22 August 2013


In the past three days, I've read (skimmed for character development, imagery, and diction) and taken notes on the work by Castillo, Hagedorn, Bobis, and Starhawk.  And, I have found so much in way of connections! I'm in awe really.  I could not have controlled or orchestrated this kind of synergy.

One of the connections (that I forgot was there all along of course!), was the Pinoy presence in So Far from God.  When La Loca is dying, Dr. Tolentino comes to heal her with psychic surgery.  He is from the foot of the sacred mountain, Mt. Banahaw in Luzon, which is known as the home of babaylan-like healers.  And, he learned his healing skills from his mother!  And, this is what he does, he uses his right hand to connect with the "spirit" and with his left, he reaches "through her flesh" and pulls out blood clogs, fibroids, and even a tumor from her ovaries.  All that's left when he finishes is a red mark on her belly.

 I have read of this psychic surgeries before, particularly when I read Virgil Apostol's Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippines Ancestral Traditions.  And, when I was in the Philippines, I experienced, not psychic surgery, but healing from the hands of Manghihilots.  I'm a believer for sure.
Yesterday, I began my writing of a Xicana-Filipina-Spanish Mestiza Ritual.   I found myself looking up images from (Pre-King Philip) Indigenous Filipina and Xicana spirituality. 

The Mebuyan I found above is the creation of my friend Ros in Camiguin (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/lifestyle/2013/08/03/images-women-mebuyan-feminist-underworld-296015).  Mebuyan is a new role model for me.  Earth and creativity goddess from Bagobo mythology, her image is perpetually pregnant with many breasts.  She is the nurturer of all babies, all people. 

I also came across images of Coatlicue, Nahuatl for "the one with the skirts of serpents."  She is the mother of all things connected with fire and creation, death and rebirth, and the bearer of the moon.
La Virgen de Guadalupe, they say is the integration of many Indigenous Xicana goddesses, including Coatlicue. 

I've run out of time! Off to make mix up some Oaxacan mole I got yesterday from a woman whose family also came from San Luis Potosi (where my great-grandmother Charlie lived with the nuns I think!).

19 August 2013

A Woman (Re) reading

Been diving into the literature I've chosen for my dissertation:

Ana Castillo’s So Far From God, Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters and Merlinda Bobis’ Flight in Song, and Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing.

Been taking extensive notes and enjoying these precious, sacred texts that speak to my heart's desires for communities, role models, visions, and languages that remind me that I belong without having to "fit in."

Castillo's So Far I read while at Biola and again a few years ago and again this year in the Philippines and again now. It just kills (and rebirths me!). This time around, I was particularly drawn to doña Felicia as she prays for Caridad when she disappears into the hills.  She prays to St. Anthony and uses divining sticks, but she won't pray to Santo Nino.  Castillo writes about it:

“Now, El Santo Niño de Adotcha is another matter – and he more than likely had probably guided Caridad to a refuge. But many year before doña Felicia and El Santo Niño had had a falling out, so she no longer entrusted her prayers to child Jesus who once saved Christians from Muslims in conquered Spain and in North American saved conquering Catholics from pagan Indians. (This was part of doña Felicia’s problem with the little saint in Spanish regal dress, trying to accept that he saved souls or abandoned them depending on their nationalistic faith).”

Two recent retreats -- one for the CIIS Women's Spirituality students and the other for the Babaylan Conference organizers -- have also reminded me that I belong. With these amazing folks, I feel loved for who I am: Mestiza feminist/womanist who believes in a relational way of being/knowing, who is learning how to let go and transform again and again, and who is embracing her fears and her creativity.  

And, it's pretty wonderful to begin to be more active in projects outside of school.  Met with a few other pinoy/ays at the Asian Art Museum this past week to walk through our "Opening Ceremony" for the Filipino/a-American Celebration October 6.   Also, saw some of my writing out in the media, advertising for the Babaylan Conference (http://globalnation.inquirer.net/82949/babaylan-confab-in-california-to-explore-myths-beliefs-folkways).

Overall, I feel like I'm learning how to articulate/say that I am done keeping a White/ Masculinist framework as the norm in my communities.  I'm done with fitting in or being otherized as not enough White, male, hetero, Christian, intelligent, wealthy.  I am done with White/non-White, male/non- male, hetero/non- heterosexual, and more. Those binaries and that labeling suffocates me. 

I am multi
as the world is
as my body is and
as my experiences are.

Oh, and I have been thinking of buying a house/sail boat. I think it's where I am being called to live.  I lived in one over the weekend, and I just loved it all: the small space and the sun and the water.

11 August 2013

Creative Energy and Eroticism and Spirituality

Holy moly, Tedtalks are everywhere I go. One friend recommends Amanda Palmer's talk on how she gave her music away and then asked her fans to support her.  Another friend recommends a talk on tying your shoe laces the "correct way."  All of them were just so fascinating and helpful. 

However, it's this one here on the "creative genius" that I've liked most of all.  Gilbert - of Eat, Pray, Love - asserts that historically, we didn't say one was a creative genius, but that, rather, one had a creative genius.  This genius was/is a daemon (I instantly thought of the His Dark Materials series that I LOVED and recommend!), a spirit figure that was in a relationship with the individual who would listen and cultivate that connection.  I really really really like Gilbert's argument, and this historical way of relating to our creativity.   Although I have some issues with how "transcendent" this makes creative energy appear, I can also see the "immanent" possibilities.   Creative genius without and within, yes?  There's something very comforting about this, and in her video, she talks (prays?) to this spirit, saying things like "I showed up; where are you?" 

The immanent possibilities of creative energy, I believe, is that something Audre Lorde speaks directly to in her "Uses of the Erotic."  This is another live talk, before Ted, and I listen to it often.  What I love about Lorde's work is her encouragement for women, for me, to embrace my creative power, my erotic energy, to build that strong relationship with my creative genius really, and to lay down at Her/her feet gifts of my time and passion. 

I can't believe that at 33 years of age I am just now diving into Lorde.  Synergistically, AnaLouise Keating, of Teaching Transformation, also explores Lorde's powerful voice (which speaks from "I am" to "we are" to "we can").  I was surprised to find my studies come so full circle as I read Keating's Women Reading Women Writing and within it, a discussion on "Uses of the Erotic" and more.  Keating describes how "Lorde redefines the erotic without denying its sensual embodiedness, and so simultaneously subverts and transforms this oppressive image."  Yes! Thank you, Lorde!

10 August 2013


I can't believe it's been over 10 days since I last wrote in my blog.  I've been busy, let me tell you. Busy, of course, with writing, editing, writing, and editing.  But, also I've been busy with working through, naming, speaking, sharing, learning about, and loving my shame.  It's big.  And, there's something about this dissertation that creates all these opportunities to process my shame.

Brene Brown is my new mentor. I've got her books on tape even.

Oh, and I'm almost done with a full draft of Chapter 4 (at 68 pages).