"THE SOLUTION DEMONSTRATED:
•Widespread repentance among the clergy and church leadership of our nation, undeniable by
pagans and reported by news organizations, resulting in pagans coming into the fear of God. "
As we said in words or in action when predatory christianity and forces of colonialism and cultural destruction reached for all indigenous peoples, we will not capitulate. We have sound, strong and grounded traditions that our Ancestors have passed on to us from time immemorial....time before time. And now so many years after the tragedy of force, rape and pillage have successfully torn the garment of our Ancestral traditions and allowed the disjointed energies of missionary religious imperialism to destroy culture and peoples...but we do not look away from a future with our Ancestors at our side. There is no future without the indigenous world, strong, empowered and living its Ancestral mandate to move forward with those traditions in unity and harmony with All That Is.
Several of us recently saw a documentary called "The Language You Cry In" and it occurred to us that the dominant theme of this film is something that connects very strongly to the Turtle Island Initiative's goal of raising awareness about the importance of indigeny.
This documentary profiles a Gullah woman, the grand daughter of a slave woman. Her grand mother kept alive a song that we later find out is from the Mende tribe in Africa. It was the only fragment of heritage and ancestry that she had and none of the descendants knew what the song meant. It was just something grandma had passed down to them. Through the course of the documentary, we find out that the song is a tribal song meant to connect one to one's ancestors. It was the one thing that the first of their ancestors to be sold into slavery brought with her, the one thing she passed down to her children and her children's children and beyond: a song, a piece of medicine, with the power to connect one to one's tribe and people.
the documentary traces the work of linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and Mende tribal members as they unravel the mystery of this song (which isn't a mystery at all to the Mende woman who recognizes the song). In the end, the Gullah woman, a descendant of people ripped away from tribe and culture, returns to her ancestral soil and is greeted by her people. It's a powerful example of exactly what our ancestors can do, and how even if we do not know from where we come, they do and always, always if we reach out, they will bring us home.
the documentary may be purchased here: http://newsreel.org/video/THE-LANGUAGE-YOU-CRY-IN
we highly recommend it.
You tell me to forget
That the past can only hurt me
And I should get over it
And move on.
How can I forget the past
When that would erase my story?
Rob me of my ancestors
And their power?
The past is present today
Alive and well.
I will not be complicit
To your genocide.
What else would you call it
When you seek to destroy
The roots of my humanity?
Our earth is wounded
Soaked in blood and tears
The cries of Her martryrs.
You tell me to forget the past
Oblivion is the only comfort
For the Guilty.
Rebellion is a gift,
A token of remembrance
I give my Dead.
I will not erase my life
For your convenience.
Come hunt me
On my own terrain
And test my mettle.
Below are two links of interest to those involved in restoring and protecting indigeny. The first is an article from the Irish Times about continuing depredations by white politicians and culture against Native Americans and the second link, a wrenching documentary. The documentary is rather long, but we encourage folks to take the time to watch it. Most of us did not learn these things in school.
Educate yourselves. Education isn't just a priviledge or a right, it is an *obligation.*. It is a path to freedom. Educate yourselves by any means necessary. Only then can you wake up and truly set about educating and changing your world.
anyway, here are the links:
(photo by Mary Ann Glass)
Happy day of the dead, Samhain, or Winternights. For many of us, tonight (and the next few days) are special days given over to celebrating and honoring our ancestors. While it's important to connect with your honored dead throughout the year, it is a nice thing to have one special holy day or series of days, where they can be especially celebrated.
So at this time, think about how you can better honor your dead. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Share your life and blessings with them. Don't be shy! Set out food and drink, candy and pastries, and anything else you think they might like. Look at their pictures, tell their tales and in all ways large and small celebrate their memories and impact on your life.
You're here because of your ancestors. You are your ancestral line walking; and that is a great and glorious thing. Celebrate it, now and always.
All of the cosmological, elemental Spirits must be in their full energies and in balance for the greatest amount of abundance and harmonious empowerment to be manifested. The universal balance and health of All That Is is dependent upon the unfettered interdependence of these elemental energies. If any one is held back, blocked or otherwise constrained, then those forces in nature must be brought back into balance. If these energies are out of balance in human community or within an individual, it may be necessary to do ritual to bring the energies back into harmony - but something must be done or ill health, disease and dangerous imbalances for all will become deeply ingrained in the people.
The Dagara cosmological worldview from west Africa is extremely helpful in understanding the call to uproot and destroy racism, sexism and the classism that capitalism and colonialism engender. When we look at the fundamental interrelationship of all the energies, it provides us with a powerfully functional metaphor for the interrelationship and call to unity of all people. The dynamics of unity in diversity come into focus here. Out of the presence of many different energies, forces and philosophies in any society or in the world, we understand that there must be a functional energetic balance that allows all of the people/energies to be in their fullest fruition, emotional balance and spiritual expression.
The pathologies of racism, sexism and classism, along with the negativities of white privilege, heterosexism and religious imperialism are all dangerous blockages to the full fruition of individual and communal human energies, let alone a serious disrespect and affront to the flow of nature's energetics. When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their Ancestors and abilites of vision, their full dream life and warrior traditions, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Vun, the element of fire. When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their purpose, their birthright, their ability to know their history and reason for living, we create serious imbalance and blockaage of the Spirit of Kusir, the element of Mineral ("stones and bones"). When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their own abilities to heal, to be in reconciliation, to peace and unity with themselves and their people, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Kuon, the element of Water. When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their true nature, their ability to fully manifest abundance and material reality in their lives and truly transform themselves for the advancement of culture, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Wie, the element of nature. When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to each other, to being seen, being protected, to knowing their identity, their cultural identity, to being truly nurtured and held in compassion, to the very fundamental gift of being touched in love and respect, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Tenbalu and Tingan, the element of earth.
The destructive, dismissive, divisive and unjust social and spiritual pathologies of racism, sexism and classism and all the structures and behaviors and social systems that sustain them or are sustained by them must be summarily dealt with and wiped out if we are to be looked upon as respectable adults and then Ancestors by our children and their children's children. Future generations will look upon as unworthy of reverence if we do not seriously apply our spiritual technologies to the most vexing problems of modern society. They will inherit our social diseases and will have no faith in our Ancestral traditions. And just maybe they will see beyond our tragic mistakes if we don't set ourselves firmly upon the road to social liberation and the creation of universal systems of justice. Maybe the Ancestors (and we will someday be in that spiritual realm) will come burning through the polluted mist of modernity's oppression to speak truth and clarity directly to them if we have not successfully paved the way and their way on this challenged earth.
But we must fight these systems and structures of oppression like there is no tomorrow, unwilling to settle back into our morass of ignorant bliss and comfort. We cannot risk being an accomplice to the energetic imbalance that puts so many of us, women, people of color, gatekeepers in the LGBT community, indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples, in jeopardy, in ill health and spiritual, psychological and physical danger. If we love our goddesses, gods, spirits and the earth, if we love nature and our mandate to live in harmony with All That Is, with EVERYone that is, if we love our Ancestors and the traditions they have left for us to advance into a bright and beautiful and empowered future, we must seek out and destroy every small, every persistent, every gross presence of social, spiritual and energetic oppression so that true love, compassion, respect and joy can course powerfully and sustainably through the fibers of the Tree of Life, through the bloodstream of humanity, through every dimension of our sacred and universal presence in this multi-dimensional world.
May the coyote run free. May the warriors be reintegrated into the body of our communities, with stories of success upon their lips, able to lay down their weapons with confidence because we all did what we were truly sent here to do and have reinstated the unity of humanity in the spiritual complex of All That Is.
Today, the DC40 campaign attacks Florida, home of the Seminole Tribe. Think on this: a few months ago, a friend told me a story. Years ago she had attended a gathering at St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC. It was a gathering for peace, and there were members from indigenous nations from all over the Americas. The organizers had even brought in (i believe) aboriginal tribes and Tibetan monks. The purpose was peace through diversity and participants, after a day of prayer and presentations, were going to make a prayer wheel of stones. (I may be getting some of the smaller details wrong, because so much of this was washed away by the power of what my friend told me next).
As attendees were speaking, this very old woman, a Seminole, went up to the podium supported by a young man, possibly her grandson. He was translating for her because she refused to speak English, which was, to her people, a language of conquest.
She began by saying that it was a good thing to see so many different peoples and tribes coming together for peace. but then she went on to note that no reparation had been made by any government toward the native peoples; and she said that she would not be going on the morrow to lay stones. HER people had never surrendered. HER people were still at war.
Even as i write this, I had to pause for a few moments at the wash of emotion the memory of those words generated in me. We can learn from this mighty elder: never give up. never surrender. It's a less we should take to heart, given that so many in our community, as we further the restoration of our own indigenous ways, seem to want us to collaborate, to lesson our spiritual devotions, to fit them into a mold comfortable to the majority. We can and should look to women like this Seminole elder and contemplate: just what would this woman do, when asked to spit in the face of her ancestors?
She would, I think, remain at war. We could learn from her, and we should.
Think for a moment about how you interact with your world. What are you doing to make it a better place? That is the big question facing all of us: how are you bettering that which you will pass on to those who come after you?
There is often a feeling that to make a change the gesture must be large and grand. That isn't so. Sometimes the most enduring changes happen by being built upon the small, seemingly insignificant life choices. We have said elsewhere on this blog that pouring out an offering to the ancestors, deciding to engage with them is a powerful and potentially revolutionary act. That is a small, very personal thing but it has world-changing potential. Each person who honors his or her dead, who doesn't hide that connection, to integrates that sacred awareness into his or her everyday life is reclaiming space. That person is taking a firm stand against the depredations of monotheism and all it has wrought. Don't be afraid to go there. We firmly believe that it is possible to change the world one ancestor offering at a time.
Beyond that, as you go out and about your day, think about how you choose to interact with people. People by the way includes the homeless man on the street begging for change. What can you do, as you move through your day, to foster the dignity within every person you meet. How can you move from a place of centered engagement into every single interaction and what might that mean for you and those you encounter? The greatest changes begin by consciously changing ourselves and the way we relate to *everything*.
Ideologies like the DC40 campaign aim to beat us down. They are ideologies founded in fear, intolerance, and hatred. they are ideologies aimed at sucking the authenticity out of life and most especially out of spiritual engagement. it rests upon each and every one of us to ensure that this doesn't happen. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to be the antidote to this poison, wherever it may rear its head.
Do not be afraid to speak up and out. Be the voice of compassionate reason. Be fierce in your committment to this work because in the end, if each and every one of us doesn't rise up to counter this assault and others like it (and whether we like it or not, that is exactly what campaigns like DC40 are: assaults) we will find ourselves once again in the position of our ancestors: of finding ourselves in a war of conquest, this time ideological but no less damaging, too late to muster the approproriate resistance--because conquest like this is all but incomprehensible to the sane, connected, spiritually engaged being.
The resulting world is not what we want to leave to our children. What about you?
In the morning when you first awake, turn your thoughts to the ancestors and thank them for setting your feet upon the path of awareness.
As you rise and set your feet on the ground, or the floor that symbolizes stability and surety to us, give thanks to the earth, to the land in all its bounty for providing the nourishment that has kept you strong and helped you to thrive and grow.
As you bathe, shower, and dress, give thanks to the Gods, to the Holy Powers and ask Their blessings throughout the day.
Each day is, as the cliche goes, a new beginning and that means each day is another chance to reconnect, to start one's day wisely and well. Each day is another chance to honor that three-fold fundamental connection that so informed our ancestors' world: to the Gods, the ancestors, the land itself.
We can do this thing called reconnection. We can restore our lost traditions and we can reclaim our indigenous filter. It all begins with that basic awareness of who we are and to whom /Whom we owe our gratitude. Take joy in this process. It is a joyous and joyful thing.
(and all those struggling to reclaim their indigeny,
all those struggling to throw off the yoke of conquest.)
May your ancestors sustain you.
May you never bow your head in this fight.
Hold strong against these people,
who come with their foreign Gods, foreign ways
and no ancestral voices to speak for them.
The enemy comes offering bread.
The enemy comes offering books.
The enemy comes clothed in compassion
so that you will not see the poison behind their gifts.
That poison will destroy you.
Resist it with everything you have.
Resist it for your ancestors.
Resist it in the name of your Gods.
Resist it in the name of your people,
for your children,
so that they will have a future
in which their bellies and their spirits
will be fully nourished.
Hold fast, hold strong.
You are not alone in this fight.
Remember the sacrifices of your ancestors.
Remember the power and beauty of your people.
Do not allow the poison peddlers to divide you.
Engage, engage, engage
with all that nourishes you.
Drawn upon the wisdom and strength of your ancestors
And don’t ever let it go.
May you be nourished in all that you need.
May you ever hold fast.
I wrote this some time ago after learning that the new ideological position of Christian missionaries is that, as a colleague of mine wrote: “The un-G-O-D-ed folk of the world are now being referred to as "unengaged", not just "unreached".” We both wonder when this new position was taken and what it means to them. We also continue to take deep umbrage at that narrowly-focused target that gets placed on the backs of the world's otherwise QUITE fully and functionally 'engaged' indigenous people.” We are not unengaged. We’re unbrainwashed. There’s a difference).