La Cultura Cura

National Comadres Newsletter #26 (July 2022)

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Reflections from Dr. Susy Zepeda,
National Comadres Committee Member since 2013

Ofrendando del Corazón: Queer Xicana Indígena Root Work
By Susy Zepeda

At the center of the spiritual trabajo of—ofrendando del corazón—is the wisdom passed on from elders and ancestors—the sabiduría that in our every step, en cada paso, we are connected and held by the earth, the four directions, and the cosmos. When connected with Great Spirit our capacity is immeasurable.  At the center is caring for body, mind, spirit, our sacred vessel.

In this way, my intention is to walk in rooted alignment every day with clarity of my sacred purpose. That is my trabajo de cada dia, my heart work every day, to remember why I am on this earth at this historically potent time.  To realize the profound significance of being kind-hearted, compassionate, and generous in my way of offering service. To cause no harm to any being, including myself, and if do, to be accountable, and self-aware, non-judgmental, so I can be consistent and present with my own inner healing.  This trabajo of honoring my complexities, “Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro” as Gloria Anzaldúa’s book is titled, is necessary so I can sustain healing spaces full of love, joy, and creativity for our peoples, in particular as we move through intense grief, anger, and tristesa (sadness) at the world we are witnessing and living in 2022.

I see the work of offering my heart as queer Xicana Indígena root work, a practice that is based on the activating of sacred tools as needed on the camino (path), including plant medicines and song, to re-root in constant acknowledgment our interconnectedness. A key component is remembering that I/we are worthy of the love, abundance, and nourishment offered by la madre tierra (mother earth), and the divine guidance offered by the cosmos, no matter how underserving we feel. Many times, the feelings of unworthiness are residue of colonial legacies we have inherited. Holding sacred and honoring the elements of water, fire, earth, and air in our offerings activates us to open our hearts and to be ready to receive our blessings.

For me, this looks like making time to slow down, to pause for the cause, to reflect, breath deep, go to my altar, release tears, cleanse, light my candle, drum, burn medicine, pray with copal, offer tobacco, greet the sun, pray with the moon, have a relationship with plants based on permiso (permission), hike/walk and be present with madre naturaleza (mother nature), offer canto (song) to the ocean, acknowledge the original peoples of the land with a clear heart, give thanks for the enseñanzas, teachings and my abuelitxs, maestras, maestros, comadres, compadres, sistars, hermanos, tias, tios, relatives of all ages and genders, and elders who have taken the time to create ceremonies and spaces of learning so I and our peoples could remember and walk in balance with the earth and cosmos. My practice shifts and grows daily, however at the core is the energy of ofrendando del corazón, offering from the center of my heart, my yolotl, while aligning and re-aligning again with a vision of transformation towards justice.

The trabajo of giving ofrendas (offerings) to the earth, walking respectfully with all relations always, and never claiming individual ownership over what is meant for everyone, is central to queer Xicana Indígena root work.  I ask: who taught us to disrespect our mother? How did we internalize the disregard for divine feminine energía of la madre (energy of the mother)?  How do we unlearn the habit of feeling unworthy or hierarchies of inequalities to restore the unconditional abundant love madre naturaleza has for every being on earth?  How do we realign with our matriarchal practices that honor our ancestors? How do we recreate the pathway so our grandmothers are guiding the way while honoring all genders? Realizing that my liberation means accountability to all my relations.  Knowing that my cells, blood, and bones hold more memory than my mind ever could.  I give thanks with my whole heart. Tlazohcamati. Aho. Ometeotl.

Adapted from: Susy Zepeda.  2021. “Ofrendando del Corazón: Queer Xicana Indígena Root Work.”  Ofrenda Magazine.  Issue no. 01: Jan/Feb. Intention. Access at:
https://www.ofrendamagazine.com/articles/ofrendando-del-corazon

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