Monday, January 9, 2017

To see the unseen Part 1 #52essays2017

Paranormal activity. This was the theme of more horror movies, some TV shows, and even some ghost hunting shows. People going out of their way to substantiate their experiences of the "other worldly." I believe it links to a part of ourselves that fears and is in awe of the unknown. I think back to the ancestors who saw the night sky and limited glow of moonlight to illuminate their darkness. The awareness there were things beyond the flicker of the fire light that may or may not be predatory. Things that may have been corporeal or ethereal but either way, real.
Lately within the least 10 years or so I have the seen the very repetitious trend in cinematography. People, places, and things being haunted by some malevolent being and trying to survive the encounter if not the whole movie. I often joke, "Paranormal activity? Yall better stop playing! I grew up in paranormal activity." Allow me to explain I promise this should not be too scary, well for some.

My earliest memories of seeing what others could what others wouldn't rather than couldn't was four years old. At this time we were a family of 6 living in a 2 bedroom apartment with one bathroom in Astoria Queens near Ditmars. I can recall the lay out of our home even from 4 years old. Front door you entered was a small highway with a bathroom and master bedroom to the left of the door and the other bedroom to the immediate right across the hall. Further right past the bedroom was the living room and kitchen. My brothers slept in the bedroom right to across from the door in bunk beds, my sister and I slept on the pull out couch bed. I can remember vividly breaking my leg when my eldest brother, Eric let me down from his shoulders and on to the slate stone steps. I remember my leg facing dangling abnormally from my knee down. I remember being rushed into the gold Pontiac grand a my father drove and the many hard stops and near accidents as I was rushed to the ER. I remember the moments when I was at the local kingdom hall my parents attended that had a bight mural painted of a paradise scene on the wall heading to the bathroom. Why was I headed to the bathroom in some of these memories? Well I was an active little bad ass who didn't listen and I would be escorted to the bathroom for that Pow Pow... ask any Puerto Rican what pow pow is and you they will fill you in on that. I say all this to really give you an idea of how vivid some of my memories from old were, in hopes to lend credence to what I am sharing as my experiences.

First thing I remember was the movie Troll coming out in theatres, I believe 1986 or so. I was a very verbose young lad and I spoke and reasoned fairly well. I wanted to go to the movies so bad having all this energy and wanting to leave the confines of our apartment so I requested of my mother that I wanted to see this movie. She tried to dissuade me with warning that I would have nightmares and she did not want to contribute to that. I begged and pleaded and convinced her that I was old enough and I really wanted to see this movie. She gave in. WHY LORD, WHY DID SHE GIVE IN? That lil creature scared the Buh-Jesus out of me. So much so that night I could not sleep, I felt so uneasy about the dark living room with only the light from the street lamp shining through the window pain and into the living room amongst my mothers tall lush house plants. What I saw then would stick with me forever, hence my abhorrence for all things troll like to this very day. Amongst my mothers plants, I saw movement. This was not the flitter of something scurrying across the leaves. This was something behind the bush-like plants that shook all the foliage. I then saw a small brown and hairy hand creep out with an oily sheen and claws, pull back some of the foliage only to unveil a troll like creature whose facial features were illuminated by the street light glow. This was the ugliest creepiest things I ever seen in my 4 years I was mortified and transfixed. Every instinct in me screamed to run and to hide, but fear froze me in my place and I took in the creatures snaggled sharp teeth and its grotesque and elongated nose and pointed elf -like ears. He smiled at me, but this was a mirthless smile devoid of any joy. This was malevolence incarnate, it was a smug sinister smile which promised by demise and discomfort. The troll moved closer to my sister who lay sleeping next to me, facing me in her deep slumber. The creature began to slowly and gently pet her hair as it continued looking into my eyes smiling its gruesome smile. It then grabbed her hair and yanked. My sister woke up with a scream, the spell was broken I threw the blankets over my head and hid. My sister was irate blaming me for waking her up and pulling he hair. I began crying, I tried to convince her I could not have pulled her hair from the opposite side of her without having reached over her or gotten out of bed to stand behind her. She was so angry and nothing I said would or could make sense to her. I was reported later to my mother and reprimanded but this was my first encounter with the unseen. No one believed I saw what I saw, this was a product of my imagination. No it wasn't.

That same apartment, my bothers were out and so were my parents. I was left in the care of my sister who was old enough to watch me. She had took notice of the time and while on the phone talking to her friend had started to run my bath. She called me in the bathroom but me sensing a lack of any true authority decided to mess with her. I ran into the bathroom and got naked only to psyche her out and run away from her last minute out of the bathroom and back out into the living room where our pull out bed was already awaiting us. My sister who remained in the bathroom yelling for me, while balancing the phone on her shoulder pressed to her ear and feeling the water for the best temperature, had left her chanclas (slippers)by the bed side and her vata (night gown) folded on the bed right above that. This was normal for her, as she was quite orderly. What was not normal was her vata was standing straight up as if the air around it formed a body that now wore the flowing material. The vata stood straight up inhabited and adorning some unseen entity and if this was not enough to make me yelp the chanclas started to walk towards me as the vata moved in tandem. Something in the vata was walking towards me, something I could not even see... I yelped, shrieked, Mariah Carey'd whatever you need to call it and ran back into the bathroom where I jumped my little brown ass into the tub with such gusto. I shocked the shit out of my sister, she asked me what was wrong but I refused to talk to her about it. No one would believe me anyway.

Thirst encounter in that same apartment, I had been put to bed and this really meant I was restless and it was time to put my ass down somewhere so my parent and family could get things done without me running around and having to be watched so thoroughly. I sat in bed trying to get tired, but found my eyes just focused on the room and every little detail I could. The light from the kitchen was on and so this was not the limited light provided by outside street lamps and/or moonlight. This particular evening my attention was bought to the living room window that led to the fire escape. On the fire escape was some movement. This was a man in a trench coat and fedora. I could see no specifics of what he wore or the color of his clothes. This was a shadow with the shape of someone with the silhouette of which most pronounced was the long coat and the hat. The man was ascending the stairs slowly and stopped by my window to turn in my direction briefly, and then continuing his next few steps to continue his ascent. I screamed and pointed, "The man on the fire escape. There is a man climbing, looking at me through the window!" My father ran out the our front door and up the last flight upstairs that led up to the roof to see what pervert or creeper was up there. He found no one. NO one on the rooftop or the fire escape. He came downstairs baffled thought I was lying or making fun to keep myself occupied, but my mother consoled me and my father popped in Mannequin. I loved this movie and I watched Kim Cattrall and the fabulous Hollywood, played by Meshach Taylor transform and light up the screen. This was how I eventually calmed my nerves and fell asleep.

My mother later corroborated the apartment in Astoria felt off. She said she first new something was up because about a week before she had a vivid dream of climbing these slate stairs up a few stories and stopping in front of this door. She described the dream to my father and told him she would know our next living space when she saw it. The last look for apartments on that day and my mother said she saw those slate stairs and all her hairs on her body stood up. She followed and counted the steps and stories only to know when her and the land lord would stop, and in front of which door. She had already dreamed this place. She further decided to tell me of the weird happenings she experienced there. Our Chihuahua, pebbles would wake up from a deep sleep only to start growling at the door. The growling would in turn wake up my mother and she would see the door handle of the room, turning. This would be ok or less spooky if everyone in the apartment wasn't already asleep. She would get up to yank open the door and face whoever might have been trying... only to find dead air there. The dog continued its growl sensing something that could only be felt and not seen. My mother would pray out loud to Jehovah her God and tell whatever was there it had no power there and had to go... sometimes this worked and sometimes this didn't. The other memorable account was when my mother was in bed one Saturday morning and heard me giggling and saw me run past her bedroom and into the bathroom. She said she remembered my red shirt and the heard the door of the bathroom close rather forcefully. She was up at this point but laid in bet a bit longer waiting for me to come out the bathroom and maybe even enter her room and stay with her a bit. She said she waited a while and nothing, she got up and went to the bathroom and knocked. No one answered, and so she turned the knob and pushed the door open only to find the bathroom empty. This confused her, she went to check on me and I was fast asleep on the pull out with a blue shirt on.

As you can see early on in my life my interactions with the spirit realm were too frequent for my taste, I didn't know it then but my mother was experiencing the same experiences. She would tell me to ignore these instances and to pray them away. This was the only way she knew how to deal with the unseen, or allowed herself to acknowledge their existence as it pertained to her and her home. She tried to pass this method on to me, however this did not work for me. Oh but that is a whole other essay of how I began to further experience and see the unseen. Expect a part II next week, I promise it gets a little worse before it gets better.

Monday, January 2, 2017

I remember #52essays2017

It is so funny how life continues forward in its momentum and we can give so much power to a memory that it literally robs us of our present and possible future. I have had some memories lately that have robbed my of breath as I realized the impact they have had on me. I look now at the very notion of toxic masculinity as it applied to me indirectly. This is how poisonous this stuff is. Forget cyanide, forget lead, forget mercury or any other product you have to child proof or wash thoroughly after use. Masculinity and how it tends to be viewed is some of the most noxious material we can encounter in this world. Allow me to recount my first encounters with this harmful substance.

I remember being a child, free and authentically myself in every way despite the natural mode of development. It wasn't until I was in elementary that I realized others around me did not see me as whole or complete. I have always been drawn to girls/women for as long as I can remember. I unintentionally felt comfort in small circles of girls my age and their conversation than I did my male peers. I had zero interest in playing whiffle ball, touch foot ball, hoops, or any other activity involving running with balls and sticks just to prove how well one can compete and move amongst their peers. I much more preferred playing drawing squares on concrete and black top and play hopscotch. I had no problem turning the rope in double dutch playfully feigning indignation at anyone who would dare try and label me "Double handed." I was a pro at playing various hand games and rhymes like Numbers, Miss Mary Mack, Down Down Baby Down Down the Rollercoaster and such.. This was art. It was rhythm, and music, it was interactive without having to be competitive. You were not ridiculed for not performing well, it was teasing laughter devoid of any real malice.

This apparent joy with my female peers was a threat to the likes of my Mother, Father, Brothers and I was swiftly punished for this type of interaction. I remember my mother calling me into the house and sitting me down. Anger written all over her face as her eyebrows arched in that particular way we still joke about. Malificent eye brows, these things arched with a magic of their own. The spell they casted? Fear. My mother began to question and interrogate me as to whom I played with at school. She called over Herby, the young boy she baby sat who although was in one grade lower than mine attended my school and decided to tell my mother I was not playing with the other boys. She began to tell me how wrong I was. How little boys like me didn't play "girls games," that boys like me had to play ball and with my fellow male peers. She warned me that if she heard that I was playing with these girls during recess that I would get hit when I got home. I had not been warned about getting hit for anything unless it was something I was explained was bad and would hurt me. So this struck me as odd, as my young mind tried to grasp how playing with my friends Christina, Vanessa, Chrissy, Fran and Alexis could possibly be wrong.

I instinctually ran to my "girls" at recess only to stop dead in my tracks and remember my mothers warning. I walked over to the boys and tried to find interest as they threw balls through hoops and simultaneously dribbled this ball while running. Something that seemed intimidating and would require more hand to hand coordination that I could muster. Running and bouncing a ball in place? Sorcery I say!

Well to be honest I was not well received. These boys had already singled me out as not one of them. I was chubby and made no attempt to play with them before, why was in their midst now expecting to be embraced and or included. I heard the first insults as I could not perform as well as they did. I missed my the safety of my female friends.
I attempted to nurture back those relationships and see if I could keep an eye out for Herby, that maybe I could sneak in games with my girl friends.. Some were ready to take me back within minutes. Others, they must have got the memo from my mother or the other boys. There was no longer a place for me there, I was allowed to play but with a stern encouraging verbal nudge that I should go play with the other boys.

How did I become messed up so quick? What just happened? Were we not having fun days before? I made up my mind it was not worth feeling unwanted. I took to music and art rather quickly. These activities didn't require anyone else but me. I had a knack for doodling cartoon figures, something I picked up from my father who always sketched cartoons on everything from inlays of my children books or my cast when I broke my leg at 4 years old. Imaging my excitement as the entire cast of Fraggle Rock was drawn on my cast.Similarly my brother would sketch amazing pics of eagles and wolves and lions with a pencil. Drawing must be ok and a safe thing to do. Music was also everywhere around me. My Father had tapes he recorded at Coney Island when karaoke tapes could be recorded for fun. I can still hear his resonant baritone and sweet tenor as he sang, "Under the Broad walk. Out of the sun, We'll be having some fun." He collected vinyls that he kept in treasure chest also known as milk crates. These vinyls were our every Saturday morning soundtrack to our chores when he happened to be home and not working. These were the smooth sounds of the Delphonics, Stylistics, Dells, Temptations, The Moments, Teena Marie and Rick James, Ohio Players, OJ's, Labelle, Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. My Sister like my father collected many tapes and the newest CD's. She would write and sing music in her room, she would lip synch to the likes of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Debbie Gibson, Brenda K Starr, EnVogue, Mariah Carey, Soul II Soul, Delight and other popular late 80's/early 90's artists. I could perform safely in my room and lip synch to, or try my vocals at that one song that moved me so much. Music easily trumped my desire to draw. In fact from the music I was introduced to I really loved EnVogue, Mariah Carey, Patti Labelle, Angela Winbush and Lisa Fisher. I would attempt all those high notes and to my surprise I could hit some of them and I actually sounded ok. While I was not as good as the artist I attempted to imitate I was certainly not bad.
I remember once being forced to mow the lawn, which I hated and still do hate the smell of grass which instantly reminds me of forced chores. That damn lawn mower was so loud I felt like I could sing boldly and no one would be able to hear me. Apparently not having learned how science worked, my father and brother ridiculed me for singing like a woman. They reminded me I was not a woman and singing high was unnecessary. I was told only a few men could even sing that high and it was not the norm. I was in elementary I had none of this "bass" in my voive, and singing low was not an option, but I guess these stratospheric high notes were not the "boy thing" to do. UGH, I guess I was messing up again. Doing the wrong things one more time to my parents and siblings chagrin.

Noticing that my comforts lied heavily into female peers, and female singers I remember the first time I was in my room drawing and listening to music and my father opened my bedroom door and told me to get dressed and come out side. I knew not what he wanted nor was he willing to volunteer any info on why, but I knew that I had to. I met him outside to find he had pulled our weighted portable basket ball hoop and forced me to play him. He got so frustrated because I couldn't dribble and run and I remember in a tone of exasperation he snatched the basketball from me and reprimanded me, "Stop dribbling like a faggot! Its like this, DAMN!". I flinched at his words and tone. Faggot I heard before, this was the word my mother spit out with disgust when Ricky Lake and Jenny Jones shows came on and these gay men were talking about fashion or dramatic love relationships. I was equated to that person of disgust in that moment. I was the less desirable, less than person or thing that could be called that word."
This pushed me to try to play with the boys at school and some of the boys from church... I was not going to pretend to dribble so my skill to be BIG and tall, block as many shots I can and guard the hell out of anyone I was assigned to guard to lessen their chance at scoring. I felt so embarrassed and so under the microscope. I had no desire to play these kind of games. Can I please go back to my room and draw my fave Xman, Storm? Can I please go and throw on Envogue's Born To Sing track number 9 & 10?

This awkward abuse transferred to my gym teacher as I moved into middle school. Her name was Miss Brown, she took every attempt to let me know in front of the whole class how unathletic I am. I was chubby and out of shape, I was incapable of doing anything with the ball worthwhile. She pushed this point home when one day when teaching us how to run and dribble the basketball, I in my usual ill coordination kicked the ball away from my grasp and half way across the gym. Out rang the words of the worse rhetorical question, "Whats wrong with you? Dribbling that ball like a faggot!" The boys and the girls laughed at me, I was already sweaty and out of breath. Having developed body issues from realizing I didn't look like other boys. They were lean and muscular or with minor body fat. I on the other hand always packed a little extra. These words stung as they mirrored my fathers dissatisfaction with me at our own basketball session we had prior. She cemented her disdain of me by throwing that ball into my face and into my right eye. She convinced the whole class through intimidation that she was "Passing the ball to me and I was not fast enough, or athletic enough to catch it." However, she never taught us passing at that point and I surely was not expecting it. The insult or the ball toss.

Quickly I knew more of what was wrong with me than what was right with me. I was only comfortable with male peers when I could observe them from a safe distance. This was also when I realized I watched them with a certain attention and intent that strangely made me feel flush. I hated them and was intrigued by them. They were smelly boys that repulsed me and yet I sniffed when they walked by trying to inhale their masculine scent which I was strangely attracted to. I avoided the changing in the locker room opting for the bathroom stall instead. I however, took every opportunity to catch glimpses of my peers male forms as I passed them on the way to my bathroom stall/changing room.

I then started to think, maybe I was made wrong?! Maybe I was supposed to be a girl. Girls were not as intense and foolish as the boys were. They certainly were not as disgusting. Their fashion sense was cool and although smaller or more fitted def attracted other boys... could I ever attract anyone? If I wasn't part of the boys club really, was I perhaps part of the Girls? Parents declared no pretty early on, so I discounted that. All I was sure of was I was different and I was not the "norm" I was not fine as I was, I had to be this other "son."

This had me an angry young male in a world of other aggressive young males. What I determined pretty early on as early as 4th grade was that if anyone hit me I had ton hit them back. In fact my mother instilled in me the fear of God. The threat was if I came home and she found out that someone hit me and I didn't hit them back, the moment I came home she would beat the hell outta me. This sunk in, I had to fight. Finally something I can use my chubbiness and height for. I would fight anyone that attempted to get physically harmful or maybe even verbally. If a girl hit me thinking a boy couldn't hit her back I quickly showed her I was wasn't that boy. SLAP! If a boy called me a faggot or tried to mush/push me... BAM! Punch them right in the face or a good ol fashioned body slam. This earned me quite the reputation in school. I was the jolly chubby gay kid but who would fight instantly and relatively well. Most left me alone.

This anger, this attitude effected everything as I entered the hyper feminine yet misogynistic gay scene in which there was even harder criteria to just be. You couldn't just simply be gay there were sub groups and the more you associated with your feminine side and or took a "feminine role" of receiving another male, you were the butt end of a joke or specific smirk and look. The triggers as other gay men would refer to me as "girl" and I would become irate. I was not one of the girls, school yard proved that. Parents said I couldn't even play or interact with them like that. I was a boy, at least I wanted you to believe that because if I was anything less than what was expected of me it was confirmation of my inferiority as a masculine anything. I already wasn't one of the boys but dammit if you would point that out or make me feel that any more than I made myself feel that way.

I laugh now as I realized I had been fighting for respect my whole life. Can you imagine? I was fighting to be this false idea of who I was supposed to be. I believed the story written for me by people who were not me. It took me a long time to just release the weight of the pretenses. I can be called girl and be honored that someone felt comfortable enough to refer to me as such. I didn't have to be upset at that because I loved girls, I loved women, I loved the feminine. Always have, childhood inclinations proved that. I just had to embrace me, I had to define me by allowing myself to be myself. I realized I was being poisoned and geared to resent the safety of feminine circles and concepts that I believe males severely need. Femininity is he medicine to male misogyny. So much to learn from our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and such. That though is an entirely other essay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sitting in Gratitude with Faith Recharged (Orisa Ocha Birthday Celebration) 2015

I am going to try to verbalize exactly what happened this week into this weekend. I had planned a drumming one of the many ways we honor our Orisa with song of praises and dances that mimic their time on this earth as well as their metaphysical manifestation in dance form. The drumming was a notion, I knew it would cost a bit of money and with simply planning and sacrifice I know I could pull it off. However, I had a lot to do and it seemed that I had few around to help me, or so I thought. I got stuck in my head with the notion of not wanting to bother anyone to ask for help, that everyone has their own life and things to do. Well Orisa wasn't having it, to my surprise my best friend and brother, an moo ELegba, sent out a Facebook message to his god kids and delegated assignments to my drummings including serving food, clean up, and various other duties I would not have even thought of. Then he himself volunteered to come by early and help build a throne and help make a famous dish of his I love. This dish must be mentioned, its called Grandmas Pasta... Its a New Yorican play on a would be Italian dish.. thats all I can say as the recipe has just been shared with me and I intend to replicate it soon. Well during this last week some upheavals occurred that caused two very good friends and brothers of mine some major upset, these two friends/brothers who would b helping me with this drumming planning and execution. I knew things could get hairy soon and so the night of my rogation when I came home and placed my rogation onto of Obatala I prayed that the rogation not be just for me but that it extend its purpose into my friend that they can think clearly enough to not do anything "too" stupid. I then immediately the next morning got in front of Oshun and rang my brass bell to my hearts content telling her my worry and concern, and acknowledging if anyone could ever bring people together who would normally not be together, it would be her. That if there was anyone to turn a bitter situation around into a sweeter one, it was her. Well the end of the week came and what I witnessed was emotions (very much a realm of Oshun) break through and bubble forth like water from a hard and craggy rock. Sometimes these emotions poured forth in anger, sometimes in sadness sometimes in regret until finally two people I love dearly who love each other dearly and couldn't see past their pain, actually sat down and spoke. No not just spoke, they poured out truth which it seemed was missing from their 7 year interaction, truths about themselves and about each other. More importantly through the various emotions I saw the healing work start to happen, I saw through the physical altercations and hurt words, a much needed cry and hug. I speak of this vaguely because its not my story, but the part of it that is my story was the witnessing of Oshun doing what I asked her and acknowledged of her a day or two ago. By any means this was not a renewal of something but an opportunity to move past that which does not serve us, the negative thoughts that get in the way of us moving past terrible things, because we allow it to build up and weigh us down. Im glad most of those things got washed down river (pun very much intended) and a load was lightened on myself and my loved one. While preparing for the drumming, Oshun had asked me to prepare the space with her waters. And My brother Omo Elegba Im sure did his own little juju. But when the drumming started and I looked around the room I saw people of various backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, all coming to celebrate with me my Oshuns 5th anniversary of being on aye/earth. I received beautiful arrangements of flowers and heartfelt sweets and prayers offered to her on my behalf and in good faith. I saw people i don't get to see often whom I love, and family members who cane to show support and I saw my God Parents, special should out to Omi Lari and Omi Lana for their support and desire to help me in this time and be present during this time of celebration and honor. Well my Beautiful Iya Amma Mcken who practically walks with Yemojas Ashe wrapped around her like the beautiful handmade clothes she designs and wears, sang Oro to all the Orisa and there it started... my tears bursted up. My face contorted into Ugly cry.I was filled with this emotion of gratitude, that people took time out of their beautiful weathered saturday and decided to spend time with me. That through travel issues and craziness they took time out to celebrate Oshun and in this I couldn't help but cry as I think about what I witnessed this past week, let alone since having her Ase put on my head. Well I cried for a good three song and took a tissue to my dripping nose and decided to enjoy my bembe. Shango came down through his Omo, Alex and really spoke some truths to people in that room and in usual Shango fashion made them face the things they fear. Be it uncomfortable conversations with themselves, with other, or situations they are faced with and shy away from. Shango I swear is the lightnings illumination of issues not yet dealt with, this is my experience with him and my observation. When you hear him ask you a question that resonates through you whole body, mind, and soul like silent thunder. Yemaya came down through my Ojugbona, Omi Lana and was able in pure Yemaya fashion tell people she is there, she see, and listens and to understand the Mother is always watching and always present even when we think she isn't around and doesn't see. To further reinforce this belief in her Omo she decided to tell them some very choice things about them she witnessed and or knows that left peoples mouths opened because these are things they only know was truth. Obatala came down on a dear friend Exodus, Obatala gestured to folks and confirmed things said or acknowledged by other orisa even though not physically there when the orisa gave these messages to certain individuals. Hence why the King Of Orisa is named such, he is over seeing without even being their in first person. Oya came down through my dear friend and Sister Suzanne and oh what a councilor Oya was. If ever you want not only truth but the inspiration to change and transform yourself into your next step and self, Oya will bring it out of you. The rest is a blur as my Oshun decided to come down today, I remember dancing and my thighs and calves hurting so bad my feet throbbing really just wanting to sit down... next thing I know IM in a small dimly lit room with my god brother and God father standing over me asking "are you here? Are you ok?" If there is nothing else to say in this blog that hasn't already been said is that Orisa is real, tradition extends beyond going through the motions and repeating of words and gestures, that Orisa heals if you allow it and will it. That if you are willing to put in the time, labor, and such you will receive blessings and confirmation that life is so good. My faith is recharged and Im humbled by all it, grateful to be a part of it all.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Revolution and dreams

I am currently fighting a Upper respiratory tract infection which needless to say is whooping my whole ass. I have been locked up in a room in bed, drinking all kinds of fluids, taking all kinds of meds, and sleeping like I never have or get to. In the fever breaks and coughing breaks where deep sleep finds me I get to wander where my mind wants to go and I was surprised with all the werewolf shows I have been watching and/or vampires, I would not dream about such monsters but instead the real kind… I saw myself in a group of people in a school lobby somewhere in the south, I saw myself amongst various other people of their own respective backgrounds, ages, and life experience. This one teacher, a pudgy short white lady with a charming accent and disposition was trying to paint a picture of what slavery might have looked like at this time in this particular area. She started to spew false information with a matter of fact tone in which case those present who did not know any better would have no choice but to take her word for it, had they not educated themselves about the very subject at hand. I saw some nodding taking in her information, I saw others who maybe knew better sink back into themselves too afraid or jaded to say a thing. I immediately got irate and defensive and demanded she tell the truth which was not as cookie cutter as she made it seem, and I began to try to rally other people there with obvious African descent written in their features to remember and or join in my indignation. Surely they had to know what the past really was.. some idea of the struggles of the captives coined "slaves" in our land…? Yet only one maybe two of the group stood with me and I quickly took their hands we began to hold hands, form a small circle and sing old spirituals I never heard or even knew prior to that moment, and those spirituals turned into songs of a native tongue we had not knew before either and I began to see the obvious discomfort of the Guide or teacher whose presentation and group was being disturbed and taken over… The school lobby we were standing in started to dissolve like dirt wiped away by water, and I was no longer in a group of people of a modern time listening to some woman describe she read about I was instead in a compound of "captives" and running with a group away from some impending doom. I saw people living in squander, people just like me. I saw people quickly marking territories amongst themselves with invisible lines in the dirt, in fear of being ripped away form a home they would never see again and gathering their own people as close as they could to preserve a feeling of home or familiarity in this strange new land. They held fast to those who spoke their language and might be from a region they lived close too. They saw themselves as different than there neighbor who with obvious similarities in perhaps countenance and or spirituality was still a "stranger". I was taken to a place where white missionaries instructed the captives on how to praise and act with in a "church" setting and get beat for dancing too enthusiastically. I saw drums and gourds which would normally be played by us for almost every important circumstance tossed into a pile and burned as we were told we have no use of such primitive instruments. I was taken to a small would-be apartment I would coin a "slum" where young women of various ages were fighting off disease and or the after effects of having their body used beyond that which can be taken in an intimate manner, their choices stripped from them and their body used against them as they relinquished control to those that were in a position to take.. I saw amongst them glowing figures in white, head ties and gels wraps, white garbs and walking sticks tending to them, healing, trying to reach out to them some how… and I knew these were the old Gods… these were the present energies of the people that in strife were abandoned and yet they sought to help whether or not they were recognized for it or called upon anymore… I awoke and I could not believe I just had such a vivid dream, why this I asked myself? What meaning? I can't help but wonder was it a call to reach out to the community and tell them to not be fooled about what was instructed, circumstance does not define you or re-define you… The old ways and deities, never left you and calling them new things like Jesus or Holy Ghost was but a way to access them but there were other ways.. they are still tending to you and around you. That the invisible lines drawn in the sand to preserve who and what you were was a defense mechanism that pushed others like yourself away in place where you were all viewed the same? Perhaps, history was being told in such a way as to wash and water down the actuality that would perhaps lead you to understand the struggles still present in a land and system set up not for you or your descendants? Im going to sit and meditate with this dream and hope to see people together, recognizing the past and using it as fuel to push and move forward.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eggun/Ancestor Testimony

I cannot help but wonder if Oya Iyansan (iyasoron) aka mother of nine, in her breif embrace decided to bring the most necessary changes and I long awaited. Its not that I am unmotivated, but more that I cannot formulate a proper plan as to where to start and in which direction. I have many things I want to do, know, experience, find, attain ect... the list will go on because with growth things will change and new hungers may arise while others fade.
I attended a drumming with an amazing group of people of the Ile Ifabemi whom I call family to some degree as I see in them exactly what I hope to encounter in my spiritual community. This weekend past they had played a drumming of praise and honor to Oya.
Oya whose name means "to rip and to tear". This refers to her twisting, tearing and braiding of textiles and weaving on a specific loom, yet it also refers to her ability to unearth even the roots of mighty trees to either make way for new life or to bring to the surface that which needs to reach there. She is also called Iyaloja, "mother of the market" in which she represents the exchange of commerce, or position in the market place. From consumer to owner, transition in all areas of life. Our first breath of life outside of the water filled womb and our last exhaled breath as we pass to the realm of the spirits.
She is associated with Eggun, nine specifically believed to be Abiku and her children.(Abiku-spirits sent to incarnate as children sent for a short stint on earth/aye) Eggun or Spirits of the deceased family who walked this earth breifly or breathed the this air if only for a bit. She connects us to our ancestry by way of knowing their presence and accepting them following us for our aid and guidance. We acknowledge that from whence we came so we have a hopeful idea as to where we are going.
Well for years I have not known who to talk to about my Grandparents origins since the stories vary and range from all over the place. I got bits and pieces and regretted not being old enough or mature enough to ask more of my Grandparents origins,history, and experiences. They have passed excpet one Grand father on my mothers side and I am not sure I can trust too much of what he says at this point in his age.
So this morning a woman I consult for occassionally contacts me, askign me my blessing for her and her family which of course I give. We start talking geneology out of the blue and out of no where she ask me a name o two and has given me information regarding my great grandparents I didnt know. She procedds to tell me of no charge, since its her hobby, she will research for me some things to aid in my knowledge of my family origin and roots.
I cannot help but thing this was a much needed change in my life. Something unearthed for my benefit. Maferefun Oya/Praise Oya.
Then me and my partner last night sit down and have a couple of hours worth of conversation much needed and different than are usual banter. We came up with a plan in which to better organize our things and reap the benefits of a surplus.
All this after one weekend of dedication and praise and I never asked for this so its beautiful to know your unspoken wishes and prayers are still heard and granted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It has certainly been a while

I am living life the best way I know how. Going with the flow. Its hard sometimes, as debris and obstacles make themselves ever so present. Although I may get dammed up sometimes and tension builds, I know that the current of my hopes and faith keep me going and I just simply have to change my course and flow another way either over and through my obstacles or around them. I am learning more and more to be like the river, I am of the river.
The continuous learning process of life is never ending, and destiny has called me to a tradition that has way too much to learn. I am simply doing my personal best to learn all I can in order to help teach, heal, share, pass on, and preserve. The dangers of the trans Atlantic slave/ Maffa and that oppressive force is still present just in an even more dangerous way. Ignorance and misconceptions surround our very practice and even our minds, to those that are and are not priest. I walk a fine line, thin and narrow road and I have to stay focused and determined to see that my destiny is completed. That I answer the call.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My poem to my mother

Regal coco Queen
As you sit atop the drum
Rhythmic beats in time with the earths rotation
Reminiscent of the sun
You bring me back with the gyrating swivel in your hips
The taste of sweet honey in the plumpness of your lips
Your voice is power, your essence wise
Mother Afrika adorns you never to be disguised
Proud and Beautiful the river runs deep
Flows from ancestors past to futures dawn
Many ideas, art forms appear as fishes spawn
Responsible for knowledge intuition in its raw
we all praise the mother, for this is what we were birthed for.
Yellow and Gold's as you reflect our joy
Blessed are your children every girl and every boy
Bells ring and resonate in your laughter
As you descend upon us smiling from your heavenly rafters
I ask you to deny me bitterness that I may emulate your ways
That I may be calm, cool, collect and always the right things say
Reflective is your presence as I look deep inside
In your arms, my head to your breast my heart confesses and confides
Grateful to be your vessel and your loving son
Always open to learn and work until my time here is done.