Friday, July 15, 2016
Yellow Cosmic Star/ Yellow Self-Existing Sun - Cosmic Turtle Moon of Presence, Day 19
Poet Ofelia Zepeda, Tohono O'odham (Papago).
It is the time for the ritual.
To dance, to sing so that rain may come,
so that the earth may be fixed one more time.
Throughout the night,
a night too short for such important work,
the people converge energies.
They call upon the night.
They call upon the stars in the darkness.
They call upon the hot breezes.
They call upon the heat coming off the earth.
They implore all animals.
The ones that fly in the sky.
The ones that crawl upon the earth.
The ones that walk.
The ones that swim in the water and
the ones that move in between water, sky, and earth.
They implore them to focus on the moisture.
All are dependent.
From the dark dryness of the desert,
on that one night the call of the people is heard.
It is heard by the oceans, winds, and clouds.
All respond sympathetically.
Throughout the night you hear the one who is assigned yelling:
"'oig 'o, 'oig 'o
before it becomes light
'oig 'o, 'oig 'o
there are still songs to be sung
'oig 'o, 'oig 'o
before the sun comes up
'oig 'o, 'oig 'o
there is still a little bit of night left.
With the dawn we face the sunrise.
We face it with all our humility.
We are mere beings.
All we can do is extend our hands toward the first light.
In our hands we capture the first light.
We take it and cleanse ourselves.
We touch our eyes with it.
We touch our faces with it.
We touch our hair with it.
We touch our limbs.
We rub our hands together, we want to keep this light with us.
We are complete with this light.
This is the way we begin and end things.
In memory of Barbara Lannan*
A member of the Tohono O’odham (formerly Papago) Nation, Ofelia Zepeda grew up in Stanfield, Arizona. She earned an MA and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Arizona and is the author of a grammar of the Tohono O'odham language, A Papago Grammar (1983). Zepeda’s poetry collections include Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) and Jewed’l-hoi/Earth Movements, O’Odham Poems (1996).
Zepeda’s poetry touches on linguistics, O’odham traditions, the natural world, and the experience of contemporary O’odham life. Her work is influenced by traditional Papago themes and songs. Dennis Holt, reviewing Zepeda’s work for Drunken Boat, identified the “cultural mélange” of her work, commenting that “a number of Zepeda’s poems display varying patterns of bilingualism, including code-switching and immediate interlinear translation.”
Zepeda was honored with a MacArthur Fellowship (1999) for her contributions as a poet, linguist, and cultural preservationist. She received a grant from the Endangered Language Fund for her work on the Tohono O’odham Dictionary Project. Zepeda has been a professor of linguistics and director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona, as well as director of the American Indian Language Development Institute. She edits Sun Tracks, a book series devoted to publishing work by Native American artists and writers, at the University of Arizona Press. She is the Poet Laureate of Tucson, Arizona. For several years, she continues to serve as editor for numerous journals and book series. In 2012, her book was banned by Tucson schools.
Kin 208: Yellow Cosmic Star
I endure in order to beautify
I seal the store of elegance
With the cosmic tone of presence
I am guided by the power of free will.
Direct experience is indescribable.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Visshudha Chakra (Alpha Plasma)