As you've probably noticed, it has been a bit of a challenge to stay on track and current with our E-Village News! We appreciate so much how you've waited with such patience and dedication---Thank you!
Nonetheless, we strive to catch up and be current for 2013! Keep your fingers crossed and please send us your best wishes and positive energy!
We hope you enjoy this issue as we continue with Part 2 of Malidoma's interview with Marti Spiegelman, featured in the previous issue, the July/August newsletter.
Peace & Blessings & Happy Holidays!
"What Are All The
An edited interview with Malidoma by Marti Spiegelman, featured on Awakening Value/Voice America Talk Radio (September 9, 2010)
Marti: Malidoma we were talking just before the break and you were saying these eloquent things and one thing that really caught my attention was you were speaking about when we're in nature and really tuning into nature instead of our ego structures, we actually begin to experience that we are a product of some very beautiful big forces that---some cultures say that we're sung into being or we're spoken into being by the Earth or the power of nature or the deities---and this is really important! We are part of something huge and what we need to do is to remember that collective technology, that capacity for inclusiveness. You were speaking about our losing that capacity for inclusiveness and part of that, I think, is the shifting into realizing that we are a product, we're not God, we are the speech of the gods.
I'd like to talk a little bit about what happens at the level of leadership in modern culture because when we get to the level of leadership we get people who are running companies and governments and communities and systems and they start to think that they are completely in control of creating everything. I think that if we ever needed to reinstate shamanic technology, it would be at those points of influence. I'd love to just hear your views on this and I'd love for us to just toss some ideas back and forth about how we do that, how we get people awake to the requirement for regaining this knowledge.
Malidoma: Well this is more like a can of worms!
Marti: Yeah! (Laughs)
Malidoma: There are a lot of ideas in there! The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that once we have a way of tuning into nature, we begin to realize that as part of nature we are indeed responsible for continuity, sustainability, and indeed the ongoing production of abundance that Earth, as the archetypal home, the great home and the Great Mother affords us. This kind of consciousness can be generative of tremendous deployment of responsible action and responsible living, the first one being that we've become therefore defined as one piece of consciousness in a sea of consciousness and therefore needing a tune-in into the frequency of this vast chant and song of consciousness that the world can answer, that nature offers us. Then there are endless possibilities for exercising leadership because we know that nature utters more presence than absence and therefore certain language and certain words that we use will begin to fade out, like "scarcity," and the phrase "there's not enough for everybody!"
The necessity of understanding that it takes a sense of sustained community in order for productivity to become the expression of that unity and also the expression of abundance, etc., etc., from such a mindset to a corporate mindset---the road is not that long! From such a mindset to a sense of oneness in a nation, in a country, in a culture---the road is not that far! So the question always remains, what is it that we either refuse to learn or are ignoring about nature that is being translated in these modern days in terms of all these fixations with scarcity, i.e., the economy plummeting all the time, people worrying about tomorrow and not knowing how they're going to make both ends meet, etc. There comes a time when certain problems pertaining to abundance cannot be resolved unless we have a way of tuning back into the frequencies of nature towards a certain kind of radical refurbishing of our conscious constitution if we want to establish the kind of abundant continuity that responsible living requires.
Marti: As humans beings we have this crazy kind of consciousness---we've been given this little linear component that has speech and logic and choice. I always tell my students that it's really a late evolutionary gift designed to get us from the cave door to the river and back again without getting eaten by a saber-tooth tiger!
Malidoma: That's right! (Laughs).
Marti: And that's it! (Laughs).
Malidoma: (Laughs). We need the one that can get us from the hole to the river, and in the course of the round trip, we just walk with the tiger! We don't need to define the tiger as the eater of man!
Marti: Yeah, exactly! You would think that at this point, with enough suffering going on in the world that somebody or some leaders who can make change happen would realize, as you said---I love that you said this---"The road is not that long to reclaiming this technology of energy, this consciousness..."---and I love your phrase---"for a radical refurbishing of well-being on the planet!" It's really a beautiful way to say it!
What do you think governments would like? Let's say that you and I could walk into the White House and start teaching? What do you think could happen? What's possible?
Malidoma: Oh My God! There would be a landslide of consciousness in the proper direction, with government becoming therefore the leading agent of the ritual alignment with the Earth that we're in, transforming nation into sacred land, sacred ground in which various gateways are contemplated as a source of inspiration and transformation for the people. All of a sudden, leadership and service, humble service would become literal, and the White House would be the shrine that is a representation of a people's vision of what oneness with nature can definitely produce.
Marti: That's a beautiful vision; it's a beautiful vision!
Malidoma: One may call it idealistic but these kinds of ideals are really worth entertaining because they shed some bright light in the daily darkness that seems to visit us on and off. It is useful for us to realize how actually the merging of the branches of our government to nature can translate into a world that abides by the laws of nature in such a way that everybody becomes suddenly, highly significant and important for the welfare of the whole.
Marti: Yeah, it's brilliantly said, it's brilliantly said! There is actually nothing in nature that lives outside of the system and every part of the system is vitally important and you can't separate the parts from the whole, you literally cannot do it.
Malidoma: It is not possible because once separation happens, that's the beginning of the end and all of a sudden, isolation is produced and the great risk of loss and sensitivity and belonging and identity---all of these are signs of cataclysmic events piling themselves up in the lives of individuals.
Marti: Yeah, and I think the loss of identity, this pulling away from nature, pulls us away from the Earth, and that's a core knowledge in our bones, in any human being's bones. If we're connected to the Earth, we start to experience this sense of belonging and then we quit fighting one another!
Malidoma: That's right! Once this happens, of course those fly-by wars will stop, because we have no more reason to do so. We'll be too busy being with the natural order of things to actually fight with each other! (Laughs)
Marti: (Laughs). Yeah, that's great! Brilliant!
This is always the point in the show where I want another hour and we've only got eight or nine minutes left so we'd like to give you, the listeners, a very clear idea of the structure of indigenous technology. So we're gonna talk about energy gateways and we're gonna talk about the beings from the Other World and their role in helping us maintain well-being. I've spoken a little bit about the mountain spirits that we work with in South America, but Malidoma, I'd like for you to talk about the gateways and the Kontomblé and the Wedeme so people have an idea---there are a lot of different kinds of beings that are very real.
Malidoma: That's a great place to begin on what has indeed become the area of great excitement in my ongoing study of the Other World through nature. One of the reasons why we are really interested in getting people to reacquaint themselves with nature is because in the process of doing that, you discover that you're not alone!
Malidoma: In fact, the whole idea of isolation is a man-made idea and there are all kinds of beings that are constantly staring at us, wishing us well, looking at us as potential interlocutors of people to interact with and yet will not interfere unless we give them permission. And therefore going into nature, what I've discovered started with my Initiation a long time ago when I realized that a tree could become a living consciousness that I can interact with like I'm interacting with another person!
Thirty years into that I've discovered something as mountain spirits, but more importantly I've gotten to know we have in our midst, the whole idea of little people, which we call in my culture Kontomblé. Kontomblé are the closest to our dimension that are interested in us the same way as a guide or mentor is interested in a mentee. There is something about this dimension, this wonderful dimension we're in that interests Kontomblé and Kontomblé have always wanted to guide us into seeing that which is hidden from our eyes as if somehow they are there as engineers for the maximization of our optical lenses for us to focus more into the beauty that is facing us. Kontomblé, which is very widely known among Dagara people, are ones that we cannot live without. We cannot ignore the relationship with nature leading to a relationship with other beings for which nature is also a habitat.
From there we go to the people known as the Wedeme, which we translate as "the beings from the wild," that is to say, those who have taken nature as a living space because it is so beautifully, sophisticatedly built that there is nothing to add to it. And so they live there and they want us to come and join them because we are products of that beautiful environment as they are, and they would love to dance with us in such a way that our own consciousness can rise to a level that gives humans a chance of becoming a source of great wisdom! So I love this idea, because basically the things that are constantly presented to modern people in the media about the Other World, the supernatural world will somewhere down the road become a fact, something concrete that they can experience individually, collectively, that at least it will begin to extend the realm of consciousness to include other living entities as vibrant as the trees, the plants, that can eventually add to the richness of our consciousness.
Marti: Yes, this is really, really important! I want to remind the listeners of something that I've said in previous shows---let's just come back to ordinary human "being-ness"---in your brain, the same cells that perform the function we call imagination, perform the functions that we call perception. So many of you have had experiences with the Other World and you're probably telling yourself, "Oh I made it up, it's not real!" Malidoma and I are here to tell you that it is REAL, and Malidoma, I think you would agree with this: getting someone to have a direct experience with the Other World, literally being touched by one of these spirits is the fastest way to reclaim one's indigenous nature, wouldn't you agree?
Malidoma: Absolutely! You've got that nailed down! There is such a thing as the "touch of the Other World" that alters a person forever! And we cannot be touched unless we show up to be touched! Otherwise, it's not gonna happen and therefore the invitation here is to allow ourselves, to make ourselves available for this embrace so that eventually our lives can sign up for this kind of richness that we know deep down we are longing for. We know deep down that nothing material or whatever can fill that void; only something supernatural, spiritual can do that. So it is time that we responded to the longing of our psyche by checking in with magical nature.
Marti: That's beautifully said! I hope everybody is really soaking this up! There's no way to prove this. People ask me for proof. There's no way to prove it, your own experience is the only way that you will understand, the only way that you will change.
Malidoma: And we also have to understand that proof is not necessarily the voice of reality. Proof can just be yet another way of enrolling somebody into the vote for a certain kind of reality. However, there is a reality such as this one that requires only one vote; it is the vote for ourselves. When that happens, nobody can take that away.
Marti: Oh, that's brilliantly said! Malidoma, thank you so much for blessing Awakening Value with your presence and your wisdom!
Malidoma: Thank you for including me in this wonderful program!
To read Part 1 of this interview, see our July/August 2012 issue in the E-Village News Archives from our website--click here .
One-Day Mineral Ritual with Malidoma in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sunday, January 6th, 10 am to 7 pm
Use the wisdom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso, West Africa to:
Find your life purpose
Identify your work and gifts
Tell the stories and connect deeply with your Ancestors
$275 plus potluck dish
Private Divinations in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, January 7-8
Schedule an appointment to visit Malidoma for a private and personal divination.
Malidoma utilizes cowrie shell divination for his sessions. You will be asked to spread a pile of shells, bones, stones, and other implements on a special "divination cloth." This spread, infused with your energy, is what Malidoma will read and interpret to bring a message about your life and purpose for being on the planet at this time. The message will also address how to find balance with the elemental spirits of earth, water, fire, nature and mineral
For more information and to make an appointment, write to email@example.com
Malidoma at Jackie's on the Reef, Negril, Jamaica, W.I., January 14-18
Cost: $1800.00 (does not include airfare)
(Check or Credit Card in NY) NO CREDIT CARD in Jamaica.
$1000 Bal. Paid upon arrival in Jamaica
(Cash/Travelers Checks accepted)
For more information and to make reservations, contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-469-2785
Breakfast, dinner and yoga (daily)
Himalayan singing bowls meditation (wear white)
Workshop w/Malidoma & Fire, Water & Ancestor Rituals
2 Spa Treatment, Airport Transfer
Fireside chats and star gazing
This retreat is for people who wish to reconnect with spirit, nature, wisdom, and increase understanding in their knowledge and power. See link here.
Malidoma is an initiated elder, gifted diviner, and medicine man of his tribe. The old tradition and knowledge of the Dagara people, is known throughout West Africa for their healing abilities and spiritual practices. It is time to embrace the wisdom of indigenous Africa. After centuries of silencing the powers and wisdom of the African ancestors, it is now time to lead the world to the next level of consciousness. Malidoma is the author of several books: Ritual, Of Water and the Spirit and The Healing Wisdom of Africa.
For Private Divination Sessions on Saturday January 19 and Sunday, January 20, at the Retreat with Malidoma, write to email@example.com .
Private Divinations in Negril, Jamaica, W.I.
Malidoma will be available for divinations at Jackie's on the Reef, in Negril, Jamaica on Saturday, January 19th and Sunday, January 20th.
For more information and to sign up, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Divinations typically last about 45 minutes, although this experience seems to unfold beyond linear time. The time you spend in session will be the right amount of time. Divinations have a life-span of their own; they seem to become "living entities" that move into your life, staying until their work is completed.
Private Divinations in Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 1-4
Experiencing a personal divination with Malidoma is a beautiful, empowering and healing manifestation of Spirit. It is an opportunity to hear direction from the realm of the Ancestors and to connect, more deeply with what you know "in your bones."
Malidoma in Europe, February 14-24
Malidoma will visit Vienna, Austria in mid-February. Stay tuned for more information and details. See our website soon for updates.
New Indigenous Spirit Technologies (IAST), Two-Year Training Program, near San Francisco Bay Area, May 8-13
Designed for those who want to serve the purpose of this new era, this multi-part program is being created to lay the groundwork, deeply and personally, for a leap into the magical and spiritual technological legacies of our Ancestors. Grounded in radical exploration of the elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Nature, and Mineral, this program aims to enrich our working relationships with them in order to anchor ourselves more fully in this world and to be of greater service to all living beings. We will create, experience and learn to provide for others, ritual involving each element and its healing properties, thus fostering healing for ourselves, others, and our communities.
Cost begins at $975.
For more information and to register, click here.
9-Day Nature Encampment with Malidoma at East Coast Village (ECV), Cherry Plains, NY, June 21-30
The process of reinforcing the connection to the Spirit world, of engaging in rituals of Fire, Water, Earth, Mineral and Nature, in the heart of Nature herself, is the goal of the 9-Day Nature Encampment with Malidoma---a rite of remembering your indigenous mind---a mind that remembers the connection to Oneness.
Through radical rituals and the life-affirming ordeal of separation from the modern world, you will be guided to deepen your connection to spiritual realities long since forgotten in the throes of modernity. This is not a "vision quest" or "wilderness camp." During the nine days, you will be camping on the land in a temporary village-like environment and engaging in daily rituals, making sacred objects to guide you on your journey, receiving divinations to clarify your purpose, and deepening your connection with the Spirits of Nature.
No cell phones, no computers, no electricity! Tents are a must!
Pay in full: $1,620 + meals
Payment plan $1,782 + meals---50% deposit and balance due on or before start of session
For more information and details, click here
In the indigenous world, technology takes a radically different form than in the West because its intention is not to disturb the natural world. Indigenous people tend to be familiar with the sorts of technology that do not assault nature, do not compete with the natural order, and do not tend to show them as superior with respect to nature. This does not imply that villagers are not interested in learning to manipulate Western technology, but for the most part their interest is matched by ignorance of how it works and how to relate to it.
The chief of a village is awarded a moped, the equivalent of a limousine in the modern world. He is delighted by this gesture of respect. A few days later he is found in the middle of the bush pushing the bike and cursing. Asked what happened, he says the damn thing just stopped and decided to stay there. He decides that this gift was nothing more than a trick to humiliate him in front of his people. The chief was only out of gas and did not know it. So if the poor man can't tell when his moped is out of gas, how many more griefs await him when he bypasses the recommended maintenance schedule?
Indigenous technology, which focuses on working with the world of Spirit, requires the same awareness for safe operation as does Western technology focused on manipulating matter. To African villagers, the skills of working with the world of Spirit arise as a gift from nature, given for the good of people. Technology is seen in this context as the vehicle for going home, because once you have your hand on these technologies you are reminded that your true home is out there somewhere, somewhere else, and it makes you want to get there fast. It doesn't make you want to settle in here with a mountain of possessions and a large mortgage. The true indigenous technology is aimed at returning people to their origin, returning people to where they came from, the Spirit World.
Technologies in the indigenous world are developed in order to fulfill basic human needs, such as community health, harmony, and a sense of meaning and purpose in life. In this sense technology is oriented toward Spirit. This seems to contrast with the West, where the craving for connection with the deeper sense of meaning and the yearning for spiritual vitality are most diluted amid the noise of traffic and factories. Yet it is obvious that the one wants or needs the other. Villagers in West Africa who are taken on a tour of a factory often come out of there silent for days, unable to put in words what they saw. They are mesmerized at the power of the machine and its ability to make things. Some are confused as to whether there is a spirit behind all this or if the machine is not the spirit in disguise. They report that they feel as if their spirit was sucked out in the factory and that they need healing to recover from their encounter. This recovery often leads to the person returning to the city in search of the god of the white man whose power they have seen. But enchantment with technology can work in the other direction also. A Westerner is introduced to village "magic" and decides to settle there. Every year I am aware that many people take off to my village because they read about the magic of Dagara people.
The challenge in sharing or explaining indigenous technologies to Westerners is similar to the challenge of explaining modern technologies to indigenous people. Could this be part of the reason why Third World countries have a hard time developing in the modern way? Modern farming systems that have been imported to Africa, including sophisticated machinery and fertilizers, have created more problems than they have resolved. Over a decade ago, French people introduced cotton farming to my village as a cash-producing industry so that villagers might buy Western products such as bicycles, shortwave radios, and clothing. Those who participated in the program will never forget the disaster they brought to themselves and their families. In order to grow cotton, they had to do so as the French taught---by purchasing fertilizer and DDT on credit. By the time the crop was harvested, the land had "died," or as villagers say, the earth spirit had become angry. The sale of the cotton barely reimbursed the cost of the fertilizer and pesticide, and the families of those who had hoped to profit had to turn for support to the families who did not participate in the program. People cried out that modern technology had come in to devour their spirit. Things have improved since then, allowing people to participate in a more educated way in the agricultural revolution. But whom has this revolution benefited? Which of the world's growing populations have been fed? Indigenous people see that food has flowed to the modern world more than to the indigenous world.
Many ecologists and environmentalists in the West say that technology sets itself up as an enemy of nature. They fight to close a nuclear power plant here or there because they understand that the purity of Nature is being contaminated by these plants, and the consequences to countless species, including humankind, are serious. Westerners talk about rivers of pure water having become like sewers. One gets an image of industry abandoning its droppings anywhere it wishes, knowing full well that what it cannot digest, nothing can. Some suggest this is the price to pay to get the results needed. Hasn't modern technology, overall, contributed to bettering human life? The problem is that wherever there is a yet-undamaged piece of the world, modernity tends to regard that place as primitive, archaic, and, at best, pre-industrial.
By contrast, indigenous technologies look rather non-aggressive. In producing anything, indigenous people make it a point to inquire with the Spirit World as to whether this product is appropriate. Usually it is, otherwise the idea would never have come to their consciousness to begin with. For indigenous Africans, dream and vision are evidence of the Spirit pointing the way to us. What is shown to you in that manner is actually an invitation from a higher realm to consecrate yourself to the production of something that is going to benefit the greater community.
....For healing to last, the healed energy in the spiritual plane must be brought across to the physical world. This is done by bringing it through a gateway between the spiritual and material worlds. What is the gateway? A gateway is a door to the Spirit realm that is connected to a particular place in the physical world. Healers who bring energy from the Spirit World through gateways are known as gatekeepers. A gatekeeper can trace the shadow from this world back to its origin in the spiritual world and act as an intermediary, as a bridge, since he or she understand the relationship between the different aspects of the reality of this world.
The gateways that are maintained in certain places in nature are themselves important technologies for healing. Technologies such as this are viewed as magical and supernatural and are therefore suspect, sometimes frightening, to the Western mind. But recall the Silicon Valley poster, "Any technology, sufficiently advanced, appears magical." Gateways to the Spirit World may appear magical to Westerners because there is so little hardware involved. Indigenous people value efficiency, and anything that can be accomplished by manipulating energy without consuming resources is preferred.
Their reaction to an episode of Star Trek illustrates this perspective. On one of my trips to my village I brought a VCR, a small TV, and some videotapes of this popular science fiction show. During one of the scenes where people were being dematerialized and moved around by the transporter machine, I asked the elders if they understood what was going on. They were rather taken aback, replying that of course they knew what was happening, but could I please explain what all of the machines were for.
....A culture that is in touch with its spiritual connection is a culture that is poised to evolve. In the indigenous context, change is tolerated, even welcomed, because it originates with Spirit. If evolution originates in a spiritual source, then it does not disrupt stability. If evolution is seen in terms of the modern definition, concerned with ascendancy, acquisition, and control and mastery over the material world, then evolution becomes destructive to stability. The modern notion of stability has a heavy load of military hardware associated with it. This contrasts sharply with the indigenous view of stability, which is a state of alignment with Spirit, with cosmic rules and regulations.
The very word cosmos implies evolution, and in this context, evolution means discovering new things and learning new methods of handling the affairs of life. This is one purpose of technology, to help human beings increase their awareness and consciousness. In this sense precolonial indigenous cultures, even within their apparently primitive technologies, were heavily involved in an evolutionary process. In the interest of their own evolution, it was essential to maintain cohesion within the culture, for you have to stick together to evolve together. In the development of Western technologies, we cannot allow some among us to evolve while some are left behind, because that is not community. Community is the common handling of the journey. Attention to community and to Spirit in indigenous technologies has meant, however, that the evolution of indigenous cultures takes place quietly, without the explosive and destructive side effects of Western technology. When your ties with Spirit are strong enough your evolution has less visibility. A good portion of modern technology is extremely destructive, probably because of the lesser presence of Spirit within it. The larger the presence of the Spirit, the subtler and less polluting technological evolution will be.
All of the indigenous technologies...have the ability to change and adapt, and they usually adjust themselves to changing needs in the community. Before the coming of modernity, the people who were the healers would have others in the village come and work on their farm, and they would always end up with enough food to feed their families. Now that this system no longer exists, you will find a shaman with a tiny yard, and from this he can pull enough food to feed a family of twenty children. This is an evolution in technology, based on drawing the vitality of nature to that tiny plot in order to produce enough food, relying much more on invisible forces such as the blessings you get from nature when you farm.
The reason the shaman's farming has changed is that with the coming of the Western world, even people in the village are losing their interest in the village, and the community there is challenged. People are eager to benefit from the shaman's services, but they no longer want to work on his farm. This prompted a new paradigm, whereby the shaman uses his knowledge to produce the food he needs from a very small plot of land, but there is a consequence for this change, for less of the shaman's energy is available for healing in the village.
The Healing Wisdom of Africa
pgs. 70-72, 75-76, 78-79