RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Monday, July 8


Notions of home we’re often born into, without stability, to where general geographic areas become home more than specific piece of land – a neighborhood or more expansive area we bounced around while developing our human roots. Often times we’re uprooted, perhaps by economics, perhaps by traumas, maybe weather… who knows, but shit happens, regularly, that blasts stability sideways. I consider myself from southside Virginia in very general sense because my sense of home has taken a couple of body shots over the years, to where the two actual places that are buildings I slept in the most amount of nights of my life aren’t really my legitimate home any more. One I don’t ever want to go back to, to be honest, not that specific house, and I won’t unless somebody dies and familial obligation will force me back. The other, I still have access to, and my not being there is on friendly terms, but it’s also not my home any more because home requires that constant exchange of energy with a place where you see the subtle changes in it and it sees the subtle changes in you. Where I live now does not feel like home, and in fact is even outside that general feeling of home relationship I have with southside Virginia. The shape of things is different, and the culture is close but not the same, and I don’t know, it just don’t feel like home.
So many humans end up living in places that are not home. It’s a fairly common thing actually, and it’s perfectly easy to accept living in a non-home place and make the most of it, but you’re also not home. I thought on this a lot over the course of two events this weekend. First, I helped dig a grave, for a woman being buried at home, next to one of her favorite gardens, and that deep connection to home so impressed me. I’ve attended a couple home burials in the past, and in fact always joke about how, being from southside Virginia, I’ve been to two funerals in junkyards. This is a factual statement, and both were beautiful and completely appropriate events. But digging a grave for a home burial where home was still known, to such a deep level… it impressed me greatly. There is a strength in having a lifetime of connection with a place, one that transcends economics in a lot of ways, which is why when experts tell people from economically depressed places that they need to move to where there are better opportunities, and not everybody jumps at the chance, I can understand that. If you have deep cultural roots to a place, separate from economics, it is not easy to just assume getting a paycheck is enough to tear those roots out and try somewhere else, where there’s no guarantee of financial success.
I also thought about this notion of home during the Mexico/U.S. Gold Cup final, because that was held in Chicago, and essentially any U.S. men’s team match against a Latin American country that is not held in ultra-white spaces like Columbus or Salt Lake City is going to be a road match for the home team. That was the case in Chicago, where the crowd was predominately pro-Mexican team, far more than visible support for the U.S. team. And it got me to thinking of immigration and the political discourse about that, and all the Mexicans and Salvadorans and Hondurans and others who traveled so far from their notion of home, simply to find a decent life. And how you can find that community elsewhere, if there’s enough of you from back home, to build a little slightly stable slice of that back home in a completely different place. I don’t see how anybody could be mad at that. That’s really all any of us want, is to have a home, and feel complete there, and safe, and know there’s a community acting like family to help us when crisis comes up.
Most spiritual mythologies talk about helping strangers, and making them feel at home. That’s a deep concept which seems to be lost upon too many humans these days. To act with compassion, and not just let somebody into your space to sleep on the floor, but to welcome them, make them feel as if it is their home too. It won’t, because home is deeper than one day’s worth of actions – it is woven slowly through time, through many days’ worth of actions, years, even generations. But simply helping somebody to feel at home shows at heart level, not brain level, not politics level – but right-thinking heart level that you understand home cannot be manufactured out of nothing, but you want them to know they are welcome.
It’s a weird feeling not having a strong sense of specific home any more, and there’s a strange restlessness I get sometimes that I think comes from that lack of roots. Like I said, it’s not uncommon, but damn if it doesn’t feel weird, especially on those weird moments where I don’t even realize I don’t feel at home, but then I roll into the general part of the Earth that does feel like home, on a perfectly home-like day that activates all these cellular memories, and it’s just some fucked up moment riding down an old road, and my body and being is like “ahhh, home” beyond my ability to rationalize or understand in intelligent scientific way. True home.

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