Archive for the ‘Traditions’ category

~°~ The Spirit of Place ~°~

September 23, 2013

The morning was crisp and I could feel the winter slipping into my bones. On Saturday, I got up while the stars were still twinkling. All night long I had various dreams about the special gathering I knew I was going to attend that morning. After making breakfast, I poured up the last cup of flavored coffee and headed out the door into the darkness.

The drive to the valley seemed different. The Pojoaque Valley looked peaceful early in the morning and I really couldn’t remember the last time I had that thought. During my descent I wondered what the Gathering for Mother Earth would be like? My cousin Jessica had invited me to the gathering last year, but I never made it. She insisted it was something I would love. I was happy to be on my way down to my home town. At one time, I said this was the place where I grew up, but I actually grew up several years later. I still continue to grow.

image

image

Upon approaching the gathering site there were several invitational signs. The signs carried depictions of the sun and moon. There were also handmade signs which featured the symbolic turtle totem, one of Creator’s creatures who burrows into Mother Earth. The gathering is held not far from my childhood home. I would say maybe five miles away. There was a long, bumpy dirt road leading to the sacred space amongst the moon, trees, and the spirit of place. 
image
~° Photograph of the moon in the Pojoaque sky by Felicia Lujan °~

When I got out of the vehicle, the first thing I noticed was a painted sky. The sky was alive with shades of pink, purple and blue and had two beautiful teepees in the distance. People were shuffling and beginning to gather. I was hoping I hadn’t missed the ceremony to usher in the sunrise. My cousin had told me that “the grandmothers would sing the sun up in Tewa.” I made it just in time. The moon was still high west in the Pojoaque sky.

I walked up a small embankment into a large circle of rocks. The grandmothers called to us and invited us into the circle. Within that circle there were two centered small circles of rocks. One of the small circles contained a pile of dirt which was likely symbolic of Mother Earth. The other had a fire burning. There were offerings of wood, corn meal and water near the fire. During the course of the gathering handfuls of these offerings were tossed into the fire in prayer and to ask for blessings.

There were about 40 people gathered into the circle. The ceremony started with the thoughts and prayers of the grandmothers. All of those in attendance were spiritually cleansed with a smudge stick. The smoke smelled like a combination of sage and lavender. One woman went around and ran smoke up and down each person’s body. Some people gave thanks. Some people stayed silent. Some people pushed the smoke into their lungs with their hands. A few different people spoke thereafter. They spoke about respect for Mother Earth and fostering an appreciation of her gifts.

When the rays of the sun started shooting over the mountains to the east we were asked to face that direction. While I waited for the sunrise, my heart heard the most beautiful prayers, songs and instruments. The drum, a rattle and a flute complimented each voice. The song of one particular woman brought tears to my eyes. I was moved and touched in ways which seem indescribable. I experienced overwhelming warmth once the sun was in full view. It seemed as though I was seeing the sun for the very first time. In a way, I was.

When I turned back to face the fire, I looked right past the flames. I was overcome by the enchanting beauty of the Black Mesa. The natural light cast a surreal glow from one end of the mesa to the other. Again it felt like the first time I had seen the mesa that I have seen a million times. It is hard to explain how all of this lifted my heart. I felt connected to the strangers experiencing this beauty with me. Lastly we participated in “a short version” of the cinnamon roll hug and then we were released from the circle with blessings.
image
~° Photograph of the sunrise and the spirit of place in the Pojoaque sky by Felicia Lujan °~

This may be one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. It made me feel good. It made me feel connected to people and place. It made me feel complete. The experience was nothing like my dreams. It was so much better and more beautiful than the mind of the creative could imagine. When the sun came up, I took a picture. In my photo, unexplainable red markings appeared around the sun. There is also a glowing red orb directly below the sun. I don’t know about you, but I believe I captured the spirit of place that day. I believe. The Gathering for Mother Earth was so amazing.

~° Natural products made by my cousin Jessica °~
image

image

Spirit, Heart and Mind: An Interview with Miguél A. Tórrez

April 15, 2013

Aristotle once said “if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” I believe that the great Greek philosopher intentionally excluded “its end” when he said this. History has no end, therefore, there are constant developments. This quote could not ring more truthful for a lover of family history. There is something about knowing where we came from that makes us feel complete. When it comes to the art of research, there is a genealogist who grew up in Ranchitos that is making major contributions to our history. This man has a passion for traditional and scientific research, which makes him a well-rounded historian.

I have known Miguél Tórrez for many years. The first time I met him he was feverishly working on his genealogy with his small boys by his side. He has been interested in history since he was just a boy, but in his early 20s he was seemingly smitten by the history of those who came before him. This was just a few years after Miguél graduated from Española Valley High School. Growing up in Ranchitos, New Mexico, Miguél was near the historic Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo). At that time he couldn’t imagine that several years later his maternal line would be genetically connected to this type of ancestry. He says “current data tells us that approximately 80-85% of all New Mexicans with colonial roots have Native American roots on their maternal lineage (mtDNA).”

The final week I collected photographs from Miguél for his feature piece he was preparing for Holy Week. His spiritual devotion bears the deep roots of tradition. As a genealogist, learning about traditions and even practicing tradition will foster a clear understanding of what shaped our people. Miguél believes that “knowing oneself through culture and language fosters a sense of pride” and this belief is evident when you hear him lecture. I asked him why he felt that our traditions were important and he said “no matter what culture a person belongs to everyone’s culture is important because it gives people an identity.”

Santo_Niño_in_Espinosa_Colorado_by_DeSautel

~~Santo Niño in Espinosa, Colorado by DeSautel~~

By now I’m sure that Miguél has a family tree which extends further than I can imagine. He has done so much work and he is always willing to help others in need, which is admirable. Many people who don’t understand the breadth of family history are unaware of the vast collection of surnames they can be connected to. Miguél says that “just two generations back we can see our extended relations.” Between his grandparents and great grandparents he can claim the Torres, Romero, Madrid, Roybal, Rodriguez, Martinez, Medina and Trujillo surnames. He is proud to have discovered that some of his relatives were involved in very important historical events such as the Apache Campaigns and the Rio Arriba rebellion of 1837.

Miguél has tracked military service on his paternal (Torres) line back to Cristoabl de Torres who was born in 1641. He seems to appreciate the fact that a grandfather named Juan “loved to tell stories about his grandparents and all of his relatives.” This grandfather was born in 1915 and had extended family from Chimayó to Cordova, New Mexico. “As a child I was given a visual of life in the 1920s with his stories of travels he and his father would take on horseback and wagon to communities such as Mora where they would travel to sell their produce,” he said. Though his grandfather practiced oral history, Miguél has now harnessed the power of documentary evidence and genetic studies.

3 generations of Torres

~~Three Generations of Torres Y-DNA~~

Miguél is currently in charge of about 100 paternal lineage (Y-DNA) kits. He collaborates regularly Angel Cervantes, the New Mexico DNA Project Coordinator/Group Administrator. This DNA project includes “the colonial expeditions of New Mexico by the Spanish in 1598 and 1693, by the Mexicans in 1821, and by the Americans in 1848.” This weekend Miguél will make a presentation titled “The Espinosa DNA Quest.” On Saturday (April 20, 2013) he will deliver a lecture at the Albuquerque Main Library (501 Copper SW~ Albuquerque, New Mexico) on the discovery of the Y-DNA genetic code of the Nicolás de Espinosa lineage (which includes 18th century branches of that clan). The presentation will run from 10:30~12:00 and is sure to be captivating.

When I asked Miguél what he wanted people to remember about him 200 years from now he said “I hope that the work I am doing will produce results that are worthy of scholarly articles and will serve as a worthy reference thus having historical relevance. As a young man I hope that I will have many successful years in doing so and that many generations will remember my name as having been a valid contributor to the preservation of New Mexican history and culture.” I guess as lovers of history we couldn’t ask for more than that right? Here is to one amazing man making a positive contribution to our communities and to the future through history.

The Loss of Tradition

March 23, 2013
•Cherry Blossoms and The Acequia_3.23.2013•

•Cherry Blossoms and The Acequia_3.23.2013•

Today I participated in the annual cleaning of the acequia in Pojoaque. New Mexico’s acequia system is comprised of several communal irrigation canals. Some parts are dirt and some parts are paved. Some parts are narrow and some parts are wide. These canals or ditches play an essential role in the community I grew up in.

The mayordomo (water master or “ditch boss”) of the acequia is trusted by his neighbors to make critical decisions. The ditches are governed by the boss and by the community members. Mayordomos oversee the distribution of and rights to water. The boss also plans meetings, in addition to coordinating repairs and the annual cleanings.

This year my participation was bitter sweet. For centuries acequias have been cleaned and repaired almost exclusively by men. I was the only woman on the crew today. I am good with a shovel and I’m not scared to break a nail. There is only one other woman I know who cleans the ditches each year. Why does it have to be that way? More women should take pride in their traditions. While most people would opt to pay– we decided to work. It was not an easy task but it did make me feel good.

I was also disappointed to see that there were only three young men on the crew (one was my son). These days it is rare to find parents who want to pass on traditions. Most children are not willing to participate. It made me proud to see my son under bridges and in the mud with his mini shovel. My son was the youngest worker. It was his 1st time cleaning the acequia. He didn’t complain for several hours. At the very end we all grew tired and he said he wanted Subway.

I don’t want to see another casualty in our traditions. More people, young people, and women should take pride in preserving our acequia system. I was told that less than 10 representatives of at least 60 properties showed up for the cleaning. Water is a sacred resource. Ditches have been used communally for so long that they are now part of us.

•Daryn in part of the Acequia_3.23.2013•

•Daryn in part of the Acequia_3.23.2013•

•Pojoaque Acequia Crew_3.23.2013•

•Pojoaque Acequia Crew_3.23.2013•


betsyrandolph's Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site Or so I've been told.

Ebony and Crows

A dark spill of worlds and words

Dr. Eric Perry

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

Krivs Studio Blog

Profiles, Features, Interviews, Contest News and more from the Studio

Premier Performance

Become Your Best

Discover WordPress

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Matiuadex Gallery

Movies, Music, Celebrity, Gists, life style and many more

FITNESS SALVATION

Fitness Without The Fluff

Taylor Network of Podcasts

Podcast, News and Articles

deverepaynept.wordpress.com/

Build the best version of you!

DEDRIAN E COLON

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

%d bloggers like this: