Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bedik Ancestors live below the Tree of Souls

From my upcoming book 
We All Have Five Fingers  
My Quest with the Bedik Tribe
 (While I went to listen and learn about the African roots to my beliefs and religion, I learned something far less lofty about myself.)

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
Hermann Hesse, Baume

Bedik tribe village of Iwol in remote Southeast Senegal

Janis: "Chief Keita, you mentioned that the Bedik pray. Please tell me how you pray."

Chief Jean Baptiste Keita: "When we pray to the sacred Baobab tree or to the Fromager tree, the prayers are directed there and from there the God transmits the prayers to our dead ancestors.

" So you see, trees are sacred to us, we Bedik.

"For example, if you consider that sacred big Baobab tree which is measuring 33 meters and a half, it was planted on the tomb of dead Keita, the Keita family. The Keita family was the first to settle here. It was the Keita family, which was buried there.  Now you know that there is a tomb under the sacred baobab. 

"At the beginning of every year we go and say prayers around the tree, to implore our ancestors." 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How I met Wassily Kandinsky during my current teenage development

In creating the illustrations of the remote African tribal myths and archetypal dreams I've recorded over the past 16 years, I have two struggles:

This is my first attempt to create the mystical feeling I experienced with Mbahuma, the highest ranking Himba tribe shaman near Epupa Falls, Namibia.

1) create an accurate depiction of the story the elders, chiefs, storytellers, shamans and witch doctors told me in a way that Westerners can understand; and 

2) create an illustration that not only attracts the viewer's attention, but also has a spiritual presence.

After looking at a number of Kandinsky paintings, this was my effort. Mbahuma told me that his shamanistic powers came through to him through his toe from his deceased uncle, who was also a powerful shaman.
At this point I feel like a teenager in my development stage of creating these myth images. But then I look at early works by Kandinsky and Chagall to see that they too developed and matured along their artistic path.