I am listening for the ancestors.
I am listening to the ancestral wisdom that is coming from women of color right now.
I am listening to the ancestral wisdom that is coming from indigenous women right now.
I am listening to the ancestral wisdom that is coming from Jewish women right now.
I was given the name Omyo–“abstruse; deep & profound”–by Ven. Samu Sunim, in accordance with the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. I am a direct descendant of Buddha Shakyamuni and his Dharma. I am also a descendant of the older cultures that produced him.
I was christened Emily in the Methodist church, and am a direct descendant of Jesus Christ and all of his radical, compassionate followers.
My ancestors go back even further than Buddha and Jesus. I am listening to the ancestral wisdom coming from the witches and the plant healers right now. I am listening for the ancestors of pre-Christian Europe.
It is difficult to admit that I am angry with my ancestors for settling this continent as they did, for being complacent and complicit with enslavement and genocide, for losing the Old Ways. I am angry with them for handing ritual, ceremony, and the care of the soul to the Church. I am angry with them for handing healing to the scientific medical establishment.
My ancestors were hillbillies–racists and bigots, religious fanatics, snake oil salesmen, murdered women, subsistence farmers, oil drillers, hog slaughterers. They came to Turtle Island three hundred and fifty years ago, and before that, they lived under regimes of thought-control, totalitarianism, patriarchy, kleptocracy, genocide, and ecological destruction. For centuries.
They survived, and I am here.
They compromised; they survived and I am here.