The Grandmothers

I had a very upsetting experience two days ago with some men whose disrespect tunneled through my open heart and stole my sense of worth, triggering old “you’ll never be good enough because you are female” wounds.


Although I took appropriate action by making a formal complaint, I couldn’t shake the caul these men laid over me. Outrage bled into the old shame diminishing me not just because of this miserable experience, but because I am aware that even if the present attitudes towards women change I will not live long enough to see them… This patriarchal culture of woman hate is still going strong and unlike many I do not see authentic change in the wings, just more band aids.


And what is happening to women is happening to the Earth.


She is heaving in agony, seething, striking back with natural disasters that “man” has brought down on himself by his indifference, his need to control, his colossal arrogance.


Humans are an expendable species and by the time this global breakdown is complete we may well be extinct.


Woman centered women are weeping.


Woman centered women are grieving.


Some, like me feel that human extinction will bring relief.


We know of course, that the Earth will live on for a few more billion years. Ironically, she doesn’t need us but we desperately need her to survive…


It was in this frame of mind that I felt a powerful nudge to visit the ruin of Poshuowinge that is situated just across the river from me. I hadn’t been there all summer because the area had been closed due to the threat of forest fires.


Poshuowinge belongs to the Anasazi, ancestors of the Tewa speaking pueblo peoples that live here along the rivers of the Rio Grande and its tributaries. Today these Pueblos are self – governing, follow an agricultural calendar, and hold dances on feast days throughout the year.


When I first came to Northern New Mexico I knew nothing of the Tewa, but became a willing student, learning about the People from attending the dances, researching, and spending long periods of time with their petroglyphs, allowing them to speak through intuition and intention.


One of my favorite of these petroglyphs happens to be on a rock half way up the mesa and it was this stone that kept nudging me to make the climb to Poshuowinge yesterday.


It was a beautiful clear morning as I traversed the switch back path taking in the astonishing view. Ancient Pueblo peoples chose magnificent vistas not only for their beauty but also in order to protect themselves from Navajo, Ute, Apache, and other invaders.


As I approached the turkey stone I looked for the faded petroglyph of the Tewa world of concentric circles and distressed to see that more vandalism had occurred in my absence. Someone couldn’t resist pecking a link between the circles and the serpent.


When I reached my destination I stopped and put my hand on the warm stone examining it as I had so many times before. I placed my hand on the turkey. In the early morning light the patina highlighted a side usually shadowed, and it was then I saw her, with one hand raised to the sky with a moon over her right shoulder, and the other touching the Serpent, Ayanyu, spirit of the waters. There were more glyphs but I was transfixed because suddenly the meaning of the picture became crystal clear.


Standing before me in relief was an image of another woman of power dressed in regalia, and because of my research and visits to other ruins I now understood that this was also a holy place where the women came to pray, to grind precious herbs in the small depressions or cupules, and used the grinding stone depression located on top of the rock to work other substances… The concentric circles marked this third world of the Tewa.


At the same time I was absorbing this knowing I began to feel an easing of the grief I had been carrying since the day before…


I sat down holding a sense of peace to my heart, feeling completely restored. Seeing this image of a woman of power had healed me.


Last spring I had seen another petroglyph at Black Mesa (another Tewa site) that was in better condition the day of the Tewa Seed Ceremony. When I saw the pecking inside the woman dressed in her regalia I immediately intuited that she was a Seed Woman. Holding the serpent in one hand, touching the Earth with the other, this image oozed female power. The woman at Poshuowinge didn’t have seeds in her belly but she danced with the moon and stars, and touched the serpentine waters and that was enough for me.


When I returned home I looked out my window towards Poshuowinge that is located in front of three or four mountains. Depending on where you see them, they appear to be steps to the sky. I renamed those mesas The Grandmothers, after the spirit of the Elders, the Tewa women ancestors who had transcended time to comfort me and to heal old wounds.


Tonight they are with me still.


Photo of the Grandmothers as seen from Poshuowinge

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