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Lara Medina, autora de "Voices from Ancestors". Photo: The Chronicle.
Lara Medina, author of Voices from Ancestors. Photo: The Chronicle.

Finding decolonial spirituality

In Voices from the Ancestors, Chicano Studies professor Lara Medina explores spiritual healing within indigenous traditions to bring it to our present.

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How can we live in freedom when our roots have sunk so deep that we hardly notice them under the soles of our feet? When we hardly remember who we were, are and will be. That's when the double vision — backwards and inwards — can be the key to the birth of a new spiritual consciousness in America's Latino and communities of color. 

As the trauma of past and present oppressions continues to haunt them, Latino artists, scholars, and activists seek to heal the legacy of colonization through new forms of spirituality that are not so new, in a return to the past, to ancient indigenous rites and traditions they reclaim as anthropologists and bring into their lives. 

This is the seed of Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practises (University of Arizona Press), an anthology of wisdom writings and spiritual practices collected by California State University Chicana Studies professor Lara Medina, which has become the new bible of ancestry for troubled times. 

In the book, Professor Medina brings together the reflective writings, spiritual practices and visual art of xicanx, latinx, afrolatinx and some of America's male allies who seek to address today's social challenges with a critical eye and a foot in the future, but in close connection with their more atavistic roots. 

A journey inside her being that the Latinx scholar, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, had to undertake in order to rescue, as she puts it, her "colonized" spirituality.

"I began to work very consciously to decolonize my spirituality by living with a spiritual consciousness from a non-Western perspective, which means understanding the deep interconnection between all forms of life and reciprocity as fundamental values," Medina told CSUN. "Many Xicanx and Latinx have returned to our ancestral indigenous knowledge that was silenced in the period of colonization and continues to be disregarded or ignored by mainstream societies.

The book is a beautiful mix of knowledge from authors of oral traditions, research, intuition, visual art, poetry and lived experience, which recognizes the interconnection that past generations had with each other and nature. It also addresses new times and the recovery of non-western based spirituality and medicine to meet the challenges of this century. 

Is it possible to live with an authentic decolonial spiritual awareness?

"There are many traumas being experienced in our communities due to the state of the country at this time, and many of the practices and knowledge we have collected and edited for this book are healing practices to address trauma," said Medina

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