All of us come from pagans. “Heathens” as some like to say, who were more familiar with the Earth’s cycles than say, what cycle America’s Next Top Model is currently on. My ancestors are from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Yours might have been from Japan, Ireland, Argentina, or right here in the west. I am the first person in my family who was born in the USA and grew up with mixed stew of Christianity and indigenous practices (incense lighting, blessing water for the pregnant, sick, or those in need of extra spiritual fortification).
I’ve always been interested in exploring the practices that our grandmothers and grandfathers were immersed in pre-Christianity. It is my belief that most of these traditions were not dramatic and requiring of blood and chicken heads as Hollywood would have us believe.
Our Celtic and Yoruba ancient mothers had a deep appreciation for the Earth and her fruit, they were not separated from birth & death, their femininity was less defined by advertising campaigns and more shaped by their position as the keeper and heartbeat of the family & village. Growing old was an honor, an opportunity to become a wise woman and matriarch.
I crave the wisdom of these women whose bodies now live within Nature. I reject philosophies that tell me they were evil witches (although the word “witch” doesn’t scare me in the least) worthy of fire. The consequences of this fear can be seen in a society that fears birth and finds the nourishing of an infant from a mother’s breast inherently controversial. Somehow our bodies became shame-worthy and objectified simultaneously and it makes me ask, “Where have all the old women gone?”
The young ones with babies in our arms and toddlers on our backs and wrapped around our legs need you. Don’t believe L’oreal’s lies, please. You’re worth it, but that has nothing to do with your hair color.
We need your wisdom that spans years and circumstances. You’ve seen the tide at all levels and can help us wade with grace. Teach us wisdom. Speak proverbs. Show us how to laugh and not take ourselves so seriously. Teach us how to pray and enjoy.
Even when we pretend not to and giggle at your lack of tech-savvy, we marvel at your womanliness.
About Bunmi Laditan
Bunmi is a mother, writer, and social media entrepreneur living in Montréal, Canada (by way of California). She has two girls ages 6 and almost 2.