dear toronto,

If this open letter to tdot is to stay true to its mission, it has to start with (re)acknowledging where we’re at, on turtle island & where we coming from, mama afrika. It’s also only natural that in speaking truth to power, we share that we are in our final stage/week of developing & organising for

  1. The Spaces Between [produced by the Peace camp],
  2. Peace is Possible Parade &
  3. summer workshops at Crescent Town Public School  with Full Circle, Regent Park Camp, Balmy Beach, Learning for Life, Seeds of Hope…..

The ‘official’ werd on the ground is

The Children’s Peace Theatre of Toronto will be holding its 10th annual Summer Peace Camp from July 5-24, 2010. Under the direction of Liz Pounsett and musical direction by award-winning jazz artist Brownman with the artistic direction of Karen Emerson.

A group of 60 children and youth will work alongside professional artists to create a theatrical collaboration called ‘The Space Between’.

This is bound to be the most provocative of Peace Camp productions as the children explore faith and reason and how these concepts affect our lives personally and globally. It confronts head on the issues associate with the interplay of faith and reason with the level of honesty, humor and energy only children and youth can impart. The Space Between is sure to be visually stunning, thought provoking and full of surprises].

http://www.peacetheatre.org/

We’re inviting Tdot, all our friends and visitors, to come with their pikney and friends, join us on Friday July 23rd and Saturday July July 24th in the PIP Parade and the gala performance of the Space Between.

So ofcourse we should first tell you the story about the source of this peace theatre.

Hapo (si) zamani (sana) ya kale

In 2000, the Hannon-Shields Centre for Leadership and Peace reclaimed parts of the Massey Goulding Estate and under the ‘official’ leadership of Robert Morgan, launched the Children’s Peace Theatre (PT)

As Robert has said: “We place children and youth centre stage, not because they are cute or candid, but because they display humanity’s capacity to evolve, even in the harsh conditions of the current times. Young people are demonstrating an instinctive desire to move away from the dominant culture of self-interestedness and aggression, and are moving instead towards building relationships and community due to an innate desire to seek stability, safety, and peace.

It is also evident that young people have the imagination and the energy that will be necessary to establish a new culture of peace. Watching young people from very different backgrounds cross paths, encounter conflict, and find creative ways of making the conflict evolve in positive directions, gives me the audacity to believe that peace is possible.”

http://books.google.ca/books?id=hfBaL4-ei2AC&lpg=PP1&ots=wjbLnY-b6-&dq=once%20upon%20a%20time%20there%20was%20a%20little%20girl%20healing%20power%20of%20fairy%20tales&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

[10 years later, the ‘un-official’ werd on the ground on the opening ceremony  is: join us in a prayer circle on Friday July 23rd @ at 7:00am , in the heart of the peace forest.

The ‘official’ plan of the day is the Peace is Possible parade @ 11:00am, and the 2nd matinee of the spaces between which will begin @ 1.00pm, in the outdoor amphitheatre of the Peace Theatre @ 305 Dawes Road.]

[this subjective perspective on the process of manifesting justice, truth, reconciliation en peacemaking; is after many moons of ‘unofficially’ re/claiming the grounds of the peace forest,  since I came back from ‘home’ [aka. in another place, not here…], en in the years before, with osain as my colleague, en his home as my office. Close to eshu, obatala, ogun, oshun, oya en all the orishas.

I am deeply grateful for now ‘officially’ being part of that divine, growing team that is blessed, honoured and privileged to work here, [job soon dun, but it’s a contract with possible extensions of renewal nonetheless, and all the fertile spaces between metarmophoses, healing rituals & building solidarity with people of all faiths, all nations, with one prayer.

I give thanks for the artists, caregivers, comrades, elders en youth, peer educators, healers and peace makers, friends of PT, who contribute their energy, talent & time to rebuilding our communities, with our children, using arts for revolushunary social & spiritual change, sharing our healing stories with the 3c’s of PT]

I pray for health and prosperity, not only for myself but for others. I pray for humbleness, for myself and others. Please forgive my sins, those that I know about, and those that I don’t know about, those I am yet to commit, and those of others. Inspire those without hope, and strengthen those without faith. I give thanks for the cool wotas, the sun, moon, and stars, for the birds, and our trees. Bless all our living relatives.Onikpite]

I give thanks for our continued re/learning of faith in the true (true) ways of the ‘natives’ of port credit Mississauga, for our deepening connecuns with egun,

Bless taylor creek park en all our neighbours en visitors. Bless the ancestors betwixt en between, all around  crescent town, goodwood, thorncliffe, dentonia park, jane&finch, parkdale, regent park, in all our enclaves, trees, en living relatives, in these diverse hoods.

PIP song

I give thanks for the burning, metamorphoses en (for) the spaces between spreading big love en positivity in our communities.  I give thanks that the fiya this time feels like ‘the revolushun’ is with our breaking bread, making arts en crafts, playing, praying, reasoning and replenishing not only ourselves, but with our families and friends, en ‘others’.

Bless the motherless and fatherless, those sick in hospital. Bless the homeless, and those who ignore them. Ifa,  I pray that you continue to guide us in coming to our right/full destinites. I pray that the circle may be unbroken. Bless our wotas en granmama earth. Ase. Ase….

[blogger’s notes: It’s, only officially, been less than a moon that I’ve been working on programs at the peace theatre, there’s still many pieces of the past that I’m not familiar with, but I give thanks that this place, in another space, not home, is exactly where I need to be,….naushukuru that the blessings of yesterday, manifested today en I pray for them to carry forward to tomorrow…..

85 days 16[+72]hours 25 minutes – the caps finally contained the oil spill, and we are bound to pray for our continued healing en self recovery, to learn from our mis-steps, and continue changing the destructive path we’ve been on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor-Massey_Creek

Taylor-Massey Creek is 16 kilometres long. Its headwaters are near Sheppard and Victoria Park Avenues. It flowed diagonally through Wishing Well Park and under Highway 401 at Pharmacy Avenue. The original headwaters were diverted to Highland Creek when the highway was widened to 12 lanes, so the creek now starts at a stormwater outfall just south of the highway.

The creek starts in Terraview Willowfield Park, a restoration project, named after a nearby public school. It flows through two medium sized ponds with naturalized channels. From there it flows southeast through a series of concrete lined channels and drains. This section runs along an abandoned hydro right-of-way before entering a residential and industrial section that is closed to public access.

South of Eglinton Avenue East it enters a shallow ravine and flows south passing through Pine Hills Cemetery. It exits the cemetery travelling west and enters a small park on St. Clair Avenue East. At Warden Avenue it turns southwest, moving through a park called Warden Woods. West of Pharmacy Avenue it enters a city run golf course. At Victoria Park Avenue it enters Taylor Creek Park and continues uninterrupted to where it empties into the Don River East Branch, just north of the forks of the Don.

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Yoruba Creation Myth


In the beginning was only the sky above, water and marshland below. The chief god Olorun ruled the sky, and the god/dess Olokun ruled what was below.

Obatala, another god, reflected upon this situation, then went to Olorun for permission to create dry land for all kinds of living creatures to inhabit. He was given permission, so he sought advice from Orunmila, oldest son of Olorun and the god of prophecy.

He was told he would need a gold chain long enough to reach below, a snail’s shell filled with sand, a white hen, a black cat, and a palm nut, all of which he was to carry in a bag. All the gods contributed what gold they had, and Orunmila supplied the articles for the bag. When all was ready, Obatala hung the chain from a corner of the sky, placed the bag over his shoulder, and started the downward climb.

When he reached the end of the chain he saw he still had some distance to go. From above he heard Orunmila instruct him to pour the sand from the snail’s shell, and to immediately release the white hen. He did as he was told, whereupon the hen landing on the sand began scratching and scattering it about. Wherever the sand landed it formed dry land, the bigger piles becoming hills and the smaller piles valleys. Obatala jumped to a hill and named the place Ife. The dry land now extended as far as he could see.

He dug a hole, planted the palm nut, and saw it grow to maturity in a flash. The mature palm tree dropped more palm nuts on the ground, each of which grew immediately to maturity and repeated the process. Obatala settled down with the cat for company. Many months passed, and he grew bored with his routine. He decided to create beings like himself to keep him company. He dug into the sand and soon found clay with which to mold figures like himself and started on his task, but he soon grew tired and decided to take a break.

He made wine from a nearby palm tree, and drank bowl after bowl. Not realizing he was drunk, Obatala returned to his task of fashioning the new beings; because of his condition he fashioned many imperfect figures. Without realizing this, he called out to Olorun to breathe life into his creatures. The next day he realized what he had done and swore never to drink again, and to take care of those who were deformed, thus becoming Protector of the Deformed. The new people built huts as Obatala had done and soon Ife prospered and became a city. All the other gods were happy with what Obatala had done, and visited the land often, except for Olokun, the ruler of all below the sky. She had not been consulted by Obatala and grew angry that he had usurped so much of her kingdom.

When Obatala returned to his home in the sky for a visit, Olokun summoned the great waves of her vast oceans and sent them surging across the land. Wave after wave she unleashed, until much of the land was underwater and many of the people were drowned. Those that had fled to the highest land beseeched the god Eshu who had been visiting, to return to the sky and report what was happening to them. Eshu demanded sacrifice be made to Obatala and himself before he would deliver the message. The people sacrificed some goats, and Eshu returned to the sky.

When Orunmila heard the news he climbed down the golden chain to the earth, and cast many spells which caused the flood waters to retreat and the dry land reappear.

So ended the great flood. Ase. Ase……..


And other ‘native’ creashun story goes like…..

In the beginning the new world consisted only of vast oceans.  There was no land. Father Sky and his wife were admiring a beautiful tree – lush leaves and fruit, rich, dark bark.  Father Sky’s wife told him that she had a great vision which called for him to pull the tree up by its roots, leaving a large hole in the sky.

Father Sky was sad, for he thought the tree quite beautiful, but he also realized the power of his wife’s vision. He wrapped his arms around the tree, gave a might heave, and uprooted the tree.  Grasping hold of part of the tree, the woman looked through the hole, as she stretched a little further, she lost her footing and fell through.

The animals that were able to live in the water, turtle, beaver, whale and many others, looked up and saw the woman plummeting towards them.  “What will we do,” they cried. “If she lands, she will drown!” Two swans unfurled their beautiful white wings, flew up and caught the woman; they brought her down where they floated on the waves.  Everyone knew this could not go on for long, for the the swans would tire, and at some point the woman would need to sit down.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGI7sQjCMuY&feature=PlayList&p=C976375EFB94FCD0&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1]

One by one the animals swam to the bottom of the ocean to see if they could bring up a little earth.  The big whales tried, the otter tried, animals large and small, all tried.  Finally, everyone was floating on top of the water very tired from all their efforts.  Little Muskrat swam over and shyly said, “I think I can do it.”  The other animals were too exhausted to even laugh at the thought.  She took a deep breath and dove as far as she could.  It took several tries, but finally, totally exhausted she floated to the surface with a little earth in her paw. “What will I do with it now?” she gasped. Turtle swam over, “Put it on my back, I have a broad back,” he said.  Immediately the land began to grow until it was big enough for the swans to step on shore and let the woman down.  She let go from her hands some seeds that came from the sacred tree she had been holding onto when she fell through the hole.  The land grew and grew and along with it, forests, grasses, plants and vegetables.  it was a wondrous sight, and that is how North America came to be created, and subsequently to be called Turtle Island.

[so this q(ues)t of the (divine) werd on the ground goes, (something) like a Prayer to the Seven Directions]

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the East, each day you bring us new light so that we may grow in wisdom.  We have been waiting for the time when your light would shine in the hearts of all people.  Then they would remember the Original Instructions that were written in our hearts since the beginning of all things. Now is the time.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the South, your warm winds have sent us your love and the abundance from Mother Earth.  We have always known that as we follow the Original Instructions we will walk in balance and harmony and all our needs will be met.  The power and wisdom of this path is not easily understood when the mind is taught inside boundaries and the heart is closed to sissagwaad, the soft wind of spirit.  Open the heart of those who follow the way of the mind.

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the West, in the darkness of night you have sent us dreams to see deep inside our hearts, to learn how to walk the path of the spirit.  We see the beauty that hides behind each moment and discover the Great Mystery that is in us and all things.  Help the people of the mind see the power of their dreams.  Help them learn from their dreams so that they can remember the Original Instructions.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the North, you have brought the cold winds and snows each year to cleanse our Mother Earth.  Now the cleansing of the mind has begun.  The energies of the stars have shifted into a new focus to end domination and hierarchy.  No longer is it possible to live by the mind unless it is guided by the heart. Blow the fresh, clean wind of spirit to sweep away the belief systems that limit our brothers and sisters who are trapped in the way of the mind.

Kee-shay Giidzhii Manidou, you have sent visions and dreams to help us remember Who we are.  We have not forgotten the Original Instructions.  The stories have now been rediscovered and returned to the people.   You have shown that the path of reconciliation and peace is through the heart.  Send the light of inspiration to the Ogichidaag‘ who will show others a new way of being.

Gee-mama-nama-kee, you are our Mother, our Source of Life.  You have given us our food, our water, air, shelter, and so many beautiful beings who are our Brothers and Sisters.  We know we are connected to you and to all other beings in the Web of Life.  Many are those who do not know of their connection.  They see only with their eyes and their mind.  With a narrow focus they see parts of things instead of the energy of love and wholeness.  They have forgotten the Original Instructions.  As their Mother, you have been patient with them.  Extend that patience a little longer so the Ogichidaag‘ can show them a new way.

Great Mystery, we feel your presence in us and in all things.  You are the spiral energy of love that connects all, is all.  You are the circle of life, the circle way, the Original Instructions.  When we are living in our heart, we can soar with the White Eagle to see beyond horizons.

When the drum has been smudged you can beat on it and say this prayer, either in English or Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinabeg:

Midewewewigun, nindo-wiyauh.
I seek the drum.

And then:

N’midewewewigun, manitouwiyauwiwih.
Upon my drum bestow the mystery.

And to Ishpiming, All That Is:

M’gwech, Giidji manidou
Thanks, Great Spirit

Finally, an acknowledgement of the gift:

Kikinowautchi-beegaudae
It is so.

Your drum has been opened as a carrier of your prayers and petitions to the Great Mystery.

Other songs can be found in Ojibway Ceremonies by Basil Johnston from Bison Books (1990).

How the drum was brought to the Anishinabeg is told by Edward Benton-Banai in the Mishomis Book: the Voice of the Ojibway (1988) by Indian Country Communications, Inc.  The original drum was the water drum, mi-tig-wa-tik’ day-way-gun, and contained water to represent the First Order of Being.

In our drum this is replaced by the stone set in the handgrip to avoid the humidity that would otherwise soften the drumhead.  Later, the Anishinabeg added stones to the exterior ties of their drum.  The hide of the deer, wawashkesh’shee, gave peace and gentleness to the drum, as well as speed and agility to the drumbeat.

One of the ceremonial uses of the Mother Earth Drum is healing.  The first time I used the drum in healing, I heard the sissagwad, the soft wind of spirit, whisper to me to hold the drum over each chakra and beat softly.  It worked.  The next time that I did a healing, I did some energy work to break up blockages as I had been instructed to do.  Then I noticed my drum sitting nearby and realized that I was supposed to use it…but not beating it.  I was to caress the drum to make the sound of the wind whipping up a storm.  The with my fingernails scraping across the drum, make the sound of thunder, and, drawing the fingers close together the thunder disappears into the distance.  With more wind and more thunder comes the rain, the tapping of fingers making the multitude of raindrops striking the ground.  More wind, more thunder, more rain…and then quieter, more distant thunder, a gentling wind, diminishing raindrops.  Silence…  The hurts and pains were washed away and all was fresh and clean. Another time, a friend in Denver asked me to help me with one of her horses who had a wound that wouldn’t heal.  I thought: OK, some sage ceremony, some drumming.

I heard the sissagwad whisper. “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“What?!” I questioned.

The sissagwad repeated, “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“Impossible!” I thought.  I remembered the cowboy movies I had seen as a boy.  The horse hears the rattlesnake and panics, rearing high in the air.   And I was going to be right there under the flailing front feet of the horse.  How about drumming instead! I begged.

“No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

I did the sage ceremony, smudging the entire paddock and the horse.  The horse just stood perfectly still as I swept the smoke over the leg and then its whole body.

Then it was time for the rattle.  I began to shake the rattle, watchful of any hint of a dangerous response.  None.  It worked.  Then the horse “whispered” to me that ‘it had tickled.’  “What?” I asked.  “It tickled,” the horse repeated.  When the bandage was taken off too soon, it still tickled so I scratched it.”  I told Diana to keep the wrap on longer and the problem was solved.  A few months later I heard about the movie, The Horse Whisperer, but I knew that it worked BOTH ways—the horse can whisper to the human, too.

[This is an excerpt from Stories Dream-Catchers Weave.]

So listen to the sissagwad in your heart. Don’t get locked into any rigid ritual.  That’s a head thing, a mind thing.  Don’t misunderstand: the mind is good, but the intuition, listening to the soft wind of spirit in the heart, is an awesome source of wisdom beyond anything of which the mind is capable.

Another way to use the drum is to create a buzzing sound with each beat.  Medicine men would often place inside the drum a stick with lots of smaller sticks pressing lightly against the back of the drumhead. The multiple tones and harmonics are supposed to elicit healing.  With the Mother Earth Drum you can place the fingernail of your forefinger against the backside of the drumhead so that as you drum you will create a buzz.  Unlike the medicine drum, you can withdraw your fingernail from the backside of the drumhead and use a normal beat.  You can also use the tip of your finger to create a stop to a beat.  Or you can use the fingernail of your forefinger to scratch on the backside of the drumhead. In using and combining all of these drumming techniques, you have a diverse “vocabulary” of sounds that can be used as needed.  If your fingers are long enough you might even be able to use both your thumb and forefinger giving you two variations on the backside of the drumhead as well as the multitude of variations with the beater on the front of the drumhead. Your virtuosity is not limited to a change of volume and rhythms.

You will also find it very dramatic and powerful to strike the drumhead hard with the beater and hold the beater firmly against the drumhead.  It’s almost like an explosion and reverberates with a rising, ringing overtone.  Used with a crescendo of volume and rhythm, you can punctuate the finale of a sequence or, followed with quieter drumming and nuanced rhythms, you can create a symphony in percussion.  The thin design of the Mother Earth Drum makes this all possible.

The drum can also be used for meditation and shamanic traveling.  A constant, steady beat of the drum can alter consciousness.

Recovered from copyright theft of an unprincipled white squaw.

White Eagle Soaring: Dream Dancer of the 7th Fire

http://www.real-dream-catchers.com/Art_of_the_Seventh_Fire/mother_earth_drum.htm

kesho [in the q/t werd]…..the truth about (our) stories….behind the masks