e38 zenith – art as medicine to metabolize charge

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Art is the medicine that actually allows us to metabolize charge. It allows us to metabolize trauma. It takes the intensity that’s left in the system, and this goes all the way back to ritual. Art, for me, is a sort of a tributary coming off from ritual that is still sort of consensually allowed in this reality when the direct communication with nature through ritual was silenced.

shante sojourn zenith, conscient podcast, May 4, 2021, Minnesota

Shante’ Sojourn Zenith is an animist somatic practitioner creating Edge Rituals to tend the wounds of her kin’s unmetabolized ancestral trauma and developmental dissociation from embodiment by re-enlivening relationship to elemental earth consciousness and initiatory process. She works both one-on-one and in group spaces to create emergent explorations informed by nervous system state shifting, metaphor-based symbolic modeling, constellations, intuitive voice and movement, grief tending, and earth-rooted ritual. Shante’ is currently germinating an art project called Long Body Prayers, a podcast, oracle deck, and pedagogical process for re-membering the relational root system of support each being is embedded in. 

Shante’ has asked to name that in this podcast she is speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of her teachers and collaborators voices in her own words. What she speaks is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, and Sarah Peyton. Specifically in this podcast, her understanding of the way the Peak Valley Recovery Pattern relates to cultural bodies is credited to Tada Hozumi’s essay What comes next? The dawn of a new era of cultural somatic activism (https://tadahozumi.com/what-comes-next-the-dawn-of-a-new-era-of-cultural-somatic-activism/).  Other influential beings in Shante’s unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce.

I first heard about Shante’s work through her Fruiting Bodies: Collapse as Medicine, Liminal Portals, Mycelial Entanglements essay in Dark Matter magazine. This sentence in particular caught my attention and stuck with me:

… we fear experiences of disintegration, breakdown, and collapse. But what if the collapse is also a part of the medicine? There are openings and cracks in these times of breakdown, windows into other worlds.

Her writing made sense to me, but I did not really understand how to relate he work to the climate emergency, so I asked her and was enriched by our conversation. It’s the kind of recording that is worth listening to twice to further retain nuance. 

As I did with all episodes this season, I have integrated excerpts from previous episodes in this case, from e19 reality in this episode. 

I would like to thank Shante’ for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her world view, her practices, including the idea that ‘art is the medicine that actually allows us to metabolize charge’.

For more information on Shante’s work, see www.earthpoetedgeweaver.com.

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