California State University, Northridge Chicana/o studies professor Lara Medina explores the spiritual healing within indigenous ancestral traditions in her new book “Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices,” an anthology of wisdom writings and spiritual practices co-edited by Medina and Martha R. Gonzales and published by The University of Arizona Press.
“Voices from the Ancestors” brings together the reflective writings, spiritual practices and visual art of Xicanx, Latinx, Afro-Latinx and select male allies in the United States who seek to heal from the legacy of colonization and on-going societal challenges by reconnecting to their ancestral traditions and knowledge.
“For me, I started very consciously working to decolonize my spirituality by living with a spiritual consciousness from a non-western perspective, which means understanding the profound interconnectedness between all forms of life and reciprocity as foundational values,” Medina said. “Many Xicanx and Latinx, have returned to our indigenous ancestral knowledges that were silenced the period of colonization and that continue to be dismissed or ignored by mainstream societies.”
The book highlights the wisdoms from the authors’ oral traditions, research, intuitions and lived experiences. It acknowledges the interconnectedness that past generations had with each other, with all of nature and how reclaiming their spirituality based on non-Western epistemologies carries medicine to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
The wisdoms offered in the book appear as reflective essays, poetry, specific guidelines for healing practices and visual art that is meant to address how to live holistically with a spiritual consciousness.
“There’s a lot of trauma being experienced in our communities because of the state of the country right now, and many of the practices and the knowledge that we collected and edited fort this book are healing practices to address trauma, both historical trauma and contemporary trauma.
Medina was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, earned a masters of arts degree in theology from The Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, Calif., and a doctorate in history from Claremont Graduate University.
Gonzales, co-editor of the book, was raised in East Los Angeles, she earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her doctorate in literature from the University of California, San Diego. Currently, Gonzales teaches in the Ethnic Studies Department at Glendale Community College.