Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More tattoos! and this is my name in alibata (nice find!).

(As I read Haunani Kay Trask's Eros and Power, I am again reminded that this work is collective. Thank you to those of you who have already backchanneled and sent your well-wishes for the birth of this child (babaylan book) in response to the email below. Salamat!)

Dear ones -
Thank you again for your manuscripts for the babaylan book. As I began to read your essays, I was overcome with emotion and wrote this in my blog:

I started crying last night as I looked at the babaylan manuscripts.
This is powerful work. I don’t know that I can do this.
Why did I have the audacity to think that I can do this?

I had it all figured out: the theoretical framework, the scaffold needed to
privilegeIndigenous Filipino theorizing.
But this is shamanism! This is not theorizing!
This is not mere intellectual work! Where is your Body?
Shamanic work always begins in the Body.

I've had conversations with some of you about my Dad's death and all that has come up for me this summer. I sense that this is all well and good and necessary; I welcome it. I also realize that I do not want to be alone.

Grace, our urban babaylan from Hawaii, has suggested this in her email:

But perhaps, maybe it will take collective ritual on the part of all of us who are book contributors. What do you think if maybe we do a simple ceremony for the book project in our respective locales every time when nanay buwan/apo bulan is full? Or when the moon is new? Maybe it is a prayer you can give us. Maybe it is a vision that you provide that we place on our altars that we help hold together until the entire books is complete? There are some other out there things like sex magic, too. Like dedicating an orgasm and the creative energy the orgasm raises to the book project. (Maybe your eyebrow is raised, but I hope you don't think I am crazy for suggesting it. At best, why not create a little pleasure and pukengkeng liberation from this, too?)

Anyway, maybe you have done any of the above privately already; but, perhaps (re)starting from any one of these places as a collective of contributors, will provide the intention and healing that is needed? And it will support a building of energy.

As I write this, I am lighting a green candle for you that sits on my desk next to the goddess Kwan Yin. Around them, I place the two snake bone head dresses given to me by my Kankanay aunties which are traditionally worn as protection during childbirth and to protect from lightning. The snake, ofcourse, representing the feminine knowledge and Kundalini power that we allow ourselves now to engage.

I am also offering gratitude for your courage and your willingness to do the heavy thinking, uplifting, and groundbreaking so that we could connect. I am honored to travel this part of the inner terrain with you, next to you and with the other contributors. I send you also love and deep aloha- maraming salamat- Grace

As I now think about this book in terms of shamanic work and not just an academic project, I feel scared, humbled, excited, powerful - all at once. I also realize that many of you have done more in depth work than I may have in this process. So I invite your energetic support for this project - in whatever form it may take, please let us know. Thank you for the babaylan-inspired sisterhood.

Lily and I plan to get together in early August to workshop the book. We still do not have a publisher and a book designer but we're still a long ways from having a final manuscript.

In the meantime the first print run of A Book of Her Own: Words and Images to Honor the Babaylan is almost sold out. I plan to look into getting it published in the Philippines. Let me know if you have any ideas.


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