002: Memory, Prophecy & Programming
Welcome to this week's psychic swirl!
(Wondering why you're getting this? See last week's newsletter!)
// THIS TIME \\
SUBCONSCIOUS SOCIETAL PROGRAMMING
INTERGENERATIONAL HEALING THROUGH ART
FROM DREAMS INTO TANGIBLE REALITY
A significant bit of personal news!
Starting October 11th, 2018, I will be the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle! :) NOTE: City Arts Magazine first broke the news.
Statistically, this is significant.
According to Race to Lead's 2017 report, "Confronting the Racial Leadership Gap", people of color are grossly underrepresented in leadership roles, even when/if they have similar qualifications and MORE interest in those roles.
I'll be honest. I didn't apply for the position right away—but it was never because I didn't think I was capable. I've no doubt I'm capable. The problem was it didn't even cross my mind, as a woman of color, that an Executive Director role was a possibility.
To use a parallel but different situation: youth from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds often don't even THINK about applying for college, even if they rank at the top of their classes.
Luckily, however, other people had a different perspective. When I sent out a mass e-mail asking friends to recommend candidates for the position, numerous people replied.
"Why don't you apply?" they said. "That sounds just like you."
And at that point, I realized something crucial, which was: on some level, I had internalized that Executive Directors could only be older white men... even though that wasn't what I wanted, and I KNOW they aren't the only ones capable of doing the job.
That, my friends, is the type of deeply ingrained, socially-conditioned mentality that all of us carry with us unconsciously.
Thus, to everyone who hasn't even begun to wonder if leadership opportunities or dreaming big are possibilities for you: perhaps it wouldn't hurt to start wondering. <3
(And organizations: maybe it's time to start investing in potential leaders you like...)
"There's been social science research demonstrating that: if I tell you some really outrageous proposition; something that's clearly untrue—I tell you, 'You know what, Tim, the sky is green today'—the first time I say it, you're going to say, 'That's ridiculous. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.' The next time I say it, you're going to be more inclined to believe it. And by the third or fourth or fifth time, it starts sounding almost plausible."
- April Doss, Head of Intelligence Law at the National Security Administration, What Can Citizens Do to Fight Foreign Disinformation Campaigns? (NPR)
predict a future past.
(SHARED WITH THE PERMISSION OF DANIEL SANDOVAL)
Twenty minutes in, and Daniel and I are standing in the middle of the art gallery, temporarily interlocking psyches over a riveting conversation about dreams. Two other friends are nearby, eavesdropping over burrito-eating; chattering about hot sauce while sneaking in an occasional glance.
The contrast is thick.
As it turns out, Daniel is a California native, just like me, but spent some of his earliest years in Tijuana.
To this new piece of information, an unexpected twinge hovers circumspect in my breath.
"What were your earliest memories from growing up in Tijuana?" I finally pivot to ask—but even as the question comes tumbling out my mouth, it feels... unusual.
Split-seconds pass in slow-motion, and as I slowly unpack myself, I realize: my surprise question was a defense mechanism against my own ignorance. Here I was, discovering in real time, that year after year of irresponsible media narratives had built up a wall of biases that was obstructing my access to my true memories.
Fake news—implanted faceless news—had really wanted me to ask:
"Wasn't it dangerous growing up in Tijuana?"
... even though it was a sentiment I do not and have never feared. Not since repeat summers around Tijuana as a teen, when I'd roamed around on dusty pueblo roads, visiting hilltop homes, speaking broken Spanish. Not since numerous visits as an adult, when I've crossed massive swathes of Mexico City on foot, even as others have held their paranoid breaths, nervous about such "recklessness."
Why, then, would I worry now? I ask myself.
Because that's how propaganda works, I've since come to understand. Fear-mongering narratives are repeated, ad nauseam, until they replace one's true thoughts.
But for once, instead of falling victim in that moment, I'd somehow stayed vigilant enough to course-correct my question—and Daniel, bless him, gives a response that is incredible.
His inclination is to offer up a dream as his earliest memory. As though they were one and the same, he describes a basement filled with water, inside of which swims a giant prehistoric whale.
Next comes his earliest "real life memory": a story of him and his older brother, who one day decide to throw rocks at their family chickens. After the behavior has already continued for some time, the head rooster decides he has had enough. He exacts revenge by taking a rock into his beak, fluttering up into the air, and dropping it on Daniel's brother's head.
How big must the rock have been? I have a hard time grasping it—for upon impact, Daniel's brother falls and tumbles to the bottom of the nearby ravine. When the "dust settles", Daniel sees him, bloody and beaten below, and the unbelievable thought crosses his mind that:
"Holy sh!t! A chicken just killed my brother!!"
Luckily, however, his brother was alive.
"And that taught you to forever respect Mother Nature...?!" I joke, half-facetiously.
"Kind of," comes Daniel's cryptic response. "Took me a few more lessons than that."
I don't pry.
Instead, we move deeper into the dream talk—and unearthing his subconscious memories feels like scratching some deep soul itch the way one might scratch a brand new mosquito bite.
In the next dream, Daniel is twelve or thirteen. He wakes from it so shaken that he dares not repeat it aloud.
Later that day, however, as he and his brothers are sitting in their living room, his eldest brother enters.
"You'll never believe the dream that I had today," he says—and young Daniel sits frozen as his older brother begins to detail the exact same dream which had left Daniel speechless and terrified that morning.
"It wasn't a complicated dream," Daniel makes sure to preface, before he clearly recalls the details.
In the dream, the long hallway of their home is lined with framed family photographs.
Everything is calm—until suddenly, a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, comes flying in from nowhere.
And it destroys everything. Obliterates every picture on the wall.
That same hallway, Daniel says, has always sat empty in real life.
A shiver goes up my spine, suspended in a "you-could-hear-a-pin-drop" moment.
"Personal question," I finally venture. "But did some family stuff go down right after that?"
Daniel responds pensively.
"It's hard to say, because family stuff had been happening the whole time."
Looking back now, so many decades later, he has the sense that the timeline in the dream was further out than he ever could have predicted as a child. But it certainly remains lucid and resonant to this day.
"But there did end up being some violence," Daniel eventually reveals, "because later, that older brother went to jail for life."
CLEARING ANCIENT UNDERWORLDS
Daniel Sandoval's artwork was on display at Grapefruits Arts Space in Portland when I met him. He is a young painter and street artist who is very much still finding his way and his voice, but in our conversations, his vision and intentions seem clear: he is exploring topics of ancestry, heritage, and healing: for himself, his family, and for society at large. He aims to be a positive voice in the world, and you can see his website at danishism.me.
Below, he offers his comments and thoughts on this painting.
"This piece, clearing ancient underworlds, was created for [intergenerational healing]. In the process of its creation, I was also in the process of a 52-day meditation cycle which is very mathematical, and some of the intentions were on healing both mine and my ancestral traumas.
Without getting too far into that, I also want to mention that this is all very much connected to dreams. In ancient Mexican culture, the jaguar was seen as a protector of the underworld. In hours of dawn and dusk, the in between of night and day, they hunt. They're said to hunt bad spirits in those dark hours. And in dreams, the unconscious realm of the night—not separate from the spirit realm, according to those ancients—they are a symbol which is used for the clearing of negative and/or destructive unconscious personal and ancestral patterns.
There are also nine underworlds according to this view of existence. There are 8 visible portals, or thresholds which represent these worlds, and the 9th is being traversed by the jaguar in the painting..."
"I definitely believe that by tapping into the creative energy in the universe which also gives life, it is an almost natural byproduct to have a healing affect on those who glimpse it or are connected to it. That is, if it is done with a certain intention or attitude which is more geared towards revealing the beauty and harmony within the world, or at the least channeled to create something emanating positivity.
We can use our creative energy for anything we choose. As for me, I am choosing to see my whole self, embrace it, while still continually carving away that which isn't serving me as far as what I feel I'm here to do. The recognition and work I produce dealing with those destructive aspects of my self which I may have inherited genetically from my ancestors, or learned through this life cycle's traumas is, I think, helping to not only heal those patterns of being for us all up to this point in time, but also leaving a clearer and healthier way for our future generations to work with and create from."
/ / /
(CONTEXT) BIRTH AND DEATH by R. ANGUIANO (1964)
Mural from the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
"Aztec kings, like their Classic Maya predecessors, used the jaguar to enhance their social status. As the jaguar was lord of animals, so an Aztec emperor was ruler of men. Aztec emperors wore jaguar clothing into battle, and sat in judgement on a throne covered with the animal’s multicoloured skin. The greatest of all Aztec gods, Tezcatlipoca, was the patron of royalty and inventor of human sacrifice. His name means ‘Lord of the Smoking Mirror’ and he wielded this magical obsidian mirror to look into mens’ hearts, piercing the cosmic darkness with the all-seeing eyes of his fierce spiritual companion, a huge jaguar monster known as Tepeyollotli."
WATCH THIS VIDEO
Recuerdo el día en que nací. Será mañana.by Daniel Godinez Nivón
This piece by Daniel Godínez-Nivón translates to: I remember the day I was born. It is tomorrow., and it is an amazing testament to the power of collaborative projects and experimental artistic processes. To create it, Daniel and a group of orphaned girls planned to meet one another in their dreams, every Wednesday for six months.
For almost six months, nothing happened... but as they were nearing the tail end of their experiment, the participants began to dream collectively about similar plants. They then manifested those plants into waking life. By researching and identifying them, they learned that many of the plants were indigenous to the area, despite the fact that they had previously been unaware of them.
Numerous artistic experiments followed. Each built upon the last, and straddled the ever-blurrier line between dream and wake. Eventually, the dreamers sculpted the plants in clay, brought the objects to a nearby volcano—which also played a role in the process—and collaborated to create this incredible film.
(READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT IN SPANISH!)
"Los proyectos de Godínez-Nivón permiten establecer un diálogo entre la diversidad integrando conceptos muy contrastantes, por ejemplo, artistas, científicos y adolescentes de una casa hogar. Esto permite desbordar el oficio común de un ilustrador o un científico."
- Rossana Lara Velázquez, Seminario Arte-Ciencia
Was this newsletter too woo-woo for you, or just enough?!
LET ME KNOW
(The next one will be more grounded, I promise!)
// NEXT TIME \\
A girl is left stranded at a live music festival with no keys, no wallet, and no jacket. Only a tube dress and flip-flops. What the heck happened to her boyfriend?! (Hint: it's not as terrible as it sounds... hopefully...?)
THANKS FOR READING,
VIVIAN HUA (華婷婷)
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