Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grandparents and Teachers: the wise ones who shaped us - Part 1

Thank You Craft - Grandparents Day
“Everything you plant a seed and you don’t see it flourish or bloom, it’s there, and it grows.”  ~ Renee Thorton, teacher, NY, NY

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.  ~Lily Tomlin as "Edith Ann"

I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.  ~Tracy Chapman

Friday's NPR Morning Edition National Public Radio’s Story Corps always makes my day.  It makes me feel good as a human being.  Since September 2011, they have been conducting a series called “Teacher’s Initiative.”  The stories have been very touching.  Former students have been thanking their teachers.  I believe these intimate stories “share humanity” and create a pool of “American voices and wisdom for future generations.”  Listeners have been encouraged to write a thank you to their teacher. 

There have been many teachers and wise ones in my life. They are the ones (blood and non-blood) who have helped me along my path.  Their spirits ride close to my heart encouraging me on when I have challenges.  They have guided my hands.  They have showed me how to make pie crust or a stiff whiskey and coke.  They have offered advice about marriage and how often to change the oil in my car.  Or they have pointed me into the right direction.  They have also been honest when I’ve not been up to their expectation – but readily forgive.  Their love and their stories have made me who I am. 

I recently read two blogs that seem to illustrate how special these relationships are in a spiritual practice.  One was done in a video cast by YesheRabbit of The Way of the Rabbit.  She stated: “To love my Grandmother is to love the whole human – the strengths and weakness, the love in between of her.” Elayne Lockhart of Stir the Cauldron wrote: “My Grandmother was a 5’ force to be reckoned with….. I learned many things from grandma about energy, nature, earth tides and the cycles of birth, life and death.” 

I began to wonder what others felt.  To shake things up:  I decided to ask several Facebook friend groups why it is important to honor our ancestors, teachers and grandparents in a spiritual practice.  I also asked how they did this.  Besides the abundance of “thumbs ups” on my question - below are some of the responses from those who gave me permission to reprint their quote. 


“They deserve the Respect as they have come before us. Guides for us, show us what we need to know, where to go as this is now our Spiritual Journey which then can help us along the way. Blessings ” Diane Brown

“In my practice I honor every one and all things..... I honor my ancestors because they take my hand and show me the way. They are family, I honor that. There is a connection with them. They are my teachers, my elders, they show me the way. They are my guides.”  Cay Collins

“For the gifts they have bestowed upon me. For the wisdom learned and ancestral power provided or bestowed….To draw upon their power in times of need (Time is not linear). You cannot call upon that which you have no relationship with FULLY (in my opinion), and which does not know you. Honoring them appropriately allows for this relationship to be forged.” Brian Edwards

“Ancestors are our foundation. They helped shape us to be who we are today. The good and the bad have taught us right from wrong and given us the knowledge we need to survive. I honor them daily for all they've given me... [I] light my ancestral candle every morning upon awakening without fail so I hope they know they are in my thoughts daily.  Mary Hitchcock, White Hat Society (One with the laughing ancestors)

“We honor the blood lines we come from to show us where we have been. We honor our chosen ancestors for the wisdom they have shared with us. The wisdom they have accesses to now if not in their life time here.” Nature Lightweaver

"I think just being aware of them, passing on their stories if you know any, keeping their memory alive. My grandfather is a guide for me and I love working with him. My grandmother's side is Italian so I will try to learn more about the culture and Italian witchcraft. I will light a candle for them at times to show respect and honor their memory, especially around Samhain. Oh! and recipes! LOL - something else simple. I try to make recipes that have been passed down. :))))”  Jasmeine Moonsong, White Hat Society, Author Wiccan Moonsong Blog

“Without them I would not be here. They are the wise ones. They offer us guidance. It is like "Been there done that" guidance. You learn from your elders.” Brenda Nelson, White Hat Society

“My approach to the Ancestors was I had none.  I was always the black shape in my biological family.   As I grew and as a witch I realized that the Ancestors are not blood connection but the teaching and wisdom they pass on.   I consider people that have touched me in profound ways.  To me, my Ancestors are people like the kind old lady that takes you in when you have no place to go.  The playground aid that talked to you all recess because you had no friends.  The old married couple that has been married for 50 years and counting. These are the kind of people I think of when I think of my Ancestors.   I also know that some personality traits are genetic and it is a good idea to know where these traits come from; but to me we are all connected all related.  So honoring the Ancestors is honoring the people that have written that past for us in order for us to learn and improve.”  Jay Tenenbaum

"My Grandfather showed my (used-to-be) non-believing Dad that there were connections beyond by calling him on the phone and talking to him for a half hour 4 hours after he died, but before we knew he was gone. Now he visits him in dreams. Thanks Gramp!!”  Linda Pickard Weir, White Hat Society


Activities 1
Write a thank you note to a former teacher, aunt, Grandparent, the older lady down the street who watched out for you.

Activity 2

Bake Aunt D’s Pound Cake and share

2 sticks of butter - room temperature
5 eggs - room temperature
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar

Beat butter and sugar together 4 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add flour and 1 tsp of vanilla and beat another 6 minutes.  Dump into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 395 F for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

If you want to get fancy – make a rose water glaze.  1 cup powder sugar and add 2 Tbs of Rose Water. 

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