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You Shall be Free from Slavery (Come, Dambala)

Listen to the voice of the weaver-of-songs. Listen as the priest exhorts Dambala to come in full power and teach those who will enslave others what it is to live as a slave. There is consequence to every action. What choices will we make?

I started singing this today while working in the soup kitchen, after an encounter with a woman so trapped in trying to work her little portion of the system that she could not even hear what someone – namely a coworker of mine – was actually saying to her. There was no communication, just a reiteration from a different angle, over and over, to anyone within earshot who might give the woman “her way.” But her way was one of slavery. Her way was one of drug addiction and poverty and the constant, daily, hustle.

And of course, slavery is all around us. There is still actual physical slavery in the world – some say now more than ever – with children in sweatshops, women or boys sold and transported for sex, men toiling in gold and diamond mines… we all know the stories and hold the images in our hearts. But what about slavery in its other forms? How are we each not free? How are we each, like the woman in the soup kitchen today, trying to hustle things for some pittance of a goal with no real reward? How are we disconnected from our power and indentured to stories we tell over and over and over?

The working poor, or drug addicted, or mentally unhinged people whom I see at the kitchen are no more enslaved and no more free than a corporate executive in a $1,000 suit, or a proud parent of children living in the suburbs of some city. What frees or enslaves most of us only feels like an external force. For most of us, our slavery comes from within.

Oh, Dambala, Serpent of Wisdom, melt down our walls and help us to see. Teach us new words to speak, and deeper ways to listen. May we be shocked out of our systems of complacency, apathy, and fear. May we find our roots and raise ourselves up. And may we help, always, to liberate each other.

May we work toward the day where none shall be slave to another, and none shall be slaves to themselves. May all beings know liberation.

[I thank Gnostic Bishop Thomas Langley for posting this powerful song last week, implanting it in me for today’s lesson. And thanks to brother Exuma for writing and singing this song.]

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