When she was 9 years old, Rita Blumenstein, a native Yupik from Alaska, began to see visions and prophecies. It was then that her great-grandmother took her aside and gave her 13 stones and 13 eagle feathers. She told her that she would one day pass them out at a Grandmother’s Council.
Over half a century later—in 2004—true to her great-grandmother’s vision, Rita found herself in a circle of 13 grandmothers from five continents who had gathered in rural New York. Many of the grandmothers were living legends among their people—wise women, curanderas, shamans, and healers of their tribes. Like Rita, each one, in different ways, had been foretold of their participation in a sacred grandmother council that would fulfill a prophecy for the world.
Rita had tears in her eyes when she greeted her fellow grandmothers for the first time and gave each one the special stone and eagle plume that had been given to her by her great-grandmother for this very occasion.
“Thirteen stones in honor of the 13 Grandmothers, the 13 planets in our universe, and the 13 full moons of the year,” she said. “We’re late, but we’re here!”
The return of the Grandmothers has been foretold for hundreds of years by many indigenous traditions. Although each grandmother knew deep within that she was meant to participate, it wasn’t until Rita handed out the feathers and stones at their historic first gathering that the Grandmothers realized there was a specific number in the prophecy.
Each grandmother had been contacted by Jyoti, an American woman who herself had a series of visions, including one in which she saw a circle of grandmothers from different parts of the world. Unaware of the Grandmother Prophecy, she felt that she was being called to give these women a voice. Overwhelmed by the scale of the vision and with a sense of urgency, Jyoti prayed for direction. How was she to find the Grandmothers? And how would she know if she had the right ones? Then, the answer came: “At the seed of all things are relations. Start there and everything else will grow.” Jyoti turned to contacts she had gathered through years of visiting and learning from indigenous people around the globe. She sent out letters of inquiry to 16 women elders describing her vision and asking for their presence on the council. Although she had no idea how many there were to be, 13 accepted.
Since their first gathering, the grandmothers have become a living fulfillment of the prophecy and, as they say, “a prayer in action.” According to them, prophecy is traditionally revealed and confirmed over time, in bits and pieces and through many different people, with each revelation deepening its meaning.
Each grandmother took her seat in the council for the first time in 2004, and the group met in private for three days. They felt that they were hundreds of years late according to the prophecy, and that the end of the world as we know it is near. Collectively, they knew the Grandmothers from the Spirit World were calling them to action. They knew that now they must reveal their most secret and sacred ways to the very people who have been their oppressors. They also shared the belief that the world is being prepared for the spirit of the feminine and that this energy must awaken in men as well as women.
According to Grandmother Flordemayo of Central America, “Prophecy states that it will be the women who walk with the power. We have an incredible journey and responsibility as women. All of our life we are caretakers, walking with the Mother. For women to have the freedom in the heart to be able to express ourselves spiritually is very, very important. We must learn to stay balanced in the moment and give each moment 100% of our prayer.”
During their private council, the Grandmothers decided they would visit one of each of their homelands every six months. Over the past two years, they have raised funds to travel to the Black Hills; Oaxaca, Mexico; the Brazilian Amazon; and New Mexico; and they visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Most recently, on a global day of Prayer for the Waters of the Earth, they traveled to Spain to spread their prayers through the waters of the Mediterranean to the shores of the River Jordan. They also fulfilled a long-held intention to lay down prayers at the Vatican and delivered a letter to the Pope to request the revocation of edicts that have resulted in the decimation of indigenous people and cultures worldwide for over 500 years.
Said Grandmother Mona Polacca to the public that had gathered to hear them speak in Rome, “This is an historic occasion. Five hundred years ago the ancestors from Spain and Italy came to our lands and planted their flags. Just a few weeks ago, we came to the Vatican. But we did not plant our flags; we planted our prayers. We are here to open the way so that someday our grandchildren might come here and meet with your grandchildren in a peaceful way.”Excerpted in part from Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet.