Letters From Around the World

African Roots in the Andean Highlands:
The Shaman of Cotacachi

angie&joy-africanRoots-1
Shaman’s Tools
by Joy E. Stocke

Victor motions for us to enter the room he calls the shaman’s laboratory, while he steps outside to negotiate the price of our ritual cleansing with the shaman.

In the cool white-washed room, a small, wooden block dripped with candle wax, a wooden box decorated with saints, and an ebony-black spear surround a red plastic lawn chair. Unable to resist peering into the shaman’s box, we take a peek at his tool-box containing sticks, leaves, and several smooth earth-colored and black stones. Joy quickly snaps a photo and we sit down on a bench against the opposite wall.

angie&joy-africanRoots-2
Shaman’s Stones
by Joy E. Stocke

The shaman, enters carrying a spray bottle of clear a liquid that we assume is holy water, and sits in his chair, followed by Victor who gives us white candles, keeping one for himself.

He motions Joy to stand in front of the shaman, and then he and the shaman begin a discussion. We don’t speak Spanish and Victor speaks little English, so he gesture the shaman’s request that Joy remove her blouse.

Uncomfortable with the suggestion, she shakes her head, and says, “No.”

More discussion ensues until an agreement is reached where Joy can remain clothed.

Las mujeres creen,” says Victor, “The women believe.”

And that seems to satisfy the shaman who smiles at us.

And we do believe. Since we’ve both been baptized in the Catholic faith, the idea of invoking the spirits of ancestors and saints is familiar to us. The trip has been a whirlwind of people, inspirational thoughts, and new beginnings. Our individual yoga practices have taught us to keep our focus and let go of anything which does not serve the better good. If the shaman can conjure forth spirits, then we’re perfectly willing to let those spirits, through his intercession, remove any negative energy from our minds, hearts, and bodies.

The shaman takes the candle from Joy, lights it, and asks her profession.

“Journalist,” she says.

Periodista,” Victor translates.

Joy closes her eyes and concentrates on removing any negative energy that would get in the way of reporting all that she has seen and experienced during the past week.

The shaman nods as if he understands, and the ritual begins. She hands him the unlit candle which he rubs over her body, front and back, and then over face, forehead and hair. Then he hands her the black spear, having her grasp it with both hands, repeating the procedure he initiated with the candle – front, back of body, over face and hair.

She hands back the pole, which he sets against the wall. He picks up the spray bottle and makes a grimace to indicate that she should squeeze her eyes tight. Before she can close her eyes completely, he sprays the holy water directly into her face.

Angie glances toward Victor. With a look of shock and disbelief, he covers his mouth to suppress a laugh.

Joy, however, is not laughing. The solution that the shaman is now spraying and rubbing under her shirt, arms and hands stings her eyes like hell and smells like an herbal, alcoholic beverage. Tears fall from her eyes as the shaman sprays her hands with the mixture and asks her to rub it over her hair.

The process continues now in rapid motion. Chanting an incantation, the shaman plucks first one smooth stone from his box and rubs this over Joy’s body and under her shirt. Then another and another, before rubbing her face and arms with a shorter black stick. Finally, the candle is blown out and the ritual is over. The shaman and the saints have completed their work.

Joy sits down on the bench rubbing her eyes, whispering, “So this is Santeria.”

Over four-hundred years ago, African slaves brought the practice of Santeria La Regla Lucumm” to the new world via the Spanish slave trade routes, first to Cuba and then the Caribbean. By integrating their religious beliefs with Catholicism, they were able to create a thriving faith, keeping it alive and secret at the same time.

The Yoruba people of West Africa overlaid characteristics of their Orisha – a spiritual being or presence that is interpreted as one of the manifestations of God represented in stone deities – onto Catholic saints, the very saints who are manifested in the shaman’s black stones.

Now, it’s Angie’s turn for the cleansing and knowing what awaits her, she concentrates on being present in the moment. Yet, when it comes time for the spray to the face, she’s unprepared for the burn and sting to the eyes. Tears flow out like pouring water. Maybe, like life, pain is part of the process of Santeria.

Finally, the shaman nods at Victor who gamely removes his shirt and stoically goes through the motions. He winces only once while being doused with the alcohol mixture. Later, we learn that this is his first visit to the shaman, too.

Out in the sunlight, the world seems to glow, making us believe that all things are possible. We retreat to the small sanctuary to deliver our candles to the saints, and then return to Victor’s taxi for the drive out of Cotacachi, the little town that UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Sight.
angie&joy-africanRoots-3
by Victor Penafiel

Joy E. Stocke

joy-stocke-contributor

Joy E. Stocke

See other contributors.

In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.

With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.

In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.

She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.

In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey.  Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.

Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013).  The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.

She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.

EMAIL: joy@wildriverbooks.com

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/joy.stocke

Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition

AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The Eagle of Ararat
The Eagle of Ararat-Part II: The Meaning of Freedom

AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA

Where Were the Shells Fired From?

ARTS – ART

Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War

COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN

Katherine Schimmel: A Meeting in a Garden and a Mystic Pen

FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN

Anatolian Kitchen: Cuisine at the Crossroads – For the Love of Beets

INTERVIEWS

ABULHAB – Arabic from Left to Right: An Interview with Type Designer, Saad Abulhab

BELBRUNO- Ed Belbruno – The Colors of the Universe: Microwaves and Art

CLARKE – Rock & Roll, Cybernetics, and Literature: Bruno Clarke’s Intersecting, Interconnecting World

COMBS – Hazard: A Sister’s Flight From Family and a Broken Boy

FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir

EARLE – An Extraordinary Hope Spot: Sylvia Earle on the 20th Anniversary of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and the Future of the World’s Oceans

FULBRIGHT –  Harriet Mayor Fulbright- World Peace through Education

JOSEPH GLANTZ –  Inner Lights, Electric Kites – The Sparks of Philadelphia’s Creativity

HALIFAX – Joan Halifax, Roshi – Letting Go, Letting in Light: Halifax Talks about Her Life & Groundbreaking Book, Being with Dying

HONEY – The New York Hall of Science Hosts 1001 Inventions – Muslim Heritage in Our World: A Conversation with Dr. Margaret Honey

KUPCU – How to Weave a Culture: The Art of the Double-Knot with Murat Küpçü

Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues

MAJOR – A Landscape Critic in the Gilded Age: Judith Major and Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer

MAURO – New World Monkeys: Primates, Boars, and a Conversation with Author, Nancy Mauro

MEHTA – Talking about Global Healing with Political Scientist Vipin Mehta

OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Space Traveler

SHOR – Music in Stone: Jonathan Shor Constructs a Lithophone for Quark Park

SMITH – ROLEX ARTS INITIATIVE-Poet Tracy K. Smith: Memory, Creation, Mentoring, and Mastery

SODERMAN – The Solace of Vacant Spaces: An Interview with Visionary Peter Soderman

EVAN THOMPSON – Waking, Dreaming, Being: Philosopher Evan Thompson Explores Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience and Meditation

TIMPANE – This Has Never Felt Like A Job
Poetry, Science and the Big Bang: John Timpane Goes to Cambridge

YUNUS – Opening the Gates of Capitalism: In Ecuador with Economist Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”

ZALLER – Robert Zaller – Cliffs of Solitude – A World of Activism: Talking of Troubadours and Poetry with the Historian

Every River Tells A Story: Founders Kim Nagy and Joy Stocke

Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk – Death and Sex: Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk Get Intimate about Their New Book

Orhan Pamuk – The Melancholy Life

Per Petterson: Language Within Silence

LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS

Istanbul, Memories and the City: by Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Maureen Freely
The Road to Home: Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl

LITERATURE – ESSAYS

Anatolia – Istanbul’s Flaming Horn
End Times Down at the Kingdom Hall
Reclaiming Friday the 13th

LITERATURE – MEMOIR

Love Affair with Turkey

Anatolian Days and Nights – The Steamy Side of Istanbul

LITERATURE – POETRY

The Bath: Athens, Greece

LIVE FROM THE NYPL

The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation

PEN COVERAGE

 2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..

PRESS ROOM

Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson

Quark Park

Algorithms, Google & Snow Globes: David Dobkin

WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK

Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn

WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE

UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul

WRR@LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT

Conservation – East of an Aquatic Eden and into the Desert
Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast

WRR@LARGE – WILD FINANCE

Migration, Remittances and Latin America

WRR@LARGE – SLOW WEB

The Slow Web Movement: Wild River Review’s Philosophy on the Media

WRR@LARGE – WRR BOOKS

Rumi and Coke

ARCHIVES

Post-Thanksgiving Plane Ride with a Soldier on His Way to Iraq
Turkey – Of Protests and Fruit: A Report & Updates from Istanbul

Angie Brenner

joy-stocke-contributor

Joy E. Stocke

See other contributors.

In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.

With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.

In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.

In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.

She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.

In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey.  Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.

Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013).  The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.

She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.

EMAIL: joy@wildriverbooks.com

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/joy.stocke

Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition

AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The Eagle of Ararat
The Eagle of Ararat-Part II: The Meaning of Freedom

AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA

Where Were the Shells Fired From?

ARTS – ART

Suzanne Opton and Michael Fay – The Human Face of War

COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN

Katherine Schimmel: A Meeting in a Garden and a Mystic Pen

FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN

Anatolian Kitchen: Cuisine at the Crossroads – For the Love of Beets

INTERVIEWS

ABULHAB – Arabic from Left to Right: An Interview with Type Designer, Saad Abulhab

BELBRUNO- Ed Belbruno – The Colors of the Universe: Microwaves and Art

CLARKE – Rock & Roll, Cybernetics, and Literature: Bruno Clarke’s Intersecting, Interconnecting World

COMBS – Hazard: A Sister’s Flight From Family and a Broken Boy

FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir

EARLE – An Extraordinary Hope Spot: Sylvia Earle on the 20th Anniversary of Cabo Pulmo Marine Park and the Future of the World’s Oceans

FULBRIGHT –  Harriet Mayor Fulbright- World Peace through Education

JOSEPH GLANTZ –  Inner Lights, Electric Kites – The Sparks of Philadelphia’s Creativity

HALIFAX – Joan Halifax, Roshi – Letting Go, Letting in Light: Halifax Talks about Her Life & Groundbreaking Book, Being with Dying

HONEY – The New York Hall of Science Hosts 1001 Inventions – Muslim Heritage in Our World: A Conversation with Dr. Margaret Honey

KUPCU – How to Weave a Culture: The Art of the Double-Knot with Murat Küpçü

Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues

MAJOR – A Landscape Critic in the Gilded Age: Judith Major and Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer

MAURO – New World Monkeys: Primates, Boars, and a Conversation with Author, Nancy Mauro

MEHTA – Talking about Global Healing with Political Scientist Vipin Mehta

OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Space Traveler

SHOR – Music in Stone: Jonathan Shor Constructs a Lithophone for Quark Park

SMITH – ROLEX ARTS INITIATIVE-Poet Tracy K. Smith: Memory, Creation, Mentoring, and Mastery

SODERMAN – The Solace of Vacant Spaces: An Interview with Visionary Peter Soderman

EVAN THOMPSON – Waking, Dreaming, Being: Philosopher Evan Thompson Explores Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience and Meditation

TIMPANE – This Has Never Felt Like A Job
Poetry, Science and the Big Bang: John Timpane Goes to Cambridge

YUNUS – Opening the Gates of Capitalism: In Ecuador with Economist Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”

ZALLER – Robert Zaller – Cliffs of Solitude – A World of Activism: Talking of Troubadours and Poetry with the Historian

Every River Tells A Story: Founders Kim Nagy and Joy Stocke

Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk – Death and Sex: Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk Get Intimate about Their New Book

Orhan Pamuk – The Melancholy Life

Per Petterson: Language Within Silence

LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS

Istanbul, Memories and the City: by Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Maureen Freely
The Road to Home: Rachel Simon’s The Story of Beautiful Girl

LITERATURE – ESSAYS

Anatolia – Istanbul’s Flaming Horn
End Times Down at the Kingdom Hall
Reclaiming Friday the 13th

LITERATURE – MEMOIR

Love Affair with Turkey

Anatolian Days and Nights – The Steamy Side of Istanbul

LITERATURE – POETRY

The Bath: Athens, Greece

LIVE FROM THE NYPL

The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation

PEN COVERAGE

 2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..

PRESS ROOM

Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson

Quark Park

Algorithms, Google & Snow Globes: David Dobkin

WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK

Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn

WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE

UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul

WRR@LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT

Conservation – East of an Aquatic Eden and into the Desert
Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast

WRR@LARGE – WILD FINANCE

Migration, Remittances and Latin America

WRR@LARGE – SLOW WEB

The Slow Web Movement: Wild River Review’s Philosophy on the Media

WRR@LARGE – WRR BOOKS

Rumi and Coke

ARCHIVES

Post-Thanksgiving Plane Ride with a Soldier on His Way to Iraq
Turkey – Of Protests and Fruit: A Report & Updates from Istanbul