Creating Tribe

Monday: June 12th

As a young girl, Tarzan was my hero. I wanted to be Tarzan, and I felt a great affinity for the land of Africa – and all its inhabitants.

I watched lots of nature documentaries throughout my life, and they too gave me a great love of Africa. There were beautiful tribal traditions that I learned about – not in detail, but the painting the people did of themselves, the beautiful masks, headdresses, jewelry, their incredible hair designs, the living in that world of wild creatures, dense jungles, endless savannahs – and the drums and dancing – the way they moved in the world, and the world they created. They were exotic and beautiful, and inspiring.

My senior year of high-school, I took a history class, not just any class, the teacher focused on the many wonderful stories of Native Americans, their lives, their traditions. Again, there was this beauty in the way they lived in their world, the way they suffered, loved, and…OH how I wished the Spaniards, and the ‘white man’ had learned from them instead of ‘conquering’ them, and forcing them to the western beliefs of the time.

I have heard many beautiful stories of tribal people, their connection to the land, to each other, their shamanism, their magic…their stories have made me fall in love again and again.

Of course, there are many terrible things about tribal people too. They are so often, like the rest of the world, stuck in monster victim cycle. It’s tragic to see their willingness to kidnap, enslave, and kill each other, their repressive sexism, genital mutilation, and many other ‘barbaric’ yet horribly modern ways of being.

I don’t know how many of these cruel things came about before other cultures came in and tried to take over, but I know that where tribes exist, there is clearly change from the introduction of other beliefs, and it’s hard to know what was before. Even so, we can be certain that many of these changes were and are detrimental.

Here I am trying to create a world that starts with tribe – a world where the monster/victim cycle never existed, and the tribe has continued even in their modern times of science and technology. Working to determine what all of that would look like, and feel like.

I’m certain that the modern tribes of Ahzhvii wouldn’t look or feel like the movie ‘Black Panther.’ It was a beautiful movie, and clearly designed by current city/American culture. I know virtually nothing about tribe (compared to the vast body of knowledge there is), and yet I know enough of tribe to understand that there is a great deal to creating tribe and community of a tribal nature. I know that much of ‘tribe’ gets washed away when people live separately, especially in a big city.

I feel daunted.

I have a tremendous amount of knowledge in the fields that I have studied…so much that I have come around the spiral many, many times – The spiral: learning and gaining of knowledge until you find yourself once again knowing nothing, and then leveling up to learn again until you find the place where you realize you know nothing. As you climb the spiral, it takes longer and longer to come back to the place where you know nothing…and you have less and less ‘stuff’ about what you do know.

When it comes to understanding tribe, well, I feel like I’m still at the bottom of the spiral. As much as I may seem to know compared to many other non-tribal people – I recognize that I know nothing. I don’t have the time to master this knowing before I write my stories. There are many things that I cannot master before I write my stories – because if I were to master all the things that I would like to know – I would be a few centuries older.

Somehow, I have to find a place where the knowledge I do have is sufficient, and that my imagination is sufficient so that my stories can come about. I have to hope that I won’t offend, knowing that someone will, of course, be offended no matter what I do in my attempt to be honoring of tribes, and tribal communities and peoples.

I know not much more than nothing of politics, and have virtually no idea of what government would actually do if it weren’t in monster/victim cycle. I don’t know how to run a city, a state, a country…and I have to have all of that, in a way that looks nothing like this world. I have to create government that has no corruption, no greed, no agenda other than moving the whole world, and all life upon it, into thriving.

This feeling of knowing so little about an area that is so structural in the nature of our very being, is demotivating. I’m not sure how to create something that feels deep and true and real, when I know virtually nothing of it in this reality. And, it’s made more challenging by the fact that the reality of what I’m learning, isn’t necessarily helpful at all.

Friday: June 15th

Several days of reading, watching documentaries, and refreshing previous tribal, and governmental knowledge – while I still know next to nothing, I do at least feel that I have something I can work with.

I’ve looked a bit at tribal peoples in north, central, and south Africa, north, central and south America, and aboriginal peoples of Australia. There is far too much to learn, and I can only scratch the surface. Still, I’ve been looking for things they have in common, things of beauty, and connection to each other and the world around them. I’ve begun to get a sense of what the tribes might be like on the world of Ahzhvii. I have an idea of what iirjahs (the equivalent to human), and azicharr (closest equivalent is wolves), would do in their day-to-day existence. I’m writing stories for myself, to learn about tribe, to see what it would be like, to experience it – even if only in my own imagination.

I’m making notes on how the tribe on Ahzhvii would look early on, when they have fire, and rudimentary stone tools, but don’t yet wear clothing, or build houses, or make pottery. I’m also making notes on how they would look in ‘modern’ times – when they have more advanced technology, and travel between worlds, and have explored all of their own.

Going between the two extremes that I’ll be working with, helps me to see where the middle will come from, and work my way around. I already created the time line of significant events and discoveries, so I can use those to know when they invent writing, a calendar, star charts. I know when they begin to work with metal, when they build boats, begin to weave with grasses, begin to create cloth, the pattern of their explorations, and when they reach each new continent.

This is such a big project, and there are so many details that I’m taking into consideration – I want to create a very firm foundation so that the writing is easy, fluid, clear, and consistent. There are times when it feels overwhelming, and completely daunting a task – and times when I can see how much progress is made, and the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel encouraged and ambitious.

There is ebb and flow in all things on this world – the world of Gaia – and we are all caught in it – swept along with it, and if we are wise, we learn to embrace it and let it carry us along. We can become connected to our world, to our own rhythms, and if we’re very lucky and diligent, we can connect with each other, and find, build and contribute to our own tribe.

Have a beautiful day,

M.A.B.

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