honeybee4

On my walk this morning I was reminded of all the wonderful things the Universe has lined up for me– going from beauty to more beauty. I delight in the knowing that certain things constantly and consistently show up on my behalf. I do ask for them, you know. I prefer the music/sounds that nature provides: bird songs and chatter, leaves crunching under foot or rustling in the wind. I prefer paths that have few humans and automobiles, require mostly silence–the quiet, and I choose to walk alone. 

I know when crows are near, they caw loudly, passionately and sometimes make a sweet cooing sound. They always come to greet me, often gathering round in large numbers and I’m always delighted to see them. Hummingbirds fly kiss, kiss close, they love ‘in your face’ encounters. It goes on and on: butterflies, snails, dragonflies, lizards, bees and spiders. I’ve had this connection to nature for as long as I can remember. It’s not unusual for Crow to walk a ways with me or Hawk to circle directly above my head. These creatures are also powerful guides and teachers, so I pay attention when the show up on my path. Now I’m quite clear Mother Nature knows what not to put on my path as well. 

The trees here are large and old, their leaves painted with every shade of green, and trunks and branches all sorts of browns and ash. I’m often overwhelmed by the beauty, strength and majesty of trees. There are hills and flat-lands, small and large bridges made for cars, bikes, horses and foot traffic to cross over what was once a flowing river or creek is now absent of water. This is urban territory–city life.

I get distracted often– I gaze a lot. There is a point on my walk when the beat of my heart slows to a steady pace and I center my breath. My gaze softens and my awareness becomes crystal clear. The colors of everything are deeper, richer… Like magic I begin to receive the precious gifts the new day has laid before me. My focus shifts and insights, inspiration, visions, messages and yes, answers come easily– brilliantly. Words, scenes, often dialog begin to flood my mind. My long morning walks are essential to my writing life.

This morning I wandered off and found myself a little turned around, a bit off the usual path only to discover a new trail crossing over a tiny bridge. I took a moment to get my bearings, looked down and noticed a honey bee whirling on the hot white pavement desperately trying to find its way to flight–to freedom. I could feel this tiny being’s fear and desperation– it was dying. I was reminded of why I always carry water and how just before I left the house ‘something told me’ to take my water bottle– I ignored the prompting. I read once that if you pour a few drops of water on a bee who’s in distress, it can regain its strength and find its way back to the hive–back home. But I had no water and this little bee could not be saved. 

It was a stark reminder of those times in my life when I’ve found myself whirling in hot white space. When for the life of me, I can’t find my way back to my center– back home. It’s often when something is out of my control and I’m feeling powerless. When I’ve forgotten to take good care of myself and to do those things that keep me grounded in my body, in balance and ease. These moments are often triggered by fear, disappointment, anger, worry and doubt. Those times when my children are in need and I can’t protect them from this or that. Such a tricky space to be in, such a dark and lonely place. There are times when I don’t realize I’m whirling until it’s too late, and I ask myself,How in the world did you end up here again? This whirling requires a letting go– a surrendering, often a death of some kind.

Drops of water are like prayer offerings, it’s what Little Bee and I both needed this morning. These daily rituals journey me to the silence deep on the inside. They are medicine for my soul and bring peace to my mind and heart. Long walks in the morning open up my soul so I can regain my balance and hear the Divine– see the guidance laid out before me. It also leads to the words, the writing, the work. My ability to be as present as I can be right now.

The spirit of nature shows up in the most amazing ways, the way Little Bee did this morning to remind me to listen to the promptings that let me know I’m traveling down the wrong road or whirling in hot white space without the things I need. It’s important for me to find ways to step away and step into nature or take a nap, prepare a good meal for myself, listen to or read something inspirational, drink more water– dance. To find the silence, the quiet… take the time. I am learning how to be more consistent with self care, to treat myself with loving kindness even when I’m feeling upside down– whirling. To honor those ‘whirling in hot white space’ times as sacred too… 

   

prayers on the wind

I come from a family of praying women. And although I know the men pray too, it was the women, quite clearly my mother who taught me to go to God first, and not only when I was troubled or in trouble, but all of the time, and that the ‘Presence of God’, was within…

For as far back as I can remember and for as long as my mother was on this side of heaven, she was a praying woman. 3:00 a.m., each and every morning Mama would rise, sweep and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors, this was how she began her morning call to prayer. It was one of those family sayings: that you could eat off of Mama’s floors, because they were so clean. She would turn the oven on and open its door to warm the kitchen, put the kettle on for her much loved Lipton tea and pull out an ashtray and a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes. It didn’t matter the weather or season, she was up before dawn.

With great care she’d spread out onto the oven door her beloved spiritual books: ‘The Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures’ by Mary Baker Eddy, The Holy Bible, ‘The Christian Science Monitor’, Unity’s ‘Daily Word’, ‘The Science of Mind’ by Ernest Holmes, and many other spiritual text depending upon what called to her that morning. She’d sit in her gown and robe, often socks with slippers and study the word and pray until it was time to wake the house. This was her time, her sacred time, immersed in a powerful, silent communion with the Holy Spirit.
    
My sisters and me have all at times in our lives found ourselves practicing Mama’s ritual of morning prayer, down to mopping the floors and brewing a hot pot of tea. Mama welcomed in the morning, she embraced this prayerful time, the darkness before Sun rose in the sky, the silence before the first bird sang its morning song.
    
But 6:00 a.m. wasn’t the end of our mother’s prayer time, there was a constant, consistent communing with the ‘still small voice’, that she knew that carried her through each day. “Thank You Lord”, was a mantra of gratitude as well as “God Bless You” and “Peace Be Still”, which she spoke out loud often. This practice of unceasing communion was clearly passed down from generation to generation, something that my ancestors knew was so necessary for their lives.
    
In many spiritual traditions it is known that prayers are carried up to the heavens on the wind. Transported upward to Spirit, The Great Spirit, God, the Gods… The Divine. Prayers are carried on the wind, that element of the invisible that can be felt but not seen unless It is animating something: smoke, clouds, trees, water… And so the burning of tobacco, sage, cedar, frankincense, myrrh, copal, and many other sacred herbs and resins, as well as the light from a single flame, or the smoke that rises from ceremonial fires around the world, are most often used to offer up our prayers.
    
This constant, consistent conversation with ‘The Most High’ is what I know for sure. Hopefully I’ve passed these holy rituals of prayer to my sons through practice more than telling. As well as how to communicate with their own ‘Ori’ (spirit head), ancestors, Orishas, Loa, angels and all of nature. To be aware of and connected to the power and presence of God.

In this season of letting go, of long nights and the inward energy that winter brings as the calendar marks a new year. This letting go time… Clearly a time of releasing that which no longer grows corn for me… for you. This time when the light slowly returns to illuminate Gaia (mother earth), and a sense of hope and renewal fills the brisk air, I am sending out prayers on the wind…

My prayer is that we understand deeply where we are, where we can go and who we can become in our humanity. Oh, what possibilities lay before us to create a brand new world! And yes there is much healing, deep healing that is needed right now. I do believe it begins within ourselves, that sacred communion with the Divine and then extends out beyond us.
    
I am sending my prayers out on the wind. I am asking Oya, (mother of breezes, my guardian angel) to carry my prayers for peace, justice, healing and mercy. That they be strewn by her gentle breezes, her strong winds, and if needed by her powerful storms.  This is her time, her ‘winds of change’ are upon us. To do what she does: destroy that which no longer nourishes and serves while simultaneously building up the new and much needed. Marked so perfectly by this time, this beautiful winter time of death and rebirth. I invite you to send up prayers as well, for yourself, your love ones and all the world. Light a candle, burn a bit of sage and cedar, copal, frankincense and myrrh, offer them up toward the heavens to be carried on the wind…

Blessings of wisdom and peace, perfect health, prosperity, joy, fulfillment and grace to you and yours in this new year. Love and light

Novuyo

 

IYANSA Sacred Ceremonies

Novuyo Masakhane is a spiritual counselor and medium as well as an interdisciplinary artist. She has advised and offered ‘Life Path’ readings to clients in the US and abroad for over twenty years in the areas of; work/ divine right path, finances/prosperity, love/ relationships.

She provides clear direction regarding your visions, dreams and who is with you now, on this life’s journey; guides, ancestors, angels and how to align with them. Novuyo also performs weddings, partnership unions, alter design and house blessings.

     “I have been offering spiritual counseling for over 20 years and have clients throughout the United States and abroad. My Life Path Readings focus on Your Soul’s journey. I have never sat with a client who’s reading wasn’t filled with wisdom, grace, beauty and confirmation!”

My Story:

Greetings!

My name is Novuyo Masakhane and I am the author of House of Jewels.

House of Jewels is a love story between two souls.    It is the telling of my relationship with my Aunt Canis` spirit and the impact her restless soul has had on my life. It is my need to know what happened in the fall of 1955.   As a child I heard bits and pieces of my aunt’s story that always began with murder.  Her death appeared in several news papers across the country and in many cases it became front page news.

The novel is a fictional story based in truth, written in two time lines.  China and Alonzo are trying to work out their love affair with the challenge of living in different cities and balancing their emerging careers.  We travel back in time to the 1940s with Byrd as she aspires to become a famous dancer only to be met with a life she’s not prepared for.

This novel documents history of a rich and endearing people both past and present, not just how they got by, but how they thrived.  It’s an inquiry into African American organized crime in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  This is a novel about both my family’s history and an essential part of America’s rich and diverse cultural history.

I’m in the last stretch of this work.  I have been writing through all of my research and discoveries for seven years…. and now I need to finish and move into the next phase which is  publishing.  But to do so, I need your help.

What We Need & What You Get

Writing is most often a solitary act, and now with Indiegogo it becomes a collaborative effort between me and you.

Your collective contributions will,

1: allow me to work and complete this book by the Fall of 2012.
2: take a 10 day trip to Cleveland, Ohio in June 2012: to do research that is crucial for completing and revising. A walk through my Aunt’s life and death in Cleveland.
3:  pay for the first and second edit of the full manuscript with a professional editor.
4: Purchase Photo and video equipment: I will document my trip to Cleveland,  through  photographs and video.

Two excerpts of ‘House of Jewels’ have been published and I have performed public readings both on the west coast and here in Texas.

On the right of this page you will see the list of perks you will receive with your pledge!

Thank you so much for your support, for visiting my page.  Every click, every share helps the project, please share with friends.

http://www.indiegogo.com/project/widget/84350?a=287481

This is a excerpt from my novel: “House of Jewels” from Bryd Book II

BYRD; excerpt from: HOUSE OF JEWELS

BY NOVUYO MASAKHANE Copyright© 2010

Published in: Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal 2010

BOOK II

BYRD

CHAPTER ONE

I was a dancer, and from the time I was very small, I wanted to dance.  But there wasn’t a place for Negro girls to dance the way I twirled in my dreams.   I recall my mother taking me to the picture show.  Oh how wonderful it was to see the line dancers.   Pretty ladies would be dancing and singing in fancy gowns.  Diamond tiaras crowned their hair, and feathers fell from their shoulders as they twirled in their high-heeled shoes.  I knew where I needed to be…where I wanted to be.

I recall going to the Roxy Theater and watching a picture show with this pretty colored lady.  She had become famous in Europe.   Her name was Josephine Baker.   You know of her?   I had a small picture card of her that I had found among my Papa’s kept things.   I hid it in my special box of things that I treasured.  In that box was a dried crimson colored rose that I had pressed between the pages of my bible, a gold ring I had found, and a piece of deep plum velvet.   Also I had a lace handkerchief; my Mama Dora had given me with the scent of Oil of Gardenia.  I loved gardenias. They were my favorite flower, and oh yes a coin from India.

Then there was a love letter from a boy named Hosea.   We were only children, but we held hands at school when we were in the yard and wrote love letters to one another.

Mama Dora said Hosea’s name meant salvation, and that it came straight from the good book, and that his mother must have been wise to give him a name such as that.  He had up and moved away after his mother took ill, and they went back down South.  Last but not least in my little box was the picture card of Josephine Baker and a dried yellow butterfly I had found on the edge of my window one summer.

I would put on Mother’s pretty gowns and bed slippers and stand in the mirror at her dressing table pretending that I was indeed Miss Josephine, and I would dance, sing and prance around for hours.

Once Katherine Dunham and her fabulous dancers came to town, and Mother took me to see the show.  I wanted to run up on stage and join them.  I cried all night because I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I couldn’t go away with her.  She had a way about her, a spirit that was so very large; she seemed to float above the stage somehow.  She was unforgettably beautiful.

The 30s and 40s… oh it was something for Negroes in that time.   As much as things were hard and unfair, we were alive!  Bebop and Jazz lived right alongside Spirituals and the Blues.  In our house, Father loved music, and between Saturday night card games and folks kicking up their heels in our living room dancing all night.  It was the best of times.

Then on Sunday, folks would rise early in the morning and go to church to praise the Lord. They knew that whatever they had done Saturday night, which was often unruly, Jesus would forgive them by the time the choir sang the second hymn.  The ladies fancy Sunday go- to- meeting hats would dance high on their heads as they met the rhythm.   Hand fans fluttered, feet went to tapping, and Pastor Moore’s pitch would rise and fall.

“Can I get AH AMEN?!  His voice would trombone.  I saaay, can I get AH AMEN!!!”  And when his eyes rolled back, he’d jump and jerk like something caught a hold to him, he’d slap the bible with his right hand and step with his left foot.   You would surely hear Halleluiah’s then.

“Halleluiah! Halleluiah!  HALLALUIAH!!!  OH THANK YOU JESUS!!!!” from the congregation.  The choir would sway and before you knew it, somebody would catch the Holy Ghost.

As a child, it was my favorite part it reminded me of popcorn in the kettle, you never knew who would be touched by the Holy Ghost.  Mama Dora said.   “Baby the Holy Spirit comes with a sweet song, like a hush whisper that will heal the wiriest of souls.  But not The Holy Ghost, oh no, It come like thunder when you least expect it.  Cain’t prepare for It!  Just hit cha dead on.”   So she made sure I had on bloomers under my dress, said I needed to be decent just in case the Ghost touched me, and I ended up with my bottom pointed toward heaven.   Somehow grown folks knew that once again God, their God, would take them through yet another day.  Where there were colored folks, life was rich and alive!

On the radio we heard the big bands, and as soon as I could, I’d sneak out of Mother’s house and be gone.  My friend Ruthie and me would head down the street to Five Points, which was the Negro part of town where we lived.  Colored folks owned most of the stores and shops.  So on Saturday mornings, it was just fine for us to go get our hair done at Miss Aleen’s beauty parlor and then go to the drugstore to get an ice cream or take our nickels to the five and dime to get penny candy.  But we sure weren’t allowed to go to the white folk’s downtown without an escort and weren’t supposed to be on the Points after dark where grown folks were doing what grown folks did.

§

It was wartime, and there were solders from all over that were stationed in Denver and many who were just passing through.   Most of them weren’t that much older than Ruthie and me.   On weekends, I’d stay over Ruthie’s house.   We would sneak out and head down to the USO Club, or catch the civilian bus all the way to Colorado Springs to dance all night with the airmen.  Of course somebody would always turn an eye to the fact that we were not the proper age to get in.  Ruthie was a few years older than me and she had a way of always getting what she wanted.

There were colored boys from the South: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.  I even met a boy from Paris Texas, where we were from.   His father knew my daddy, his name was Billy Rose.   He was so homesick and so worried that he might not ever get back home… never see his mama or papa again.   I told him I would pray for him like I did for my brother’s Bo and IV Jr., who were also off serving our country.  Told him I’d pray on my knees with Mother each night and extra on Sundays.    I never knew what became of Billy Rose, don’t know if he ever made it home after the war had ended.

There were boys from the East and the North as well: New York, Chicago, Ohio.  They had a different twist on life and a different set of rules.   They were slick, fast-talking, not easy like the Southern boys and I think I liked them the best.   I’d listen to their stories about fancy clubs, speakeasies and the big bands, and pretty dancing girls in Harlem, Chicago and Detroit.

“Girl, you want the good life, then you gots-ta come to Chicago.  Now that’s where you can dance and shine!  You so pretty, folks would pay to see just you.”  A solider boy told me once as we slow danced under the big shiny ball that made the dance floor shine with tiny flickers of light.

“You think so?”  I asked wide-eyed.

“Umm humm it’s a whole nother world, you see.  And you…. you’s a natural.  Why with that pretty face and those big pretty legs, I know I would, doll.”  He said as he placed his hand on the small of my back and smiled.   I smiled back feeling a little lightheaded.  I wasn’t sure if it was his firm hold on me or my ability to see my own future, while he spun fancy tales around my head.

This is a excerpt from my book: “House of Jewls” from Bryd Book II

Byrd_writing_sample_Indiegogo.docx Download this file

Welcome to my website!!!

I’m learning how to navigate through this wonderful world of global, instant, social media stuff!!!

Wow.. so there’s a lot to it and yet it seems those born with this hard wired in their DNA just seem to know how to do and keep up with this extremely fast paced ultra communication life we are living. I’m blessed to have young people around me who can help me baby step my way through.

Take a look around and please join, like, sign up, follow lol! Be my virtual friend!

have a great weekend and check out my Idiegogo  funding campaign, I’m raising money for research and finishing funds to assist in the completion of my book “House of Jewels”. I will also post a sample of my work as soon as I figure that out!

 

peace and wisdom

Novuyo

 

 

2/16/12
Love for the craft…
I just read a blog that I wrote this time last year and never posted and it was the second and last time I sat to write a blog at all. I’ve thought about it and I do journal, but this is about sharing stuff with you the reader or yes you the reader out there somewhere in the world. It’s also about the process of free writing on the computer something that feels strange because free writing for me is about pen to page, the words flow easier that way, I can feel it…

After reading it I wondered where the past year has gone and why am I still carrying around an unfinished manuscript. I do recall some things that stopped me in midstream, but that’s old news. In the old post I reflected on how my house cleared out and I was blown to Austin Texas kind of like Dorothy to Kansas, yes just that fast! How my children were back with their father and eldest contentedly living his life back in Berkeley.   How I finally after wanting one for so long had my very own writing room.

It has all shifted once again, my youngest son arrived here a week and a half ago and my writing room has transformed into a teenage boy bedroom filled with posters of fast cars, B ball cards and rappers, oh, and shoes. My writing space is back in the dining room and I now share it with the boy who is also writing (prolifically) unlike his mom.

Last night I attended a gathering that was centered on the theme ‘love and self care’, because of the very special day that seems to always be about romantic love.  It is a really big topic and we, a gathering of about 25 folks traveled through the many aspects of love.  Primarily self love and romantic love those two seem to bump up against each other quite a bit in the process of living and loving.  People shared profound insights and stories that left me feeling so good inside and carried me off into a deep state of reflection.

At the end of the evening I sat with a delightful women who shared that naming her love for this craft and calling herself a writer was sometimes difficult because after all she’s not known in the world as a author yet she can’t help but write, can’t keep her hand from snatching a pen and finding its way to the page. We talked about sometimes not knowing how a body of work wants to live in the world, how often you just begin with a tiny piece of something like a speck of lint on a black dress. How characters insist on being in a story even when you object and how when you’ve left your work over in that corner covered up by other people’s finished works it cries out to be picked up, dusted off and held again.

So I’ve been thinking about the love for the craft. It is indeed one of my greatest loves and when I allow myself the space to sit and write it moves so powerfully through me and onto the page, and I fall deeply in love with it! And yes I do think writers have a lot to say, perhaps we all do. I have backed off of my novel, got lost somehow in the art of survival. Was that it? No, truth is I got spooked by walking through another door with my character Byrd that was it, that’s the truth. Feeling out of control because I couldn’t tell where she was leading me after all I am the author, right? Where’s the love in that?! They (my characters) have for what I feel too many days, years and seasons led me through doors and I’ve followed like a lover blinded by love, I have followed most often willingly and no that’s not true, most often kicking and screaming cause I’m not fond of the unknown, the dark. So perhaps it’s been 50 50?

China has been screaming for two years now, I left her sitting on the porch pregnant with a glass of iced tea and a box of old family photos that she’s waiting desperately to sift through to find the one that holds the face she’s needing to see. I left her to work on Byrd’s section and so we’ve been back in time for two years. Byrd has walked through a door and I for the life of me can’t follow her right now while China is yelling my name feeling abandoned, forgotten. I’m finding my way back, back to the book, back to opening up the last chapter, back to reading the ones just before so I know how we got there.   Back to China who came to me in a vision 9 years ago and informed me that this was her story.  Like a lover who has been struck by cupids arrow I will turn and follow her, them, and lay down their stories sometimes feverish, sometimes tearful sometimes resistant, but always in ah of what they bring and how they bring it sharp and clear because they know often what I cannot see or control.

To be obedient to my love for the craft, my muse, to trust it and follow blindly with my heart and eyes wide open is the truth. To take away the elements of time and slip into timeless crafting where divine inspiration and discipline meet and be together and I know that I am indeed a vessel to be used happily, gladly…

My Writing Life…

I asked for something a while ago.  I asked God to direct my life in such a way that I’d have the opportunity to stand in my creative life and in this case, my writing life.  I asked that I would have the time, space, and financial support I needed to finish my manuscript.  My life was so dramatic at the time.  My children needed daily support (some would say well of course that’s what all children need) but I had my eldest son, who was by many standards grown and my youngest, who has special needs.  They both required a certain kind of attention at the time.   I was working in the Oakland public school system as a teaching artist and spreading myself between three to four schools, three grade levels and two disciplines; dance and creative writing.  I had a house cleaning business, worked part-time for two catering companies, attended a weekly writing class and workshop and was a member of a local dance company.  I use to say my gypsy nature allowed me to do my art!   All the while my soul was screaming for the space, the time, the energy to write (and sleep).

When I think back on 8 years of trying to keep it all together and then back further (years of the starving artist, single mother business) I’m amazed at my own resilience.  Depression became my companion, one I couldn’t quite shake and the thought of taking little white pills crossed my mind more than once or twice.    My soul must have screamed out a loud piercing yell to the universe for peace and quiet.  Doors opened and I witnessed a storm sweeping through my life very much like the ones that swept through our nation a month or so ago.  I’ve had this urgency to be done. To get it done!

One morning last August I was awakened at 3am with a very clear directive to pack up and go.  I had been planning to move to Austin but not for another six months.  I knew I had to finish my novel in Texas, the place where my dad’s people were from and I also knew and have known that my charge in this life is to catch and carry the stories of my ancestors.  My house was cleared of children and jobs seemed to disappear.  Left alone with high rent and an exhaustion that comes with living in a fast pace place like the Bay (which use to serve my muse quite well) I made plans to high-tail it out of Cali and head South West. Wow!

Wow, Texas, really?!  I moved to Austin, a place I’d never even been to and had only traveled to Texas only twice, both visits to research and connect with relatives alive and dead, to link those parts of my life together that had been missing.   Some called it courageous, but I was being obedient to a strong and very clear directive.

So here we are, here I am and yes I now have the space, the time and even a room of my own (my writing room) to write.  The young are with their father and my eldest is thriving back in the Bay.  I have in these last 6 months had time to finish…be done!  And perhaps begin the next body of work or at least begin revisions.  But what I’ve experienced is high levels of writer’s block, stuck on, or in a place in my work that I can’t seem to move through.

So I’ve decided this morning to get back to my writing practice of free writes for a bit in the morning to clear my mind before I enter the book work… thus is born a blog page… hah! Seems we writers have so much to say, so much to work out on the page.

It’s taken a few days to figure this out,  this blog thing and even now I know what you may be seeing is flat and unfinished.  You know the look of the page.  I’ve been sifting through pages full of blogs and at times I get lost in an image, a photograph, a word or phrase, a good story.  But the point is, I needed to just begin!!!!!  Maybe I’ll actually get stuff out of my head and on to this page so I can get back to the business of writing and finishing my novel.  We are seven years into that process (we meaning, myself and the characters that live there).

I can’t recall, well yes I can, the moment I decided to write a book.   It was the story that needed telling and the need it had to birth as a novel, truly taking on a life of its own.  I have other things to say, other things on my mind….so I’ll place them here….

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