Shaun Jones and Darice M. Jones

By Shaun Jones
“First Rite”

By Darice M. Jones

Inspiration piece

My name is Bimi and I am co-leader of global Rights of Passage ceremony on the Earth’s parent planet Alkebulan. Here, in the year 3085, there is much preparation to be done, so that every being on our world can go through The Rights over the next 6 months. The Rights of Passage ceremony ensures that all these passionate and talented beings don’t devolve into cogs and consumers in anybody’s weird wheel of greed like what happened on poor Earth. We go through the ceremony every few years, so no one ever has time to forget.

I am 86 years old and stronger than ever. Thank the ancestors for the changes in aging that came after the downfall of Earth’s climate and its life-supporting ecosystems in the year 2150, then the rebuild from 2151-2250, and the migration of some of us to Alkebulan from 2200-2250. We named it after the largest and most populated continent on Earth, the ancestral source of all earth people. This was its name before violent colonization, extraction, and resource-hoarding became global practices that caused the downfall.

This planet sustains life in similar ways to that of Earth but the high concentrations of helium and hydrogen in certain areas, along with the fact that we have many mountain ranges made entirely of ice crystals, yellow adamite, rose quartz, amber and carnelian – our world appears gold and rust colored orb from far away. Because we also have many oceans and unique tree formations, from inside the planet we see good amounts of blues and greens too. Our sky is a soft pale green on a clear day like the green calcite stone. The color of our skin appears in different hues of brown, depending on the weather.

I was chosen to co-lead because I’ve been around a while. I carry magic in my thick wooly scarf and mystic truths fall in the sink every time I run my fingers through my magnificent nappy grey hair. It’s no accident that it sticks up like dozens of shock white antennae – I get messages from the great beyond all the time. I learned the many magics of the world in my 2nd decade. I was young and totally enamored with the spiritual sciences. The older people around me noticed that I could see and feel things that others didn’t. And I was unafraid of my own inner power. So, they set me on a path of learning how to really tap into the natural world, as well as the invisible realms. And I’m damn good.

My co-lead is only 8-years-old, so she bring a freshness and fun to the process that comes naturally with her age. Little BeyLizzo is quite the wunderkind. Not only does she bring the lightness of youth to her role alongside me, she brings a wisdom that makes it easy to see she has not forgotten the lessons of previous lives. Her name is a nod to the earth as it was over a kiloannum ago, when there were still people called celebrities whose talents or lack thereof were displayed for the masses so that the heads of certain industries could amass and hold resources. Holding resources in that way is no longer a thing. Nor is celebrity. But this little brown girl with the large pecan colored eyes was named for two of the brightest and most talented artists of earth – women who tried to use their massive fame to highlight important concepts like unfettered love and inner freedom and knowing oneself. But it is hard to breakthrough while pouring chalices of truth into oceans of corruption. Still, a very strong name indeed.

While I am tall and wide with a broad pair of eyes, nose, and lips to match, BeyLizzo is short and round with eyes that close completely when she laughs and rounded facial features that put me in mind of the women of the Kenya. She looked a bit like the old-world environmental activist, Wangari Maathai, who’d planted a million trees under threat of violence. BeyLizzo too, was courageous and quite probably ahead of her time. I admire her thoughtfulness and quick wit.

Together we would design the Iranti Ayeye, or Right of Passage for everybody in our world. Strictly translated from Yoruba Iranti Ayeye means Memory Ceremony. As the people of Alkebulan sing every morning in every neighborhood, in every town on the globe, “People who remember are limitless. People who are grateful can grow. People who see the fire and rain in themselves, the laughter and power in each other. It is we who remember. It is we who are grateful. It is we who can see. Give thanks. Give thanks.”

BeyLizzo and I sang this song for the 2nd time yesterday when we met up to plan. It grounded us both in the serious but joyous responsibility we have for choosing what activities will help everyone remember the 6 core tenets of life over the year-long ceremony. On month on Alkebulan is the equivalent of two months on earth. So, the people would have to practice some activity for 60 days at a time over the next 6 months to complete their Rites.

We started with a hearty meal of plant gumbo and thick moist red bread to dip in the savory stew. With such a great responsibility ahead, we were also tasked with taking excellent care of each other. I made the gumbo, and BeyLizzo made the red bread. Oh, how we praised each other’s skill between healthy bites. It was such a great gift to serve and be served with good nourishing vittles. During our meal she told me to call her BeyL for short. I liked that. She offered to call me B, as a nickname, but I shared that prefer Bimi because I am named after my grandmother – a strong one of many mystical talents. As soon as we finished and cleaned up the green clay dome building that had been set aside by the community for our planning, we reviewed the 6 tenets people needed to remember during the Rites.

The first rite and some say the most important one is All Being is Sacred. This means that existence itself is the precursor for value and as such people are encouraged to treat everything with reverence. In our tradition, we circulate that reverence outward in rings, beginning with our own bodies then moving from there to all that we encounter. The air that flows through our lungs, the ground upon which we stand, the light that shows us what there is to see, and every being on our world – from bugs to plants to waters to trees. If it be, then it has value. If it lives, then it has language. If it has language, then our job is to learn to communicate with it so that we can live in mutual respect. We have learned to communicate with trees, birds, soil, and water. Because of this we’ve been able to learn just how much or how little we can manipulate the environment, and what ways each element of the environment can use our humanity to benefit its growth. For example, we do not cut down trees on Alkebulan, because the trees do not wish to be cut down. When they have exhausted their time, they simply fall. Only then are we allowed to manipulate their remains for our use. On the other hand, the soil has given us consent to work with it in a myriad of ways. It has also taught us new ways to use it and make some of the strongest clay in the galaxy, so that our domiciles are able to withstand any storm. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.

BeyL and I gather white crystals to write our ideas on the jade board. I used my magic to conjure images that went along with our ideas. We each threw out questions about the first rite.

What would make people remember the essence of this tenet? What, back on Earth, had made people forget? What ways did others in the galaxy show their knowledge of the first rite? How could we pull on wisdom from our worlds waters and trees to help people solidify this truth?

In response to these questions we felt moved to take a swim in the fizzy teal river, about a mile out. I used my abilities to call some of our friends from town to help us gather messages while swimming in the warm waters. A couple of 6-year-old twins came forward to swim with BeyL. A 40-year old and a 90-year-old came to swim alongside me. We picked a good time to go out, as the river was feeling generous. The water and the creatures that swam there gave us tons of ideas about how immersion in water could accomplish our goals. They communicated to us through vibrations that amounted to a sort of song. The swim was invigorating and connected us deeply with our close comrades who came along.

Years ago when previous Alkebulan generations made treks back to earth to exhume the remains of ancestors who told us in our dreams about how they were forced to end their lives during violence kidnapping scenes across the Atlantic ocean, we had learned to breath under water. As it turns out, this ability is sparked in humans anytime we completed soul story with water as a major element. As descendants of those who finally recovered the remains of those would-be enslaved from their horrific water burials, we too could breathe under water. I think it made us more comfortable in water as well.

When we returned to the dome, BeyL and I were inspired. We knew exactly how to bring everyone through the first right All Being is Sacred. We would have each being engage the life cycle for 60 days.

Week one, everyone on earth would be responsible for participating in a birth. It could be the birth of a being, of a community project, or of a creative idea. The goal was to participate in creation as a reminder to value the creative force in all things.

Week two, everyone on earth would commune with and cater to the smallest creature native to their area. This would mean getting as close to the creature as possible, learning its patterns, needs, languages, and desires. Then, each person would do their part to fulfill the needs of the small creature. Where BeyL and I live, the smallest creatures are called Morlia. They’re tiny bugs whose backs absorb sunlight during the day and light up at night. People in our area would need to stay up at night to take extra care of these itty bitty beings, because they did most of their socializing, eating, and enjoying life after midnight. We knew, they loved to eat the goldberry dust that falls from the tree. During the 60 days, we would gather the dust that often lands on and around our homes and leave it on the ground near the pathways the Morlia travel. By serving the smallest creatures among us, we would remember their huge value to the larger design.

Week three, all beings would ask the land nearby them what seeds it desired. Every being would then gather the valued seed, fling it across the land, then pour a water offering into the soil for its nourishment.

Week four was an idea that came to us from the twins as we swam the fizzy teal river. As with everything the twins operated in a certain kind of elevated harmony. They recommended that everyone on earth pair up for daily underwater massages from the other person in their duo. By the end of the week each person should know they other one’s points of physical tension and emotional unrest. Learning each other’s weaknesses and responding to them in the moment was a strong way of remembering that all being has value.

Week five, everyone on our world would taste the sap of a local tree. Trees all over the globe, after we made the agreement with them to not cut them down, had begun storing secrets for people to discover in their sap. That was how we’d learned that any tree on the planet could communicate with any other through an underground network of roots and electricity. They were much more reliable than the ancient phone companies people used to use on Earth. BeyL and I had gotten the trees’ happy consent to give humanity one of their endless bank of secrets about life in the galaxy. Learning from other beings was a powerful tool in remembering that all have value.

We wanted week six to be something a little dramatic, something with flair that people would talk about for years to come. Because of our intense shared focus on the question of what would be spectacular enough, Beyl and I shared a dream of the sixth expression of the first rite. In it, everyone traveled to the closest set of crystal hills to their towns. They didn’t have to travel far, as there are crystal hills everywhere on Alkebulan. The fire conjurers among them were tasked with touching the amber stone at the base of each hill, which we very rarely ever do because of the immediate and wild response from the stones. Once touched by fire, the amber stone sent its light into every crystal on the mountain and to the crystal dust within. Immediately the hills would light up a pyramid of multicolored mysticism, then an eruption from the top center of multicolored flaming crystal dust lighting up the evening sky. This bit of fabulosity would remind us that the light inside one is the light inside all. Indeed, all being has value.

When we both awoke at our separate homes from the dream we rushed over to our brainstorming dome, both aglow and clear. As we locked eyes we spoke in unison.

“I had a dream.”

The laughter lasted so long. After the laughter released us from its hold, we stared fondly at each other. She at me as one would an appreciated elder whose wisdom was palpable. Me at her as one would when looking into the eyes of a brilliant future. BeyL spoke before I could, with her hand out for a shake.

“So, fire crystal eruption?”

I ignored her hand and embraced her, happily repeating.

“Fire crystal eruption.”

Rather than belabor the point, we walked hand in hand out of the planning dome, secure in the knowledge that we had a solid plan for the first rite. One down, five to go. The Iranti Ayeye is well on its’ way.

By Darice M. Jones
Written in the Year of Toni Morrison ©2023


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