at a new moon in pisces ceremony held in march 2022 (led by shira brenner), we engaged in a group visualization activity that led us to our soul word. i landed on the word “savor,” based on my lifelong love of indulging in experiencing life fully through my different senses. for years in my poetry i have used symbols paired with words/phrases in creative ways to try and convey meaning and nuance that goes beyond the bounds of written english grammar. to convey the concept of 'the experience of something' i started using the construction below
for example, one stanza of a poem i recently wrote reads
what i am saying in this stanza is that falling into 'the experience of love,' with all the senses, and allowing oneself to linger in that experiential place, creates new things — in this case 'strong states of being.' i was thrilled to recently learn that some indigenous languages (i am unsure of how many yet) are rich with a "grammar of animacy" that prioritizes verbs over nouns. in the ojibwe or anishinabemowin langauge, for example, concepts like "saturday" or "tree" or "red," typically thought of as nouns in english, are instead animated with yawe, which means "to be"....
"to be saturday"
"to be a tree"
"to be red"
this grammar of animacy aligns remarkably well with my poetic construction
i am excited to see that the grammar of animacy was passed along from my taino ancestors in my bones—and came to life in my poetry—even though i do not speak the taino language(s). looking back at my poem about love a new layer of meaning unfolds to me, that «to be love» is what most powerfully enhances and strengthens all states of being.
in the book braiding sweetgrass indigenous professor and poet robin wall kimmerer observes that yawe is very similar to yahweh, the name used for god in the old testatment, which i was fasincated to learn as a child, expresses the idea that god is a verb, 'the one who causes to become.' looking back at my poem with this additional layer of meaning i hear whispered that «to be love» is to embody yahweh, or creator energy in our experience of and indulgence in being alive. ::life:: — in the deepest ways possible. since childhood it has thrilled me to think that if god is a verb, and if we are indeed created in the image of god, one of our most powerful expressions of self and love is found in ::creativity:: — that to be in the fullest sense is to ::create::.
to clarify, i was raised as a jehovah's witness, left and was cut-off from my entire family and social network in 2002, and long-ago moved away from believing in a jealous male ONE god who favors organized religion, patriarchy, cis-hetero non-disabled white people, and genocide. i believe we are all part of a living organism, and contribute to a cosmic energy many call god. and, there are lessons in all forms of spirituality. the yahweh concept has fascinated me for as long as i remember — and to see a similar idea embedded in the linguistics of indigenous expression and worldview is very comforting.
in braiding sweetgrass kimmerer adds: "a language teacher i know explained grammar is how we chart relationships in language. maybe it also reflects our relationships with each other. maybe a grammar of animacy could lead us to whole new ways of living in the world..."
combining these ideas from the visualization activity, my poetry, and the indigneous yahweh wisdom whispering in my bones, ::savor:: was born, where i share my love of ::savoring:: with you. may it spark new ways of ::connecting and living in the world:: for us all ♥.