November 2011

What follows are firsthand [remixed] accounts of how, through various channels, 4 womben’s personal rituals evolved en continue to do so. Good Lifeways Woman’s experiences continue:

I had a dream that I was fasting. I was in the Black Hills in this meadow with tall grass. It was surrounded by pine trees. On my altar there were only three flags instead of four. So I was sitting in the altar, and a close friend brought my pipe. She said, “Here! Are you ready?” And I thought, “She has alot more faith in me than I do. I don’t know what she thinks I can do.” But I took it [the pipe]. It sounds like I was conquering myself in my dreams, saying, “All you have to do is pray. Just pray.”

So I took the pipe and I closed my eyes, and then I opened them and it was day. It was day, and the sky was baby-blue.

Off in the distance there were pine trees. On the top of the pine trees, way off in the distance, was what looked like an eagle. And here came this big bird, a huge bird. I assumed it was an eagle….and then it came over me, right above me, and turned into a man…..when he came down, his face was masked, his face was covered, and he had holes for his eyes and little owl ears, but

the rest of him was covered, and he did something to my arms and made a circle in the dirt, he made a symbol, and then….

I realized later that instead of an eagle’s face he had an owl’s face. The eyes were the sky. It had no eyes [pupils]; you could see right through the sky – and this voice said, “Are you ready?” So later I went to see Ted Has Horses, and I told him about it and he turned to me like this and said, “Are you ready? Well, that’s good.”

These passages suggest how dreams are interpreted and used to develop ritual.  In her dream Good Lifeways Womban is offered a pipe. In the traditional way (of the indigenous people of Turtle Island), the Canunpa Wakan, or Holy Pipe, is at first refused. To the Lakota the pipe is synonymous with a calling to the sacred, a calling to doctor. She accepts this awesome responsibility to her vision by taking the pipe in her hands…..

The question repeated in these vignettes “Are you ready?” – implies a challenge and is meant to be rhetorical. The answer [in this hadithi]

tdot postcards

can only come from experiencing the multi arts installation yourself. Its answer is already known to the spirits…..

[excerpts from Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians –  Walking in The Sacred Manner by Mark St.Pierre & Tilda Long Soldier]

[Blogger’s note: Following is a straight-up-so-inspiring-braap!-bam! kind of story dat I reposted dis excerpt – no remix (jus mo’ braaps!) Check dis….]

T-Dot Renaissance represents a group of emerging and interdisciplinary artists, working and rooted in Toronto……This collaborative project intends to be the launching point of a movement, a wave of cultural and artistic collaborations for this generation of emerging artists: Toronto’s own renaissance reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s.

“What is T-Dot Renaissance? Support System. The Voice.  The process of spiritual healing.  The Bat Signal.”  – Neil ‘Logik’ Donaldson

Quentin Vercetty & Ciel Lauren

Individually, the members are each proficient in multiple media; they are singers, painters, musicians, songwriters, poets, filmmakers, playwrights, photographers, actors, graphic designers, dancers, drummers, rappers, sculptors, and graffiti artists. The immediate intention is that throughout the production of these collaborative works, the artists will explore and create works in each other’s areas of expertise. They will be pushed from their comfort zones, and allowed to create truly interdisciplinary, collaborative works that they would not have otherwise realized.

“T-Dot Renaissance is a movement of proactive artists moving forward in love, courage and character to actively create together in an effort to allow the well of creative juices to flow freely, safely and loudly.  A group who inspires and practices truth, grit and integrity.  True artists.”  – Colanthony Humphrey

T-Dot Renaissance seeks to tell the stories that are not told, to give voice to those often silenced, and to encourage a kind of collaborative effort that is often missing from today’s individualistic and product-driven art market.

“The Renaissance of beautifully speaking what is unspoken.  Comparable to Lennox in the 30’s, all are open.  Creatively creating what’s

coat room

necessary to breathe under autumn leaves colourful as prison labour” – Myk Miranda

The name T-Dot Renaissance is inspired by memories and stories of the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African American artists were exploring, engaging, and collaborating to create a space they could define as their own artistic identity.  It is the shared belief of the artists involved in this collective that the city of Toronto is currently undergoing its own artistic renaissance.  This renaissance can particularly be felt amongst young people who, emerging from a Hip Hop generation, are empowered by a fundamental understanding that they can take power into their own hands to create their own stages, remix old forms and validate their stories – stories that are often silenced or re-written by the mainstream.

“T-Dot Renaissance is creative license to think, create, imagine without fear of censure. Untapped potential harnessed for possibilities we have realized in dreamscapes.  Freedom can be found here if we allow ourselves the possibility.  To be.  It is room and space to stretch and try, fail and cry…room to smile direct light shining from the inside.” – Amanda Parris

Are you reading for a multi-layered renaissance?

“Sacred spaces. Bredrin and sistren building solidarity among our villages. Healing not only ourselves but our communities, na hadithi zetu.” – Molisa Nyakale

Are you ready for T-Dot Renaissance? We been (re)presenting our diasporic journeys from time….

 “A patchwork quilt.  Threading narratives, some built before us.  Some built amongst us.  Life in colour clothes stories, skins, taking you where we’re at.  Where we’ve been.  Take it in.  Sincere together we hold space and time which we alone define together.  Take it in. Take it in.  Take it in.  Here we are.  Life in colour.” – Nayani Thiyagarajah.

Copyright © 2011, T-Dot Renaissance. All rights reserved.

December 3rd and December 4th, 2011

3pm – 8pm each day

Loft 404

404-263 Adelaide Street W.

Toronto, On

Technologies of de physical world kama: herbal medicine

Certain indigenous technologies look superficially like Western scientific technology. The use of certain herbal medicines resembles Western pharmacology, wid some herbs having objective indicashuns dat are de same for most people, such as certain plants dat women take for birth control….But what is it about de ways that pharmacology is approached in de kijiji dat is connected to Spirit?…For indigenous herbal medicine incorporates de seeking of Spirit in de administering of all substances.

culture village

According to indigenous Afrikan philosophy, you cannot jus give an aspirin or cook up an herbal recipe for de purpose of healing. There are two tings at work.

One is de knowledge of de spiritual nature of plants, en de second en more important is de knowledge of de energetic configuration en de identity en purpose of person you are treating. In an indigenous view of illness, de disease is always linked to a breakage in relationship. Some connecshun is loose, or completely absent, or has been severed….de illness is a physical manifestation of a spiritual decay.

Treating de illness, in de indigenous view, means conjuring up an energy dat will repair de spiritual state so dat de spiritual healing can be translated into de healing of de physical disease. You have to heal in de Spirit dunia before you can heal in de physical world……

Technologies of de spiritual world: Gateways

For healing to last, de healed energy in de spiritual plane must be brought across to de physical world. This is done by bringing it through a gateway between de spiritual en material worlds. What is de gateway?

among de chokwe

A gateway is a door to de Spirit dunia dat is connected to a particular place in de physical world. Healers who bring energy from de Spirit dunia through de gateways are known as gatekeepers. A gatekeeper can trace de shadow from dis world back to its origin in de spiritual dunia en act as an intermediary, as a bridge, since he or she or they understand de relationship between de different aspects of de reality of dis world.

De gateways that are maintained in certain places in nature are themselves important technologies for healing. Technologies such as this are viewed as magical en supernatural en are therefore suspect, sometimes frightening, to de Western mind.

But recall de Silicon valley poster, “Any technology, sufficiently advanced, appears magical.” Gateways to de Spirit dunia may appear magical to Westerners because there is so lil hardware involved.

Indigenous people value efficiency, en anything dat can be accomplished by manipulating energy without consuming resources is preferred…

Change en evolution

A culture that is in touch with its spiritual connecshun is a culture that is poised to evolve. In de indigenous context, change is tolerated, even welcomed, because it originates wid Spirit. If evolushun originates in a spiritual source, then it does not disrupt stability….In de development of Western technologies, we cannot allow some of us to evolve while some are left behind, because that is not community.

Community is de common handling of de journey. Attention to community en to Spirit in indigenous technology has meant, however, dat de evolution of indigenous cultures takes place quietly, without de explosive en destructive side effects of Western technology. When you ties wid Spirit are strong enough, your evolution has less visibility….The larger the presence of de Spirit, de subtler en less polluting technological evolution will be…..

It is de indigenous understanding… that ideas you receive do not come from your imagination, they come from de Spirit world, en it is de Spirits who will decide wot de next step will be, wot changes if any need to be made in de technologies that they have given to you. A person’s purpose is to serve, using that which has been put into their hands as a gift from Spirit.

Also, de Dagara recognise a close relationship between knowledge en secrecy. Beside de fact that wot one knows remains alive through de hiddenness, there is an attitude toward knowledge that to know is to become a guardian of something. To circulate de knowledge given to you by Spirit indiscriminately is harmful. Every time I travel home to Afrika I am faced with dis issue. My quest for magical knowledge will be met by a laconic response stressing my inability to safeguard de knowledge I yam seeking….

Among de Dagara, healing knowledge is usually taught by a being from de Other world, namely a kontomble, or a spirit ally. the viability of de material is verified in de context of de amount of good it does to de village.

The healer, that is de technologist, is instrumental to Spirit’s powah to heal, en to make changes in human lives. Thus one can say to a healer, “Teach me wot you know”; but de better request to make of de healer is, “Teach me about wot teaches you” since de source, en home, of indigenous techonology is nature en de world of Spirit, to that source you must go in order to learn en grow en evolve…..

reposted wid overflowing gratitude, upendo, humility na respekt from The Healing Wisdom of Africa – Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some