Way of the Sacred Fool: Disability Spirituality

Learn about ancestors, heroes and deities with different kinds of minds and bodies, how to adapt practices to different learning styles and physical needs, be inclusive of people with different kinds of mental wiring AD/HD, autism, dyslexia and even how particular mythic & historic roles and archetypes- like witch, seer, trickster/fool, bard can be incorporated into a personal path.

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Diasporan Song & Story

A diaspora, a scattered and exiled people is held together mainly by shared stories and songs, customs and language. Through space and time, generations and movement, the traditions passed down change. They fade and dwindle, but they also are revived and brightened. They are added onto, embellished. Neighborhoods and cities become their territory, each gaining its own character, each city having a synthesis of all the waves of immigrants that enter its gates. Conquest, slavery, genocide, war, so many tragedies and trauma haunt us all in different ways. Expressing what has been lost and erased and  asking gods, spirits and ancestors why all these things happened, and asking who we are now, what are we becoming, what is this this idea, this great story we are all part of, called America? We struggle, who tells this larger story of who we are, who controls and steers it determines who are the heroes and the villains.

What was the original version of the story, of the song may not be remembered?  There are a thousand versions. How well it is sung or told and whether the people believe in its poetic truth and power matters more. Each people has a story of their journey of how they became American, each is a part of a great story, the story of America.

We have cold hard facts, pieces gathered together from letters and pottery and DNA. But people want a story that strings them together, that they can tell while they warm themselves by the fire. If some of the facts fit the story they tell, they'll be part of it, while others don't fit right, they don't feel right. When you tell a child a story they know and you put events in the wrong order or you vary the details too much, they will correct you. People think of children as very innovative and creative and they are in some ways, but in other ways they conserve traditions, they remind us of the rules and boundaries and ways of storytelling that we taught them. We thought they weren't listening but they were. They are watching and they know that parts are missing to our stories. The parts that are too terrible to face, the parts we can't admit to. We want to tell them that we are the heroes of the story, that our ancestors were the heroes, the pioneers, the civilizers, the hard-working immigrants who build businesses against all odds. The discoverers and explorers, the visionaries. Admitting to our children that we lied, that the story we told them wasn't quite right, even though we want to believe it. Stepping aside and letting someone else tell the story in a different way, a story that hasn't been heard enough. We aren't sure how, this is the hardest lesson we must teach, and we're still learning it ourselves.


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Mariah Sheehy is an ADF Druid/Heathen and has a B.A. in political science from Augsburg College. She serves on the board of the Bisexual Organizing Project and lives in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) in an all-autistic adult household. She enjoys biking, camping, crafting and grappling with the Irish language.


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