Hello my friends,
In one of my favourite courses we have been exploring ways in which women connect to their cyclical nature through the practices of ritualizing.
Our classes focus on the sacred things that women and their bodies do and how society diminishes these processes to being merely part of “womanhood”. We are reflecting on these unique and beautiful processes and are learning that they deserve to be honoured, respected, and celebrated as they were/are in traditional non-Eurocentric societies. Menstruation, childbirth, and menopause are just a few of these processes that have become pathologized, demonized, and severely over-medicalized by patriarchal society. There are so many more facets to the sacred and wild nature of womanhood that have been diminished, and we have been assigned an essay which gives us the opportunity to academically explore these facets.
I decided to focus my research on “ritualizing nourishment” due to my deep-rooted passion for Ayurveda and the vital role which cooking plays in all of my maternal relations. As I flip through my Ayurveda textbooks that my aunt gave to me several years ago (which were once her textbooks several, several years ago) my fingertips literally tingle from absorbing the electricity of such profound and ancient knowledge. My stomach flip flops and I feel giddy with the delight of embracing my divine feminine and ancestral wisdom. I am going to divide my learning into multiple posts here on blog, but I wanted to share my initial reflection with you all today. It is a short piece that I wrote to set the stage for my research. Essentially, it is the WHY behind what I do. I hope you can relate to it and that it inspires you to reflect on your own rituals.
When I think of my nani, there are two things that come to mind:
I am first hit by the brilliant odour of garlic, onions, and spices caramelizing on a searing hot pan. Secondly, I envision her sitting on the couch watching Hindi soap operas drinking water out of old Perrier bottles.
Indian soap operas are quite spectacular. At any given moment the scene can shift from a close up of a heartbroken aunty gazing sorrowfully into the camera as it pans out for a solid 30 seconds, to a Bhangra dance number on a rooftop or in the middle of the streets, to someone either getting married or dying. I firmly believe that soap operas are more important to Indian culture than Bollywood, but this is all besides the point.
Everyday when I would go to my nani’s house after school these soap operas would be playing (much too loudly) on the television and those sweet smells would be wafting from the kitchen. There would always be multiple green glass jars full of purified water sitting in her sunroom which she would continuously refill after drinking and place back out in the sunlight. One day I questioned her about it and her response was something about the sun’s warming energy being absorbed into the water, but in my minds eye it was as merely a breeding ground for bacteria.
This was one of the many rituals she would participate in everyday. From the way she cooked her food to the mantra of OM under her breath, it seemed that everything she did was intentional. When she passed away the sorrow that I felt was not for her death, as I understood that she had to move on to her next cycle of life, but I was overwhelmed with how much I had never asked her. The sadness that felt was because I could no longer ask her about her rituals and listen to her wisdom. I try to live with the outlook of lessons rather than regret, however I do have one regret- brushing off her teachings and stories when she was still around.
All of this led me to study the philosophy of yoga and practices of Ayurvedic healing. However, throughout my past three years of study I have not found a single practice that involves green glass jars.
I will leave it at that for today, but stay tuned for upcoming posts all about the practices of Ayurvedic healing, beauty, and cooking.
I send you love and light.