Yemonja/Yemaya/Yemoya – the mother of fishes

when: June 25th 2011

where: 109 Vaughan Road, Tdot Ontario

We will be performing a ritual to honour Yemoja. Yemaya is personalized as a woman ebony of colour with full large breasts who nurtures the world. From myths, her early incarnation on earth was that of passive energy in di creation process. She evolved into the strong, dominant earth mother after experiencing trials of disrespect and at times violence.

According to a Pataki, Yemonja’s response to a repugnant act that occurred against her was to plunge from a hill to the earth. This act caused her stomach to burst open from which sprang the sixteen orisas and the first human man and woman. The fluids that came forth from her produced the rivers, lakes and seas.

Yemonja teaches us to persevere despite what life brings us.

Yemoja’s colors are in the range of blue and white dependent upon her avatar or path. Her number is 7.

Please feel free to bring your drum or shaker and join in.
Or just dance and enjoy the music.

Appropriate offerings are he-goat, ram, turtles, rooster, quail, pigeons, guinea hens and all hunted animals. Feel free to bring any other food you may want to share for the feast afterward.

See you there!

On Truth

 Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’

 I ask what is truth?

Orunmila says truth is the Lord of Heaven who guides the world rightly.

Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’

 I ask what is truth?

Orunmila says truth is the Unseen One guiding the world in the right way.

The wisdom that Olodumare uses, great wisdom, abundant wisdom.

Osa Otura asks what is ‘truth’

 I ask what is truth?

Orunmila says truth is the nature of Olodumare.

Truth is the word that cannot fall.

–Ese Ifa, Osa Otura

 

 

[blogger’s notes: Leo, hadithi ya kale ni ya egun en, the spaces between reclaiming, our knowledge of orishas]

 

Egun – our ancestors

Egun is the collective representation of the Ancestors.We often call our Ancestors by the name, Egun, which in Yoruba language means bones.

As we walk upon the Earth our feet press against the bones of the Ancestors on whose shoulders we stand. Like most indigenous cultures of the world, Afrikans believe that those who go before us make us what we are. When we walk on the Earth, we literally stand on the shoulders of those who bodies have been committed to the soil, the water, and the wind.

Our Ancestors influence our lives through heredity and human culture. However, there is an even deeper connection to the Ancestors as active spirits who continue to influence our lives. We humans honor them with altars, music and prayer. They in turn offer us guidance, protection and prosperity.

Read More

 

Eshu – divine messenger

Esu is the Divine Spirit of Communication, the well-spoken orator who speaks all languages. Esu translates messages between humans and Orisha. Without Esu our prayers would not be understood in heaven and we would be unable to understand the language of Orisha or our ancestors (Egun). Esu is the guardian of the crossroads, as such he opens and closes all doors and ceremonies.

Esu is the owner of ase, the dynamic power that pulses throughout the universe. He is one of the most tactile Orishas constantly stimulated by all he encounters. As such, Esu hates to be bored.As a force in nature Esu is absolutely masculine; however, Esu also has a nurturing side. Esu statues are sometimes sculpted with him having a large, erect penis and well-developed breasts. Esu’s primary colors are red and black.

  

Ochosi – the tracker/warrior

Ochosi is the Orisa associated with hunting and tracking. Ochosi is a nimble, strong, fast Orisha, a supreme marksman.  A “cool” Orisha, Ochoosi is called the “Left-handed Magician”, owing in part, to his ashe of stealth. Yoruba scholar, John Mason writes, that “Ochosi attacks like Ogun, sudden and deadly, yet the victim never sees the assailant or hears the report of the weapon, and that, “Ochosi only has to find a suitable perch and wait for his victims.”

Ochosi helps us to find the most efficacious path to what we aim to achieve. While Esu opens the door and Ogun clears the path, it is Ochoosi who, with bow and arrow aims and creates for us the path of least resistance.

 

Ogun – …of iron

Ogun is the Spirit of iron in Yoruba culture. Both a hunter and a warrior, Ogun uses an iron machete to cut through dense forest to procure food and medicinal herbs and to protect the lives of the community. Ogun helps us clear physical, psychological, or spiritual obstacles that block our ability to achieve our goals. Similarly, Ogun protects us from physical, psychological, or spiritual dangers.

 

Obatala…of the white cloth

Obatala, is the chief of the White Cloth, the Orisha who in Yoruba cosmology, first descended from heaven to earth with the tools for making the earth livable for humans. Obatala is considered the father of all orisa and is said to make the inner and outer heads of all humans.

Obatala is associated with purity, ethics and humility. Obatala is the Orisa of the elderly as well as the Orisa of those with physical disabilities. 

Aganju – the volcano

Aganju is the Orisa of the Uncultivated Earth, Lord of the Volcano, Lord of Caves, The Divine Ferryman.

Aganjú  is most often referred to as the Volcano. He is also the Orisa of untamed lands, from desert to mountains, the brother/husband of Yemoja. Like Olokun, is fabulously wealthy.  As Lord of Caves he owns all the mineral wealth of the earth. Aganju is also the navigator, knowing the safe passages and fjords across the river.  Followers of Santeria equate him with St. Christopher, for like St. Christopher, he will dance at a bembe with little children on his shoulders. Aganju is the bearer of burdens, (the shoulders and back belong to Aganju) the defender of the helpless, down trodden and enslaved. Aganju is a force of life that overcomes obstacles and does the impossible.

Aganyú is the symbol of all earth forces, particularly the core of the earth, the desert, and the volcano. He represents a brute and regenerative force that is responsible for all cataclysmic upheavals that change the face of earth. Volcanic lava is seen as his fiery breath and his power makes the earth gyrate upon its axis. Aganyú is depicted as the father of Shangó in some patakin, and a younger brother of Shangó in others.

 

Shango – “King of” King(s)

“Lightning reaches from the Realm of the Ancestors to Earth as a reminder of the humbling power that exists within Nature itself.”

In Ifa, Divine Justice is symbolized by lightning, one of the primal fires of the Earth in existence since the beginning of time.  Shango is the Orisha associated with the power of lightning and thunder, as well as the name of the Fourth Alafin (Chief) of Oyo. Oyo was a major Yoruba city and the name of a federation of city-states that existed during the 14th and 15th centuries in West Africa.

Oshun – the river

Oshun is the Orisa associated with fresh water. The name Oshun translates to mean “spring” or “source.” As the Orisa of fresh water, Oshun is the source of all life. She is the owner of the Osun river in Oshogbo, Nigeria. She is a powerful healer, especially as it concerns to issues of conception, women’s health and love relationships.

 

Oya – Mother of Nine

Oya is the complex Orisha who guides transformation and change in life.  As the Goddess of the Winds, she can come as a fierce tornado or hurricane or as a cool breeze on a hot summer day.  In her transformative mode she is always moving toward ideal justice for all. 

She wants the best for each of us, and sometimes that means taking away our illusions about the world regarding things and people.  Oya is also known as the keeper of the Ancestors.  In this capacity she serves as the guardian of Egun (Ancestors) at the outskirts of the cemetery, serving as mediator between the living and the sacred dead.  There is a Yoruba prayer for Oya that says, “ Ajalaiye, Ajalorun, fun mi ire,” translated as “the winds of Earth and Heaven bring me good fortune.”  She moves heaven (ancestors) and earth (living) to create communication between the realms.  Finally, as Patron of the Marketplace, Oya is a shrewd businesswoman who reigns over commerce and exchange.  Invoke her before you go shopping.  Take an offering to her and leave it at the opening to a flea market, and she will smile upon your bargaining.  She is also called Iyansan (The Mother of Nine), particularly in Brazil.  Her number is nine, and she loves eggplants and red wine.  Oya- Iyansan is a complex warrior deity who will go to battle for her children out of love and justice.

 

Yemoja – mother of fish

Yemoja is the “Mother of the Children of Fishes.” As such, she is the penultimate symbol of motherhood. Yemoja is the all encompassing mother; like the sea, her ability to nurture is vast. Though associated with the ocean in the African Diaspora, in Yorubaland, Yemoja is the Orisa of the Ogun river. Yemoja is associated with the top layers of the ocean-Olokun is considered the deep, deep realm of the Ocean. The Ocean is the largest environment for life on the earth, therefore Yemoja is viewed as the mother who gave birth to civilization and who continues to sustain us. 

Olokun – owner of the deep

Olokun is the Orisha of the ocean. In Yorubaland Olokun refers to the entire ocean, but in some areas of the New World, this Orisha refers only to the bottom of the sea, with Yemoja governing the top. In those references the ocean is seen as governed by Yemoja/Olokun.

Read more from the source @ http://www.ileorunmilaoshun.org/

Hapo mwezi ya kale……kulikuwa na notice from Chief Arvol Looking Horse

(of) A Great Urgency: To All World Religious and Spiritual Leaders

My Relatives,

Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affected from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit. The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I ask, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth.

As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc¹I Maka).

We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on.

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

To learn more about Chief Arvol Looking Horse, go to http://www.wolakota.org

Yoruba Creation Myth


In the beginning was only the sky above, water and marshland below. The chief god Olorun ruled the sky, and the god/dess Olokun ruled what was below.

Obatala, another god, reflected upon this situation, then went to Olorun for permission to create dry land for all kinds of living creatures to inhabit. He was given permission, so he sought advice from Orunmila, oldest son of Olorun and the god of prophecy.

He was told he would need a gold chain long enough to reach below, a snail’s shell filled with sand, a white hen, a black cat, and a palm nut, all of which he was to carry in a bag. All the gods contributed what gold they had, and Orunmila supplied the articles for the bag. When all was ready, Obatala hung the chain from a corner of the sky, placed the bag over his shoulder, and started the downward climb.

When he reached the end of the chain he saw he still had some distance to go. From above he heard Orunmila instruct him to pour the sand from the snail’s shell, and to immediately release the white hen. He did as he was told, whereupon the hen landing on the sand began scratching and scattering it about. Wherever the sand landed it formed dry land, the bigger piles becoming hills and the smaller piles valleys. Obatala jumped to a hill and named the place Ife. The dry land now extended as far as he could see.

He dug a hole, planted the palm nut, and saw it grow to maturity in a flash. The mature palm tree dropped more palm nuts on the ground, each of which grew immediately to maturity and repeated the process. Obatala settled down with the cat for company. Many months passed, and he grew bored with his routine. He decided to create beings like himself to keep him company. He dug into the sand and soon found clay with which to mold figures like himself and started on his task, but he soon grew tired and decided to take a break.

He made wine from a nearby palm tree, and drank bowl after bowl. Not realizing he was drunk, Obatala returned to his task of fashioning the new beings; because of his condition he fashioned many imperfect figures. Without realizing this, he called out to Olorun to breathe life into his creatures. The next day he realized what he had done and swore never to drink again, and to take care of those who were deformed, thus becoming Protector of the Deformed. The new people built huts as Obatala had done and soon Ife prospered and became a city. All the other gods were happy with what Obatala had done, and visited the land often, except for Olokun, the ruler of all below the sky. She had not been consulted by Obatala and grew angry that he had usurped so much of her kingdom.

When Obatala returned to his home in the sky for a visit, Olokun summoned the great waves of her vast oceans and sent them surging across the land. Wave after wave she unleashed, until much of the land was underwater and many of the people were drowned. Those that had fled to the highest land beseeched the god Eshu who had been visiting, to return to the sky and report what was happening to them. Eshu demanded sacrifice be made to Obatala and himself before he would deliver the message. The people sacrificed some goats, and Eshu returned to the sky.

When Orunmila heard the news he climbed down the golden chain to the earth, and cast many spells which caused the flood waters to retreat and the dry land reappear.

So ended the great flood. Ase. Ase……..


And other ‘native’ creashun story goes like…..

In the beginning the new world consisted only of vast oceans.  There was no land. Father Sky and his wife were admiring a beautiful tree – lush leaves and fruit, rich, dark bark.  Father Sky’s wife told him that she had a great vision which called for him to pull the tree up by its roots, leaving a large hole in the sky.

Father Sky was sad, for he thought the tree quite beautiful, but he also realized the power of his wife’s vision. He wrapped his arms around the tree, gave a might heave, and uprooted the tree.  Grasping hold of part of the tree, the woman looked through the hole, as she stretched a little further, she lost her footing and fell through.

The animals that were able to live in the water, turtle, beaver, whale and many others, looked up and saw the woman plummeting towards them.  “What will we do,” they cried. “If she lands, she will drown!” Two swans unfurled their beautiful white wings, flew up and caught the woman; they brought her down where they floated on the waves.  Everyone knew this could not go on for long, for the the swans would tire, and at some point the woman would need to sit down.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGI7sQjCMuY&feature=PlayList&p=C976375EFB94FCD0&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1]

One by one the animals swam to the bottom of the ocean to see if they could bring up a little earth.  The big whales tried, the otter tried, animals large and small, all tried.  Finally, everyone was floating on top of the water very tired from all their efforts.  Little Muskrat swam over and shyly said, “I think I can do it.”  The other animals were too exhausted to even laugh at the thought.  She took a deep breath and dove as far as she could.  It took several tries, but finally, totally exhausted she floated to the surface with a little earth in her paw. “What will I do with it now?” she gasped. Turtle swam over, “Put it on my back, I have a broad back,” he said.  Immediately the land began to grow until it was big enough for the swans to step on shore and let the woman down.  She let go from her hands some seeds that came from the sacred tree she had been holding onto when she fell through the hole.  The land grew and grew and along with it, forests, grasses, plants and vegetables.  it was a wondrous sight, and that is how North America came to be created, and subsequently to be called Turtle Island.

[so this q(ues)t of the (divine) werd on the ground goes, (something) like a Prayer to the Seven Directions]

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the East, each day you bring us new light so that we may grow in wisdom.  We have been waiting for the time when your light would shine in the hearts of all people.  Then they would remember the Original Instructions that were written in our hearts since the beginning of all things. Now is the time.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the South, your warm winds have sent us your love and the abundance from Mother Earth.  We have always known that as we follow the Original Instructions we will walk in balance and harmony and all our needs will be met.  The power and wisdom of this path is not easily understood when the mind is taught inside boundaries and the heart is closed to sissagwaad, the soft wind of spirit.  Open the heart of those who follow the way of the mind.

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the West, in the darkness of night you have sent us dreams to see deep inside our hearts, to learn how to walk the path of the spirit.  We see the beauty that hides behind each moment and discover the Great Mystery that is in us and all things.  Help the people of the mind see the power of their dreams.  Help them learn from their dreams so that they can remember the Original Instructions.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the North, you have brought the cold winds and snows each year to cleanse our Mother Earth.  Now the cleansing of the mind has begun.  The energies of the stars have shifted into a new focus to end domination and hierarchy.  No longer is it possible to live by the mind unless it is guided by the heart. Blow the fresh, clean wind of spirit to sweep away the belief systems that limit our brothers and sisters who are trapped in the way of the mind.

Kee-shay Giidzhii Manidou, you have sent visions and dreams to help us remember Who we are.  We have not forgotten the Original Instructions.  The stories have now been rediscovered and returned to the people.   You have shown that the path of reconciliation and peace is through the heart.  Send the light of inspiration to the Ogichidaag‘ who will show others a new way of being.

Gee-mama-nama-kee, you are our Mother, our Source of Life.  You have given us our food, our water, air, shelter, and so many beautiful beings who are our Brothers and Sisters.  We know we are connected to you and to all other beings in the Web of Life.  Many are those who do not know of their connection.  They see only with their eyes and their mind.  With a narrow focus they see parts of things instead of the energy of love and wholeness.  They have forgotten the Original Instructions.  As their Mother, you have been patient with them.  Extend that patience a little longer so the Ogichidaag‘ can show them a new way.

Great Mystery, we feel your presence in us and in all things.  You are the spiral energy of love that connects all, is all.  You are the circle of life, the circle way, the Original Instructions.  When we are living in our heart, we can soar with the White Eagle to see beyond horizons.

When the drum has been smudged you can beat on it and say this prayer, either in English or Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinabeg:

Midewewewigun, nindo-wiyauh.
I seek the drum.

And then:

N’midewewewigun, manitouwiyauwiwih.
Upon my drum bestow the mystery.

And to Ishpiming, All That Is:

M’gwech, Giidji manidou
Thanks, Great Spirit

Finally, an acknowledgement of the gift:

Kikinowautchi-beegaudae
It is so.

Your drum has been opened as a carrier of your prayers and petitions to the Great Mystery.

Other songs can be found in Ojibway Ceremonies by Basil Johnston from Bison Books (1990).

How the drum was brought to the Anishinabeg is told by Edward Benton-Banai in the Mishomis Book: the Voice of the Ojibway (1988) by Indian Country Communications, Inc.  The original drum was the water drum, mi-tig-wa-tik’ day-way-gun, and contained water to represent the First Order of Being.

In our drum this is replaced by the stone set in the handgrip to avoid the humidity that would otherwise soften the drumhead.  Later, the Anishinabeg added stones to the exterior ties of their drum.  The hide of the deer, wawashkesh’shee, gave peace and gentleness to the drum, as well as speed and agility to the drumbeat.

One of the ceremonial uses of the Mother Earth Drum is healing.  The first time I used the drum in healing, I heard the sissagwad, the soft wind of spirit, whisper to me to hold the drum over each chakra and beat softly.  It worked.  The next time that I did a healing, I did some energy work to break up blockages as I had been instructed to do.  Then I noticed my drum sitting nearby and realized that I was supposed to use it…but not beating it.  I was to caress the drum to make the sound of the wind whipping up a storm.  The with my fingernails scraping across the drum, make the sound of thunder, and, drawing the fingers close together the thunder disappears into the distance.  With more wind and more thunder comes the rain, the tapping of fingers making the multitude of raindrops striking the ground.  More wind, more thunder, more rain…and then quieter, more distant thunder, a gentling wind, diminishing raindrops.  Silence…  The hurts and pains were washed away and all was fresh and clean. Another time, a friend in Denver asked me to help me with one of her horses who had a wound that wouldn’t heal.  I thought: OK, some sage ceremony, some drumming.

I heard the sissagwad whisper. “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“What?!” I questioned.

The sissagwad repeated, “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“Impossible!” I thought.  I remembered the cowboy movies I had seen as a boy.  The horse hears the rattlesnake and panics, rearing high in the air.   And I was going to be right there under the flailing front feet of the horse.  How about drumming instead! I begged.

“No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

I did the sage ceremony, smudging the entire paddock and the horse.  The horse just stood perfectly still as I swept the smoke over the leg and then its whole body.

Then it was time for the rattle.  I began to shake the rattle, watchful of any hint of a dangerous response.  None.  It worked.  Then the horse “whispered” to me that ‘it had tickled.’  “What?” I asked.  “It tickled,” the horse repeated.  When the bandage was taken off too soon, it still tickled so I scratched it.”  I told Diana to keep the wrap on longer and the problem was solved.  A few months later I heard about the movie, The Horse Whisperer, but I knew that it worked BOTH ways—the horse can whisper to the human, too.

[This is an excerpt from Stories Dream-Catchers Weave.]

So listen to the sissagwad in your heart. Don’t get locked into any rigid ritual.  That’s a head thing, a mind thing.  Don’t misunderstand: the mind is good, but the intuition, listening to the soft wind of spirit in the heart, is an awesome source of wisdom beyond anything of which the mind is capable.

Another way to use the drum is to create a buzzing sound with each beat.  Medicine men would often place inside the drum a stick with lots of smaller sticks pressing lightly against the back of the drumhead. The multiple tones and harmonics are supposed to elicit healing.  With the Mother Earth Drum you can place the fingernail of your forefinger against the backside of the drumhead so that as you drum you will create a buzz.  Unlike the medicine drum, you can withdraw your fingernail from the backside of the drumhead and use a normal beat.  You can also use the tip of your finger to create a stop to a beat.  Or you can use the fingernail of your forefinger to scratch on the backside of the drumhead. In using and combining all of these drumming techniques, you have a diverse “vocabulary” of sounds that can be used as needed.  If your fingers are long enough you might even be able to use both your thumb and forefinger giving you two variations on the backside of the drumhead as well as the multitude of variations with the beater on the front of the drumhead. Your virtuosity is not limited to a change of volume and rhythms.

You will also find it very dramatic and powerful to strike the drumhead hard with the beater and hold the beater firmly against the drumhead.  It’s almost like an explosion and reverberates with a rising, ringing overtone.  Used with a crescendo of volume and rhythm, you can punctuate the finale of a sequence or, followed with quieter drumming and nuanced rhythms, you can create a symphony in percussion.  The thin design of the Mother Earth Drum makes this all possible.

The drum can also be used for meditation and shamanic traveling.  A constant, steady beat of the drum can alter consciousness.

Recovered from copyright theft of an unprincipled white squaw.

White Eagle Soaring: Dream Dancer of the 7th Fire

http://www.real-dream-catchers.com/Art_of_the_Seventh_Fire/mother_earth_drum.htm

kesho [in the q/t werd]…..the truth about (our) stories….behind the masks

blogger’s note: in this countdown to the ‘official’ (biggest) pan-afrikan holiday, we’re going to not only (re)vision where we’re coming from, giving thanx for the legacies en sacrifices of our ancestors, our people, en the future we’re preparing for,

but also, interrogate where we’re at NOW, like with-in (myself) en OUT, communally with all the gaps and dis-unity, (en ALL  the intersections, betwixt en between)

(like) dis’ hadithi ya the prosecution and imprisonment of steven monjeza na tiwonge chimbalanga is (pure) madness,

a ‘living’ example of the convoluted ways that we have internalised ‘foreign’ ideologies en  turned to attacking en criminalizing bredrin en sistren for misguided en oppressive reasons,

like it’s all a part of the master plan?

forgive them father, they know not what they do kinda song?

nigga(s) please, let’s jus’ stop hating (ourselves en) on each other!

if it were all that simple to reclaim love for ourselves with the preach en human rights speech no?

with papa malcolm’s anniversary jus’ one day gone, and ALD just 4 days away, (more than a few) big symbols of  all the labour that has gone into the freedom we DO  have,all the more reason to give thanx for en share stories of peace, and (of) the people willing to fight for it, by any means necessary!  afrika huru! ase o….

21 May 2010

UN human rights chief says sentence on Malawi gay couple is discriminatory and sets dangerous precedent

GENEVA – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that the prosecution and sentencing of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for a Malawian gay couple, imposed by a court in Malawi on Thursday, is “blatantly discriminatory” and sets an alarming precedent in the region for the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as groups that support them.

“I am shocked and dismayed by the sentence and reports of the treatment of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga while in detention,” Pillay said. “The law which enabled the conviction dates back to the colonial era and has lain dormant for a number of years – rightly so, because it is discriminatory and has the effect of criminalizing and stigmatizing people based on perceptions of their identity. If this was replicated worldwide, we would be talking about the widespread criminalization of millions of people in consensual relationships and the rampant violation of privacy.”  

 “Laws that criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation are by their nature discriminatory, and as such are in apparent violation of a number of key international treaties and instruments, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights*,” Pillay said “Unfortunately they still exist in quite a number of countries across the world. The trend should be towards getting rid of them, as is the case with other forms of discrimination. Instead, some countries, including Malawi, seem to be heading in the opposite direction.”

 The High Commissioner called for the conviction to be repealed and for the penal codes criminalizing homosexuality to be reformed.

 She said she was also concerned that this case appears to have stimulated a marked deterioration in official and public attitudes in Malawi, not just towards individuals perceived as being homosexual but also towards organizations that speak out about sexual orientation and related issues, including ones doing vital work to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS.  

 

“I fear the reverberations of this decision, along with the recent attempt to bring in a new draconian bill aimed at homosexuals in Uganda, could have severe repercussions throughout the African continent,” Pillay said. “It will inevitably drive same-sex couples underground, and if this trend continues and spreads, not only will it mark a major setback to civil liberties, it could have a disastrous effect on the fight against HIV/AIDS. So, in addition to the serious moral and legal ramifications of this decision, it raises intensely practical problems as well.”    

The High Commissioner dismissed the argument that non-discrimination against people on the grounds of sexual orientation is a cultural issue. “It is a question of fundamental rights,” she said, “not one of geography, history or disparate cultures. The protection of individuals against discrimination is pervasive in international human rights law. Why should it be suspended for this one group of human beings?”

(*) Article 2:Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status. Article 19:All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.

Learn more about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/HighCommissioner.aspx

Click here to visit OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org

OHCHR Country Page – Malawi: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MWIndex.aspx

For more information or interviews contact: Rupert Colville at + 41 22 917 9767

[a is for] a video diary of The ‘Q’ werd

betwixt en between: m is for molisa(n.)

on love,  truth, justice & reconciliation

coming out stories

I (not-so) secretly would like to be married to jus 2 (or 2 more) of all the kings en queens that have walked on this earth en that live today….children of oya, ogun, shango (en others…)

I am a(n. Afrikan)  wom(b)an (been) in love with 2 (wo)men, all met betwixt en between, in another place not here (my story is not new)….  I confess that if I had my wishes fulfilled, I would be married to at least 3 queens en a king, yes I am (unfortunately nowadays marginalised for being) non-monogamous, that’s my coming out story.

 I confess that even though I’m ‘mostly’ out of the closet, in deference to overwhelming majorities, en the likelihood that ‘the one(s)’ might be one-woman-shacking-up type o’ folks, I have proven time en again to be not only willing to settle with monogamy, but secretly hope that I might be enough for one person. coz I really don’t know how many ‘partners’ I can handle, the truth is I’ve never actually being in a committed ‘non-monogamous relationship, so it’s fair to suppose that I might NOT  be non-monogamous in the first place at all, it could jus be a subjective ideal, a case of wishes & horses, or it could be my memory en hints in the fluidity of relationships, it could just be that monogamy is not appealing or logical to me (or many others), I mean why marry just one, if you could build a revolushunary village with 10? why NOT  have whatever your heart desires, as long as it’s consensual? And, technically one could argue that ‘monogamy’ is un-African, (one of the myriad of imposed imperialist/western values)

it’s simple really….in the end, I’ll have whoever I want to be with for life that not only wants to be with me, but shares my dreams en hopes for better lives, to raise pikney en farm (for real!), (re)build communities of love, justice, (peace) en truth

Ukweli ni, I’d be satisfied with  ‘one’ coz I haven’t met any yet that have wanted to marry not jus’ me, but a few others, besides the bigger point of THIS hadithi is not who I want to share my life with, but how we’re re/connecting with the ones we’ve been looking for….

 [C is] the crux: we ’ve heard (more than) a few hadithi about eshu, obatala, ogun, Olokun, orunmile, osanyin, oshun, oya, shango, en Yemoja, but only a couple of versions of mumbi en nambi. It (almost) always goes that mumbi births 9+1 daughtas with (a)G….., en nambi, daughta of G, marries kintu, at least that’s (part of) the crux. The bigger point is most of it seems to be lost under centuries of whitewash(ing), and our freedom is hinged on going back for not only what we have forgotten, but that, which has been distorted & exploited, like the story of c(ee),

n is for nneke/d. Is for: parts of herstory

See stories will only get us started, the rest of what we (don’t) say are our actions. The work we do to make our dreams happen, this IS the Q werd, a journey that begins with the realities of (more than 9+1) dadas.in.solidarity.

The interviews are real, the events are not fictional, these are OUR pan-afrikan postcards, in the spirit of the biggest holiday this moon, African Liberation Day, and in honour of ‘an ordinary African doing his best to unite his people’ (Taju)

Kesho, on (Agwambo Odera, Frederick Odhiambo, Gacheke Gachihi, George Nyongesa, Hilary Mulialia,  Onyango Oloo, Sam Ojiayo, Willy Mutunga, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem) 9 + 1 ALD kings (in the Q werd)

blogger’s note: you probably already know this story, references to ancient Afrikan cultures are all over the net en the world….so here’s another one of them…of the gran (primeval) mama of us all  (emphasis on ‘the capital’ in the Q werd)

Adapted from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/hathor.html

Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as “the Great One of Many Names” and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bast (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with Nut, Bat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed she absorbed the attributes of many other goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped her position as the most popular and powerful goddess. Yet she remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to her and more children were named after her than any other god or goddess. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky goddess, known as “Lady of Stars” and “Sovereign of Stars” and linked to Sirius (and so the goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, she was known as the goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

Hathor was also the goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and she was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet she was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather she was assured of her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as “the mistress of life” and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol.

Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As “the Mistress of Turquoise” and the “lady of Malachite” she was the patron of miners and the goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

As the “lady of the west” and the “lady of the southern sycamore” she protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, she (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of her role in helping the dead, she often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid).

She occasionally took the form of the “Seven Hathors” who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the “Seven Hathors” knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The “Seven Hathors” were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, she was also a goddess of destruction in her role as the Eye of Ra – defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his “eye” against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked her to stop she refused as she was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When she drank the beer, she became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When she awoke with a hangover she had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed her Hathor and she became a goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them her strength and focus in battle.

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained her a further husband – Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman she has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When she is depicted as entirely a cow, she always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though her sacred color is turquoise.

It is also interesting to note that only she and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of her functions and adapted her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of her husband and had to fight to protect her infant son, so she understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them. Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts.

While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of her goals.

When she took the form of Sekhmet, she did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.

to be continued……