Native Roots

Hello dear Friends! I want to share with you my painting, rattling, and humming moving meditation, which is a kind of “coming out” and, therefore, does feel vulnerable. First, let me tell you the Native story that inspired this painting:

According to the tradition of the Mirripuye Indians who are part of my ancestral heritage, and inhabited my birthplace, the Venezuelan Andes Mountains, Caribay was the first woman. She was the daughter of the fiery Zuhé (the Sun) and the pale Chía (the Moon). She was the genius of the aromatic forests. She could run over the mountains as fast as the crystalline waters of the streams. She imitated the song of all the birds. One late afternoon Caribay saw five enormous white eagles flying through the sky and she fell in love with their beauty, enormous size, and sparkling white feathers. She ran after them, crossing valleys and mountains, always following the shadows that the birds drew upon the ground. She finally reached the top of a cliff from which she saw how the eagles descended on peaks higher still. Caribay wanted to adorn herself with those rare and splendid feathers and she ran up towards the eagles to get them, but when she was finally able to touch them she was surprised by the cold of the glacial feathers. The eagles were frozen, turned into five huge, shining masses of ice. Shortly afterward the Moon was darkened by the clouds and the five eagles woke up from their frozen trance and flapped their wings and the whole mountain was adorned with their white plumage. This is the origin of the snow-capped mountains of my hometown in Mérida, Venezuela. The five white eagles adorn the five towering Snowy Peaks that surround my city. They are called: Pico Bolívar, Pico Humboldt, Pico el Toro, Pico el León and Pico la Concha. This story has influenced my own life in different ways at different times in my personal and spiritual journey.

I’m becoming more public about my native heritage after age 50. The topic never came up before or perhaps I was conforming to the dominant culture, perhaps it was internalized racism, so this was kept somewhat private. (I’m Mestiza. My heritage is Southern European, Native American, and West African, I’m originally from Venezuela.) My Native self has always been part of my spiritual life. At 4 years old I learned the story of Caribay and the Five White Eagles and how they related to my birthplace and where I grew up in the Andes Mountains of Venezuela. I have had the story in my heart since then and dance to it often. I did share it occasionally, particularly with my Expressive Arts community who cared about the emotional and spiritual life.

Now Native things are becoming so mainstream in the culture at large that I have been called by the younger generation to take my place as an elder. For years I have felt a bit guilty about not offering enough spiritual support, although I have been teaching Expressive Arts for many years but always avoiding the spiritual language. That has changed in this year of planetary transition. Now I have become completely certain and solid regarding my path as a spiritual Expressive Arts elder. Now, even when I have not turned at all on my path, (I have Only walked forward) I see myself taking my responsibility as an elder of the human tribe. I certainly will not push myself, as I am unable to conform to velocity requirements from other people, but this thing is just happening organically and I am just open to it. So this painting and rattling came through depicting the 5 white Eagles, the Sierra Nevada de Merida Venezuela, the Mother Moon, the Father Sun, and a daughter of the First Woman. I don’t plan what I will paint so that I have a spontaneous channel that my deepest, highest self can use to send messages to my awareness. This is such a message. To me this is a clear sign of my entering spirituality in a deeper way now, integrating more of the beings that I really am, and willing to share that with my human tribe.

Yes, my Mirripuye / Timotocuica roots have been part of my life since I was 4 because my grandfather danced with me and I was given the stories, but it has been lonely because the tribes were completely assimilated and the thousands of Mestizos like me haven’t really had access to a lot of the knowledge from that part of our heritage. And also there has been internalized racism, of course. This is a step in finding ways to honor all of me, which translates into being able to love and cherish others in their totality. My heritage is Mirripuye, Timotocuica, Spanish, and West African. Interestingly I have taken part in Djembe drumming for years before I knew that it is a drum from West Africa!! Also, I have been collaborating with the Flamenco Poets Society of Houston for years, that part of my heritage was better known by me. I love to embody both the oppressed and the oppressor. That is a perfect metaphor for the ways how I have oppressed myself at times and a road map to liberating myself.  I am very thankful for having this life opportunity exactly as it has been in so many ways! I look forward to increasing my knowledge about the parts of myself that have been oppressed by my adaptation to the dominant culture. I rejoice in seeing a change in that dominant culture thanks to the youth of our time, and movements like BLM ✊🏿 and MeToo that aid in awakening from my own internalized sexism and racism. These are interesting times and I rejoice in the opportunity to see and to somehow in my small way help us humans move forward!! Love and light my dear friends! 😘❤️ Thanks for listening. 🙏

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I am an artist and Person-Centered Expressive Arts educator. This blog is for sharing my creative work, including demos of intuitive painting, interviews, and other things. Lorena Fernandez