Four Shamanic Voices: Grandmother Sara

published on The Spirit of Maat Vol 2 January 2000

Grandmother Sara Smith
Voices: Grandmother
Indigenous peoples are
bringing back their little
pots of burning embers
and we are going to
rekindle that sacred fire.”
Grandmother Sara Smith is a member of the Turtle Clan; a wife, a mother, and a grandmother living at the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada. She travels the world bringing to us her words in a soft voice and with a gentle smile, teaching of the sacredness of all life. Grandmother Sara’s traditions are passed by word of mouth, through stories and teachings from the elders.

Q:  How can we help the Earth to heal?

Grandmother Sara: I believe the answer involves a combination of healing the Earth and healing ourselves. However, everything today needs healing, no matter what it is. Through eons of time, we have stepped away from our original, Divine purpose, from our total connectedness to all life. We aren’t the only ones who are suffering. Everything else in this universe suffers equally, for what we do to ourselves we do to others as well. So now we find ourselves in this time that has been mentioned in my people’s prophecies and teachings. The prophecies foretold that we would be at this point, where we would raise our heads and come to the conscious awareness that we definitely need to change for a better tomorrow.

Over the last fifty years, the attention of humanity has been focused on the abuse of Mother Earth, but we have completely forgotten Father Sky. Father Sky needs to go through a healing as well. Traditionally, my ancestors were very familiar with Father Sky. They knew him as they knew the backs of their hands, and they lived according to the many sacred gifts he has to offer. Today we don’t pay attention to that. I believe we have to come into the recognition that there are many sacred gifts we have forgotten all about. This is the time of the fulfillment and the culmination of all our prophecies. They said that the time would come when we would forget, but we will be made to remember.

It is important for me to mention that whatever it is I’m being given to say today is oral tradition, perpetuated by word of mouth. It’s been passed on from the word carriers to whomever would carry the words and the ancient echoes of our people. So it is with this attitude that we honor our ancestors who have walked this land before us and who have instilled the gift of really knowing who we are, why we are here, where we are going, and what our Earth’s purpose is all about. Within the last three or four hundred years, these knowledges haven’t been so localized because they were discouraged — severely discouraged. The people kept to themselves. Now we’ve come to this point when we are at the dawning of a harmony — at the beginning of an awesome, miraculous time. Everyone has experienced the chaos and the confusion and the critical circumstances we’re in today, and we believe we desperately need to change the situation.

Q:  How can we change it?

Grandmother Sara: First, I’m going to say that it’s important to listen to all the ”C” words I will use. Our people talked about the time when we will be entering into a ”C” world. They would say, ”I may not see it in my time, but you could very well see it in yours.” Ironically, there are so many ”C” words that are significantly important to us today: choice, change, challenge, commitment, constructivenes

s. We must pay attention to the cycles and circles of life. I have the understanding that mankind is becoming obsolete. Things are just moving too fast for us.Look at our Earth law today. The commitment that two people make to one another in holy matrimony — the commitment made to another individual — is seemingly meaningless these days. Our values, our morals, and our sense of worth are dissipating. Yet we have everything before us. When we look out and see Mother Earth and Father Sky working in total cooperation, one complementing the other, we see the symbol of holy matrimony. It is with us every day of our lives, but we never acknowledge it or express our gratitude. This is why I believe we need to voice our gratitude, to have respect for so many of the sacred gifts we have forgotten about. These are simple, simple things.

I believe it is through simplicity that we will regain our way of life, our journey back onto that pathway of peace. It will come through simplicity and through the Great Mystery, God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, the Lifegiver. So it is our choice. What are we going to do with all this information? It’s a time when people are living amid chaos and confusion. Everything seems to be so hard. Yet if we look at these simple gifts and begin to honor them and put them back into proper perspective, we would see the beauty that radiates from everything, and we would be so much better off. We could learn to see and appreciate beauty in everything that has happened.

With the new millennium, there is a new beginning. It’s just like the new time that greets us when we awaken in the morning. That first moment when we open our eyes, we must express gratitude for yet another night of peace and harmony. The indigo color of night is harmony. We’re given those twelve hours for healing and rest. So we are grateful when we wake up in the morning that we have been given yet another opportunity to experience this rest and peace. We must learn to be grateful, to express thanks to all the things that were created for us.

It was foretold that the time would come when all people would be in need of healing, when we would be hurting and desperately in need of help even though the answers would lie beneath our feet, within the reach of our hands grasp, and as close to us as this. . . (in relating this prophecy, my Grandfathers would put their hand over their heart area). When I was a young person, that prophecy would always cause me deep, deep thought. I could not quite understand what they were meaning or trying to convey to me (for they thought and spoke in “Native” terminology). Today, I understand what they were saying, as they speak louder to me in these times than they did when they were physically present. Each and every two-legged has all the answers within. We pay no attention to our total connectedness to all Life. Yet when we stand on our medicines, we can reach out to all the elements, we can be grateful for what we do have. We can love unconditionally, we can do all these things when we use our heart as it was intended to be used.

We don’t need to search the world over, only to find chaos and confusion. Through simplicity, the answers lie within every individual as that spark of life. We must learn to allow that flame of life to burn brightly within our own heart centers. We are Light People. Our components are light and water. So I trust we will again make our journey onto that pathway of peace and awaken from our dead slumber.

Q:  In some teachings, it is said that a crossroads will come and humans will choose which way they will go. Do your teachings go beyond this time?

Grandmother Sara: I believe the teachings do go beyond this time, that there is always the promise of tomorrow. There are so many teachings I could talk about. It’s been a lifetime of learning, and I only know just a little, but whatever I know, I am willing to share.

We’ve forgotten how to think for ourselves, and instead we perpetuate what has been handed down. We no longer choose to change. We never stop to think or even to question why we are doing what we are doing. I think that as soon as we do, that’s when the doorway will open, and we can begin to see and appreciate whatever we have been given. From there, things will only expand.

In speaking about prophecies and teachings, many people ask, ”Is this all doom and gloom?” And I say we are living at the most incredible time in our Earth’s history because we have such a great outpouring of spiritual help from the ancestors and from all the forces who know intuitively that we need to get back onto the pathway.

Grandmother Sara SmithIt’s a miraculous time, and because we are so caught up in the things that happen to us on a daily basis, we don’t stop to think of how absolutely beautiful this next five, ten or twenty years will be. What and where are we going to be in the year 2025, and what will be our vision for that time in space? We need to begin to make it a beautiful world for those coming faces, for our children. And it is so simple to do; there’s nothing hard or confusing about it. It’s awesome to see the circles expanding. Sometimes I look at it and wonder if it isn’t happening too slowly. But in the Divine plan, all work together for perfection.

It’s our turn to hold the light. I have a little grandson who will be three in November. So in 2025, he will only be 28 years old. For those grandchildren who have come into my family circle, more than anything else we would like to be able to offer them a better tomorrow, a more positive future so that they won’t have to go through all that we have gone through. Right now, we can change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order to lead them into that better tomorrow. So we must look at that new reality in real terms and see that the way for them is through beauty, through acknowledgment and through those three huge words-love, respect, and gratitude. Using these three tools, our children will be able to live in peace and harmony.

I believe we must strive to contribute whatever little we can. We must encourage people in this time to pick up their own medicine bundles. I don’t see there being any hardships, only a better tomorrow.

Q:  What would you say is the most powerful thing an individual can do on a spiritual level?

Grandmother Sara: I would encourage every individual to be the best possible individual he/she can be, to let her light shine, to bring outward what she has inside. For we need to see the sacred gift of every individual who is walking this Earth with us. Unconditional love is a definite action, as is bringing in and incorporating spirituality into our daily lives. They say in our teachings that we must have skin that is seven thumbs thick. That we would see everything collapse that isn’t built on a firm foundation. It would collapse around us, and we were not to bat an eyelash about it. Isn’t that what is happening today? Everything is collapsing. Look what has transpired amongst world leaders and within our justice system.

My grandfathers would always say, ”Pay attention to what is happening with an international focus.” We have had many, many occurrences that were intended to open the eyes of the people.

Again, look at what is happening. Where do we have an opportunity to seek justice today? I think the O.J. Simpson case was one of the greatest examples for humanity to look at. It was certainly an opportunity for people to say, ”Where is the justice in this world?” We may never know the truth of what transpired in that situation, but we can certainly come to our own conclusions (big ”C” word).

What are we looking toward? What is happening? Look at the news. Look at Columbine and what happened there with the children of today. I’d love to see that change. With all my heart, I would love to see that change because those children are precious, precious souls. And I think that we as responsible adults need to fulfill our roles and responsibilities as women and men. We’ve forgotten all about that, and this is why we see so many situations collapsing around us. We need to pool our forces, pull the threads of truth together and begin to weave that tapestry of life-beauty within ourselves and within the hearts of all humanity.

Q:  You mentioned earlier that we have forgotten about Father Sky, that the emphasis and focus is on the Mother. What would happen if we began to incorporate more of the Father?

Grandmother Sara: We Grandmother Sara Smithwould begin to honor the men. Everything has to have a spiritual level, but it must have a physical vehicle to manifest. Today we see so many tears from Father Sky crying those tears for the cleansing and purification of whatever Mother Earth needs. So in places people are experiencing floods; they are experiencing the washing away of many, many gardens and the elements we need to survive. Yet it’s complementary. As humans, we tend to judge situations — to be very critical of what has happened. But I believe the Great Mystery never makes mistakes on what we are given.

So if it is raining today, we give thanks for the rain because we need it. We can look at a flood and relate to it, saying that as the tears come from Father Sky so must we learn to give the tears back to the men. Because for such a long, long time, the men have been discouraged from actually allowing their tears to flow for their own cleansing and purification.

The tear is a natural cleanser of humankind. The tear is the rain. We have stifled that in our men, not allowing them to cry. And as women, we have been equally responsible for this. Men have shown how macho they are and women have told them that they are not men if they are crying. Yet it brings joy to my soul when I see men’s tears of joy and laughter. It is music, and it is completely relevant to the healing that needs to take place.

Today, the Mohawks are people of the longhouse, the Hogan. We belong with the Mother; we are a matriarchal society. It is the women, the lifegivers, who are in control of situations, who choose the chiefs. But we have come away from those traditions and no longer honor them. I believe that women have an innate ability to clean up situations; every woman has this intuitively. But we also need to receive adequate support and encouragement from our counterparts, the males. So if as men and women we would work together and fulfill our roles and responsibilities (which again we have forgotten), then I think we could definitely contribute to a better tomorrow.

Q:  These days, women seem to be troubled. They don’t know where to go.

Grandmother Sara: And equally, the men are troubled because they have been hurting for a long, long time. That is one of the gifts we have forgotten — the sacred gift of color. In our daily walk, especially during the daytime, the greatest percentage of color we see is the green. My understanding is that green carries the gift of will and compassion. The blue, another major color we see, is the gift of intuition.

Yet we don’t use this knowledge today. Instead, we claim things. We dress our little boys in blue all the time, and if a mother puts pink on her son, that is frowned upon. And how long have we been doing this? We give the men the responsibility of intuition, and then we wonder who is controlling the country. Who is making all the major decisions? We must develop our spiritual eyes and ears and use them to their potential.

Q:  How can we transmute and eliminate anger?

Grandmother Sara: They say that every constructive thought we give out is an energy form. And what goes out from you, goes out and circles around because we are circular people. Thus that information goes out from you, circles around and comes back in you and through you, raising your vibration just a little each time. Be more positive and constructive, and true love will begin to set in. Unconditional love.

There are healing elements out there for us. If we just stop to think about the leaves — every blade of grass we look at is a healing medicine for us. Every grain of sand is a healing medicine for us. We must look at those things and say, ”Thank you. Thank you for being in our time and space. Thank you for every drop of rain that is formed, for every ray of sun, for the light.” We can give thanks for these things, and we will feel a lot better.

It’s about gratitude. It’s about respect and unconditional love, and I believe we can do it. I have tremendous faith and trust in the people. We just need to stop and think about these things. And I guess that’s what my people do in our traditional ways. We have never left the land. We’ve always been custodians and inhabitants of our Earth Mother. Our forefathers chose at one time to govern their people by peace, so this is our journey back again into that peaceful coexistence. It’s up to the word-carriers now to encourage people to come back. So many people are attracted to what they term ”Native American spirituality,” but this is really just universal teachings. It doesn’t belong to any individual. Not one group of people or community or race has all the answers. We all have a part and parcel of it.

I believe that when this great peace was accepted, the original council fire was burning brightly and there was peace in the land. People were governed by peace, and the United States government is patterned after that example. The ancestors were told that the time would come when there would only be burning embers in that original council fire. At that time, what we call runners would be chosen to take little pots of the burning embers into every nation. The runners were told that they must tell the people to tend those embers for just so long, and at a given point they would be asked to bring those burning embers back and rekindle the sacred fire again. I believe that is what is happening today; indigenous peoples are bringing back their little pots of burning embers and we are going to rekindle that sacred fire.

Through the Dalai Llama there is a definite connection between the Tibetan people and the so-called Native American people. We share a common thread, and it is the threads of peace that we will bring back to again encompass all peoples. But this is not to exclude any nation, for everybody has a burning pot. We don’t have all the information — we have a part and parcel of it.

I know there are individuals who have maintained their connections with Father Sky. They know astrology, and they know about the universe. We need those people in our lives to help us. There are people who know about numerology and its significance, and the spiritual basis of that original truth.

We need to know about the colors. We need to know about the art of dreaming. We need to know about plant dyes. We need to know about the trees and their contribution. We need to reacquaint ourselves, and there are people who have that information.

So this process of bringing back these little burning embers and rekindling this sacred fire . . . I believe that this is what we are working on today. It’s through gatherings like this [at the Four Corners] that we’re beginning to focus our attention again. They tell us that nothing has ever been lost from our sacred traditional way.

Q:  So different peoples have different embers, or pieces of the whole picture. What are the Native peoples of this country known for?

Grandmother Sara: The spiritual basis, I believe, is what they have. The drumming, the dancing, is our spiritual connection, our gratitude, our prayer of thanksgiving. That’s what our people have maintained today. They have never, ever forgotten that role and responsibility of the general thanksgiving prayer, to know our relationships to all things — to the plant life, to the colors of the seas and waters, to Mother Earth, the wind, the rain, and Father Sky.

I really believe we have skimmed the surface, but it has been maintained, the spiritual aspect of life, I think, has been perpetuated and handed down through ceremonies and teachings. And we are grateful for the opportunity to have taken care of that gift.

As a child, when I went to our traditional longhouse, I so loved it. I was enthralled by the beauty of those many grandmothers and clan mothers who sat at the back of the fire. What a gift it was to see their beauty and to think that maybe one day I could be like that. For I saw in them the ancient wisdom. And it was all incredible beauty for me to see the grandfathers and chiefs stand up and recite these thanksgiving prayers, knowing that that was my connection. I felt safe and comfortable in that environment, always having those older people in my life.

That’s one of the simplest things we all can do, to go back and relate to our ancestors. Through their human suffering, we have the opportunity to go back and call upon the law of forgiveness in many, many generations. In today’s world, we have strayed from our pathway of peace, from Divine light and love. But we have the opportunity to find our way back. As I said, nothing is impossible.

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