On May 18, 2021, I was invited by Dani d’Emilia to be part of a regenerative process based on the “senti-pensares” (motions of “thinking feelingly”) of Radical Tenderness. That same day I was moved to grief by invisible forces that arrived with a tide of many farewells. I was at a crossroads of affection: relatives leaving, relationships resuming after many long years, tenderness weaving to co-sense each other’s pain and trauma for which we seek healing. Reading “Co-sensing with Radical Tenderness” while going through processes of loss, death, and connection with other worlds, other beings, other ways of being together, I started composting, fertilizing, fermenting, and enriching the soil so that I could plant what I present here in small sprouts, cotyledons, and suspended roots, finishiating what has never ended. The earth breathes. We breathe together.
The art-life rituals are inspired by these passages from Co-sensing with Radical Tenderness:
In the interstices, encounters:
I will recall the memory, now, like this, in a spin. I ran a hand through my hair and realized it had grown. I felt my feet planted on the ground. A taste of coffee and straw cigarette. The body covered with red straw made of mangrove bark. The porous face showed the first signs of cliffs. Gouging-scarring… Watch the tide fill with your eyes and leak like lungs exhaling air. Murmuring sea.
A terra também é mar. À terra também amar.
(Land is also sea. To the earth, also love.)
I offer here a dissolving disappearance. It cannot be seen because it is not from the optical or semiotic field. It’s a figure, a slippery sight like an anaconda. Slowly it expands. Let it be felt… I ask permission to enter your pores and touch your marrow, enter the life of your blood that is also the sap of the world. It is a disappearance to be in the veins of the world.
Taking care of the invisible, taking care of the mystery.
(…) Iku, Death, was the most beautiful son of Nanã, the eldest, lady of the mangroves. Iku suggested one day that the mother use the mangrove mud to make the bodies of human beings. Nanã accepted the suggestion, with the following condition: when people’s lives ended, the son would return this clay to her. So Iku took some of the clay with his staff, gave it to Nanã and together they started to take care of birth and death. That was at the beginning of times… Nanã is also the mother of Omolu, Oxumarê and Euá, a whole people who take care of the thresholds. Looks like… where the snake meets its tail…
I see Nanã waving her skirt in the wind, with roots embroidered with sea barnacles, oysters, and hanging crabs.
Iku is hungry. Iku doesn’t like to eat people prematurely. Iku is hungry. He is an orixá who we feed, but only at the end, only when it’s time to return home, to Nanã’s clay. And the clay walks slowly…
It’s May 2021 and Iku arrives in the bodies of José Manoel da Silva and Petrônio Tales da Silva, my grandfather-father (AVOHAI, as Zé Ramalho sings) and my uncle-brother, in São Paulo, where there is no tide. My body-earth is devastated. My body-tree loses some of its most important limbs, also a piece of its foundation, of its roots.
It’s a rip in the timeless. I meet the shadow and kiss its mouth like I kiss my son. Tenderness can be nothing more than radical because it is a trench in the chest, of a basin that opens like a source. My son, my brother, my uncle, my father, my grandfather: I feel like I have given birth to them all. How far can I count time without Iku seeing us?
A crab always wants to return to the mangrove.
To dissolve disappearance so that the lack of presence does not become currents that block us from breathing. The message is given by the oracles, the tarot cards, the stars, the calls, the songs, the cowrie shells, the enchanted presences, the drying leaves, the hearts of avocados sprouting in water glasses taking me through the mangrove through their dipped roots, the yams and their white hairs…
This sharing comes from a need to heal a sharp mourning, a symbolic act of returning clay to clay from bodies over which we could not keep vigil, by relatives whose burial I could not participate in, whose death was anticipated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bodies with which I share a sanguine and enchanted heritage, lives which I honour and worship. Recent ancestors of a forcible pantheon created by the hands of a virus aided by a genocidal politician in our lands. It is also a sonic gesture to digest, compost, fertilize a particular and collective pain into a germinating gesture of being in absence. It does not begin or end here because it is a deep wound that only heals in the time of Time, by Iroko. It is a gesture so that the pain of loss does not become dammed water or calcified stones that could cement us. So that our rivers can flow and feed through the land.
To digest what the mystery doesn’t reveal.
Today I’m going to ask for your help. We need to return Pettrus to Earth so that we don’t have to cry anymore. Since his body is not here, I need you to help me mold one, with the mud from the mangrove, in the bed where river and sea cross during low tide, in the vicinity of where we planted your placenta. Let’s mold him lying down, resting serenely, dedicate our sweat to him and the chants from our depths, mix the salt from our eyes with the salt from the waters and wait for the high tide to swallow it. Where Oxum, Iemanjá and Nanã meet, may it dissolve his clay body so that it becomes mangrove and other beings again. Inhabit the interstice so that other forms of life can be generated from death.
But alone I can’t, so come with me to ask permission?
It’s August, month of old families, earth peoples, of straws covering faces and sheets keeping secrets. The wind from Maranhão starts to braid the legs. Barravento.
WAXING GIBBOUS MOON
Dec(h)anting for low tide.
May 10 WANING MOON: in the fetal position I am stunned by an icy hug
May 11 NEW MOON: your body is planted, but I don’t see it
May 18 CRESCENT MOON: caboclo arrives with strength to hold the horse’s legs so that it doesn’t collapse
May 19 CRESCENT MOON: your body is planted, but I don’t see it
August 18 WAXING GIBBOUS MOON: with Txai and Tieta, high tide to ask permission, to announce arrival. Sea bath. River bath. Mangrove bath. The moon gently announces itself over the mangrove swamp, still facing the sun’s rays over the sea. I foresee the body that will be lying there…
August 19 WAXING GIBBOUS MOON: convex, I understand that it takes silence and some solitude. I land in the dry bed to shape the unseen body at low tide. It’s morning in the community of Mangue Seco, Raposa/MA. In the company of Eliara Queiroz, who holds me in the silence that blossoms from her chest, I reach the place where a placid placenta rests. Mangrove blood that lives—and is—there.
The clay tells the hands what shapes it wants to have. Ask for permission, harvest with bare hands and heart the life-matter from the edges. Clay and sand holding an infinite number of beings. Crabs of different sizes and types, bronze worms diving into the newborn chest. I feel the silent presences.
I wait for the time of the eyes to pour. I sing to the mud-ori. I make holes in the sides of your head with my fingers so that singing and water can enter. I kiss your forehead, say goodbye like never before, make fertility wishes. I step back and watch the tidal-calling crabs surround the mud body, their claws calling, calling. Brackish, brackish… the eyes turn to cowrie shells from so much pouring.
I dreamed of Rita bringing the monthly groceries. Surprise visit.
It’s a good fishing tide. Plentiful nets.
The first of many bodies that will be molded. Farewell in a first quarter moon so that in the slab heart of the earth the waters can flow and enter giving it other forms and existences…
August 22 FULL MOON: while I finish this text-rite, I remember that we are always amazed at the celestial events—it would also be the day to celebrate another circle of journey by José Manoel on Earth. The eclipses: an enchantment of looking with the naked eyes of a child at the movement of the stars. I remember us defying the sun to look at the shadow that covered it. On the full moon following the passage of Wizard Pettrus, I sit in my backyard among the plants and watch the sky, recognizing his infinite presence manifested. Today is a full moon again and the pulse of memory beats like the heart of a vibrant universe. I realize it’s about the earth’s body, about healing the weaved-world, licking one’s own wound and the wound of the world. I co-sense.
Tracks: 1 Tidal-Calling / 2 Bed / 3 Turnaround (tidal fall)
Listening in a dark and comfortable environment is recommended, with headphones or 2.1 sound system onwards.
Voices, synthesizers, sound capture, mix and master: Elton Panamby
Tides captured at Mangue Seco beach (Raposa/MA)
Tracks recorded, mixed and mastered between June and September 2021 in São Luís/MA
In memory of Pettrus Talles.
Plant yourself somewhere and wait for your feet to take root.
Return to the matter-of-the-world someone/something that you haven’t held vigil for and buried.
Faced with so many lives lost by the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants, for people who cannot have their rites of death done integrally, it is necessary to (re)create rituals of farewell, detachment, and devolution.
Return to earth
turn to earth
I invite those people who feel the call to do this ritual to let attachments dissolve.
Find a moldable material that must be biodegradable, that decomposes easily, but that also supports the body that needs to be made by you. Dense matter in which some force has to be used to mold. This matter may be from a sacred land for you, ask permission, agô to enter and leave. A specific material for shaping who will be ritualized, for whom we are going to free the passage. It’s about taking a shipwreck from the heart, which is the head of life, about letting the tide take away what needs to transmute, to become light to move forward with us and no longer weigh like the burden of other lives.
Let time act on you, open channels to communicate with other voices. Write down your dreams for days, years or weeks, choose a moon between waning and new, or between crescent and full. Locate yourself in an interstitial time-space. Receive the support of an enchanted place suitable for dissolution/decomposition, whether on land, in water, fire, or wind.
Take a dilated time to mold this body, bring your energy of devotion, dedicate yourself to this body. Adorn it or not, with whatever your heart asks, and say your prayers, let yourself sing songs, let the overflow come so you can let it go. Observe time. Sip time slowly so you don’t choke.
Go away. But go away flying, or gliding over water, or walking over treetops. Go away light, taking only the weight your body can carry. Then let an entire forest rise from your bodysoil.
A secret must also be planted in this action.
I am deeply grateful to my bloodlines and enchanted matrices, to my father Paulo Tadeu da Silva, to my mother Lúcia Rosa, Rosana Catelli, my brother Miguel Catelli, my sister Marina, Cíntia Guedes, ialorixá Aila Gouveia, babalorixá Airton Gouveia, Ilê Ashé Ogun Sogbô, Tieta Macau, Abeju, Inaê Moreira, Eliara Queiroz, Daniele Bubna, Maria de Lourdes Bubna, Edmilson Carlos de Oliveira, Tereza Rosa, Benedito Rosa and all the rose garden, Txai Panamby, Filipe Espindola, Fernanda Sá, Alla Soub, Walla Capelobo, Milena Lízia, to the legacy left by Beatriz Nacimento, shaman Barbosa Pitaguary, Nádia Pitaguary, Francilene Pitaguary, Gislana Vale, Ana Aline Furtado, Dora Moreira, to the memory of José Manoel da Silva, Petronio Tales da Silva, to the orixás, caboclos and voduns that guide me, I never walk alone. Asé!
 Simultaneous end and beginning. Term taught by Alla Soub, friend and worder-exchanger.
 Itan told by Mãe Stella de Oxossi in the book, What the leaves sing (for those who sing the leaves).
 A word from the Pano linguistic trunk, spoken by the Huni Kuin people. Txai is more than a companion; it is half of me, the best of me. It is also the name of a song and album by Milton Nascimento and the name of the child that I gave birth to.
 For afro-brazilian religions such as Mina, Candomblé, and Umbanda, crossings are charged with particularly strong energy, which is why they are often used as sites for offerings and dispatches.
 The state prior to trance, embodiment. A state that announces the incorporation.
 From the song composed by Lô Borges and Márcio Borges and performed by Milton Nascimento titled “Alunar.” “Alunar” means something like rising to the moon, becoming the moon; “Aterrar” refers to rooting into the land, being land.
 Enchanted presence; ancient spirits; crossroads between forces of nature—Indigenous, European, Turkish and African matrices—that continue working for centuries on many levels.
 In Yorùbá, Orí means “head.” In Candomblé, Ori is a personal Orixá, who lives inside people’s heads. He guides and accompanies people even before birth, until their death.
 Yorùbá word used to ask permission.