April 17-18, 2010
Sonoma State University
CONCEPT PAPER FOR A BABAYLAN GATHERING
THEME: FILIPINO INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND PRACTICES: THEIR RELEVANCE IN AN AGE OF GLOBALIZATION (note: this was the theme of the Kapwa 2 Conference in Iloilo in 2008; while we want to focus on Babaylan, we would frame it within IKSP).
RATIONALE AND VISION: We believe in the power of the Indigenous Soul and the Indigenous World View, as embodied by primary babaylans and contemporary babaylan/culture-bearers, to provide a narrative that restores a sense of wholeness, beauty, and integrity to our pagkaPilipino. In a world that aches for peace, justice, and healing from the violent effects of colonial and imperial histories, our Babaylan and our indigenous knowledge systems and practices offer a path to re-membering and remembering the sacredness, strength, beauty, and the creativity of our Filipino Loob.
Those who have done the deep work of reconnecting with the spirit of the Babaylan would like to share this experience with our communities. We would like to reflect together and celebrate this wealth from our spiritual and cultural heritage so that it might nourish and nurture the work that we do to heal and bless, to make peace, to create justice, to teach our kin the values of Kapwa, Kagandahang Loob, Pakikiramdam, and Panagtagbo.
We live in a planet of diminishing resources. We live in a time when so many peoples on the planet are becoming disillusioned and disheartened by the narratives of empire, manic global capitalism, neoliberalism, "progress and development," as these fall short in their promise to alleviate suffering, poverty, injustice for a majority of people on the planet. Many are questioning these modern paradigms, as it's becoming apparent that the affluent lifestyles these paradigms have created for a fraction of people on the planet are not sustainable and do not sustain happiness.
There is a growing body of literature that attempts to show why modernity is failing us. These texts invite us to extend our historical perspective all the way back to Paleolithic times to learn what kinds of values and worldview allowed the earliest groups of people to live sustainably for hundreds of thousands of years. Only through a lengthened historical perspective do we begin to see the bends and turns that our ancient ancestors took to become on the one hand as "Leavers" (those who remained on the land) and on the other as "Takers" (those who would eventually become empire builders and colonizers). (Ishmael by Daniel Quinn).
We are fortunate to still have with us shamans who have access to "The World We Used to Live In" (when All was considered Sacred). (Vine DeLoria) The sacred world that includes spirits, and belief in the sacred non-hierarchical interdependent relationship of all species before it all became disenchanted and desacralized by the rise of the scientific worldview. We still have remnants of old sacred chants and oral traditions, dances, rituals, weaving, drumming and other practices that can re-connect our body, mind, and soul and experience this sacred wholeness.
In this gathering, we bring together: 1) key resource persons from the Philippines on Filipino Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices; 2) babaylan/culture-bearers in the US whose life work is informed by the babaylan tradition; 3) babaylan-inspired scholars who address the sub-themes in the stated vision; 4) babaylan-inspired teachers, healers, warriors, priestesses, visionaries whose life work is centered around indigenizing the Filipino self; 5) persons who recognize decolonization as a spiritual path; 6) persons who consciously work on the sycnretic integration of non-indigenous elements into Filipino spirituality; 7) persons whose creative expressions resonate with being indigenous or indio-genius.
Nurturers and Organizers: Perla Daly, Letecia Layson, Baylan Megino and Leny Strobel
Please help us in organizing the conference. We will need a lot of help with Fundraising and Sponsorships, Publicity, Housing and Accommodations, Registration, and other logistics.