[Between de lines: Are you reading for a multilayered renaissance?] or betta yet, How does ritual recover memory?
Ritual provides not only healing but also de recovery of memory en de reaffirmation of each individual’s life purpose…..When we focus our attention on de energetic aspects of individuals en of nature that animate en motivate us, we become aware of images en emotional impressions that are unusual, extremely compelling, en as a result, captivating in terms of de amount of attention they demand.
Inside ritual en sacred space where energies are being woven, people’s imagination en consciousness can be moved through time backward or forward. It is as if de awakened psyche is pulled toward those materials it was not able to recall otherwise. This is a shamanic journey, en it can be a very useful tool for entering these depths of time en space without actually having to expend energy en move physically. The kind of memory that we are talking bout here is something very personal, very compelling, en very transforming……
One’s purpose, which among indigenous people is found through remembering, is linked to both de physical dunia en to de Spirit World. We look to de Spirit dunia for de ultimate helper who assists de individual in fulfilling her, hir or his purpose. This spirit is seen as something like a guardian angel would be seen in de West, en we (Dagara people) call dis spirit the Siura.
We look to de physical dunia, de community of people, for help in remembering our purpose. Purpose is not something that is assigned to a person by his or her community. Purpose is something dat the individual has framed en articulated prior to coming into a community. This purpose is known to de kijiji even before de individual’s birth……
Nia/purpose begins with de individual, en de sum total of all de individuals’ nia creates de community’s nia. The community thus takes upon itself de responsibility of nurturing en protecting de individual, because de individual, knowing her, hir or his purpose, will then invest energy in sustaining de community. There is certain reciprocity at work here, because de community recognizes that its own vitality is based in de support en protecshun of each of its individuals, especially in de constant support en reminding of each individual of his, hir or her nia. The individual, knowing this, in turn delivers to de community de zawadis that de community has successfully awakened in themselves…..
Ritual, community, en healing – these three are so intertwined in de indigenous dunia that to speak of one of them is to speak of them all.
Ritual, communally designed, helps de individual remember his, hir or her nia, en such remembering brings healing both to de individual en de community. The community exists, in part, to safeguard de purposes of each person within it en to awaken de memory of that nia by recognising de unique zawadis each individual brings to this world. Healing comes when de individual remembers her, hir or his identity – de nia chosen in de dunia of ancestral wisdom – en reconnects with de world of Spirit.
Human beings long for connecshun, en our sense of usefulness derives from de feeling of connectedness. When we are connected – to our own purpose, to de community around us, en to our spiritual wisdom – we are able to live en act with authentic effectiveness.
In order for ritual to manifest its full powah, it must be connected to de dunia of nature…to attend to de dunia of Spirit, for indigenous people is to attend to de geography in which you find yourself. We must try, therefore, to overstand de indigenous experiences of nature.
De Healing Powah of Nature
Nature is de foundashun of indigenous maisha. Without nature, concepts of community, nia, en healing would be meaningless…..Nature, kwa hivyo, is de foundashun of healing, en de type of nature that surrounds a community at de time of doing a ritual determines de type of ritual that are appropriate en de content of these rituals. We are talking bout a way of dealing with an energetic dunia en energetic issues that borrows from wot already exists, not wot has been invented, manufactured or created by humans to satisfy some material purpose.
In other werds, every tree, plant, hill, mountain, rock, en each ting that was here before us emanates or vibrates at a subtle energy that has healing powah! whether we know it or not. So if something in us must change, spending time in nature is a good mwanzo (beginning)……
To many Westerners, indigenous people’s reluctance to disturb de balance of nature has looked like failure to use de raw materials that are jus waiting to be harvested en developed. For indigenus people, by contrast, nature is profoundly intelligent as it stands, en human beings would do well to re/learn from its wisdom. An example from Dagara philosophy illustrates this point.
The Source of all, de Dagara believe. Has no werd. It has no werd because meaning is produced instantly, like a constant en timeless awareness. So to de Dagara, there is an understood hierarchy of consciousness.
The elements of nature, especially de trees en de plants, are de most intelligent because they don’t need werds to communicate. They live closer to de meaning behind language…..wise men en womben in de indigenous world argue that humans are cursed by de language they possess, or dat possess them. Language, they insist, is an instrument of distance from meaning, an unfortunate necessity that we can’t live without but that is so hard to live with.
For indigenous people, to utter means two things: first, it signifies nostalgia for our true home, because language tempts us with de possibility of returning nyumbani to meaning. And where does meaning reside in its fullness? In nature. So language implies nostalgia for our true home, which is nature. The word nostalgia here should not be taken lightly. It implies that languageas we have it is a vehicle toward de Source but should neva be mistaken for de Source itself.
Second, to utter means to be in exile. indeed, to de Dagara, every time we speak, it is though we are confessing our own exile, our distance from de Source. The ability to utter testifies to de fact that we are far removed from de vast array of meaning that is our home. For if we were home, we would not feel de need to journey there. At de Source, werds would not be necessary, for meaning would be produced instantly. We couls see, feel, en touch de results of someone’s thought instead of relying on werds to give us a picture of it.; thought would instantly produce de ting. This is perhaps de indigenus version of de biblical “et verbum carum factum est,” “and the word was made flesh.”
But de good news is that using language also means that we are on our way back home, journeying to de source of meaning. Those who can’t stand being trapped in a place where language tends to distort move into poetry, chant, rhythm, en ritual to speed up their journey nyumbani. Poetry en ritual evoke de world behind werds, de dunia of meaning that resides, in its fullness, in nature…….ase.
[This is why we re/create. This is why we choose to speak. This is why we choose to survive. In other werds, this is why we (growing) in love wid tdot renaissance so….ese.]
Excerpts from The Healing Wisdom of Africa – Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some