From September 2016 Circle of Grandmothers Newsletter
Lyla June is a young Native American, poet , writer, public speaker, anthropologist, musician … and I could go on and on, but what I love about her is the inspiration that she is giving not only to the Native youth, but to all races of humanity … showing us what it is to be a human being. We are honored to share some of her writings that reflect the traditional wisdom of her Native ancestors, her Grandmother in particular.
Dawn It is dawn. The sun is conquering the sky
and my Grandmother and I are heaving prayers at the horizon.
“Show me something un-beautiful,” she says,
“and I will show you the veil over your eyes and take it away.
And you will see HOZHO all around you, inside of you.”
This morning she is teaching me the meaning of HOZHO.
There is no direct translation from Diné Bizaad, the Navajo language,
into English but every living being knows what HOZHO means.
HOZHO is every drop of rain, every eyelash,
every leaf on every tree, every feather on the bluebird’s wing.
HOZHO is undeniable beauty. HOZHO is in every breath that we give to the trees.
And in every breath they give to us in return.
HOZHO is reciprocity.
My Grandmother knows the meaning of HOZHO well.
For she speaks a language that grew out of the desert floor
like red sandstone monoliths that rise like arms out of the Earth,
praising creation for all its brilliance.
HOZHO is remembering that you are a part of this brilliance.
It is finally accepting that, yes, you are a sacred song that brings
the Diyin Dine’é, the Gods, to their knees in an almost unbearable ecstasy.
HOZHO is remembering your own beauty.
My Grandmother knows HOZHO well.
For she speaks the Language of a Lukachukai snowstorm,
the sound of hooves hitting the Earth on birthdays.
For my Grandmother is a midwife and she is fluent in the language
of suffering mothers, of joyful mothers, of handing glowing newborns to their creator.
HOZHO is not something you can experience on your own,
the eagles tell us as they lock talons in the stratosphere and fall to the Earth as one.
HOZHO is interbeauty.
My Grandmother knows HOZHO well for she speaks the language
of the male rain that shoots lightning boys through the sky,
pummels the green corn children, and huddles the horses against cliff sides in the afternoon.
She also speaks the language of the female rain that sends the scent of dust and sage
into our homes and shoots rainbows out of and into the Earth.
The Diné know what HOZHO means! And you know what HOZHO means!
And deep down we know what HOZHO is not.
Like the days you walk in sadness.
The days you live for money.
The days you live for fame.
The days you live for tomorrow.
Like the day the Spaniards climbed down from their horses
and asked us if they could buy the mountains.
We knew this was not HOZHO.
But we knew we could make it HOZHO once again.
So we took their swords and their silver coins and melted them with fire
and buffalo hide bellows and reshaped them into squash blossom jewelry pieces
and strung it around their necks.
Took the helmets straight off their heads and turned them into fearless beauty.
HOZHO is the healing of broken bones.
HOZHO is the prayer that carried us through genocide and disease.
It is the prayer that will carry us through global warming
and through this global fear that has set our hearts on fire.
This morning my Grandmother is teaching me
that the easiest (and most elegant) way
to defeat an army of hatred is
to sing it beautiful songs until it falls to its knees and surrenders.
It will do this, she says, because it has finally found a sweeter fire than revenge.
It has found heaven. It has found HOZHO.
This morning my Grandmother is saying to the colors of the sky at dawn:
Beauty is restored again. It is dawn, my friends. Wake up. The night is over.