My dear friend Kelly Buntin Johnson beaded this beautiful umbilical turtle fetish for Tulsi. Both the turtle and her poem are a rare gift and blessing — I had to share it! If you don’t know Kelly’s art, you must. It is powerful, beautiful and heart-full.

Kelly told me last Spring that she wanted to make this for our baby. She wrote, “Such a piece of artwork is traditionally created for a baby to have attached to their cradleboard and then worn on clothing or tied in hair throughout life.  This is a Lakota tradition.  Also Cheyenne.  A piece of the dried umbilical cord is placed inside along with other powerful bits and pieces.” For Tulsi’s first birthday in April, Patrick and I plan to place a piece of her cord and our own blessings inside the turtle; what we want her to carry with her throughout her life. For now, her turtle has found a home hanging from the magical tree above her bed. And it’s official, after “Mama” and “Papa”, “Turtle” is Tulsi’s first word. She loves to say it over and over when she looks up at her turtle. Thank you Auntie Kelly! I love having you as a friend, and I love that Tulsi will know you in her life. You are an inspiration to me in many ways.

a vessel for umbilical cord
a tie to mother who birthed us
a tie to Mother Earth upon whom we walk
in grace, beauty, and honor.

the shape of this vessel differs
among the People
lizard, turtle
snake, horned toad
abstractions empowered
with
prayers of protection
and longevity.

a talisman
a turtle
for Tulsi.

may she walk mindfully upon Mother Earth
as she reaches high towards Father Sky.

kelly
7 janvier 2010