Artists & Spirit Series: Nupe Mallam

by Mark Gilliland

“Mallam is the word for ‘diviner’ among the Nupe, a tribe in sub-Saharan Africa… For this diviner, a wide perspective is always taken for granted, a perspective from which the whole pattern of social relationship is revealed.1”   (Nupe Mallam posture instructions)

From my journey notes: Hearing bells, tinkling in the breeze – distant shrine bells? I have a question for the old fortune teller who lives like a hermit in this wood and stone hut. Inside, in the candle-lit semi-darkness, he is rolling bones marked with strange symbols. He greets me as if he has been expecting me. He continues his divination, then pauses to tell me “It will come with the wind. September. Prepare yourself under the starlight of the Pleiades. Make butter lamp offerings to the Ancestors.”

I am now seeing a wide blue lake before me with a flock of egret taking wing, flying across the sparkling moon-lit water. I suddenly realize the birds’ formation precisely maps the Pleiades cluster in the sky. Here can be found the Ancestors.

The Nupe Mallam posture was one of the first set of postures Dr. Goodman used in her early research. “As part of the  process of verifying the effects of the specific postures, Dr. Goodman worked with individuals, one on one, to remove influences of a group experience. She carefully documented the results and then looked for patterns [of] similar experiences specific to each posture. No one experiences the same journey, but the experiences seem “cut of the same cloth” specific to the posture. This is where it became clear that an undeniable pattern exists for each posture.2 ”

EBP journey notes and digital image by Mark Gilliland ©2008-2014. See more visionary work at www.shamandreaming.org.

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Editors note: The intent behind our Artists and Spirit program is to explore, document ritual posture experience using artistic mediums such as sketching, painting, sculpting, etc… Throught direct experience we combine the art field and the spirit world.

Participants are inspired by imagery encountered during experiences with the Cuyamungue Method, essentially, documenting ones experience using artistic mediums. In this process we explore the field of consciousness both theoretically and practically.

By using the Cuyamungue Method, we open the communication between our artistic spirit and and connection between the mind and body. Ritual Postures as a method increases our creativity and opens channels of inspiration from the artistic field of consciousness within you. We welcome your submissions!