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.]

[Words fail me. I’m deeply grateful others have them. Nashukuru pia realities kama RASCOM  – Afrika’s own communications satellite.]

The news of the killing of Colonel Gaddafi in the battle to take Sirte marked one more episode in this NATO war in Libya and North Africa. The killing has all of the hallmarks of a coordinated assassination, synchronized between NATO aircraft and forces on the ground. The reports are that Gaddaffi was attacked when he was attempting to leave Sirte in a convoy. The convoy was attacked from the air. The National Transitional Council has announced that the war is over but the very nature of this execution guarantees that this uprising will not end soon.

This execution comes one day after the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States openly called for the political assassination of Col Gaddafi, the Libyan leader. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon,” This statement guaranteed that although Gadhafi was captured alive he was killed while injured.

The very management of the news of this execution represented efforts to influence the continued political/military struggles within the divided forces. The hijacking of the body and its transportation to Misrata was one more indication of the internal struggles in the NTC and Libya.

It is still urgent that the African Union and the United Nations work for the demilitarization of Libya and for the work to organize an inclusive government in Libya. The execution of Gaddafi comes in a week of heightened military action in parts of Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and the Horn.

This remilitarization of Africa and new deployment of Africom is a new stage of African politics. Remilitarization, killings, and death will not answer the cries for democracy, peace, and food in Africa and other areas of the world where the exploited and marginalized are raising their voices against oppression. A new revolutionary energy is sweeping the world manifest in the current general strike by workers in Greece and the massive occupy wall street movement with 900 manifestations all over the world last weekend.

In every case over several decades, examples of militarization and remilitarization have increased the anguish of those living on the margins of wealth and power. I am certain that careful investigation will expose the callous disregard for human life, what in NATO and Western Military language is called “collateral damage.” Given the cloud that hangs over this killing that it was most likely a coordinated execution – those of us who are on the side of peace and justice asks the following questions:

Why did the West want him dead?

Did they have something to hide?

The answers to these and other questions now lie with the corpse of a man who was more friendly to capital than to his people.

Peace and justice forces must work harder to end wars, plunder and western military interventions in Africa.

[asante Baba] * Horace Campbell is professor of African-American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He is the author of ‘Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA’. See horacecampbell.net, and a contributing author to African Awakening: The emerging revolutions. He is currently Visiting Professor, Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

reposted from http://www.pambazuka.org

I’m always soaring in love all ova again when summer comes round. every year in tdot has been filled with kindred spirits en honourable ones that have had me calling turtle island my new home going on a decade now, en dis year has been di most magical one yet…na always there’s the pull back to my true-true nyumbas, the fresh-off-di-boat immigrant experience with a queer twist, like di spaces between belonging na self (!) imposed exile…..

I heart tdot for the balms of evolving Pride weeks, Afro & Jazz fests, en divine zawadis like free Queen of Soul concerts on a Friday nite in di heart of downtown. nashukuru di revolushun being documented with Back To Our Roots Press; en i heart tdot massives for y/our swagger…

Lovers & Friends Show

Dancing is the movement of di oceans/ di caress of many lovers in canyons laced wit poppies in coca

leaves/dancing in union of spirits layed to rest among splinterin shells n fires of adoration in di heat of comets and volcanoes/dancin is how i love/how i share carin/how did mama say it….

A gender dance. A dance of ovaries en cervix/uncovered and swelling, menses falling like waterfalls in a golden forest. A dance of women discovering themselves in di universe. She. Her. Hers…..

Cypress was initiated into di new world not quite as herself…the true martriarch who is di woman-powerful, was to be nurtured….here there were only mothers and daughters. ”Mothers” were supreme, there was no higher honour than to be deemed “mother”, yet this had nothing to do with biological offspring….

Ni hapa that the most important step in our spiritual development is taken. Can you imagine setting out on a journey with no destination in mind? Writing a novel without a theme to give unity to di multiplicity of scenarios and actions? An educational system without a curriculum? Yet, dis is di manner in which all wo/men live without a true system of initiation. It’s the effect of taking di person as one’s identity……kama….

……she is Yemanja or Sofia, which is to say divine wisdom en powah, embracing all the universes. That is…why her eternal person, which is the secret of the world of the soul, is also its manifestation without which the creative principle of the world would remain unknown and unknowable, forever hidden….

Revised excerpts from Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo; Metu Neter Vol.1 and a Mazdean Sufi

 “Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

Born in the womb of two brothas that (not only) I love, respekt en admire so, there’s a story I know that goes like El-Farouk Khaki en Troy Jackson seeded Human Positive last year, in response to the backlash that the brothas received for publicly standing in support of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian rights, and criticising the state of Israel. Or so one version of the hadithi (story) goes…

Dis grassroots organisation has been nourished in expanding el-tawhid families (of loving ‘mis-fits’) en evolving collectives of muslim (identified) folks, and is rooted in principles of big love like salaam and ubuntu. Or so another version of the hadithi goes….

The bigger point is, big tings a gwaan with H.P’s programming for next year…..

These are some of the (s)heroes of the Q_t werd: a doc exploring (as ) many intersections of our diversity (as we can), and the possibilities of building revolushunary solidarity, in dub: in a caravan of us-people hadithi of (our vision) quests.

The riddle of the sphinx is in the connecshuns among the legends of GALCK, Human Positive, Fahamu, The People Project, Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, Nneka and Nneke Dumela

we have to start where we from.

change/ing our patterns is long term.

gotta use what we got.

share/ing our resources,

and this is not new.

we need to work on our own unity first.

 

so in the spirit  of  critically examining our gaps and tools,

here is an/other teacher,

one of my (revolushunary) guides in the path of story telling and teaching community.

 story telling for social change

past midnite, should be sleeping,

but these days there’s always one more paragraph needing to be revised,

one more alert needing attending to….

this is the kinda poetry that tides me.

 

nothing will keep us young you know

not young men or

women who spin

their youth on

cool playing sounds.

we are what we

are what we never

think we are.

no more wild geo

graphies of the flesh. echoes. that

we move in tune to

slower smells.

It is a hard thing

to admit that

sometimes after midnight

I am tired

of it all.

 

sonia sanchez