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Defy the Helmsman Upon the Lake of Fire by way of Cooling. Saudade Toxosi

Saudade Toxosi is an Atlanta-based interdisciplinarity artist and image curator working in painting, charcoal drawings, mixed media and assemblage. For more than two decades, Toxosi has engaged in a meditative curatorial process of selecting and organizing found images that explore and articulate her thoughts about the “New Indigenous African” experience in the United States as well as all people of color around the world.

© photo Michelle Alexander

There is a myth from the bantu, kongo a creation story

that speaks to the formations of the earth through fire.

A fire that emerged from nothing and became a force

so strong that it’s vitality was understood as a principle

of change. However, this fire forming mass cooled and

gave birth to something new; the earth...

It has been days, weeks of deep anxiety in relationship to

my presuppositions and borrowed allegories concerning

the injustices among non-white peoples. While

searching for ancestral metaphysical intelligences towards

inner vision with an intent of producing safe spaces and

places that support a world village which contributes to a

collective technique. Nevertheless, I contend with the

reality that provides a great consensus concerning social

and political agreements (borrowed or stolen) that has

provided a proliferation of infinite regression and or wishful

thinking ; promoting cognitive dissonance and is expressed

in conflict. a conflict that is non-constructive and energy

wasting. The result is deep communal sadness and/or

collective rage. In our present reality within the states as

well as abroad there is an alignment with a compound

truth shared. A truth in that resides in our personal,

geographical and virtual environments. This truth is that

this planet - Earth- is a slave ship and white supremacy is

it’s helmsman. With this awareness we can no longer

resist the markings of dissonance, injustice, malice, deceit

and skillful violence all over the world nor it’s designer

white supremacy.

It seems quite ridiculous to estimate or deduce our

numerical confinement when we are born on a planet

as perpetual prisoners unto death, placed into world

subjugation, slave narratives and reductionist intent.

In these weeks, I asked myself how is it that we survive? Is

it because of our God’s or our Ancestors who saved some of

us by way of proper seduction and learned degrees by way of

instilling white principles in broken dialects? Or is it our swag

and persuasion combined by the ability to create with the

scraps from the master’s table?

Even, in these conditions there is a unique quality within

non-white peoples that speak as pride, agency and

determination in the eyes of the onlooker’s demise. Our

predicament is a fire within that burns by perpetually

asking the helmsman to produce a doorway for justice

and correctness; when he enjoys fanning the fire. Across

generations we cloud our visions of freedom with equality

thus, propelling us into a continued rotation of searching

preemptive texts filled with omissions concerning our

humanity/equality that renders us as only servants

prisoners which does not support our lasting dis-ease.

All over the world we are hitting the streets enraged and

controlled by our collective inner fires and rage creating

asymptomatic apologetics that are dependent upon the

need for justice and the desire for cradling in the arms of

the sons and daughters of Odin. The Norse god of war

and death that loves to look at blood and suffering as a


We mustn’t allow our petitions and problems to solidify.

We must not allow our collective dependencies to spoil

our ability to envision a day when our internal fires

become transmutations and remove the impurities from

our traumatic dwellings upon the Earth. We must begin to

identify our problems correctly that we may find the

proper antidotes.

The misappropriation is the value of ourselves and is our

stalemate towards change that is festering within our

genetic codes . Our bodies and our mental framework are

decaying from countless centuries of resilience and

dysfunction. Our internal and external actions are

perpetually at the crossroads towards inner peace and

wholeness. By grasping this, we will find that our “flight

from wholeness” is based upon the cumulative trappings

of a violent past and bathed in incorrectness of the current

difficulty while worrying about our futures as we surrender

ourselves to regimes and ruthless interconnecting


Currently, the “the roaring fire burns to the right the roaring

fire burns to the left” and the streets are burning the

villages are burning our souls are burning in a cycle of

misdirected inner fire; in need of proper channeling onto a

road towards productive change. As the fires cleanse

upon the earth we too, cleanse within.; as the fires

burn, we share the earth’s need for change in our

bodies, our minds and our hearts .

Alice Walker writes …"in t hose long periods when

something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding

its breath, unsure about what the next step should be,

eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in

those periods that we realize that we are being prepared

for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a

new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

2020: a year of great transmutation and the beginning

of the end of all illusions alongside, a change within

humanity that is required to shift our thinking, what we

consume, our

communities, our attachments and those that

rule. Moreover, it is a time of searching,

questioning and “balancing opposing but

complementary forces to bring forth harmony

between the realms of existence”.

In ancient African spirit systems fire is

associated with transformation and our

ability to vision the future. Water is

associated with amniotic fluid and our

memories of the past. The need to align and

balance our mental and physical spaces is

imperative for our own will to acquire a

choosing that promotes healing from a shared

trauma (in varying degrees). The fires of

creation symbolize a masculine powerful

force within all of humanity and are joined by

cooling waters that speak to the divine

feminine principle that brings regeneration.

The concept of cooling has been a great part of our

language in the states. In which we speak mostly

concerning an external behavior or a way of dress.

The cooling in which i speak of is the cooling of

the head that houses four major perceptions that

encompasses the principles of Ifá. Ifá is a West

African philosophy that encompasses oral

traditions, medicines and cosmology. Ifá stretches

from it’s conception in Nigeria, Benin(AFA) and

Togo out into the known world. This healing

system eliminates self imposed obstacles and

negative energies that settles in mind and

emotions. One of the ways in which this healing

system helps the individual and their community

is by the concept of cooling. Cooling refers to an

absence of conflicting a state of balance and

harmony. It sustains, protects, relaxes and offers

rest from mental distortions and brings one into

alignment with one's spirit and one's community

where decisions or strategies towards right action

can take place. The idea of cooling is in

accordance with four perceptions. These

perceptions are based upon four distinct areas.

"how we think about our internal experience

(identify emotions), we acknowledge our

relationship with other people and things

(evaluate levels of trust and empathy), we

examine the past (access memory) and we

envision the future (activate imagination)."

It is imperative to understand that one can not cool white

supremacy or their community without cooling oneself.

Working towards eliminating a system of oppression one

must have a plan. A plan that is not reactionary or

matching the intensity and or rage of one's opponent. It

takes skill and precision and most of all patience. Cooling

refers to balance and harmony. In the states most

non-white communities do not have time or the means to

care or seek out healing. For this purpose it is mandatory

that we no longer allow others or ourselves to fan our fires

without proper direction. All things in existence have an

impact on each other and cooling will imbue self and

communal transformation leading into a gradual evolution

restoring the mind and the emotions thus healing the

body. Cooling is the internal reservoir that will change our

current position by strategic and correct movements

forward. Then, we like our ancestors (collective

consciousness) will shape a generation of skilled warriors,

lovers of all life, healers and sustainers of the earth.

Author: Saudade Toxosi

Works Cited:

Ancestral Voices. Spirit is Eternal Dalian Y Adolfo. 2016

The United Compensatory Code/ System/ Concept. Neely Fuller Jr. 1984

Preparation For Initiation. Fatumbi

Roots of Coolness: Ancient Yoruba Aesthetics in the New World. Scott Ainslie 2013

African Cosmology of the Bantu Kongo. Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau, Ph.D 1980

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