From our Founder & Director, Lydia Violet Farshid Harutoonian

“…The old woman sings over the bones, and as she sings, the bones flesh out. We too ‘become’ as we pour soul over the bones we have found. As we pour our yearning and our heartbreaks over the bones of what used to be when we were young, of what we used to know in the centuries past, and over the quickening we sense in the future, we stand on all fours, four-square. As we pour soul, we are revivified. We are no longer a thin solution, a dissolving frail thing. No. We are in the ‘becoming’ stage of transformation.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

In my course Singing the Bones, I investigate some of where cosmology and politics intersect. To consider where cosmology and politics intersect is to be present with painful histories and suffering, but not without honoring that oftentimes, the medicines for these wounds a people have experienced emerge in the cultural creativity of these same people, and are shared through song, story, food, and marking the seasons of life.

As people who come from a diaspora – a group of people who have moved or been moved from their original homelands, we know severance. 

Across diasporas, you can find the common condition of cultural severance, usually falling on a spectrum of closeness or distance. Systems of power benefit from their erasure of life-affirming cultures, it helps them prey upon our lack of moral center and coddles us into greed, hatred, and delusion. It benefits those in power to control the backdrop of how we see the world, who we are, and what this is all made of…our cosmology. It benefits them to control the value systems and the belief systems. If there’s a cosmology that doesn’t create access to control by those in power, they will vilify it and promote cultural erasure. This is a part of why I see a huge relationship between cosmology and power. As we move through the process of consciously exploring and choosing for ourselves our cosmology and the values it upholds, we benefit significantly from studying our ancestral cultures and discerning for ourselves that which we choose to preserve, and that which we choose to transform. To heal this severance is not just of personal benefit, but is a subversive, political act.

To learn these stories invites humanity back into any ecosystem we are a part of, whether that be familial, political, or ecological. With each story, we might learn the flora and fauna our ancestors were surrounded by, the foods they made, the archetypal lives of their psyches, ritual celebrations, and the oppressions they experienced or perpetuated that we must learn from and mend. Each one of these cultural touchstones helps to rebuild the humanity of our pasts, and informs the way we move forward with fuller and braver hearts. I both believe and continue to observe, that engaging in this work simply empowers our ability to be good to each other. We can honor each other’s humanity, stand in solidarity with life, know where we come from, and carry songs for where we are going, together.

My next cohort of Singing the Bone starts February 21st, a special 4-week cohort: