Final Thoughts: Confronting Ageism

*I watch a lil ole lady walk the length of whole foods everyday as I wait for my daughter to get out of school. Her slow deliberate gait is so fragile that she reminds me how much I take for granted. Thank you, Auntie*

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Embrace the beauty found in those gray hairs, wrinkles and thicker shapes. steady reppin’ the Fierce Goddess we aspired to as little girls… How else will the youth recognize their elders??

 

Media Controlled

Media is how the masses are controlled. How a minority (in this case, white men) can brainwash a majority (ie People of Color) with their idiot boxes and paper media filled with insecurities. And because their money controls this information, it’s how they’ve been able to normalize their whiteness ..force their agenda onto us.. including how we age.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-microaggressions-of-ageism-that-are-not-ok-to-ignore_564f7155e4b0d4093a57ab9d?ir=Canada+Living&section=canada-living&adsSiteOverride=ca&

 

Senior Fashion

In a society who is so afraid to age, I find it interesting that when thinking fashion.. the aged are never mentioned. As if those creative youths didn’t grow up. Maturing doesn’t mean you lose your uniqueness, despite how the media controls our collective brain. Here’s an ode to grown fashion…

 

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http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2016/01/05/how-senior-fashion-is-turning-heads-in-san-franciscos-chinatown/

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http://www.news-daily.com/news/seniors-fashion-show-celebrates-african-american-history/article_af75ecab-31fb-51f6-81f4-501fa1a68998.html

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Anti-Ageism Alert

Just saw a post on ’17 horribly aged celebrities’ and it makes me sad how living under white supremacy creates so much fear and in this case, the fear of aging. Half of the celebrities looked crazy because they already had plastic surgery to begin with and a couple were under 30?! And as far as the others, they look like white folk in their 60s ..shoulder shrug. Too bad white supremacist based media can’t embrace their elders because it’s affecting all of us and how we maneuver ‘growing old’. Perhaps for 2016 y’all can stop focusing on the fountain of youth and look towards the wisdom of Aging.. we should be so lucky.

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**Highlight of my student performances from Senior Hula class? Being told, with tears in eyes, how grateful they were to perform again after so many years of being told that their years of stage work were over. Just another reminder as to why I do what I do ♥**

Close Encounters

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/04/13/octopus-slips-out-of-aquarium-tank-crawls-across-floor-escapes-down-pipe-to-ocean/

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African folklore: the mermaids of the Karoo

The Karoo is a vast semi-desert area that covers much of the western half of South Africa – and is divided into the Groot Karoo (which means the ‘large’ Karoo in Afrikaans) in the north, and much more fertile, smaller Klein Karoo of the south – where many a local claims to have spotted a mermaid combing her hair alongside a mountain rock pool.

The legend seems far more plausible when you consider that 250 million years ago the stark, beautiful landscape of the Klein Karoo was completely underwater! When the oceans receded, they left behind a fertile valley that’s nestled between the Swartberg, Langeberg and Outeniqua mountains – where mountain springs trickle into the rock pools, and carve out the underground caverns that are said to provide sanctuary for this mythical creature.

The Klein Karoo was the home of the Khoi-san people, and rock paintings have been discovered that depict fish-tailed humans – suggesting that the legend of the Karoo mermaid has been around for centuries. It makes sense that a tribal people, living in one of the driest parts of South Africa, would have a sea creature as part of their mythology – a reminder, perhaps, of the importance of water as a resource that has always been precious.

It has been argued that the ‘fish people’ in the San rock painting rather depict swallows, which are also associated with rain. Shamans of the San tribes, who were a spiritual people, would have often conducted ceremonies to call down rain from the heavens, to parch the dry earth of their homelands. African mythology sparkles with tales of water spirits and creatures!

Traditionally, the mermaid is a symbol of both destruction and creation. It is a well-known sailor’s tale that sighting a mermaid means that violent storms are blowing in. As a symbol of the feminine life force, the mermaids of the Karoo could not be more at home – when the rains soak the arid plains, the Karoo bursts into life and colour, with succulent plants flowering in bright cheerful displays that attract photographers and tourists.

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Mami Wata

Myth of mermaids is popular all around the world, but the African water spirit Mami Wata remained respected and celebrated from the time before the African nations came in contact with Europe, through the ages, and even up to today where she is venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa and the diaspora in Americas. She represented one of the most powerful goddesses in the African religion of Voudun (not to be mistaken to the newer and more heavily publicized Voodoo) and is today celebrated as a goddess that must be both loved and feared.

As with many other old mermaid deities such as Assyrian Astarte, Babylonian Ishtar and Greek Aphrodite, she is regarded as an immortal spirit that personifies polar opposites, such as of beauty and danger, natural force and healing, wealth and destruction, health and disease, and inability to follow ideas of good and evil. As those old mermaid deities, she is incredibly powerful, dangerous, pleasant, sexual and able to destroy anything on her path.

Her image in the minds of African followers went through little changes over the millennia. She is often portrayed as a long haired beautiful mermaid, half human and half fish, but sometimes she can walk the earth in more human body (but she never transforms completely into human form, always showing herself as a deity). Her clothes and jewelry are always new, shining, impossible to replicate, and she can be seen carrying small mirror, coiled snake that twist around her waist, breasts and head. This wealth symbolizes the wealth and beauty her followers can achieve, and interestingly her skin is fair and light, which is uncommon in the African pantheon of deities. Colors of Mami Wata’s attire carry great significance in African people. Red symbolizes the color of blood, violence and death, and white symbolizes spirituality, beauty and female body. In the mermaid form she is always represented naked, sometimes combing her long hair and looking at herself in the golden mirror.

Stories of the encounters with the Mami Wata are widespread across entire Africa. In most common version, she stalks the shores of the ocean and abducts men and women while they are swimming or traveling in a boat. If the goddess thinks that the captive is worthy of her attention, she will return them to the shore, completely dry and with changed attitude toward spirituality and religion that can often make them rich, attractive and famous. Other encounters tell the story of her leaving her comb and mirror in the presence of sailors. After they took the items she would haunt their dreams, requesting the return of the items in an exchange of eternal sexual favors.

Her devotees across Africa and diaspora wear her traditional colors of red and white, offer her items of wealth, expensive foods, and celebrate her in the rituals of dancing and music that induce trance like state. In such events, it is believed that Mami Wata can possess the dancers and speak to them, whishing them the successful, healthy and fertile life.

However as all deities that are water based, she is blamed for many of the misfortunes that happen in the sea. Even today, people of Cameroon believe that her wrath is killing the swimmers who are swept to the sea with the strong undertow water currents that flow near their coast.

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Mermen

Mermen are little harder to find information on, in part because of the patriarchal society we live in thus requiring our focus to be on the more youthful female counterparts, ignoring even their predatory traits  in favor of an overly sexualized fantasy. So the Men are forced to the background despite the powerful mythology they hold in numerous water based cultures.

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Merman – Mermen in Mermaids Mythology

Through the history of human mythology and religion, mermaids received much attention, but their male counterparts were much less showcased. While mermaids represented beauty and romance that the predominately male ship crews longed on the long journeys, mermen remained left behind in the folklore, usually shown only as a children made in a union of a man and mermaid.

In their appearance, mermen do not differ much from mermaids. They are mythical creatures who have form of an upper human torso, and a lower half of a fish tail. Originally celebrated as the deities, mermen slowly slipped back into the legends as the ordinary mythological creatures of the sea, who very rarely show up on the surface. The reason of that was sometimes because of their shyness and sometimes because their ugliness.

The best known deities that had the form of mermen were Babylonian Oannes, Ea (also known as Enki in Sumerian mythology),  Dagon (sea god of fertility); Triton, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite were regularly depicted on stone walls and pottery as strikingly handsome mermen with a fish tail. He often carried trident and twisted conch shell (which he used to control the sea and calm or raise storms) and was believed to have the power to multiply himself into host of smaller sea sprit demons called Triones. Indian Hindu religion also celebrates mermen, as they are believed to be the first incarnation of their supreme deity Vishnu (the only difference to the modern mermen is presence of two sets of arms, each holding one artifact – conch shell, wheel, Lotus and Mace).

Around the world, many cultures have their own myths and folklore tales about mermen. Here are some of the most notable ones:

  • Region of Amazon River is a home of a myth of boto -fresh water mermen who is responsible for seducing and impregnating many women while being transformed into full human form.
  • Finnish mythology is portraying mermen as powerful and handsome creatures that wield magic, and have ability to cure illnesses, lift curses and brew potions. They are most often portrayed with a beard made from sea weeds, and are sometimes capable of causing much destruction if they come to close to human civilization.
  • Glaccus was a man from Greek mythology who one day found a grass with magical properties. After he ate it he quickly transformed into mermen, who was shortly after elevated by the gods into one of the Greeks many sea spirits.

With the rise of the modern view of mermaids that started with the appearance of the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Little mermaid”, mermen revived an increased attention in the minds of public. During the last few decades, mermen became part of many fantasy settings as one of the most common dwellers of the sea, and with each passing year their appeal grow more and more.

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