Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kuumba (Creativity)


Today, the sixth day of Kwanzaa, is dedicated to the principle of Kuumba (Creativity).  This is one of the most important of the seven principles to my daily practice and life generally.  Some of my earliest memories involve creativity.  I remember when I was about five, making mud cakes and plaintain sandwiches with grass trimmings with my little friend Joan behind our house in East Orange, NJ. I remember the first day of kindergarten being struck by a beautifully creative fall bulletin board of autumn leaves at school. Creativity has been a sustaining factor in my life since I can remember.  Recently, I joined a challenge to create something every day on a blog www.creativeeveryday.com.  I have already been doing this but it will be very nice to be involved with a community of creative people as I work.  My creativity has typically touched every aspect of my life including hairstyles, cooking (though I plan to leave the vegetable dessert pies alone), exercising (love to belly dance), doodling (particularly during lectures when I should be paying attention), writing, magickal practice and of course art making.  One of the reasons I choose Hoodoo as a spiritual path is because it invites and rewards creativity, at least the way I practice it.  Earth-based spirituality generally, opens the gates of creativity, as you engage the elements in numerous ways and honor the earth and cosmos.  When I wrote, “Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones” and its companion, “Four Seasons of Mojo,” I felt such excitement because both embody creativity and as I wrote I was also on a journey of discovery in so many different ways.  I am still creating the dream pillows I give recipes for in those books, as well as various types of mojos, sachets and potpourris.  I think when some people look at my potpourri at craft fairs they just see a bag of botanicals but there is so much creativity involved in making a batch of potpourri and some magickal intent as well.  I was describing my process of making potpourri to my mother-in-law and it reminded me of its complexity.  I start by grinding up lavender, juniper berries, and the preservative scents of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and anise stars.  I add these to a corn cob mix that will hold their scent.  I call that the mother batch, once I add the essential oils.  The essential oil blend involves a great deal of complexity and skill in its mixture as well because I usually like to balance the top, middle and base notes, like a perfumer.  Then after the perfumery, comes another fun part of selecting a multitude of dried botanicals, herbs with specific magickal intent and scent qualities, berries of various colors, evocatively shaped pods and leaves.  After I bless and mix the mother batch of scent with the botanicals they sit for a few weeks, usually about a month in a sealed container.  Even the interest in perfumery goes back into my memory bank.  I remember outside of Salem, NJ, there was a little defunct factory and I dreamed since I was a child that that would be the home of my perfume business.  Now, I create the perfumed botanicals out of my home but I still dream of having a small industrial space, most likely in a rural location.  Creating magickal botanicals and soaps activates my gift for healing because you can imbue each step of the creation process with magick, if you are so inclined.  I am so excited that today is devoted to Kuumba. As I light the six candles of Kwanzaa today, I revere this gift bestowed by the Goddess, called Kuumba in Swahili or Creativity in English. Today's image is an ATC, with elements of collage, including a Xerox film transparency, drawing, stamping and embossing.

2 comments:

  1. Love the way your composition moves my eyes around to all the images!

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  2. Thanks! I had a lot of fun with this one!

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