why i am an ubuntu witch


why ‘witch”:

I say “witch” to outline specifically feminine notions of power that derive from the matrix of my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother and so on back through the stream of mitochondrial dna that flows from them through me.

I say “witch” to account for the weight and possibility of meaning that arises from biology’s truth that I was already in my grandmother’s body.

I say “witch” to describe the power they held outside the structures that were specifically male. The marginalized power that they claimed and practiced in, knowledges of healing and wholing outside the male-dominated fields of science and medicine. To describe what they knew through unknowing, intuition. To give thanks for the practices of psychic wellness they found to be somehow possible, and perhaps only possible, in the margins of rape culture.

I say “witch” to acknowledge they who were priestessess, but in a time and place colonized by the Catholic Church, with no possible role or office for them within that spiritual & governmental & educational structure. Acting & engaging agency outside the structures of the Church, they were witches.

In solidarity with them and in tribute, I too am a witch. In order to understand the shape of power they engaged, in order to practice that form of agency, I too am a witch.

why “Ubuntu:”

Ubuntu is a Southern African (Bantu) notion that states the interrelationship of beings is a vital and necessary link for each individual to realize the fullness of their own being. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu translated, I am because we are. In other words,  we are each other.  As a theological concept, Ubuntu understands that each person was created by the Creator to fulfill a purpose: and this fulfillment is contingent upon the fulfillment of the whole interrelated community. Any metric for success or wholeness at an individual level must also include every other. Any accounting of pain and hurt in one must also involve every other. Therefore, personal acts of healing and salvation implicate every other. An individual is understood as healthy and full only as they are wholly imbricated within community (or perhaps world or perhaps universe or perhaps galaxy or perhaps multiverse)

why I am an Ubuntu witch:

I am an ubuntu witch because I know we are each other: I do not live in a vacuum and each of my choices and each of my actions affects even all the unseen others. Then I must strive to see all these others as fully as I can. Our interrelatedness interconnects our agency as well so that the salvific is then mutual.

I am an ubuntu witch because I was born with foreign voices within me, old songs of my mother’s mother and her mother’s mother in other languages; voices not heard or perhaps not understood by the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy[1], yet these are true voices within me. They are the voices that build and engage my agency in the world. They sing my meaning.

                                                     The voices sound like witchery:

conjurations, incantations, ghosts and aswang, enchanted trees, arcane worldviews/ they are the ontological yes of orgasm, dry ranges of philosophy inundated with this yes/ astrology yielding poetry, poetry yielding a song of something becoming/ poetry naming the ineffable as it changes, or as it holds quite still. I am an ubuntu witch because I know a language that sparks the episteme of banishment and loss, what Eve, apple voiced and clear, sang, the harsh hard tones of Hagar crying in the desert. I am an ubuntu witch with a weaponized throat, the rage of Luisa my grandmother a knife that tears the flesh of my child, who bears the scars that I bear, that my mother bore, her mother, her mother’s mother. I am an ubuntu witch so I can conjure an end to this rage.

I am an ubuntu witch because I was born to sing with these voices, meld much together so this voice is mine. You can hear my voice: but I am an ubuntu witch because I was born to hear your voice: so also you can name the ineffable that swirls life and death Kali-like within you and let that cry into my ears.

I am an ubuntu witch so I can play and pray, teach and preach, listen and glisten with my mind that is a vagina, always the daughter of blood and of the ocean. Your voyage makes my mind that much more capacious, your pleasure enlivens mine, together we are plants that thrive, mushroom mycelia netting through the earth.

I am an ubuntu witch to bless and be blessed from my sex, to live from my vagina mind empowered, blessed and blessing from the uses of the erotic[2]

I can translate this voice into the words of the academe, I can manage its shape and pay bills with this voice, I can change it to appeal in the words of the courts of law, this voice can order coffee and call the plumber: but I am an ubuntu witch for the times I don’t have to, so I am not defined by words that have no room for the meaning I make.

I am an ubuntu witch so the spiritual is part of schooling, so that an education is also a celebration of the particular knowledges and epistemological dances each of us does, so differences remain, resist, are not erased. Where learning is not a means to an end, mastery, but a posture of expanding and becoming, the thing itself. Education is the expanding community, collaborative possibilities rich and delicious, potential. Power passing between us, precious. The talk between us a path into unknowing, or the  knowing that harrows the earth, knowing a tool passing between us parsing stones and wood into silk.


thank you

for the tangle of your beauty and your love catalina luisa ida Maria luz  monina fe tita and the unmeasurable hurricaning rage named for women yolanda maria katrina thank you blood from no wound that makes babies & blood bleeding from red wounds thank you for the brew of the living and the dead, the ghosts of sea and sky buried where i touch in the soil thank you

[1]bell hooks

[2]Audre Lorde