“Rebirth of a Queen” awards ceremony and celebration!
The Woman Of Ase Ire!
In December, I was interviewed and featured in the Spotlight section of the website Ase Ire. Ase Ire is the creation of Iyalorisa Efúnfúnláyò Ifákemi Easter Wood, an Orisa priestess and doctoral student in African and African American Studies at Harvard University. In the spirit of reciprocity and to share this beautiful woman’s goal to promote the power of positivity, I decided to interview her and share her purpose and vision for Ase Ire with all of you. Enjoy!
1- What is Ase Ire?
Ase Ire is a labor of love. It is a place where I can share all of the excitement and positive energy that I have been blessed to receive with my community using universal principles as conveyed through the Orisa. I pray it is a place where people can come to learn, to reflect and to share.
2- What prompted you to create Ase Ire?
As a practitioner of the Yoruba Ifa-Orisa tradition, I noticed that a lot of the websites and information out there was about ritual, practice and other very specific aspects of the tradition but didn’t address the “human factor.” How do I apply this knowledge to my everyday life? Where are the Orisa-centric principles in everything that we do? I wanted to create a space to answer some of those questions and also to engage those who may not be practitioners, but who could relate to the principles. As well, I am engaged in scholarship on the tradition and I use Ase Ire as a place from which to share some of that information with the community.
3- What is your long term goal for Ase Ire?
Long term, the sky is the limit! I’m allowing it to naturally live and evolve. I am organizing the first of what I pray will be many collaborative events with Ase Ire in April called “Sacred Healing & Wholeness in Africa & the Americas.” This is a day-long symposium that will take place at Harvard University and allow those who study and practice African, African Diasporic and American Indigenous religions the space to discuss the many meanings of health, healing and being whole. The concepts within these traditions are often very different than that expressed by Western medicine and, as I feel the world is in dire need of healing, I thought this would be a great point of focus. I’m also hosting a workshop with Luisah Teish called “The Mirror in the Water: Autobiography as a Spiritual Practice.” She is a dynamic woman and priestess and I’m proud to be working with her. These types of events and many more are what I see as Ase Ire’s present and future.
4- What is your personal mantra / life affirmation and how does it guide your life’s purpose?
My personal mantra, which I first heard from my Master Teacher Awo Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu is that “Ifa says we should be thankful, I say we should be thankful!” which comes from the odu Ifa ose ogunda. I approach each and every moment of my life from a position of gratitude and seek always to give back to the world at least a small portion of that which I have been given.
5- Words of wisdom
Love hard, laugh harder and allow the tears to flow when they will. All are sacred. Know that nothing worth having will come without sacrifice and that the missteps are a part of the journey.
Support, Prayers, and Soft Leather
I am always humbled by people who genuinely support my writing and encourage me to continue tapping this keyboard and putting pen to paper. What many don’t know is that the writing process for me is similar to prayer. I use words in time of pain, triumph, surrender, and unsurpassed joy. Words have energy, purpose, and intent in my life the way chanting does to my Buddhist friends, the way rosary beads did for my Abuela Ana Dolores, and how meditation does for my mother. Whenever I recall a significant moment in my life, I can also recall the words spoken or written at that time. During academic achievements, death or birth I have always relied on words. I have written letters to all my children before they were born, to my husband the day we met, and to my ancestors regularly asking for guidance.
What I write on is equally as important to me depending upon the task. I have written on corn and tobacco leaves, napkins, printer paper, lined and unlined notebooks, paper bags, and even on tissue paper following some deep realization after a very ugly snot filled yet, extremely necessary cry when I was sure no one was looking.
So when Harry and Yvette Santiago gifted me with a beautiful soft nubuck leather journal I was surprised and extremely grateful. Harry is a project manager at Image Marketing Inc.com and Yvette is a pedagogue in preschool. Harry and I both share the strange quirk that if a journal doesn’t “feel right” then it doesn’t encourage the writer to fill it. Strange? Well, maybe, coming from the woman who has written love poems on white flower petals! Nevertheless, a journal and a writer develop a bond, a connection to pages and if it doesn’t feel right from the first touch then why bother?
This journal is absolutely beautiful in look and feel. They wrote words of encouragement on the first page and their energy, purpose and intent clearly surrounds its soft leather and buttery interior sheets. I look forward to praying within its pages.
Thank you, Harry and Yvette, for this symbol of support, love and encouragement.
For those who have asked, here are some performance dates
Babble in The Bronx!
I’ll be featuring with Rock Wilk
When: Friday, February 17, 2012
Time: 8:00p.m. -11:30p.m.
Where: Mi Gente Cafe
1306 Unionport Road, Bronx, N.Y. 10462
Celebrate Women’s History Month with Gloria Rodriguez
YOU ARE MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH
A Book Reading/Signing & Reception
w/Poetry by Peggy Robles Alvarado
Stand in Your Beauty; Claim Your Magnificence;
Celebrate the Spirit of Women in Community!
Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Time: 6-9pm (starting promptly)
Where: The Longwood Art Gallery@ Hostos Community College
450 Grand Concourse (@149th St) Bronx, New York 10451
2,4, 5IRT Trains to 149th Street
For more information please visit: gloriarodriguezauthor.com
Behind The Scenes As show time approached and the crew tried to rectify some technical difficulties, the dancers and I posed for pictures, exchanged information, talked about our family members in the audience, and did everything in our power to remain calm. I am a firm believer in that some people are meant to enter
Conversations With My Skin is the first book of poetry of writer and educator Peggy Robles- Alvarado. She vividly depicts her violent poetic journey from a pregnant teen to a resilient woman determined to redefine herself. Her story embodies resolve, redemption, and healing for both mother and child. Go to homepage for more info.
This week I will be in the final rehearsals for Plantando Banderas. I have met my challenge of writing and committing to memory five original pieces for this production. Poetry incorporated into a theatrical piece is a new adventure for me and I welcomed the challenge. Linda Nieves-Powell, who is serving as creative and script
Want to see what I’m working on for the Plantando Banderas Project? Play the video, see pictures of my ancestors, laugh at my baby pictures and listen to me honor Latinos! Dale! Want a sneak peek at The Plantando Banderas Show coming this November? Play the video and witness Orlando Ferrand at his best!
On October 11th Bonafide Rojas and I were the featured poets at Capicu’s Cultural Showcase as part of NYU’s celebration of Latino Heritage Month hosted by Papo Swiggity and coordinated by the one and only George Urban Jibaro Torres.
Albert Taino Image Areizaga painted live! His portrait of Don Pedro Albizu Campos hovering over El Morro as if appearing in a sunset sky was beautiful. I know Albert as a photographer, visual artist, and poet. He is a true gentleman who never fails to tell me how proud he is of my accomplishments.
Puerto Rican Bomba filled the auditorium as the group Bombayo lead by Jose Ortiz invited the audience to dance.
Kyle Matthews accented Cynthia Pilar Renta-Carrera and Cristal Reyes as they lit the floor on fire with each piquete.
The rhythm of Bomba is intoxicating. It calls on a part of my spirit that rejects embarrassment, exhaustion or shame. It summons me to dance even if my steps aren’t polished or perfected. It grounds me to the Ciales land of my Abuelo Pedro Robles Miranda and my Abuela Dolores Ocasio Ortega. The drum stimulates my heartbeat and before I can say no, I greet the drummer and spiral into the natural movement, honoring the flow of ancestral blood pumping to the beat of the drum.
Thank you Capicu, NYU, Bombayo, Abuelo and Abuela for a wonderful night!
On this beautiful Monday morning I worked with Linda Nieves-Powell, founder of Latino Flavored Productions, filming scenes with Orlando Ferrand for the upcoming Plantando Banderas Project to debut in November. Jovanny Ramos stepped up as production assistant while Orlando and I were directed by Linda. After scouting a few areas, unpacking equipment, setting up tripods,