Book Review: Grandmothers Counsel the World

It is funny how I chose Grandmothers Counsel the World by Carol Schaefer. You know the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ well… that is actually how I chose this book! I chose this book because on the cover, Grandmother Margaret Behan (Arapaho/Cheyenne—Montana) is wearing a particular scarf on her head that is given only in ceremony (from what I know). Because of the cover, I picked it up and I flipped through it.

I began reading the chapter on ‘Women’s Wisdom’ and I was hooked. The first paragraph said ‘“Today’s civilization has been cut loose from the essential roots that formed humanity,” says Grandmother Bernadette.

‘Those roots, the Grandmothers say, reach deep into the Sacred Universe, the domain of Spirit where feminine and masculine energies are in perfect balance and harmony, and where the unity and connectedness inherent in all sentient beings is revealed. However, in today’s world the power of the feminine—the most potent, loving, and creative of forces on Earth—is severely suppressed, and if not again honored, the imbalance of male and female energies could cause the destruction of humanity, if not the Earth Herself. This female power that sustains the Earth and all Her inhabitants, and that is so essential for the survival of the planet, resides within each one of us, man and women alike.’

For the past few years I have gotten into ‘New Age’ ideas of thinking/being/living and I found it coincidental that New Age ideas have a lot in common with traditional and indigenous cultures. From what I know now though the New Age culture borrowed a lot, if not all, their beliefs from traditional cultures worldwide!

Grandmothers Counsel the World is a book about a council of thirteen indigenous Grandmothers from all over the world, known as ‘The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.’ In many indigenous traditions, older people, men (Grandfathers) and women (Grandmothers) are considered ‘elders’ and they are highly respected by the community. The content of this book begins with a statement from the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous and an introduction. Then it goes in to part one, which consists of the stories of each Grandmother. After sharing each story about each Grandmother, Schaefer goes into part two, which is titled Guidance for Our Times, and this part consists of seven chapters. The chapters are titled as followed: Prophecies, Women’s Wisdom, Sacred Relations, Our Mother Earth, Oppression, Nature’s Pharmacy and Prayer.

My favorite chapter, Prophecies, is about the predictions that have been given to indigenous cultures by their forbearers. This chapter is about the return of feminine energy and how it will create big changes in this world; there has been a major imbalance with feminine and masculine energies which has caused much of the world’s problems today. The imbalance of feminine/masculine energies, according to the Grandmothers ‘the circle of life was broken around five hundred years ago when the white people first came to the Americas.’ This chapter shares the different viewpoints from the Grandmothers Council and a few different Grandmothers. Women’s Wisdom goes into what one may also call ‘Feminism Wisdom.’ Although, I do not like this term, as I feel it is used critically towards a human being (majority of the time, a female person) who is passionate about human beings being treated equally.

This is an amazing book, and I highly recommend it if you are open to spirituality and alternative ways of thinking. It is full of gems of wisdom that are easily applicable in daily life.

Peace & Blessings.