GRANDMOTHERS WISDOM: Reverence For All Creation
– A Book and Multimedia Project
The Grandmothers Wisdom project will include a large-format book with photography, artistic renderings and text, a multilingual educational website, and an exhibition with audio and video that will convey how, as taught by their ancestors, the Thirteen Grandmothers live and pray, work with plant medicines, and conduct ceremonies and rituals in their homes, on their lands and in their communities.
The Grandmothers Wisdom documentation phase was carried out over a period of seven years, between 2010 and 2017. During this period we visited each of the thirteen Grandmothers communities for two to four weeks at a time. Through photographs, storytelling, artistic renderings, video, and recorded dialogue, the Grandmothers Wisdom project has created a multimedia documentation of each of the Grandmothers’ living traditions, oral histories, ways of prayer and ceremonial practices that are specific to each Grandmother’s place on earth. The content of this project is supervised by each of the Grandmothers, so that their voices and teachings will keep intact the character, beauty, and depth of their knowledge, and will serve as a testimony to these wise custodians and their communities, and the richness of their lives.
“The way that we preserve our ceremonies, our culture, is by sharing the knowledge with those who would take the time to listen.” Grandmother Mona Polacca, Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa
Indigenous peoples uphold the living legacy of ancient traditions, giving us deeper insight into the mystery of life and the importance of honoring the connection that exists among all beings, nature and the cosmos.
The Grandmothers Wisdom project centers on thirteen elder women known as the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. In 2004 the Grandmothers came together from the four directions of the earth for the first time, uniting their diverse spiritual and cultural lineages to form a global alliance of prayer, as well as spiritual and environmental activism. This partnership was formed in response to visions and legends that had been passed onto them by their elders, foreseeing this time as an epoch of great transformation. The Grandmothers have dedicated themselves to educating and inspiring individuals to consciously change the way in which they relate to each other as well as to all of creation. They are committed to keeping alive ancient ways of prayer, in order to bring peace and healing to humanity, and to safeguard the future of our planet.
Grandmother Bernadette Rebienot from Gabon, Africa, asserts: “Humanity must enter a reconciliation with nature if we wish to create a new reality, a new alliance. We must learn the essential and mysterious language of nature that is always speaking to us, the language the great initiates have always understood.”
The Grandmothers view the earth as the giver of life and the mother of all things. They are painfully aware of the dire state of our planet and have announced themselves as forerunners of an international movement with a common ideology to preserve our natural world. They are teaching reverence for all creation – the earth, air, fire, water and all living beings. A Hopi proverb says: “When the grandmothers speak, the world will begin to heal.”
Through their global union, the Grandmothers have collectively become a catalyst for the awakening of the feminine principle and its healing force — without which, wars will continue without end and aggression will rule. They believe that saving the planet calls for a profound transformation in the heart, mind, and spirit of human beings, and that it is the nurturing spirit of the feminine that is needed as an alternative perspective at all decision-making levels regarding peace, justice, human rights, indigenous rights, environmental protection, and the health and welfare of children and the elderly.
Grandmother Tsering Dolma Gyaltong expresses her cultural perspective: “To keep the Tibetan culture alive, we who still remember must teach our children and grandchildren, or a whole beautiful culture with its own unique teachings will be lost to humanity.”
The Grandmothers carry the living wisdom of their tribes. Some of them are among the last few upholding the knowledge of their people. During this time of environmental upheaval and corruption of the human spirit, it is important for all of humanity that the wisdom of these teachings be preserved and communicated.