...my maternal great-great grandmother.
i saw a picture of mama mattie over the weekend and i've been thinking about it ever since.
she looked like pictures i've seen of jamaican maroons and sojourner truth. of harriet tubman and delia.
no one in my family looks like her now, although my aunt, her children and one of her granddaughters have milk-to-dark chocolate skin tones.
she was also one of the last in my mother's line to have many children:
gussie (my great grandmother)
now i'm wondering what her parents looked like, what kinds of stories they told.
did they know about their last african ancestor?
did she know about herbs and spells? dreaming? divination?
what did she look like at my age?
and on and on...
and then i thought, i probably never would have known her name if i hadn't asked my mother about her when i started on this path.
the practice of calling on my ancestors made it necessary to clear up the relationships behind the names i heard bantered around in family stories.
for many of us, this is when the pain of the maafa arises, since to many this information is lost. but it is also the power in returning to the veneration of our ancestors.
even if we do not know their names at first, when we call, they come and tell us. they can help us heal relationships with other family members, guide our steps and offer countless blessings.
iba egungun idile mi