A review of From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations, edited by Ron Whitehead

Reviewed by Lorraine Currelley

From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations
Edited by Ron Whitehead
Trancemission Press
Paperback: 120 pages, Oct 2020, ISBN – 9798693117976

Book, Ebook, Double Album!!

Editor Ron Whitehead has succeeded in assembling a group of multicultural diverse voices of thirty-five musicians, singers, healers, curanderas, and shamans from twenty countries in seventeen languages. From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations is a beautifully carved chorus of global voices. The messages of these nuanced voices are eloquent and powerful. Their presentations are passionate. Readers will connect and celebrate their individual and collective voices for generations to come.

Daughter of Ancient Blood, Bone and Spirit

I carry the bones, blood and spirits of my ancient ancestors. I was born eating their sorrow, tears, joy, strength and courage. I am the warrior living within. Their hopes and dreams. The one whose tongue summons thunder. The one holding memory. The one refusing my captors death and god. I am the descendant of civilizations begining. The truth refusing burial.

I call on the wisdom of my ancestors always, and on days and nights when there is no internal rest. I tell them I am not at peace. Living in two heads, in two conflicting worlds. I am one of the stolen spending her lifetime seeking my one true head. They listen closely and tell me we must pray. Spirit brings me to the water where I meet with those long gone. The ones whose spirits fill the oceans and me with holy prayers of thanskgiving and the unrelenting will to go on. We offer prayers dedicated to the holy ones, speak of honor, sacred earth, wind, water, sky, the cleansing power of fire and life. This is how we love and birth generations. Daughter of ancients, you must live, they tell me. How else will future descendants know and survive? You are drum. You must hold and tell our stories. I raise my heart to sky and water planting my oath.

I come before the gods of my ancient ancestors humbled on bended knee. My prayers are for the healing of generational trauma and terror. I pray for evil’s end. The healing and cleansing for those born to hatred without souls and spirit. Those trespassing against your universe, humankind and creation.

Holy ones hear your daughter’s prayer and grant mercy. – Lorraine Currelley

The Ancestors project started with a recording I made with Dr. Hilaria Cruz reading a Chatino Prayer for the Community. The Chatino prayer was intended to be a much larger theatrical project, but Covid 19 laid those plans to waste. I sent the Chatino Prayer recording to Ron for feedback and this led to a conversation which became From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations. – Gabriel Walker

The poems, prayers and music in this collection are courageous, refreshing and from the heart. We identify and are not strangers to their expressions of love, joy, and uncompromising cries for justice, peace and healing. They address the challenging and turbulent and political and social climate we live under today. Uniting this collection is hope. The unrelenting determination to persevere. Authors seeking to fill wells and build bridges of understanding. Culture, ethnicity and language do not present barriers. There is an undeniable strength and universal connectedness between these authors. One best described as the human spirit.The wisdom, aspirations, insights, and the hopes of this group are well documented In this empowering collection. It’s one all authors and contributors can be proud of. We listen and celebrate the wisdom of author Greta Render Whitehead who sums up what each writer has expressed for future generations in her eloquent poem The Gift Of Life.

The Gift Of Life

Look for and find
the ever present gift of good
in nature and in people.

For all my 88 blessed years
I have looked for and found
the good in all people and nature.

Hold life in your arms.
Take care of those you love.
Be a good neighbor.

Feed the hungry.
Help heal the sick.
Open your heart.

Respect nature,
our beautiful mother earth.
Without mother earth
there would be
no we the people.

Be gentle and kind.
Have a good Attitude.

Even in the hardest of times
find ways to enjoy life.

Have fun.
Nature gives us
all the entertainment
we ever need.

Sunrises and sunsets
are the best times
to hear the angels sing.
Songs are gifts from the angels.
To lift your spirits, sing.

Always be thankful for
and respect the gift of life.

“Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my ‘children’ live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all by and by”

Greta Render Whitehead (Kentucky, USA)

About the reviewer: Lorraine Currelley is a poet, writer, Pearls of Wisdom Storyteller, and State of New York Bronx Beat Poet Laureate 2020-2022 awarded by the National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. She’s widely anthologized and the recipient of numerous awards. She’s the executive directors for Poets Network & Exchange, Inc., and the Bronx Book Fair. She has a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate of Specialization in Thanatology (grief and bereavement). She resides in New York City. Find out more at: https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/lorraine_currelley