Reflections of a Medicine Woman
My name is Marika A. I am a Lipan/Mescalero Apache living in central Texas. I am a fourth-generation traditional healer and a Medicine Woman, from the Direction of the South to the Apache and other Indigenous people.
In December 2018, we were told that a comet was approaching the Earth in the year 2020. My Grandmother taught me how to read the sky. She told me that comets are powerful messengers and predictors of life-changing events. I was not sure how to prepare for it.
She also said that the number 4 is a powerful number and symbolizes creation. The year 2020 was the next number 4 to watch out for. As it happened, the year 2020 was more powerful than I ever imagined.
I began to prepare for 2020 in 2019. My journey began with a pilgrimage to the Jicarilla reservation in New Mexico. My intention was to seek the counsel of the Elders. We all gathered, the Jicarilla, the Navajo, and the Huichol. At Sundown the fires were started. We drank Cota, brought by the Navajo, and the Ceremonies began. We offered our prayers for guidance to the Fire.
The Fire gave me my direction for understanding, that I would not walk alone because the Owl, the Night Eagle as the Apache believe, was with me. The Owl is a protector and carrier of ancient knowledge.
This year has taken a toll on the indigenous people. Our ceremonies and gatherings have been canceled. This has taken away the foundations of our culture. The way we pray, the way we gather in the PowWow, and the way we prepare our young for entering adulthood, the Coming of Age.
In January 2020, there was a gathering in Canada of Medicine and Holy People of many tribes held on Cree land. I was not able to attend in person because of the illness and death of my sister but was able to attend remotely. The purpose was to discuss how to gather medicine and distribute it to the people. The request of me was to gather Juniper Berries, which I did, and send them to the Medicine People. I also sent Traditional Plant-Based Immune Support Medicine, Congestion Relief Medicine, and Teas to various tribes as requested.
The Elders and Tribal Leaders are proud and independent people, and it is very important that they feel respected for the work they perform for their own people. Keeping that in mind, I also organized a volunteer fund drive to help cover the cost of travel necessary for Ceremonies for the sick and the Ceremonies for the dead.
Ending 2020, our people are very excited with the selection by the President-Elect of Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, as Secretary of the Interior. They feel pride and satisfaction that their prayers have been answered and that a Native American will be responsible for the care and management of our lands.
This has been a cleansing year, a learning year, and a reminder of what is important in our lives. I have learned a lot and pray for strength and understanding.