What I wanted to ramble about in my previous post had to do specifically with my spirituality. I have been giving this much thought this year, a year that I feel is one of changes. I have been inspecting my foundations and tearing down adopted notions, ideas that have been planted inside culturally, socially and heavily influenced by family and environment. I have been trying to formulate a way out of the maze of adopted ideas, trying to find, as many around the pagan community call, my authentic voice and self.
This journey has been a long time coming, building up with disappointments and restlessness. One thing that I have found has really ignited and propelled this transformation is literature. I wanted to share a couple of the pieces that have inspired me.
A wee child toddler in a wonder world, I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan. -Zitkala Sa “Why I am a Pagan”
I read Zitkala Sa’s essay a few years ago, but I still remember the impact it had on me then, this essay helped me contextualize my feelings as I was departing from, what for me was, a stale tradition.
As I move away from my upbringing I am slowly coming into my own, forging and shaping my spirituality, the tenets of what my practice will be and its roots. A big precursor to this was Ishmael Reed and his explosive books.
Loop Garoo began his tailor made micro-Hoo-Doo mass to end 2000 years of bad news in a Bagi he had built in the corner of the cave. Taking a pinch of maize flour from a plate Loop began to draw on the floor in front of the altars various symbols associated with the Loa he wanted to call. Loop began to shake a rattle slowly.
I the Father which wert in heaven conjure and command thee O Legba master of the crossroads to connect this cowboy’s circuit to Guinea and summon forth: Cousin Zaka who will parch their fields and slaughter their livestock and make their herd winding up the Chisholm stumble into a Twilight Zone O Judas Iscariot who ratted on the Ghoul give me the treachery to turn this town upside down and spill evil from all of its pockets O Doc John, Doc Yah Yah and Zozo Labrique Marie Laveau the Grand Improvisors if I am not performing these rites correctly send the Loa anyway and allow my imagination to fill the gaps O Black Hawk American Indian houngan of Hoo-Doo please do open up some of these prissy orthodox minds so that they will no longer call Black People’s American experience “corrupt” “perverse” and “decadent.” Etta James, Johnny Ace and Bojangle tapdancing is just as beautiful as anything that happened anywhere else in the world. Teach them that anywhere people go they have experience and that all experience is art. -Ishmael Reed, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down
Now, I am not going to get into an exegesis on Reed’s work, I just wanted to somewhat highlight the spirit, the essence that ignited this journey I embarked on a couple years ago. I wanted to share and also document the fire that drove me and continues to drive me, to innovate, to create something that is wholly my own, that I have internalized and that I am capable, as a consequence, of making external, of manifesting this creative drive. The K-rune comes to mind immediately, controlled fire, creation under the guide of ‘man’. There are many more works that I want to share on here but I would probably bore you, reader, with an endless post. Instead, I will share them little by little, and if by doing this I inspire someone else out there to search, to embark on a creative journey of discovery, then blessed be.