Ancient Blessings In NYC : The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

Top Photo: Tancie Trail

My girlfriend Christine and I were lucky enough to volunteer for a super sacred event at Urban Zen here in New York last Friday night, “An Evening Of Blessings With The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers”. I heard the title of the event and instantly was like “sign me up!” I mean, it’s not everyday you get to hang, in New York City, with 1 Indigenous granny let along 13!!

Once the evening was underway, and each of the grandmothers made her way to the stage, the mic was passed around and one by one they shared a bit about their life story, sacred messages or concerns they had for ‘the human family’.

Here are a few powerful hilights that stood out for me…

“Taking care of the environment is vital – it is our pharmacy!!!”

“We were born into water, our first medicine was and is water. I wish we all take care of water better, talk to it when showering, bathing, washing, drinking.” -Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein

“Speak to your water. Speak to your water daily. Thank it for all that it does. Treat it like a God.” -Grandmother Agnes Baker-Pilgrim

“So much gratitude and thanks for having us here in New York. We come from the 4 directions, we are all concerned about the water, pray to replenish the water on earth for people and for all peace.”

“When we are born we know two things: love for creator and love for the beauty around us. In the early dawn hours come very symbolic visions. When we leave this place of beauty we do not know what we will find.” -Grandmother Flordemayo

“Everyone has responsibility, not just government.” -Tsering Dolma Gyaltong

“We are all part of a cycle of life, interdependent with all things. We were given instructions originally about how to live here and take care of this place when we arrived. We went in the four directions, we must now come back together and share with one another our original instructions on how to live. Some forget the instructions yet come back, seeking them for the sake of maintaining life in this world.” -Grandmother Mona Polacca

“What moved you to come here? We all have a spirit guide. It takes us where we need to be. Spirit puts a thought and feeling in us about how to create the good. For us to come together, greeting each other, on a good day, to share good feelings – this greeting here fulfills some of these original instructions. We fulfill the original instructions in creating opportunities to connect with one another with good relations.”

“When I was a child we had plenty of everything. No scarcity. Now it is very difficult to get water. We must wake at 3 am, walk 2 hours for one bucket of water.” -Grandmother Aama Bombo

Speaking in her native tongue with a translator: “I speak both Lakota and English yet cause of the lack of desire from our youth to speak our language I will speak Lakota. Our youth on our reservation are straying. Its my prioriry to speak on this as my main concern.”  -Grandmother Rita Long-Visitor Holy Dance

(Learn more about the Grandmothers council here.)

Weaved through those messages were many many blessings and thanks directly given to Donna Karan (the host and owner of Urban Zen), to her late husband, artist Stephan Weiss with so much gratitude being the main focus of the grandmothers communication.

Nearly every grandmother started and finished her speech with long pauses of intentional gratitude – really making a point to allow time and space to acknowledge the thanks. This shifted my perspective on gratitude and how divine it can be when we hold a space to give it, as well as for it to be received.

Following the spoken messages, one of the tribes women performed an American Indian dance – which had the whole crowd moving and shaking and yipping right along with her ( or maybe that was just me!).

The evening closed with powerful one-on-one blessings. As participants made their way to the stage to kneel at the feet of the women, blessings were bestowed, prayers were sang, white roses were dipped in ‘holy water’ and tossed onto the tops of heads for cleansing. (photo courtesy Urban Zen)

My blessings were from Grandmother Mona Polacca, a Hopi/Havasupai /Tewa elder and Tsering Dolma Gyaltong of Tibet. Tsering Dolma held my mala beads, which were strung about my neck, and taught me a mantra to repeat for compassion.

Om Mani Padme Hum

She said: “It will be good for you and it will be good for everyone – repeat every day.” Om Mani Padme Hum is a message of compassion for one’s self and for the world. Here’s a video I found below of the chant, so you can get your rhythm on and hang with your very own Tibetan prayer posse daily. If you have a string of mala beads, use it to repeat the mantra 108 times – a couple times per day!


What a treat, it was super sacred and impact-full to hear all the messages they shared directly. Lemme know if any of their messages I have shared above have inspired or impacted you – Or have you tapped into your own ancient wisdom recently? Lemme know + share below ↓



FREE MUSIC: Rock out to this fantastic single from my girl Elizabeth Sullivan – “Only Love”
Or listen to it instantly online here:


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