Wednesday, July 2, 2008


"Before Babalawo starts to cast the Opele upon the Irosu powder which is already spread inside the Ifa bowl, first of all he will take the baby from its father, he will press the sole of baby's left foot upon the powder until the baby's foot-mark is well printed on it. After this he will return the baby to its father. So this footmark is called "Esent'aye'" and it is at this time that the baby has become a real inhabitant of this earth.
But then the Babalawo will cast the Opele upond the powder inside the bowl several times in order to get the correct odu', the indication of divination, and having got the kind of odu' with which the baby has come to earth, then he will interpret it carefully to the father and the rest of the people who are present.

foot contacts earth

This is the meaning of this important word." (Amos Tutuola - "Pauper, Brawler, and Slanderer")

Interested as I am in the beginnings of things, the first step in art must be barefoot, and so "Barefoot" is actually my first piece of performance art. The duration of the piece is the majority of my life, since I mostly go barefoot here in dandyland Spring, Summer, and Fall, and sometimes in other places, if they have moss.

Much is made of "civilization", but I've noticed that there are few moss sidewalks yet.

In dandyland shoes are only worn for protection, warmth, or as fashion statements - never to establish hierarchies of class, as they are in some, faintly fascist establishments. "No Shirt No Shoes No Service" as they say - because only deviants go barefoot in the US - we don't have any peasants per se. If we did, then there would have to be barefoot fountains and back entrances, etc, for "those people" to use.

Controlling types seem to be especially nervous about barefootedness here in Kentucky because of the stigmazation of hillbillys as laying around in the shade of an outhouse drinking moonshine with no shoes, as though that were the worst sort of moral laxness going on. In fact outhouses are simply better for the environment, local liquors should be celebrated rather than banned, and there's no reason to kill more cows, aligators, pythons and monitor lizards to make shoes that could have been conserved by not wearing them. And you're not off the hook wearing synthetics either. If you really want to decrease your carbon footprint you might consider leaving one that isn't shoe-shaped. Shoes are not traditional - they're a passing fad people.

For those of you who have shoe & boot fetishes, consider how much more valorized they'll be when they're only worn in secret.

One of the other places I decided to walk barefoot across was Paris, because it is such an artistic city and very walkable.
Even though I didn't notice anyone else going barefoot (see footnote) - no one looked twice because it was obviously some sort of fashion statement or art project or protest and they see plenty of that.

I have a feeling that having your feet touch the earth directly and often has a postive effect on your personal magnetic field.
That, in turn, is invigorating to your general shape and internal organs. After all they evolved on the presumption that you wouldn't be wearing magnetic field interupters on your feet.

Of course Elfins don't touch a lot of metal if they don't have to anyway, but there's a real problem with static electricity shocks for those of us who do. I get shocked a lot in the Winter, mostly from car door handles, but I've learned to pull the sleeves of the voluminous wool sweaters that I wear especially for the purpose down over my hand. Someone told me that running around with no shoes all the time had reversed my polarity and that's the reason I was getting the pee-wadding knocked out of me every time I touched a doorknob. Typical shoeist remark.

My Nigerian Yeye told me that static electricity shocks were the kisses of Shango. But that's another story.

(footnote: The walk across Paris was before ordinance whatevernumberitwas about dog poop & there certainly are a lot of dogs in that city. But really; you should watch what you're stepping in anyway, and besides, the bottoms of feet can be washed (Jesus did it.) When's the last time you washed the bottom of your shoes, eh?)


shepherdgirl said...

This post should make people think - wearing shoes [all the time] is just one more way the human species has disconnected with the earth. How odd fashion is [the neck tie once had a purpose, to keep the shirt tied, then slowly became an apparatus of staus].
Your Paris walk, now there's a painting. But I must have one pair of shoes for barn work. The equine foot is a master work.

Dan Dutton said...

I wear shoes when I go blackberry picking (like today!) - when I remember to. Briars & thistles are pretty much all you have to worry about here in dandyland, and they have their avoidable sites - unless you run, then rocks can be treacherous too. We don't have any vipers or coral snakes in the immediate vicinity - but I have been bitten, in my 20s, by a copperhead. Not around here. But THAT'S another story!
I like shoes (I love the boots I got at the cowboy store in Portland!) - just not all the time. Some things feel GOOD to walk on, like moss & grass, so it's a sensual pleasure.
We have a little sky-blue flower, 4 petaled, like a star, clintonia I think - also called quaker ladies, that WE call barefoot flowers, because when they bloom in the Spring is supposed to be the all clear to go barefoot sign, but I start earlier. On my birthday, if I can. (feb. 23rd)
I used to celebrate that by dancing naked round a hawthorn bush - how Macho Twee is that?

shepherdgirl said...

naked? no sheer apron - which I might have to send to you for fennel dances.