Sona Jobarteh on the Kora, tradition, music and communication. <3 <3 <3
I have been on a YouTube streak lately of curating videos into streams - lots of traditional and acoustic music from different places in the world. You can find all that here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ImaginationHealer
Oh nudibranchs, how I love thee. These ones are called sea sheep, or leaf sheep.
Here's a random page of pictures of more species of nudibranchs: http://www.divemaafushivaru.com/uw-photography/nudibranchs/
And my ongoing ode to their biological magnificence: http://www.imaginationhealer.com/nudibranchs.html
Ooh yes, do it to my brain. You can find more psychedelic art on my tumblr at http://artandspirituality.tumblr.com/
The town I live in has an annual fungus foray where people meet up in the morning then split up off into the forest to forage for mushrooms, and learn how to. It's hosted by our local watershed institute.
(Mushroom foraging is a learning curve - you really want to know what you're doing before you eat them because identification between poisonous and edible ones, or plain old gross tasting ones, can be a matter of life and death.)
I've wanted to go for yearrrrrrrrs and I keep ending up being gone during it. I was finally able to make it this year. I wanted to sleep in that morning so bad, but I heard a voice in my head say "your community is calling you to the forest." It was clear that it meant my mushroom community, not humans!
I had no idea how many mushrooms were in the forest after rain season begins, and how many different kinds of them!! I don't normally walk off trail, but being with a group of people meant I wasn't afraid of getting lost. The soil was soft under many layers of leaves, and the peacefulness of being in the forest kingdom was grand. We had one person in our group who knew what he was doing, so I learned a bit about the ways people identify different types of mushrooms, and about kinds of mushrooms I'd never heard of. There was an Air Force guy in our group who had a good handle on not getting lost, which was also helpful.
After a while of trying to find mushrooms, I felt as though I could hear the mycelial webs underground. After walking around in the forest all day, kneeling to look at and sometime pluck mushrooms from the earth, I felt like I got claimed by the mushroom kingdom even more than I already was.
Back at the lodge, people had prepared soups with different kinds of mushrooms, as well as whip cream made with candy cap mushrooms which are sweet. That was strange! A sweet mushroomy-tasting treat. Earthy :). A final highlight was that the car I carpooled in had two other ladies who absolutely love moss, and they want to start a study group together where we meet up and learn about moss and then go on a hike. One of the women was there with her boyfriend or husband, they were probably in their 60's, and he described how their first date was a hike; she was licking the moss on the trees and he said, "this is the girl for me!" She explained that she was drinking water from the moss, because it was the end of the drought and she was so happy to see moisture. Daw........ fellow moss lover friends.
If there are guided foraging hikes in your area I highly recommend going on them. The layers of experience and connection will continue unfolding for you in rich ways.
I'm excited to learn more so that I can take friends out for similar hikes to connect with nature and the wonderful world of mushrooms.
This fellow had a microscope and was showing people things:
The center we all met up at was such a hobbit village! There are so many wacky forest communities out here - it's kind of like a big decentralized ecovillage.
This image blew my mind.... showing how mushrooms move vertically through the forest. At some point a person in my group showed us a split in half log that had polypore mushrooms along it. I'd never thought about what was happening inside of those logs - it was completely colonized by mycelium - little fuzzy networks of them running through the log.
I've been designing the infrastructure for an international social network based on regenerative culture for the past 8 years and have not had much time for making art. As the team comes into place and I'm no longer having to hold the whole thing in my brain or wear all the hats.... I'm starting to have more space in my life for art and music again. I found something small to start with!
I did a lot of needlepoint art as a kid. I love the rich colors of thread and the mathematical puzzle and rhythms of doing cross-stitch. Can't wait to hang this on the wall and smile and be reminded of the loveliness of vaginas and the feminine in the world.
Pattern by ArtistGiftsCo on Etsy.
This is my first post about sex. In a recent break from Facebook (I'm leaving entirely soon and I think you should too), I realized that the topic I most often wanted to post about was sex and sexuality. That was the best result of my Facebook hiatus, and a surprising one. So, I've decided to blog about it sometimes and to be out about being sex-positive and my strong opinions on this topic.
I'm a bisexual and polyamorous person. I've had many long-term, overlapping relationships with people at the same time throughout my entire adult life. I don't view this as better than monogamy, in fact I personally think it's a bit like being gay - it's a way some people are oriented. (Although, many people say they are poly because they want to sleep around, and I think that's a different thing, also not to be ashamed of, but different.)
It's sometimes the bane of my existence that I tend to mostly have male partners, and they're nearly all straight. Why????????? I would love nothing more than to fuck all these wonderful humans at the same time and to be in a relationship with them together, nerding and listening to music and intellectually sparring and being maximum silly.
Today I decided that the remedy to this situation is clearly to develop relationships with more women, because most women I know are bisexual. Maybe then we could rotate who the guy is ;P.
I hope this made you laugh and also think about new sexual possibilities.
Love and nudibranch sex,
P.S. safe sex and thorough consent is hot
And... here are some recent reads and listens that I highly recommend:
Kevin Carson's Organization Theory
Most left leaning people I've met, progressives, democrats, and socialists, tend to have an incomplete picture of what the oppressive forces are and an ill-informed strategy of where to aim. I highly recommend this book for anyone who identifies as on the left and has not read much anarchist theory. This book is meticulously researched, and points out the control of the state by corporate interests, via the evolution of things like the managerial class, accounting practices, and many nauseating self-reinforcing loops of systems growth. At times it's difficult to have one's eyelids peeled back so far - in particular the sections about why public school is the way it is made me sad. But take it slow, it's well worth the exposure. This will open your mind to what is really going on and the many wonderful decentralized approaches out there to build strong, healthier alternatives.
Download for free via the Internet Archive, purchase a hardcopy, and/or support his work via Patreon.
The Celtic Holocaust
I listened to an episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History on what he calls the Celtic holocaust, where Julius Caesar led the colonization and subjugation of the peoples of ancient Gaul. The premise is that this is the only time in history that native peoples were evenly matched in technology/arms and had enough numbers to have had a chance at winning against an empire. I've never been particularly into reading about history, unless it's counternarratives or art history, but he’s such a compelling storyteller and narrator! This episode sparked my interest in history and an understanding of why people enjoy reading about battles and things. Related:
The End of Policing
This Upstream episode on the origins and history of the police is an important listen. I look forward to reading Alex Vitale's book, The End of Policing.
How to Survive the End of the World
If I convinced you to listen to any podcast this year, it would be How to Survive the End of the World, with the Brown sisters - Adrienne Maree Brown (author of Emergent Strategy) and Autumn Brown. They’re community organizers, writers and incredible women. Their podcast is a guiding light and integrated creative perspective.
Oh yes, the other reference in this blog post's title is because of Regeneration International, which the organization I direct is a member of. They do incredible work networking together players in the regenerative agriculture space to share knowledge and resources. Climate change is frightening and, there are so many wonderful people who know of solutions to it. We're coming together in more coordinated ways quickly. The problem is intimately connected with the economic and social topics referenced in this blog post.
Happy reading and listening! I mean, well, you can cry on my shoulder anytime, and hold my hand as you do something to contribute solutions in your communities.
Quoting Lyla's text on this in full:
This Beltane, we are forgiving the persecution of an estimated 6-9 million women as "witches" in Europe with the release of our new music video, "Mamwlad."
As a biracial woman (Native American/European), I thought it would be good to take the time to write this song to honor all of my grandmothers (and grandfathers) who were burned alive, drowned alive, raped, beaten and tortured in torture chambers for being so called "witches" and "warlocks" (https://www.nfb.ca/film/burning_times/). 6-9 million is a conservative estimate considering that everyone was under heavy watch. You could be condemned for something as simple as having a strange birthmark or for not being able to have children after so many years of marriage.
I know that these people were not evil, but rather were the carriers of Indigenous European knowledge that was demonized by colonizing forces, just as my Native American ancestors were demonized and persecuted. This is a wound that we as Europeans have yet to heal face, forgive, and heal from. If we can find the courage to heal from this, I believe we could break many cycles and resolve much untended intergenerational trauma, to help not only European folk, but all those who are affected by our unresolved trauma.
Our elders have taught us that any assault on the women of a society is also an assault on the men who love them. Imagine having your wife, or daughter burned alive and being restrained from helping her. This is what so many of our grandfathers went through and it drove them purely mad. We must too pray for the soul of the masculine that was tricked into thinking it was insufficient, tricked into thinking it "failed to protect." These are all psychological tactics to make us hate ourselves across the board and have damaged us for too many generations. This is healed through self-love and the forgiveness of this unimaginable cruelty of others. It is time to throw off these chains and throw off these lies and affirm our sacredness and worth as men and women in the eyes of Creator.
I named this song Mamwlad (Mah-Mu-Lahd), which means "Motherland" in the Welsh language. In the 1920s, if you were caught speaking Cymraeg (Welsh) in school you would get a big block of wood tied around your neck with the letters W.N. there inscribed. This stood for "Welsh Not," and you could only get the wood off your neck if you caught another child speaking welsh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Not). The prohibition of this Indigenous European language is one example of many of how our ancestral, earth-based culture was suppressed and destroyed much like my Native American ancestral culture was.
It is time for all of us to return to our indigenous selves and this includes Europeans. It is time for us to look behind the thin wall of time that dominates our understanding of Europe--the time of King Edward I who ordered the massacred of 100 harpists and bards of the Celtic Nations, the time of Napoleon, the time of Hitler--and remember who we truly are, beneath all the trauma and rubble. It is time to reach into the time of Indigenous European culture evidenced by a figurine of a woman, symbolizing the sacred earth and the sacredness of women, found in German soil in 2009, whose radiocarbon dating indicated that it was at least 40,000 years old. It is time to remember that this is who we really are.
And, it is time to forgive. For when we do not forgive, we become the oppressor, as we perpetuate the violence that we experienced on other peoples the world over. We have the power to help this end immediately for the sake of generations of human beings of all ethnicities worldwide. In sum, if we find the courage to face the truth and love through it, the way all great leaders have done throughout time, we can heal 7 generations forward and 7 generations backward. We have this power to transmute that darkness into hope and become the humble examples of healing that we as European descent folks are capable of being.
We must also recognize that witch burning still occurs today in many countries around the world (https://www.reuters.com/…/killing-of-wo…). I hope we can unite to heal the past, the future and the present day to say no woman should ever be killed because of her spiritual practice. Please join me in this musical, cinematic journey, filmed in the ancient sacred homelands of Gaelic, Celtic and Welsh civilizations, blessed by wild ponies, and connected to local Indigenous women of contemporary time.
In my sprint this week to decide on what tech tools we're using for the Bloom Summit and Action Incubator (info coming soon!), I just had an inspiring and informative conversation with Crystal Huang, founder of CrossPollinators.
CrossPollinators helps the world connect with community organizations. It's largely populated with Bay Area groups so far; you can search by category, find community events, volunteer or collaboration opportunities, etc. Their weekly newsletter is an inspiring summary of Bay Area front line related events.
Crystal and team have gone about designing it with a more stakeholder-engaged process than how most tech companies go about designing comm tools. The platform stems from her work in solar and experiencing a company thinking about how to get low income and working class families to care about climate change, without them being in the room. XPollinators is a beautifully engineered thing, by real communities, and this is just the beginning. <3
Anyway, check it out!