Grow the Tree Within the Machine

 

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“The Fifth Sacred Thing” by Android Jones

 

I returned home to the United States a little over two weeks ago after a 6-week journey down in the Peruvian Amazon.  It was an incredibly beautiful, difficult, and profound trip, from which I returned home renewed in mind, body, and spirit.  I now stand in deep gratitude for that fortification as this past stretch of weeks have proven to be a true challenge to and invocation of all that I acquired and practiced and developed in my time in the jungle.

I flew into NYC on the evening of November 8th to find, much to my shock and horror, that no, we would not, after 240 years, finally be electing a woman to the highest office of the land, but instead, a man with no true leadership qualities or experience whose image embodies the very worst of our people and nation: greed, arrogance, pride, hatred, fear, racism, sexism, ignorance, cruelty, disconnection from Earth, and self-centered self-obsession… namely the main characteristics of capitalism and patriarchy.

Every day since, I have tried to sit here and write something in response.  Something that could clearly articulate and express the deep emotions swelling inside me, and the countless clarities about my self and my people and my nation that have been firing off inside my mind and heart.  Something that could show solidarity with all those in deep grieving, comfort for those in fear, information for those that are confused, guidance for those enraged, understanding for those that do not understand such strong reactions to the election results, and inspiration for all of those wondering where to go from here.  Basically I wanted to write what I really wanted to hear.  But that call has proven far too big a task.  For since the night I arrived home, we have been bombarded with atrociously clear reflections of the truth of who we are as a nation and people, from a swift rise and expansion of openly expressed hatred, white supremacy, and misogyny, to the perpetuation of the deepest American shame and disease being illuminated through the courageous action of the indigenous movement of water protectors at the Standing Rock pipeline blockade and the violent and inhuman treatment of them by the government and the oil companies (as if they are separate entities).

There is a part of me that for some time now has been scrambling to desperately hold onto some sense of “nice, calm, agreeably spiritual voice of wisdom,” but as I lay in bed unable to sleep on election night, I felt that part of me shriveling away and a part of myself that I have been both calling forth, and also hiding from, finally awakening.  This part of me is not calm.  Not nice and sweet and palatable.  This part of me is the radical revolutionary, the spiritual warrior wielding Saint Michael’s flaming blue sword, and he is enraged, standing on a precipice, thunder coursing through his nervous system, screaming at the top of his lungs,

“WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE WE DOING?!”

How naive and blind have we been?  How comfortable in some kind of safe bubble?  The sheer fact that so many of us were shocked by Donald Trump’s election is incredibly informative. Where have we been?  What country have we been living in?  How lulled into comfortable, safe complacency and ignorance we have been by our privilege that we have been able to so greatly underestimate the power and pervasiveness of fear-bred hatred and spiritual heart disease in our nation.  Those of us that met the election with shock have some deep soul-searching to do about how out-of-tune we have been to the deep cries from our indigenous brothers and sisters and our brothers and sisters of color for centuries as they have been trampled and killed and decimated and disenfranchised, and as the Earth has been mined and poisoned and stolen and ravaged. How out-of-tune have we been with women, our sisters and mothers and daughters, as they have been raped and abused and dominated and dismissed?  For they have all been screaming out warnings to us about these poisons running through the underbelly of our culture for ages, and if we had been really listening, not only would a figure that symbolizes what Donald Trump does not win the election, but the circumstances that made it possible would have been remedied long ago.

It is no longer the time for nice, quiet dialogue.  There is a war raging on this land, and it is time to WAKE UP MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

RISE UP, MOBILIZE, UNIFY, and face the beast of Empire head on.

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“The Beast” by Android Jones

 

Actually, no.  Let me correct myself.  A thousand yesterdays were the time for that.  There have been people on the front lines doing just that: looking the beast in the eye and refusing to yield, ever since it first reared its head ages ago.  These are whose cries and calls and pleadings for back up and reinforcements and allies to join them we have been too deaf to hear.  But it is sure as hell better late than never, and we had all better open our eyes and ears and hearts and stop waiting or hiding or shying away from the fight for peace, people, and planet, because it is more urgent and emergent and essential than ever before, and that urgency only grows.

This is not a battle that can be won without each of us that hear the call abandoning our old selfish ways of being and standing up with courage and conviction to answer it.

Rage alone cannot heal anything, and unchanneled or unexpressed, it only wreaks more havoc and destruction.  But it cannot be ignored.  It must be touched and opened and felt and expressed in order to harness it and use it to create something potent and powerful.  Otherwise it festers and depletes and poisons our system.  The morning after the election, I felt the clear call to go to the forest and scream.  A deep, primal, bellowing scream of rage and sorrow for the thousands of years of devastation upon the Earth and humanity.  I did not yield to that call, and the other night, as I was dancing at a 5Rhythms class, a modality of dance used to embody and express our inner processes, I realized that that call was not a desire.  It was a deep need, an instruction straight from my soul.  And in order for me to have access to the sheer raw power being offered to me in these times, I must listen.  And so I will.  I will find the forest to hold my screams, and I will release them, and then I will take their medicine and transform it into songs and words and actions that can serve.

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Cover art for Starhawk’s “City of Refuge,” painted by Jessica Perlstein

This is what is being called for, requested, and demanded at this time.  All creatives, artists, rebels, witches, medicine people, revolutionaries, change-makers: this is our call to action.  This is our call to cast off our complacency and comfort and dare to create with bold courage and passion.

“…I knew this was coming, and I wanted more time to prepare, and to look away and be comforted through distraction and the promise of change without struggle. There is no more looking away, the time is now, the responsibility to not collapse foregrounded above all else… We are the descendants of all those who faced this in their own times. Just as they reached out, pulled together, wove more resiliently, so shall we.  Where there is fear there is power, and it is our magical birthright to step into this fear and transform it into creative response. From Empire culture to earth cultures, we grow the tree within the machine.” -Rain Crowe

It is time to join the army of liberation that is storming the gates, and to do so with inexhaustible might.  Violence can only beget more violence, and the beast does not reside in one man or building or city or nation, but instead within the heart of each of the Empire’s children.  Meaning all of us.  So we must transcend the old ways of waging war, in which what we resist persists, and our weapons must be weapons of song and poem and word and prayer and bodies marching together in infallible strength and holy peace.  Empire/Dominator Civilization is an energy of that we must first root out in our own selves, for it is only in the doing of this that the wisdom and guidance of to how to root it out in the rest of the world can be granted.

 

We must now follow in the footsteps of the ancestors of all people:

Pray for the resiliency to walk through these dark times, together, and cultivate and protect the sacred seeds: the seeds of generations yet to come, the seeds of the plants that will nourish them, the water which is the very seed of Life itself, and the seeds of freedom, beauty, justice, harmony, love, and peace, which they will inherit and plant deeply into the Earth.

Now is our time on Earth to spread these seeds with every step and breath our life force allows, for we will continue to reap what we sow, and the seeds of Empire have borne rotten fruit.
It is time for beauty to reign.
May our prayers and dreams and visions of a free world survive the passage through time carried in the blood to our future generations.

 

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“The Fifth Sacred Thing” by dreamnectar

 

 

 

The Grandmothers Are Gathering

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For 13 years now, the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers has been holding, carrying, and walking behind a prophetic prayer for humanity and for the next seven generations that will walk upon the Earth.

At the end of this month, they are gathering to complete their work where they first came together to create it in 2004: the Menla Retreat Center in the Catskill mountains, the original land of the Iroquois Confederacy.

On the surface, this gathering is a healing retreat; below the surface, it is the fulfillment of a prophecy.

These women are midwives of a new time for Earth and her people.

They have answered a call to unify our species, across continents and cultures and colors and creeds,

to heal our people and planet so that peace may reign.

 

We have been so very ill.

For the countless generations now

we have been plundering the Earth

the animal kingdom

plant kingdom

insect kingdom

and our own kingdom.

We have been plundering our elders and our children.

We have been desecrating our bodies

these original temples of the sacred

our minds

these magnificent tools of creation

and the world around us

our home

our refuge

our Mother.

We have been asleep to compassion

and to peace

and our grandmothers have been watching.

 

Our grandmothers have been praying

working

protecting

loving.

 

They have been enraged

grieving

weeping

mourning.

 

And they have been remembering.

They have held the power of their wisdom and wombs, and they have remained standing in the face of it all.

The prayer of their hearts has been kept alive.

 

The International Council of 13 Indignenous Grandmothers has acknowledged that we are now approaching a precipice, and that this is the time to unleash that prayer and power.

At the pinnacle of our ignorance and division and greed and sickness,

we can see our unwellness reflected in our minds, bodies, partnerships, families, communities, nations, and civilization as a whole.

Women of this planet, it is you who are the ones that carry life within the waters of your wombs.

It is you who are the walking, talking, breathing avatars of the planet herself

and it is you who are the ultimate healers of our people.

As this council comes together for their last time in this official capacity,

we are invited to witness these women manifesting myth within the physical plane.

This work is a beacon of Light

a revelation beyond hope

that shows us the abundance of transformational healing energies that are available to human beings at this time.

We are now sick and suffering enough to be humble

and being humble is the fundamental requirement to receive.

 

These grandmothers, and all the women they represent, have carried this prayer and this work as an incredibly powerful offering of service.

They do not carry it only for their own lives

as they do not have many years left here

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Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance

and in fact, one of them, Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance of the Oglala Lakota Nation,

passed through death into the realms beyond earlier this year.

They are carrying this for us,

those of us that will remain here beyond their bodies.

And they are carrying it for those that have yet to come

those that are coming in through the watery gate between heaven and earth.

 

As our grandmothers gather to lay down their prayer upon the Earth

we are called to receive it.

We are called to hold it within our own hearts and minds

to carry it forth with our own bodies

with our own actions

with our own words

with our own work.

 

They have done their part in the fulfillment of the prophecy of peace on Earth;

it is now our turn to do ours.

 

All are invited, welcome, and encouraged to join us for this gathering, and you will find details of how to do that below.

But for those that cannot join in person

you, too, are needed.

You are needed to receive the prayer

the medicine

the blessings of these women.

The prayer, medicine, and blessings of their mothers and grandmothers,

of every one of our mothers and grandmothers

all the way up our bloodlines

our lineages

right to the origin place

the one well from which we have all come forth.

 

I invite and encourage all to build an altar within your homes that can serve as a portal of reception.

 

Build this altar

and then listen

and hear.

Hear the prayers for our healing

the medicine songs

and the very voice and breathe of the Earth herself.

Sit before this altar and pray prayers of thanksgiving for these women

for all womankind

these creatures that no matter what we have done to them over the course of the patriarchy

have continually welcomed us back home

cleaned us off

and nourished us

in the greatest human example of unconditional love and forgiveness.

These beings that God has sent forth to our people to carry a higher vision of humanity

a vision that speaks and lives the truths of balance

harmony

justice

beauty

and love.

 

Yes, our grandmothers and their grandmothers and their grandmothers before them have done their part.

Let us come together to say YES to doing ours

not only with words

but with the very essence of our daily lives.

May we do this for our own lives

for the life of our ancestors that dreamt us into existence

for the life of our brothers and sisters of all species and kinds that walk the Earth with us

and for those that will inherit the world we leave behind.

We say YES by making our homes an altar

and our lives a prayer

that will heal our bodies and minds

and strengthen our families and communities

and unify our nations

in order to heal our waters

heal our soils

heal our air

and heal the very beating heart at the center of Life that has continued to carry us through.

 

Here, now,we say YES.

And thank you.

 

Aho.

 

-Natavi Orion

Tribe of Dreams

www.tribeofdreams.com

Grandson of Agnes Brzezniak Kozicz and Margaret Elin O’Donnell DeSantis

Great Grandson of Phoebe Peggy Cole DeSantis and Margaret Rouleau O’Donnell

And all those whose names I do not know but are written in the codes of my DNA

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Alliance Statement of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:

October 13, 2004

We are thirteen indigenous grandmothers who came together for the first time from October 11 through October 17, 2004, in Phoenicia, New York. We gathered from the four directions in the land of the people of the Iroquois Confederacy. We come here from the Amazon rainforest, the Alaskan Tundra of North America, the great forest of the American northwest, the vast plains of North America, the highlands of central America, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the mountains of Oaxaca, the desert of the American southwest, the mountains of Tibet and Nepal and from the rainforest of Central Africa.

Affirming our relations with traditional medicine peoples and communities throughout the world, we have been brought together by a common vision to form a new global alliance.

We are the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.

We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth, the contamination of our air, waters and soil, the atrocities of war, the global scourge of poverty, the threat of nuclear weapons and waste, the prevailing culture of materialism, the epidemics which threaten the health of the Earth’s peoples, the exploitation of indigenous medicines, and with the destruction of indigenous ways of life.

We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking and healing are vitally needed today. We come together to nurture, educate and train our children. We come together to uphold the practice of our ceremonies and affirm the right to use our plant medicines free of legal restriction. We come together to protect the lands where our peoples live and upon which our cultures depend, to safeguard the collective heritage of traditional medicines, and to defend the earth Herself. We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.

We join with all those who honor the Creator, and to all who work and pray for our children, for world peace, and for the healing of our Mother Earth.

For all our relations.

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Aama Bombo – Tamang, Nepal
Agnes Pilgrim – Takelma Siletz
Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance – Oglala Lakota
Bernadette Rebienot – Omyene
Clara Shinobu Iura – Brazil
Julieta Casimiro – Mazatec
Margaret Behan – Cheyenne-Arapaho
Flordemayo – Mayan
Maria Alice Campos Freire – Brazil
Mona Polacca – Hopi/ Havasupai/Tewa
Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance – Oglala Lakota
Rita Pitka Blumenstein – Yup’ik
Tsering Dolma Gyaltong – Tibetan

http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org

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CLICK HERE for Event Info for Creation to Completion: A Healing Retreat

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There  are only 2 days left to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign that is making this gathering possible, and we need to raise $5000 more!  Can you help?

Click HERE to contribute!

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SW Utah: Family, Liberation, 3D Printing, Desert Gardens, Music, Goddess Isis & More!

I left Southwestern Utah yesterday after 3 days and nights full of love, beauty, and re-connection, and I am feeling grateful and inspired.

Bonnie & Carlyle, followers and warriors of LOVE

Bonnie & Carlyle, heart followers & warriors of LOVE

I got to St. George, UT on Saturday evening where I was hosted by two stellar tribesfolk, Bonnie and Carlyle.  I met these two beautiful humans through two of their 5 children, Katy and Nickolas, who I worked with when I lived in New York.  They are a big family with a deeply moving story.  I will one day have them tell their story themselves in detail, but the cliff notes version is that Bonnie and Carlyle were both raised in the Mormon church and did their best to be very devoted to their faith and community.  When their eldest son came out of the closet, everything changed for them.  After very brief initial response of wanting to fix him, reflecting their long-held church programming, it was quickly revealed to them that this was not only be fruitless, but also very wrong.  Their love of their child, their empathy with his struggle, their trust in him and in their hearts, quickly turned them from trying to change him to learning to cherish him in an even deeper way than they had before, going against a lifetime of conditioning telling them to do the opposite and going with LOVE.  Being a Mormon is not just something you practice once a week but rather is a complete way of life and complete community, and so the family tried to stay in the church AND reconcile their love and acceptance of their gay son.  This could only last so long… 3 years to be precise.  For those 3 years, they struggled to stay within the community in which they had been so completely a part of, and they struggled to maintain strong relationships with those they had considered close friends and family while doing so.  When California was going through the Prop 8 political battle on whether or not gay marriage was constitutional, the Mormon church inserted itself into the battle, picking up against gay marriage and instructing its members to do the same.  This was the tipping point for Bonnie and Carlyle.  As a father with fierce love for his son, he went to the elders and appealed them to reconsider what they were doing and embrace that it was time for change.  They told him, “You must choose between the prophet and your son.”

“Thank you.  You just made this very easy.”

Bonnie, Carlyle, and their 5 children ended their relationship with the Mormon church.

That was about 7 years ago, and when you hear them tell this story, it moves you to tears, expands your heart, and inspires you to be more courageous in living your purpose.  They talk of love being the ultimate truth and message from the Divine.  They talk of family being the strongest expression of love.  They talk of their liberation from the conditioning they had imposed upon them from childhood, and of what it has been like to explore the world for themselves, and develop their own perspectives and opinions, and to do so allowing their hearts to guide them.  It was not a road without pain or challenge, as in many ways it was a walking away from mostly everything and everyone they knew, but they are shining examples of what happens when we step outside of our comfort zone, outside of the life that has been prepared for us: we find truth, we find deeper love than we could have imagined, we find God, we find ourselves.

So I spent two days with them, talking about vibrational healing, consciousness, spiritually, civilization, wellness, music, art, plant medicine, and family.  Their friend Daniel, who I have come to know as a friend of mine as well, came over for dinner one night and the depths of these conversations went further.  Daniel was raised Mormon too, but at a very young age found himself in total non-resonance with their teachings, and as he discovered his own ‘condemned’ sexuality, he forged a new life for himself in which he could know peace in his heart and with who he is.  This led him to build the World Peace Gardens, whose mission statement reads:

“World Peace Gardens is about creating new levels of community and peace throughout the world.  This is accomplished through the creation of artistically designed gathering places that represent a new vision for humanity. These sites bring people together through gatherings and events which celebrate the uniqueness of the individual and the oneness of all things.”

They gather every Sunday in St. George, UT with different performers and speakers on a very diverse range of subjects and ideas, all somehow woven together with the intention of peace and unity on earth.  This community became a very important space for Bonnie & Carlyle as they transitioned out of the Mormon church, and they connected me with Daniel and the WPG on my first year on the road.

Click here to learn more: World Peace Gardens

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

I left St. George on Monday and headed to see Charlotte and John in La Verkin, UT, two tribesfolk that have made previous cameos on the Tribe blogs, often sharing with us their ever-expanding garden teeming with life out here in the desert.  (see Charlotte give a tour of her garden last June: A Garden Grows in the Desert  )  This year was no different.  The garden has not surprisingly expanded and is starting to border on mini-farm status with the addition of a fish pond and chicken coop, home to 14 chickens!  There is also a 10 foot sunflower that chose to take over the bean teepee and now stands guard over the whole place.  John and Charlotte have helped create such a magical little spot in the middle of their town that provides not only me and their other friends with an abundant place to stop, rest, and be nourished, but also an oasis that intrigues, inspires and uplifts their neighbors and passerbys every day.

Garden goddess Charlotte giving Source/Water to the land

The chicken tribe!

Fish pond!

Fish pond!

Sign in the chicken coop

Sign in the chicken coop

Sunflower Guardian

Sunflower Guardian

John's 3D printer, printing peace

John’s 3D printer, printing peace

Their friend Amber joined us that evening with her two daugthers, Sierra and Isis, as did their friend Kevin that has lived by choice off-the-grid in a tent up a canyon for the past 8 years.  Earth rich, not dirt poor.  Charlotte cooked dinner while John was running the 3D printer he built himself, creating peace sign pendants for each of the guests with completely recycled material.  This technology is getting more and more efficient, more and more accessible, and is not-so-slowly changing our whole economy, putting production in the hands of the people, contributing to our transformation away from such consumers and back into creators.  This is John’s passion, as he is a board member on a group in St. George working to create a Makerspace, which is exactly what it sounds like: a communal space that is accessible and equipped for people to come in and make their own goods, products, and crafts.  (Maker Space)

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Music is medicine

After dinner, we gathered in the living room and 5-year old Isis asked me if I would sing her a song.  Well, it doesn’t take much, and our evening soon turned into a serenade/jam session, John busting out his percussion skills on the empty water-jug cajon.  Charlotte sang along while Isis went from listening quietly to dancing and channeling her inner Egyptian goddess with poses and even shadow-art of the winged goddess herself.  Before Amber and her girls left for the evening, Isis even got on the guitar herself, strumming and plucking the strings and humming gently over them about a princess in the desert.

The Goddess Isis

The Goddess Isis

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All of these moments, these experiences, are pearls and priceless gems on this necklace of the Tribe of Dreams.  These moments show me more and  more about hospitality and generosity and how we each can be enlivened and excited by coming together in community in whatever ways we can.  These moments inspire me to make new music with higher and higher resonance and vibration, and continue to teach me how to use music in deeper and more diverse ways.  And these moments refresh my dreams and open my heart, reflecting back to me just how much beauty and love there is right here, right now, and we only have to say yes and thank you to experience them, and to perpetuate them.

***To learn more about my journey across the country, and to help me complete it in exchange for digital and/or CD copies of my debut studio album, “First Day,” as well as personally dedicated youtube videos with covers of songs of your choosing, please click here:

Blessings to all beings everywhere!  Be good to yourselves and each other.

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