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Ugandan LGBT Activists Sue U.S. Evangelical  “Hate Preacher” in Federal Court

Lawsuit Charges Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively with Persecution

[Lively Also Connected to New Anti-Gay Bill Passed in Russia]

March 14, 2012, Springfield, MA and New York –Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit againstAbiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBT advocacy groups in Uganda. The suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the formulation of anti-gay legislation and policies aimed at revoking fundamental right from LGBT persons constitutes persecution. This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Uganda’s parliament has a pending bill, commonly known as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” that provides the death penalty for “homosexuality,” prison for failing to turn in someone suspected of being “homosexual,” and criminalizes advocacy around LGBT rights.

“Lively has been the man with the plan in this enterprise,” said Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  “He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic  human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people. Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda.”

Said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, “U.S evangelical leaders like Scott Lively have actively and intensively worked to eradicate any trace of LGBT advocacy and identity. Particularly damaging has been his claim that children are at risk because of our existence. His influence has been incredibly harmful and destructive for LGBT Ugandans fighting for their rights.  We have to stop people like Scott Lively from helping to codify and give legal cover to hatred.”

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first introduced to the Ugandan Parliament in 2009 and reintroduced in February 2012, enumerates degrees of ‘homosexuality’ and punishments ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty. The complaint filed today includes evidence of Lively’s participation in laying the groundwork for broad-based attacks on the LGBT community including portions of the bill intended to criminalize advocacy around LGBT rights as well as deprive gay activists of the right of freedom of assembly, the right of association and the right to be free from discrimination.

The bill’s sponsor, David Bahati, is a Ugandan politician and member of The Family, a powerful and secretive U.S.-based evangelical and political organization known in the U.S. for organizing an annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Scott Lively has been working with anti-gay forces in Uganda since 2002. In March 2009, Lively, along with two other U.S. Evangelical leaders, headlined a three-day conference intended to expose the “gay movement” as an “evil institution” and a danger to children. Lively likened the effects of his advocacy to a “nuclear bomb” in Uganda and stated that he hopes it is replicated elsewhere. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill emerged one month later with provisions that reflected Lively’s input. As in Uganda, Lively aims to criminalize LGBT advocacy elsewhere and has worked with religious and political leaders in Russia, Moldova and Latvia to that end. He states he has spoken on the topic of homosexuality in almost 40 countries and advises that “the easiest way to discourage ‘gay pride’ parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal.” An anti-gay bill that prevents speech and advocacy around LGBT rights was passed and signed into law last week in St. Petersburg, Russia…

Sexual Minorities Uganda  v. Lively was filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows for foreign victims of human rights abuses to seek civil remedies in U.S. courts.

The lawsuit was filed in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Lively currently lives and continues his work. Upon the filing, a coalition of rights groups from Springfield marched from the federal courthouse to Lively’s coffee house, Holy Grounds, where they protested his anti-gay advocacy locally and around the world.

For more information visit CCR’s case page http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/

To read the complaint, visit  http://ccrjustice.org/LGBTUganda/complaint.pdf 

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is a non-profit non-governmental organization that works toward achieving full legal and social equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda.  It serves as an umbrella organization for many other sexual minority advocacy organizations in Uganda.  The mission of SMUG is to lead advocates in the fight for the recognition of same sex relationships and the removal of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR .

banange! infinitely grateful for the hard work of upendo & coalition building invested by front line activists in Uganda na mashariki, [hadi magharibi, kusini na kaskazini ya bara,tukishirikiana na] comrades and allies, in de diaspora.

karibuni…..de commonwealth of nations tip?

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There’s a story I know bout de earth en how Kintu lived on it alone with his ng’ombe, until Nambi came, en everytime someone tells de hadithi it changes, some versions say she came with her ndugu, others say in the beginning, there was de fikra; she came alone, en then took him to see her baba, some modern Kenyan versions are reincarnated as Makmende, Abscondita Amerudi & Britannia Zimeisha.

Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi njoo, Uongo njoo, Utamu kolea….

Who among us carry the sage siri(secret)s of loving?

Leo ni leo asemaye kesho ni muongo, na asemaye ya wahenga ni?

Kuna another hadithi nakumbuka bout’ how…it was de Nubians who originated, and taught the Greeks to use, ceremonial meetings, processions, and liturgies: a fact which can be inferred from the obvious antiquity of such ceremonies in Nubia, compared with Greece, where they have [in comparison] been only recently introduced. The Nubians meet in solemn assembly not once a year only, but on a number of occasions, the most important en best

attended being the festival of A…st at Bubastis: second in importance is the assembly at Busiris- a city in the middle of the Delta, containing a vast temple dedicated to Isis, the Nubian equivalent of Demeter, in whose honour the meeting is held. Then there are the assemblies in honour of A….at Sais, of the Sun at Heliopolis, of Leto at Buto, and of A…at Papremis…

De kiboko (hippopotamus) is held sacred in de district ofPapremis, but not elsewhere…..Otters, too, are found in de Nile; they, and the fish called lepidotus, en eels are all considered sacred to de Nile, as is also the bird known as the fox-goose. Another sacred ndege is de phoenix; I have (not) seen a phoenix myself, (except) in paintings and (twice in d’bi young anitafrika’s play- benu)…it is very rare en visits the country (at least they say in Heliopolis) only at intervals of 500 years, on de occasion of the death of de parent-ndege.

To judge by de paintings, its plumage is partly golden, partly red, en in shape and size it is exactly like a eagle. There is a hadithi about de phoenix; it brings its parent in a lump of myrrh all the way from Arabia and buries de body in de temple of de sun. To perform dis feat, de bird first shapes some myrrh into a sort of egg as it finds, by testing, that it can carry; then it hollows the lump out, puts its baba inside en smears some myrrh over de hole. De egg-shaped lump is then jus of same weight as it was originally.

Finally it is carried by de ndege to de Temple of the Sun in Egypt…..

Such, at least, are some of de stories re/membered in dis series. How can we go out en plant these seeds (as ‘new’ year resolutions)?

[it is not coincidence that]…The Nubians were also de first to assign each moon en each day to a particular deity, en to foretell by the date of a wo/man’s birth, character, fortunes and the day of hir death – a re/discovery which Greek poets have turned to account. The Nubians, too, have made more use of omens en prognostics than any other nation; they keep written records of the observed results of any unusual phenomenon, so that they come to expect a similar consequence to follow a similar occurrence in de future.

The art of divination is not attributed by them to any man, but only to certain orisha….The practice of medicine they split up into separate parts, each doctor being responsible for the treatment of only one disease. There are, in consequence, innumerable doctors…..The Nubians are unwilling to adopt Greek customs, or, to speak generally, those of most other countries. There are however, notable exceptions, like in the case of Chemmis, a large town near Neapolis in de district of Thebes. In this place there is a square of enclosed ground sacred to Perseus de son of Danae; palm trees grow round it, and there is a stone gateway of great size surmounted by two very large stone figures. Within de enclosure is a shrine containing a statue of …guess who?

[multi-layered readings from The Histories by Herodotus]

How do we frame IT as we bring other people into the conversashun?

What other conversashuns if begun leo (today), could ripple out in a way that created new possibilities for de future of the United States?

Kwasababu, kama ni ukweli si mpya….na we are the mashujaa we’ve been looking for, au siyo?

Kuna hadithi najua bout Kwanzaa, a pan-Afreekan narrative that not only I but many others have been rediscovering with our healing rituals. Jana iliulizwa, where is umoja? na leo hadi kifo, ninajichagulia kusoma na upendo with akina baba na mama wa Afrika kama Sobonfu Some na Malidoma Patrice Some, hii hadithi imetoka kitabu yake…..

The Elements of Ritual

Ritual is the most ancient way of binding a community together in a close relationship with Spirit. It is a way of communicating with forms of consciousness en beings from countless dunias ( worlds). It has been one of the most practical en efficient ways to stimulate de safe healing required by both de individual and de community. Ritual has always been de way of maisha of de spiritual person because it is a tool to maintain de delicate balance between body en soul. In a tribal community, healing of de kijiji happens in ritual.

WHAT IS RITUAL?

Every time a gathering of people, under de protection of Spirit, triggers a body of emotional energy aimed at bringing them very tightly together, a ritual of one type or another is in effect. In this kind of gathering people primarily use nonverbal means of interacting with one another, thereby stimulating the life of de psyche…..

There are two parts to ritual. One part is planned: people prepare de space for de ritual en think through de general choreography of de process. The other part of de ritual cannot be planned because it is the part that Spirit is in charge of. The unplanned part of ritual is a spontaneous, almost unpredictable interaction with an energy source. It is a response to a call from a nonhuman source to commune with a larger horizon. It is like a journey. Before you get started, you own de journey. After you start, the journey owns you (en it ain’t over till it’s over).

Certain events move us irresistibly toward ritualised behaviours, for example de loss of a loved one, a major accident, de witnessing of a violent death, or a natural disaster. When such an event happens, no observer can predict people’s actions or logically explain what goes on, because the people affected by de event act without conscious control. Any emotional frenzy, to de extent that it is orchestrated by Spirit, has something ritualistic about it….

It is important to recognise what ritual is not. It is not repetitive or compulsive behaviour, like having a coffee or a cigarette in the morning. Nor is it an everyday formality, like greeting another person with a handshake, hug, or kiss. In day-to-day life, when you go to a public place of business, you are expected to stand in line if you find that others have preceded you to de same place. Ritual is just de opposite. It is gathering with others in order to feel Spirit’s call, to express spontaneously en publicly whatever emotion needs to be expressed, to create, in concert with others, an unrehearsed en deeply moving response to Spirit, en to feel de presence of de community, including the ancestors, throughout the experience.

People’s psyches are very drawn to ritual because it’s a place of high ecstasy. What happens in ritual is not unlike, what happens to people who ingest drugs. Ritual is a place of safe ecstasy, but with no undesirable side effects. This is one of de reasons why indigenous people love ritual. They spend the majority of their time planning for ritual, doing it, en recovering from it.

It is important to distinguish between ritual and ceremony……from an indigenous point of view, ceremonies are events that are reproducible, predictable, and controllable, while rituals call for spontaneous feeling and trust in de outcome…it is a time of unplanned, unforeseeable, yet orderly disorder. By contrast, in ceremony there is a potential for boredom because de participants pretty much know what’s going to happen, in ritual the soul en de human spirit get permission to express themselves.

What to Westerners are rituals appear to indigenous people as instead ceremonies. Among the most visible expressions are de varieties of church practices, from Mass to processional celebrations…The problem with these ceremonies is that over time they begin to lose their attraction, since they happen in de same way year after year. They do not have the essential ingredient, spontaneity, which to indigenous people speaks of Spirit.

Ofcourse, de same words said in de same way over time do help many people in de West feel connected to Spirit because the very repetition reminds people of de thousands who have gone before who said de same words en so must have gone through a similar experience. But the presence of Spirit is marked in African vijiji in just the opposite way – by releasing emotion spontaneously rather than by providing a container for emotion through familiar words.

When most Westerners think of ritual they are more likely to connect it with words such as empty, old-fashioned, irrelevant, and boring than with words such as transforming, essential, challenging or healing. Ritual continues to engage the passion and commitment of indigenous people because it stimulates their creativity and their emotions. Most of all, they continue to do ritual because afterward they feel changed.

Doing ritual heals people, reconnecting them to the ancestors en to their own deepest purpose. Because ritual is so deeply connected to our human nature, anytime it is missing there will be a lack of transformation and healing. If a culture does not draw from ritual, its members will do something else to fill de gap because they have to heal. In the absence of ritual, Westerners turn instead to therapists, self-help groups, or, at a more destructive end of de spectrum, to alcohol and drugs.

Ritual is a dance with spirit, the soul’s way of interacting with the Other world, the human psyche’s opportunity to develop relationship with the symbols of this world en the spirits of de other.

SYMBOLS: THE DOORWAY TO RITUAL

Symbols are the doorway to ritual. Just as our bodies can’t survive without nourishment, our psyches can’t sustain themselves without symbolism…

The symbolic and the spiritual are not far apart. In fact, in Dagara, there is no word that directly translated as symbol. There is no word for symbol other than the word Spirit, because there is an assumed indivisible connecshun between Spirit and symbol. Beings that live in other dimensions are so intimately linked to us that they are referred to by name. They are no considered mere metaphors or abstract representations of intangible concepts. These beings simply live in a different time/space continuum en perceive us as much as we perceive them.  They refer to our world as the Other world en see us as spirits, which is why they are interested in us. They are living, as it were, on the other side of de page of our reality.

The Western view of different planes of existence may be helpful in understanding what I yam referring to here. Another bridging image is the notion of fields of energy in quantum physics. In quantum physics, the understanding of matter as transferable to energy suggests a flexible attitude toward the nature and limits of de visible and material world.

For the Dagara and other indigenous people, it is inconceivable that the human mind could capture something that does not already exist somewhere. The human capacity to imagine is an example of our connecshun with remote fields of energy…….

How is this visionary ability connected to ritual?

In the indigenous mind, one reason people do ritual is that they do not want to repeat history, dealing constantly with unfinished business from the past. The appeal to the ancestors through ritual is based on an understanding that catastrophe happens when you fail to seek their guidance. So in some ways, doing ritual is like preventing the self from falling into destructive patterns. The symbolic spiritual realm speaks to the psyche the same way that a travel guidebook speaks to the conscious self – it confirms our locashun. Human beings need these reminders on the journey of life; they are the billboards of the psyche……

WHY RITUAL?

In summary, why is ritual important? As much as our body requires food for nourishment, our souls and spirits require ritual to stay whole. It is as if without the spirit being nourished in us, the body pays for the consequences. The food of the psyche is symbol, and it is through ritual that our spirit is fed. Because human beings are spirits at our core, it is natural for us to remain mindful of our true spiritual identity.

Ritual is necessary because there are certain problems that cannot be resolved with words alone….Complex problems plague and cripple entire communities; by actively involving the members of the community in seeking solutions based in ritual, a community can achieve a deeper solution than words and rhetoric alone can provide. Breaking the spell of circular arguments through the powah of ritual is one of the areas where indigenous people can provide effective help to the West.

[these multi-media excerpts of Chapter 7 ya The Healing Wisdom of Africa, you can do anyting you want with these hadithi. Share dem wid others, forget about dem, get vex, laugh bout it, au revise, cry…. but don’t say in years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You’ve heard it now.]

[As I look pon de pikin, Bredrin, sistas en elders in mi villages, I yam deeply grateful that spirits brought us together, for they saved not only my life, but have profoundly positively transformed the lives of so many others. dis hadithi ni ya hii upendo for jamii yetu.

revised excerpts from Welcoming Spirit Home – Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community written by one of our sacred leaders, Sobonfu Some.]

In de kijiji, community life is built upon spirit. We know that spirit is constantly present. Spirits bring us clarity, provides inspirashun, allows peace, en gives us all de blessings we need. In a sense, spirit is so incorporated in de fabric of community that it is impossible to disassociate de two. The presence of spirit in community makes it possible for de community to be the guiding light of de tribe….

SPIRIT IS A PART OF US

In my kijiji we do not feel we need solitude. We can have our personal time while we are talking to somebody else. We can have our meditation time while we are in de community context. There is no need to be separated from de group to have solitude. Solitude already exists within the group – it’s a part of de whole. When we start to divide or separate it means that something in de whole is not working for us. Because we have permission to be ourselves within community, we have no need for solitude.

Kwasababu spirit is a continuous part of each of us, it is not necessary for us to take time out to sit quietly en meditate to get close to spirit. Spirit is always with us.

It is common, in my country, to see two people talking and then, simultaneously, pause. In that pause many tings can be happening. They can be meditating, or they can be having personal time to “tune in.” But people will never say, “I have to go be alone.” It’s a foreign concept – it just doesn’t fit.

If you say you need to be alone in our kijiji, people will wonder, “What is it that is not working for you that you have to be alone? What is happening that I should know to support you?”

A changing Afrika has brought alot of pressure in the maisha of our people. Every year when I return nyumbani I find that a new aspect of modern life has been brought into de village. However, many tings such as family, community, en leadership structure remains the same.

We don’t have a leader or chief whom everybody follows. Instead of leaders, our guides are spirit and de wahenga. This is difficult for many people to understand, but the lives of everyone in our community are built upon de foundashun given to us by spirit en de wahenga.

This forces us not only to be our own police but also to take responsibility and to be accountable. It is not up to an individual to take care of someone’s wrongdoing; rather, it is up to de spirit en de wahenga. And, kwasababu we don’t like reporting to these forces, we make sure that we don’t fall into our own traps.

When conflict does arise, people do not run away or move to a new community. They see de conflict as a timely zawadi/gif sent by spirit to clear obstructions in their lives. Conflict is a way to boost closeness in their intimate lives with others. Without conflict to crack open hidden thoughts, meanings, and energies, en without de means of dealing with conflict, a community is bound to stagnate en eventually cease to exist. Conflict, in a sense, is de barometer of a community. The way we deal with conflict tells us about our state of maturity en where we are as individuals as well as community.

The ruling forces that exist in de Dagara tribe are spirit en de wahenga, kwasababu they are able to see past, present, and future, because they are able to be impartial at all times. Human beings are subject to judgements, influences, and mind changes; wahenga or spirits are not. An individual who has committed a crime will most certainly be put in the spotlight by de wahenga. This happens, for instance, when a person is seen by a diviner (a person who sees past, present, and future; a holy person), en de wahenga expose de crime to de diviner. It is then the diviner’s role to let de person know that de diviner also knows about de crime. It is not, however, de diviner’s responsibility to “punish” de person for the criminal act. If de individual seeks the help of de kijiji, de kijiji will make itself available to de individual. In de event, de criminal refuses to admit what happened, de kijiji will then turn de matter over to spirit en de wahenga. This way of dealing with matters, because it does not have a human-based justice system or any kind of hierarchy within de system, is often looked upon by anthropologists as a primitive way of leadership.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE WHOLE

De community concept is based on de fact that each person is invaluable and truly irreplaceable. Each person has a zawadis to give, a contribution to make to de whole. The kind of zawadis a person brings, the kind of being a person is, is very unique to him, hir or her en is valued by the community……

I know that the concept of community with spirit as its guide may be difficult to understand. As you continue to read these excerpts from books by sacred leaders of our vijiji, you will re/discover a deeper understanding of how to incorporate this concept into your own life and community.

In recent times, the word “community” has been misused and battered, so it does not always bring positive connotations….When you go the cities of Africa and you inquire about going to the vijiji, many people, especially young people, are baffled at the idea of Westerners wanting to be associated with what they call “deep Afrika.” They look at you as if you are crazy. For them it is incomprehensible that a person who was born and raised in a city in de modern world would want to abuse themselves with de mediocre kind of life that one has in a kijiji. They understand that education and schooling is a means of learning to forget about Africa and its community lifestyle, including everyting involved with it.

There are people who were not born in Afreeka – en who are not of Afrikan descent – who are far more Afrikan than some people who were born and raised in Africa. It is an irony, because so many Afrikans are now negating the whole Afreekan culture while many others want to be immersed in it…..

CREATING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Community is de spirit, de guiding mwangaza ya kijiji, wapi watu wanakuja pamoja to fulfill a specific purpose, and to take care of one another. The goal of community is to make sure that each member is heard en is properly giving de zawadis he or she has brought to this dunia. Without this giving, community dies. And without community, individuals are left without a place where they can contribute. Community is that grounding place where people share their gifs en receive from others……ase.

hadithi? hadithi? are you ready for diasporic encounters indigenus narratives?

[Paukwa! Pakawa! Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo….]    OUR BIRTHRIGHT AS A CONTRACT WITH THE UNIVERSE

If we view reality from de angle that we come to Earth to fulfill a particular purpose, birth can then be looked at as a contract between dis world en de dunia of the wahenga or other dimensions. This contract is agreed to in different ways. For some parents it is a conscious choice; for others, it is unconscious, but for the incoming soul the choice is always a

conscious one. In all cases the choice to be born is welcomed by all wahenga, spirits, and community. And in this sense we are all part of one large, interwoven community, ever growing, in this dunia en in worlds beyond.

We must remember that our position in respect to dis contract determines de quality of life our spirits will live in our

bodies. After our spirits are in human form, the difficulties of keeping de contract unaltered are always present.

Some people understand these difficulties as important landmarks are able to use them as maisha/life lessons, allowing the difficulties to remind them where to turn when they experience them. Many don’t realize, however, that de circumstances we experience in our lives are things we chose – we could even say “programmed” – prior to being born. And, because of dis state of ignorance or rejection of de idea that we actually plan our course, we often miss de lessons contained in de difficult experiences, en we continue to live in the dark.

If we believe that our greatest wounds are actually our greatest zawadi/gifts, we can embrace de idea that the hardships we experience in our families of origin are no accidents. Whether we are born to loving wazazi/parents, or abusive wazazi, born by natural childbirth or by Cesarean, born into or without a community, born with disabilities, or found in a trash yard, we all have unique zawadis to bring to dis dunia.

Our wounds are not only our landmarks, but our lessons – tools from which we must learn to draw our strength and wisdom. For example, if you find yourself irritated by the lack of true community, chances are that part of the reason you chose to be born in your environment is to bring an awareness to others that community is needed for our spirit and our watoto(children)’s spirit to blossom.

Ofcourse, we would like to assume that we did not have any part in such a contract so that we can blame others (such as our wazazi) or circumstances (such as a lack of time or affection) for our difficulties. Lakini ukweli ni, truth is,we signed up for de obstacles we experience, en when we reject dis ukweli, we spend most of our time feeling stuck and frustrated.

Our spiritual growth becomes stagnant, and our zawadis are not delivered to the world in a way that liberates us. As this way of life continues, our lack of spiritual growth and gif giving can turn into a toxin, a sickness that can destroy our lives.

When people do not fulfill their life purposes, they have to come back and try again, bringing different lessons to help them on their journeys. The question then becomes, How can we move forward in this life and do wot we are here to do? My sense is that we start to take responsibility for signing the contract, and then find, or create, the appropriate community in which we can then deliver our zawadis en be receptive to other people’s gifts as well.

The understanding Dagara people have of pregnancy, birth, and the purpose of incoming souls to Earth makes them take pregnancy and de birthing process very seriously. In fact, they make sure they prepare themselves for the incoming soul in a way that allows for a healthy and welcomed arrival. This overstanding is at de root of preconception, pregnancy, na afterbirth rituals…..

Hadithi-telling as a Ritual

There is a mythical and a ritual dimension to all hadithi/stories. Many rituals have been kept alive through hadithi. The simple fact of telling hadithi takes us into a ritual where we commune with de divine. In my kijiji, there is a prayer made at the beginning of each hadithi session to open de gates to de divine. Storytelling is a communal event (particularly in dis world wide web).

In my kijiji, there are days when the elders tell hadithi, en other days, de watoto tell hadithi. Sometimes watoto start the hadithi en de elders finish it or vice versa. By telling hadithi in this way, everybody is heard.

This is valuable because when a hadithi is told, you can tell wot is happening in the maisha of de person telling it, and it points out wot kind of ritual is needed for that person. And telling a hadithi to a group, family, or community can bring everyone together

Ndotos as a Ritual

Dreaming is one of the places where we dive into rituals without resistance. We can use our ndoto to do healing rituals for ourselves or other people. Again, you need to use and focus your intention, to ask for guidance and answers with an initial prayer before going to sleep, and be willing to receive the information you are seeking.

Often, ndotos send us valuable messages without our asking. Pay attention to your dreams – they just might be trying to tell you which ritual took place and which one is yet to happen, or simply tell you things you need to keep your eyes on.

There is no question that we all, at times, don’t remember our ndoto. This happens when we are agitated, frustrated, ungrounded, defensive, resistant to the work being done in our ndotos, or when we do not find value in dreaming.

If you awaken abruptly before things can be solved in your ndotos, you can carry the nervousness or anger from the dream into your waking hours. Try to wake up slowly and roll back to the side you were dreaming on. Lay down a few minutes and think about your ndoto. Keep a ndoto journal by your bed and write in it as soon as you wake up. You will be surprised by how much you remember and how much work you did during your sleep.

Be creative, and always remember that rituals are serious and should be taken earnestly. Most people practice some form of ritual in their lives without thinking about it. When you celebrate a life-strong, graduation, or marriage, you can turn them into meaningful rituals by bringing spirit, intention, and purpose to them. Think about the joy you receive when participating in a friend’s or family member’s birthday, graduation, or wedding. You can experience the same sense of joy, healing, and connectedness by incorporating rituals into your daily life…..

read mo from the source “Welcoming Spirit Home – Ancient African Teachings To Celebrate Children And Community” by Sobonfu Some.

Asante mama.

[Blogger’s note: Following is a straight-up-so-inspiring-braap!-bam! kind of story dat I reposted dis excerpt – no remix (jus mo’ braaps!) Check dis….]

T-Dot Renaissance represents a group of emerging and interdisciplinary artists, working and rooted in Toronto……This collaborative project intends to be the launching point of a movement, a wave of cultural and artistic collaborations for this generation of emerging artists: Toronto’s own renaissance reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s.

“What is T-Dot Renaissance? Support System. The Voice.  The process of spiritual healing.  The Bat Signal.”  – Neil ‘Logik’ Donaldson

Quentin Vercetty & Ciel Lauren

Individually, the members are each proficient in multiple media; they are singers, painters, musicians, songwriters, poets, filmmakers, playwrights, photographers, actors, graphic designers, dancers, drummers, rappers, sculptors, and graffiti artists. The immediate intention is that throughout the production of these collaborative works, the artists will explore and create works in each other’s areas of expertise. They will be pushed from their comfort zones, and allowed to create truly interdisciplinary, collaborative works that they would not have otherwise realized.

“T-Dot Renaissance is a movement of proactive artists moving forward in love, courage and character to actively create together in an effort to allow the well of creative juices to flow freely, safely and loudly.  A group who inspires and practices truth, grit and integrity.  True artists.”  – Colanthony Humphrey

T-Dot Renaissance seeks to tell the stories that are not told, to give voice to those often silenced, and to encourage a kind of collaborative effort that is often missing from today’s individualistic and product-driven art market.

“The Renaissance of beautifully speaking what is unspoken.  Comparable to Lennox in the 30’s, all are open.  Creatively creating what’s

coat room

necessary to breathe under autumn leaves colourful as prison labour” – Myk Miranda

The name T-Dot Renaissance is inspired by memories and stories of the Harlem Renaissance, a time when African American artists were exploring, engaging, and collaborating to create a space they could define as their own artistic identity.  It is the shared belief of the artists involved in this collective that the city of Toronto is currently undergoing its own artistic renaissance.  This renaissance can particularly be felt amongst young people who, emerging from a Hip Hop generation, are empowered by a fundamental understanding that they can take power into their own hands to create their own stages, remix old forms and validate their stories – stories that are often silenced or re-written by the mainstream.

“T-Dot Renaissance is creative license to think, create, imagine without fear of censure. Untapped potential harnessed for possibilities we have realized in dreamscapes.  Freedom can be found here if we allow ourselves the possibility.  To be.  It is room and space to stretch and try, fail and cry…room to smile direct light shining from the inside.” – Amanda Parris

Are you reading for a multi-layered renaissance?

“Sacred spaces. Bredrin and sistren building solidarity among our villages. Healing not only ourselves but our communities, na hadithi zetu.” – Molisa Nyakale

Are you ready for T-Dot Renaissance? We been (re)presenting our diasporic journeys from time….

 “A patchwork quilt.  Threading narratives, some built before us.  Some built amongst us.  Life in colour clothes stories, skins, taking you where we’re at.  Where we’ve been.  Take it in.  Sincere together we hold space and time which we alone define together.  Take it in. Take it in.  Take it in.  Here we are.  Life in colour.” – Nayani Thiyagarajah.

Copyright © 2011, T-Dot Renaissance. All rights reserved.

December 3rd and December 4th, 2011

3pm – 8pm each day

Loft 404

404-263 Adelaide Street W.

Toronto, On

[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.

under de migumo tree

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

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