Hello – I’m Faye Patton. A Jazz singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist (and teacher of those things.) Also something of a martial arts/health/fitness enthusiast. Originally from the rural south-west, I have lived and worked in London for the last decade, where I gig, and record. As I write this, I am planning a huge journey that will require courage, commitment and focus. It is my passionate intention to travel halfway around the world this October to attend a conference with the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers on Amami Island, Japan.

So…I am a musician, (fayepatton.com) in the finishing stages of a new CD, and though my musical commitments have their own costs and deadlines – this trip is something I must do. I hope that anyone reading this will wish me their positive thoughts as I fling myself into this new chapter, guided by prayer and instinct. I suppose this is what is meant by the path of least resistance. It just has to happen. I am very excited about this! To the extend that my heart is in my mouth, my mouth is is my head, my head is in my stomach and I feel as though I’m at the centre of a vortex, spinning, yet still.

This is my first entry of a process that I intend will generate it’s own momentum.

Who are the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers?

'When the Grandmothers from the  four directions speak, a new time is coming.'

An alliance, formed in 2004, of medicine women, healers and shamans from indigenous traditions across the globe. They have come together from Tibet, Arizona, Mexico, Gabon, Oregon, Montana, Nepal, The Arctic and Brazil, in response to a slow-burning prophecy made years ago, when they were children – that they would gravitate together later in life  as a powerful force of spiritual leadership. These visionary elders  offer prayer, education, and healing in these times of stress and continued destruction of the natural world. Their work includes and has included: travelling around the globe to each of their sacred homeland sites, meditation and prayer and visualisation, preservation and reactivation of traditional shamanic ceremonies, where animal and fish populations are in crisis. Also, a protest at the Vatican, regarding the (still extant) papal orders that served to carve up the lands/collective soul of the First Nations of America. Many of the Grandmothers work with plant hallucinogens – widely misunderstood in mainstream western society, although there is now much literature to remedy this. Such healing plants are more correctly know as entheogens, containing an in-dwelling spirit teacher that appears through visions.  A whole natural pharmacy of these and other botanical medicinal resources are under threat from Western drug companies – the Grandmothers have a role in their protection amidst the other work that they do to help humanity evolve. Mainly, they pray. They pray a lot and hard. Here is their mission statement as published on their site. I have respectfully duplicated some official quotations/images here just as introductory information:

”We represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come.

We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life. We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.

We look to further our vision through the realization of projects that protect our diverse cultures: lands, medicines, language and ceremonial ways of prayer and through projects that educate and nurture our children.”

More resources: Grandmothers Counsel the World – Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet, by Carol Shaefer (Trumpeter, Boston, 2006)

http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org

‘For The Next Seven Generations’ film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKGXpK8LXR4

Where is Amami Oshima?

The largest central island of  the Amami islands, themselves part of the Ryukyu archipelago, also encompassing Okinawa. The Ryukyu Kingdom was once a self-governing tributary state of China, before being invaded by the Satsuma clan in the 17th century. All these islands sit in the Pacific Ocean between Taiwan and mainland Japan and are home to diverse array of wildlife and folk culture. Amami Oshima is home to a rare species of black hare, also snakes and birds and I believe the word Amami  is the name of a/(the?) Goddess. As in Okinawa, there are female priests and many sacred sites. I hope to post more about the history and geography of the region, which is itself a fusion of influences. Numerous dialects abound, particularly amongst the elder generation. People under 60 apparently tend to use standard Japanese  – at least I am hoping this is the case…I can get by just a little bit, though I will have to practise a lot. My current vocabulary is geared around prepositions and asking for food/directions and doesn’t yet extend to major spiritual discourse. But Japanese is a real pleasure to learn, enjoyably rhythmic, both for listening and speaking.



What’s the event and why?

OCTOBER 22-25: 8TH COUNCIL GATHERING, AMAMI OSHIMA ISLAND, JAPAN

“In these latest times we live in, when killing seems almost natural, we are here in these days of prayer so that we can illuminate a consciousness for this planet that is in agony.  Inside our hearts, I believe each of us present at this gathering feels great hope.  This is a seed being planted.”
– Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura, Brazilian Rainforest

With devotion to the Creator in their hearts, the 13 Grandmothers are once again gathering from the four corners of the world, in prayer for the Earth and harmony for all beings. For this 8th Council Gathering, we are respectfully joining together in honor of Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura and her people. Grandmother Clara is Brazilian by birth and Japanese by ancestry.

Amami Oshima Island is the largest of the Amami islands in Japan. Sugar cane, bananas, rice, sweet potato, guava and mangos are all cultivated on the island. Amami is famed for the creamy soft sand called “star sand.”

The Council Gathering will include sacred dancers and local elders coming to greet the Grandmothers to open the Sacred Fire. As they have done in previous councils, the Grandmothers gather together to offer teachings, prayer, and wisdom from their peoples. Grandmother Clara’s great love and compassion is guiding this 8th Council to be a time of healing and inspiration for all of us.

“Everyone has an inner knowing, a gift and an ability to do things, especially if we open our hearts to God and work for Mother Earth.” Grandmother Clara Shinobu Iura, 2004

Why me, why now?

So, the above is by way of introduction.  And I am going because I actually feel cosmically, physically propelled. Come rain or shine, hook or crook I will go and learn from these incredible women whilst they still walk the earth dimension. And I believe I can contribute my strength and my focus. My strange, self-contained presence that friends joke about. Often the most effective prayer and healing is just to be. It starts with my own healing journey. Recovering from devastating personal heartbreak about 7 years ago, I threw myself into music and my ongoing martial arts training. Feeling alternately numb and volatile and in fear for my future, I went on a course of shamanic lucid dreaming with acclaimed teacher (and author of the famed ‘Boudicca’ series), Manda Scott. Already a periodic lucid dreamer, I managed to learn more about the  transpersonal assistance available to us all through the invisible realms of dream and spirit. By refining, personalising and practicising these tools, I found the boundary between my waking life and my dreams ( always vivid and hyper-real anyway) becoming more porus. Active dreaming, conscious dreaming, lucid dreaming – all these terms are applicable to this kind of experience.

I was always very clear about the why and how of feeding this personal work back into the music career. I never wanted to go off on a spiritual journey, just to be the best musician I can be, as I feel that’s my best contribution to the world. I have practised Aikido for 15 years and felt that did enough to take care of  mind/body/spirit. But before I knew about the forthcoming event in Japan, or even the Grandmothers, I was dreaming this journey. Many nights in a row, witches/women healers/shamans on the beach in Japan, on an island. Always with me there, often greeting old friends in great excitement. The specifics would change, but the general picture was the same. A coming together, a sharing, many types of magic and female energy. And so I feel utterly compelled, and I’ve decided that this will find a way to work alongside my current recording work.

At first I was reluctant to start this blog – something in me always resisted putting private journeys in the public eye, but here I am.

Here I am. I hope these journals will generate some interest in the work of the Grandmothers. Theirs is the real story, and the indigenous communities they represent. That said, their mission really is to draw all of us together – all of us. They are guided by dreams and prophecies that really do see the whole of humanity working to save creation and evolve to the next stage. Mayan Prophecy enthusiasts (I’m one) will recognise this as a pressing concern and recognise in the Grandmothers an embodiment of the Quezecoatl energy – the rainbow serpent, or the ‘Noosphere’ spoken of by Jose Arguelles. I have personally seen in dreams and visions, the pivot or portal by which we evolve or perish in our current form, as very fine indeed. A delicate task. Like prevailing in certain martial arts manoeuvres. Only just possible. But doable if done correctly.

From now on I will be posting daily updates on the progress of my trip, along with  photos, links, diary entries, dreams or discursive snippets that seem part of the general spirit. Please feel free to comment. If anyone from the UK or from London is also going on this journey, I’d love to hear from you.

I am currently searching for funding from a variety of sources, to help with costs for this trip. It’s a big commitment. If you read this and find yourself moved to donate money, advice (maybe you’ve visited this region of Japan) or even just good wishes, this would be most welcome. Here is a link, where donations can be made. (Any donations made through this blog, should be in pounds. Please go to the donations button at fayepatton.com if you would like to contribute in US dollars.)

Ever onwards, with thanks.

Faye Patton performing @ Stratford Theatre Royal April 2010. Photo by Alvin Yap

 
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