An Interview With Malidoma Patrice Somé
The indigenous world is not interested in the show of power. It is interested in respecting the source of the power. This respect is kept alive by camouflage; the power is protected by hiding it. An elder who has the power to create a light hole — a gateway you can jump through into another galaxy — is not interested in using that power to impress people. He would not use that power to show off.
This year the millet fields had been generous and the harvest good. The hard work of collecting and transporting grain from the farm to the house roofs, where it waited to be put into the granaries, was over. Now, in the fallow dry season, the villagers turned their attention to spiritual matters — to initiation.
Last fall, after two years of escalating entreaties by my girlfriend, I finally agreed to move from the city to the country. More precisely, from San Francisco to northern New Mexico, to a desert of lunar silences and nights so black that I rediscovered my childhood fear of the dark.
Last year, after Norma and I visited Costa Rica at the invitation of a friend, we vowed to return with our three children. We were certain they’d be as enthralled as we were by this rugged, beautiful country, its tropical rain forests and steaming volcanoes and crowded markets. Mistake number one.