Under the February’s full moon, surrounded by like-minded women in a gigantic circle of prayer, it was hard for me to say yes. Smack dab in the middle of Mexica ritual, with all the support I could ask for, I still had trouble accepting this practice as my own, feeling like I belonged there.
It took one of the grandmothers looking me straight in the eye.
“This is yours.” She said. “Your ancestors prayed for you to be here.”
Even though my mother’s parents immigrated from Mexico, I struggle with speaking Spanish. You cannot grow up in Chicago and not have Mexican culture become your culture, but I have benefitted from white privilege and look comfortably and palatably, if ambiguously, ethnic.
I feel more at home learning the Yoga Sutras and developing my asana practice than calling in the directions and singing in Nahuatl. I know more about Durga and Saraswati than I do about Coyolxauhqui and Tlazolteotl.
Why? Partially because the Mexica tradition is new to me, yes. Because I am surrounded by the normalized study of yoga and Hindu practices, especially here in Boulder. Because I am personally ashamed that I have to think really hard to answer someone who has asked me a question in Spanish. I feel like I missed the boat, that I’m a fraud, that I am undeserving of this path. That I will do it wrong.
At the same time, this path feels so right, so sweet, so comforting, with such potential and excitement.
Funny I feel this way about the Red Path, and don’t raise an eyebrow about studying Yoga.
My grandmother was an amazing woman: She immigrated from LeÓn in Guanajuato, Mexico to Chicago when she was little. She educated herself, danced flamenco and was a part of a bowling league and the Sierra Club. She tried very hard to get rid of her accent, and was mercilessly teased by her own family because of it. She never taught her children Spanish because she didn’t want them to face the same stigma she did. My grandmother was 35 when she married my grandfather, who was almost 10 years her junior–a very unusual thing at that time–and a total hunk. Until she died, my grandmother believed that he only married her because he felt sorry for her.
I inherited many things from her: crippling anxiety, body dysmorphia, and a wild, ceaseless spirit.
She was always so worried. So scared for me, so protective because she needed that same protection. She needed to feel safe.
I’m working with grandmother’s spirit to release the blocks around my body, around learning the language she fought so hard against. It goes further back: By following this path, I undo the fear around these practices. I have the freedom to explore and practice in joy and safety, where my relations were tortured and executed for doing the same.
Their pain, Her pain is my own, and will be my children’s if it goes unhealed. This is my work.
We are the Weavers. We are on the Earth right now–when unlimited information and human connection is at our fingertips–to draw from the traditions that we are called to, the rituals of our ancestors, and the beliefs that we have held in lifetimes past. There is no going back: As much as we love purity, the perceived simplicity of going back to the source, it is no longer fully applicable in the form that it once existed in.
It is up to us, the Weavers, to carefully blend ancient, proven practices into a personal creation that means something to us. We gather the knowledge with intention, reverence, respect, and acknowledgement of the past. As Weavers, we share the knowledge. It is not to be hoarded–that is the old story. There is enough for all of us, and as we heal, abundance comes.
You have been the witch set ablaze, the Siberian shaman, the Wise Woman and Medicine Man. You have been the persecutor, the rapist and pillager, the merciless tyrant, and god-fearing priest. You have been all of these things, and here you are now in this time: the Healer, the Priestess, the Weaver.
You have experienced the suffering of thousands of lifetimes. Now is the time to heal, not divide. These tools are yours. Use them.