I had a Grandfather once.
When he was a boy, he had the rare treat of being worn by his mother while she worked. He managed to get away with this deep into toddlerhood. It was an unusual freedom, and the sweet result of parents who knew how to play the game and lay low.
Like a treasured artifact, my Grandfather carried the smell of his mother’s sweaty shoulder against his cheek, her hair like a cloud as it brushed his head every so often, reminding him she was there. He held these memories closely with him, even til his death many years later.
This intimate beginning instilled in my Grandfather a great sense of peace, of trust, of confidence and belief in his ability to get his needs met in the world. This was something most of his community did not share.
Because of this self trust, my Grandfather, as a boy, followed his curiosity–though learnedly cautious–into a deeply intelligent and wise manhood.
He learned from his parents’ prowess and managed to find himself in love at the depth of his core, with two bright children for whom he wanted nothing more than FREEDOM.
On the exterior, he and his family appeared to be the most docile and obedient of the system. In fact, no one even knew they were a family. And yet, my Grandfather, clever as he was, in love as he was, he coordinated ways for them to be together, secretly, so they wouldn’t be forced apart if caught as a family. He watched his daughter’s first steps and made love to his wife where only crickets and night things buzzed. He found a way to make it work for them…
But it wasn’t enough; he knew it wasn’t right to let his family suffer in this system.
He did what any man of his abilities would do; he devised a plan to get them out.
His clever was the real deal – he was good. His plan spanned years and he built slowly to it so as to assure their safety.
When I first met him, he brought me to a time in his life when he was working and it was just weeks before he would be able to execute his plan to get himself and his family off this plantation and up North to safety.
He was hot and he had to piss.
He wasn’t supposed to get off line, so he held that shit ‘til it burned.
Finally he couldn’t take it. He broke. He got the attention of one of the guards and asked if he could relieve himself. The guard growled a gesture to get back to work and my Grandfather got back to work as commanded.
But then it really started burning. And not just in his bladder. He started to grow an arrogance as he knew he was about to be off toward safety soon.
He waited for the guard to be out of sight, making his patrol. He watched for the next guard who followed like clockwork.
Now was his clearing–he’d been timing it for months. Now he was about to step away and take a piss like a fuckin man does when he has to take a piss.
But today’s patrol was slightly off schedule, slightly early.
And just as he was about to get to cover, the guard spotted him.
“Didn’t I tell you to get back to work, boy?”
My Grandfather quickly started back toward his work.
“I’m talkin to you, boy!”
My Grandfather turned, explained he just had to go to the bathroom.
The rest I don’t care to remember. And I don’t see the point anyway. At the moment I met him, he’d been cut down from being hanged but wasn’t quite dead yet. They wanted to make an example of him. Uppity boy think he can piss when he pleases. They fixed them.
They threw my Grandfather to the side of the road and left him there to die. When I joined him, he lay there in his last breaths, watching the world go by like normal while he died, as if everything was perfectly natural.
In that moment, he died of heartbreak before the physical injuries could get him. And that’s when he decided for us all: he was always meant to be a slave; that is the natural order of things. It is better to accept it than to fight and end up heartbroken like this at the realization of the inevitable.
He passed on this belief to my people for our protection, so we would better be able to accept our position in society as mules.
I appreciate him and I adore him and I understand why he chose this for us as his dying imprint.
But I Release him from having to protect us in this way anymore.
I met him there, later. I went back and I met him there where he lied dying in the street. I embraced him, held his bloody head at my chest and I showed him those men from another perspective. I showed him it is them who are living by inferior values, culture, paradigm. They created an empire on murder and exploitation through the use of aggression and violence, funneling all their genius into dominating the people and other living things around them. I reminded my Grandfather there is no power in that, no dignity, no decency.
I showed my Grandfather how sick they are, sick from their distance from their Mother. They have forgotten Ubuntu as they’ve forgotten their Mother, Africa, as they mutilate her babies.
Even in my time, I told him, they still have no clue.
We bowed together in solemnity. But there was a spark I felt explode in his awareness. He saw them as the sick children they were. He realized they harmed him and our people because they were so so sick, so lost to their own identity they committed violence against other humans as a normal part of life and trained their young to do the same as their natural way.
This is not a creature to submit to, to give our power to. We are not less than this… They only have convinced us so because of how empty they are, how clueless they are to their inner power. They believe they can only exist on the backs of others, on the fuel of others’ labor and blood. And it is their own sadness, their own lostness, their own stray from The Mother which makes them need us and hate us simultaneously.
I held my Grandfather to my chest. I let him feel my African Maternal Warmth, that Warmth that gave him the spark to believe in himself on his mother’s back in the first place – and he came alive again, in my arms. His blood cleared from pooling around him, the rope disappeared, he stood tall, square, fully in his MAN POWER.
He stood with the posture of a god and felt Africa COURSE through his veins again! No man could take it away, he realized now. He is POWER PERSONIFIED! This is WHY they harvest us–WE ARE POWER!
And it is OUR power to wield how we choose!
My Grandfather was murdered as a show of intimation by the oppressor. He could not own his power to be a free man. He believed the only way to protect us from this heartbreak was to accept the oppressor’s assignment of our value as subhuman.
Now my Grandfather stands in the glow of his own inner fire! He can feel it welling in his bones, in his muscles. I watch as this beautiful, powerful man harnesses his full power for the first time in his life! Drums and lightning clap at the quake of his strength and he GROWS into the sky!
He glows now hotter than it seems a star could handle! I see him well all his power into his hands, letting this sizzle and thrive in explosion!
He looks out now–at the people all around–now fucking paying attention!–at their gaping faces and the moody sky behind them.
He pierces the skies and makes it rain down on the plantation, pouring in heavy clumps like the blood of the Mother that was stolen from her Womb.
My Grandfather uses his Magic to look at each of these beings in the eyes at once and shows them who he is. He shows them the drums and the beginning of time. He shows them their own birth through the Womb of Black Woman! He showed himself as Father, crowned and cribside!
He TAPPED each of their third eyes to awaken their Star Consciousness.
And they saw. They saw what they had done. All of it–the ripples and the cascades–the generations and generations of mutilation, murder, and abuse, all for their comfort and luxury, all for their greed.
They saw and they wept. They saw Africa as the Mother she is, as their own Mother. And they saw themselves rape her over and over again for jewels to wear around their necks!
They saw and they wept Rivers, and they donated their souls to repair this wound, the reverberations of this damage in which they all knowingly partook…for greed…
And my Grandfather, in seeing their weeping, he saw their humanity. He saw them as the lost children they were. He told them, “I’m lost now, too. Can we find our way home now?”
He looked at me and he told me this is my Work. He told me, this is my part: to remember who we are, to remember our Mother, to help to awaken the Star Consciousness in all so we can move out of separation and dominance mentality and Remember Ubuntu, collectivity, cooperation. Interdependence.
As I Remember, live, and express at this awareness, I FREE my people of this bondage now and forever.
And so it is.
This has been an Ancestral Reconciliation with my Grandfather:
GERALD MICHAEL JOHN
Like Gerald, for each of my ancestors that was murdered senselessly because the Western man has forgotten his place as Africa’s child, I will SAY THEIR NAMES and tell their story.
Let this be our reconciliation.
I created 13MOONS Magazine to resurrect the sacred feminine in Stories and Art. As a Seeress who’d worked directly with Oshun, Yemaya, Oya, and other earlier Goddesses, I noticed a stark difference in these energies and those of later iterations, such as Venus and Aphrodite. It is like parts of these beings were stripped away. Whether to fit the fashion of culture or men, I’ll leave for you to decide, but this just didn’t sit right with my spirit. And so I dreamed of a platform which would amplify the real voice of the feminine – Stories and Art created by actual women from our perspective, without apology. And here we are.
I am called Astara, a name I received during meditation, meaning Little Sirius. I am here to draw down the energy of Ast, also known as Auset, Isis, and the latest: Mother Mary, truly just a hint of the Original anymore. I am here to Remember and to help Remind us of who we are as women, who we are beneath patriarchal whitewashing and power politics as religion. I am here to Remind us of the wisdom we hold within each of our cells which we have mistakenly (and blasphemously) called our meat suit. I am a Sensual Fluency Educator and Tranceworker, offering tools I’ve channeled from my own body to help you connect with yours. Reach out anytime if you’d like to hear more.