Some times when tears come to my eyes they only are only reflecting
my heart that is feeling the pain. The pain is not of this present
time but of past pain and loss of my family.
We all cry inside for many things: for family and places, it is the
nature of our way as humans. We remember and miss that which we are
not part of any more. Memory is a strange and magical thing it can
recall to the minute our past like it was yesterday.
The memory can tap into our very ancient memories making us dream
of places we physically have never been. In this space of memory and
dream time we can reconnect with all things. Our minds are endless
sorces of adventure and learning.
My Grandmother told me she could go into her memory and find the herbs
that she needed to heal others. I would listen as she spoke to the
procession of people who found their way to her back door. The house
we lived in sat back in the edge of the trees on a some what steep
hill. The base of the hill rested behind the house making it shady
in the summer time when the sun passed over from East to West.
The winters could be just the opposite bringing us freezing, sunless
evenings. This never seemed to bother Grandmother she was always busy
no matter what. I watched as people staggered up the incline to our
back porch summer and winter. Nothing ever stopped them from coming.
I think sometimes Grandmother liked that isolation and space the inaccessibility
the location gave us.
Spring and summer we gathered the plants and hung them each in their
time for drying.
Roots came in the early spring and in the fall for making salves and
also for drying. There was always something that needed to be gathered
I helped with the baskets and back pack hauling the plants up to the
house and tying them in neat bundles to dry on the kitchen rafters.
People came off and on carrying offerings of eggs, smoked meats, and
vegetables some times flour and corn meal were left in the old offering
basket on the back porch. No one ever used the front door or came
when it was full day light, the visitors came early morning or late
Grandmother would set the person down and wait until they spoke of
what there problem was. She always made boiled coffee and gave this
to the person. When they had drank this strong and wonderful smelling
brew she would take the coffee cup from their hands. She would swirling
it to cast the coffee grounds around the bottom of the old white metal
cup. When it was all settled she would read the coffee grounds as
if she were looking into their minds.
After she had listened to the person and looked into the coffee cup
she would take the old turtle shell from the shelf.
The turtle shell was then half filled with spring water, Grandmother
took it into a little dark room off the kitchen were the herbs were
The person who had come for help just had to sit in silence until
she returned . I would clean up the coffee cups and sit watching
the people from town. I liked to look at their shoes and clothing
many came from the near by hills. Not all were from the town some
were Indian and some white. Our door was never closed to any person
who came for healing.
The door creaked on its old hinges and she would come back out to
hand the person a small bag of herbs and instructed them in the use
of them. I would take them to the door and see that they were down
the path before I came back in to finish my work. I checked the basket
to see if an offering was left and bring that into the house. Grandmother
never asked if they left anything she did not take offerings in her
own hands only in the basket.
One time a man came from town riding his horse and wearing a big white
hat. I was very afraid when I looked in his face. We had good cause
to fear these town people, a visit from his kind was never a good
I motioned to take his horse reins, he climbed down and handed them
to me like one would a stable hand. I tied the horse under the cottonwood
tree, gave it a bucket of water and went inside.
Grandmother seemed to know this man and was listening to him talk
about his wife and child who was sick with some very bad thing. The
doctoring had not been able to take care of them and he said his wife
was going to die.
I saw Grandmother put her hand on his arm and say it will be all right.
I had never seen her touch one of these people before so knew that
he must be special.
She offered him the usual cup of coffee and looked at the grounds.
This time she did not got to the little room in the back of the kitchen
but pulled out a small pouch from her apron pocket. This pouch she
handed to him and instructed him in what to do with the contents.
Soon the man left on his horse as he came. I ask Grandmother who that
man was and she said he was the Doctor from the town.
Grandmother seemed to know when people were coming up the hill long
before they arrived. She said the birds told her of them coming and
what was happening in town. Grandmother never went to town if something
were needed it was up to me to walk that 8 miles in or catch a ride
from someone on the road.
I know we had no other people come except the ones seeking help yet
she know all things as if it were common news. I never heard her talk
much she sometimes would sing when she worked in the garden or the
kitchen. We did not need words to communicate and the peace and quiet
in the house was never broken with loud hard or angry words. If I
ask a question she would answer it in time, most of my questions found
answers in just every day living. We never expected instant answers
to our inquiries this all came in time and when we were ready for
Often Grandmother answered a question with a question making me work
hard to understand. I thank her ever day for these ways. I found in
time my answers were already in my head waiting for me to just find
The Great mystery serves us all no matter who or what we are as long
as we are connected to our memories.
At times in this outside world my head hurts and my ears seek the
quiet of the cabin near the mountain. There you could find your mind
again and not be disturbed when walking in that space.
My heart cries and makes tears on my cheeks as I find the memory of
my Grandmother. I see her long braid falling down around her shoulders
at night the silver shining in the lamp light. I reach out and catch
this rope she wove for me to weave into my own braid.
The strand of this braid connects me to my Grandmother as we are
all connected to our people. The memory flows from mother to daughter,
to grand daughter, the wisdom never lost in time.
Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds
this fall at the Wise
Woman Center Woodstock, NY:
MEDICINE WHEEL 101 ~ October 24, 2003
Medicine Wheel 101 is a wonderful way to enter the Native World
of animals and the sacred hoop of life. We will create our own personal
medicine wheel complete with colors and animals. The colors and animals
will help us to understand the path we have choosen to walk. The wheel
will open many doors as it is only the beginning of the intuitive
SACRED POINT of VIEW ~ October 25, 2003
From our place in the hoop we are all able to see a different perspective.
In this sharing we shall explore the abilities we hold in our sacred
misson here on Earth. As we unfold our personal talents we shall place
them on the medicine wheel. We will explore the ways in which we can
use our gifts to attain our goals in life. This is a self esteem nourishing
class so be prepared to have lots of fun and laughter.
Each Workshop: $50-$75. $25 deposit.
To register for a workshop, please send your deposit of $25 to:
Wise Woman Center
PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498
for questions, fax: 1-845-246-8081
Register online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com
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