Spirit Medicine is a podcast series that focuses on how people of color (queer and trans people of color especially) can connect to healing practices. It is a project under Black Girl Dangerous (BGD) and has two episodes released to date. After listening to the first episode of their podcast on ancestry, I decided to write a blog post about this topic since it connects so strongly to Remedios and other conversations we have had in class.
The podcast starts off with introductions to both speakers, CarmenLeah Asencio and ChE. It then continues to explain how western medical practice is based on patholigizing, or the practice of treating ill people as if there is something wrong with them. A similar viewpoint was concerning the pain of oppressed people was communicates. The podcast explained that the suffering of oppressed people is often pathologized instead of being taken seriously. In other words, as Professor K. explained in class, instead of asking the question of “what happened to you” people ask the question “what is wrong with you.” This means that the systemic issues causing pain, suffering, and illness are not critically examined and the individuals is examined as having something wrong with them instead.
One of the goals of this episode of Spirit Medicine was to present liberatory practices outside of this western framework through a connection to ancestry. A couple of the questions asked throughout the podcast were: What ancestors do you find strength in? Why is connecting to ancestors is an act of healing for people of color and for queer and trans people of color? How have you unpacked your ancestry?
Overall, the first episode of this podcast echoed our sentiments that connecting to ancestors is a radical act that goes against the systemic violence that acts to decentralize communities of color. Connecting to ancestry is a healing practice that is available through your own materials and does not require access dependent on outside forces. My favorite practice mentioned was “bibliotherapy,” or the practice of finding out about your ancestry by reading about it or being highly inquisitve.
Here is a link to the second episode, Cultural Appropriation and Healing Practices: