Wednesday, September 28, 2011

entering into the serpent

Four years ago a red snake crossed my path as I walked through the woods. The direction of its movement, its pace, its colors, the "mood" of the trees and the wind and the snake--they all "spoke" to me, told me things. I look for omens everywhere, everywhere catch glimpses of the patterns and cycles of my life. Stones "speak" to Luisah Teish, a Santera; trees whisper their secrets to Chrystos, an Native American. I remember listening to the voices of the wind as a child and understanding its messages. Los espiritus that rides the back of the south wind. I remember their exhalation blowing in through the slits in the door during those hot Texas afternoons. A gust of wind raising the linoleum under my feet, buffeting the house. Everything trembling.

We're not supposed to remember such otherworldy events. We're supposed to ignore, forget, kill those fleeting images of the soul's presence and of the spirit's presence. We've been taught that the spirit is outside our bodies or above our heads somewhere up in the sky with God. We're supposed to forget that every cell in our bodies, every bone and bird and worm has spirit in it.

Like many Indians and Mexicans, I did not deem my psychic experiences real. I denied their occurrences and let my inner sense atrophy. I allowed white rationality to tell me that the existence of the "other world" was mere pagan superstition. I accepted their reality the "official" reality of the rational, reasoning mode which is connected with the external reality, the upper world, and is considered the most developed consciousness--the consciousness of duality.

The other mode of consciousness facilitates images from the soul and the unconscious through dreams and the imagination. Its work is labeled "fiction", make-believe, wish-fulfillment. White anthropologists claim Indians have "primitive" and therefore deficient minds, that we cannot think in the higher mode of consciousness--rationality. They are fascinated by what they call the "magical" mind, the "savage" mind, the participation mystique of the mind that says the world is just as real as physical reality. In trying to become "objective," Western culture made "objects" of things and people when it distanced itself from them, thereby losing "touch" with them. This dichotomy is the root of all violence.

--Gloria Anzaldua in Borderlands: La Frontera, The New Mestiza

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