I find myself working to make a space feel comfortable and safe for all, and while I’m doing it I appear to be possessed by a spirit. I am stockpiling leaves, dirt, and herbs and hiding it to keep it safe from men who want to take it to dispose of it. They feel threatened by us. I am conjuring water and creating shallow pools in areas. We are preparing for a ritual. The ritual will ensure happiness, health, and prosperity for our tribe. With me is someone I trust to help ensure I don’t do something that is potentially dangerous to the community.
Because I am new to this role in the community he keeps an eye on my work as I place ingredients in strategic places to make the work most effective, and beneficial to the cause. He watches me while I’m working. Trying to figure out what the spirit inside me is saying. It’s not a language he seems to understand. He hears words that sound familiar, but he doesn’t know what they are. He asks the spirit in me what it means by “koto ayé” ? It shows him all the work we are doing and starts talking quickly going over all the work. We start covering our stashes of supplies with blue tarps then hiding those tarps with coverings of loose long grasses.
While working, snakes start appearing everywhere. They are all bright vibrant red snakes with black and yellow bands on them. They are all coming at me quickly. They are biting me then leaving. My friend who is watching is blown away by the events unfolding. My clearly possessed self keeps talking in this language. the words “koto ayé” keep popping up in the phrases. All the while more of these colonial snakes keep biting me and leaving.
Things start to cam down and I sir down on an old couch that is outside, probably being thrown away, but because I’m tired from channeling this spirit and am coming back to the surface with myself, I clearly am tired and need to rest. I am on this couch now, and I see nobody else around. All the work I did seems to be hidden because I see nothing of it left. Instead I’m on this couch outside one of the homes of my childhood. Nobody is around. I still feel bites from the snakes though. I sit confused trying to understand what happened. I felt fear while I was working, but now I’m calm and I know I’m safe.
When I woke from this dream I searched the meaning the familiar person (Gwidion) in my dreams was asking about. It’s Yoruba, which is spoken in Nigeria, and “koto ayé” translates to “the world”.