Several years ago, I came across a documentary called The Babushkas of Chernobyl.
I have some family lineage in Eastern Europe, and the wise, weathered faces of the Babushkas caught my eye. They reminded me so much of my grandmother, the steady, bright light of my childhood, that I immediately watched it, and watched it again several times, especially on those days I miss my grandmother. This film brought my grandmother back to me in many ways, by showing the babushkas’ steadfastness, their determination, and their joy in the simple pleasures in life. They grow gardens, cook meals, sew, and create community in and amongst themselves, watching out for each other, as all babushkas and grandmothers do.
We all have babushkas in our lives, whether they be related or not. The elder wise woman, who has lived so many life experiences, passing on knowledge that we are usually too busy to listen to, showing us the way, until one day, we too are that age, looking at those behind us, shaking our heads at youth. Their knowledge is invaluable, yet it sometimes disappears with time, as generation upon generation make the same mistakes, it seems like. Let us pause a moment, in these busy days, and truly appreciate the elders in our own lives. With a call, a note, or a candle lit. Offer gratitude for all that they bring to our lives.
As Russia invades Ukraine, my heart is with all Ukrainians, especially the elders. They are the true foundations of communities, and in particular, these babushkas of a certain age have already seen so much, Many survived World War II, and now they are faced with occupation, war and aggression again. Below is a prayer I have written, honoring those elders, in the hopes that they may remain safe and protected, and that this violence ends.
Prayer for the Babushkas of Ukraine
Prayer is an all-encompassing word. When words fail, and all thoughts, heart and energies are sent to a specific destination, full of want, hope and love. Wanting peace, safety, and most of all strength when the world is on fire, while terror and the fear reigns. All gods and goddesses, nature, Divine Spirit, all that surrounds us, lay a mantle of protection over all, especially the Babushkas, the elders and wise women of Ukraine. They are the earth itself, grounded deeply in the landscape, and part of the fabric of Ukraine.
They have seen so much, and are strong and wise. May they be safe and warm, fed and loved, as those who seek conflict and war rage on. May there be an end to this madness. May they be protected, as well as all Ukrainians. May the goddess and spirit of Beregynia guard over them all in the coming days. Protector of all natural life, goddess and spirit of protection, shine your light over all the darkness of the land Ukraine, honor those who fight for freedom, honor those who have already given up their life for their country, and honor those engaged in the ongoing battle now. May the babushkas, the elders, women, men and children who are in the midst of this conflagration feel strength and hope.
May it ever be so.