Your Name is Medicine Over my Kin – (tr)ancestral wisdoms and earth crafting

Title inspired by the work of Alexis Pauline Gumbs

This Fall, in line with the season, will be all about stone-work, divination practices, writing with the dead, dancing with the dark, indigenating ancient cults and working with the chiaro-oscuro of communicating with our (tr)ancestors, also in the sense of trans (shapeshifting) and trance (shamanism). We seek to understand

What insideous storytelling leads to enstrangement, disenchantment, objectification and oppression? And what re-story-ing leads to restoration, re-enchantment, transformation and justice?

We couldn’t do all this without grounding ourselves in suppressed his-her-x-stories in a medicinal way, for which we invoke the guidance of Aurora Levins Morales seminal essay ‘The historian as curandera’, in which she calls for a reconnection with our ancestries and land, while revealing the mechanisms of power that continue to dispossess and deplete.

Be welcome to the Fall Cycle of Wxtch Craft - Studium Generale lecture series 2021-22:

Curatorial statement

Towards the end of the first year of exploring Wxtch Craft as a queer feminist liberatory practice, we realised that we were in this for the long haul.

Because at every turn, the many gendered witch revealed themselves to be like a precious stone or prism, casting a new, refracted light on the many struggles – of class, gender, race and ecology – that intersect and entangle in their figure. The necessity for a (virtual) clearing in the woods persists. That is, a place for nurturance and (self)education, to listen and learn from the life-saving knowledges that witchcrafts are (un)earthing worldwide.

‘As Indigenous peoples, we are fighting to protect what we love - our way of life, our rivers, the animals, our forest, life on Earth - and it’s time that you listened to us.’

Nemonte Nenquimo, Indigenous activist and member of the Waorani nation from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador.

And so we continue to walk with our cherished guests and hosts into the woods to exchange medicine and craft new stories for earthly survival from a witch’s perspective. We seek to understand what insidious storytelling leads to estrangement, disenchantment, objectification and oppression, and what re-story-ing leads to restoration, re-enchantment, transformation and justice. An important part of this work is becoming skillful in what the great mage Ursula K. Le Guin calls magic: knowing the true, original name of things. This is also the reason why we, inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, one of the most re-enchanting voices of our time and our guest, decided to name this Fall cycle:

WXTCH CRAFT: YOUR NAME IS MEDICINE OVER MY KIN

(tr)ancestral wisdoms and earth crafting

MEDICINE, to remedy the indigestion that all systemic injustices suffered, past and present, cause. The stench of the burning stakes is hard to un-smell. The causes of today’s multiple crises are hard to un-see. Hence, we also need medicine to counter a mechanistic, disenchanted world view that objectifies humans of colour, women, animals and children into something to be possessed, abused and disposed of. Reckoning these dark his-tories of abuse places us before an ‘infinite demand’ to restore and transform what has been broken and lost.

(TR)ANCESTRAL WISDOMS, because to live and live better, we are called to alchemize our his-tories and ancestries, so we may retrieve their blessings, too. We couldn’t do the work without sourcing and grounding ourselves more firmly in suppressed his-her-x-stories in a medicinal way, for which we invoke the guidance of elder Aurora Levins Morales. In her essay ‘The historian as curandera’, Aurora urges to tell the untold or under told stories, unmask the strategies of misinformation and contradict them, reveal the hidden power structures – and many more things – while reconnecting with our ancestral land that constitute our sense of dignity and self.

“What process of change can move a people that does not know who it is, nor where it came from? If it doesn’t know who it is, how can it know what it deserves to be?”

Eduardo Galeano

‘Stay grounded, end grounded. When we move energy, when we raise power, we draw it up from the earth and let it drop back to the earth.’

Starhawk

Hence, in this next cycle, we, school of avid learners, will move into a figure eight. Looping into the past, we gather and alchemize what lessons we may encounter over there to be released as potentialities into the near future. Somewhere at the intersection, rooted in the present, we meet and show up for each other in the broken open, as So Mayer beautifully describes in her essay for Spells. We warmly invite you to this new series of coven-encounters that will be all about stone work, divination practices, writing with the dead, dancing with the dark, indigenating ancient cults and navigating the chiaroscuro of communicating with our (tr)ancestors, also in the sense of trans (shapeshifting) and trance (shamanism). Be welcome!

Erika Sprey*

*You will find more than one reference to Mexico throughout this cycle. Please accept this as my offering that I (half-Mexican, half-Dutch, and many more things) bring to our cauldron as part of the ancestral work I am doing from my side, in service of our learning community.

Contact

Suggestions/Questions/Remarks

Drop us a note at e.sprey@kabk.nl or j.vangilst@kabk.nl or via @wxtchcraftkabk
For questions about the zine contact: info@daynacasey.com


Colophon

Concept and curation: Erika Sprey
Coordination and production: Janne van Gilst
Visual communication and program advisor: Dayna Casey
Shrine interventions: all participating KABK students
Gifting installation: Anca Barjovanu

Our main image incorporates a drawing of alumna Isabel Cavenecia "The Fire That Couldn't Catch the Groove" and drawing of Pictish stone at Aberlemno, Scotland, with snake, mirror, comb, and broken arrow. From Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700-1100. © 2016 Max Dashu, used with permission.