This post is dedicated to Darry Oudendag Estes with whom I spent many engaging hours discussing love and attachment as we drove back and forth to our intensive study with Dr. Gordon Neufeld in the summer of 2010.  Darry was instrumental in bringing the AfriGrand Caravan (sponsored by the Stephen Lewis Foundation) to the Comox Valley. She left this world in December 2012.

My friend Tara Sophia Mohr is doing her magic again - bringing light to women's voices that are often in the shadows. This time she has organized a blogging campaign to bring attention to Grandmother Power - inspired by the book by Paola Gianturco.  How could I not be a part of this when all proceeds from the sale of the book go to The Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign (Stephen Lewis is a beloved Canadian hero).

When I think about grandmother power I think not only about my biological grandmothers, but also all the wise older women whose words and ideas have helped shape my life.  Women I consider to be my spirtual grandmothers. Women like Marion Woodman, Clarissa Pinnkola Estes, Anais Nin, Virginia Woolf and on and on...

I want to share with you a poem that enlarges and deepens our understanding of grandmothers.  It was written by Jeannette Armstrong, also a member of my communion of spiritual grandmothers.  I first met her over 20 years ago when she came way up into Prince Rupert, where I lived at the time, to give a reading at the local library. Her words cracked me open then and still do.

Jeannette writes about this poem: "The poem "Grandmothers" was first written in N'silxchn and interpreted into English. The English term grandmother as a human experience is closest in meaning to the term Tmixw in Okanagan, meaning something like loving-ancestor-land-spirit."

How gorgeous is that?


In the part of me that was always there
are speaking to me
the grandmothers in whose voices
I nestle
and draw nourishment from
voices speaking to me
in early morning light
glinting off water
speaking to me in fragile green
pushing upward
groping sun and warmth
pulling earth's breath
down and in
to join with porous stone
speaking to me
out of thick forest
in majestic rises to sheer
in the straight slight mist
in twigs and fur
skin and blood
moon and movement
feathers stroking elegant curves against wind
silent unseen bits
in the torrent of blood
washing bone and flesh
earth's piece
the joining of winds
to rock
igniting white fire
lighting dark places
and rousing the sleeping moment
caught in pollen
a waking of stars
and when blue fire
slants to touch this water
I lift my eyes
and know I am seed
and shooting green
and words
in this hollow
I am
night glittering
the wind and silence
I am vastness stretching to the sun
I am this moment
earth mind
I can be nothing else
the joining of breath to sane
by water and fire
the mother body
and yet
I am small
a mote of dust
hardly here
unbearably without anything
to hold me
but the voices
of grandmothers