Dec. 4, 2021

Spirituality & Motherhood Episode 17: Assata DeLa Cruz

Spirituality & Motherhood Episode 17: Assata DeLa Cruz
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In this episode, Assata Dela Cruz shares how her daughter Dahlia was instrumental in the unfolding of her Spiritual Path.  She also shares the importance of obedience and having faith--even when the odds are against you. 

Assata Dela Cruz is the owner of Cottagecore Rising, an apothecary deeply rooted in the appreciation and application of Chahta and Yoruba Ancestral wisdom.   In addition to organic herbs, extracts, and oils for purchase, there are bi-weekly classes and workshops on holistic living, as well as private and group yoga classes.

Recognizing that sacred healing begins in the womb, Assata also offers holistic birth and postpartum support as a doula, breastfeeding counselor, and childbirth educator.


Assata De La Cruz 

[00:00:00] Jeannette: Peace blessings and welcome welcome. Welcome to the spirituality and motherhood podcast. My name is Jeanette Lancien and I'm your host. In this podcast we explore that sacred space where spirituality meets motherhood.In this space we'll look at everything from how ancestral and earth based spiritual paths and practice shape motherhood to how having spiritual gifts impacts your experiences as a Mother. 

[00:00:28] As, as your host, I'm the mother of two boys, age is four and seven, a hoodoo a root worker as psychic and a Tree talking Lay herbalist. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening. Thank you for riding with me. Let's dig into this episode. In this episode, we are talking to Assata Dela Cruz of cottage core rising that's C O T T A G E 

[00:00:55] C O R E R I S I N G.COM. Yeah. If you just want to check it out, cottage core rising is an apothecary deeply rooted in fostering community through the appreciation application of Yoruba and Chahta, ancestral wisdom. In addition to organic herbs, extracts and oils for purchase, there are bi-weekly classes and workshops on holistic living as well as private and group yoga classes. 

[00:01:25] Assata also offers holistic birth and postpartum support as a doula. Um, she also does in breastfeeding counseling and is a childbirth educator. I have to tell you one of the things that just really touched me about talking to Assata is that she is firmly and rooted, rooted, and grounded in her Chahta and Yorba Lord ancestors, her ancestors be showing up yanking, her being like, look here Lady, this is what you gonna do.. 

[00:02:05] And she's rooted and grounded in that, and she's walking the path and she's honoring them and, and, you know, making sure like her daughter knows what's what, and who's who, but at the same time, she's open to the many ways in which God shows up. She's open to that. And she she's, she recognizes that and she allows the many faces of God to nourish her to nourish her and bring her back even more deeply. 

[00:02:31] Into her ancestry, even more deeply into herself, even more deeply into her path and not necessarily get, um, pulled off by the way, which, you know, I think we all in our minds, how have shoulds about how our spiritual paths should look and spiritually what we should be doing and blah, blah, blah. But it's interesting to see somebody who has. 

[00:02:58] seen the many faces of God and all these different spiritual paths. And instead of being like, Ooh, look shiny. It's like, oh, okay. I am nourished by this. And I'm even more deeply rooted and grounded in who I am. And the past that my ancestors have supported me in walking. So, and, and the theme of obedience just kept on coming up and I felt like my ancestors were like, Hey, look, I'm like, now look, look. 

[00:03:28] Anyway, before I get to like saying everything we should just dig on into this, this interview. I pray it blesses you. And I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Peace.  


[00:03:48] Jeannette: Here we go. Woo. We're recording. Thank you so much for being here on this podcast. I'm so excited to talk to you. I have like all these questions, but I feel like I want to start with, um, kind of, we were talking about off the record. And the sense of like, 

[00:04:12] your spiritual path and your spirituality being something you take to the streets. 

[00:04:17] Can you talk more about how like your, your connection with the divine inspires you to take it to the streets?  

[00:04:25] Assata: Um, I feel like it's something that's so deeply ingrained in me where like I grew up my entire life, very, very heavily involved in church. I come from this very church family and I come from, we talk about my grandmother, to this day of that, she is, she's going to a funeral every single day because she's got to cook a meal for somebody she's got to go visit with a family. 

[00:04:45] So I grew up seeing these , Acts of service my entire life. Like I said, definitely is a strong connection stuff for my grandmother and I was just always taught that like, if you. If you have this love for God and God has given you this love and his grace or higher part, whatever you want to call it. 

[00:05:04] If you've been given this, you have an obligation to share that same love with other people. Um, and that's, uh, one of my favorite, cause I grew up, um, in the Catholic church and now my. Catholic-y-ish 

[00:05:21] I don't think the Pope we consider to be Catholic, but I mean, I'm 

[00:05:28] one of my favorite like posts and stuff. And like I said, I went to Catholic school literally from preschool, through college. So like very Catholic, um, was from St. Francis of Assisi. And it was preach the gospel. And when necessary use words, usually. So, sorry,  

[00:05:42] Jeannette: It's all good mine are upstairs, or they'd be in the camera.  

[00:05:47] Assata: She'll be over soon. 

[00:05:48] I'm trying to keep her contained over there. Um, but it, my favorite quotes from St. Francis of Assisi that was preach the gospel and when necessary use words, because I feel I don't know. Like I can talk to people all day about scriptures from every place. And I can talk about prayer and I can do all these things, but if people don't see that reflected in my life, what am I doing? 

[00:06:11] Like, people want to see that love of God that service, that, whatever, um, And so I really, I take that to heart. I mean, I have a very special, deep, personal spiritual practice of prayer and chanting and all these things. And that's great. It keeps me going, but, I have to share that with the community. 

[00:06:29] And, sometimes that looks like birth work. Like I teach yoga, but I also am very involved in political party. And so it's doing things with that. So, I mean, it's just. The intersect, isn't every aspect of my life that doesn't just stop at, like going to church or like praying or whatever, like it's infused in everything that I do in my motherhood, everything. 

[00:06:53] Jeannette: Yes. That was the interesting thing doing like, you know, looking at your Instagram, which is cottage,core rising, and just kind of almost like envisioning this, like all these different tributaries of a river coming together to nourish the people. And it was a very interesting imagery, but I was at the river today, so that's kind of how it happened. 

[00:07:12] So do you mind if we talk a little bit in that vein about cottage core rising before we kind of go off in more spiritual tangents? Cause it feels like a good time to talk.  

[00:07:22] Assata: Well, first, I want to say that, it's so funny, you make the water connection. Not funny. It's just, I love when I see, God working through things, so, and I've never publicly talked about this, so you don't even know this, but my indigenous name is Tallulah and that means leaping water. 

[00:07:37] I have literally never said that publicly, like anywhere ever. So I was that, but like, so I have this very deep, water connection in my life. So that it's amazing. And Yemaya is actually was a huge part of my life and like spirituality and conceiving Dalia and everything. So that's a huge that I, that just blew my mind. 

[00:07:58] That you said  

[00:07:59] that. I was like, whoa. Okay. Yeah.  

[00:08:06] Jeannette: Okay. So that's another question too. It feels like the divine speaks to you and comes to you in a variety of ways because you practice you practice. Um, we talked about Bhakti, Yogi. We talked about yoga. Excuse me. We talked about, um, you do you practice urbalism to. 

[00:08:26] From like Yorba Herbalism and I don't know how to pronounce the indigenous,  

[00:08:32] Assata: um, English. What do people say Choctaw, but, um, it's Chahta, but it's like, it's fucked up. Um, so yeah, my family is Yourba and Chahta and like, it is. Again, like I said, it's one of those things is so deeply ingrained in me. So as an aspect of my life and, um, one thing that, and I won't say , I mean, it's basically the turning point for everything in my life was when I got pregnant and had my daughter. 

[00:09:00] So it was one of those things where like never thought it was going to happen, physically from like a lot of health issues and stuff that I have. And it was honestly through a lot of prayer and everything. I thought that's the only reason that she's here. Um, but I kinda, I knew how I wanted her to be raised. 

[00:09:19] And so that made this huge shift in my life that I have to start really focusing on my heritage and my culture and my roots and things that I've heard my entire life, that I was blessed as a healer. And then I had these gifts and, I knew that like this was. For me to guide her in that way. There had to be like walking the walk myself. 

[00:09:39] And so that's where, I really got very serious about herbalism and using my spiritual gifts and things like that because I did kind of grow up in an environment. I feel somewhat where it was suppressed and ashamed. And, I kind of had no guidance for that. And I like have seen since Dahlia was born and then, I mean, she has a lot of these same spiritual gifts and stuff as well. 

[00:10:01] And so I want her. To embrace it and be proud of it. And so, yeah, so that's, and that comes from, 

[00:10:08] Jeannette: wow. So having Dahlia coming, just open the door to you, stepping into your, to your spiritual expression of yourself.  

[00:10:20] Assata: I mean, I feel very strongly that Yemaya,was like, Hey, did my part, you got this baby. Now you owe it to us to like, share all this stuff with her and the rest of the world and everything. 

[00:10:33] And that was something that , I didn't take lightly.  

[00:10:38] Jeannette: Wow. So, okay. I'm going to ask, so you were in this Catholic school. And you are able to cultivate a relationship with Yemaya. How did that work? Cause some people like know about that connection, but I don't, I went to private school, nothing was kicking with me. 

[00:10:55] So I'm curious how it happened for you.  

[00:10:59] Assata: I very strongly believe, and again, it became so clear once I had Dahlia, but that. I have such a strong connection to like my ancestral roots, my ancestral heritage, that , it's been a matter of like, no matter what I did, they were like, Hey, we're still here. 

[00:11:17] We're still working through you are still doing these things. I mean, I, up until this point, I was just talking to my husband about this last night up until towards the end of high school, we all thought I was going to be a nun, I'm talking monastery, nun. The part of the religious life and like everything. 

[00:11:33] And literally it has always been like, Yemaya. Hey, girl, I'm not seeing it happening. Like this is not the path that I have for you. And it was something that I fought for so long. I mean, cause I grew up in a very, very traditional in the sense of Western traditional type family, um, friends of religion. 

[00:11:55] And it's been one of those things that has come up forever. I was 12 years old when I started reading tarot cards. Like that was when, I realized, I had this gift and I started doing it and my mom was just kind of like, oh no, let's just hide this from, because I grew up with my, I live in the house and my mom, my granny, and it was just like, make sure granny don't see that type thing. 

[00:12:13] So it was never something that. Super suppressed, but it wasn't like encouraged. And it was always a thing where I kind of had to figure this out on my own. I didn't know, until later in life, any of my family that had these gifts or anything. So it was very, which unfortunately I feel a lot of people , especially African diaspora that like. 

[00:12:33] We have been. So I don't know how to lightly say these things, but we've been so colonized. I mean, our spirituality and not necessarily to any fault of our own, like it was all ripped away from us. So like we've totally lost that connection. And so there are little things I've noticed that like, my family was still do, but , you know, call it something else. 

[00:12:54] The way he would sweep and like different things like that. I'm like, Hey, like now, like, and throwing salt over like all of these things , but like as a whole, like, I mean, I didn't have names for things and I just thought I was crazy. And there's a lot of times I thought, Maybe I am possessed by the devil. 

[00:13:10] Maybe I should've sent more of those chain letters in my email. I can always like, there is something going on here. Um, but no matter fix it. Okay, baby. Um, But like, but it was just basically just no matter how far I ran. And I always felt this deep calling that, this is, this is my lineage. Like, this is my birthright. 

[00:13:37] This is what I'm supposed to be doing. And, I can't hide from that anymore. And like I said, when I was blessed with Dahlia isn't that I never thought would happen. Like I knew what I was supposed to do. And like I knew I had to like continue on this path for her. So that's a long winded answer. So  

[00:13:56] Jeannette: No, it's a beautiful answer, and it also leads me to like what, 

[00:14:03] How did you find it within you to continually pull the thread from being 12 year old tarot reader to being where you are now? Because I think a lot of us do go through the whole, don't let grandma catch you don't let or yeah. You have a parent who's yeah. How did it just keep coming back? Like what did it for you? 

[00:14:29] Assata: The fact that I couldn't escape it, I feel like it's what did it for me? I don't feel like I feel very strongly that it was nothing on my own and nothing that I was doing and nothing of my own accord. It was just, I would literally just be trying to have coffee and mind my own business. And I would like feel stuff about the person next to me that I didn't even know and feel like these strong promptings of , You need to go say this to this person, or you need to go do this. 

[00:14:55] And I'm like, no, the heck I'm not sometimes out here, my black behind is not walking up to this American hat wearing dude. I'm like, nah, but it's just so I, I just, and it got to a point where , I ignore it. I tried to ignore that so many times and then it would get to the point where like, I just couldn't anymore. 

[00:15:17] It would be times , literally I would have felt a strong prompting that I was supposed to go do something or say something for someone. And like, I didn't do it because I was scared or what other people would think. And then I would have days of, not sleeping and sometimes even I had this, probably this sounds crazy, But like, I would have so many physical manifestations of stuff. 

[00:15:35] Like I would feel physically sick if I did not listen. And it got to that point, like literally, I guess probably in my mid twenties where like, I was starting to get physically sick from, I felt not listening to God and not to what I was supposed to. And I was just like, I couldn't do this anymore.  

[00:15:51] Jeannette: They were jerking you up.. 

[00:15:53] Assata: I would start listening, like, okay, fine. Like, I'm listening now. I can't do this anymore. So, yeah, it was like I said, I just, I don't feel that it was anything that I did that kept me holding on and pulling the strings or whatever it was just, God was like, you're, you're going to do this. Like, it's not going to be like, cause you hear a lot of times. 

[00:16:12] And a lot of, especially Bible stories or Torah stories and stuff, or like, God gives a calling to somebody and then , they refuse to do it. So God's like, okay, I'm just going to leave you alone and let you mess up. I was like, no, we're not doing that every day. This tap on the shoulder, it's like, and it was just like, okay, you just get to a point. 

[00:16:32] It wears you down. Like, you're like, I gotta do this. Now 

[00:16:36] Jeannette: Wow we've gone from Yemaya to the Torah to the Bible. How does all of this come together for you?  

[00:16:49] Assata: I, 

[00:16:53] she hears cars outside, so she's like, daddy's coming. I'm now we've got a long time for Daddy's off work. Um, But for me, like I said, I went to Catholic school, my entire life, and I actually was a theology minor. I am so fascinated about learning about religion. And so I, a lot of it, I may not personally believe in and stuff myself, or may not be part of my practice, but I know about it. 

[00:17:21] I know, all the Bible stories. I know the Torah stories, and a lot of it, I do, I. Incorporate a lot of stuff that makes sense to me. I have no problem bringing it into my life, even if I don't agree with the whole picture, the whole thing. I'm like, this works for me. Like I connect with that. 

[00:17:40] And so I bring it into my life.  

[00:17:42] Jeannette: That's interesting. Cause, you are able to bring things in, but it still sounds like you're really rooted in the land and rooted in your ancestors and rooted in, this is who I am and this is where.  

[00:17:57] Assata: That's always going to be the thing that is always going to be at my core and where like everything comes from. 

[00:18:04] But for me, I think spiritual practices are so beautiful.. I think anything you can do to bring yourself closer to God, you should do it. And so that's where for me, a lot of these things, for instance The Bhakti Yoga . That was something like, I've always done yoga. I've always been like at like the high school, maybe when I start like practicing yoga regularly. 

[00:18:26] And I always felt like there was something else missing from it because, but then like westernized yoga, I'm not trying to lose weight. Like I'm not trying to, I'm here for like spiritual reasons. And so that was when, actually it was just a few years ago that I actually discovered Bhakti yoga, and became a practitioner of that. 

[00:18:43] But. So that's like another practice, but like, I don't consider myself Hindu or I don't even like, it's a lot of things. Like, I don't like follow that entire like practice of life, but that is a spiritual practice that has enhanced my life. Um, chanting.  

[00:18:57] Jeannette: You haven't been called be the Hindu Gods ? This is a sidebar. I should let you talk. Let me, let me stop. 

[00:19:03] Assata: I mean, there's certain things where like, I. What's really funny is that, I don't know if you saw it was creeping my Instagram, everything. Um, yes, because we, I I'm very music oriented, before I started embracing my whole life spiritual practice and like, or even like my calling and stuff in life, like I worked in the music industry for majority of like my adulthood, Um, and so Khirtan is something that means so, so much to me and Dhalia has gotten super involved in it and it's like, And yesterday, I think I posted and stuff was her in the car, just like, kind of like singing along to Khirtan. 

[00:19:45] And she had like a Hanuman, sitting in the car with her. And I was just like, all right, girl, do you know? So she has always been very, very drawn to , Hindu deities and stuff. And it's just. I feel like she is so spiritually gifted. Um, and so I try not to, we have our core, we have our foundation, but beyond that, like I let her explore. 

[00:20:15]  I mean, she's only two, but I'm like, I feel like if she feels called to something, there's a reason for it. But so I. I just go with it and see, I mean, it could be a thing where, okay, maybe she just likes monkeys. So I thats why she likes that, or it could be something deeper for her. I just never want to stifle any of that, any of that. 

[00:20:33] So I personally have not felt these super, super strong connections and stuff now. Like, um, I love the Bhavagahd Gita. So much of that is applied to like the way I live my everyday life. Um, and I love Bhakti yoga, but beyond that, no,  

[00:20:51] Jeannette: Wow. That's, that's a sidebar. Cause I remember, gosh, I remember taking yoga teacher training and it blew my head open. 

[00:20:59] I was in my body and all of a sudden I was watching the land to move and breathe and hearing all sorts of voices and dreaming ofHanuman. And it was, it was wild times. It was wild times. I was just curious. I was like,  

[00:21:16] Assata: yeah, I just was funny to me. Is that so much of like my yoga teacher training brought me closer to like my ancestry is that like, I didn't, like, I felt a connection, but like, I feel like it was pulling me closer to your Yoruba spirituality. 

[00:21:34] And so.  

[00:21:35] Jeannette: Really, so, what was that like with, with yoga? Cause I, I had no idea. Was it just, it made you more accessible or  

[00:21:47] Assata: I don't know. I don't know if it's that it made me more accessible or if it just, well, I guess it did because it was one of those things. Like I feel like it really opened me. It made me just relaxed and open and not concerned about 

[00:22:03] how things looked or what it was to the outside world. Like it was between like me and God. And , because of that, I was opened up to like what I needed to hear and what I needed in my life. So.  

[00:22:15] Jeannette: Wow. It feels like your ancestors want to get on the mic. I think it's Dhalia's here at the ancestors want to get on the mic. 

[00:22:22] Assata: Dhalia's on the boobs. That's all she's worried about 

[00:22:28] Jeannette: So how has Dalia opened  

[00:22:30] up your relationship to your, your ancestors in any way. Yes,  

[00:22:36] Assata: we, oh my goodness. It is something that, like when I say things, that's why I started like being so active on social media and posting videos. I'm like, y'all, I'm not making this up. This girl is outside sweeping the grass, a year old and correctly. 

[00:22:52] There's a picture up there of her. I'm like, what is happening right now? I've just never known or experienced anything in my life like her as deeply connected as she is we have ancestor altar. Every morning we wake up, we go downstairs, we put like our resin out. We light a candle. 

[00:23:11] Um, we put fresh water out and like, she does all these things with me and looks forward to it. And she like will pick up pictures off the alter and kiss them like that. That's like the highlight of her. That is how we start our every single day. And then. Throughout the day. A lot of times she'll just go get a picture off the alter. 

[00:23:29] And she has like little toy cars. And so she'll put them in the passenger seat with her ride around. And I'm like, okay. And like, she has these conversations and like, so many people will look at that and just be like, oh, okay. She's just being a kid. She's whatever. But I'm like, no, I feel like she probably is talking to them. 

[00:23:47] Like she sees them and there's that familiarity. So she sees that picture. She's like, okay, like that's who that is. And she brings it in like, So like, she's just, she's so, so deeply connected. And so that has honestly been a big part of like pushing me because I feel like she is going to have all the, like, I had all these questions and didn't have any where to look. 

[00:24:10] . She has a godmother, um, that has been super, super amazing with teaching us about like our family history and like lineage. And like she, when Dahlia gets a couple of years older, she's going to go actually to her cause they share a lot of the same gifts. And so that has been super, super helpful knowing that Dahlia is going to have that like, but she's really helped everyone in our family. 

[00:24:36] Like my mom is that holy water in her purse, carrying, type Roman Catholic and, um, but experiencing so many things of Dhalia has really opened my mom's eyes to things like we did a traditional blessing when Dahlia was born. And , my mom was there for like the bath and like everything. So like she's really helped our whole family kinda come around to things. 

[00:25:03] Granny is still not there yet, 

[00:25:10] but, but yeah, she's been quite the blessing.  

[00:25:14] Jeannette: Wow. So, but it kind of like, it really starts with you too, because you've been open and, Okay. She's out the door.  

[00:25:24] Assata: I know. I thought I'm just praying for the best. 

[00:25:30] It's just to the rest of the house. Like, it's not like outside or anything,  

[00:25:34] okay, but  

[00:25:36] Jeannette: you opened the door, like even just opening the door to asking for help to be pregnant. That's huge. She just, the manifestation of this, this is amazing.  

[00:25:51] Assata: Well, this is why I feel so, because I tell like medically there was no, there was never any like hope or thoughts or anything that I would be able to get pregnant. 

[00:26:03] Um, like I had so many health issues and. I knew from a very young age,that's why I said the nun thing was always like, I was very, very called to this religious and spiritual life. But when you grow up in those type of environments, the only way you think you can worship God or live for God and stuff, is to devote yourself religious, life, um, so it was hard as I feel like that was what I had to do, but I also, I knew from very young age, like I was supposed to be a Mother 

[00:26:27] and so I could not understand, like when I was diagnosed with endometriosis and then we found out I had lupus and like all the, like all these things, like standing in the way of like me becoming a mother. I'm like, I don't understand. And so I feel like. That was something that, I mean, I hate saying like, oh God caused this. 

[00:26:47] But like, God wanted me to rely on like my faith and spirituality. And that was what caused it was that I didn't have anything else. Like, I'm supposed to be a mother. You told me this. Like, but now all these doctors and I can't like, what's going on? It's like, oh, well let me show you another way. 

[00:27:09] Jeannette: Can  

[00:27:09] we talk about the other way? Cause it feels like a segments into like another question I have about your relationship with the land. So do you mind sharing. Um, if not that's cool I can edit that part out., 

[00:27:24] Assata: it's fine.  

[00:27:25] Like, um, I dunno, granny's not going to hear this, so  

[00:27:30] Jeannette: let me know if you want something to edit it. You respect granny now?  

[00:27:36] Assata: No, this has been like another, like huge part of my journey is that. So many of these things has been so many years of like me believing it and practicing it and implementing it and like my family and stuff, knowing, but always being like so scared because I had this very public image for so long, but like from working in the music industry and everything that people saw me as this, like, Christian hipster girl 

[00:28:03] I was like that weird, like black punk kid, but that was like super into Jesus. Like that was my aesthetic and I was still super to Jesus. I think Jesus is Dope, but like Yemaya is cool too. So, I mean, Yemaya Virgin, Mary is, but that's a whole nother thing, 

[00:28:28] but. For me with getting pregnant. I, um, there's a shop in new Orleans. It's where I live is two hours away from new Orleans. Um, and so I'm usually there at least once or twice a month, like that was where, um, I mean there's no, baby it's okay. It's okay. Just pick it up. Um, so that's where I usually go, like Botanica and stuff like that. 

[00:28:56] And it's like, one day I walked into this Botanica and there is a man. I'm sorry. Do you want help? Help. Okay. I'll help  

[00:29:06] you.  

[00:29:08] There you go. 

[00:29:12] Okay. Let's sit down with it. Okay. 

[00:29:17] We went through the space of her being so fiercely independent and now when something fall on the ground. She's like, I don't know what to do. Can you come pick it up? Like now 

[00:29:29] Jeannette: Everyday is something new and it changes and you never know what it's going to do at any given time.  

[00:29:38] Assata: You need help? Okay, I'll close it. Um, anyways, so I watched this Botanica one day, um, and I just, I was feeling, and it was just, the person is new. I was feeling like very frustrated because that was when things started getting really bad, my endometriosis and finding out basically that like, They can't figure out like how we'll be able to have kids. 

[00:30:01] Um, and so I went in not knowing anything, but this was really the very, very beginning of my spiritual journey. I was just like, I don't know. I feel like I'm supposed to be here. Like y'all are a Catholic ish. And so I feel like this is like, this is the path I'm supposed to be going down. Like, I don't but literally I just walked in and the guy who asked me to help me and I was just like, I don't know. 

[00:30:23] And I was just like, I'm just, I was like, I'm just looking around like, Like, I didn't want to like talk about it and stuff. And so I went and like, just felt called to like a few like random candles and stuff, just like very basic girl stuff and incense and stuff. So I went up there to buy it and like, literally, um, he gave me this like Yemaya necklace and it was just like, I don't know why, but I feel like whatever you're dealing with, like this is, this is what you need. 

[00:30:51] And so he gave me that and then he gave me like this little medal. And I was just like, okay, had no idea who Yemaya was like, didn't know any of this. I was just like, whatev I don't really like the color blue, but okay. I took it and that night it started doing all this research and I was like, you got to be kidding me. 

[00:31:12] And so I was like, okay. And so I went back and so I just started wearing it every single day, but like learning everything I could and stuff about, I went back two weeks later and was just like, I need to buy everythingYemaya that you have everything, just like, give it to me. And we're like, okay. And so I bought all this stuff. 

[00:31:30] Um, and then it took me three times of going into this Botanica to finally talk to him and be like, this is what's happening. He was just like, I knew it was something that like she could help with. And so he told me. Very specific things to do in terms of like, when to light like my candles and like different prayers to say and things like that. 

[00:31:49] And I was like, okay. Um, and then literally I got married and I was like, we got married that April. And then by that December, like I conceived Dalia. So yeah. And I'm just like, Could've been a coincidence or whatever, but like, I feel very strongly that like, cause medically it wasn't supposed to happen. So. 

[00:32:17] Jeannette: Wow.  

[00:32:19] Assata: And here we are.  

[00:32:20] Jeannette: And here we are. So it feels also important to talk about your relationship with land as an herbalist, so the land you live on is that like your, your people's land, like have you, has your family been there for 

[00:32:34] Assata: Yes, so with my Mom's family. That's mama's I don't know where she's got this from. Anytime she finds random money. She's like Daddy's money girl. No, 

[00:32:46] I don't care if it's a dime, but it's still Mama's that is Daddy's. Okay. I, um, so where I live in Chickasaw right now, we just moved here about a year and a half ago it's right outside of mobile. And that's where I grew up. Um, within Mobile is this little small area called Africa town. And that's where my family's from. I don't know if you know anything about the history of Africa town or anything. 

[00:33:19] Okay. So yeah,  

[00:33:22] Jeannette: so much stuff. I don't know.  

[00:33:24] Assata: We, um, the Clotilda, that was the last slave ship that ever came through us.  

[00:33:30] Jeannette: Yes.  

[00:33:31] Assata: It was an illegal slave ship. All they say is it landed and at what is now Africatown. That was the ship my mom's family arrived on.  

[00:33:38] Jeannette: Are you serious?  

[00:33:41] Assata: So we've literally the entire time we've been in the states we've been here. 

[00:33:45] Um, so that's where I grew up. Um, that's where all of my family is. And then now I live like 20 minutes away in Chickasaw. So yeah. So we're, we're all still here. Um, and so a lot of. My grandmother's family. Cause my grandmother, my maternal grandmother is Yoruba, um, and Choctaw and all of her like Choctaw family. 

[00:34:09] They actually live in they're from Mount Vernon, which is about 40 minutes north of here. So we're all still like in the same area. Um, and that was also a big part of, cause I moved to California for a while and I always thought that that's where I would be. Um, I was just like, I don't want this small town, Alabama nonsense. 

[00:34:31] This is like, I need to be somewhere else. And I got pregnant with her and I was just like, no, like I felt this big, very, very strong prompting that like, I needed to be where my family was and where my family came from. And she, like, there was such a, like, Being so physically drawn to, like, we have to physically be on that land. 

[00:34:53] Like she needs to be able to walk over to Africatown whenever she wants to like, we have Africatown cemetery where like all of our family and all of our ancestors and stuff are burried, like being able to go to the reservation in Mount Vernon, like we, I was like, she has to physically be on that land. And so that was why we came back here and like, I don't foresee us going anywhere else. 

[00:35:17] Jeannette: Wow. Also imagine it's much easier to connect with and hear, your ancestors, if you're on the land that,  

[00:35:26] Assata: yeah. And that was, that was a big part of it where I was just like, we need to physically be here. If this is going to be our life, this is going to be our path. Like we have to physically have that connection and stuff here. 

[00:35:38] And I feel like we are super, super, super blessed in the sense of like, because so many people that I asked are like, they have no idea what tribes they came from. They don't know they have no records of any of these things. And so since our family is all still in the same place and we never left, we actually have a family history book that has all the names and everything from the time they, everyone that was on the ship and it actually stops at 

[00:36:03] my great grandmother. That's the last person that's listed, like in our family history book. And so I'm actually working on continuing it now, like from her, we have every name who married, who like everything. So like that has been able to help us a lot in terms of my family history. 

[00:36:24] Jeannette: And like also just being able to have Yemaya come through in a Botanica, I feel like there's something about being able, being able to be in this space.  

[00:36:38] Assata: And I think a lot of it is being physically in that space and that obedience of like, I didn't want to be here. I was like, as soon as I graduated high school, I stayed here for college and I was like, I am out of here? 

[00:36:52] Like, these are all things that like I wanted to do. But like, I felt this strong calling that like, this is what God is telling me to do, and I need to be obedient to this. And like, because of the obedience I feel that I got Dalia and I have this amazing connection to my ancestors. Like I'm here on this land. 

[00:37:11] Like I have all of these like infinite blessings because I was obedient to that. And I didn't do just which oftentimes we do, or we do what we want to do. Like, and that's the type of like, I feel like especially Western culture that we've created, um, 

[00:37:24] But that was one thing I had, like tried to really stop instill in her, even from such a young age, is that I turned it for her. Like I had this amazing career that I love very, very much like in the music industry. Um, and I right before that, so I got my husband and I took a road trip for my birthday one February. 

[00:37:51] Um, and like on that road trip was literally in the mountains of, uh, baby stop. Um, we were in the mountains and I felt this very strong light prompting from God. Dahlia, you're very distracting. You gotta get down.  

[00:38:09] Jeannette: It reminds me of the youngest. Jesse cause some Jessie would do just put in his mouth smiling the whole time. Yeah it's in my mouth, what you gonna do? 

[00:38:19] Assata: Nothing, I know Um, but  

[00:38:23] so we're in the mountains and like, I just kept praying and praying and I felt like I was at this crossroads in my life. And like, I didn't know what I was supposed to do. And that was where I heard so strongly in the mountains in Arizona that. I was really supposed to devote my life over to like serving other people and like serving them through the spiritual gifts I've been given. 

[00:38:43] Um, and it was actually on that trip that I, um, signed up for school to get my doula certification became a breastfeeding counselor and like all in this again, it was all before I actually became a mother. It was just like, I felt very strongly that like, I'm going to be a mother, but until that happens, I'm really supposed to focus on serving other mothers. 

[00:39:01] Um, and so, and I ended up learning more about herbalism and like all these things and really like studying and like committing myself to it. Um, and that was when we decided to move back to here. So I could be here, like on the land. And it's just been like a lot of, a lot of resistance on my end, but I feel like when we were in the mountains, it was just so, so clear to me that this is what I'm supposed to do. 

[00:39:28] And so I had to be obedient to that even though I don't want to. And now I feel like I'm seeing all the blessings of that. 

[00:39:41] Jeannette: Even the birth work and Yemaya that comes together. Doesn't it? Cause she's  

[00:39:48] the mother  

[00:39:48] Assata: The Mother of us all.  

[00:39:51] Jeannette: Yeah.  

[00:39:52] Assata: And it's so many things that like learning and seeing the connection now. Growing up in the Catholic church. my patron Saint was is from Ireland. And so I've always had this very, very strong connection to like Mother Mary. 

[00:40:04] And like, as I got older, I realized like, who Mother Mary really was and learn it and things that. So it's been. There's been so many parallels where I'm realizing, literally my entire life has led to this and it's, so that's the one that you mentioned the thing about water. Like every day, I seeing these connections that like I'm on the right path 

[00:40:24] Jeannette: that's so beautiful. That's so amazing. But like, um, I don't know. I think, I dunno. I think something we all kind of, I don't know. I just think it's beautiful to me. Oh, 

[00:40:47] wow. That you just able to be on the land and be supported and being called back and you actually listen  

[00:40:56] Assata: and it's so many times, and that's like, I'm always stressing to people. Not. The importance of obedience, like, and I mean, not obedience to , the government and like, things like that. Like that's a whole nother thing. 

[00:41:09] Jeannette: Like, Yeah you have a post like not, I'm not co-parenting with the government. 

[00:41:16] Assata: We are a very, very strong communist family. So like, that is not our thing at all, but, um, but that, but I feel like it is totally different. No, 

[00:41:32] no, we don't listen to the government. 

[00:41:40] She already know, but when it comes to like faith and spirituality, I just feel. Okay. Baby can you stop. Um, I feel so strongly about we have is very like me, me,me. I want to do what I want to do type culture. And like, I want to, it's like, oh, I want the ancestor to talk to me. I want it to have these blessings. 

[00:42:04] I want to have roads open for me. I want St. John, like all these things, but then. We don't want to give anything in return for that. We don't want to listen to what they're actually telling us. And sometimes do things we don't want to do. Like we want all the benefits in their word without the work for it. 

[00:42:22] Um, and so it's like, I have stress like all the time. Like, I mean, I fought this for so much of my life. And then now that like, I'm finally, like, I'm like, cause at least I'll say the past five years is when I have been like so committed to like, if I feel a prompting to do something, I'm going to do it. Like I'm going to listen. 

[00:42:40] And I feel like I have so many like amazing blessings because of that. And it's just been amazing and now found a point with like, I felt a strong calling about this apothecary and I'm just like, I don't have time, but I got, I already have like a feral two year old and like a full-time job. Like, and it's been like, no, like people here, because we don't have anything like that here. 

[00:43:02] And we don't have any traditional, like Yoruba and indigenous medicine, like in this area. Um, and so I've just, so here I am, now like the apothecary is opening in a week. So.  

[00:43:14] Jeannette: Okay, so you, you'reapothecary is opening october 31st. Wow.  

[00:43:22] And you, what else do you have on your plate? Because you  

[00:43:26] Assata: What do I not have on my plate. 

[00:43:31] And that's something I'm working on, I'm working on learning boundaries, but I'm not there yet. I'm still working in progress, but it is, it's a thing to where also, which I'm not trying to like encourage people to like burn out and things like that. But I feel like I haven't given these spiritual gifts for a reason and I feel like everything like with birth work and motherhood and herbalism and spirituality, like all these, like all these things are spiritual gifts. 

[00:43:58] And they are gifts from God, I, as long as I've been obedient to like doing it, like sometimes I'm always like, okay, God, I can't do this. Like, I'm so tired. Like I want to sleep. I want all these things. And it has caused me to really realize that like, no, I can't do it. Like I can't do it by myself, but like I have God, I have my ancestors. 

[00:44:16] I have all these people that are pushing and working, like for me, And so I'm able to like do it because of that. And so I've been a beat even like me, I'm physically tired or like, I just don't want to do it, me and that obedience and listening, like they have really stepped up and been there and helped me through it. 

[00:44:33] So it's been great. And so now finally I'm being obedient to this, apothecary. And so that's opening on the 31st, um, And so, yeah, I'm just really focusing on, on that and like I'm still doing birth work. Um, and I have like an amazing, I can't remember if we mentioned this off the record or while we were actually talking. 

[00:44:54] Um, so forest, like I, um, also have a full-time job working, um, doing online, um, content creation and social media for, um, a nonprofit that works with sabotaging white Christian supremacy. Um, and so that's been super fulfilling. I enjoy that a lot, so  

[00:45:13] Jeannette: that's awesome.  

[00:45:15] Assata: I love it. And I'm homeschool and this federal thing. 

[00:45:24] Jeannette: Wow. So through obedience, you're finding that you are supported in doing all the things that you're being asked to do, and even more blessings come on the back end than what you expected.  

[00:45:38] Assata: Yeah. 

[00:45:39] Jeannette: So, all it takes is like just a little courage to be obedient.  

[00:45:44] Assata: Yeah, that's really all it comes down to is obedience. 

[00:45:48] Like, and I haven't been cause so for so long, like I was trying to do so much of it on my own and I'm like, I'm so tired. I can't do this. I'm burnt out I'm whatever. And then. Having God and the presence of all of this in my life. Like that has definitely helped push me along. And as you can see just her on her own, she's a lot, no way I can't do all of these other things and her without, without my faith. 

[00:46:22] Having a whole conversation with somebody over there. 

[00:46:28] Jeannette: Probably an ancestor. So, okay. I wanted to also talk a bit about cottage colorizing. I'm not going to take too much of your time cause I have a lot going on. So cottage core rising is. It's the apothecary, right?  

[00:46:48] Assata: Well, it's everything. Um, it is the, apothecary. It is my birth work it's yoga. It's everything. It's all under that brand now. 

[00:47:01] Jeannette: Okay. And this is all out of obedience . This is all a manifestation of Yemaya and other ways Spirit manifests through you to serve the people.  

[00:47:14] Assata: Yeah. And that's been the big thing. Like I have, I feel so very social that like I'm supposed to be in service to our community, especially like, um, women of color, like that is who I'm supposed to be in service to you. 

[00:47:32] So that's what all of this is for.  

[00:47:36] Jeannette: Wow. It's a breath of fresh air to talk about. Spirituality is service and connection to the divine as service, rather than something you just kind of keep to yourself. This is like really inspiring and refreshing.  

[00:47:55] Assata: I just, like I was telling before, like I just, I don't which everyone's on their own spiritual path. 

[00:48:01] Like, do you, like, I just feel very strongly that. There's no way that I can experience and have all these blessings and all of this, like love from God and not share that with other people. Like I have, like, I have this moral obligation to share that with other people and like to do that through service, like I have been blessed. 

[00:48:25] So why would I not want to bless other people?  

[00:48:29] Jeannette: I can dig it. That's so beautiful. Especially now, especially with COVID. I feel like in many ways that's the lesson. Well, one of the lessons is that we all need each other and we all need to share with each other and take better care of each other. Yeah. 

[00:48:46] Because yeah, I guess that's all I'll say about that. I feel like that's all I need to ask you. 

[00:48:56] Assata: Okay,  

[00:48:57] Jeannette: well, thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you so much for being  

[00:49:01] Assata: I feel like I rambled a lot.  

[00:49:03] Jeannette: No, it was a blessing and I'm really grateful. You're here. Is there anything else you want to share before I cut things off? 

[00:49:10] Assata: Like, I mean, my social media still is already out there and I post too much, but the website and everything is live . So  

[00:49:20] Jeannette: check it out.  

[00:49:21] I know that's right. Little Dahlia sweeping the grass at the tender age of one and taking the ancestors for a ride in her little cars, man, the interview was such a blessing and I pray it was a blessing to you. I really do. I pray you enjoyed it. And again, like, if you want to check out Assata, Dela Cruz's work, you can check it out at cottage core, 

[00:49:50] That's C O T T A G E C O R E R I S I N G.COM. She's also on Instagram at cottage core rising. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for listening. On our next episode, I'll be telling my business. I'll be telling my business and doing a recap of the year because we've talked to a lot of mamas this year, and there's been a lot of juicy nourishing wisdom. 

[00:50:23] It's important to digest the wisdom of this year before moving on to 2022. I cannot believe we are at 2022, but in 2022. Aha. If I got some stuff for you, um, we'll kick the year off with the interview of Monique Ruffin, the moon mama. And that was an amazing, it was a dope conversation. I want to say dope. 

[00:50:48] It was a dope conversation. Cause we talked a lot about the divine, feminine and spirituality as an internal experience. And how like the internet anyway, y'all, y'all justhave to going to wait for that interview. It juicy it. It's juicy, so stay tuned in the meanwhile, if you have any questions for me or any questions you'd like me to ask a guest, don't hesitate to get at me at, um, spirituality and motherhood 

[00:51:18] You can leave a message there. You can send me an email there, or you can just send me an email at my email at Jeannette, J E A N N E T T E. At spirituality and motherhood thanks again for being here and listening. And I look forward to talking to you again soon. Peace.