An extended ‘quote’ of the week: water, spirit & journeying home

Of-Water-and-the-Spirit

Long ago, before I owned a computer and when the internet was not yet a part of my daily life, I kept an A6-sized 'quote' book. In would go everything from inspiring quotes to song lyrics that delighted me in some way, from things overheard and seen scribbled on walls to sketches of interesting images and art ideas. I was leafing through one of these books today and was reminded of all the wonderful things I collected (and amused by some of the concerns of my youth, that I will not share!).

Below is one find: a piece of poetry from the book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman, by Malidoma Patrice Somé. Abducted at the age of four and sent to a French missionary school, the book is an account of the Burkinabe Somé's journey back to his people, his culture and himself. I'll be looking for it at the library for a re-read…

I had a date in the bush
With all the gods,
So I went.

I had a date in the bush
With all the trees
So I went.
I had a date in the mountain with the Kondomblé
I went because I had to go.

I had to go away to learn
How to know.
I had to go away to learn
How to grow.
I had to go away to learn
How to stay here.

So I went and knocked at doors
Locked in front of me.
I craved to enter.
Oh, little did I know
The doors did not lead outside.

It was all in me.
I was the room and the door.
It was all in me.
I just had to remember.

And I learned that I lived
Always and everywhere.
I learned that I knew everything,
Only I had forgotten,
I learned that I grew
Only I had overlooked things.
Now I am back, remembering,

I want to be what I know I am
And take the road we always
Forget to take.
Because I heard the smell
Of the things forgotten
And my belly was touched.

That's why I had a date with the bush
That's why I had a date with the hill.
That's why I had a date with the world
Under.
Now, Father, I'll take you home.
I am back. 

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