We did it every time we started our circle
introduced ourselves through our mother's line.
I am Dionne daughter of Jeanine, daughter of Winifred,
daughter of Sally...and there I would stop.
I had no connection past my great grandma,
"Big Grandma" is what I called her or so I'm told.
As I listened to the other women go back through
their mothers I felt a longing to know more.
Where did I come from?
Though my mom tried to help very few of the stories
of my family were written down let alone shared with her.
There were whispers that we had Native American blood
within us. I discovered this was a common story in many
African American household; a testament to the level of
shame and sadness the legacy of slavery has left with us.
We'd rather claim that heritage as if trading one painful
history for another was better. "Besides all of that was
grown folks business", she would tell me, "In my day kids
weren't allowed to listen to grown folks talk."
As the grown folks aged and past on coupled with the
sad history of this country, our stories...my stories were
I felt lost.
The question of identity has plagued many African
Americans. Like many before me, I longed to know
more than what little was safe to teach us in a few
paragraphs of a history book in school.
Among others, author Terry Pratchet is quoted as
saying “If you do not know where you come from,
then you don't know where you are, and if you don't
know where you are, then you don't know where you're
going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're
probably going wrong.”
What was my starting place and where the heck am
I going? This question burned within me.
Though the Internet proved useful in my initial search
(I found my great, great grandmother), I had reached
the great divide where no records of slaves were kept.
And still the longing to know consumed me. I wanted to
know what contribution to life in this country we made
beyond the shame and heartbreak of slavery.
I want to know what tribe my people came from.
Inspired by the show African American Lives, I decided
to take a DNA test to find out where my mother's people
originated from and reclaim them surrounded by circle
I have to tell you I went back and forth on the decision
because the information effects all the women from my
mother's side; aunts and girl cousins, my daughter and
any girl children that come from her. Would knowing and
sharing this information do harm to them? Would it shatter
our long held family beliefs about our place in the world?
Or would it elevate us, make us wiser and connect our
family to something deeper? Either way i had to know.
The process was painless; several cotton swaps rubbed
in my mouth sealed in a capsule and returned to a lab.
Within a few weeks I had the results.
We gathered in circle, my then tribe and me, placing
pictures on the altar and sharing stories of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. With each retelling
we breathed life into them until the room seemed to me filled
with their presences.
The results were read. With 98% accuracy my mother's
line came from Ghana. My mother ancestors were welcomed back and celebrated.
Knowing where I started out has helped me focus on where
I'm wanting to go. Knowing has brought a level of comfort
when thing along the journey get rough because there's a
well of strength from the ancestors within me waiting to be
Knowing gave me a deeper perspective of which ancestral
gifts to keep and which to walk away from. This is one act
which is without a doubt part of my legacy; my way to touch
seven generations into the past and seven generations into the future.
Knowing means I can say
without a doubt I am Dionne,
daughter of Jeanine,
daughter of Winifred,
daughter of Sally,
daughter of Mary
a daughter of Ghana.
May we do our part to make the little differences that mean a lot.
May each action we take flow through us and enliven our own lives so we may lead by example.
May Earth Day be every day
I'm not sure if it's that much of a secret but I'll tell ya...I love my crock pot.
It's probably my most powerful magic tool.
By harnessing it's power,
I create the most delicious meals to nourish my family's minds, bodies and spirits.
It's nothing short of uh-maze-zing! I see my crock pot as
a modern day version of Cerridwen's cauldron.
Cerridwen put all the ingredients into her cauldron
to make a brew for her son who was born deformed.
This brew she planned took a year and a day to complete
and her aim was to balance her son's deformity by giving
him great wisdom As the end of its simmering timing drew
near, she set her serving boy to watch it as she went to
collect the last of the herbs to put in.
The legends don't say how but three drops fell upon him
perhaps because he lifted the lid to look at the brew.
However it happened the instant those crops fell on him
he knew the brew would be of no use to Cerridwen and
he knew her rage would be great so he ran. Thus began
a dance of transformation- a hound following a rabbit, an
otter chasing a salmon, a hawk flying after a sparrow-
until finally he turned himself into a grain of wheat and
hid in the grain shed.
But Cerridwen turned herself into a hen and gobbled him up.
Implanting him within herself caused her to become
pregnant and she rebirthed him as the Talesin the
greatest wizard of all time. So how does this story
relate to my humble kitchen appliance?
Things that go into the crock pot like Cerridwen's
cauldron are forever transformed.
We add ingredients to it, put a lid on and through
the magic of slow heat within hours a meal is
prepared for ourselves and our loved ones.
The cauldron/crock pot is also a metaphor for
our life experiences. Some of the ingredient we
choose, others are given to us. What comes out
in our lives can be something more delicious than
any single ingredient that went in.
The key is the low heat; the actions we take based
upon what we have learned. At any time we are free
to change the recipe by opening out minds up through
personal development and trying new things but in doing
so we can't forget to allow ourselves the time needed to
combine these new additions to the rest of our delicious
lives in a way that resonates and works with our experiences.
May Cerridwen guide you to create your life by adding the right ingredients to transform you into the most delicious version of
yourself. May the people you touch with your delicious life be nourished in body mind and spirit. Ashe. Amen. And so it is.
Sorting through old journals last night, I found this gem I wrote a few years ago. I think I may have shared it in another incarnation but it still resonates as truth today so I share it with you to bless your day.
Last night I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror.
Who was that woman? I thought. A lump grew in my
throat tears back I did choke as I heard an old litany taunt:
Her toes are gawdy with sequin shoes on each jewel is
so tarnished and faded. Her hips are too wide and so are
her thighs no doubt from each cookie jar raided
Her tummy sticks out and there is no doubt there's never
been a meal missed. Her breasts are too large, her shoulders
too broad and her flaws? Please don't get me started
But then I looked in to my eyes, dear friends.
I looked deeply into my own eyes.
I saw Goddess there and as the tears fell
a new litany came forth to flaunt:
Your toes are sparkly with sequin shoes on, each jewel represents a road traveled. Your hips are wide yes and
so are your thighs the secrets of birth they've unraveled.
Your tummy stands out and there is no doubt you've
enjoyed all of my Earthly gifts. Your breasts nursed
your babes, your shoulders relief gave and those so
called flaws make you bighearted
You are a reflection of me dear one
A direct incarnation of me
Wipe those tears from your eyes
And let your heart rise
Shine your light for all to see.
So if you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and
ask who that woman is
Pick up my refain your own praises please sing
And know that you too are Divine
Conditions must be just right for a volcanic eruption
to take place. The earth's plates must apply the right
amount of pressure on the magma chamber to force
it to the surface.
The same is definitely true of me.
I've put a lot of pressure on myself to force my work to the
surface. It was only when I started applying the right tools
to my situations that I began to see and understand how all
of the different pieces of Goddess Tea House are coming
together to be of service to the world.
That's what's being reflected back to me with this week of Goddess Whispers. The card again comes from the Marashinsky/Janto Goddess Oracle deck, where I pulled Pele (awakenings).
Typically I make an altar to the Goddess I'm working with
in order to get to know her better. This mini altar is where I connect with her daily. This is similar to having tea and a
chat with a good friend. Sometimes I journal what I know
about each Goddess and what she has to tell me.
Because I pull all my Goddess Whisper card during the new
moon, I check the Goddess Tea House Facebook page to see what I channeled. I'm often surprised by how in tune these
readings are for the day they are posted.
As the week progresses I'll be sharing more information and
insights on Pele. I hope you find them helpful in building your own relationship with the Divine Feminine.
I'm Dionne, a Natural Rhythms Creation Coach and Elemental Forces of Creation Oracle Reader. I teach people how to tune into to the power of the elements and rhythms of nature to design a life they love