I recently returned from Soul Fire 4 the Gulf, a healing ceremony inspired by New Orleans Medicine Person and Musician Dr. John. For the uninformed, he’s a 60‘s music legend whose latest album, “Locked Down”, has been referred to as “inspired voodoo-gumbo jazz funk” with a top rating in “Rolling Stone”.
Soul Fire was a heartfelt and almost indescribable experience. In Solidarity and Support of Dr. John’s vision, Turtle Women Rising and the tribal communities of Isle de Jean Charles, Pointe aux Chien, the Dulac Bands of the Biloxi, Chitimacha, Choctaw and the Atakapa Ishak Tribe joined in unity to welcome the Grandmothers, Elders and People of All Nations to support a Stand For The Earth in Mandeville and New Orleans, Louisiana.
On Monday April 16 the ceremonial fire, drums and songs began a 3-day, 24-hour continual sacred prayer of healing from an encampment at Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville, LA-“for the Land, the Waters, the Critters and the People of the Gulf.” On Friday, the drum circle and ceremony moved to New Orleans and a traditional second line to the Mississippi River.
Personally, I was honored to be invited. I participated in the drumming, dancing, songs and prayers and performed water ceremonies with the ocean harp at the encampment and afterwards in the second line at the New Orleans River Front. I walked the perimeter, explored Bayou Cane, a grandmother tree and ancient mounds. I spoke with alligators, frogs and other creatures and met many new friends. I even became a reluctant truck driver running gear from Mandeville to New Orleans in a rented 17-footer. I played a final show with some Soul Fire Folks at Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge on Oak Street before a sleepless night and way early morning flight back to Minnesota.
There were brief moments with grandma Margaret and other elders, time with Imani and Bellavia and a nice walk with Dr. John when he asked about my water harp and said – “That’s some hip shit.”