The Ancestor Dream

The Ancestor Dream by Eden Bloom

Some Notes – ‘The Ancestor Dream’ is an attempt articulate my perspective on ancestral relations. I am uncertain if others have similar experiences. The piece and this introduction are a monologue on the welcoming invites to ‘draw strength from ancestors’ or call their names into collaborative spaces I visit. Ancestral recognitions are often powerful, beautiful and, for what it matters coming from me, I perceive them as integral to cultural identity. This is not a critique; and a curse the audacity to offer one. Being ‘estranged’ from family while working to address social and political impacts of supremacist ideologies frequently finds me in meetings where I am one of a few, if not the only person who represents as ‘white.’ This being the case, I am hesitant and unsettled by invitations to bring ‘my people’ into the mix. This covid-influenced rendition of a recurring dream may foster understanding of why. ~Eden

The ancestor dream always ends the same way. I had the dream again last night. It is the same dream with variations on themes I have been having all my life. They tend to come when I am ill or in some form of transition. I find it interesting that I never remember what is going to happen when I am dreaming. I always buy into it completely.

Last night’s variant was a long-drawn-out adventure involving the storming of a mountain fortress. The interior revealed a 90s Fort Lauderdale high-rise/cruise ship with all the thrills of a 70s disaster flick, elemental, water, and fire, like ‘Poseidon Adventure’ or ‘Great Inferno’. High stress; having to navigate underwater tunnels, fires, and explosions. It is not always a mountain, sometimes it is a castle, or even a city.

I made it through. I always do and the calm should be disturbing after the struggle, but it is not. I step off the destroyed elevator into the penthouse and everything is washed away. It is always this calm here. There are transparent plastic walkways on the white carpeting. It is not bright, but well-lit and very continental; ornate frames white-washed. I am clean, wearing a sweater. As I make my way across the plastic, I see all the forms gathered are wearing sweaters.

I am greeted by my father’s mother who is a smile and a frown all at once. Her head, powdered cheeks, and rounded nose shaking “no” eternally. No love there, but contrary to the tick of her chin, acceptance. She is the gatekeeper and fades into the background once I am through. She is the only woman in these dreams. My father’s father is next, and he is all business; “‘bout time, boy!” He is short, round, and rough all over.

There is a hug and a slap reminiscent of a punch that pushes me and transforms the space into their basement office. It is all sweaters, stubble, cigars, and guns. The brick and iron gated wine cellar from the basement of the family home is perfectly replicated in every iteration of the dream. I touch the bricks hard every time, cutting small scrapes that bleed on the tips of my fingers every time. My father walks out of the cellar door, and we embrace.

It is sincere and it is always so real. We weep, howl, and hold each other for a long time. It is so good. All the conflict, all the violence, pain and suffering are just washed away and there is peace. Imagine, for those of you blessed with a frequent father’s hug, doing so for the first time; after never knowing it before. A guttural sigh/vibration that I only know in these dreams.

This part here, this is something special. There are more sweatered ancestors, grandfathers upon grandfathers. I am welcomed back into the fold. The things I negated are released, I am forgiven for my transgressions and the world is born again; washed in love and light. I bask in it for an extraordinarily long time. One could insert variations of the concept of paradise here; family, the gods, community, unity inside this mountain/castle/city.

It is incredibly healing. The warmth, the familiarity, the unity has rekindled my own skills and abilities. Though in this iteration of the dream we are still wearing these stupid sweaters, across the dream series we all become bigger physically, and there are more of us. It is slowly revealed that the mountain, the penthouse, the woodwork, even the plastic on the damn carpeting is threatened. Organized and militant, the call begins to rise: “now, that we’re back together we finally have the strength to protect the mountain for good!”

It usually hits me all at once, full force. I remember the rest of the dream. I know what is going to happen. I know how it is going to end, and it breaks me, hard, every, time. Suddenly the entire mountain is preparing for war. Thought it really is not war, it is mass murder, it’s genocide. All the villages and towns around the mountain are targeted. This is what we do to protect our peace, for unity, for warmth. I want this warmth more than anything. I just got it back.

From the time of this realization in the dream, it is always rough, disjointed, drawn-out and overdramatic. It is a painful unfolding. I sometimes attempt to negotiate; to appeal to their humanity. Sometimes I fake it and try to sabotage their efforts. I have dreamt this dream so many times. The ancestor dream always ends the same way.

Last night, I thought it was my grandfather that killed me, which is the easiest. He is so brutal. Sometimes it is my father who takes me out. Those are the worst because its straight up childhood trauma relived. But long story short, I always refuse to fight. They always kill me. My ancestors always lose the mountain, and I always wake in terror and grief.

The Ancestor Dream by Eden Bloom, © Eden Bloom 2024

Twenty Twenty Three

Dedicated to the 23rd Current – For Michael 23 and Kali, Coyote, Eden and nodes on the network no longer “here” and for those of us left behind. Released, Leap Day February 29, 2024 on Bandcamp: edenbloom.bandcamp.com/album/twenty-twenty-three

Written, performed and recorded by Eden Bloom

The foundation of this release is a sunrise ritual performed and recorded on July 7, 2023 in the Babad Do’ag/Catalina Mountains, Arizona and ritual performed and recorded on December 23, 2023. The songs were “received” as impromptu experiments written and recorded in single days in December of 2023 in our temple studio in Detroit.

1. T.O.P.Y. Blues – December 6th 2023
2. Walk the Waves – December 13th 2023
3. 12.23.2023 (1) – December 23rd 2023
4. Soon Enough – December 9th 2023
5. 12.23.2023 (2) – December 23rd 2023
6. Never the Same – December 25th 2023
7. Blight is Beauty – December 26th 2023
8. Walk the Sky – December 13th 2023
9. 2023 – December 30th 2023

Project produced and mixed by Eden Bloom January 3, 2024
This version cleaned up by DJ Vulchre January 4, 2024
All songs © Eden Bloom 2024

Public Comment: Future of Health, residents need more

My name is Eden Bloom, I’m a resident of District 5, I also work in the impact area, but this is a personal comment.

I’m requesting that the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors NOT move the Future of Health project forward without demanding the developers do better for the residents who will be negatively impacted.

Most of the tax incentives, resources and captures requested will subsidize the construction of three (3) luxury apartment buildings including mostly studio and one-bedroom apartments. These will predominantly benefit Tom Gores and the Detroit Pistons. While they are losing this season, I don’t think our tax resources will help them on the court. Tax captures for this project may last for the next 35 years. This is a majority renter community and most of the people who live in the impact area are low-income.

I am fundamentally opposed to any project or development model that accesses resources for education and/or other needed public services. I also recognize that this board is appointed to move these projects and this model forward. However, I implore you to use whatever tools and resources you all have to alter the trajectory of this project and our city toward justice and equity.

These projects are not working for our majority Black city, and you all have an opportunity – I would argue a responsibility – to intervene for better outcomes. Most recently a Detroit Future City report detailed the difference in life expectancy between white Detroiters at 76 years and Black Detroiters only living, on average, 68 years. The most recent census reports a decline in the Black population of Detroit by 100,000 the past 10 years. I often wonder how the decisions made at this table have influenced those outcomes.

The economic impact of the Future of Health project will further segregate the city by class, race and occupation contributing to neighborhood inequality. As the cost of living in the impact area increases, the economics of the neighborhood will change driving many long time Detroiters and small businesses out of the area. We’ve seen it over and over again.

Please take up your power on behalf of those whose voices have been unwelcome in these discussions because they do not fit into the developers plans. The Planning and Development Department has again been extremely heavy handed in this process and influenced the outcomes away from racial equity and community return on investment. The process has failed again to do what it is supposed to do. If it was working, residents who were not heard (again) would not be coming to you (again). Please intervene and change it this time.

Thank you for entering my comment into the record.

Eden Bloom
District 5 Resident