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Long Body Prayers

Long Body Prayers

By Shante' Zenith

Long Body Prayers is an animist somatics ritual art project tending the roots of colonized kin’s developmental dissociation from felt sense awareness, deep time ancestors, earth body dreaming, and emergent creative process
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A Messenger of What is Still Connected: Conversation with a Mushroom
A Messenger of What is Still Connected: Conversation with a Mushroom
You can see the mushroom in fully glory in the video version of this episode at: https://youtu.be/AP8So5mpomI           I first met my friend the Maitake Mushroom on a hiking trip through a  forest about a month ago. My herbalist friend and I were going in search  of mushrooms and I had been advised by them that the most rare and  delectable of mushrooms was Maitake, a being who grew at the roots of  the oldest oak trees of the forest and was “very shy.” So shy that she did not like her name to be spoke aloud or for us to be actively looking  for her. From the beginning, I identified a lot with this mushroom. The  part of me that is shy, the part hides, that does not believe that the  sensual, creative, emergent parts of me can ever be seen by other  humans, really resonated with this mushroom-being in her deep  discernment and tenacious protectiveness of her own revelation. So my friend and I commenced the forest hike, walking at different paces  and separating for a while to each be in our own rhythm. And pretty  soon I found myself off the main path, up a hill, stubbornly searching  the roots of every large oak tree until I got stuck in a thicket of  raspberry bushes. At some point in enacting this rigid searching pattern, I noticed a  similarity with the way that I often approach creative process and  emotional healing work, stubbornly trying to find the right way to do  the thing, the perfect “understanding” or “realization” that will open  me into a different kind of perception, that will help me to be  “special” and “accepted,” the one who finds the thing that other people  are looking for. Eventually I gave up in my anxious searching and made my way back to the  open path, giving up on finding any Maitake mushrooms and allowing  myself to sink into a spacious savoring of the forest. As I walked, the  forest started to talk to me in that way where thought forms arrive  beyond words…sensing into the impossibility of trying to grasp at  something that by necessity arrives at a gift. And in this attuned state of listening, I met up again with my friend  (who had also had no luck in their search) and we began to walk  together. A few moments later, I off-handedly glanced sideways at the  base of a tree we were passing a mere four feet from the open path and  said “who’s that friend?” pointing to the fruiting body of a half-hidden  brain-like mushroom growing lumious pearly white out of the soil.  “That’s Maitake!” my friend said in surprise.   And so this is the way that I came to know the Maitake Mushroom that I  have been in ongoing conversation with. This interview is another fractal of the journey from grasping  stickiness in raspberry snarl to open path attunement to the voice of  the forest—I’d reached another stuck point with my thesis work of  feeling like I couldn’t describe this system of six textures of animist  relationship that I’ve been exploring in my thesis work as a kind of  channeled cosmological mapping from the Long Body. Every time I started  to talk about the six layers or the other cosmological elements of my  deep knowing, I would start to freeze or get foggy and be unable to  speak about it while being seen. But it turns out that the mushroom is  fine with talking about all of these things. So I will leave it to her  to give voice to these Long Body Prayers for bringing the humans back  into felt sense relationship with the ecosystem. Blessings and gratitude  to the fungi!
01:21:23
October 27, 2021
Being in the Awkward, Longing for the Slowness, Conversation with Susan Raffo
Being in the Awkward, Longing for the Slowness, Conversation with Susan Raffo
When I invited Susan to be a guest on this newly sprouting podcast. I said the subject of the episode would be about "Choice," exploring layers around "sovereignty, ability to modulate connection, discernment, just right amount, literacy around tracking the felt sense, dissociation especially from low body, impact and relationship betrayal, consent." I think that many of the themes from this original intention did find their way into this podcast, but sideways, implicitly in the relational space between us. So much of this conversation was about us trying to find the rhythm, to navigate the messy awkward terrain of being two people meeting each other as elder/student/peer/community/stranger. One interesting thread to track is the way we modulate through different kinds of relationality, from more left brain factual narratives towards a space of ceremony and slowing down together.  Another layer that Susan and I navigated during the conversation was the difference between communication and expression. We come from different cultural contexts—Susan more from movement and healing justice culture, me more from animist ritual and creative process—and so there were a lot of places where I think we missed each other in terms of comprehension. But in some ways that was ok because allowing ourselves to explore being "incomprehensible" was part of what later opened up that space of richness for ceremony.   Re-watching this conversation, a lot of my self talk has been retrospectivly wishing that I had been more intentional around preparing questions and having more of a guiding thread to carry through the conversation. My intuition was to just go with what showed up and trust that what needed to be in the field between us would emerge. It has taken me a while to have some spaciousness around the layers of vulnerability and longing that came up in the call for me and feel able to share it with people. The call was originally two hours and I have edited it down to under 90 minutes, cutting some parts that feel too personal for public sharing right now. I think I was longing for that dropping into ceremony the whole time, but I've never known how to ask for it until the navigation between us revealed that as an option.   You can see the video version of the podcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYaSfb0CRM and learn more about the project at www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com.   Blessings on you and the mycelial webbing of your relationships.
01:24:11
October 02, 2021
Everything is a Being
Everything is a Being
In this first full length episode of Long Body Prayers, an Animist Somatics ritual art project, I welcome the beingness of a range of collaborators, including turtles, complexity, distributed networks, critical introductions, and the thickness of felt sense awareness. This episode, created in the place of a critical introduction for my thesis project, turns the camera back on the creative process itself, including my own emergent movement/voice/ritual/yarning poeisis experimentations,  and excerpts of a peer practice exploration with my friend Brittany McManamey and a session with animist somatics practitioner Dare Sohei.  And just some context for audio quality—the intention of this project was to record a lot of the practice outside interwoven with the living pulse of the ecosystem...I'm still working on gettting the recording equipment in place like a mic and a tripod to do that without as much wind noise so that the background sounds can be present but not overwhelming. So requesting forgiveness in advance for the grittyness of the sound. I also recommend checking out the video version of this podcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmZXdtYY2i4&t=2579s where you can get the full experience with some other layers of images and text that didn't translate as easily into audio form. 
55:55
September 25, 2021
Wild Animal Body
Wild Animal Body
This video is an introduction to Long Body Prayers, an animist somatics ritual art project and graduate thesis. This thesis will take the form of a podcast and video series to witness the relational ruptures of kin  who have been touched by colonization.  Stemming from Haudenosaunee culture, the phrase Long Body speaks to the  indigenous awareness of the self as a living process of emergence held  within supportive webs of relationship that extend far beyond the human.  This thesis project witness the way that settler colonist kin have  become dissociated from the perception of this wider body in the absence  of a developmental welcoming of felt sense awareness, attunement to  ancestors and earth body dreaming, and the skills of emergent creative  process that shape a coherent and rooted nervous system.    This thesis is a gift to the part of me, and maybe the part of you, that  doesn’t feel like there is room for my animal body within the consensus  reality of being human. This thesis is an invocation of protecting the  wild animal that lives inside my body, of witnessing the wild animal  that lives inside your body too. Of noticing the communication, the  contact that is always happening between a diversity of wildnesses  meeting each other in each moment. Inviting a curiosity about what a  kind of relating would look like that honors the wild animal in each of us, that honors that part that is still connected, that part that  senses, that moves from the river beneath the river, the mycelial root  system that creates the microclimate of the forest. The part of us that  still knows how to feel that we belong. The part of us that claims our  existence, here in this moment, in this context, our feet fully touching  the earth.    You can learn more about the project and look out for future episodes by visiting www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com/longbodyprayers
05:14
September 17, 2021
Long Body Prayers: Contact
Long Body Prayers: Contact
This episode is an exploration of contact, the dance of relationship between the most ancient core of self and the vast aliveness of beings and flow and root systems and warmth and drying mud and plant matter. I pray with the river and the river speaks in return. A dance of feet and mud and poetry. And a wild splashing puppy engaged in play. I highly recommend that you check out this particular episode of the podcast in video format if you are able to, to get a sense of the way that river and mud and so many other beings were conspiring in the creation of this experience:  You can learn more about this podcast and my practice at my website: www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com    This podcast is available in video format on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFrG5_SwNokyJAN7zBZkXMg Gratitude for listening and blessings to you and all the beings you are in relationship with.    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  I want to name that I am speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of my teachers and collaborators voices in my own words. What I speak is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, Suzanne Simard, and Sarah Peyton. Other influential beings in my unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce.
29:09
June 28, 2021
Long Body Prayers: Rupture
Long Body Prayers: Rupture
In this episode, I channel the spirit of Rupture, a root spirit from which stems colonization and whiteness. I begin to play with relating to that energy within my own body and I talk about the way that energy of rupture is a part of the dynamic unfolding of life that became stuck as a pattern of relating within the lineages of my European kin. I explore the relationship between rupture and developmental trauma, and the longing of an individual part of a system to know itself in relationship to the wider system it is embedded in. You can learn more about this podcast and my practice at my website: www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com This podcast is also available in video format on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFrG5_SwNokyJAN7zBZkXMg Gratitude for listening and blessings to you and all the beings you are in relationship with. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I want to name that I am speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of my teachers and collaborators voices in my own words. What I speak is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, Suzanne Simard, and Sarah Peyton. Other influential beings in my unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce.
24:57
May 20, 2021
Long Body Prayers: Longing
Long Body Prayers: Longing
In this podcast I explore longing, in its various permutations as relationship to body and land, a dance of aliveness and harmonics, and play with energies bigger than myself. I speak about the ways that my european lineage kin have become immersed in a perception of self that is cut off from the wider ecosystem of entangled relationship. And I explore the necessity of contact and support with wider bodies to begin the process of coming back from dissociation to risking a sensate relationship with body and earth. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I want to name that I am speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of my teachers and collaborators voices in my own words. What I speak is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, Suzanne Simard, and Sarah Peyton. Other influential beings in my unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce. You can learn more about this podcast and my practice at my website: www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com  This podcast is also available in video format on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE21ySDPDyjcsp0iTNsKhuR_lWWkYa3Rc Gratitude for listening and blessings to you and all the beings you are in relationship with. 
10:33
May 15, 2021
Long Body Prayers: Invocation
Long Body Prayers: Invocation
The introductory episode for Long Body Prayers, a podcast exploring animist ritual and embodiment practice. Long Body Prayers is a flexible jam space to play with the themes I’m exploring in my practice of animist somatics and also a container within which I can invite conversation with other practitioners doing resonant work. TRANSCRIPT FOR "INVOCATION": So just take a minute to feel where you are—if you know the place name of where you are—just to greet the land, and to greet your body here. And this is a really tangible way to just invite in any support, the support of the land, the support of the ancestors or other beings that are with you. Just ask them to hold you, to accompany right now. I've spent a lot of time feeling into this, this animal body that I inhabit, and feeling into the earth that supports me. And the ancestral lineages that I come from. I've spent a lot of time sitting in a sit spot on some land near a marsh and watching turtles. And that became a place for me to feel into the different threads of relationship moving through my body, like feeling for: "Is there anybody else here? Am I alone? " You know, this cultural story that we're all isolated individuals and we're alone. Within dominance, culture, within colonizer, whiteness, industrial framing, the self is an acorn. And there really aren't many possibilities for relationship or connection, or history or lineage or support when you're an acorn. Whereas within indigenous cultures, traditional cultures, there are perceptions of the self, that include this idea of the long body. That the self is actually this tiny little sprout that connects to ancestors, the land you're on, the microbiome of your gut, all of the people you know, all of the history that you've lived through, that this whole root system of self exists underneath the surface. And that, even wider than that is the way that root systems connect with each other. One thing about old growth forests that always just blows my mind is that they create a microclimate. They actually become—through the root system—they become this larger body, and they actually change the temperature around them. They're that powerful as a body. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I want to name that I am speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of my teachers and collaborators voices in my own words. What I speak is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, Suzanne Simard, and Sarah Peyton. Other influential beings in my unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce.
03:31
May 15, 2021