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Jyoti (Jeneane Prevatt)
Covener of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers
Zurich, Switzerland

photo ©2012 Pam Levitan

Jyoti (pronounced Jo-Tee) obtained her Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, including 2½ years of postgraduate study at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich Switzerland. As a result of a vision that prompted her and others around the world, she became one of the conveners of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. At the fourth Grandmother Council gathering, Jyoti was appointed Ambassador Charged with the Mission. Jyoti is author of several books; the Spiritual Director of the Center for Sacred Studies, which is dedicated to protecting and sustaining spiritual practices of indigenous peoples; founder of the international spiritual community Kayumari, a community center for spiritual seekers and healing; founder of the Stargate Mystery school for those desiring to work with and in non-ordinary states of consciousness; and founder of the Center for Sacred Studies ministerial program.

There is an archetype of a Grandmother that has arrived. — Jyoti


Agnes Baker-Pilgrim
Takelma Siletz, Grants Pass,
Oregon, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Agnes is the oldest living female of the Rogue River Indians. Her ancestors have lived in Oregon for 22,000 years. In 1994, Agnes revived her people’s Sacred Salmon Ceremony after 150 years, which has considerably increased the number of salmon returning to spawn upriver. Grandma Aggie, as she is affectionately called, has six children, eighteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all of whom follow traditional ways. Known internationally for her spiritual leadership, she is the Chair of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, co-founder of the Konanwayy Nika Tillicum (All My Relations) Youth Academy, a retired nurse, and cancer survivor.

Rivers are not a garbage dump. When the water is gone, you can’t manufacture water. All of us had better start taking care of our rivers and streams. Without water, all life dies. We should bless every drop we drink. — Grandmother Agnes


Margaret Behan
Arapaho/Cheyenne Montana, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Margaret, a fifth generation survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, did not have an easy growing-up life. She started drinking at an early age and later became a battered wife with three children. Today Margaret not only takes a leadership role in her tribe by serving as President of the Cheyenne Elders Council, she also takes an active role in her community by teaching Cheyenne culture. Grandmother Margaret presents trauma and substance abuse programs across North America; she is an author, poet, playwright, award-winning sculptress and thirty-year dance leader in traditional Cheyenne dance.

If we want to see changes first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace. Grandmother Margaret


Aama Bombo
(Buddhi Maya Lama)
Tamang, Nepal

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Although Grandmother Buddi Maya Lama was born the daughter of a famous shaman, Tamang clan laws prohibited women from practicing shamanism. She had wanted to be a healer from the age of five, but had no way to cultivate her gifts. At the age of twenty-five, she became ill and for over a year visited doctors. Finally, a Buddhist lama revealed that her father who had died when Aama was sixteen had been seeking to express his spirit and his work through her. Today, Grandmother Aama lives in Boudhnath, which is outside Katmandu and is a respected Shaman in Nepal.

I am doing my prayers around the world to create a world without war and tension. I want to see this world full with natural beauty, where everybody will have equal rights and opportunity to share nature’s womb. Grandmother Aama


Rita Pitka Blumenstein
Yup’ik, Alaska, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Rita was born on a fishing boat and by the age of nine, she had begun to receive visions and was effectively doing healing work. While still a child, her Yup’ik great-grandmother gifted her with “…thirteen stones in honor of thirteen Grandmothers, the thirteen planets in our universe, and the thirteen full moons of the year.” She was further told by her great-grandmother that she would someday sit in council with thirteen Grandmothers and was to give these stones to them when their meeting day arrived. With tears in her eyes, she did so in 2004 when the Thirteen Grandmothers first convened. Rita is the first certified traditional (healer) doctor in Alaska. She is a diphtheria and cancer survivor, artist, speaker, storyteller and teacher.

Do your best to learn who you are. It will help your life, and hopefully others. — Grandmother Rita


Maria Alice Campos-Freire
Amazonian Rainforest, Brazil

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Maria Alice (pronounced Ahleesa) was born in Brazil where she experienced much war and persecution. At seventeen while pregnant Maria was imprisoned and tortured. Her daughter was born after Maria Alice became a political refuge in Europe and Africa before receiving amnesty, which enabled her return to Brazil. There she was initiated into the Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda, which blends Catholicism, Spiritism, Kardecism, and indigenous lore. During ritual she received a vision directing her to move to the Amazon. She now leads a spiritual community deep in the Amazon Rainforest as a healer using rainforest plants. She is a master of Umbanda ceremonies and also the founder of Centro Medicina da Floresta, which works to preserve the rainforest.

We are living this kind of big imbalance in the world, but so many beautiful things are happening. — Grandmother Maria Alice


Julieta Casimiro
Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Beginning at the age of seventeen, Grandmother Julieta has been a curandera dedicated to curing illnesses, both physical and spiritual for forty years. Mother of ten children, she was taught plant medicine by her mother-in-law who was a traditional Mazatec healer. Plant medicine, says Julieta, particularly the sacred mushroom is God’s gift to the peasants who cannot afford doctors. Grandmother Julieta honors the ancient Aztec by lighting thirteen candles that represent the thirteen realms of consciousness at the beginning of each healing session. In addition the sacred feminine is the foundation for all her healing practices particularly in the Virgin of Guadalupe, believed to be the human embodiment of the ancient earth goddess, Coatlique.

All of us here want the same thing. We want to walk in peace, and we want no more war….I pray hard all the time for this to change. — Grandmother Julieta


Mayan Highlands of
Central America

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Flordemayo was born in Nicaragua the youngest of fifteen children. By the age of four, she was already having visions as a seer and began training as a curandera or shaman under the guidance of her mother. The family migrated to the United States (New York) in the 1950s because her mother wanted liberation for her five daughters that they could not have in Nicaragua. Flordemayo’s medicine path began when she discovered she could diagnose the cancer that ultimately caused her mother’s death. She now lives in New Mexico and is the founder and president of the Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge that studies and teaches sustainability.

Everybody around the world is just calling for prayer. It’s what is bringing us together. You don’t have to speak the language, if you just pray…. there is no need to translate that. — Grandmother Flordemayo


Tsering Dolma

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Tsering was born in Lhasa, Tibet where she says, “Our minds were very happy.” At fifteen, Tsering began practicing Buddhism, a path which requires courage, patience, flexibility, and intelligence. At twenty-five she escaped Tibet when she carried two of her three children on her back on the perilous month-long journey to India. In 1984 she revived the Tibetan Women’s Association, facing great danger openly criticizing the Chinese government’s treatment of Tibetan people. Grandmother Tsering asks us to pray that the Chinese peoples’ hearts are softened so that the Dalai Lama can return home. Then, she believes, other Tibetan exiles would be able to return to their beloved homeland.

Our mind is what we have to be really happy within. If everyone really did a true spiritual practice, which develops into a positive mind, the world would not be in the dire situation we find it in today. — Grandmother Tsering


Beatrice Long-Visitor
Holy Dance
Oglala Lakota, Black Hills,
South Dakota, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Beatrice (and her sister, Rita, also a member of the Council) is Oglala Sioux and lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the United States. She is a member of the Crazy Horse Band named for the great warrior. Beatrice is a Field Health Care Worker for people with Tuberculosis, a Native American Church elder, a Sun Dancer, and serves on the Council of Language Elders which preserves the Oglala Lakota language. The sisters are deeply worried about their people. Unemployment rates are 85% and there is pervasive substance abuse. They promote traditional healing ways and a return to the use of the many plant medicines that grow in the Black Hills.

We’re praying for peace, which is not only the wars, but in our homes and in the schools. We need that peace amongst children. — Grandmother Beatrice


Rita Long-Visitor
Holy Dance
Oglala Lakota, Black Hills,
South Dakoka, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Rita, is a keeper of Lakota Traditions, a Native American Church Elder, a great-grandmother, and bead worker. Like her sister, Beatrice, Rita lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation where they remember happy lives as children. Today the people suffer abject poverty, the school drop-out rate is 62%, and the suicide rate doubles the national average. Nineteen generations ago sacred rites were given to the Lakota by White Buffalo Calf Woman. The sisters pray that their youth are freed from substance abuse and return to their spiritual roots.

We use Indian Medicine all the time at home. Our spiritual ways, our Sun Dance ways are encouraging prayer and bringing a lot of people back. A lot of young boys and girls are coming into the Sun Dance and are learning to reconnect with the source of their being. Grandmother Rita


Bernadette Rebienotita
Omyene, Gabon, Africa

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Bernadette is a teacher, therapist, and healer. She experienced her first vision at the age of five. A little older, she became extremely ill with sensitivity to light that brought on severe pain. Her family took her to a Pygmy master of traditional plant medicine. This healer recognized her gifts and said she was undergoing her initiation as a medicine woman. He then invited her to partake in an Iboga plant ritual. In her resulting visions, Bernadette saw her future, including her place on the Council of the 13 Grandmothers. Her health returned and now she is a master of the Iboga Bwiti Rite and of Women’s Initiations. Since 1994 she serves as President of the Health Department of Traditional Medicine in Gabon.

Disease is a foreign thing. It inhabits us to bother us into making necessary spiritual changes. Grandmother Bernadette


Mona Polacca
Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa Arizona, United States

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

Grandmother Mona, a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes of Parker, Arizona, holds a Master of Social Work and is working on her Ph.D. at Arizona State University. She has spent nearly thirty years working on health and social issues, particularly alcoholism and substance abuse that affect American Indians across the U.S. Mona is an author and international speaker, has served as U.S. delegate at the Indigenous Women’s Intercontinental Meeting in Lima, Peru, is an observer at the United Nations Permanent forum for Indigenous Peoples, and is the President/CEO of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program that promotes a vision of wellness to individuals, families, and healthcare professionals.

Leadership is the highest spiritual calling, and as leaders the starting point begins with you — managing your whole self — by utilizing the spirit that lies within your identity and the strength of your culture. — Grandmother Mona


Clara Shinobu Iura
Amazon, Brazil

photo ©2012 Marusol Villanueva

In vision, Grandmother Clara learned she would be united with others “…to watch over the destiny [and] the fate of this planet”: a foretelling of the Grandmother Council. Clara lives deep in the Amazonian Rainforest. Two decades ago, Community leader Padrino Sebastiao of Ceu do Mapia, a Santo Daime religious community, asked resident healers Clara and Maria Alice Freire to help him. Since 1999, Clara has helped direct the holistic healing center there, Santa Casa de Saúde (Holy House of Health) along with Maria Alice (also a Council member). It is the only medical facility in the area. Western, indigenous, and spiritual approaches are combined to treat illnesses and provide dentistry to the many hundreds living in extreme poverty.

Inside the forest, such happiness that we have there. We’d really like to show mankind that this joy, this happiness is possible. — Grandmother Clara