When I’d come home from school, my “Great” met me at the door on her “horse”.
There is no bond thicker with otherworldly love than the bond between grandparent and child. For me, first, it was my great-grandmother.
Her two-wheeled, ever-faithful steed, was really a wheelchair. But, you couldn’t tell me nothing, as her hands lifted me into her lap, wheels moaning a tipsy blues song, the “horse” trotting us to her room.
She’d re-braid my hair, like hers, meticulous hands, parting my crown down the middle, a braid on either side, for balance. She’d sing, “one side loves you soft, and the other side loves you powerful and protects you.”
See, the great Shaman, Malidoma Some tells us, children are supernatural before our spirits are tamed. Newly born, children have so much news of the Spirit World to share with elders, who’ll, one day return to the Otherside.
I believe this is why I was so close with my “Great”, why so many “greats” gravitate to newborns. Children come to love a softness into the twilight of our elders’ lives. And elders teach children how to love our own hands, in a world that abuses our magic.
As she’d cradle my ear against her heart’s formidable downbeat, I learned the sacredness of hands. She’d turn on the Jetsons, but I’d settle in and listen to the blood songs between us.
Hands, sacred, like hers, that battered, & fried fish into elaborate love letters.Hands that transformed wheelchairs into stallions. Hands that were forbidden to touch alcohol.
But, hands that wiggled her off her metal horse. Hands that replaced her phantom legs, to shimmy her down each stair, into the basement. Hands that ponied her up to the basement bar to pour herself a drink.
Hands that, for good measure, would leave her drained glass on the bar. Just a hint of whiskey to let folx know she was there, and she’d do what the hell she wanted.
Great would tell me, with a wild, throaty, Virgo laugh, “When you’re meant to have something, then, you’ll have it. Don’t be afraid…And you don’t have to tell nobody how you did it.”
For the last three nights, I’ve felt Great’s hands on my legs. An ancestor, she sits at the foot of my bed, with stories from beyond, new-born. She tells me,
“Love is balance. The only thing stronger than the way I’ve loved you, is the way I protect you from the other side.
There is a power gathering there. We’re guiding you.
You think you know. But, you have have no idea how deeply you are loved.”
And each morning now, I wake up with my hair in two braids.
Today’s Ritual: Ancestor Reverence
The spirit plane sends elders and mentors who see your spirit. Sometimes, they’re family, and sometimes, chosen family in the form of a teacher, or neighbor. They are our guides, who only love us stronger as they transition.
Tonight, light a candle. And outloud thank your ancestor. Tell them how deeply you love them, knowing love is otherworldly.
And perhaps, these politicians have never stopped to fully love their guides, or even recognize them. This is the only explanation for how anyone would value profit over the power of a great-grandmother and her horse.
Tonight, remember a story of an elder, whether a relative or not, who is the other half of your bloodsong.
What did they teach you? What of their heart do you carry with you?