This year, I danced my temple-keeper.
A lot of people seemed to lack understanding of what that meant, as if temples and the monastic keeping thereof were too distant from both our standard life in civ (the city, the make-believe world) and from their anarcho-primitivist ideal (successfully embodied -- which several of my friends have -- or not) to even conceive. My gate-keeping was a far cry from the two-hour conversations I had grown accustomed to; it took barely ten minutes and consisted almost entirely of slight word-changes to ensure more powerful magick. This gentleness seemed to emanate throughout the dance for me, which was shockingly absent the physical and emotional strain I expected.
I believe that I heard two things from the Tree of Life during the dance (OK, more like two-and-a-half or three). The first is to not be scared and to go for the gusto in an act of surrender. One scenario I had been playing with prior to the dance for keeping a temple was to build one at my friend Melody Sage's house (they've shown interest in that and are asking for a written proposal) and pitching a tent next to it. If it works out the way it might, I might be able to fulfill my needs with General Assistance and food stamps. If I can do that, then I can jump directly into building and tending the temple as my full-time monastic practice; performing the nine prayers a day and other such monastic practices I might like would also be easier, as would accommodating any community members who might have need of the temple for their personal work. The Tree of Life told me to not be scared and to go for as extreme a possibility as that.
"Don't be scared: she's hungry." That's the half-to-one additional thing I heard the Tree of Life say to me. It's the most difficult to understand, though the next thing is the most difficult to follow through on. In many ways, it seems to relate to my Tlazolteotl work, which is strong for me both at Wolf Creek Radical Fairy Sanctuary and also at that dance, as she is Nahua/Aztec (Huasteca, actually) and Shoshone (the eponymous language spoken by the nation from whom the dance originates) is the northernmost Uto-Aztecan language. She is the Shit-Eater (Tlaelquani) and she ate some shit through me at the dance, that much is for certain. And when I imagined using that phrase as an anchor, during a scenario on Deep Re-entry held by one of the elders of the dance, it helped turn situations around such that I saw people's oppositions to my work as shit (tlazolli) to be honored as holy rather than obstacles to enrage me and saw my own probable moments of despair and anger and tlazolli as offerings and prayers to be built into the temple. Holy. Still, the phrase seems larger than all of that and larger than Tlazolteotl. Still not sure how, though.
Finally, I come to the point of this post: If I listen broadly and deeply, I hear through the mouths not of the tree but of my fellow dancers that keeping a temple flows from keeping the temple-keeper. That is: I heard a recurring refrain that I ought do all that I do for others and for my community for myself. That as much as I seek to serve the community, I serve myself; as much as I seek to appreciate and honor the community, I appreciate and honor myself; that as much as I seek to gift to the community, that I gift to myself; that as much as I seek to beautify the community, I beautify myself; that as much as I hold space for others with compassionate listening and deep witnessing, that I hold space for myself with compassionate listening and deep witnessing; that everything I do for those around me, I do for myself. Problem is: I have no clue how to do that. Hell, I'm losing sight by the moment as the shitty and its concrete buildings all pushed up against one another smother me again of all the things I do for others/my community! So, I ask y'all to pleasepleaseplease help: Help me find those things I do for the community and for others and help me figure out how to do them for myself. My hands are empty and I would change myself to rise to the demands of my calling.