By Lalita Rose
Feeling Fine by Savina Monet
Praise to the Creator of Earth and her inhabitants. Praise to the Source of Life. Calling and invoking the Love within us. Creator, who is urging our human consciousness to awaken to the true possibility of liberation and connection, thank you for the gift of your sacred plants. Plants that heal us, that speak to the organs in which you crafted, to come into balance. Creator may we remember the sacredness of every relationship we encounter, may we remember what it is to be human. To be human is to love. To be human is to celebrate differences. To be human is to create and always be innovative while respecting the generations that came before and those that will come after. Please give us the strength to protect your sacred land.
Cannabis magnifies and presents to us a clear picture where both liberation and oppression function. It teaches us the malleability of our realities and complexities. This malleability gives us the opportunity to alter patterns of behaviors, thought processes that are shaped by our internal dialogue where we see direct results. In large part, it appears that we have yet again need to return to the basics by reflecting on what it means to be human. Opening my copy of Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider”, in the essay “Learning from the 60s,” her voice whispers across time:
“As Black people, if there is one thing we can learn from the 60s, it is how infinitely complex any move for liberation must be. For we must move against not only those forces which dehumanize us from the outside, but also against those oppressive values which we have been forced to take into ourselves,” (Lorde, 135).
We, and by ‘we’ I mean every single human on this planet, are sitting with this grand task. For many of us, we struggle to find words to describe the emotional territory in which we find ourselves. Collectively, we are in a pandemic, probably the largest pandemic of our generation. Prior to the life-form, that is COVID-19 traveling around the world, it became crystal clear; there is a global voice rising up for the protection of our sacred mother Earth. Indigenous people of African, Turtle Island, Phillipino, Chinese, Irish, Scottish peoples are returning to the foundations of what offer truths that exist, buried under the fabricated lies of plastic, wasteful, white supremacist Capitalism. The younger generation is reaching back, searching for the Elders who not only hold knowledge but enact it for community uplifting. Mama Lorde is one such Elder. She did not sleep, nor despair or give up on our human capacity for real change. In the 80s, where 60% of Black youth under 20 were unemployed and becoming unemployable, lynchings were increasing, Apartheid in South Africa was reaching its violent peak, yet there were minds and people who did their work.
Each generation received a torch passed from a previous one. In each era, there are sub-generations, the older folks, the children, the adults, the teenagers, the babies. Each member holds a thread; a piece to the larger puzzle. Each root of the large tree of life is our family systems. Within our roots, lies what needs to die, and what needs to be nourished and survive. These fabrics interweave in every aspect of our lives, to what we eat, how we spend our time, how we view sex and relationships, and even how we wipe our asses. Though what aspect of ourselves are we feeding?
Plants are organic matter that can communicate information without having to search on Google. The ancestors of healing knew this, the ones who are open can still hear, and nothing can ever change that. Cannabis is a plant that since its birth was a plant that supports the elevation of human consciousness. It is a plant that opens portals and allows us to see in a larger holistic vision when our Consciousness is directed to do so. Cannabis gives us permission to access the aspects of our minds that can shapeshift our reality. It affirms our gifts as healers, as artists, as craftsmxn, as lovers, as humans. Yet it can also give us a portal into those shadow spaces. The grief, the ugly, the loss, and with it all, we humbly give thanks for the wisdom that lies when we allow ourselves to cry, to speak our truth, and to wrestle with our fears.
Reading Audre Lorde’s account of the 80s reads like a newscast that happened in last week’s news cycle. “Decisions to cut aid for the terminally ill, for the elderly, for dependent children, for food stamps, even school lunches, are being made by men with full stomachs who live in comfortable houses with two cars and upteen tax shelters,” (Lorde, 140). Not to mention that the 60s were rife with the fear of complete annihilation under the threat of the Nuclear War. She continues, “Can any one of us here still afford to believe that efforts to reclaim the future can be private or individual? Can anyone here still afford to believe that the pursuit of our liberation can be the sole and particular province of any one particular race, or sex, or age, or religion, or sexuality, or class? (Lorde, 141).
So here we are. In 2020, former Toronto Police Chief responsible for the imprisonment of thousands of Black and Brown teenagers, men and women, mothers for even having as small as a gram of cannabis is now the Board Chair of Aleafia Cannabis Wellness.. Fantino, once compared the legalization of marijuana to legalizing murder”. His position alongside other individuals who are not the native caretakers of this sacred medicine, brings into focus an area where justice and accountability need to be made. Our planet still needs protection as Indigenous peoples around the globe are laying their lives on the line in places such as the Amazon, Wet’su’weten territory, to ensure that all of our lives will be worth living for generations. Audre Lorde’s haunting question after reflecting on the legacy she stands on: are we doing our work? Are we willing to carry on this sacred torch we have been given from generations prior? There is so much that we can do, if we can avoid cutting each other down and out of our lives. If we can hold onto compassion for ourselves and one another, and know that there is a juicy vision that is calling upon us to rise up into our power. And perhaps it’s no longer about being at war with the external other. Perhaps it is about centering in our profound dreams and desires. Maybe it is in practicing the feelings of pleasure, affirmation, creativity, experimentation that can snap us out of being drained, and spur us into action that is fueled not by shame, or guilt, or fear, or “we are running out of time,” but of curiosity and anticipation that our collective inspiration can produce different results.
Plants and humans have always had a symbiotic relationship Capitalism puts a price on everything that is priceless. The commodification of Cannabis can change how we are in relationship to it and with the heightened unequal approach to the Cannabis industry, I wonder if this impacts our highs? We are already largely separated from our food systems, as big corporations monopolize on Mama Earth’s main function; an abundant giver. Plants support us in maintaining and returning our bodies, minds, and spirits into equilibrium and balance, including the hallucinogenic herbs that have largely been marked as poisonous and illegal. Though big businesses and governments have no qualms selling poisonous foods, chemicals, and lucrative plant properties.
Cannabis has taught me compassion. It’s shown me that our life is in fact interconnected, that we can shift our perceptions and the whole world can change. It’s hard stems grow like the neural pathways in our brains. Cleanse your body, purify your mind with this plant. It’s taught me that we are all healing, whether we are Black, White, wealthy, cash poor, and we want to do better, but we can get trapped in our past, all of us. At a moment such as this, we are so capable to tune into our inner perceptions and be the midwives of Mama who will birth us into an era of regeneration.
Lalita Rose is a futurist, time- traveler, plant-lover, pleasure seeker, weaver of songs, films, and visions. You can catch her conjuring a story, reading tarot, twerking mid-day and talking on the phone with people across the seas.