The way you feel that expressing your “creativity” and making “art” are so incredibly important that you will defend them to the death against any threat, real or imagined, to your ability to do whatever you want for them?
That’s how a lot of poc feel about you appropriating from their cultures and communities, especially when it comes to sacred things like headdreses and dia de los muertos.
So if you cant understand what “sacred” means to a lot of poc? Just think of that instead.
This is a super tricky subject for me, as I’m basically appropriating from the ancient Maya cultures (though there are still plenty of Mayan communities still around in the Yucatan Peninsula and elsewhere), which is why I really, really want to get my hands on some literature or academia detailing some of the old philosophies. I wanna know more about the myth of Kulkulkan, or about the Mayan tree of life, or their ritual practices, so I can do them justice beyond “look at this cool looking shit I’m copying”. Unfortunately, I’m under the impression that a lot of this information is still unknown, so appropriating in a respectful way is really difficult. I guess the big thing I could do would be to pay homage to the idea of the Tzolk’in, their 260-day ritual calendar (which is still very much in use by current Mayan daykeepers), because their culture seems to heavily focus on it.
That would be an extremely daunting task; it’s so complicated to get to the point where you can intuitively read the calendar it takes years of apprenticeship under a daykeeper or Mother-father. And I would have to try creating something that elaborate and full of context and information from scratch.
But this would probably be the best route to take—both ethically and practically. I’ve thought over the years the best way for the people in Aquapunk to keep track of the seasons, and long ago reconciled with the fact that I can’t use the western celtic system that I’ve been programmed to think in. (The traditional Wiccan sabbats are based on this calendrical system, which was based on the cycles of the harvest in the northern hemisphere.) Halloween, Christmas, Easter, May Day… all of those holidays have roots in ancient pagan traditions from northern Europe, where the change of seasons is very noticeable. So how do a people near the equator, who don’t really have a discernible spring, summer, fall, or winter measure time? What would their calender revolve around? Likewise, how would a people who live underwater, who can’t feel rain or snow or hot, sunny days, measure time?
Well for the Maya, they go almost exclusively by the stars, and their holidays don’t necessarily revolve around the harvest. The growing season of corn, maybe, but I don’t think it dominates.
So I think, for my fish people, the sky is going to be the foundation for the calendar, but I have to throw in other things too for it to make a little more sense. Maybe they can measure winter by the change in the magnetic field when the planet tilts, or they can measure spring by the timely release of spores or fogs of algae blooms (which would be dangerous, I assume).
Anyways, I guess my point was that it’s hard to be inspired by something and to use it for something completely different, while still being as respectful as possible to the people from where it came. Especially if details are lacking and every time you do a book search it’s nothing but ACTUAL gross appropriation by New Age “thinkers” who believe that all people are one and they can pick and choose whatever the hell they want in the name of “a higher consciousness”. 2012 theorists who have absolutely no idea what the Long Count actually is can fuck right off.