Honoring Our Ancestors

We were in Japan for 3 weeks this summer which was a wondrous journey of extremes: from the neon, buzz and bullhorns, and manga-mania of Electric Town in Tokyo to the mist-covered hills, sacred herd of deer, 1,000-year-old cedar tree, and the shrines and temples of Nara.

It’s taking a while to get back into the F L O W of home…though it is lovely to be someplace where I have mastery over the language!

But I came home to the August 2010 issue of Our Own Voice, a literary ezine of the Filipino diaspora. This special issue was edited by the dynamic Leny Strobel, director of the Center for Babaylan Studies and by OOV editor Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto, poet of the exquisite. It is dedicated to exploring and celebrating babaylans, indigenous Filipino healers and shamans. The zine’s frontis piece took my breath away.

One of my own pieces, “Honoring Our Ancestors,” is included in this issue. (Note: It is not for the squeamish; I am unabashed about the mysticism. Read at your own risk.) I share my experience of attending the First International Babaylan Conference which happened last April. But, more importantly, the piece is about the tradition of staying connected to those who have gone before us. Mine is only one voice in this chorus, this chant. I am privileged to be in such company, especially Frances Santiago’s “Pintada,” M. Evelina Galang’s Lola Amonita Balajadia and the Counselors of Light,” and Leny’s From the Editors Laptop column. Check out the issue! (And if you do, try reading while listening to Grace Nono’s song “Panangpit.”)

Now that I’m back, there’ll be more coming in the blog…particularly around art that celebrates nature and encourages us all to connect…

Mabuhay, live,

Mary Grace

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