (the 4th being the Full Moon Night) Women are dancing from Sunset till Sunrise within a Sacred Circle while Men are playing the Drum and Singing the Songs outside the Circle. Yin and Yang working together in a very harmonious way.
Women traditionally promised to dance the Moondance at least 4 times in their lives. After the 4th Dance they became a Staff Carrying Woman and were allowed to start their own Moondance Circle.
I’ve danced this Dance 4 times in my life and became a Staff Carrying Woman,  but I did not open up a new Moondance Circle.

 

After wandering around for many years I finally have found my way back to the Sacred Fire of my indigenous European Ancestors.
As my Foremothers have shown me the way back to the so called Motherlands, Old Europe as Marija Gimbutas named it, the ancestral Lineage of my grandfather (my mothers father) who was German has led me to Northern Europe as well as DNA Matches with the North.
The Runes have had my interest since long but it was not until the past few months that 3 Women have come my way who have each inspired me to step back on Track, to look differently at the, for me, macho Sagas of Norse Mythology and reach beyond Indo-European Culture (beyond Odin’s time).
Both my Maternal and Paternal Lineages have guided me back into Pre-Indo-European (Pre-Patriarchal) times to find the Broken Threads and Heal them.
And all the time from 2012 up until now,  Isa kept coming back and I wondered what Message she might have for me, Isa the Ice Rune, Isa the Stav.

Then I find the Volva / Staff Carrying Woman of Ancient Northern Europe.volva simple drawing with stav
Women who could transform one substance into another by Spinning, Weaving, Churning, Baking etc., but who also used their Stav to travel in the Inner World.
By using the Stav in making Rhythms, Chanting and Voicing Tones and Runes they could find their way in the Inner World and still do so.
And what struck me like a lightning bolt is that as the Volva can find her way in the Inner World with help of her Stav, I have found my way in the outer world during whole my life with help of my Staff being a Cane, the Cane I call Isa now.

So Isa is very important for me being Stillness and being the Stav in the outer world as well as in the Inner World.

Sitting at the Well of Origin repairing the Broken Threads and Weaving them back into the Web of Wyrd I smile realizing Volva and Bees have something in common.
As the Staff Carrying Women are known for their ability of transforming one substance into another so are Bees – Transmuting Nectar into Honey.
And Tinah Bee, Sister of the Runes, Woman of the Always, was born.

NOrns

Sitting at the Well of Origin I hear the Water whispering Names, Names of Dreams about montezuma_well_by_derek150-d45me5qto be born.
Here is the place where Starry Children come down to wrap themselves into a Dream and set out on a Journey on the River of Life.
Here Threads are Spun and magically Woven into Songs and Stories who want to live with us, wherever we go, whever we are.
I hear a Voice, a Clarity, I recognize from a time long ago when She visited me during a night, wanting me as Her Rite of Passage, wanting me as Her Stairway from Heaven onto Earth.
But I would not be the one to open that Door for Her.
Now She is asking me to tell a Story, to tell the Story of Blood Sacrifice.

indian woman with corn basketVoices of Women rise up in the Sky, come down to the Earth again while entering a Circle of Sacred Stones. Some of us are carrying baskets filled with Corn. While walking the Circle round and round, Chanting the Chant, Singing the Song, we generously Offer Corn to this Land, to Mother Earth, to our Ancestors and to the Work to come.
When all is given in Song and Offering we are gathered around an Altar of Stone and each Woman, one by one, will now walk up to the Altar to do the Work. When I’m standing there in the Center of the Circle for a split second I’m panicking. I’m holding a baby in my arms laying her down in front of me. No, I haven’t done that….It simply cannot be that I have ever done this and I definitely won’t do it now.

I take the saw in my hand with discernment and start working. While sawing I turn the Head round and round until a little Lid is left, almost falling off.
I remove the upper part of the Head which makes the sound of a cork leaving a bottle of champaign.
The Heart is opened.
I step back to take my place holding her in my arms, against my heart, Heartbeat to Heartbeat, to beat as one.
When everyone is finished we walk back to the Temple still Chanting the Chant, still Singing the Song.
That weekend The Sacred Gourd will be transformed into a Healing Rattle.
That weekend I will be transformed by Experiencing the Meaning of the Word Sacredness and it is there that I find the Story of Blood Sacrifice.

In that night long ago when I heard her voice, that Clarity, it was then that I realized that I had made a choice based on culture, opinions and beliefs without even asking the Wisdom of my Heart.
The Chatter in my head had been so loud that the Voice of my Heart could not be heard.
Now this Clarity, this Clear voice is Piercing through all the sounds opening my heart and I cannot but Feel.
Ten years later I will hear a story of a young woman having an abortion at will and falling into a depression afterwards.
A Peruvian Shaman told her that we, women of the western world, don’t have a clue about Blood Sacrifice.
He said that when a woman, consciously or not, makes the choice to not have children she is practicing Blood Sacrifice saving her energy needed for carrying, birthing and feeding a child for something different, for something she alone knows it is worth it.
And I wondered what can it be that is so important that its worth a life?

Again ten years later I hear a woman say that, women who have no children or sons only, being the last of the female branch of their lineage, are here on earth for a very special reason and again I wonder, what can it be that is so important that its worth a life?

I was haunted by this thought like a prey hunted by a predator constantly having that feeling I have to come up with something really special to do in and with my life.

Years later I will learn about the True Meaning of Blood Sacrifice.womencircle
The word Sacrifice comes from Latin sacrificium = Sacred Action or Action performed by a “Sacer” = Holy Person or, in Sacredness.
True Blood Sacrifice has nothing to do with killing but has everything to do with Blood Offering, Offering Moon Blood practiced by Women in ancient times. They carried the Wisdom that Moon Blood is filled with nourishments enriching the Land, nurturing Mother Earth and this for sure is a Holy Action practiced in Sacredness.
For a long time Mother Earth has done without it but these days more and more Women are tapping in that Ancient Wisdom and start practicing this True Blood Sacrifice again.

Sitting at the Well of Origin Whispering Waters are no longer heard. The Well is shrouded in Mystery.
And I ask: what is so important that its worth a Life?
And from beyond the clouds where the primordial Waters lie a Face is piercing through the Mists, smiling.
And it is the Voice of my Heart I hear now when its softly whispering – when its softly whispering My Name.

lynn andrews transformation

“Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down
lift your heart toward heaven
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven —
only you.
It is in the midst of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.”
~Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“I’m standing in a meadow. Grass all around. In front of me on a distance a long long wooden fence and a Deep Knowing within that when Robert Madden Moon Over Smith BridgeI will pass that fence there won’t be a returning back for ever more.”
I am 9 having extreme high fever and did not pass.
I had a Drink of the Ancient Mead but nothing did I know about Mead and the Well of Origin.

 

In November 1983 this Window of Knowing will open once again. It is like the Pause between two Breaths, like the Pause between two Heart Beats, this split second out of time and space in which a Clear Deep Knowing can come through and it came through, to me, once again that evening while joining a lecture about Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist whose multidimensional approach, whose Bridging Science and Sacred deeply resonated in me. It is on that evening of recognition, of feeling acknowledged for the firtst time in my life, that I all at the sudden Know that everything that has happened in my life up until that moment makes sense, that it simply makes sense. No more, no less.
Again, I had a Drink of the Ancient Mead but still I did not know anything about Mead and the Well of Origin.

Mead Woman

A few years later I am entering what would turn out to be the Darkest Time of my life.
In that Dark Season 4 Faeries come to me handing down to me, each, a Holy (Healing) Spell. They Teach me how to Speak these Spells and if I will do it the right way I will be able to Heal myself, they say.

1. “God and Devil are the same as Good and Evil. The difference is only one letter.”
This simple Saying opened my Ears for Language. When reading books words would spontaneously open and close again showing me a new world that, in its Essence, was an old and ancient one. And so I learn that Female Words are not only the opposite of Male Words but that they include Male Words and doing so can be seen as Symbols of Wholeness, of Oneness, as is the Circle.
Words have never been the same again. They are transmuted into Symbols, into Hieroglyphs, Gateways into another Realm.
The first Word showing Herself to me that way was “She” “S-He”

2. “Ask yourself why you feel what you feel.”
“If you want to break up any relationship you’re in, and know that you have the right to do so, just realise that you will bring yourself with you, always. A new relationship may look bright and shiny but one day you will meet yourself again and come to that place of walking away again or asking yourself: why do I feel what I feel.”

3. “Your Body Remembers”
Being on my way to my Psychology Lessons as part of my Holistic Healing Study. Sitting in the train, feeling sick, having irregular heartbeat, panick, full of fear.
Surprise. It went so well and here it is again.
Teacher: “did this happen before?”
Me: “Yes.”
Teacher: “Was it also on the way to your Lessons here?”
Me: “Yes.”
Teacher: “Your Body remembers. Your Body remembers and reacts the way it did the very first time.
As long as what is beyond these feelings is not completely worked through your body will remember and react, any time you will get in a situation similar to the original one, as being in that original one.”

And so I began to Drink from the Cup of Memory, from the Cauldron filled with Precious Mead, that Blend of Spirit, Memory and Poetry that would lead me through the Underworld, through the Labyrinth of Love to finally find myself in the Center of what turned out to be a Lemniscate.

4. “Bond And Bondage”
“When you’re standing in one Circle with someone else, only one of the two of you can stand in the Center. The other always has to turn with the centered one, as a Satellite, without any Will.
When you’re standing in an 8 with someone else, the two of you will each stand in the Center of your own Circle, still being connected through the Golden Thread forming the 8, the Lemniscate.
This makes the difference between Bond and Bondage.”

And so I started Dancing my Dance, started Singing my Song of Creation, gaining more and more Understanding of the Ancient Mead and the Well of Origin.

dancing under night skyJupiter and venus dancing in night sky

Trees are sanctuaries.
Whoever knows how to speak to them,
whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.
They do not preach learning and precepts,
they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Hermann Hesse

hawthorntree

It is said that Trees are Keepers of Memories. During the Dark Moon of Dreaming Moon I chose the Hawthorne (or does She chose me) to do my Ritual with. She is standing North of our House and while Offering Mother Earth and May (or Hawthorne) my Blessings Whispers of Memories are reaching out for me and I Listen, and this is what I Hear:
Footsteps, footsteps of a child on a road creating different sounds because of echoes coming back from empty spaces and from Trees along the road. I hear footsteps of an adult, too, the child’s father I guess. He is walking on her right side and right from him are the Trees. They are playing a Game called: Counting the Trees. Every time the child hears the echo coming back from a tree, when she hears she is passing a Tree she says: “Yes, there’s one, and another one”. And the voice of her father: “Yes, then sound of Grin”. Her mother and sister are there as well and they all have fun and I can hear their laughter. They are happy because they all See the same Tree, if its with their eyes or their ears.
Years later I will learn that the Trees taught me, as a Kid, Echolocation or Flash Sonar, that Trees have been my Teachers in Imaging the World with help of Sound.
But in those early days this was a favorite Game of the Child, and her Family.Country Diary : Noctule Bat (Nyctalus noctula) peering out of tree hole

Years later the Tree would come back in my life as an Old Friend, patiently waiting for me to find him so he could comfort me and give me a place to rest.
It is in my mid-thirties in a period of my life that I feel threatened and full of fear that I, on a certain moment, find myself on the bottom of a Well, a cold chilly wet Well with high slippery walls all around. I am sitting on the ground not knowing how to get out. After a long while I start climbing, hands and feet against the wall. Again and again I slip back but I hold on wanting out of this gloomy place so badly and after a very exhausting long time I finally can grab the edge of the Well with one hand, pull myself up and over it and roll out. Being very tired I lay still for a while but then slowly get on my feet again and start looking for Stones. I want to lay Stones on the opening of the Well, I want to lay lots of Stones on and over it to protect myself for falling in again. Every Stone I place represents someone who loves me and I say their Names out loud, I name them all. So, I create a Monument of Love.

cairn
When I am ready it is still no time to rest. First I have to get away from this deep whole, this Well, as far as I can and so I crawl up a Hill. Being on top, looking back, I can see the Well deep down below with a Cairn built over and around it. I crawl a bit further and there He is, an Old Old Tree, an Old Old Oak. He invites me to sit with Him and rest. And so I do.
It is 26 Years later that I, coming out of the woods, stepping upon a Path, find myself again Facing Oak. It is then that I realize that sitting down and rest at his foot had only been the Beginning of another Journey, a Journey that would last 26 years, wandering through the woods, through a Labyrinth of Paths leading me back to the same Center, over and over again.

Coming out of the woods I find myself on a Clearing, back on Track, back on my Path and it is Oak who is there to welcome me.

oak-tree

All these Memories are Whispering to me when I stand with Hawthorne on the Dark Moon of Dreaming Moon. She who is standing in front of me, Woman ready to Receive, May, Her I Offer my Sacred Waters/Sacred Blood, Walking around Her, Singing, Chanting, Telling Mother Earth Peace is on the way.

Freya

“The River of Tears is transformed into a River of Love”

We stop at the Riverside and walk towards the water. I hear the Voice of the man saying a Prayer, saying a Prayer to the River

and he asks us to connect ourselves with the water and so I do. I fill my hands with water and gently let it flow over my head, my heart, over me. A Water Blessing to give thanks for the precious time we just spent with Her, A Beloved Woman of the People.
But do I feel it that way. Do I feel connected with the water?Down at the River
How can I feel Connectedness, a Child being educated in a culture based on duality, on seeing things apart from each other splitting them into Good or Bad, Man or Woman, Light or Dark, the River or I, Here or There.
Here or there, that’s my Song for today.

There is another River, here in the Netherlands, that has been of importance to me in the past and still is so it seems.
I am born in the North of the Netherlands, in a Region called Groningen. When I’m 4 I have to leave home to go to a special school in the Center of the country. In those days connections aren’t that easy yet. No cars, no Internet. I came home with holidays only.
Every time, traveling from the North to the Center of the Country, the train would pass a bridge, a very long bridge which caused so much noise when riding over it, it sounded like Iron going over Iron. This bridge is connecting one side of the River Ijssel with the other side. But for me that bridge didn’t connect anything at all, for me it was loud and clear, a border, a border between the good, Home, and the Bad, School.
Every time we passed that bridge I had that experience of separation, of disconnectedness.

black and white
That bridge divided my life in Here and There with a yawning gap in between. That was the reason why leaving always was a very painful experience. Although the Child learned through time that after every leaving home there was a returning back home again, leaving, saying goodbye would continue to be a difficult thing which caused separating here from there and her from the others.
It will take too much time and words to share in detail how I found my way back home, back to myself, but it wasn’t the bridge causing that feeling of disconnectedness. It was
the Child herself who birthed this feeling and only she can change this by Carding the Wool, undoing her Thread from the Old and Weaving in the New.

I meet the Old Woman on the Porch of her house. We have a good time together and she invites me in her Medicine Lodge. I know I finally have found the Teacher, the Guide, I have been waiting for so long. She will Teach me the Language of the Stones. First I have to find a certain Stone near on in the water. This Stone, so they say, will absorb the sadness and grief of my body.
One morning waking up I know all at the sudden where to go and search for this Stone, where to go and find it. At the Ijssel. There I will start my quest, there I will bring my Inner Child and do a Ceremony with her to let her experience that a bridge is a connection and not a separating border, that the water is not separating but connecting one side of a River with the other.
But before I get the chance to do so a vivid memory comes in.

When we have done our Prayers at the River we again step into the car and find a ford to cross the River. I feel very clearly how we go down, from the riverside, through the water, I can hear its sound against the bottom of the car, to go up again on the other side. This strong memory makes me realize that the experience of crossing the River the way we did has made me feel the meaning of the word “Connection”, on the moment itself on unconscious level, now by remembering it enlivening my consciousness.
The Child also got it and she relates the car with the Dolphin, the Dolphin who would bring our Ancestors from Old Europe over the Waters from this World to the Otherworld to find answers to their questions. And with that She reminds me of my Clan Mother Helena’s Culture which was not based on Duality but on Oneness.
We are very happy, the Child and I, and we have the feeling that there’s no need anymore to go the River of our time the Ijssel. But a Stone is waiting there for us, an important Stone, and so we do go.
During my preparations I again and again get an “Image”, a sensory Experience so to speak, of a Stone and of the place where I will find Her. That this “Image” turns out to be a true Gatekeeper Guiding me straight away to the right spot to me is a stunning Teaching of Connectedness.

And so we again are standing at the waterside. This time I hear my own Voice, I hear my own Voice saying out loud a Prayer, a Prayer to give thanks and this time I Bless myself with the water without being asked to do so.
I offer Herbs from both my Homelands to let them together drift away on the Rhythm and the Tides of these Sacred Waters like I let myself drift away on the Rhythm and the Tides of the River of my life meandering through Time and Space leaving me here and sometimes there.
Clouds break open and Sunbeams reaching down are warmly kissing the water and me in their Blessing of this Holy Moment in Time.
All Is Good.

sunandstones

caption id=”attachment_142″ align=”alignnone” width=”604″]hourglass+nebula_NASA Hourglass Nebula, Birth and Death of a Star[/caption]

Emerging from beyond the Clouds, from where the Primordial Waters lie, I slowly descend along the Cord of Intentions Woven by the Great Hive Mother. There are Knots in it, Sounds, Words, Images, Hieroglyphs to help me remember, to show me the way. And while going down She is Weaving me into Her Dream, into Her Plan. And while going down I’m Wrapping myself into my Plan, into my Dream.
When I’m almost down I for the last time call out to Her:
Hive Mother, Please, send me the Songs, send me Stories needed to Remember, to Remember My Name.
Send me the right Words, let them spring forth like the Waters from the Source, Sacred Living Waters, for they will be needed as Mantra’s of Medicine.
Then I step upon the Earth and start walking…..And on that very moment I hear the most beautiful Song rising up from the Birth Chambers deep down below:

catal huyuk
Catal Huyuk

Great Woman, Mother of birds
Your shrine is sticky with beeswax and feathers
Your shrine is loud with throbs, with the beat of wings
You are the vessel beaked and breasted
You contain us as earth contains us, as sky contains stars,
Our ancestors, our yet unborn
We pour through you life after life
The vessel dips into the river, water pours out on earth
Earth drinks of us as corn sucks rain from your breast, as
rain feeds the river

Great Sky Woman
Your shrine is deep in the cradling earth
Your shrine is the spirit’s resting place, beginning place
We are your vessel
You are milk on the wing
We contain you as the body contains breath as the breast
contains milk
You pour through us life after life as breath pours through
us,
The ancestors, the yet unborn return,
Our bodies are their vessels
Earth drinks of us as rain feeds the river

The spirit rises on the wing
The room bums with power; you hear bees; you taste honey.
The woman cries out, her contractions ripple through you like
the bee wings that carry you up as you match breath with
breath as you been trained to do.
The bird comes for you and you ride her out into the free sky
where the stars are smeared like breast milk in a vessel of
dark brew.
They are the souls of the dead; they are the unborn.
They are a vast field of grain and here is your grandmother
walking toward you holding three different stalks of wheat
from three fields.
“Plant these together,” she says. Then she is gone.
The bird plucks a star like a glowing fruit with her beak.
The wings beat with your breath. “She’s crowning!” the women
cry. “Bear down. Push!”
You cry out together with one voice The child slides free.
“A girl!” the women cry in delight.
They give her to her mother, who holds her close as the old
women chant a song of praise:
A great gift, a precious gift has come to us . . .
You catch the birth blood in a bowl to pour over the fields.
The child’s skin is covered with the waxy vernix that
protected her in the womb.
The old women rub it into her body and smear some on their
faces. “It make you beautiful,” they say.

The shrine is filled with song and laughter.
Tomorrow you will walk the fields.
You will find seeds of three different kinds of grain and
plant them together.
When you have planted and harvested and planted again, season
after season, your daughters and daughters’ daughters
following after, you will have something new: a heavy headed
kernel, easy to thresh, a gift to the people from the
ancestors.
You have brought the knowledge through, for you are a
priestess of the women’s mysteries, shaman of the birth
chamber, ancestor-speaker, the bird’s rider,
a woman of knowledge.

America's Stonehenge
Woman made of soil by women’s hands together at America’s Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice.

The Old Women Chant is written by Starhawk dedicated to Marija Gimbutas and the Birth Chambers of Catal Huyuk