Author Topic: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche  (Read 5657 times)

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« on: July 27, 2022, 06:57:48 am »

https://decolonizingthepsyche.com/

McZeal is a current student in training with the plastic shaman Daniel Foor. She's also a graduate of the new-age degree mill Pacifica Graduate Institute. She sells ancestral healing sessions and workshops on "decolonizing the psyche" through "decolonial somatics".

This "decolonial somatics" is a popular trend throughout the somatic therapy meets social justice world. It's a prime example of the problematic appropriation of "decolonization" rhetoric as metaphor for embodiment practices. For these alternative therapists decolonization means getting out of your head and into your body. Hardly ever is mentioned native land rematriation or indigenous sovereignty.

https://gdiriseup.medium.com/decolonization-a-guidebook-for-settlers-living-on-stolen-land-57d4e4c04bbb#:~:text=Settlers%20can%20not%20Decolonize%20themselves,to%20their%20land%20of%20origin.

 


Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2022, 04:16:43 pm »
posting some relevant quotes from the classic Tuck & Yang Decolonization is Not a Metaphor

https://clas.osu.edu/sites/clas.osu.edu/files/Tuck%20and%20Yang%202012%20Decolonization%20is%20not%20a%20metaphor.pdf

Quote
Decolonization, which we assert is a distinct
project from other civil and human rights-based social justice projects, is far too often subsumed
into the directives of these projects, with no regard for how decolonization wants something
different than those forms of justice.

Decolonize (a verb) and decolonization (a noun) cannot
easily be grafted onto pre-existing discourses/frameworks, even if they are critical, even if they
are anti-racist, even if they are justice frameworks. The easy absorption, adoption, and
transposing of decolonization is yet another form of settler appropriation. When we write about
decolonization, we are not offering it as a metaphor; it is not an approximation of other
experiences of oppression. Decolonization is not a swappable term for other things we want to do
to improve our societies and schools. Decolonization doesn’t have a synonym.

There is a long and bumbled history of non-Indigenous peoples making moves to
alleviate the impacts of colonization. The too-easy adoption of decolonizing discourse (making
decolonization a metaphor) is just one part of that history and it taps into pre-existing tropes that
get in the way of more meaningful potential alliances. We think of the enactment of these tropes
as a series of moves to innocence (Malwhinney, 1998), which problematically attempt to
reconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity

Decolonization as metaphor allows people to equivocate these contradictory decolonial
desires because it turns decolonization into an empty signifier to be filled by any track towards
liberation. In reality, the tracks walk all over land/people in settler contexts. Though the details
are not fixed or agreed upon, in our view, decolonization in the settler colonial context must
involve the repatriation of land simultaneous to the recognition of how land and relations to land
have always already been differently understood and enacted; that is, all of the land, and not just
symbolically.

Numerous scholars have observed that Indigeneity prompts multiple forms of settler
anxiety, even if only because the presence of Indigenous peoples - who make a priori claims to
land and ways of being - is a constant reminder that the settler colonial project is incomplete
(Fanon, 1963; Vine Deloria, 1988; Grande, 2004; Bruyneel, 2007). The easy adoption of
decolonization as a metaphor (and nothing else) is a form of this anxiety, because it is a
premature attempt at reconciliation. The absorption of decolonization by settler social justice
frameworks is one way the settler, disturbed by her own settler status, tries to escape or contain
the unbearable searchlight of complicity, of having harmed others just by being one’s self. The
desire to reconcile is just as relentless as the desire to disappear the Native; it is a desire to not
have to deal with this (Indian) problem anymore.

Because of the racialized flights and flows of settler colonial empire described above, settlers are
diverse - there are white settlers and brown settlers, and peoples in both groups make moves to
innocence that attempt to deny and deflect their own complicity in settler colonialism. When it
makes sense to do so, we attend to moves to innocence enacted differently by white people and
by brown and Black people.
In describing settler moves to innocence, our goal is to provide a framework of excuses,
distractions, and diversions from decolonization

Similarly, the settler intellectual who hybridizes decolonial thought with Western critical
traditions (metaphorizing decolonization), emerges superior to both Native intellectuals and
continental theorists simultaneously. With his critical hawk-eye, he again sees the critique better
than anyone and sees the world from a loftier station

Moves   to   innocence   III:   Colonial   equivocation

A more nuanced move to innocence is the homogenizing of various experiences of oppression as
colonization. Calling different groups ‘colonized’ without describing their relationship to settler
colonialism is an equivocation, “the fallacy of using a word in different senses at different stages
of the reasoning" (Etymonline, 2001). In particular, describing all struggles against imperialism
as ‘decolonizing’ creates a convenient ambiguity between decolonization and social justice work,
especially among people of color, queer people, and other groups minoritized by the settler
nation-state. ‘We are all colonized,’ may be a true statement but is deceptively embracive and
vague, its inference: ‘None of us are settlers.’ Equivocation, or calling everything by the same
name, is a move towards innocence that is especially vogue in coalition politics among people of
color.

Moves   to   innocence   IV:   Free   your   mind   and   the   rest   will   follow

Fanon told us in 1963 that decolonizing the mind is the first step, not the only step toward
overthrowing colonial regimes. Yet we wonder whether another settler move to innocence is to
focus on decolonizing the mind, or the cultivation of critical consciousness, as if it were the sole
activity of decolonization; to allow conscientization to stand in for the more uncomfortable task
of relinquishing stolen land. We agree that curricula, literature, and pedagogy can be crafted to
aid people in learning to see settler colonialism, to articulate critiques of settler epistemology,
and set aside settler histories and values in search of ethics that reject domination and
exploitation; this is not unimportant work. However, the front-loading of critical consciousness
building can waylay decolonization, even though the experience of teaching and learning to be
critical of settler colonialism can be so powerful it can feel like it is indeed making change.
Until stolen land is relinquished, critical consciousness does not translate into action that disrupts
settler colonialism. So, we respectfully disagree with George Clinton and Funkadelic (1970) and
En Vogue (1992) when they assert that if you “free your mind, the rest (your ass) will follow.”
Paulo Freire, eminent education philosopher, popular educator, and liberation theologian,
wrote his celebrated book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in no small part as a response to Fanon’s
Wretched of the Earth. Its influence upon critical pedagogy and on the practices of educators
committed to social justice cannot be overstated. Therefore, it is important to point out
significant differences between Freire and Fanon, especially with regard to de/colonization.
Freire situates the work of liberation in the minds of the oppressed, an abstract category of
dehumanized worker vis-a-vis a similarly abstract category of oppressor.

This is a sharp right turn away from Fanon’s work, which always positioned the work of liberation in the
particularities of colonization, in the specific structural and interpersonal categories of Native
and settler. Under Freire’s paradigm, it is unclear who the oppressed are, even more ambiguous
who the oppressors are, and it is inferred throughout that an innocent third category of
enlightened human exists: “those who suffer with [the oppressed] and fight at their side” (Freire,
2000, p. 42). These words, taken from the opening dedication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed,
invoke the same settler fantasy of mutuality based on sympathy and suffering.
Fanon positions decolonization as chaotic, an unclean break from a colonial condition
that is already over determined by the violence of the colonizer and unresolved in its possible
futures. By contrast, Freire positions liberation as redemption, a freeing of both oppressor and
oppressed through their humanity. Humans become ‘subjects’ who then proceed to work on the
‘objects’ of the world (animals, earth, water), and indeed read the word (critical consciousness)
in order to write the world (exploit nature). For Freire, there are no Natives, no Settlers, and
indeed no history, and the future is simply a rupture from the timeless present. Settler
colonialism is absent from his discussion, implying either that it is an unimportant analytic or
that it is an already completed project of the past (a past oppression perhaps). Freire’s theories of
liberation resoundingly echo the allegory of Plato’s Cave, a continental philosophy of mental
emancipation, whereby the thinking man individualistically emerges from the dark cave of
ignorance into the light of critical consciousness.

By contrast, black feminist thought roots freedom in the darkness of the cave, in that well
of feeling and wisdom from which all knowledge is recreated.
These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and
hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep
places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of
unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman's place of power
within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.
(Lorde, 1984, pp. 36-37)
Audre Lorde’s words provide a sharp contrast to Plato’s sight-centric image of liberation: “The
white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us - the poet -
whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free” (p. 38). For Lorde, writing is not action
upon the world. Rather, poetry is giving a name to the nameless, “first made into language, then
into idea, then into more tangible action” (p. 37). Importantly, freedom is a possibility that is not
just mentally generated; it is particular and felt.

Freire’s philosophies have encouraged educators to use “colonization” as a metaphor for
oppression. In such a paradigm, “internal colonization” reduces to “mental colonization”,
logically leading to the solution of decolonizing one’s mind and the rest will follow. Such
philosophy conveniently sidesteps the most unsettling of questions:The essential thing is to see clearly, to think clearly - that is, dangerously and to
answer clearly the innocent first question: what, fundamentally, is colonization?
(Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)
Because colonialism is comprised of global and historical relations, Cesaire’s question must be
considered globally and historically. However, it cannot be reduced to a global answer, nor a
historical answer. To do so is to use colonization metaphorically. “What is colonization?” must
be answered specifically, with attention to the colonial apparatus that is assembled to order the
relationships between particular peoples, lands, the ‘natural world’, and ‘civilization’.
Colonialism is marked by its specializations. In North America and other settings, settler
sovereignty imposes sexuality, legality, raciality, language, religion and property in specific
ways. Decolonization likewise must be thought through in these particularities.
To agree on what [decolonization] is not: neither evangelization, nor a
philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance,
disease, and tyranny... (Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)

We deliberately extend Cesaire’s words above to assert what decolonization is not. It is not
converting Indigenous politics to a Western doctrine of liberation; it is not a philanthropic
process of ‘helping’ the at-risk and alleviating suffering; it is not a generic term for struggle
against oppressive conditions and outcomes. The broad umbrella of social justice may have room
underneath for all of these efforts. By contrast, decolonization specifically requires the
repatriation of Indigenous land and life. Decolonization is not a metonym for social justice.
We don’t intend to discourage those who have dedicated careers and lives to teaching
themselves and others to be critically conscious of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism,
xenophobia, and settler colonialism. We are asking them/you to consider how the pursuit of
critical consciousness, the pursuit of social justice through a critical enlightenment, can also be
settler moves to innocence - diversions, distractions, which relieve the settler of feelings of guilt
or responsibility, and conceal the need to give up land or power or privilege.

Anna Jacobs’ 2009 Master’s thesis explores the possibilities for what she calls white
harm reduction models. Harm reduction models attempt to reduce the harm or risk of specific
practices. Jacobs identifies white supremacy as a public health issue that is at the root of most
other public health issues. The goal of white harm reduction models, Jacobs says, is to reduce the
harm that white supremacy has had on white people, and the deep harm it has caused non-white
people over generations. Learning from Jacobs’ analysis, we understand the curricularpedagogical project of critical consciousness as settler harm reduction, crucial in the
resuscitation of practices and intellectual life outside of settler ontologies. (Settler) harm
reduction is intended only as a stopgap. As the environmental crisis escalates and peoples around
the globe are exposed to greater concentrations of violence and poverty, the need for settler harm
reduction is acute, profoundly so. At the same time we remember that, by definition, settler harm reduction, like conscientization, is not the same as decolonization and does not inherently offer
any pathways that lead to decolonization

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2022, 01:17:02 am »
… the classic Tuck & Yang Decolonization is Not a Metaphor

That article has been mentioned in the topic Margaret Noodin, Professor, and I commented there:

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=5523.msg48487#msg48487

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2022, 01:57:11 am »
Amber McZeal is active on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amber.mczeal

She is the administrator of a public group (2.8 K members) where she frequently posts:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/817992224926466/ [Decolonizing the Psyche]

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2022, 05:11:15 pm »
Here's the description of a workshop on "decolonial somatics" that McZeal gave at the California Institute of Integral Studies (that's already listed as Fraud on here: http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=5538.0).

https://www.ciis.edu/public-programs/event-calendar/mczeal-amber-september-25-2021

Quote
To decolonize means different things to different people, and the complex process of decolonizing—attempting to separate out colonial processes and build new ones—is an extensive project that takes mind, body, and spirit to achieve. What happens to the body within this project?
 
Through somatic exploration—any practice that uses the mind-body connection to help survey the internal self and listen to signals the body sends about areas of pain, discomfort, or imbalance—we can engage more fully with the above question and the complex work of decolonizing ourselves. We can also more fully explore embodied questions—what cultural/experiential perspectives have informed my concept of embodiment? 
 
Join sacred scholar and activist Amber McZeal for a workshop that explores the decolonial arc of our collective healing—tending to the human family by locating our bodies within this project of racialization. Participants are guided through unpackaging how attitudes about bodies informed by colonial values shaped and continues to influence our social imaginary: the set of beliefs, values, and institutions that constitute notions of social wholeness.
 
Throughout this workshop participants learn the skills to detect patterns of coloniality that impact health and well-being. They work to integrate an understanding of race as a political and social activity into healing modalities and hold a baseline for holistic healing that recognizes racism, racialization, gendered oppression and other colonial markers as a cultural trauma. 
 
Participants explore this work through engaging an in-depth dialogue, Soul Scribing (an embodied journal practice), cultivating a critical consciousness, and sharing in embodied practices such as guided imagery and meditation. Deep-listening and somatic sharing in breakout group sessions are also key to this workshop.

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2022, 05:31:43 pm »
Thanks for your take on this Al.

Somatic therapies are still very debated. Some studies show them to be effective, but many argue it's still too soon to be sure.

I'm sure some somatic therapists would say that there isn't enough funding in this alternative field to get more studies done. They run more on anecdotal subjective feelings and healings anyways haha ;). Personally, I don't doubt the efficacy of somatic therapies for helping people become more embodied. I think the greater issue is that almost all somatic therapies today have appropriated from Asian traditions of meditation (Buddhism, Hindu tantra, Taoism, etc) and movement (Aikido, Qi-Gong, etc) and then re-brand it all into a secular "somatics" wrapped up in science-speak of "nervous system regulation". There's plenty of somatic therapists that also call themselves "shamans" (see the Amy Nicholson "Somatic Psychotherapist & Shamanic Healer" thread here) or compare their practice to "shamanism" (see Peter Levine).

What we know as "somatics" today was largely developed at the new-age mecca Esalen Institute in the '60s where there was a cultural appropriation stew of Asian traditions and misrepresented Native spirituality. When people bring this issue up to somatic folks, there are some practitioners who try to white wash their history and say it all really came from the European physical culture movement. When they do this white washing they don't seem to mention the fact that the European physical culture movement had links to fascism. Today's alternative therapeutic obsession with the body in trauma healing is eerily reminiscent of the Nazi obsession with the body. The greater toxic wellness culture may be hell bent on creating their own hash-tag Healed Ubermensch for instagram likes in a long fascist tradition. (For more please read this article: https://matthewremski.medium.com/hello-yoganon-nazis-loved-yoga-f8f4bc50147e)

A brief quote from that:

Quote
Nazis elaborated and left behind tense obsessions about healthy bodies and homelands that have loomed in the background of New Age and wellness cultures for going on a century now. Here’s a shortlist:

The body can be purified through discipline and focus, as well as dietary and devotional communion with the organic earth.
The body can become a vessel for mystical experiences provoked by meditation, ritual, or psychedelics.
Personal mystical insight gained from astrology, exercise, breathing, meditation, or herbs can produce and nourish a resurrected golden age of supermen and superwomen.
Supermen and superwomen can have super babies — naturally born, of course—for the glorious homeland, if they devote themselves to the organic holism that will nourish their special hetero juices.
Personal mystical insight is like an energy vortex that both shapes and is shaped by the communion with the natural world.
In the shadow of these values lies anxieties that connect fascist psychology and New Age spirituality:

The uncultivated body fills up with bio-moral corruption.
Without holistic discipline, the body will be poisoned by science and modernity, and lose its connection to its ancestral ways of being.
The corrupted body will fail to protect the sacred earth. This will open society up to degenerate, but more vital forces.
Those degenerate forces — racially impure and sexually deviant—have always been waiting at the gates. The time to strengthen and purify is always now.


~~~

What McZeal seems to be doing is offering what is likely a mostly or all white clientele an Avoid Responsibility for Racism Card. Take my course/workshop/healing and you can be sure you're no longer racist or have a colonial mindset. If it were truly decolonial it'd be for survivors of colonial trauma, vets, boarding schools, inner city barrios and ghettos, rezzes.

Spot on. Since most of these alternative therapies aren't covered by insurance it's largely a privileged white audience. Not to say that there aren't more BIPOC that are joining the somatic movement, but by and large this is a predominantly white community. That's why some somatic teachers now can get away with calling their work "decolonization" as metaphor for embodiment.

I confronted a white lady holding dance meditation classes and calling it decolonization. It's a complete affront to native decolonial work. Frankly just more appropriation using decolonization as metaphor as a move to innocence. I think non-natives actually do know deep down what decolonization actually entails with giving land back, but that's just too beyond the pale - so let's dance around and dream journal and say we're decolonizing.

She's faculty at Goddard College.


Anyone in academia knows it's rare to be hired by a place you studied at, and they wouldn't post a "degree" from a degree mill or even make it past the first round of hiring. Goddard sure isn't a conventional college.

Goddard college does plastic shamanism: https://www.goddard.edu/publication/exploring-shamanism-using-ancient-rites-to-discover-the-unlimited-healing-power-of-cosmos-and-consciousness/

McZeal's alma mater, Pacifica Graduate Institute, had a plastic shaman on their faculty for years: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathryn-lafevers-evans-three-eagles-ab696634/ https://www.threeeagles.net/

Through the 1960s, enrollment swelled to over 1,500 as the American counterculture, back-to-the-land movements made Goddard’s educational philosophy and location attractive to a new generation disillusioned with traditional structures and lifestyles....

Lifestyle "activism" is what it's all about in the new-age "Human Potential" movement. These new-age institutes and colleges are essentially just copies of the Esalen Institute. The place that actually started the whole idea of a somatic anti-racism group with their "encounter group" work. In the 1960s Esalen invited both black and white radical activists for these anti-racism mind-body (read: somatic) encounter groups. Least to say, it was a complete failure and the Black radicals all left, saying that these "mind-body liberation" groups were actually a subtle attempt to co-opt their movement by trying to transform them into "liberated individuals". Esalen was taking away the power in their collective identity as Black by individualizing the issues.

This hyper-individualism has been the entire point of the Human Potential movement started at Esalen. A place that's notorious for taking in the dejected white new-left folks in the '60s after they felt like failures in protesting (ie Kent State) so they could internalize the revolution inside of themselves and feel good. The revolution of the self in perpetuity. Socialism inside of each "liberated" body all for a small fee (aka capitalism). Liberate yourself and the world is simultaneously liberated, so to speak. *cough* bullshit *cough* A great example is, Jerry Rubin, a leader of the political Yippie party, who then became captain New-Age in the internal liberation Human Potential movement. These are the progenitors of the current so-called "liberation somatics" movement. Some more conspiracy minded people would probably also point to the CIA involvement with the New-Age human potential movement and say that it was an intentional diversion and co-optation of political movements at the time.


This is her research.
----------
https://www.researchgate.net/project/Decolonizing-the-Psyche-Decolonial-Somatic-Approaches-Series
Decolonizing the Psyche: Decolonial Somatic Approaches Series
Amber Mczeal
Goal: DTP is an experiential process that centers the cultivation of critical consciousness–C3–coupled with embodiment practices to foster transformation. These practices are intended to disrupt patterns of coloniality embedded in the psyche and body.

----------
Potentially this has noble aims, but how her work arrives there is anybody's guess. And how could a degree mill and working at an expensive almost all white hippie college with lots of accounts of a racist atmosphere lead to that goal?
~
Now something like this that she's been part of is far better. It does surprise me the others, far better trained and from far better schools, worked with her.
----------
https://rejoice.ucsf.edu/en/our-people
Our research team shares a vision of eliminating racial health inequities in the hospital setting.

I think Tuck & Yang's Decolonization is Not a Metaphor has the best response to this:

Quote
Moves   to   innocence   IV:   Free   your   mind   and   the   rest   will   follow

Fanon told us in 1963 that decolonizing the mind is the first step, not the only step toward
overthrowing colonial regimes. Yet we wonder whether another settler move to innocence is to
focus on decolonizing the mind, or the cultivation of critical consciousness, as if it were the sole
activity of decolonization; to allow conscientization to stand in for the more uncomfortable task
of relinquishing stolen land. We agree that curricula, literature, and pedagogy can be crafted to
aid people in learning to see settler colonialism, to articulate critiques of settler epistemology,
and set aside settler histories and values in search of ethics that reject domination and
exploitation; this is not unimportant work. However, the front-loading of critical consciousness
building can waylay decolonization, even though the experience of teaching and learning to be
critical of settler colonialism can be so powerful it can feel like it is indeed making change.
Until stolen land is relinquished, critical consciousness does not translate into action that disrupts
settler colonialism. So, we respectfully disagree with George Clinton and Funkadelic (1970) and
En Vogue (1992) when they assert that if you “free your mind, the rest (your ass) will follow.”
Paulo Freire, eminent education philosopher, popular educator, and liberation theologian,
wrote his celebrated book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in no small part as a response to Fanon’s
Wretched of the Earth. Its influence upon critical pedagogy and on the practices of educators
committed to social justice cannot be overstated. Therefore, it is important to point out
significant differences between Freire and Fanon, especially with regard to de/colonization.
Freire situates the work of liberation in the minds of the oppressed, an abstract category of
dehumanized worker vis-a-vis a similarly abstract category of oppressor. This is a sharp right
turn away from Fanon’s work, which always positioned the work of liberation in the
particularities of colonization, in the specific structural and interpersonal categories of Native
and settler. Under Freire’s paradigm, it is unclear who the oppressed are, even more ambiguous
who the oppressors are, and it is inferred throughout that an innocent third category of
enlightened human exists: “those who suffer with [the oppressed] and fight at their side” (Freire,
2000, p. 42). These words, taken from the opening dedication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed,
invoke the same settler fantasy of mutuality based on sympathy and suffering.
Fanon positions decolonization as chaotic, an unclean break from a colonial condition
that is already over determined by the violence of the colonizer and unresolved in its possible
futures. By contrast, Freire positions liberation as redemption, a freeing of both oppressor and
oppressed through their humanity. Humans become ‘subjects’ who then proceed to work on the
‘objects’ of the world (animals, earth, water), and indeed read the word (critical consciousness)
in order to write the world (exploit nature). For Freire, there are no Natives, no Settlers, and
indeed no history, and the future is simply a rupture from the timeless present. Settler
colonialism is absent from his discussion, implying either that it is an unimportant analytic or
that it is an already completed project of the past (a past oppression perhaps). Freire’s theories of
liberation resoundingly echo the allegory of Plato’s Cave, a continental philosophy of mental
emancipation, whereby the thinking man individualistically emerges from the dark cave of
ignorance into the light of critical consciousness.
By contrast, black feminist thought roots freedom in the darkness of the cave, in that well
of feeling and wisdom from which all knowledge is recreated.
These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and
hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep
places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of
unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman's place of power
within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.
(Lorde, 1984, pp. 36-37)
Audre Lorde’s words provide a sharp contrast to Plato’s sight-centric image of liberation: “The
white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us - the poet -
whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free” (p. 38). For Lorde, writing is not action
upon the world. Rather, poetry is giving a name to the nameless, “first made into language, then
into idea, then into more tangible action” (p. 37). Importantly, freedom is a possibility that is not
just mentally generated; it is particular and felt.
Freire’s philosophies have encouraged educators to use “colonization” as a metaphor for
oppression. In such a paradigm, “internal colonization” reduces to “mental colonization”,
logically leading to the solution of decolonizing one’s mind and the rest will follow. Such
philosophy conveniently sidesteps the most unsettling of questions:
Decolonization   is   not   a   metaphor      
The essential thing is to see clearly, to think clearly - that is, dangerously and to
answer clearly the innocent first question: what, fundamentally, is colonization?
(Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)
Because colonialism is comprised of global and historical relations, Cesaire’s question must be
considered globally and historically. However, it cannot be reduced to a global answer, nor a
historical answer. To do so is to use colonization metaphorically. “What is colonization?” must
be answered specifically, with attention to the colonial apparatus that is assembled to order the
relationships between particular peoples, lands, the ‘natural world’, and ‘civilization’.
Colonialism is marked by its specializations. In North America and other settings, settler
sovereignty imposes sexuality, legality, raciality, language, religion and property in specific
ways. Decolonization likewise must be thought through in these particularities.
To agree on what [decolonization] is not: neither evangelization, nor a
philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance,
disease, and tyranny... (Cesaire, 2000, p. 32)
We deliberately extend Cesaire’s words above to assert what decolonization is not. It is not
converting Indigenous politics to a Western doctrine of liberation; it is not a philanthropic
process of ‘helping’ the at-risk and alleviating suffering; it is not a generic term for struggle
against oppressive conditions and outcomes. The broad umbrella of social justice may have room
underneath for all of these efforts. By contrast, decolonization specifically requires the
repatriation of Indigenous land and life. Decolonization is not a metonym for social justice.
We don’t intend to discourage those who have dedicated careers and lives to teaching
themselves and others to be critically conscious of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism,
xenophobia, and settler colonialism. We are asking them/you to consider how the pursuit of
critical consciousness, the pursuit of social justice through a critical enlightenment, can also be
settler moves to innocence - diversions, distractions, which relieve the settler of feelings of guilt
or responsibility, and conceal the need to give up land or power or privilege.
Anna Jacobs’ 2009 Master’s thesis explores the possibilities for what she calls white
harm reduction models. Harm reduction models attempt to reduce the harm or risk of specific
practices. Jacobs identifies white supremacy as a public health issue that is at the root of most
other public health issues. The goal of white harm reduction models, Jacobs says, is to reduce the
harm that white supremacy has had on white people, and the deep harm it has caused non-white
people over generations. Learning from Jacobs’ analysis, we understand the curricular pedagogical project of critical consciousness as settler harm reduction, crucial in the
resuscitation of practices and intellectual life outside of settler ontologies. (Settler) harm
reduction is intended only as a stopgap. As the environmental crisis escalates and peoples around
the globe are exposed to greater concentrations of violence and poverty, the need for settler harm
reduction is acute, profoundly so. At the same time we remember that, by definition, settler harm
reduction, like conscientization, is not the same as decolonization and does not inherently offer
any pathways that lead to decolonization.

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2022, 07:47:17 pm »
She's faculty at Goddard College. … https://www.goddard.edu/people/amber-mczeal/

Biography
Writer, vocalist, sacred scholar, and activist Amber McZeal utilizes sound therapy and guided somatic imagery to engage the knowledge of the body within an interactive and liberatory arts practice. Amber McZeal weaves together somatic practice with social justice and spirituality. Her approach centers imagination as foundational to movements to end oppression and create more humane social relationships.

Education
• MA, Somatic Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute
• BA, Sound Therapy and Trauma Studies, Goddard College

The heading on that page is "AMBER MCZEAL, PHD"; how comes that degree is not listed in the Education section?

I found more about her education here: https://decolonizingthepsyche.com/home/about/

Quote
ABOUT AMBER
Writer, vocalist, sacred scholar, and artivist, Amber utilizes sound therapy and guided somatic imagery to engage the knowledge of the body within an interactive and liberatory arts practice. In 2018, Amber launched her organization, Decolonizing the Psyche, where she weaves somatic praxis with Afro-Indigenous spiritual technologies and social justice—deep decoloniality—in efforts to end oppression and create more humane social relationships.

Amber holds an MA in Somatic Depth psychology and conducted doctoral research exploring Radical Love Traditions and the decolonial turn in maternal healthcare at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA.

My bolding. Still no PhD degree? Is it possible to find out the facts?

In my first quote I also bolded the phrase "sacred scholar". Now what on earth is that?

Some of the links I found when googling go to sites about Amber McZeal, e.g.:

https://ismeta.org/associate-member-organizations#!biz/id/624301528abbb4019729bb0a

For context see https://ismeta.org/ and https://ismeta.org/associate-member-organizations

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2022, 08:16:27 pm »
There's plenty of somatic therapists that also call themselves "shamans" (see the Amy Nicholson "Somatic Psychotherapist & Shamanic Healer" thread here) or compare their practice to "shamanism" (see Peter Levine).

That must be these two topics, both started by fairbanks:

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=5613.0 [Amy Nicholson]
http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=5609.0 [Somatic Experiencing]

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1413
Re: Kathryn LaFevers Evans, Three Eagles
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2022, 08:34:41 pm »
McZeal's alma mater, Pacifica Graduate Institute, had a plastic shaman on their faculty for years:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathryn-lafevers-evans-three-eagles-ab696634/ https://www.threeeagles.net/

Ugh, that woman seems to beg for her own topic here at NAFPS! From the first link:

Quote
Kathryn LaFevers Evans, Three Eagles, is a Native American shaman and longtime practitioner of esoteric techniques and rituals. She is retired Adjunct Faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, member of APA Division 32 Humanistic Psychology, has taught Medicine-Wheel-Vision -Quest™, and has presented papers at academic conferences since 2002. Evans holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Research in Consciousness from Maharishi International University; an MA in Literature & Writing Studies from California State University San Marcos; and has studied yoga, world religions, and spiritual self-development with a private teacher in Santa Barbara for 17 years. Three Eagles has received the lineages of Shiva, YHVH/Yahweh, and YHshVH/Jesus. A life-long writer of devotional nature poetry, she is a native Californian who grew up on the beach in Carpinteria, and now lives in Ojai with her family.

My boldings. That last one sounds like religious or spiritual megalomania. I might give her a chance though, by reading some of her academic articles, freely downloadable from here:

https://pacifica.academia.edu/KathrynLaFeversEvans (Probably I'll start a new topic.)

Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Amber McZeal - Decolonizing the Psyche
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2022, 08:46:30 pm »
Some of the links I found when googling go to sites about Amber McZeal, e.g.:

https://ismeta.org/associate-member-organizations#!biz/id/624301528abbb4019729bb0a

For context see https://ismeta.org/ and https://ismeta.org/associate-member-organizations

ISMETA Engaging Embodiment Conference 2021 features plastic shaman, Kathryn LaFevers Evans aka Three Eagles - Medicine-Wheel-Vision-Quest™

Quote
Through practice of Three Eagles'  Medicine-Wheel-Vision-Quest™ techniques, you may receive inner vision, shamanic adornments, ancestors and animal spirit guides, and a deepened love relationship with the divine.

https://ismeta.org/engaging-embodiment-presenters#health

https://www.threeeagles.net/




Offline fairbanks

  • Posts: 43
Re: Kathryn LaFevers Evans, Three Eagles
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2022, 08:55:14 pm »
That last one sounds like religious or spiritual megalomania.



from the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=002P0IWsoOs