We are so excited to be able to invite several brilliant writers to share their experiences with ancestors and ancestral work this month. Please join us in welcoming Ti Ames and their powerful story about reconnecting to their ancestors!
A Story About My Ancestral Gramma
First and foremost, I must first thank my ancestors, spirit guides, and angels. I am eternally grateful for your light, guidance, support, and protection in this lifetime and all lifetimes before and after. Asè.
This story is about my ancestors, but one in particular. She is my rock, my heart, my backbone. Yvonne Guarte, lovingly referred to as Gramma, has been an ancestor for a few years now. I don’t remember exactly when she crossed over, but it’s important to note that I know this woman better now in “death” than I ever knew her in life. But let’s start there. Let’s start with the life.
I spent the summer of 2003 with my dad in Baltimore, a rare and exciting opportunity for a child with separated parents. We spent three months climbing trees in the backyard and eating tiger’s blood-flavored snow cones. The one day we went to see my Gramma, I was nervous. Here is a woman I barely knew. My dad always said she was loving but also a hard-ass and not much else. He said she would do anything for her family, even if that meant knocking some sense into them (which was evidently often). I was her “long lost grandbaby.” Of all of her many grandchildren, I was the only one that lived out of state.
Now look, my Gramma is not your stereotypical grandmother. Both in life and in death, she dawns long acrylic nails, bright red lipstick, a short, bleach blonde cut, and curses like a sailor every ten seconds. She tells it like it is, never sugarcoating anything. We spent an hour in her tiny apartment that smelled like jasmine and patchouli. She showed me all the pictures she had of me and harped on my dad for not bringing me by often enough. “This is our time,” she told me. When it was time to leave, she gave me a big hug and whispered, “I’ll always know ya, baby.” I hoped that was true.
When I returned home that fall, something was different. My mother was a pastor, and the church was still pretty small at the time. There were nights in bible study where I would start hearing voices and start speaking in tongues—forming nonsensical words and praying over members of our congregation. Little did I know my ancestors were trying to come through.
Fast forward to 2016. It had been 13 years since I had had a conversation with Gramma. She had crossed over a couple of years beforehand, but I didn’t attend her funeral. I was on “medical leave” from college and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital due to severe side effects from anti-depressants. If we’re speaking in tarot terms, all of my towers had fallen at once. I needed to figure out how to rebuild them.
During my leave, I moved in with my cousin, an IFA diviner. She helped me to break down a lot of mental and emotional barriers while also building me up spiritually. Slowly but surely, I started talking to my ancestors; I had heard them for years but was learning who was who, like my Mama Teenie, my maternal great grandmother, and Pop and Papa, my maternal grandfathers. To this day, I hear them as clearly as if they were standing in front of me. It wasn’t until I moved in with my friend when I finally heard Gramma.
I was completing my first ever new moon ritual. I had just bought a bunch of new crystals and couldn’t wait to charge them. It took me a long time to get into the flow of the ritual. My friend stood outside with me to hold space and help me along the way. I started to bless each crystal one by one, taking my time to call in my ancestors to help me charge them. My friend began chuckling randomly, repeatedly excusing herself and asking me to continue. I went to bed that night feeling defeated, like she was laughing at me because I hadn’t done the ritual correctly.
“I’m so sorry,” she said the next morning, “but your grandmother had me cracking up.”
“Your grandmother. She was talking to me last night during your ritual.” I told her my grandmother was still alive.
“No, no, not her. Your dad’s mom. She kept talking about how it was taking you too damn long to bless them crystals. She said, ‘Lawd, we bout to do this for EVERY one of them??’ She’s hilarious.”
I had to take a second. Was Gramma coming through? I barely knew her. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I heard her voice as clear as the last time I heard it.
“Hey, baby. You know who it is.”
From that day on, Gramma has been the MOST talkative, loud, and present ancestor in my life. She is the only one from my paternal line I talk to, but she makes up for it in all the energy she pours into my life. I swear, even as I write this, she’s made me go back and delete details several times until I got her wording right. When I pull my daily tarot spreads, she is always at the forefront of every reading quite LITERALLY reading me for filth. She has always known me and will always know me, and I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more.
So that’s my story, and it’s a continuing one. If you’re looking to start talking with your ancestors or deepen your connection, know that it is a two-way street. They will constantly send good things your way, but it is up to you to accept those things. Thank them for being there for you, ask them to guide and protect you, and trust that they will help you to manifest the fuck out of your life. No matter what, please remember: they will always know you.
So mote it be.