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Village Voices: What People Say


M’pwmena! My name is Joshua Myrvaagnes. I am a poet, novelist, student of West African medicine, storyteller, and creator of a world of 200 years from today in this moment.

I came to the village because I needed to do ritual. I’d read Malidoma Some, and had tried getting my friends to do it with me but they somehow didn’t want to try it. I came to the village because I wanted to live in Dano, after reading about a place that spends 70-80% of their time in ritual. I came because Spirit led me, dropping clues and making connections, since the village had virtually no way for anyone to find out about it on-line then.

I found my family here–it was not only that I was seen, as I had been in a Drama Therapy group–but that the invisible parts of life were attended to as well (and my phone, which is possessed, just beeped in agreement as I write this). Here in the village, people took care of what could not be seen as well as what could be, I got my otherworldly needs met for the first time. The fact that I had medicine was recognized, and in the “enlightened witnessing” of my medicine gifts I was able to give birth to them. I felt valuable again, and I felt sane. [After that first gathering, I didn’t want to go back into my parents house. I felt I’d die if I did. No, nothing was wrong with my parents, they had never been abusive, I’d always been provided for. Yet I felt if I went in that door I’d lose myself and forget everything. The world was not OK, I had to go forward. Meck, who’d driven me home, gave me a Dagara bracelet from off her wrist, and I wore it, and when I walked through that door it protected me. The phone beeps again. My life would never be the same.

This is not a get-well program. I don’t walk around looking like I just graduated from a power seminar. My home looks very plain. I doubt many would want the life that Spirit has brought me–I doubt most people could take it. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can speak from the heart. I can say complicated and subtle things, for the heart is not simplistic. It knows what’s true in this and the other world. And what I know about our next 200 years, what I have been privileged to feel and to experience, the book treasures that Spirit brings me (they’re not in your library), the love that exists in the village even when things are crazy difficult or the phone fairies have dropped you off the *&%-ing conference call for the fifth time in a row, that is medicine. The love of people in Africa who know how to have happy children, their example, their medicine flows through to America, and my hungry heart has gotten enough to keep going.]

What can I offer you? It can’t be put in a sound-byte or an elevator speech. I can help you move through that comprehensive change that this time in history wreaks on us. I can hear your story, no matter how strange, no matter how many people have told you you’re crazy. My medicine reconnects the tree that has become disconnected from the forest, and restores it to its natural cycles. A snake may come and brush my foot while we are talking. A hawk may fly by. The little green bugs will sit on the book that I am holding. What I offer you is more than words can contain, it can’t be understood, again and again you will say, I don’t know why but I keep coming back to talk to you. And you don’t need to know why, but you just need me to be there–just as I need you.

With gratitude to the ancestors, the kontombili, and the village, ashe!


The Dagara medicine places humanity securely within a vast and endless cosmological ecology, and teaches us how to take our place within that ecology both powerfully and humbly. It has shown me how supremely limited our western viewpoint is, and it has given me back my childhood belief in a magical world. It has taught my tears and my sadness that they can come out to dance, that the world needs them, that their very existence serves a purpose and has meaning.

The medicine has returned my power to me, reminded me that I can, by my own work and creativity, positively influence my life and the lives of those around me. And, by bringing me back to the village and to my ancestors, and by (re)-introducing me to the Kontomble and the other spirits, it has given me a huge group of supporting friends whom I can trust to have my back, and guide me along my path. I feel supremely lucky to have stumbled upon Malidoma and the teachings he brings.

I cannot (and do not want to) imagine what my life would be like had I continued on without them.


The Dagara medicine has awakened in me the need for initiation in my life and the lives of others wanting to live more fully and more connected. This cosmology has taught me how to receive support from ancestors, the elements, wedame and Spirit in order to face the adversity that is always brought towards a medicine person.

Malidoma taught me how important it is to set my GPS for home and begin to move in that direction, regardless of how far away, how impossible it might seem and whether or not the people recognize me when I get there.



Nine years ago we stepped onto a piece of richly forested land in Cherry Plain, New York. In 2012 the Foundation became the proud owner of this land upon which we have electricity, a heated lodge, 5 cabins, a kitchen, water drawn from the stream, and many sacred shrines that link our community to the motherland of Africa.

All of our creating and building has been done with love and hard work along with donations and income earned from our profound training programs as well as the renting of our overnight lodging accommodations.

We hold to our vision of continuing to expand so we may further enhance our facilities and our land so that hundreds and thousands of people will find their way to crossing the bridge to the East Coast Village.

Please gift yourself the opportunity to experience the sacredness of the Other World while drinking in the sights and sounds and fragrances of the Natural World. Become part of this journey of self-healing and self -nurturing and participate in one of the many ritual experiences we offer.

Become a financial donor in whatever way you are able, thereby giving back for the gifts you receive during your personal experience of oneness with the beauty that we offer.

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