Posts Tagged ‘Grandfather’s Wisdom’

My Grandfather’s Native Wisdom

 

My earliest memory of my Grandfather.. My mom and dad were staying with my grandparents in Carson City Nevada.. I was sleeping in my grandparents bed with my sister and I think my cousins ( it was such a long time ago so I am doing my best with my cloudy memories ) I woke up with a start as I heard my grandfather Cecil exclaim loudly ” Holy Mackerel ” ( he loved to say that when he was excited ) I remember reaching for the glass of water that my grandmother had placed on the night stand, to find it full of small floating, dead bugs .. my grandmother then burst into the bedroom ..she leaned over us and said softly ” Your grandpa wants you to get up and come outside to see the meteor shower.” I remember how excited my grandfather was; when we all sat on the front porch at his feet to watch the stars fall.. he was the biggest kid of all..and he said ” Father Sky is showing Mother Earth how much he loves her ” My grandmother loved that because she hugged him.. it was magical.. my grandfather had a way of making nature magical.

Around that same time; way back in the very early 70s.. my grandfather decided one night that we should go for a drive in his beat-up pick-up truck to go and chase the full moon.. I remember how he stuck his head out the window to howl like a coyote.. but he got the real coyotes going.. I remember that desert night being so bright with moon light and magic..and my grandfather saying ” You could drink the Milky Way through a straw tonight ” and it was like that in the desert ..back then anyway.. there wasn’t any artificial light .. just the stars and the moon…and on some nights the desert storms would cast their natural fireworks..

My Grandfather taught me much about the sacred… he loved to build a fire… one night in Washington.. we camped by a swamp.. it smelled so bad. I complained and complained about how much it stank.. he said to me ” That isn’t a bad smell, it’s the smell of life.. White people think everything should be perfect.” ( When I refer to my grandfather saying white people.. he meant tamed and overly domesticated people..or conformist..to him ” The Man” meant people who invented the plastic world of consumerism ) He said of the swamp ” Everything must rot and die back to make room for new life.. that smell is life.. with out things decomposing .. that would be the real crap.. Mother Earth is completing a cycle.. that smell is the smell of green ” It was from that moment on that my favorite color became green.

As we sat by the fire and it sparked up into the sky.. my grandfather said to me ” Do you see how the sparks are like the stars Gracie? Do you see how you are like the stars Gracie? Do you see that your ancestors are like the stars..do you see that the stars.. the fire is inside of you.. do you see that you are your ancestors Gracie? We are ancient.. do you see that Gracie?” I was about 9 years old..and I said ” Yes grandpa.. you helped me see I am the stars.” I could tell he was pleased.. He then picked up his banjo.. and he started to beat it like a drum.. like a heart beat.. and I knew it was the heart beat of the earth that he was playing.. my heart, his heart, your heart, the universal heart.. he began to play the strings.. and then the music took him away.. you could see his body but you knew his spirit traveled on the musical vibration.. to become one with the cosmos.. he was like a whirling dervish.. he was reaching a state of ecstasy.. he was in a trance and in communion with The Great Spirit.. The fire crackled and sparked.. orange and yellow.. black and red..and my grandfather hunched over his banjo..his long hair falling over his face.. he was star traveling.

My grandfather smelled like sweet pot and zippo lighter fluid..and he always had zig-zag rolling papers on him.. he was a hippy.. but he said.. ” Native Americans were the first hippies..the real hippies. We are not vegetarians.. that’s hippy dippy shit.. we hunted for survival not sport.. we didn’t waste a thing… our ancestors only took what they needed.. and they only left behind the hides they took.. their bones and foot prints( meaning no living will or belongings ).. that’s a real hippy.. everything else is bullshit. The White Man has to own the land; they took what was perfectly imperfect and made it into sparkly shit.. they depressed us with taking our Mother away from us.. we are wild in spirit and need to roam .. but they took that away from us and domesticated the land.. they domesticated us..and our true spirit grieves the freedom of the land to be one with the earth.” He told me then, what many people are just understanding now ” Pot, mushrooms, peyote isn’t bad; it helps us connect with The Great Spirit” ¬†As a child I loved the scent of pot and zippo lighters.. because they reminded me of my grandfather’s hugs and laughter. My grandfather’s laughter was so honest..and explosive.. it wasn’t tamed or toned down..and when he laughed everyone around him laughed.. I haven’t seen many domesticated white men laugh like that.. their social masks are too thick… they might crack.

My grandfather would tell me how much I was like his mother..he explained to me that she was like a medicine woman.. because she saw between the worlds; she was wild inside.. like a wild dove; wild woman.. she could see through people and she knew when they had bad spirits ( when they were crazy )

One day my grandfather and grandmother came to visit us in Canada.. we were living in Langely BC.. I was 11 .. It was August..and I was outside on my own collecting snakes and grasshoppers. I was a tomboy.. so sometimes I played alone because the other girls.. including my sisters didn’t like to get that dirty ..or collect snakes and bugs. I wore my bikini out into the open fields and streams .. nothing but a walking stick and a bucket to collect creepy crawlies in.. My grandfather came looking for me..and when he found me he had such a look of love on his face.. he said ” Look at you being like your great grandmother.. a wild child with dirt on her face and grass in her hair! Now show me whatcha got in that bucket!” He was like a child again..as we sat in the long marsh grasses.. feeding the snakes in the bucket grasshoppers.. I could tell he was proud of me then.. and he said ” I am so glad to get way from all the chatty women .” it was our moment.

My grandparents divorced..and my grandfather became truly free.. he was like the wind..sometimes no one would see him for long spaces of time.. I don’t think I saw him again until I was 19..he came to Canada..by that time I was living here in Kelowna BC Canada.. He met my then boyfriend..and I could tell he didn’t like him.. he said to me ” Gracie, lets for a walk in the open hills above you.” I knew he wanted to talk..and to be out in nature.. what he said to me was truly prophetic .. he said ” That boy you are with is an asshole you deserve better.. you will leave him ( I did a few years later ) Gracie what do you want from life? ” I said ” I want to get married, have some kids and own a home.. I want some land and horses.” He said to me ” You think you want that shit but you don’t Gracie.. you will get those things and you will think you are happy for a little while.. you will find a man and he will try to tame you..and he will think he has.. but he will be wrong.. because you have an ancient wild spirit within you.. The Wild Woman.. she cannot be tamed or domesticated.. you are your great grandmothers .. great grand daughter.. she had the same look in her eyes.. one day that spirit will come to a knowing of it’s self..and she will roar like a flame with in you..and he will run ( and he did ) but you will be free..and the next one who comes will be free..and he will have the wild within him” and then he continued on..” Gracie were do you think you go when you have an orgasm?” I was speechless..because I don’t think I had really had one yet..and because I had spent too much time away from my grandfather ..and so I wasn’t used to his honesty and openness anymore ( my white was showing .. I was somewhat domesticated to white shame ) my grandfather was wise..he knew it.. so he said to me ” Marriage is bullshit.. it condones ownership .. and it sexually represses..and teaches sexual shame.. there isn’t any shame in sex Gracie.. when you have an orgasm.. even if you just give yourself an orgasm..you are becoming one with the cosmos.. that is sacred..sex is sacred.. not shameful..it is natural and beautiful.. religion is bullshit.. there are no rules or doctrine to becoming one with The Great Spirit.. Nature is the only church you need..and your body is the temple.. the orgasm is the bridge to the cosmos.. ” And so it was my grandfather gave me a spiritual sex education.. he said ” One day you will walk away from this shame Gracie and when you do you will know you are a medicine woman just like my mother.. your great grandmother..and when the shame of nature and all that is natural is cast aside from society..all nature will heal.. including the Native Peoples.”

And like the wind..like the gypsy he was.. I never saw my grandfather again..and years ago he passed on.. but under the full blue moon.. while I was skinny dipping alone in the wilderness of Okanagan Lake.. I heard him speak to my soul.. and I heard him say as I stood in the hot night wind..naked and wet.. alone .. he said ” Wild Child.”

And I was reminded that I must write about him..and his ancient wisdom.

{ In memory of Cecil Ackerman }

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