Tag Archive for 'spells'

harriet is a north star

13 trips
70 people
no lost passengers
my people are free

19 trips
300 people
no lost passengers
my people are free

i can’t stop thinking about Harriet Tubman!

i think about all the resources she did not have at her disposal – grants, organizations, markers and post-its, masses, privilege, a copy machine, social media, social norms, a job that could be done with recognition and safety.

she did not have a perfect language with which to critique her oppressors, a quick way to travel, time to suffer fools.

she had a vision (my people are free), a theory of change (i will physically lead to freedom those who know they are slaves), a gift for adaptation (the underground railroad was about finding the next open space in a series of precarious moves across a deadly chess board) and her body.

1 raid
700 people
no lost passengers
my people are free

i have so many questions!

i wonder if she dealt with people who were made so heavy by their own sense of being victim that they could not take the first steps north.

i wonder what happened when she faced dissent, someone who questioned her leadership. if there were people who would follow her for a week and then say they’d found a better route, a better map in the sky.

when did she tell people about her episodes, her disability?

how did she trust each group of frightened strangers with her vulnerability and freedom?

did she ever feel imposter syndrome – ‘oh what do i know about the way to freedom, i’ve only been that way twice?’ if she ever wanted the recognition of the name Moses, if she just longed to do her work unseen.

how did she survive the heart betrayal of her husband, who found another wife while she was working on his freedom, who rejected her when she returned for him? who else did she love, who tasted her pleasure, who saw her private tears?

how did she know to sing as a strategy? how did she choose the song, the pace? how did she sound?

when the Civil War started, how did she decide to align her skills with spy work? and had she built relationships beyond her family and those she had freed, the relationships with armed white soldiers who said they were on her side? did she trust them?

13 trips
70 people
no lost passengers
my people are free

or 19 trips
300 people
no lost passengers
my people are free

freedom is the scale.

getting yourself to freedom, experiencing personal liberation, these are crucial acts, but not enough. we have to continue the risk, find the many ways to get each other free.

even when there is a price tag on our heads.

and it is not enough to know, in detail, how things are unfair. we have to know we are slaves, to see the evolving mechanisms of entrapment, to always keep one eye on the cage and one eye beyond it. we have to be able to show other people when the systems that fill the hours of their lives are stripping them of dignity and agency. we have to be impolite and disruptive. we have to move in the dark, quietly, listening for each other’s heartbeats, learning as we go.

we have to be willing to pull a revolver on those who, in their fear, would risk the lives and well being of everyone else. we have to be willing to say we will complete this journey to freedom, one way or another.

we have to give our lives to the future that comes through in our dreams. to talk directly to god, to listen directly. to be so much more than we’re told we should be, to be shocking, to be myth, leaving legacy.

8 years
so many trips, in the long winter nights
so many people, directly and indirectly
train ever on the tracks
no lost passengers
my people are free

Harriet guide me today
teach me generosity
adaptation and bravery
teach me the beauty of each small cluster
moving north, moving together,
moving towards liberation
teach me rigor
teach me humility
teach me to listen to the divine
directly, to let myself be well used
remind me that you did the work in hiding, in danger, hoping no one would know your name
teach me to sing when the way is clear
teach me to make freedom more compelling than the slow death of slavery
teach me to work alone and in interdependence that requires astonishing trust
break my heart in order to keep me moving
keep my mind set on freedom
remind me that all the time
and even now
my people are free

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spells for radicals

these are a collection of spells from radicals, generated in the spell casting workshop today at the allied media conference!

if you didn’t get it to me yet don’t fret, just send it along and i’ll add it. or if you want me to add your names, send them <3. enjoy and add on: IMG_5357

*

Console our childlike memories
Caress it’s hood, drink tea with the child
Repeat the emotion of lovemaking
Speak in love into our existence

*

we call on earth, ancestors and friends to hold us, to stand at our backs
give us ground and give us cover

nurture what we instinctively and lovingly knew as children

for the ground to hold people with privilege as we face the reality of the ancestral and active harms of racism and colonization, for a spark of possibility to push us into transformative action

share your pain, I’ll hold it with mine, release it towards ones that play with your power, a discomfort heered

Nah
Loreto
Carly
Erica

*

Clear the illusion and make space for love.
Clear the air surrounding our bodies, identifies, and broken pieces.
Together we will practice forgiveness in the service of creation
And accept uncertainty and all that it brings.

*

“a flickering light ignites the spark to our rebirth / growth pulsates as we tend to the fires at our center, / illuminating our way so that others are guided by / this ever-deepening love for our eternal liberation.”
— co-created with lucecita cruz, yvonne gail estolas, tara scott-miller + katherine tom

*

let us counter fear with radical love and generosity

healing our wombs with fierce care for ourselves

going beyond binaries, birthing the revolution

we follow the sun like sunflowers carrying our ancestors wisdom

*

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*

as the light dawns on you

when the wind disrupts your leaves
carelessly dropping your former fruits to the ground

be patient.

from the top of your crown
down to your sturdy roots
in the nourishing clarity of the earth

your branches are still growing.

peace, love and gratitude,
Quito, Ayshea, Clare, and Mary Joyce

*

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*

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*

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*

I am whole in all I bring
Smoke and water flowing things
Protection like a sacred skin
Letting go and letting in

*

some images:

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my body is a spell i’m casting

because this is an unfree world;
because it is sandra brand’s birthday;
because change is happening so quickly;
because i need armor;
because i have lived and loved these words for so long;
because i needed to feel a black queer woman make a mark on me;
because there is pain i can endure;
because the idea made me feel more of myself:

i got two tattoos, spells from ancestors in my lineage of liberation creativity, this evening.

on my right arm, camus says: the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

on my left arm, octavia says: all that you touch you change, all that you change changes you, the only lasting truth is change, god is change.

my body is a spell i’m casting towards everything i long for, towards being so absolutely free, towards being a divine and willing force of change that builds the absolute freedom of all beings – freedom from hatred, inferiority, violence, regression, stagnation and facism. freedom to cocreate a society worthy of a miraculous world, freedom to love and change the world always towards joy and interdependence. freedom to live days full of good news and togetherness. freedom to learn to be sentient and be an essential fragment of something so vast and glorious i can never conprehend it. freedom to be special and humble. freedom to move beyond paradigms of winning, losing, reforming and surviving – to move towards life and more life.

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the letters are written in my own hand with the intention of being worthy of wearing them. with deep gratitude to vanessa reynolds for being a calm presence and sure hand in this work.

<3

Protection Spell

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The following spell was commissioned and produced by Tunde Olaniran as a prologue to his headlining performance on New Year’s Eve at El Club in Southwest Detroit.

Listen to the Protection Spell

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to manage the grief
we tie our roots together
trading sorrows

to speak when there is danger
we learn to hear heartbeats
as drums

to speak of what no one has seen
we create a whisper
of hurricanes

to make a world that can hold us
we teach each other
every small imperfect part of love*

we will protect you
we will hold you
we will be protector
we will be protected

i will protect the skin you were born in
i will protect your right to love
i will protect your right to pray
i will protect your right to choose
i will protect your however-body
and i will protect your total
and radical
liberation

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images of the incredible night (courtesy of the star himself, Tunde Olaniran) include an altar built by edgeslayer (new orleans dj who spun at the party), natasha beste and kevin eckert of gold house media, an ice sculpture (tunde said “i’m not kidding someone randomly reached out and asked if they could create an ice sculpture for the party”), and a crowd going buckwild <3 IMG_3302

the * means: a portion of this spell will be printed in Walk Towards It, an anthology of urgent writing, lists to remember, & love letters to carry with you. Released on inauguration day January 20th, 2017 <3

be more of you (new year’s invitation and spell)

“we honor our ancestors by thriving.” – dallas goldtooth

it gets in our bones, fear. fear of ridicule and isolation, fear of the unknown, fear of past traumas being repeated.

fear that what we experience now is all there is.

fear of dying – individually, as a people, as movements.

the older we get, the more ways we watch people die – celebrities snatched up by the heart, economic and climate refugees swallowed by salt water, surprising accidents, death by state and/or other lynchings, drawn out battles with internal opponents, our perpetual global wars.

when the threats come we can shrink. as this year crash lands in a stand of burning trees, we have watched an unfolding of the unexpected against our radical will, a daunting removal of certain collectively held bubbles for those of us in us-based social movements.

we shrink in part by ignoring our own emotional breadth – our surprise, our grief, our mounting fears.

one of the ways we do our oppressors’ work for them is to deny our own complexity, wholeness, our right to exist; to attempt to shrink or disappear those parts of ourselves deemed inferior or undesirable to the mainstream. we can forget that WE shape the mainstream and all the alternative streams with our own lived assertions and divergence.

in the spirit of honoring change, taking the new year’s ritual as an opportunity to assert a collective behavioral commitment, i invite you to speak a spell aloud to yourself in the mirror until you believe yourself.

do this in the darkness of new year’s eve and anytime afterwards when such a spell is needed, including at the top of your lungs in the face of anyone even slightly challenging your right to be all of yourself.

remember the kinds of humans who transitioned this year – prince, bowie, gene wilder, prince be, phife, carrie fisher and debbie reynolds, george michael, leonard cohen, don mcvinney and so many others. in addition to your personal familial losses, take on these ancestors. be the fantastical and unique voice on whatever front lines you hold. hold your existence as sacred, drop into your post-compartmentalized whole self.

let this commitment to hold your wholeness as sacred inform your relationships, economics, fashion, food, and time use choices.

do not concede any of the ground you have gained on the path the liberation. be You with the volume on a million – all of your intersecting identities, cantankerous opinions and unorthodox pleasures. be unapologetically complex, a distinct individual in an interdependent network that thrives in part because of your unique offering.

do not shrink in the face of fear as we enter and live through a period of future-history that currently looks…foreboding at the least. instead, be more you.

thrive, at every level, as the living and joyful resistance towards the spreading blank, the nothingness, the sameness, the monoculture, the norm.

here is an offering towards the spell, feel free to use it verbatim, or remix, add onto, create your own:

i assert the sacredness of my whole self, as is.

i love myself with curiosity (as a student) instead of perfectionism.

i do not shrink inside of, or ignore, my fear – i move towards my longings with my fear as a part of my emotional wholeness.

i do not regress in my own expressions and assertions of liberation, i don’t take back anything that i have unveiled to be true in my politics. i recognize both the construct nature and consequential, experiential impacts of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, ability, coping mechanisms, lived experiences, and so on. however whole i am today, i will fill that in in the face of fear.

i am kind in the heart of conflict – without betraying my beliefs.

i seek to understand the motivations of those who differ from me – without denying my full humanity.

i think my own thoughts and feel my own feelings, i cut through groupthink with love.

i have no reason to be ashamed of anything that has shaped me.

i grow movement and liberation through authentic connections and honest processes of alignment. i trade in urgency-based work for efficient, emotionally-honest work.

i relinquish my obsession with outcomes and with control.

i deepen into the call to shape a world that can hold all of me, knowing i can feel that world in my bones, even if i cannot yet fully comprehend or even imagine it.

i use the majority of my attention and words to generate joy, gratitude, positivity, solutions, pleasure, intimacy and liberation in myself and others.

in the neverending process of change, i will be more of myself.