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LIFE AS CEREMONY

CO-CREATION • NARRATIVES • BEAUTY • REVERENCE

Life As Ceremony is an independent bi-annual print journal and community co-creation.

This work centers the voices, art & narratives of Indigenous folks, Black folks, communities of color,

the LGBTQIA community & all those otherwise marginalized, excluded or forgotten.

Your art is sacred.

Your voice is sacred.

Your existence is sacred.

This space is your altar.

Diaspora Prayer of the Refugee’s Grandchild

 

This poem was originally written for Life as Ceremony Vol. 7, the Identity issue. Alice Baca wove, curated and midwifed writers and artists to investigate, check, and hold space for our myriad of identities. I’m deeply grateful for this process and to premiere these words here with performance, film, and sound.

 

My ancestral tradition, Judaism, often invokes covering our heads and our bodies, especially during prayer and blessing. In making this visual single, I thought a lot about covering and uncovering, our varied strategies towards reverence and revealing. 

 

Every floral scarf and fabric in the film I brought back when I visited my grandmother’s hometown in Sighet, Romania, after she passed. They’re the kind of scarves she wore there and continued to wear as a refugee in New York City and all through my life. There’s a joke in my family that if I could invite anyone living or dead to dinner, everyone at my table would be my grandmother.

 

I think a lot about how her ancestors arrived to Romania diasporic, how Romania never considered her a national, and how she left as a refugee — and still, her whole life, she considered Sighet, Romania her home. I think a lot about spiritual and physical “doikayt,” Yiddish (her language) for “hereness,” learning to be where you are. I witness ongoing generations of displacement around the world, including Palestinians and the Indigenous people of Manhatta, and long for collective liberation. 

 

There’s a theme in recent, modern developments of Judaism to negate diaspora, as a lesser option to having a homeland, and something that must be fixed by us. I connect to the ancient mystic practice of my ancestors to repair your exile from your ancestral home by making yourself a dwelling for the sacred which is not bound to a physical home, and bringing that presence of the sacred into you, wherever you are. In order to bring the sacred presence into you, this ancient practice requires an ongoing reckoning with any harm that you have caused and a commitment to reparation. May there be reckoning. May we cease harm and turn towards safety for all. May we repair, make room for the sacred inside ourselves and witness it in each other, towards wholeness.

-Anna Talhami

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when we allow our awareness to open to the beauty in all things

in all moments

within all beings

and within ourselves

our hearts are filled with gratitude for life's many blessings

we recognize that we are our ancestors' dreams & walk with them beside us

we reawaken & reclaim our ancestral wisdom

we work to dismantle systems & cycles of harm

we begin to nurture and share our innate gifts & talents

we approach creation with deep love, reverence & intention

we honor ourselves as reflections of the Divine

we connect more closely to our intuition & to Spirit

we step into our power & weave our dreams into reality

we work in service of community & for the greater good of the collective

 our lives become a conscious sacred creation

Song: Hungry Heart - Alysha Brilla

Deep gratitude to Alysha for allowing the use of her beautiful song!
It helped to seamlessly weave together the message of this video.
You can find more of Alysha's work HERE

My deepest & heart felt love goes to all the bright spirits that shared their essence & unapologetic joy
to make this video possible.

Joy is in our nature & will always be our birthright.
Joy is radical & healing!

A LOOK INSIDE OUR PREVIOUS VOLUMES