We Will Dance With Mountains - Let Us Make Sanctuary
October 2020-January 2021
L I B A T I O N S F R O M L I V E S E S S I O N S
Some multi-media harvests have been created out of the We Will Dance with Mountains - Let us make sanctuary live sessions.
This is a space to share these libations.
If you wish to share a libation created during or inspired by a live session, please send an uploadable file to Aerin.
WWDWM IV - Live Session Playlist
The playlist from live sessions can be found right here. This list may include songs that were or were not actually played during the live session; but all were selected with the spirit of this course in mind. There are also several songs that are not on evil spotify. You can find those right here: Shadows by Hattie & Her Man Band; Who Scarred You by Will See feat. Nadir; Inner City Travelin' Man by Yasiin Gaye / Amerigo Gazaway; Welcome to the Mutant Show by Will See; Nakweshkodaadiidaa Ekoobiiyag by Sacramento Knoxx feat. Christy B, Kaz Clever; News Flash: Don't Let your Spirit Get Eaten by Sacramento Knoxx; Stakes is High by Fela Soul / Amerigo Gazaway; Ancestor’s Revenge by Faces of Death / Shamako Noble & Will See; Life In Marvelous Times by Mos Def; Slippin' by Annabelle Maginnis & Kenny Zhao; Peeled by onu blu.
Session 1 | 18 October
This is a collection of words and drawings from Marcela Teran leading up to and during her discernment around WWDWM IV, and also inspired by the first live session.
May we allow ourselves to break open like seeds, and be receptive to what may flourish.
May we embrace the invitation to fugitivity, freeing ourselves from rigidity, opening up to possibilities.
cian o reilly created this audio-collage from the recording of the first live session. Here's what cian shared about this libation:
I've created an offering for our sanctuary space here, a lovingly arranged condensed audio collage of the pieces of the first mountaindancing session that I will like to listen to again and again, maybe for years to come...It's mainly a remix of Bayo and Brother M, sometimes even interweaving one another as a duo! They go very well together.
Jennifer Baird shard this work-in-progress from the two lead-in events and the first live session. The artist had this to say about the emergent painting:
Images of strange, wild beings heading into the mountains - cavorting, dancing, yearning, shedding anything fixed. Gathering as individuals to create a holding space, a cauldron......for what?....What will emerge? So I’ll be sketching and painting along the way! Here’s one in progress. Anyone want to give it a title?
And another beautiful piece by Jennifer Baird from the first live session:
Amber Samaya shared scribblings from the first session, saying:
Wrote down the leaves that I noticed falling.
Patricia Canellis Flesjø sent us this stunning photograph following the first session, saying: Deeply touched by the first encounter with all of you.
From the sketchbook of Cheryl Hsu. Along with these evocative images, Cheryl sent these words: Sharing what unfolded for me through drawing today... a transformative senseful session of letting go and letting come.
Session 2 | 1 November
Our fabulous MC and organizing team member, Owólobi William Copeland did an incredible reading of this piece in our second live session.
Granny is the revolution
Owólabi William Copeland
It is simple. Granny is the revolution, we’ve been dreaming of. College educated, college drop out, never been to college, working through college, back to college, still paying for college. This woman with a third grade education said, “Don’t be an educated fool.” Granny is the revolution.
The children who could read pronounced each birthday card to her—over and over and over again. Granny is the revolution always encircled by sounds of love.
Music blasted the streets on Friday or Saturday nights. Men popped their bottles or sipped from plastic cups. Across from Granny’s house, children could run and play. Look out for ‘em. Those are Granny’s folk. Granny is the revolution.
If every home were like Granny’s house, a second chance, a spot for reflection for the cousin who is dealing, a third chance for the cousin with a jones, a place to turn when you’re done with those knuckle heads in the street. Granny’s house is the hope of the city.
An African name whispered from the mouth of a man called slave. Hands on her hips, demonstrating her take-no-shit attitude that has only grown in the generations. What Mississippi hoodoo brought us from “I ain’t really want no kids no how” to 15 children, 56 grandchildren, 92 great grandchildren, 41 great great grandchildren, 7 great great great grand-
grand Granny is the revolution.
Granny is the revolution that didn’t talk about revolution.
She simply raised thirteen of her own children, two of her children’s friends, three of her grandchildren, and everybody who came to the house after school; to get away from their fussy mamas, on summer vacations in Detroit before crack and automation jacked our hearts and pocketbooks. When the East Side was The Side.
Before it became popular for white people to hate on the D. Before it became profitable for us to hate on each other. She simply raised women to say what the hell they were gonna say and always put a little something away. She simply raised men who could hustle, juggle, bustle, toil, and tumble for their family and say “I love you, cousin.” Both sober and drunk. Simply put, Granny is the revolution.
May her Spirit live always in our brilliant burning hearts.
Sunrise 12 24 1916
Sunset 8 17 2006
"The Villains," our shared whiteboard creations:
A few words of reflection from Penélope Baquero some hours after the session on November 1st:
"I am so grateful with the emptiness i feel tonight. I feel empty of arguments. Empty of justifications for my actions or punishing thoughts for my lack of accomplishment in the world saving realm. Empty of reasons to feel only trapped in the industrial dream.
The questions we play with here let me see the many ways in which to be with all of this destruction and stay alive and creative. Loosing faith in the nation-states never felt so playful. And i do not mean it in a naive way. I mean to say that the only way i can take this work seriously is if i allow myself to be as playful as possible. Otherwise this shit gets scary: Shapeshifting? Being porous? Becoming lost? Unable to track myself down? No guru to blame? How else could i deal with this if not playfully?
I am so grateful for the emptiness i feel tonight. My loneliness is not as conducive to gratitude. But the emptiness of old constructs -as temporary as it might be- feels really great.
Yes, i second all of you who grieve the lack of physicality, the apparent reduction of our relationships to a screen. I miss you. But i also trust that what we are doing is feeding good yummy wholesome food to the consciousness that wants the good diverse life to stay alive. It is the hard-to-accept blessing of our technological society weaving method available to us. Look at us, how many are still ruminating with our weird experience this early morning?"
Jon Marro created this incredible image based on a phrase from Bayo that caught his attention.
A few lovely word collages (as well as an entire audio remastering of session 2) from our sound-wizardess, cian o reilly:
- Re-live Lanxton's magical embodiment journey here.
- Listen to a super-condensed collage of cian's favourite bits from session 2 that flow fairly seamlessly and give a concise blast of a session summary here. This is a 'take this instead of an energy drink' kinda thing.
- Or listen here to our entire second mountain dance cleaned of its rough zoomy edges; for listening to again and again and again and again...
When Dr. Dehiscence graced our presence on November 1st:
And a few more words from Kelly Golden, inspired by the broken questions:
"Nothing but gaps and broken questions, thresholds of possibility, shelf upon shelf of consideration and contemplation, and the unrelenting desire for each precipice to be leading to somewhere, a landing.
THAT is the biggest challenge--to not seek landings, foundations, solidity or certainty. And instead, rejoice in the fall, the interweaving and overlapping and never stopping of it all, the enmeshment with shapeshifting space.
All questions are broken. All questions are broken because answers are fluid and based in individual perspective, which is rarely ever shared in their specificity. When answers are illusions, the desire for liberation makes answers the obstacle. In some languages, illusion is synonymous with the word "Magic." Is it possible that the answers are not the problem at all, but rather its our desire for answers to be comprehensive and changeless rather than tricksters themselves?
My broken questions are these: Do we want liberation so much that we are actively and willingly disregarding the magic of seeking answers? Are we so bound to our unbinding that we are overlooking the very tools that are right here? How can we see more through our limited lenses? How can we unite our not knowing with our desire to know and see what magic (answers) emerge?
Can we remember (and be reminded) that answers (magic) and questions are not static? And that answers aren't "wrong", only temporary, changeable, and not dependable. Answers might be spells of movement rather than fixed positions, stepping stones in the gap, landing pads that will inevitably crumble beneath our feet, but for a moment they provide perspective and re-calibration, the opportunity to dislodge from our panic, and anchor into our integrity. Providing for us the opportunities to fall again and again, from magic to magic, from answer to answer. Learning, crumbling, questioning, expanding and spell casting all the way... "
Julie Johnson was inspired by a funny comment made by jiordi rosales during the second WWDWM session. He mentioned something about an "Exam on Falling Apart later in the course." Julie said, "that hit my creative writing funny bone. Since then I’ve been day dreaming about what an exam for this course so far might be like...and what would It say... So here’s my proposed Exam..."
Session 3 | 15 November
A collage by Elisha MacMillan from the third live session. Accompanied by these words:
"A libation for anyone who as a child felt alien, monstrous, alone, humiliated, ashamed, unloved, unloveable... a pool of water rises from the depths of Earth, a place to play, feel held and loved."
Here are some monsters that practice shapeshifting in a very homemade/low tech way. Created by Annabelle Berrios.
The objects that called to Toni Lopez Krause for the alien Making Together exercise; they ended up preferring to express Toni's integration of Bayo's talk instead:
"I made this felt with needle on wool during and after the session. At first it was going to be my usual defined figure magical space but the wool and the colors wanted to stay fluid. Two names came for it: 'a container for a dream' and 'sick human body secretion'. Are they different places to be in? This is the kind of weird stuff that happens with the way Bayo uses words and with the way brave weirdoes seem to gather around the wordiness... " - Penelope Baquero
A piece started in the Zoom waiting room for the third session by one of our amazing WWDWM artists, Jennifer Baird.
Last, but never least, is our lovingly arranged audio mixdown of the third mountain dancing session by cian o reilly:
Listen here to a version of the audio recording cleaned of its rough, zoomy edges.
A reflection in image and words following the third session from Marcela Teran:
May we release our need to control, and our expectation to achieve specific outcomes.
1. The atmosphere with geo-engineered earrings, flirting with the sun.
2. A conspiracy of the death, longing to ’take root amongst the stars’ (inspired by Octavia Butler).
Session 4 | 29 November
Words from Austen Smith and their lamentation during the diffracted talk of the fourth session.
Penélope Baquero's lamentation – Where do I go from here? – from our fourth live session.
Where do I go from here?
by Penélope Baquero
I am an activist.
My career, my marriage, my parenting, my migration
are built on that identity.
I used to say it with pride:
"An activist artist".
Then, strange voices asked:
how can we adapt to societal collapse?
why are our activisms not changing the world?
what are we missing?
how is grief postactivism?
I don't know what i would put on my resume anymore:
recovering activist artist?
Somehow these questions took over me.
They must have caught me exhausted sorting piles of recycling and stuff...
and now, I flee.
But there is no place to go
An anthropocene plantation was placed inside my body
before I came into this world.
Cavities with mercury fillings
sugar, GMO vegetables, formula, burgers, soda pop in baby bottle
Let´s not get too dark here though...
A majestic tree
An ocean's poetry
A bird's joke
A whiff of clean air
That is also me!
It feels good to know that I am not separate!
It gives me so much relief: we are all connected in the web of life, children.
But then, the relief becomes cortisol...
I am entangled with everything. Am I entangled with everything? No wonder I don't understand! No wonder it hurts so much! No wonder I can never get there, I cannot fix it.
No wonder the escape is no longer a journey through the lands. Like I used to believe.
I take the anthropocene plantation wherever I go.
Bayo, why do you ask these questions?
Can´t you see I like trees, I like ocean, I like mangos
I like sweaters, yoga mats, bikinins,
I like shampoo, bikes, coffee, tea?
I like to save,
I like to change,
I like to engage
I like to protest,
I like to facilitate,
I like to decide,
I like to... make plans....
Where do i go from here....?
I take the anthropocene plantation wherever I go...
African slaves were stripped from everything.
Anthropocene slaves are strapped to everything.
Shampoo, sweaters, yoga mats, bikinis,
contracts, loyalties, registrations, loans
cars, lots, house, and all its junk
Where do I go from here....?
Thursday, 6AM. I jolt out of bed with an answer to Bayo´s question. I am not used to this kind of creative outbursts before my morning breathwork.
So I stumble through the darkness to find my notebook.
I scribble in Spanish:
It is a tiny step, a minuscule one. But much could happen.
You will go inside your ear and curl up in there,
you will listen
you will be still
and you will hear
and you will melt into it
and in your new form
you will go deeper
and hear yourself
your roots longing
your leaves expanding
juices of life that make music...
Fear will trick you
but you see
your brothers and sisters
how to abandon
their anthropocene plantation.
The video and transcript of Cole James' lamentation – Who Will Be My Mother.
Who Will Be My Mother
by Cole M James
Mother is this sight of emptiness
the feel of space
the sound echoes
the smell of memories
She is the human who didn't know any big words but taught me to love them all the more
She is the being whose favorite job it was to raise us kids
and was completely fine with me not wanting any
I am she every fall as I welcome in 55 new hungry minds to feed
I am her every fall as I nurture the 55 in powered minds from the previous fall
Mother is the cat that roams our parking lot
who came to me as my body released
excess hormones from my tear glands
She is the friend who is the steward to her ancestor's hive
She is the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
who carries the hope
of the Sun with her juices
Mother is the hidden love between 2 men
one who danced
the other who composed chaos
She is the space given to migrating descendants
on the streets of Harlem that led the to
sing songs of mourning and the morning
Mother is my high school dance teacher
who said my difference is not my blackness
but rather I was different
because I was an artist
She is the songstress whom I loved that hated God
when all I thought I needed was God
She is the force that ripped my body
from my soul as a child every night
as I slept to show me the value of the universe
She is the evolutionary knowledge
in my DNA that finds ecstasy
in pulling grubs from my garden
to feed chickens who will provide
nutritious essential excrement for my garden
Mother is the cycle of
She is the sight of emptiness
the feel of space
the sound of echoes and the smell of memories
Words and photo from Claudia Frick that capture a bit of the essence of our fourth moment of collectively dancing with mountains:
Fire cider. Dragon breath.
To kindle & tend to the fire inside
to follow my longings into the sacred unknown
co-creating a world breaking through cracks
the breaking is already so breath-taking.
All beings adorned in sound necklaces, spiral
rings murmuring truth, nettle dresses nurturing
each cell. Prayers of laughter. Gatherings
to hold each other.
medicine of garlic & onion
turmeric & horseradish
rose petals & rosehips
hibiscus & lemon
apple cider & sweetest honey
What do mountain dancers do after the live sessions? Carolyn Mitchell shared this following session four: "After the end of the call last evening I went in my animal body for a swim in the cold, cold sea under the full moon... Everything was diffracting... " Words accompanied by this diffractive image:
You can find the beautifully mixed down and lovingly touched up audio recording of our fourth session (cleaned of its zoomy edges) here in two parts. Thank you to our audio wizard, cian o reilly for this ongoing gift to the community!
Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.
“Labhraíonn an Spéir agus Éistimid” (“The Sky Speaks and We Listen”). Another stunning painting by Jennifer Baird begun during our fourth live session (or so we believe):
Session 5 | 6 December
On Sunday, December 6th we had a fabulous WWDWM Block Party. There were many simultaneous sessions and many different kinds of harvests. To see the full list of sessions and access the reordings for the majority of these sessions, check out this document.
What follows are just a few images and words from the breakout sessions.
Have you been to the Alien-Monster Dance? This one looks like it was great! Hosted by Annamarie Bayley and Kristin Mitchell, this was a space for drawing, dancing, contorting, and having fun! The results speak to the beauty and strangeness of the process. Watch an amazing curated video with some highlights from the session here.
And here, some of the drawings that emerged from the Alien-Monster Dance:
Here is the signal offering back to the whole from the Fibre Dancers and Weavers Gathering block party session hosted by Stephanie Cottell.
A tasty audio remix of our block party session from cian o reilly, who calls this gift "a short & sweet collage of session five juiced into a fresh knock-it-back-in-one-go glass just added ♡."
Listen here for this shot of pure love!
Following the session hosted by Wendy Poem Robertson Fyfe and Amanda Fiorino, these words and image were shared by Evelin Grauen:
I feel today that many of my greatest teachers have been landscapes. And this was a landscape I met in 2015, by the volcano Chaiten in southern Chile. I was struck then by the slopes filled with burnt tree trunks, reaching into the air like hair on a back filled with terror. Seven years had passed since the volcano's explosive eruption.
Today, as we were invited to dance during the session, I remembered and became one of these trees. I felt strength & peace in surrendering to my rootedness when fire swept over me. And then – there was vigorous movement. Although from outside, with human eyes, the scene looked much like death, I was very busy with unseen movement. And so was the whole forest. It kept going on and on. Still no visible difference. Still absolutely vigorous. Until it stopped mattering that it kept looking the same.
There are two questions this has left me with. Where are we too quick to declare death? What kind of important vigorous movements are we not noticing around what we call trauma?
Session 6 | 13 December
The markings of the "libations of fire" created by our pouring of wax on a "surface that could handle it."
Elizabell Thunderwood "The offering my fire libation offered." Wax poured on black construction paper.
As we moved into hibernation in mid-December, Maegen Melissa Gorbett shared an incredible musical mix, a ceremony of sound, inspired by We Will Dance with Mountains and Bayo's "soul-transmissions" of making sanctuary. Below is a textual introduction to The Evolution Will Not Be Televised: Sanctuary of Sound from the artist.
Welcoming you to come gather around this Altar of Sound…
- Come and gather now, dear friend: take off your shoes, dig your toes in the fertile Earth, heart and head in the direction of the Sun, prostrating cells & souls to the Great Mystery… Let’s gather dear siblings and strangers: so that we can make Sanctuary of our wounds, our losses, pay homage to the paradoxes, to the divine chaos, to the dismantling, honouring the seedlings of the entirely new, however fragile and tender they may reveal themselves to us…
- This tapestry of music was born from the chaotic-crack and potent-portal that is 2020, revealing deep caverns of fragility, attention demanding wounds, complex landscapes haunting our minds & souls, invitations to see and feel the world anew… The weavings of this mix have been deeply inspired by Bayo Akomolafe’s slippery-shape-shifting offering of “Making Sanctuary”: What is “Making Sanctuary”? It begins with a crack, with getting lost, allowing us to be humble, and fall down upon to the Earth…it’s learning to ask questions, learning to listen… to “Be a Becoming, not just a Being”… to “loose the colonization of normal – to meet the world anew”… it is ripe with failures, with comings and goings, but with a potent invitation to stay present in this place of brokenness… ” destruction folds into creation”… Thank you Bayo for this generous mapping.
- In this Ceremony of Sound, may you baptize yourself with the sanctified soul-music of hip-hop, dub, funk, gospel, house, jazz, and for music of which there are no genres: I bow with my life to the roots and spirit of soul-music, the living human-altar and testament to Making Sanctuary… I bow to all the seen and unseen forces that have brought all the shades of Soul Music to this worldly dimension… Without it, we would be surely lost… I would certainly be lost: thank you Godfathers and Godmothers of Hip-Hop, Soul & House for all of your sacrifices, prayers and creations… May this compass of beauty and empowerment never die, may it’s spirit bring fertility and freedom for generations to come. Deep bows to Bayo’s Sanctuary-satsang (time 8:30) and Joanna Macy’s potent prophetic transmission, ushering in grief, grit and grace (time 3:29:30): this mix is sandwiched by their words and message for a reason.
- May this coming Epoch on the Planet be one of embodied warriors shining radical tenderness and love to all that is lost… May we continue to bathe in Mystery.
Alma ∞ Omega, Berlin December 2020
Listen to this 3.5-hour sonic adventure here:
Our final gathering of the year included such magical moments, with gifts from our dear teacher, Pat McCabe, and a ritual of light and shape-shifting wax. cian o reilly captured their power in the following audio clips (cleaned, as always, of their zoomy edges):
Pat's powerful sharing with our community is available here.
Bayo and Pat holding space for the ritual of light can be heard here.
Session 7 | 10 January
This is a nice song/single that Tannis Zimmer came across following our seventh live session. Evokes Bakhita somehow... Black Lives Matter by Eparapo.
A drawing by Marcela Teran inspired by the beautiful conversation we witnessed between Akilah Richards and her daughter, Marley, during our seventh live session.
What follows are three braids of audio magic from our dear cian o reilly mixed out of our incredible seventh session:
Intro (Bayo's riff about twins) available here.
Akilah and family sharing from their hearts here.
Outro (what we learned from Nelson Mandela and Bayo talking fast) available here.
Session 8 | 24 January
During our penultimate live session, we were blessed by the presence of our elders. We sent them questions and then sat in concentric circles around them while they spoke freely of their experiences in this lifetime. cian o reilly shares the recording of this magical elder fishbowl here.
Between the final two live sessions, Nadine Canter Barnicle took some stunning photos around her beautiful home-state of Vermont, U.S. A . Mmmmm... wintertime.
Session 9 | 31 January
At the end of the eighth session, Mountain Dancers were invited by the ever-equanimous jiordi rosales to create their own DIY "fugitive certificates of completion." Marcela Teran loved the prompt, saying "I had so much fun making this 'certificate' and I am also converting this into cards, representing each of these 'powers'. What an abundance of stimuli, gifts and stirrings, this course has sparked." Here is her spectacular and moving certificate:
We know that we're coming to the end of an era when we arrive at the final, fancy and refined audio recording from our closing session/ceremony/moment of continuing with the ordinary. Thanks a ton to cian o reilly, who has faithfully created amazing audio magic from our time together since the very, very first live session.
Listen to the golden nuggets of our ninth and final session right here.
Here's a link to the playlist from the final live session after-party created by Annamarie Bayley with help from the Mystical Mycelium Dance Party group!
At the end of the course, Sandeep N shared this beautiful song, Dancing with our Demons, featuring other musicians participating in WWDWM, Gabriel Vargas and Jason Crane. Here's what Sandeep said:
Three months ago, the musicians/songwriters/producers group started jamming with the intent to be present and create something together. Here is what we came up with - thanks to everyone who participated:
Hope you like it! Wishing y'all joy and abundance, until we cross paths again!
A lovely little animation from our friend Robin Bean Crane taken from those awkward and magical moments when we all unmuted our mics during the live session. Sweeeeet. Here's what the creatrix had to say about the video:
"Once upon a zoom, there were hundreds of people around the world unmuting themselves to say Thank You. This robotic symphony felt like an ode to the gifts that keep us in balance, that make the world round and whole. That joy of preparing a birthday cake, a need getting met, a handmade craft that's deliciously inefficient."
Here's our beautiful We Will Dance with Mountains Quilt. We asked participants to send an image of something that represented their experiences in the course. These may be images of hand-made objects, paintings, creations, clip-art, selfies or landscapes.