Women's group seeks peace

Published: October 10, 2007


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The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers is comprised of (from left) Clara lura, Maria Freire, Margaret Behan, Rita Blumenstein, Beatrice Long, Rita Long, Bernadette Rebienot, Mona Polacca, Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, Julieta Casimiro, Flordemayo, Aama Bombo, Tsering.
Courtesy Photo


The Union Democrat


Praying for peace, 13 indigenous grandmothers from around the world have united after receiving an invitation by Sonora resident and internationally renowned spiritual advisor, Jyoti.

Jyoti, aka Jeneane Prevatt, began the Center for Sacred Studies in Sonora in 2002. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, has trained at the Jung Institute in Switzerland, and has chosen to devote her life to bringing unity to the planet.

"The Center for Sacred Studies' mission is to preserve and keep safe indigenous ways of prayer, practice and their ways of life," Jyoti said.

The spiritual advisor had a vision of a woman, simply known to her as "Our Lady," who spoke to her, telling her: "The seed of it all, is the seed of relations. If you start with your relations, everything will unfold naturally."

Jyoti had to go back in prayer to figure out which of the grandmothers to call on for the council. She listened to what the vision said and used the relations she had forged through Kayumari, the spiritual community she founded in 1995.

Her prayers led her and Ann Rosencranz, the center's spiritual director and a Columbia-area resident, to travel to Africa and then on to the Amazon, where they met the first two grandmothers who would make up the 13-member council.

There, they spoke with two grandmothers who also had the same vision. Separated by two continents the grandmothers amazingly had both recently signed letters claiming their rights as indigenous people to be guardians of the planet.

With her vision validated Jyoti, who is part Cherokee Indian, decided to approach other indigenous elders. The response to the invitation was overwhelming.

"Of the 16 invitations sent out, 13 grandmothers answered the call to become a part of the council," Jyoti said. "That is incredible."

Well-respected elders in their communities, the grandmothers, who range in age from 53 to 84, represent the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Yup'ik, Tamang, Mazatec, Mayan, Oglala Lakota, Takelma Siletz, Hopi, Havasupai, Tewa, and Omyene, in addition to the indigenous people of the Amazon and Tibet.

"These are very formidable women," Jyoti said.

Apparently, she isn't the only one who thinks so as the grandmothers have been in the company of the Dalai Lama, activist Gloria Steinem and author Alice Walker, to name a few.

The elders make up the The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers who gather to fulfill the ancient prophecy: "When the grandmothers from four directions speak, a new time is coming."

Often called the 11th hour, it is the final moments before a deadline a deadline the grandmothers believe is upon us.

"The environment is a collective concern," Rosencranz said. "We are all in relation and need to approach it as one entity."

Rosencranz understands the importance of local issues like deforestation in the Amazon rain forest or global warming in the Arctic but stresses the need for a global vision of the problems all over the world.

The council convenes every six months to pray for peace for seven days, asking for blessings and healings. The gatherings, which have been planned out through 2012, are held at each grandmother's homeland or adopted homeland, as is the case with the exiled Tsering Dolma Gyaltong, originally from Tibet.

"There are seven languages being translated simultaneously at every meeting," Jyoti said of the diverse languages spoken by the grandmothers.

The council has met in New York, New Mexico, Mexico, India, South Dakota and will next travel to Gabon, Africa.

For Rosencranz, being a part of the work the grandmothers are doing has been a truly enlightening experience.

"For me, it's been a prayer that has been within me for 20 years," she said. "The heart of the grandmother is that she prays for everyone without discrimination."

Jyoti and Rosencranz are counting on the wisdom of the grandmothers to help bring the world back into balance so issues like clean air, clean water, hunger and war can be dealt with so all the children, and for the next seven generations to come, can live on a planet which is more in tune with itself, with nature and with the indigenous ways of life which were successful in the beginning.

"We are charged with the mission because we caught the vision that called all of this into being," Jyoti said. "All we need to do is open our hearts. We are all people with hearts that beat the same way."


Contact Rebecca Howes at 588-4531 or rhowes@uniondemocrat.com.