There’s a story I know bout Kwanzaa, en how it floats in history on the back of Maulana Karenga, standing on de shoulders of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Marcus Garvey, Sojourner Truth en their mamas. Na kuna hadithi nyingine najua kuhusu mama wa Kwanzaa, na leo hii tasfiri ni ya NIA.
Hadithi? Hadithi? Giza ya? (reposts from) The Healing Wisdom of Afrika
CREATION NA ELEMENTS TANO
For the Dagara, cosmology begins with de hadithi of creashun. In de beginning, there was no earth as we know it. In its place was a burning planet, a ball of fiya combusting at high speed. Kwa hivyo, moto is de first element of de Dagara wheel. Moto is present in everyting, en everyting needs moto. It was not until dis moving en burning sphere encountered a huge body of wota that tings began to change. Maji became de second element in de cosmological wheel. De shock resulting from de collision of moto na maji not only slowed de combustion process, but also chased moto into de underworld, leaving de surface as a hot steamy place, fertile for de breeding of all kinds of life forms. This surface, hospitable to life, is what is known as dunia/earth, which constitutes the third elemental principle of de Dagara cosmological wheel. The various hard components of de earth provide structure en connecshun en are known as mineral or mawe (stone), the fourth element in de cosmological wheel.
Meanwhile, a steam of great density formed de atmosphere around de dunia. (These images translate imperfectly into Western terms; think of them as poetic rather than scientific descriptions.) As de steam expanded, its pressure began to subside. The reduction of atmospheric pressure was conducive to de birth of maisha, en thus de fifth element, vegetative nature, came into being.
Maisha, as not only Dagara people but many others say, began underwota. Thus, every living form on de dunia got its maisha signature in de wotas en continues to live intimately with maji. It is as if de original encounter between moto na maji established de conditions for maisha by producing a nurturing environment.
Earth came to life as a result of de marriage between those two primal elements, en in turn Dunia brought forth mo maisha, which she continues to sustain.
[The idea that we all came from maji is important because it implies that maji ni maisha, a concept we will return to from Jan 20 -27 with students of Baba Malidoma Some na #To David With Love.]
As de pressure of de steam produced by de encounter of maji na moto continued to subside, beings that were conceived in maji looking like worms moved to dry land en continued to evolve. When de atmospheric pressure at last stabilised, de diversification of maisha slowed to an almost imperceptible state. Today, for instance, amphibious animals like crocodiles, sea lions, and seals are said to be beings that didn’t complete their journey out of maji. Their development was suspended when de atmospheric pressure stopped where it is today. On de other hand, beings who came out of de maji earlier evolved into higher-dimensional spheres, allowing them to move back en forth in time en space. They embody our future. Birds are considered among de most ancient animals because they moved kwanza from de maji to de land, then continued to evolve to flight. Some elders say that, if tings had continued to change, ndege
would have made it to other dimensions.
One might ask where this primal maji came from. De elders, from their spiritual understanding, would say that it came from de Other World en spilled into de dunia at a moment when de veil between de two worlds was thinned – the moment when de original Earth flew too close to de Other World. One might say that some kind of distortion occurred as de cool liquid Other World en de hot burning Dunia passed too closely by each other. De distorted space sucked maji out of de moist Other World en threw itself onto Dunia.
From this perspective, maji is de presence of de Other World on our planet. The element moto is the doorway to de wahenga, lakini maji is de doorway to de Other World, de kind of world that is referred to as de world of de kontomble en de other nonancestral spirits.
This is why shamans can walk into de Other World through de waterways. Infact there are countless places in maji where these same veils still remain active. These veils are umbilical cords, de gateways linking our world to others.
The connecshun to de ancestral world that is found in de element moto is different from de connecshun with other beings en other intelligences. De Spirits call de kontombli en de spirits of de wahenga do not live in de same place, they don’t share de same geography, yet they can communicate with each other……
One might wonder how other worlds to which our world is linked were created. Indeed, de Dagara cosmology does not limit itself to this earth world but touches on others. This is because our world belongs to a family of worlds without which it seems it cannot sustain itself. These Other Worlds were created in ways opposite to the way ours was created.
In de creashun hadithi, they came into being when their vast cool maji were hit by moto……….apparently, if de pressure of de atmosphere of our world had continued to evolve, it would have been easier for humans to journey into these worlds en back.
Therefore spirituality-our efforts to enhance en advance our contact with de world of Spirit – is seen from an indigenus perspective as de continuation of human evolushun……..
THE FIVE ELEMENTS AND RITUAL
Ritual is for de purpose of restoring balance, de essence of health, to individual en community. It serves no purpose to know de origin or functional meaning of these cosmological elements if de ultimate reason is unconnected to ritual. To de extent that ritual is born out of de understanding of de cosmological wheel, de elements are its molecular tools whose proportion to one another must be monitored en restored when needed. The procedure for dis is ritual.
Fiya rituals rekindle de connecshun to de ancestral moto en de moto within vision. Wota rituals cleanse en reconcile, restoring peace. Earth rituals ground en comfort, bringing a sense of nyumbani en belonging. Mineral rituals restore memory en light up a sense of knowing. Nature rituals restore de natural self en open us to de magic en wonder around us.
When a group of people gathers to conduct a ritual, in an indigenus context, people who embody each of de elements become de gatekeepers for dat particular element in de ritual en for de part of de ritual pertaining to that element.
As we’ve seen from posts of moons ago, a gatekeeper is a healer who by his or her nature is able to bridge this world of Spirit to be brought into de physical world. The gatekeepers of each element are those people whose genius, whose essential character, embodies de zawadis of that element. By virtue of de fact that you carry a certain zawadi, you are given a special relationship with de element from which that zawadi originated, en in this sense, you are a gatekeeper. You stand between de rest of community en that portion of the natural world that corresponds to your element en all that is represents symbolically…
A person’s zawadis, when they emerge, make de carrier of de zawadi a servant to a particular gate, en because they are servant to that particular gate, we call them gatekeepers. Though every person embodies one element in particular, all elements must be present in each person.
Not only de Dagara people have developed this notion of gate keeping, of overseeing something vital to de healthy functioning of de community, in order to satisfy people’s innate desire to serve. By serving de gateway to an elemental aspect of de natural world, a person allows de qualities en resources that element represents to be brought to the community, giving de community wot it needs to blossom fully…….ase