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Malidoma's Pen

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"I have a sense that in the West, discussion and debate are very important, especially in the context of education.  This is another area where the West differs from the indigenous world.  Indigenous people would prefer to preserve in its naked form the material encountered in one's experience.  Experience, to indigenous people, looks like a different kind of discourse that parallels, but does not intersect, the verbal.  The more intense an experience, the more likely indigenous people are to leave it in the language in which it came rather than to discuss and dissect it with words.  It is almost as if discussing diminishes what is being discussed.  Villagers feel that words conquer experience, dislodging experience from its rightful place of power.  So unless powerful experiences and ideas are addressed poetically, or with proverbs, people don't want to take the risk of losing in a fog of words what they have struggled so hard to acquire."

The Healing Wisdom of Africa
pg 107


Malidoma on "What it Means to Be Indigenous"
(reprinted from the Ask Malidoma column of our March 2011 newsletter)

Malidoma Sideways

The advent of the New Age has ushered into focus a kind of spiritual renaissance in Western Culture that has in turn benefited indigenous cultures.  Once dismissed and suppressed as archaic and irrelevant to the manifest destiny of modern man, these cultures have all of a sudden made a comeback at the hand of the same culture that once vowed to terminate them.  Part of this was directly the result of a gradual collapse of organized religions that left many people hungry for something deep to hang on to.  Because indigenous spirituality and culture were never really dogmatized and because of their nature-based structure, their appeal became evident, particularly after these cultures were formulated in ways accessible to the linear Western mind by people who grew up in them.  Doing so made their spirituality non-threatening, accessible, popular and, at times, quite fashionable.  Westerners everywhere embraced indigenous ways of life sometimes with so much devotion that they surpassed the natives!  In doing so, they made it look like the very culture that their ancestors destroyed has been coming back alive in them, and this much to the suspicion and sometimes objection of some natives.  Consequently, it is relevant to raise the question as to what all this loving of the indigenous really means.

Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY


The term "indigenous" in this context signals the presence of, and calls attention to, and intrinsic core energy signature present in every human that mirrors the basic primordial and cosmological elements that predate humanity.  In other words, if you look at the indigenous the way you look at genetics, it makes sense to say that one of these genes called indigenous is the gene that defines humanity.  It is the one that carries the memory of a world in which human beings were once upon a time in harmony with everything on Earth.  Harmony then meant the capacity to tune into the frequencies of all that is in such a way as to feel part of the organicity of existence---something similar to the universe depicted in the film Avatar.  So, to be indigenous means to live like you remember your oneness with all that is, and with everyone else.  Indigenous does not just mean native of a place.  It implies a different kind of consciousness, an awareness of our unity, of what connects us together.  Modernity has mutated away from such ways at great cost to its people and now to the entire world.  This is why its people are increasingly drawn to indigenous cultures and have no problem absorbing any practice as long as it is nature based.


Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY


So indigenous is a kind of connection that makes us one with Nature, Fire, Water, Earth, Mineral, and the Ancestors.  Inside such a connection is a being that shows deep respect and reverence to all that is.  Once upon a time, a time prior to Newtonian time and the Industrial time that ushered in consumer societies along with isolation, individualism, materialism, etc., there was the indigenous who could smell the scent of the Earth and Nature, feel into the animal, and see the being that looks like trees.  There was an open channel to the animal wherein humans could converse with them and other consciousness.  There was a feeling of connectedness, and unity that forbid the sense of isolation, loss, and illness.  Losing this today is a sad thing!  Hence the call to reconnect with that part of us that used to take all this in as a way of living.  This is why being indigenous today is "cool" to an increasing number of Westerners.


Omo Valley People, Ethiopia


Now the great questions arise:  how do you do that in the Concrete Jungle?  At first it feels like you don't because you can't.  The Metropolis is the expression of the absence of Nature.  It doesn't foster connection with the basic elements.  Instead it cultivates stress and isolation.  Western structure is clearly anti-nature.  Its mechanistic commitment distances it from the core element.  Should we abandon modernity and return to the old way or can we do that while uniting modernity with the indigenous?  I think the answer is challenging us to a higher level of imagination in which we are expected to dwell more on connection possibilities and unity than on considerations that deepens the gap between modern and indigenous.  The indigenous in everyone looks for harmony and unity in the cracks of divisions, tensions, and disconnections.  This implies being willing to take a stand, to be militant in the protection of human values  by refusing to uphold dangerous aspects of our own culture.



Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY


In doing so, we are showing our indigenous.  Because the indigenous mind thinks cosmologically and is mythological in essence, it has a way of knowing deep down that Alice in Wonderland has a reality frequency that can be tapped into.  It knows that there is a spirit in the Mountain, in the River, and that everything has life worthy of respect and reverence.  It feels the echo of the spirit in the Water and feels the chills of being watched by an old tree.  Such a mind is not linear, Cartesian.  When everything is an emanation of spirit, even technological marvels are an expression of the same spirit.


Australian Aboriginal Girl


This is what it means to be indigenous.  In fact, the issue is not about becoming indigenous; rather, it is about honoring the indigenous in us.  In a world that is suffering from increasing decay, the indigenous may be the way to the stability we all long for.



Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY


Martin Prechtel 

"Every individual in the world, regardless of cultural background or race, has an indigenous soul struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile environment created by that individual's mind. A modern person's body has become a battleground between the rationalist mind - which subscribes to the values of the machine age - and the native soul. This battle is the cause of a great deal of spiritual and physical illness.

Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerkonkson, NY


Over the last several centuries, a heartless, culture-crushing mentality has enforced its so-called progress on the earth, devouring all peoples, nature, imagination, and spiritual knowledge. Like a bulldozer, it has left a flat, homogenized streak of civilization in its wake. Every human on this earth, whether from Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Americas, has ancestors whose stories, rituals, ingenuity, language, and life ways were taken away, enslaved, banned, exploited, twisted, or destroyed by this mentality. What is indigenous - in other words, natural, subtle, hard to explain, generous, gradual, and village oriented - in each of us has been banished to the ghettos of our heart, or hidden away from view on reservations inside the spiritual landscape. We're taught to believe that our thoughts are actually the center of our life. Like the conquering, modern culture we belong to, we understand the world only with the mind, not with the indigenous soul.


Omo Valley People, Ethiopia


     And this indigenous soul is not something that can be brought back in "wild man" or "wild woman" retreats on the weekend and then dropped when you put on your business suit. It's not something you take up because it's fun or trendy. It has to be authentic, and it has to be spiritually expensive."


Excerpt from:

  Saving The Indigenous Soul 

Interview by:
Derrick Johnson,

SUN Magazine,
April 2011  



Omo Valley People, Ethiopia





Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11, Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerkonkson, NY


August 2011  

Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11,
Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY

Reclaiming the Indigenous Soul
By Malidoma Som� & Francis Weller 

Omo Valley People, Ethiopia


From OPEN EXCHANGE MAGAZINE, July-September, 2000

There is a growing interest in the "old ways" of traditional cultures. This interest reflects a deep longing to connect meaningfully with one another through ritual, community and the sacred; experiences that are often all too shallow in our culture, or completely absent in many cases.

Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11
Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY

     At root, the value that these ancient cultures offer is one of inclusion, belonging to a sacred cosmos. It has become clear that many of the troubles we face in this culture stem from a feeling that we do not belong. While traditional societies have developed elaborate "technologies of belonging" we have rallied behind the flag of individualism. Now, after several centuries of loyalty to this banner, the fissures are appearing and the rich memories of another way of living are rising from the earth.

Omo Valley People, Ethiopia

     In truth, we all come from this heritage. If we go back far enough, each one of us comes from a culture of the earth, of community and a knowing of the world as richly imbued with a sacred presence. Now, at this time, the core of our work is to restore the fabric of remembrance and reclaim the indigenous soul. It is the indigenous soul that carries the memory of this time and the ways of living that were in keeping with the sacredness of Life. But it also contains what is emergent in this time and place. We are being challenged with the awesome task of recreating the village, of remembering how to bring forth our "deep story" while all about us we are being encouraged to be good consumers.


Participant, Opening Deep Water Ritual, 8/10-8/14/11
Peg Leg Bates Resort, Kerhonkson, NY  

     The further task that we are each being called to is to go deep into the ancestral pool, into the haven of the imagination and revise our collective response to violence, meaninglessness and isolation. We cannot simply mimic another culture, cannot simply adopt their patterns of ritual to find our answers. We must create the new forms in order to heal the tears in the tissue of our land. We must become indigenous ourselves, come to know and love this place and learn its stories, moods, and myths. We must come to learn the rhythm of the rivers, hills, fox and salmon. We must gather together all that has been made not sacred. This is the challenge of the new millennium.


     Our survival depends on seeing in one another our healing. We must move beyond fantasies of private salvation and into a communal celebration of mutual dependency that will open the heart of gratitude.


Omo Valley People, Ethiopia 

Attn:  IAST Graduates & Participants
Burkina Faso Trip February 2012


Photo by Wendy Kaas

Malidoma has scheduled a trip to his village in Dano and to the city of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, West Africa from February 6 through March 2.  This trip is focused on further studies of Dagara shamanic medicine, the culmination of our Indigenous African Spiritual Technologies, (IAST) two-year training sessions offered in the U.S. (and now Germany).  Therefore, this trip targets graduates and participants of the two-year training program.


The fee is $3,500 per person (not including airfare).  For more information and details, write to [email protected].


Upcoming Divination Sessions with Malidoma!

Malidoma with divination cloth 


Receiving a divination from Malidoma is a fascinating
and powerful encounter with Spirit!  He will be available
in the following locations:



Asheville, NC, September 10-11


Minn./St. Paul, MN, September 19-22


Lincoln, MA, September 28-30

(to sign up click here) 


Brooklyn, NY, October 3-5
(for specific info click here)


Bad Bevensen, Germany, October 17-19  

(to sign up click here


San Francisco, CA, October 27-28, 30   


Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 7-9


Ojai, CA, November 14-16



For more information

and to sign up

for any location (except Lincoln, MA, and Germany) call 407-574-5350, or write to

[email protected] 



Vom Geist Afrikas 

DCDagaraWheel2 Wellcome


Wir freuen uns, Ihnen ein zweij�hriges Training mit f�nf Terminen von jeweils 5 Tagen mit Malidoma Som�, PhD anbieten zu k�nnen.


Unser Zentrum liegt idyllisch in einer h�geligen Wald-Parklandschaft, die die heilende Kraft der Natur erleben l�sst und sich sehr gut f�r die Arbeit mit den Elementen eignet wie sie . von Malidoma Som� angewendet wird.


We are lucky, to offer a two years training with 5 dates lasting 5 days each with Malidoma Som� PhD to all friends. Our Center is lying in the beautiful landscape of the L�neburger Heide and it's a nice place to work with the elements as Malidoma does.


Erster Einf�hrungs-Termin /First dateDi/Th 11.10. 19h bis So/Su 16.10. 2011 12h


Divinationen am 17.10. und 18.10.2011 (extra registration necessary)


Kostenbeitrag/charge:    750 EUR je 5-Tages Kurs / for five day-course

Kostenbeitrag/charge:    260 US-Dollar f�r eine Divinationssitzung/ for one divination


Caduceus Zentrum Karin P�scher-Findeisen

Niendorfer Weg 5

29549 Bad Bevensen

Tel.: 05821 477 129

Fax: 05821 477 130 e-mail: [email protected]


Upcoming Events








IAST-1st Session Germany

Caduceus Klinik website  

October 11-16  

For more info contact Karin P�scher-Findeisen here  

or call 05821 477 129 


Private Divinations

Bad Bevensen, Germany

October 17-19  

for more info & to sign up, email here 






Ancestors Ritual in Ojai, CA
September 2-4
Fee:  $455 (includes meals) $250 deposit by Aug. 2nd
Payment in full by Aug. 26th
Make check payable to Tudor Marinescu & mail to
2128 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
for more info & registration click here or call (805) 633-4624  


Private Divinations

Asheville, NC   

September 10-11  

for more info & to schedule an appointment, write to

 [email protected] 



Malidoma @ 27th Annual Minnesota Men's Conference
Camp Miller, Sturgeon Lake
September 13-18
for more info see website and contact:
Craig Ungerman @ 860-923-6987
mobile phone number:  860-942-1658
email:   [email protected] 



Private Divinations

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN  

September 19-22 

for more info & to schedule an appointment, write to  [email protected] 



Private Divinations
Lincoln, MA
September 28-30 

for more info & to schedule an appointment, click here


Private Divinations
Brooklyn, NY (Park Slope Area)
October 3-5 

for more info & to schedule an appointment, write to [email protected]   Also for more specific location &
other information click here 



Claiming Our Roots~Embracing New Growth:
2011 U.S. Systemic Constellations Conference
San Francisco, CA
October 26-30
for more info & registration click here  


Private Divinations
San Fransisco, CA
Westin Airport Hotel
October 27-28, 30
for more info write to [email protected]

Malidoma @ Boston University
November 1-2

Details will be forthcoming!

Grief Ritual in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
November 4-6
Details will be forthcoming! 


Private Divinations

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

November 7-9

for more info write to  [email protected] 


Private Divinations
Ojai, CA
November 14-16
for more info write to [email protected] 
Appointments will be scheduled in mid-October

IAST-2nd Session
Ojai, CA
November 16-20
for more info & registration click here  



Indigenous Is

by Anishinaabekwe


Indigenous is not a skin color,

Indigenous is not my nose,

Indigenous is not my lips,  

Indigenous is not romanticizing ancient teachings,

To appropriate,

To disseminate,  

To cut to pieces,

And abbreviate in a research document,

Indigenous is removing layers of shame from your ancestors trail,

Indigenous is stepping up to the plate,

Healing and creating a new way for future generations,

Indigenous is standing tall,

Indigenous is standing beautifully,

Indigenous is an honor.



Through The Misty Veil

by Pat Poland


As I glide my way into the misty past,
history....names....send me back to my great-grandmother.
She stands 'cross the abyss, beckoning
"I am here great-granddaughter!"

Mists floats across the gentle stream.
I see her fingertips reaching to mine.
Forever....it seems, to go on by centimeters of time.

Names so familiar....I've used them before.
Places....forgotten, resurrected on the distant shore.
"I am here great-grandmother,"
I call back through the misty veil
Page by page....leaf by leaf, like rich compost heaped,
Through the years, ready to use, seeded and fertile.
I search for clues....a birth....a death....a will....
A grave marking, what was, yet is
My Native heritage. 



Plastic Medicine Man 

by Gerard Donnelly-Smith


Like a Plastic Medicine Man, 

I wobble my head to-and-fro on the dashboard
where someone has placed me without my permission.


Like a Plastic Medicine Man, 

I find speaking has become difficult
because the windshield heat melts my lips together.


Like a Plastic Medicine Man, 

I search for ways to shed this plastic skin

to unread what manipulators teach their children,

to unspeak what they have spoken,
to help make whole what they have broken.