And so you were. Dearest Valerie, this is a wonderful book. Your introduction alone is brave. Your life during your final months, even more so. You understood you were soon to leave us. Bereft, of course. But you had your work to do, before you left, and kept steadily at it. We are grateful. May the tears we feel behind our eyelids water our courage in the days of trauma still ahead. The news from the Far East is very bad. Pestilence is moving, again, across the Earth. May we learn from you the deep grace of listening to the voices of those who remain, and stand; and those who, too soon, must go away. ~aw
Meghan and Harry
It is rare to have straight talk about how Africans experience America and Americans. Such talk is medicine to a frightful wound. ~aw
Emancipation isn’t just a film. It is a reclamation of soul. That being so, it must be honored with Ceremony, no matter how small and/or brief. A friend and I lit candles in front of photographs of our children, and objects of meaning from familiar, ancestral, and spiritual lineages: human, animal, mineral and vegetation. We made a clean space around it’s ending. No noise or distraction from the offering of soul that Emancipation is. We offered our gratitude for the ancestral fierceness and unconquerable love that we may recognize in ourselves. We acknowledged our blessedness. This is what art can do. Return us to our truer selves.~aw
Show Us Goddess the Way of Being Peace, by Mayumi Oda ’72. Welcome Home Daughter, Brittany Griner. ’22.
We are a beautiful people. As colorful as flowers, as determined as the gardener, Life itself. ~aw
Tonantzin: She Passes Beneath My Window~aw
Photo by Vaschelle Andre.
In Oakland, California, yesterday. The people re-membering who they are. Wherever they are. A medicine after seeing Black Panther, Wakanda Forever, a movie that, though at times marvelously striking (if excessively loud),ultimately gets our cultures very wrong, to our sorrow. ~aw
Poem: MY 12.12.12. Her birthday: December 12th.
They told us we must be ready
and just at dawn
Manuel came for us.
We rode in silence as the day
a slowly building crowd
on the outskirts
There are so many Zapatas in Mexico.
And many Villas
it must be said.
But there we were
a small contingent
waiting for Her.
A nun showed up first,
this being hundreds of years
I liked her though; she led us
And soon, sure enough,
somber and very young,
maybe still languid
from interrupted sleep,
this year’s incarnation
of La Virgen de Guadalupe
Shivering a bit
in the morning chill
she wrapped her green mantle
that tended to slip
more securely over her
loving head. With the help
of many hands,
she climbed into the back
of the waiting
I could have started weeping
right there. But no, I held on.
Though happiness and love welled up
behind my eyelids.
They have survived, I thought.
As the marchers, and we,
my companion and me,
behind the truck.
Our nun singing and chanting
and the two of us
humming the parts
(most of them)
we did not understand.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace
Pray for us now
and in the hour
of our death.
The only thing
we thoroughly understood
would also, at death,
apply to us!
We began to walk.
It was only three or four miles.
We crossed a river.
We saw early morning dairymen
in the brush
We saw fields and hills
of this most beautiful part
of beautiful Mexico.
The Virgen led us
faithfully. So young, so brown, so long of dark hair.
Her face only twice breaking into a smile
that showered us, walking behind Her,
with Her radiance.
The sun appeared only briefly,
the day was still, overcast
Yes, we ended up,
the truck and all
of us, outside a Convent
where the nun and the priest
But the ceremony
linking the Virgens
Mary and La Señora de Guadalupe
beneath sheltering trees.
And this also
moved my heart. For I am more
at home with the other Her,
the one who creates
the out of doors
We sang, and hummed,
stood and sat
(chairs materializing behind us
out of thin air)
until the last song,
to retrace our steps.
Sore in thigh and foot
we re-crossed the river
unusual for this time of year
was full of water.
I sat, fanning myself, on the railing of the bridge.
I am inside the picture now,
I said to my companion
who feared I might fall.
I did not care, really,
I am more careful of my life
than it might appear. I recognize
the gift it is to me; out of gratitude
I protect it.
Yes, I am inside the picture now,
not just looking
at the painting.
And I thought of this
while trudging down a once unknown road
in the heart of Mexico
that I now know very well;
feeling joy and relief
to see another Virgen
my Mexican sister
speeding toward us
in her new Pathfinder
coming with cool water
to rescue all of us
and, smiling, deliver me.
What are these people doing? Why does it move us so intensely? Why does it feel familiar? ~aw
The great novel, Two Thousand Seasons, by Ghanaian writer/philosopher Ayi Kwei Armah, contains a passage about just such a time as we can imagine preceding the ceremony here. 800-2000 years of it! A time when those who struggled to get to the top of someone else’s ladder must concede that their own, often ridiculed and discarded ladder, might just be preferable. They are coming back down, many in tatters if not missing actual limbs or parts of mind, but they have certainly learned the lesson that it is past time to turn around. Climb down! To go home to what ancestors tried to teach, and knew.
Sadhguru’s is the only face we recognize. And we do so with joy. With him before us, we are not entirely lost. And what he says: This is not a time for looking up, but of rising up! moves us profoundly. For we have seen, and are seeing, the collapse of all that was faulty and harmful to our collective thriving. And we must rise to embrace what we truly believe, regardless of what it might look like to others.
The Cobra! The snake! What’s up with that? For most of us, who have been trained to fear the serpent beyond all creatures, there is fascination, and yes, a lingering dread. But. Not everyone has had our connection to serpents. For instance, in ancient Egypt not only was the Cobra worshipped but it represented a goddess, Wadget. And we wonder: was the Cobra associated with women/goddesses because it was the ancient version of a watch dog? And kept the woman who adored it, safe? (There was also the asp, much smaller than the Cobra, that women, including Cleopatra, kept near their breasts).
I will refrain from mentioning that whatever the case, there is an ancient reptilian imprint in the ancient human psyche. And, according to Sadhguru, the Cobra in the ceremony, old beyond memory, and in two parts, represents reassurance to humans that no matter how much of Life is destroyed, there will always remain a remnant with which to begin again. Looking at our predicament in the world today, I find this reassuring; as reassuring as I find the assertion that Ayi Kwei Armah makes also in Two Thousand Seasons: a people who still have their guru, their teacher, comfortably in their midst, will certainly be happier and less lost, than those who have abandoned guidance for a chance at false splendor. ~aw
My genius brother: teacher, fundi. Beloved. ~aw
Photo by Jean Weisinger Copyright 1992
Staughton Lynd, Presente.
and deeply extraordinary, Teacher,
you were the truest of friends. And you made it home!
I am not dancing.
Though your success as a human might call for that.
But I am waving toward your spirit,
as I sense your flight:
with a single tear,
and a grateful sigh.
Maybe you will soon see Howie*
and what a reunion
that will be!~aw
We Alone Can Devalue Gold
©by Alice Walker
We alone can devalue gold
by not caring
if it falls or rises
in the marketplace.
Wherever there is gold
there is a chain, you know,
and if your chain
so much the worse
and sea-shaped stones
are all as rare.
This could be our revolution:
to love what is plentiful
as much as
what is scarce.
Xavier and Alice, Oakland, Ca. 2022. Photo by Vaschelle Andre
Perhaps the happiest thing about being an Elder is the quickness with which genius and soul are recognized in those much younger than we are. Fantastic Negrito, aka Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, is a gift, a joy, a reminder of the unfathomable stability and impishness of the ancestors. ~aw
Recommended: White Jesus, Black Problems, a film about the making of the album of the same name, is astonishing as a reminder of our stubborn preference for what is true. Or, let that white great-great (indentured for 7 years in the USA) grandmother have her due. ~aw
Dead Men Love War
©by Alice Walker
Dead men love war
they sit astride
the icy bones
of their slaughtered horses
They wind their pacemakers
and like Napoleon
green velvet dressing
on the battle field.
in board rooms
of a profit
they like to anticipate
they will bring
their loathsome daughters
They like to fantasize
about the rare vintage
to be served
how much company
they are going
Russia -Ukraine: See Redacted with Natali and Clayton Morris. YouTube.
Seeking. What calls us? When? How do we know? When we take up the thread (of Ariadne) we cannot know which/what minotaur will be in its lair, waiting to be found. All we know is that, suddenly, the tug of the string is all we can feel in our hand. What we find, ultimately, is almost always beyond what we sought. This is a magic, too. And, almost always, it pulls us further into the struggle for justice, for peace, not only for ourselves but for a loveliness, a sweetness and preciousness in others of which we may not, without encountering the Minotaur, have faced and given its true, non-misleading, due. It would seem illogical for the freest of spirits to require a container in order to thrive. But that is where we have been, as humans, for too long.
How painful to realize the teachings that mean so much to the seeker are hoarded like bread before the outstretched hands of the starving. How she must erase herself to be perceived as acceptable, only just. And of course there is no freedom to be found in imitation of anything. Outgrowing the container often demonstrates this.
What do we love, regardless? That whatever we find that is broken, we will repair. What we find dry, we will moisten. What we find unworthy of the true human soul in us, we will work to restore to the shining absolute that is hidden, for whatever disastrous reasons, underneath. ~aw
Imagine having a mayor we know and like! ~aw
Don’t Despair (Reprint)
Copyright © 2016 by Alice Walker
When I was a child growing up in middle Georgia, I thought all white men were like Donald Trump. They too seemed petulant and spoiled, unhappy with everything they were not the center of, brutal toward the feelings of those “beneath” them, and comfortable causing others to act out of hate. How did we survive this?
I think of my father, a poor sharecropper with eight children, so desperate for change in a system that left his family in danger of starving that he walked to the polling place – a tiny, white owned store in the middle of nowhere – to cast the first vote by a black person in the county. Three white men holding shotguns sat watching him, for niggers were not supposed to vote and they were there to enforce this common law. My father voted for Roosevelt and a “New Deal” he hoped would also apply to black people.
I come from a line of folks who chose to live or die on their feet. My 4-Greats grandmother was forced to walk chained from a slave ship in Virginia, and carried two small children that probably weren’t hers all the way to Middle Georgia. There she was forced to work for strange, pale people who could only have appeared to be demons to her. She was given as a wedding gift to a young married couple when she was advanced in age; what the story of this event was is a mystery to this day. All we know is that she lived to bury all these people and that it is her who is remembered.
My aunts and uncles learned trades – tailoring, bricklaying, masonry, house-building – whatever was allowed for black people, and raised their children in homes of stability and even comfort, while the white world beyond their neighborhoods attempted to squeeze them into corners so tiny that to the majority of “citizens” of the cities they lived in, they did not even exist.
How to survive dictatorship. That is what much of the rest of the world has had to learn. Our country has imposed this condition on so many places and peoples around the globe it is naive to imagine we would avoid it. Besides, do Native Americans and African American descendents of enslaved people not realize they have never lived in anything but a dictatorship?
In this election we did not really have a healthy choice, as is said in a commercial for something I vaguely remember. Or, as a friend puts it: “‘the “choice” was between disaster and catastrophe.”‘ If this puzzles you, here is the next step of my counsel: Study. Really attempt to understand the people you are voting for. What are they doing when they’re not smiling at you in anticipation of your vote? Study hard, deeply, before the Internet is closed, before books are disappeared. Know your history and the ways it has been kept secret from you. Understand how politicians you vote for understand your history better than you do; which helps them manipulate your generations. It is our ignorance that keeps us hoping somebody we elect will do all the work while we drive off to the mall. Forget this behavior as if it were a dream. It was. In some way, many of us will find, perhaps to our astonishment, that we have not really lived until this moment.
Our surprise, our shock, our anger, all of it points to how fast asleep we were.
This is not a lament. It is counsel. It is saying: We can awaken completely. The best sign of which will be how we treat every being who crosses our path. For real change is personal. The change within ourselves expressed in our willingness to hear, and have patience with, the “other.” Together we move forward. Anger, the pointing of fingers, the wishing that everyone had done exactly as you did, none of that will help relieve our pain. We are here now. In this scary, and to some quite new and never imagined place. What do we do with our fear?
Do we turn on others, or toward others? Do we share our awakening, or only our despair?
Copyright © Alice Walker 2016
Cuando era una niña que crecía en el medio de Georgia, pensaba que todos los hombres blancos eran como Donald Trump. También parecían petulantes y consentidos, infelices con todo aquello de lo que no eran el centro, brutales hacia los sentimientos de los que estaban por “debajo” de ellos y sintiéndose cómodos al lograr que los otros actuaran por odio. ¿Cómo pudimos sobrevivir eso?
Pienso en mi padre, un pobre aparcero con ocho hijos, tan desesperado por un cambio en el sistema que puso a su familia en peligro de morir de hambre que caminó hasta el lugar de votación ―una minúscula tienda propiedad de blancos en medio de la nada– para realizar el primer voto de una persona negra en el condado. Tres hombres blancos con escopetas estaban sentados mirándolo, pues se suponía que los negros no votaran y ellos estaban allí para hacer cumplir esta ley acostumbrada. Mi padre votó por Roosevelt y el “New Deal” que él esperaba también se aplicaría a la población negra.
Desciendo de una línea de gente que eligió vivir o morir de pie. Mi cuarta abuela se vio forzada a caminar encadenada desde un barco esclavista en Virginia y llevó con ella a dos pequeños niños que quizás no fueran suyos hasta Georgia central. Allí la forzaron a trabajar para gente extraña, pálida, que a ella solo pudieron parecerle demonios. Fue entregada como regalo de bodas a una joven pareja de recién casados cuando tenía una avanzada edad; la historia de este acontecimiento es un misterio hasta este día. Todo lo que sabemos es que ella vivió lo suficiente para enterrar a toda esa gente y que es a ella a quien se recuerda.
Mis tías y tíos aprendieron oficios —sastres, albañiles, constructores de casas—, lo que fuera que estuviera permitido a la gente negra y criaron a sus niños en hogares estables e incluso con cierto confort, mientras que el mundo blanco más allá de su vecindario procuraba constreñirlos en rincones tan minúsculos que para la mayoría de los “ciudadanos” de los lugares donde vivieron, ellos ni existían.
¿Cómo sobrevivir una dictadura? Eso es lo que gran parte del resto del mundo ha tenido que aprender. Nuestro país ha impuesto esta condición a tantos lugares y gente por todo el mundo que resulta ingenuo imaginarse que la evitaríamos. ¿Además, los aborígenes americanos y los afro-americanos descendientes de esclavos no se percatan de que nunca han vivido en otra cosa que en una dictadura?
En estas elecciones realmente no teníamos una opción sana, como se dice en un anuncio para algo que recuerdo vagamente. O, como dice un amigo: “la ‘opción’ era entre el desastre y la catástrofe.” Si esto lo desconcierta, aquí está el siguiente paso de mi consejo: Estudie. Realmente intente comprender a la gente por la que usted está votando. ¿Qué hacen cuando no le están sonriendo en espera de su voto? Estudie tenaz, profundamente, antes de que se cierre Internet, antes de que desaparezcan los libros. Conozca su historia y las formas en que la han mantenido oculta de usted. Comprenda cómo los políticos por los que usted vota comprenden su historia mejor que usted; algo que los ayuda a manipular a sus generaciones. Es nuestra ignorancia la que nos hace esperar que alguien a quien elegimos hará todo el trabajo mientras conducimos hasta el supermercado. Olvídese de este comportamiento como si fuera un sueño. Lo era. De cierta manera, muchos de nosotros encontraremos, quizás para nuestro asombro, que realmente no hemos vivido hasta este momento.
Nuestra sorpresa, nuestro choque, nuestra cólera, todo ello apunta a lo profundamente dormidos que estábamos.
Esto no es una lamentación. Es un consejo. Es decir: Podemos despertar totalmente. La mejor seña de ello será cómo tratemos a cada ser que se cruce en nuestro camino. Porque el cambio verdadero es personal. El cambio dentro de nosotros mismos expresado en nuestra voluntad de oír a y tener paciencia con el “otro”. Juntos avanzamos. La ira, el señalar con el dedo, el desear que cada uno hubiera hecho exactamente lo que uno hizo, nada de esto ayuda a aliviar nuestro dolor. Ahora estamos aquí. En este intimidante y, para algunos, bastante nuevo y nunca imaginado lugar. ¿Qué hacemos con nuestro miedo?
¿Nos volvemos contra otros o hacia otros? ¿Compartimos nuestro despertar o solo nuestra desesperanza?
La elección es nuestra.
Open letter in support of Iranian women and girls call for the UN and member states to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women 2022:
Excerpt from the Woman Life Freedom Press release
“This global effort—a partnership between Vital Voices, For Freedoms and a coalition of Iranian women leaders—comes amid more than 40 days of worldwide protests launched and led by Iranian women and girls after the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini. The protestors are demanding justice after Amini died on September 16, 2022 while in police custody. Amini was arrested by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly not complying with mandatory hijab laws.
Reports of extreme punishments and harsh crackdowns against protestors by Iranian authorities have flooded international headlines and social media feeds in the weeks since Amini’s death, gaining worldwide attention and scrutiny.
The group of women leaders who signed on to the letter came together in solidarity with Iranian women and girls with a clear call to action: the immediate removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.”
The Real Anthony Fauci – The Movie – Trailer
Source: Trailer on youtube
I love this so much! It has pained my very heart that humans don’t still worship the Sun. It mostly worships us back, all the time. The trees, worshipping Sun also, while shading us from an over abundance of it, are being steadily removed, and so we are vulnerable to the devastation of Sun’s rays. Not Sun’s fault. What can we do? Liberate ourselves from our own blindness, enforced “beliefs” and ignorance, and return to our abandoned common sense. ~aw
Hurricane Ian has devastated Cuba’s western provinces of Pinar del Río, Mayabeque and Artemisa. All of Cuba was without electrical power for two days. For six hours the hurricane passed slowly over Cuba, causing unprecedented destruction of thousands of homes and the region’s agriculture, and creating major flooding in Havana. Fortunately, Cuba’s evacuation of the people minimized losses to three people who died.
Cuba needs massive help to recover! The ANSWER Coalition and the Hatuey Project appeal to you to help Cuba in their time of need. Please make a donation today, so we can send urgently needed medicines and other essential needs to Cuba as soon as possible.
Electrical workers across the island are struggling mightily to restore power, and the people are working hard in the recovery.
The will and determination of the Cuban people to recover is strong. What they lack is resources, due to the U.S. economic blockade and 243 added measures signed by President Trump. Those measures have not been lifted by President Biden.
When a massive oil depot fire hit Cuba in late August, we asked for help. You responded with almost $20,000 worth of donations. We immediately delivered that medical aid to help the burn victims of the fire.
When we asked, you responded. Now we are appealing to you again.
The U.S. blockade of 60 years harms Cuba greatly. Recently, the U.S. added one more blow in its vicious assault on the Cuban Revolution — designating Cuba as a “state sponsor of terror.” This utterly false label presents a major obstacle to Cuba’s ability to trade with the world and to purchase needed supplies. Your help to provide those supplies is absolutely essential. We ask you to donate what you can immediately because, as we did with our response to the Matanzas fire, we will rush supplies that we purchase to Cuba as soon as possible. All donations are tax-deductible.
Please click here to make a donation to The Hatuey Project for Hurricane Relief. Every donation to Hatuey is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, The Alliance for Global Justice.
On behalf of The Hatuey Project, we thank you.
Brian Becker, Executive Director, ANSWER Coalition
Gloria La Riva, coordinator, Hatuey Project
Nadia Marsh, MD, Assoc. Prof. of Clinical Medicine
Simon Ma, MD, MPH, Family Medicine
Rachel Viqueira, MHS, Epidemiologist
Asabi Niambi, Alice Walker, Zainab Salbi: at The Grand Lake Theatre, in Oakland
This film (The Woman King) breaks our hearts and heals our hearts. Here we see our battle scarred selves and how the ancestors, too, carried their own warrior marks. Africa has been and always will be dear to us, her children, wherever we have been abducted. Are there areas to discuss? Beyond our joy and grief? Of course.* The work of our people in this gift opens that door too. A door we are learning to walk through.~aw
*To help with this: BARRACOON: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo.” By Zora Neale Hurston, anthropologist. Edited by Deborah G. Plant. Introduced by Alice Walker.
“We are the children of war. Come on and fight, and we’ll fight back.” Chant of Iranian young who want a future worth having. Sons, and brothers, now is the time to join your sisters and your mothers. There is no future without them.~aw
An Evening of Unity and Solidarity…featured speaker Alice Walker
Free Assange • Free Mumia • Free Palestine
Join us Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 7:00 pm
First Congregational Church, Berkeley, California
between Durant & Channing, Berkeley
MASK REQUIRED! Admission/donation $20-$10
This was a soulful gathering. Attended by those who never give up. I read a poem I rarely read: The Slain Children of Palestine Hold Council In Paradise. ~aw
Struggle is great, but absolutely you have to resist. If you don’t resist I really think you lose a part of your own life. We’re not meant to succumb to dictatorial, crazy people. We’re not. In whatever way you can resist, resist. Resistance is the secret of joy. ~aw.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Life of Howard Zinn, August 24th 1922, rebel historian extraordinaire.
Howard Zinn, before awakening. ~aw
There are no words. ~aw
Source: My Mar-a-Lago Raid | Ep. 253 Rumble with Michael Moore podcast, Aug 30, 2022
Farmers Lead: No Farmers, No Food
Onions drying on a fence photo by Alice Walker
As I am Dying
Copyright 2022 by Alice Walker
(For all the farmers of the world who are standing up.)
As I am dying
Please place a small earth streaked
In my hand.
Onion has been my friend
Throughout my long life.
From my mother’s soups and stews
To my father’s Southern frittatas
To my grandmother’s loving
Onion, you have been with me!
And what a journey it has been!
Pulling you from the dirt
As a “tot”…
Read the full poem, As I am Dying (For all the farmers of the world who are standing up.)
Lee el poema completo, Como Me Estroy Muriendo (Los Agricultores Lideran: No Hay Agricultores, No Hay Alimentos)
Why Frida loved Diego. ~aw
Diego Rivera at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. July 22- January 23. Photo by James Olmes, curator of exhibit.
What Does the Supreme Court Have Against Happiness?
Copyright 2022 by Alice Walker
I ask this having experienced John Lahr’s book about Tennessee Williams, MAD PILGRIMAGE OF THE FLESH,* a story of a gay man, a flaming gay man, a path seeker and truth sharer, who was as well one of the most tortured and brilliant playwrights of the last century. I refrain from saying he was the greatest American playwright only because to me he is beyond category. Ridiculed by his father who nicknamed him “Miss Nancy,” and stifled by a deeply disturbed mother and tortured siblings, one of whom, his favorite, Rose, was lobotomized, Tom Williams, whom we know as Tennessee, lived a childhood so bleak it is astonishing that he survived as a creative being at all.
From time to time Williams found companionship tolerant, even supportive, of his genius, but often he did not. Getting married to another man probably would not have helped him; he was a true genius and pioneer, whose self-acceptance as queer meant he was brave enough to follow his own desires. Even so, I sat wondering as I read Clarence Thomas’ threat that Gay Marriage might be next on the Supreme Court’s chopping block, whether Tennessee Williams, to my mind irreplaceable in American literary culture, would be denied the right to marry a man he loved, if he were alive and being brazenly brilliant, and blazingly gay, among us today.
As I have written elsewhere about our blighted country: Americans seem to have learned just enough about America’s aspirations to know it is our right to “pursue” happiness. But it has learned little about what it might mean to enjoy happiness itself. The Supreme Court clearly has little inkling about this matter and by now we should stop expecting it to. We can grow up to believe our own eyes. And, even more important, believe and follow our own hearts.
In fact, love will always run ahead of bad laws. Our playwrights and novelists and poets help us stay, at least psychically, ahead of those who fail to wish us well. In this brave new territory we have entered, where people decide to publicly own their own lives, by marrying who they wish – which the Supreme Court may decide to stifle or retard – we can count on our literary artists. One such guide to the new American world of hard won understanding of happiness in the context of racism, sexism, and homophobia is the extraordinary novel The Other Mother by pathfinder and brilliant novelist Rachel M. Harper. This book breaks new ground, as Williams’ plays did, throughout his long, creative life.
The Supreme Court may have clueless justices and cruel laws, but we the people have artists. I rest my case.~aw
*Narrated gloriously by actress Elizabeth Ashley.
Encounter the cynical hypocrisy from which much of the world is laboring to escape: see the stunning Mexican film: The Dance of the Forty One, directed by David Pablos, written by Monica Reveille, and produced by Pablo Cruz and El Studio.
When I Had My First Abortion: Or, I Was Spared To Be Here For You
©2022 by Alice Walker
When I had my first abortion, while a student in college and nineteen* years old, my biggest worry was that my mother, if she ever learned of it, would consider me evil and would disown me; suicide, prior to the abortion, had seemed my only option. I did not tell her for over a decade. When I did, she informed me that her love for me was unshakable. That her own mother gave birth to twelve children, before dying of ill health and overwork when I was two. My mother assured me that she herself, having become pregnant as a teenager, had tried every way a country girl could imagine to abort the fetus growing inside her. She was unmarried at the time (later she would marry my father) and was certain her own father, a brutal man, would throw her out of the house. It had not helped that she had no idea how or why there was such a thing inside her, since it was forbidden to teach young girls how they became pregnant. This forced innocence, and carefully monitored ignorance, was a carry-over from enslavement days when it was considered profitable by slave owners for enslaved women to produce as many laborers, “hands” on the plantations, as possible.
My mother had eight children though often remarking she’d wanted only six. As the eighth child I was conscious of the harm I did to her by being born.
(In Mexico, my friend X told me her mother had been pregnant 28 times. 14 of those pregnancies came to term. When she asked the priest to talk to her husband to help her avoid pregnancies that were destroying her health, the result was that her husband beat her.) She outlived him! :)
My mother’s understanding meant the world to me; it freed me to become the woman I was to be. Speaking my word when I want to; joining with a suffering humanity to bring liberation, food, medicine, light.
My second abortion was during a time I was so deeply depressed that when my husband left the house each morning and closed the door, I felt I could not possibly still be alive when he returned. I felt locked in; and in fact, that was the reality. Because in Mississippi, where our very loving but “interracial” marriage was illegal, there was a sense of no escape from the American totalitarianism that is coming now so fully into the open. We knew the children being fire-hosed were innocent of anything but being children struggling for a future. We knew the beatings, car bombings, explosions, house and church burnings, and violent assassinations were intimations of a future that more and more is coming to pass. To bring anyone, especially a helpless infant, into what was clearly a destructive situation, in a world where few in power even pretended to care for children of color, seemed the very definition of madness.
The first abortion cost more money than I had ever held in my hands. It was raised by friends. The second abortion, without emotional support of any kind – my husband was away prosecuting a Civil Rights case in the racist courts; and after a long lonely, flight from Mississippi to New York – was brutal. Though it was done in a clinic that professed to care about women, the attitude of the mostly male staff was, apparently, that women seeking abortions should be punished. I was given no anesthetic and the pain was so severe I fainted. I bled for over a week. Why I didn’t die is something I’ve often pondered. But not only did I not die, I don’t recall even complaining. Who would understand? No one around me at the time, it seemed. Not even the man I had married.
Perhaps I did not die because I need to be here to say to young women: Courage. You have mothers and aunts and grandmothers who understand perfectly well the terror you are facing. You have elders!
There was a saying in the Women’s movement years ago: If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. We must remember this now.
We are in for a hellacious time. (Rape camps, anyone?) We can study China to see how wretchedly wrong heartless leadership can be. China years ago instituted a one child policy. Their way of mitigating their out- of- control birth rate and bring their population down to reasonable – in their view – numbers. What this did to women (and the men who loved them) can be glimpsed in a film called One Child Nation. It can be seen, in this film, how even the party hacks who enforced this law became broken humans (men, mostly) who thought they were doing a good thing, because they believed the rhetoric of their leaders, but later understood they had no right to humiliate, degrade, and ultimately attack women whose only “crime” was that they were pregnant when their government didn’t want them to be.
American women are now to be pregnant because their government demands they be.
Today there are women and girls snatched off the street by trafficers, i.e. enslavers, slave-catchers, who are forced to give birth over and over again in order to bring China’s population “back” into balance. In India there has been a similar disaster. And, one must ask, is it the object of the court’s ruling to bring whites, especially white males “back into ‘balance,'” since there has been a fraught discussion for decades now concerning the lowering white birthrate.
In China male indifference to the suffering of the female body has created a society in which though there are millions of cameras everywhere no one seems capable of seeing or saying anything; without fear of the most severe reprisal.
We are heading that way.
America will face incredible suffering because of the lack of compassion exhibited by the Supreme Court justices who voted for removal of protection to often poor, scared, unprepared women guaranteed by Roe V. Wade.
In our hearts we know if Trump and Co., the justices he installed, really cared about children they would feed and clothe and house the ones already born. They would not permit children to languish in cages. They would not let pregnant women chase after section 8 housing vouchers in hopes of finding a place for themselves and their children to live. They would not permit weapons to flow like a river into places like Ukraine, or onto our own city streets, where the only object is to terrorize and kill as many humans as possible. They would have stopped the murder, unending, of the people and animals of Africa, our Mother continent.
My position as elder is simply to tell young women of my own experience; what it taught me about the reality of indifference, cruelty, malicious harm done often to defenseless people. A pregnant woman forced to term is defenseless. When the great task of pregnancy is completed in duress and not in joy, the world suffers. This has been, in my view, one of the greatest causes of unhappiness on the planet, a planet being controlled and mismanaged mostly by men (and their female accomplices) who, for whatever reason, are not recognized and stopped early enough to prevent their gargantuan harm to humanity and the Earth.
*I misremembered this as seventeen, but I was nineteen, and in meditation this became clearer to me: also clearer and dearer the faces of my friends, Carole and Brooke, white and black, who saved my life. /\. Bowing.
Alice and Rebecca Walker, mid-Eighties, on the set of The Color Purple
Photo by Gordon Parks
My third and final abortion was spontaneous; it occurred after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., after my husband and I attended his funeral and walked four miles (as I recall) behind his shattered body.
My decision to request and receive tubal ligation happened at this time. The country was not safe for anyone. Both my husband and I knew it. It dismayed us both that his written permission was required by the hospital before this procedure – the only way I could imagine securing my freedom from imposed subjection to a male dominated code of life – was done.~aw
(FOTO de Gordon Parks)
Alice y Rebecca Walker, mediados de los 80, en el plató de El Color Púrpura.
There Are Grandfathers Worthy of the Name
The Thankful Poor by Henry Ossawa Tanner
There are grandfathers worthy of the name.
Noam Chomsky and what love is. ©2022 by Alice Walker
It has amused me at times to note some of the places I have been criticized. The most odd was the mockery for saying I love old men. This was of course long before I became old myself. I didn’t understand it. Why should my love of old men, starting with my devil-as-a-young-man grandfather, raise hackles? Decades later, looking at recent photos of Noam Chomsky, where he is definitely an old man, I see clearly what it is that always appealed to me.
A lack of hesitation in recognizing and stating facts, i.e. reality. Which Chomsky has done apparently all his life. When I was most puzzled about the recent and ongoing planet threatening collision between Russia and Ukraine (when I traveled through those countries in the Sixties they were both the Soviet Union) I looked him up. And can direct you to some of the most sensible and thoughtful intelligence regarding this matter to be found on the planet.
Old men with cajones and smarts (and Chomsky has to be one of the smartest humans who ever lived) telling us what they’ve observed, and deeply know, must definitely be invited to walk beside us. If not in front. Apparently this freedom of caring enough about humanity to tell the truth about what they know is what I’ve loved in old men all along. ~aw
Chomsky: WAR in Ukraine is “AN INSANE EXPERIMENT” by the USA! (05/2022) You Tube. See also fierce Granddaughters on this subject: Wonderfully savvy Kim Iverson of THE HILL, (now at The Kim Iverson Show), and Palki Sharma of the extraordinarily knowledgeable and brilliant, GRAVITAS. You Tube. Democracy Now, with Amy Goodman, remains a warrior at spreading reality. Much of it blindingly tragic. REDACTED with Natali and Clayton Morris offers thoughtful analysis of our ongoing puppet show. They are “mom and pop” in the best sense imaginable. Taking care of business as they see it.
We do not have to be entertained by “news” that assumes we can survive Covid, the endless spins on Covid, and more diseases coming down the pike, plus a nuclear war, while starving.~aw
The World Does Not Want Me Anymore…
The writer Ding Ling, Alice Walker holding tight to her! Tillie Olsen, Chen Ming (husband of Ding Ling)Paule Marshall, Nellie Wong, et al. Beijing, China 1982.
Photo by Susan Kirschner.
“THE WORLD DOES NOT WANT ME ANYMORE”… Chinese woman in chains.
Sister, if you ever see this, know that the world does want you. And here you see in this photograph that women all over the world understand we are in peril, together. Here in 1982 we are surrounding the heroic dissident Ding Ling who suffered also from a toxic male leadership that erased millions.
In order for us to begin to understand our common danger, we must study, so that your cry of abandonment has context. This is not a call to war- for all wars at this point are patently insane. What we can perhaps save is your feeling of dignity. Of worth. You might also feel our compassion and deep love of you. You are our mother, our sister, our grandmother, our aunt. You are kin, in whatever form the heart can feel this. You are also our teacher; your treatment intimating a future brutal beyond imagining.
No human being should be required to suffer from the colossal errors of its government. If all we can do is study what is happening to women, in China and elsewhere, the attempt apparently everywhere to kick us back down the stairs of freedom, then we resolve to do that. I would rather know what is happening to you, than not know. If all I can muster to stand beside you is the lighting of a candle in my own country, my own house, I will do that. But learning more, and more, and more, we must!
A good place to begin to comprehend our peril is with this film “One Child Nation.” It is on Netflix. Recognizing that the country of bad ideas is one country.
One Child Nation (2019) – IMDb
https://www.imdb.com › titleFirst-time mother and filmmaker Nanfu Wang uncovers the untold history of China’s One–Child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by … After viewing this film, or even before viewing it, here is the hashtag below signaling urgent exploration of our sister’s plight and that of untold numbers of children and adults in China. Will you ever, somehow, our sister in chains, know that sleep among some of us, is lost, over your cry of desolation? I pray this is so. And that we awaken together to make it our business not only to know your fate, but to change it.~aw
Pale Face, Forked Tongue, Wasichu* i.e. Fat Taker: Thoughts On Being Slandered (Prepared for, though not delivered, at a gathering at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California). April 2022.
©2022 by Alice Walker
It has occurred to me that the best way to engage the charge of anti-Semitism is to confront it in a public forum. This is such a space. Thank you for being here and please do me the courtesy of listening as if our lives depend on what we share; they might. For we are living in the most volatile and unpredictable era humanity, to our imperfect knowledge, has ever seen.
During the Q & A I will do my best to be an Elder you can trust. I have no fear for my life, my reputation, or my legacy. In fact, in my view no one need worry about being remembered. Walk anywhere on the earth and you understand that earlier humans, who lived here, whatever their contributions and gifts, are forever gone.
I believe the charge against me, mostly from anonymous sources – except of course from the always truthful Alan (I kept my shorts on) Dershowitz, who also accuses Bernie Sanders of being anti-Semitic – is a ploy to shut down my webpage blog: alicewalkersgarden.com. I believe the pretext will be that I am endorsing David Icke, considered an anti-Semite for espousing theories of human evolution and control that appear unacceptable; and for describing some of our ancestors as descendants of reptilians from another galaxy.
Why would my webpage be shut down? Because I regularly post disturbing photos and videos from an Israeli peace activist friend, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, that graphically expose what is being done to the people and especially to the children of Palestine by the Israeli government and its soldiers.
I have been to Gaza and also the West Bank. My companions and I were forcibly turned back when we tried to enter Gaza by sea, carrying letters of love and support to children who are terrorized every moment of their lives. I know what Israeli occupation and apartheid looks like on the ground. It is terrifying, and lethal.
Not since my earliest days in the racist battlefield of the American South, and especially of Mississippi, where I lived for seven years, (with a courageous Jewish American husband) had I experienced such terror. Not as much for myself, as an American, as for the local Palestinians wherever I went. Treated more inhumanely than most Americans – unfamiliar with the former apartheid system in the American South – can imagine. And in fact, treated a thousand times worse. They are living in hell.
David Icke whom I consider a teacher and a friend, a man who has more nerve than anyone I’ve ever encountered, except perhaps Fidel Castro, is being used as a pretext to control my persistent effort to awaken Americans, who give Israel each year- for weapons that terrorize, mutilate, and murder adults and children- more money than working class Americans, collectively, earn.
There is a story that comes to mind about this friendship, more accurately spiritship, with Icke (whom I have conversed with only once) which may seem peculiar to many, and was actually odd to me, in the beginning of reading his very dense, heavily researched, books. I have always adored mythology, and for a time I never considered his theories anything else. Though introducing me to the South African Shaman Credo Mutwa was heavily in his favor.
At a conference in Mexico that explored the use of entheogens (plants that permit us more easily to “talk with ‘God’”) I was annoyed when a friend spent lots of time talking to what looked to me – all slouched shoulders, Southern drawl and drinking a beer – like a perfect “redneck”; as we so frustratingly sometimes referred to those oppressing us.
She didn’t cave to my criticism, only saying: “that’s not the part of him – the “redneck” part – I was connecting with.” This was a lesson I hope never to forget. People have a right to connect with whatever part of other people that allows them to speak with and listen respectfully to them. This ability is sorely needed in our world. For instance: what if Biden and Putin went on a retreat of two or three days together and hashed out what is to become of a war between Russia and Ukraine that looks like it might lead to destruction of the world?
Black people, who are frequently charged with something absurd whenever we dare to step into a public forum we are deemed unqualified to enter, have been in America at least since the 1600s. We have seen a lot and remember most of it. The terror, for instance, that comes of being black people in racist white America, is literally in our cells. Many of the people charging me – and other people of color with anti-Semitism – by comparison, and relatively speaking, arrived recently to these shores.
For many of them the idea that reptilian ancestry might be responsible for some of our worst trauma in America seems far-fetched. They would doubtless be surprised to learn that “snake” i.e. reptilian, was a code word for many centuries that Black and Native Americans used for the human appearing beings who inflicted barbarous treatment on enslaved women, children, and men, for at least 400 years. And literal genocide on the Indigenous populations in the Americas amounting to hundreds of millions of deaths. What else would you call people who raped, starved, murdered, sold into slavery, chopped off hands, ears, penises, etc., and “strung up” people, and burned them sometimes alive and screaming, while eating snacks and laughing?
So though I am such a lover of myth that I dived into Icke’s work as if he were Joseph Campbell, the well known mythologist who taught at my college, Sarah Lawrence, I was soon considering the behavior of whites in the South, when I, my parents, and ancestors, were living there. Whites who seemed to have not one iota of soul, i.e. compassion. This led me to realize that this word too, “soul” was what black people used to identify their difference from the people who abused them without conscience and sometimes, most times, without thought. Certainly without feeling. Reptilian behavior, for sure, by anyone who has ever observed snakes.
Where does it come from? This complete lack of compassion, of empathy, in some so-called “humans?” As a country, as a world, why not consider the question?
I was brought up to love everyone. “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” That was my nature and, even as a child, I was never afraid to show it. It was also the essence of the teachings of Jesus that was bedrock in our church. Black people remain remarkably compatible with this Jewish Palestinian from a world most, to this day, can barely imagine. Which is itself cause for wonder.
Realizing it would be impossible for us to automatically love white people who treated us despicably, we were rarely allowed in their presence. My mother and father absorbed all of their racist arrogance and abuse for us, heads lowered and words few. Except when my mother was in a mood and some white man, who wanted his fields tended right now, tried to tell her it was useless to educate her children.
I feel almost in my mother’s position now. I feel hounded by people I never get to see. Accused by people who are not courageous enough to show their faces. I once asked an anonymous voice accusing me from his seat to stand up. I waited. He never did. If someone like that is here tonight, please stand up. You have a right to your opinion, just as I do. And I ask the people in the audience to listen to you with respect. If not respect for what you say, then for your right to say it.
Two months before my new book GATHERING BLOSSOMS UNDER FIRE: THE JOURNALS OF ALICE WALKER was published, my friend and editor, the incomparable Valerie Boyd, died of pancreatic cancer. We knew her death was coming, but we danced the dance of hopefulness for about seven years. Rather than read this piece about the charges against me of befriending the wrong person, and being anti-Semitic as well, I decided, along with my friend Beverly Guy-Sheftall who moderated the evening, to remain in a mood of gratitude, heartfelt sorrow and remembrance, and, ultimately, celebration.
Being accused of outlandish things is not new to any African American man or woman, or courageous white person or Native American of any sexuality. We have only to study our history to see this is so. It is also not new that we have learned to respond in ways that make life bearable for us. This is completely human and should not be judged.
I prefer to resist. Because, as one of my characters comprehends as she faces a firing squad for killing the old woman who genitally mutilated her as a child: Resistance is the secret of joy.
Om Na Ma Shivaya: I bow to our inner light.
Wasichu (Wa–see–chu) is Sioux for “fat taker” – one who takes everything of value (literally living off the “fat” of the land) while leaving behind despair, ruin and starvation.
Below: What Solidarity looks like. ~aw
April 26, 2022
Chris Hedges: Alice Walker & the Price of Conscience
Happy Birthday Mumia Abu-Jamal/ April 24
What have you given us
to accompany our despair?
A life lived to the full
In a cage too small for it.
A teaching. A miracle.
Accept, please, our gratitude.
Know as well our sorrow
That we could not get you out.
Deepest bows. ~aw
MY RENEGADE GARDEN IN CAREYES
(Photo by Manuel Vejar Castenada)
I Had Only A Month
©2022 by Alice Walker
(Especially for GFB who would have been appalled.)
I had only a month
and a trowel
that had seen
still, my heart
to grow something
for the sheer
The rocks were heavy,
the men strong
who came to help;
the seeds brave.
Thank you Mother
for all simple
and satisfying things.
For gardens made
from what’s on hand
and for friendships
that learn to grow
along with red zinnias
and green collard
Standing in the Ring of Life: Pub day April 12th 2022
Parados en el cuadrilátero de la vida: Día de publicación: abril 12 de 2022
Dream Team: Valerie and Evelyn and Ali Gathering Blossoms Under Fire /
Equipo Ideal: Valerie y Evelyn y Ali Recogiendo Flores Bajo Fuego.
Photo by Jean Weisinger Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: Oakland Boathouse Celebration of Being.
Foto de Jean Weisinger: Los tiempos duros exigen bailes frenéticos: Oakland Boathouse celebración del ser.
Image source: MoveOn ~ Celebrating the nomination of Judge Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court!
For All Beloveds Born in the Willing Springtime of March! Photo by Alice walker 2022
The peach tree that seemed
soon to be
The one we must win
We Who Believe in Freedom Can Not Rest; We Who Believe in Freedom Can Not Rest Until It Comes: Ella Baker’s song as sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock. Presente!
Los Que Creemos En la Libertad No Podemos Descansar…Hasta Que Ella Llega (Ella Baker, Querida, ¡Presente!)
Code Pink – Open letter: Solidarity with Russian anti-war protestors
Source credit for this open letter: Code Pink
”Add your name to the open letter from women, and other feminists (including men), in solidarity with Russian anti-war protestors.
Dear Russian anti-war protestors,
We, women and other feminists (including men) of the world, express our solidarity with you as you protest the devastating invasion of Ukraine, and we join your call for Russian troops to immediately leave Ukraine. We are aware of the risks you face from police and civil authorities and thank you for your profound bravery and sacrifice. We are also moved by the tremendous courage of the Ukrainian people in the face of disaster, and our hearts ache as we bear witness to Ukrainian families huddling in bomb shelters and parking garages, or facing long lines at the border after being forced to flee their homes.
We have experience standing up to our own governments’ aggression. During the U.S./NATO invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to oppose the horrific destruction of entire cities and the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Now, as Russian missiles mercilessly wipe out your neighbors’ homes, medical facilities, and schools in Ukraine, we see you take to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities in peaceful protest, and we are so deeply inspired and grateful.
As we oppose this brutal war being waged in your name, we are also aware of the role the U.S. and NATO have played in stoking the geopolitical crisisthat led to this war. We have opposed NATO’s expansion into Central and Eastern Europe, and we continue to oppose NATO expansion today. We steadfastly believe Ukraine should be a neutral country.
Today, as Putin has put your nuclear arsenal on high alert, we see the terrifying possibility of this conflict spinning out of control. The U.S. and Russia are guilty of stockpiling 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, putting the entire world at risk, and violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As we organize today to stop this war, we must work together in the future to force our governments to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons so we can rid the world of this existential threat to survival on our beautiful planet.
The imposition of sanctions aimed to damage the Russian economy also concerns us. We have no problem with taking yachts and private jets from oligarchs, but sanctions that hurt millions of ordinary Russians like you and impact the entire global economy are cruel and counterproductive. We have seen the devastating results of sanctions in countries from Cuba to Iran to North Korea–such sanctions harm the civilian population, particularly women, children, and the elderly, and fail to change government policies.
Instead of indiscriminate sanctions and fanning the flames by pouring more weapons into Ukraine, we demand that Russia and Ukraine engage in serious negotiations, with all the compromises this would entail.
As women and other feminists, we have had enough of senseless wars that destroy lives and communities while lining the coffers of weapons manufacturers. We’ve seen too many attacks on civilians from Yemen to Gaza to Ethiopia to Ukraine, and we’ve watched in horror as precious resources are poured into wars while families’ basic needs for food, shelter, education, and healthcare go unmet and climate change threatens all life on our planet. A world of violence, hatred, and destruction is not the world we want for our children. With fire in our bellies and love in our hearts, we join with you — across borders — to demand an end to the bloodshed and the destruction.
Russian Troops Out of Ukraine!
No NATO expansion!
Peace Talks NOW!
Thank you for signing!!
As Bad(d) As It Gets: Valerie and Her Sisters
Valerie Boyd, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ti Walker, Alice Walker, Hidden Sister, Deborah Plant, Evelyn White, Diana Young, Joan Miura. Hard Times Require Furious Dancing Celebration: Oakland Boathouse Autumn 2019. Photo by Jean Weisinger.
Valerie Boyd, Presente.
You Are the Best. ~aw
Healing the Soul We Love
©2022 by Alice Walker
Though you have left
I feel you still
Beside me. As present
As the phone call
From your hospital
My birthday dinner
A continent away
As you were
That presents itself
As showing up
Is the fruit
Is to come. Juntos. Which
We have done
Since the days
-Even before the days-
Was to hit the yellow brick road
Of our shared journey
Free and dancing;
Your locks swinging
Next to my shaved
A Medicine tour
“Healing the Soul
In you I found a soul mate
That when I offered
This title for our tour
You considered it obvious:
All you said was: Right.
I am thankful
Our work was held up,
As we waited
For your illness
To show us
The steps to its dance.
For we were learning
Far more important
We were learning
How to keep absolute faith
With ancestors, each other,
Learning to ride
The crushing wave
That brings us home:
The home we may fear
We will never reach
On such a disturbingly
If so often internal,
Get Up, Stand up… Happy Birthday Bob Marley, Feb. 6th. Welcome Curtis Mohammad, One of your multitude of brothers, whose spirit you knew, and sang, sight unseen. ~aw
Happy Birthday, Langston. Feb.1st.
Just so you know: Wonders
Though you appeared
Coincidences are appointments that God makes but doesn’t take credit for.
I’ve given my life for my dreams, and my dreams give me life.
`Gian Franco Brignone
©2022 by Alice Walker
Now I know
That we were
It seemed unlikely
When I found myself
Only starving for lunch
Outside your rose
My artist’s eye delighted
& bonded happily
With your intimacy
and with Art.
I had no boat,
And was never near
Enough to water
To learn to sail.
But having a home,
The longing for one
All my young life,
Was a desire
Each of us
Just as I have found
And resurrected from
Oblivion and ruin
Many a dwelling,
You have created inhabitable
The hills around
My modest house
Are full of them.
You have left us
Such a long life;
With mysteries, traumas,
Disasters and joys,
As all lives
Seen from outside
Or even up close
Of those with money
The source of which
I kept a distance –
You invited me and my
Richly varied friends
To eat at your table
& go swimming
On top of your
Only you would situate
A swimming pool
Up there, better to
Swim in the sky
You must have thought;
Just as a ladder that stretches
Beyond the roof
Of your study
Alike to meet
Intergalactic gossip &
A bottle of
We part not as friends
But as kindred spirits.
Each of us singular, driven,
But knowing as we study
Nature, so like
Worshiping the beauty
All around us –
Proof of having
Into the one home
With All That Is,
Truest of all,
There’s more! Gian Franco Brignone on the 27 Conditions To Owning A Home In Careyes
Dakini the Skywalker * thangka by Myumi Oda, photo by Alice Walker 2022
WALKING THROUGH THE NARROWING GATE
OF OUR FUTURE
© 2022 by Alice Walker (January 1st)
As we walk
Through the narrowing gate
Of our future
Who will guide and be
Only those who have known
Those whose suffering
And so, here is a list
The Real Anthony Fauci devastating revelations especially regarding Africa by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Taken from life
before our stricken eyes
For the children
Of the poor.
The Three Mothers by Anna Malika Tubbs
Of Baldwin, Martin, & Malcolm,
Who taught their sons
Never to abandon us;
Perceptions of a Renegade
Mind: by David Icke
The story of what a free mind,
Inflamed, by children of
Immigrants Rupa Marya & Raj Patel
who searched out
the root causes of
And were not blinded
By the “1st world’s” bling.
Passing, the straight lick
with the crooked stick that teaches
blackness is and is not
a color; movie by Rebecca Hall, novel by Nella Larsen
Black Fortunes: The story
Of the first six African Americans
Who escaped slavery
And became millionaires. by Shomari Wills
History That Can Heal
By teaching us
We can pull ourselves out
Of almost anything.
Are we not enslaved this moment by our fear?
Are we not smelling the “one magnolia” that sends
through the swamps?
Dakini Teachings talk about the need to reflect on our own mind, which is the mysterious home of the Dakinis.
Tibetan Buddhists teach a very simple practice to go deep within our own mind. It is to reflect on all the beings we have been in prior lifetimes: once we were snakes, once we were fish, once we were the monk of a temple, once we were a prostitute. These past lives are all reflected as who we are in this moment. It’s basically the same as how Zen Buddhism teaches coexistence. By understanding the deep interconnectedness, you become a “sky walker”in this universe; in both heaven and earth, you have the freedom to walk through, unimpeded.
The Dakini were originally lower class women who worked on funeral rites, chopping up bodies with cleavers before putting them up on the sky burial platform. So, in this painting the Dakini is holding a cleaver.
This Dakini helps you visualize your body; the symbol of selfhood, being chopped by a cleaver and put into a cauldron made of a skull. The body burns with a cleansing fire and becomes the Amrita, or nectar, offered as a practice of complete surrender to Dharma. ***
From: SARASVATI’S GIFT: The Autobiography of Mayumi Oda: Artist, Activist, and Modern Buddhist Revolutionary