Reflections from Olave

Pasquale di Morizio, Manon la Décadence , Lu, Carlijn Bakker, Sanne van Driel, Olave Basabose, Dennis Snorremans
best night ever. The Hyenaz did a ritual performance of about an hour. It is entirely magical. Me and some of the others were so-called interlocutors. our job was basically to help the audience engage the ritual. which was participatory. So we basically were in the audience (the 4 of us) leading by example, participating in the magic and stuff. That was amazing already, to be able to see the energy and engagement of the audience sort of ripple through us, and back to us from them. The interlocutors were covered in a shiny armor like silver body paint. I was afraid that it would be reminiscent of armor, statues, robotic disconnection. But in the space it seemed to highlight our physicality instead. I felt very much protected by the bodypaint, as the energy rose and the many ripples collided, and the intentions became entirely tangible in the space. At some point, the Hyenaz invited us to yell out our intentions. At this point I had drifted to the stage and I was able to oversee the whole audience.  The engagement had become total, the ripples united in one maelstrom of power, focused intention for a better world. It was like being in a temple of the body, body magic, body sacracity embodied. These wilful creatures of the oppressed, repressed, objectified, violenced, violated, erased and humiliaties bodies, were, before my eyes, transformed in both a sharp-edged sword, and harbor, havens for the lost, the hopeful, the loving, the hungry, the licking, the sucking and fucking. Sharp edged, cause I heard intentions that cut to the core of where we are not. I heard some call: “liberation” others “freedom”, others “solidarity”, I added “black liberation” in a cacophonic symphony of the angry, the clear-eyed and visionary queers in the room. By the time we invited people to dance blindfolded, guided and touched by others who are not blindfolded, I felt safe. I took one of the blindfolds and moved through the audience. I was caressed, bit, kissed, held, pushed down, pushed up, and I didn’t care. I wanted my shiny, silvery armor to be touched, smudged. I wanted to be felt. I remember vividly someone pressing a hairy, hard upper leg between my exposed buttcheeks. The pressure of the string I was wearing on my anus intensified, and it seemed like an upwards fountain of energy sprung up from prostrate or anus through to the crown of my head. It made me dizzy. Another memory is the hand that caressed and cocooned one of my cheeks. i leaned into it, challenging gravity, challenging the strength of the hand, challenging my own daring. I leaned in deeper and deeper, held nothing back. The hand, unseen, disembodied, met my challenge. it held all of me, gently and protectively. The hand guided me to my knees, my forehead to the floor; i took the opportunity to speak gratitude into the universe, for hands that caress and protect, that accept the dares we put to them, that reward our courage and trust, and have the strength to hold all of us. It was more than body magic to me. It was ancestral magic to me as well. when the ceremony started, i decided to call upon Imana, and my ancestors (who undoubtedly practiced the cult of Imana) to guide me through this moment. to give me the wisdom of movement and intention, so long lost now. Colonization in Burundi took away a spiritual system and technology that had been carefully crafted, tested and improved upon for centuries. I hoped that some of that wisdom and craft could be granted to them, in that moment. As the Burundi healers of old must have undoubtedly led and guided mass rituals, I felt confident that my ancestors would be up to the task of gifting me with the body language and visualisations necessary to be of service to the ritual participants. And they did, these undoubtedly queer ancestors of mine, they moved me, and offered me a tactile perception of unseens forces and energies coalescing and moving and concentrating, symbols and signs moved before my mind’s eye, power symbols and signs I am sure, I became a pillar of all that energy, I think. I have to be honest that my memory of the ritual is slowly starting to recede into, I suspect, the codes of my genetic programming, the inner lining of my hemoglobins, into a myriad of synaptic configurations, into the nape of my neck, the curve of my pelvis, the rise of my penis, the depth of my pallet. I think that that is the way of all that is true to the body, it must be absorbed into it, transmutated into life. I am going to be okay with that, I want to be okay with that, I want to embrace that that is the way of body magic.    — Olave Basabose