Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 - first books of the year:

What Color is the Sacred? by Michael Taussig
Apollo's Fire by Michael Sims
The Biology of Transcendence by Joseph Chilton Pearce
The Cosmic Serpent by Jerome Narby (I've read this but will re-read).

how does a book find you?

plus: brown belt sudoku!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Venus Herbito's new video project for the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. This is part 2. Start with part 1.

I hope it encourages you to embrace and seek Filipino traditional knowledge...
More news: We are on the final phase of book production for Reclaiming the Now: The Babaylan Is Us published by Ateneo de Davao University Research and Publication Office. Watch for the book launch at the Babaylan Conference.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

james cameron's avatar...

go ahead and enjoy the magic of Pandora.
the luminous world of the Na'vi
their animist and shamanic connections
to the tree of life and their deity, Eywa.

go ahead and enjoy the magic of special effects.
of computer technology. of science.

go ahead and be mesmerized by fantasy images.

go ahead and fall in love with the natives.

go ahead and hate the colonizers.

go ahead and root for the lovers.

after all these, open your eyes to the narrative.

i did.
and i found myself getting bored with the cliched
plot: colonizing, waging war over resources, getting the 'savages' out of the way, a hero who falls in love with the chief's daughter who saves her people against his own, etc.

the magic quickly faded for me. in the end the magic of technology couldn't save the story for me.

give me a Miyazaki film anytime.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

where did 2009 go? all of a sudden it's year's end and Obama has been in office for a year.
and what does he have to show for it except more war talk? even if nuanced a bit more, this is really disappointing.

well, if james lovelock is right, it doesn't matter. in his latest book, The VAnishing Face of Gaia, he writes that there will only be one billion people in the world by the end of the century; the rest will have been wiped out. Lovelock thinks all the effort to deal with climate change is far too late and will no longer make a difference.

still, lovelock is making future plans. one of them is to go on a space flight with Richard Branson on the first Virgin galactic service. just because we are nearly doomed, doesn't mean we shouldn't still make plans.

despite the gloom, his eyes twinkle. why? "it's absolutely hubris to think we can save the planet."

i like this guy.

(from Ode Magazine)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

As soon as I was able to acknowledge that I am now old enough to be an elder, mentor, auntie or tita to many young people, I find that there is a glowing sense gratitude that goes along with this sense of responsibility and accountability.

Coming around to this realization took awhile.

When I was growing up in a Protestant household, we were given these messages:
Individuality and independence is good. You don't owe your parents anything because it is their responsibility to raise you as an individual. Respect them as your parents. Yet, of course, we were growing up Protestant amidst a culture of Kapwa.

In retrospect, this is what those ambivalent feelings about eldership are about.

Today, I have a poster in my office with these words: What kind of ancestor are you going to be?

This question is my daily nudge in my path to eldership. Kapwa is a good model for this.

Monday, December 07, 2009

If you have facebook, check this out!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Posted to the Babaylan Rising event volunteers...

Dear all -

It is past 1am and am still awake because of the warm and exhuberant energy of the evening. Tonight we raised quite a bit -- thanks to Felicia, Jennifer, Marisza, Holly, Baylan, Lizae, Trixie and San Jose State U students, Ingrid, Mylene, Jodie, Mel Orpilla and Sam, your partners, friends, and family. Thanks, too, to the donors of the auction items: Perla's mandala, Jennifer and her artist friends, Christine Balza, Holly, Dustin/Sloat Garden Ctr, and many more. Consul Ver also came briefly and shared the support of the Philippine Consulate for the conference - thanks to Baylan for this connection. Thanks also to the Filipino vegan caterer - No Worries -- for the delicious pancit and the other donors of our vegetarian spread.

I finally got to see the beautiful Dugso ritual. Baylan, Holly, Ingrid, and Jennifer -- Bai Liza will be proud of you! The water ritual by Lizae with the singing bowl is beautiful and the invocation of the seven elements was very moving. Together with the beautiful altar set up in the Talaandig tradition and with Bai Liza's permission -- it all came together. I felt the energy pulsing through. I love how we came back to the altar at the end to partake of the brown and white rice. And what was in that holy water -- it is aromatic and sweet!

Felicia and Jodie - thank you for your poetry. I know your Dad is happy to hear your words of gold, Felicia. Jodie -- am glad you are getting your spoken word out; the dance next time...move those hips. Felicia - we are so proud of Sebastian who relished his bird-man role. That was a brief but good and creative presentation of the creation myth and what made it really special is the participation of the youth - Sebastian, Trixie and her partner (sorry, i'm blanking on his name). Smart props!

Mel - it was good to point out that the warrior in the indigenous community worked alongside the babaylan in protecting the community. Thanks for showing off the tattoos, too, and sparring with Sam. Thank you for sharing the work that you do with youth as they seek indigenous ways of reconnecting to their roots.

Thank you to everyone who made bids on the silent auction items and those who won and came home with the goods. Perla, the beautiful mandala went to Luis, Jen's partner. The kalamansi tree went home with Lizae, the antique baskets went home with Marisza. I came home with Jen's "Peacock" line of beauty products that she made herself. Oh, there are so many other items that I would tell you more about later. (Or you could tell us your story of the evening, too. Please do!)

On this night there were so many events going on around the Bay Area and I thank all those who chose to spend the night with us. We didn't get a full list of attendees, pls help me compile the list by sending us the names of those who were present because you invited them.

Each one of you inspires me. I never thought I would live to see this day ...a beloved community of babaylan-inspired women and men, young and old, gay and straight, long-haired, short-haired -- coming together to honor our babaylan ancestors, reclaiming our indigenous spirituality, and sharing this with our community and beyond. We bear and bare the beautiful fruit of our decolonizing process as we reach out to our families and friends and tell them about the necessity of decolonization. Together we manifest our gifts of Kapwa, Pakikiramdam, Loob through our deepening connection to our inner selves and each other.

I am looking forward to the holy days/holidays with gratitude and appreciation for all of you, for all of us. We've only been together a few months and already I feel like I have been adopted into a clan of the wise and compassionate. May our tribe increase.

It's past 2am and I will write more tomorrow and I look forward to your sharing. Please post photos on facebook.

Love to you,

Thursday, December 03, 2009

after all the posts about death...i'm ready to take this on.

die to the lies that have been told...sold to us.

courage is born out of this willingness to die.

Death as Teacher

I've been waiting for the right moment when I could sit and meditate and write lucidly about this but that moment might never come so here I am taking a break at work to scribble something.

Ever since my experience with the death of Kalpna (Fulbright), my recovery and healing from the trauma of this event has been accompanied by an awareness of my own fear of dying. So I've been wanting to teach myself how to unlearn this fear by asking questions: what is the source of this fear? and what can I learn anew to undo it? This is the way I've dealt with all kinds of fears ever since I embarked on decolonizing myself. It seems that I can never get to the bottom of the master narratives that have colonized me. But this is where I need to go: get to the bottom. What could be more "bottom" than death itself?

Henezi McNoise, the Lakota who visited my class said that there is no Lakota word for death.We come home to the stars - that's what they say.

To embody what we believe in our intellect -- this is my difficulty. Part of the exercise is to identify all the master narratives of the culture about death and then deconstruct them. When my brother in law dying, I sang a Benediction that I still remember. The Lord Bless You and Keep You, the Lord lift his countenance upon you....i am weeping and singing from the groin but the lyrics are from the faith I've left behind. Have I really left it behind?

I am thankful for the little qi gong and yoga breathing that I practice because to clear the mind through breathing has been most beneficial for me. While my bro-in-law was dying, I was able to sing to him, hold his hand, talk to him, say goodbye to him. But at night it took me the longest time to fall asleep because I would be assaulted by fearful thoughts: what if I don't wake up tomorrow? what if i suffer a stroke here? ...and then I would remember to breathe, to send loving thoughts to my organs/body and then extending outward to the cosmos. After awhile my body would relax and sleep will come.

I try to practice journeying to my sacred garden and the tree of life in its midst. One day I was walking in downtown Santa Rosa and for the first time saw this ancient monkey pod tree that has always been there (of course) but I've not noticed prior. This time, I stopped and touched and lingered around it, feeling out its energy and the life within her. Ever since then I would invoke this image in my visualization and find that I am comforted.

But I cannot even begin to think of the massacre in Mindanao. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around acts of war. It is and it isn't comprehensible. And then I think of the people I know whose life work is with war refugees or mediation between warring factions in Mindanao -- how do they hold themselves together to be able to do this work? What do they hold on to? I think I know the answer to this and that is also where I need to go.

I need to go to the deep well of mystery. I need to learn to embrace the incomprehensible. I need to see beyond my physical body. I need to experience my other bodies -- the astral, the energetic, the spiritual. I think this is babaylan work...but I am not feeling sure-footed and perhaps that is alright.

Do I make sense?

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