After the winter frost began to melt and the wildlife began to return, I was drawn to ensure that the small wetland between the subdivision and Sadie's Lane were preserved. The work began with clearing a small path and ensuring that the area was cleared of the garbage. As I worked away, I could feel something guiding me to continue creating what kept going through my mind as an equal harmony between Onkwehonwe and the rest of nature.
While doing so I became more and more drawn to the back portion of the yard (below), where on the other side of the tree line is the homestead of my grandfather's family, his grandparents those of the families that migrated to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory after the American Revolution. The ancestral homeland of the Mohawk Nation is the Mohawk River Valley of present day New York State. After travelling by canoe from Lachine, Quebec, our ancestors arrived on the shores of the Bay of Quinte on May 22, 1784.
Below image of original homestead which has since been unfortunately sold, but still renovated into a cafe, and presently apartments.
The constant communication with nature is an essential part of life, but there may have been something that attributed to the energies that have been rising up; this is clear with the growing presence of crows, the food for my family has been untouched and the animal population has risen. Each day in speaking with the animals, they are welcomed to take anything out that is not our food, there seemed to be a fresh welcoming smell in the air, the soil had been freshly tended to and the garden watered.
After standing in the back yard admiring how everything seemed to have it's own energy I wondered to myself what that specific energy was that was guiding me to protect this small part of literal ancestral homeland that is left. I took out my phone and took a series of pictures which revealed what I had hoped for, proof of inter-dimensional existence, or the spirit world as we the Haudenosaunee call it.
After looking through several photos and zooming in on the treeline, one dandelion seemed brighter than the rest and there it was. Proof that there are ancestors watching out over us and guiding us to the right ways, the ways they brought from the Mohawk River Valley hundreds of years ago.
After seeing the photo there was a chill, then a sense of excitement. The very next night I decided to go out at night to see if it could be possible to record something a little more conclusive. This was not welcomed by the other side.
As I began preparing to go outside a deep sense of fear came over me, one that I haven't felt in so long that I knew it to be a genuine warning. Shortly after this feeling came the sound of what I thought at first to be the howl of a coyotes, but became clearer that it was the sound of a woman's voice screaming, or howling hard. After the sound stopped, I approached the door and a sense of not fear, but pure dread rushed over me as I could see through the curtain a giant being with a head so large it took up the window.
It seemed as though it could peer through the thick curtain right into my being, from one dimension into another and then again into the next. A being so strong and ancient, as if a warning of things yet to come. Immediately I smudged and offered my thanks to the energies and elements, and a calm came over just outside the back door; enough space for me to burn tobacco.
The morning came, and the energy was new, a calm had set about the house and the wetland behind the homestead was once again at peace with the birds flying and animals feeding on their breakfast. The balance was clear, the forces of creation are speaking loud; is it the ancestors answering the call of solidarity, giving an opening to us their descendants to act ensuring the security of the next Seven Generations? Is it both sides of the balance being woken up, and showing their existence as they have when spiritual revolution happens on a grand scale.
There are stories that ring similar to the events that have recently transpired, in Ireland there is the story of the Banshee who howls and comes as an omen of death. A Banshee is said to be a fairy in Irish legend and her scream is believed to be an omen of death. The scream is also called ‘caoine’ which means ‘keening’ and is a warning that there will be an imminent death in the family and as the Irish families blended over time, it is said that each family has its own Banshee. A Banshee is a disembodied spirit and can appear in any of the following forms:
A beautiful woman wearing a shroud
A pale woman in a white dress with long red hair
A woman with a long silver dress and silver hair
A headless woman carrying a bowl of blood that is naked from the waist up
An old woman with frightening red eyes, a green dress and long white hair
An old woman with a veil covering her face, dressed all in black with long grey hair
Like so many things, we as people need to understand that the natural world has a balance and that there are two sides that need to be recognised and not just seen for what it looks like. As the many symbols of peace throughout the ancient world have been appropriated and turned into something of hate and evil, could it be too that these entities are beings of change for humanity as a whole?
One fact remains, the apparition in the field and the one at the door were two entirely different things. Is there something seeking to be released but being held there against itself? There are many questions that can all be answered by observing and reconnecting to your identity no matter where you are indigenous to in the world.
The Haudenosaunee have stories which relate closer to this event than the Banshee, considering the sheer presence of the being. The story of the flying head, which in many cases calls for the true beginning of some dangerous things to come. A long time ago there was a young onkwehonwe hunter. He gave all the game he caught to the needy, widows and orphans. One sunny day he took his new arrow and two dogs and left for the other end of his nation’s territory. On this day life in the forest seemed to have vanished. No birds were singing. No rabbits crossed his trail. Even the brooks were silent. Strangely his dogs stayed close to his feet.
As he made camp he heard a strange wailing cry from the north. His dogs growled in fear. They warned him in their language that the hunter understood that a terrible monster was nearby. “Run back to the village before he harms you”, said one terrorised dog.
He turned and ran back to his village. He could hear the long, piercing wail as the monster got closer. The hunter looked back. He saw a fiery head with large round yellow eyes, a long hooked beak, and huge open mouth. The creature had fiery wavy hair and no body. Attached underneath were two scale-covered paws with long curved ugly claws. The monster jumped from tree to tree leaving a wide burnt path through the forest. Soon the hunter could feel the creature’s hot breath. One dog said, “I am going back to fight it even though I will never see you again”. The hunter could hear his dog bark, growl and scream in pain as he was eaten by the flying head.
As he got near the village he could hear the wailing cry of the creature. Sparks from its mouth surrounded him. His other dog said, “I will go back to fight it”. Once again he heard his dog’s yelp of pain as he was devoured. Then he heard the wailing monster getting close. Its breath burnt a path through the forest. He could feel its huge eyes on him. He ran to a clearing in his village, stopped and looked back. The big head bounded to the edge. Sparks flew from its mouth. Its yellow eyes glared in fiery hatred at the people. The people stood up against the evil facing them. With a terrible cry of anger the monster suddenly turned and disappeared over the dark forest out of existence. Has the flying head returned to signal to the people that their rising up is indeed what needs to be done; an omen of revolution.
From the top photo, here is a Kanyen'kehaka story to enjoy:
ATV Special: Akwesasne TV investigates the legend of The Hoof Lady. Some say it is an “old wives tale” meant to scare people or more so youth to behave better, while others swear she’s real.