Saturday, May 09, 2009

Honoring the Women Babaylans in my life:

Apu Sinang, Lola Dikang, my grandmothers
Esperanza Luna, my mother
The ones who became before them but our genealogical map renders them nameless.
I honor you.

A shaman/babaylan is:
-- spiritual and cognitive epistemological mediator. shamans-to-be encounter raw glimpses of something numinous and demanding, some threat or promise in their own landscape of dreams. shamans not only read but write society. they collapse categories and rebuild aiming for controlled rebirth to effect social cures. in order to bring this power home to her people, she must become part of their mythology, also known as crazy wisdom. the shaman cures his people by takimg them out of themselves making her ecstasy contagious, initiating her people into a changed state. gives people a handle for the numinous. shamans are people with the strength to become vulnerable, the will to impose form, the wit to translate their treasure into an understable dream. (Mary Schmidt).

Two paths of shamanism: warrior and adventurer
Acc to Serge King, the Hawaiian/Pacific Islander shaman takes the way of the adventurer. this shaman--
--seeks adventure; develops hyperawareness; goal-oriented self-discipline; cultivates friendship and unity; practices of survival and exploring skills; emphasizes ethic of love and being loved; desires enjoyment and peace. as healer, influences others to change their beliefs and bring about desired results. is a strong lucid dreamer. often shifts to inward focus.

The women babaylans in my life lived these theoretical descriptions of what shamans do. I am drawn to these articulations now because my life has been shaped and influenced by these women. I owe them a debt of gratitude. I must pay forward.

To do my soul's bidding to honor the women babaylans in my life, I am committed to the Center of Babaylan Studies' vision and goal of having a babaylan conference/gathering next year. This dream that was born during the Kapwa 2 conference in Iloilo in 2008, wants to be the vehicle of 'paying forward' the legacy of our babaylan ancestors.

In the Western context, the psychological, philosophical, ethhical elaborations which would make shamanism relevant to people today do not exist in accessible ways...need to weave together elements of earth philosophies (shamanism) with sky philosophy (buddhism, which emphasizes the mind)...the shaman must guard, transmit, cultivate changes in the culture's inherent mythology. shamans are repositories of knowledges of the culture's history, both secular and saved. (Joan Halifax).

The knowledge that has been passed on to me from my babaylan ancestors lives in my body. The work that needs to be done is to make the body talk in a language of its own.

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