E-Village News
Responding to the Call of the Ancestors
November/December 2013

Greetings Village!

As we say goodbye to 2013, a Nature Year in Dagara cosmology, we hope this year brought the transformation, magic and change that was needed on your path.  May your connection with Nature strengthen and your relationship with the natural world deepen.  May Nature always provide the landscape for healing and restoration in our lives.

This last newsletter of the year focuses on Nature as viewed by the Dagara Shaman.  Highlighted here are some of the teachings and lessons Malidoma received from one of the mentors of his youth.
2014 will be a Mineral year in Dagara tradition.  We look forward to sharing information and inspiration regarding the Mineral element in the next issue of E-Village News.
Peace & Blessings!
Nature & The Dagara Shaman
Following is an excerpt of an edited dialogue between Malidoma and a local shaman in his village about the role Nature plays in the lives of human beings.  Consequently, this conversation was recorded long ago---after the time Malidoma completed his youth Initiation.

Shaman:  We have three types of medicine given to us by nature.  The first two are plant based, and the last one is handed over by the genies [otherworldly beings that befriend and teach the Dagara people].  Certain plants release their healing energies only after you do the ritual that make them come alive and willing to cooperate.  Certain plants are more powerful than humans and animals.  These plants choose to work with the shaman because the shaman tends to them.  Otherwise these plants would not respond to a call for help---they could not hear it.

Malidoma:  You mean these plants heal not just because someone knows their properties, but because someone is willing to be with them on their own terms?

Shaman:  Yes, something like that!  And the shaman knows how to be with them.  If you don't invoke the plant spirit, you don't get the real thing.  But not all plants are like that.  There are many that anybody can collect in times of need and use well. 
However, there are other plants and other medicinal objects that do not exist here.  So we have to get them from the other world; yes, some plants are a gift of the other world!  The talisman I gave you for your studies was given to me by the kontomblé in the other world.  I do not really know what it takes to make something like this, but shamans know that inside a talisman like that is something very powerful.  It is made by a nonhuman hand.

You see, shamans whose specialty is working with the spirits of plants are the real scientists of indigenous culture!  They understand life in terms of magnetism that can be manipulated and influenced for good or for ill.  Perception plays an important part in the shaman's relationship with plants and trees, whereby interaction alters the parties as they appear to one another so that what one sees is not really as it appears!

Consequently, the consciousness of the plants, the trees, and the grass is far more advanced than human or animal consciousness.  For instance, the trees know what we feel.  They see our thoughts, understand our innermost intentions, and react to our actions.  Furthermore, trees move invisibly from one place to another, camouflaging their motion behind a convincing stillness.   Their roots are like the roots of human beings---like them, we grow from both the bottom and the top, drilling into the earth for stability while reaching out to the heavens for light.  Therefore, our sense of home cannot be complete unless our lives are successfully modeled after trees!

We find in nature everything we need to be whole.  But the gap between us and nature is growing bigger instead of smaller---we humans should not alter anything in nature because we run the risk of losing life-giving information hidden in it.  As a consequence, illness is a distancing from the model of health offered by nature and any stuckness in our lives is due to a piece of nature having falling off from the inner structure of their existence.  No one can survive without nature!

Most of us have been visually conditioned to see the world within a limited spectrum, and for each person, this is the spectrum into which every object must fit.  The wider the visual horizon of a person, the closer he or she is to seeing things as they are.  After all, reality is malleable, manufacturable, and therefore transferable.  In other words, we all see the same tree because we are bound by an agreement.  But those who can break the agreement are able to see more closely into the core of being.  For example indigenous "magicians" are people who are not bound by consensus perception, hence their ability to see through all living things. 
White-side eye practice 

For instance, do you remember the eggs I brought you from the cave?  You called them stones because you were coming from a two-eyes way of seeing.  This seeing is narrow.  It uses the dark side of the eye.  Not everything can fit into it.  Keeping your two eyes open will show you only what two eyes can see.  To see through, you need more.  You need to make use of the white side of your eye.  If you want to see magic, you must train the white of your eye to see.  Point the dark side away from what you want to see, and let the rest unfold.  If you are naturally tuned, you will notice something different.  It will shock you at first, but after practice you will learn to switch back and forth. 

Every tree and every plant is alive in a way that is distinct from all others.  That's why they don't look alike.  When the shaman goes out there, he is trying to learn to see and to smell the scent of nature with the eye and the nose of nature.  And when he does, a lot is revealed to him.

The life force in every living thing spreads from inside out into something like an atmosphere around the center.  Some living things, like the baobab tree, the silhouette of which you can see over there, are bigger than others.  But even the baobab is not the most energy-generating plant in nature.  At the highest are landscapes such as hills, mountains, canyons, and the area on both sides of a big river, or where two or more waterways meet.  Pay attention to this and you will honor nature!  If you can live in a place from which you can see far and wide, something good will happen to you.  I go to the mountain to breathe in some of that.
Baobab Tree

Malidoma:  I remember that day we were at the cave.  We sat halfway up the mountain and you asked if I felt something.  You wanted me to feel what was coming out from the inside of the mountain.

Shaman:  Yes!  Panoramic views expand the psyche and turn the beneficiary into a magnet that can attract and store subtle powers!

Nature is about to change.  It will need the fire of the earth to do so.  As you can see, nothing can exist by itself.  Everything depends on everything else for its survival.  When the fire of life hits the seeds in the ground, they will have to come out, transformed into plants.  Bow to magic when you see it!

Landscape in South Africa 
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"A life jaded with modern amenities, urban noise, and selfish pursuits leaves us incompetent to listen to the voice of nature." 
~Simran Khurana~ 

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