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Japanese Shaman Blesses Water at a Rave?!?

         It happens every time: when facing a difficult decision, if I just wait long enough, the answer comes. My summer has been a small journey: I physically travelled not farther than the Bay area, nor wide, nor were there psychedelics involved....... and certainly a highlight was firing Steve Sauer’s Anagama at Six Ponds Artist Retreat with an all-female crew, to which Mandy and I have been warmly re-invited…
I’ll skip to the party: 40,000 people down a two-lane dirt road in eastern Oregon to bask in the body vibrations of banks of 20’ tall speakers, dominate the night sky with LED displays, and marvel at the occlusion of the sun into a dancing filigree silver ring that hearkens to ancient epic tales that focus on a coveted ring (Tolkien based his stories on Anglo-Saxon mythologies among others).  I found myself less and less interested in attending as the event approached as I began to comprehend its potential clusterf*$#. But 20 years have passed since I’ve been to a good rave; I was too curious.  Lo!, I found warm eyes, people mostly in control of themselves, live artmaking, …yoga… ?!  Then and now, I enjoyed the sense of togetherness. I was dismayed (but not surprised) at the lack of diversity.
live painting with great DJ and people chilling in bouncy nets
       Here’s really why I went: on the website of the event were long lists of permaculture teachers, “guerrilla scientists”, yoga teachers, artists, witches, etc, but most importantly to my mind, indigenous representatives from all over the world.  I was amazed that an event of this scale was ostensibly not just oriented around music but also a deep sense of healing, social awareness, and respect for the earth.  The original peoples were also thematically collected in a certain area, and it is there that I spent a significant amount of my time, astounded at the welcome that I received.  I was able to join a women’s circle full of tears and laughter.  I danced in the evening with others to the (house/) sun dance drum tempo so potent in my younger memory.  The morning of the eclipse, I was aiming for a dawn set by Emancipator, but instead found myself mesmerized by joining the dawn prayers and poetry of Greg (I do not yet know his tribe) and Mazatzin Casas Acosta (Aztec), joined by Ricardo Cervantes,  “Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli” “El Gorila” and his companions, dancing around the joined fires, and then Malihatkwa Gwen Therrien (Grandma Grizzly Bear) and a priest leading a blind man as we all walked up the hill to the large viewing area where a yet unknown (to me) shaman from southern Japan lead a water ceremony after the eclipse proper…. Not every continent’s indigenous peoples were represented, but an astounding gathering was present with their most precious offerings, connecting with each other as we joined them in celebration of the moon and sun in their erotic dance (their words!, not mine, for once!)
there is a tiny video on my instagram page sharing the sound of this minute before the full eclipse
Next day, my companions had easily agreed to leave by a certain time that still allowed me to attend a panel discussion on “de-colonization”.  How can one discuss such an intense topic in an hour? Impossible. But my beautiful takeaway was solidified: colonization is a series of historical facts, but it is also a paradigm.  To quote Chase Iron Eyes, “when I think about the construct of colonization, I think about how to de-construct the concept that is now ‘white people’ - Scandinavian or Druid or Celt or Gypsy, whatever cosmology that you descend from, not even all that far back, you are indigenous -- there are certain things that function- as divisive tools but they are powerful.”  I, privileged white girl, carried a great weight of self-imposed blame into their camp, trying to see a way past my sadness into a place of acceptance and future action.  I found both.  That’s the last thing that I expected to find at a giant rave.
Post script: I understand that Synergy, the primary organizer, is not so good at cleanup.  I look forward to learning better if putting original peoples at the center of the eclipse ceremony was lip service.  Now I know whom to ask….
my friend Matthew Lippincott said he would fly a cephalopod under his kite, but when I followed it, it turned into Cthulhu flown by a blissed-out Russian lady who spoke no English
Art In the Pearl is this Weekend! Amy Fields, Kamala D-K & Dennis Meiners are showing
our neighbors
one morning, I woke to this cursing and fire-breathing dragon making a bad landing 
at Gifford Pinchot, swimming with friends... :)
Copyright © 2017 Careen Stoll, All rights reserved.

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