Tag Archives: African spirituality

Art of This World: Tarot/Oracle Cards


Last week Sunday, I met with some members of the Black August Cocoon Collective that Ola Ronke of Free Black Women’s Library started for the month of August as a way to bring together a community of black woman to do a series of activities and rituals that will later result in us creating a zine.

Since the Sunday coincided with a new full moon in Leo, Ola had each of us pick a card from Earthlyn Manuel’s Black Angels Card deck. The card I got was the Joker. At first I thought that was strange because I don’t think I’m much of a funny person or a jokester, but I have been studying trickster archetypes and gods like Eshu/Elegba, I do love word play when it comes to my writing practice and as the book explanation says, I seem to have a liveliness that attracts others to me.

Take a look at the card and read the description for it (click on the pictures for full size):

 

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The My-Stery: Manual for The Move Forward (Based on The Salt Eaters)


Toni Cade Bambara

For the first post of the new year, here is a short manual of lessons I was able to tease out from reading Toni Cade Bamabara’s The Salt Eaters. The Salt Eaters is a novel about a small Southern community of Claybourne who are searching for the healing properties of salt while also preparing for a carnival. The book centers on two characters, Minnie Ransom, the community healer and leader of a group of healers, and Velma Henry, who has suffered a nervous breakdown and near suicide, undergoes a healing session. At its base, The Salt Eaters is sankofic its nature — looking back, moving forward and every other way weaved in between. If you want to read more pieces about Bambara’s work, The Feminist Wire recently did a tribute forum for her.

1) “Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?” The opening question of the book and warning from the healer Minnie Ransom, reminds us that healing and moving forward takes work; it takes processing through a lot of hurtful trauma. Healing is proactive not reactionary. Not only that, when you are well, you are not done. There is responsibility after that (“a lot of weight when you’re well”) (10).

2) Everything is interconnected. One of the characters said, “the material without the spiritual and psychic does not a dialectic make” (64). All parts of life intersect and shape one another (laws of reciprocity, attraction and repulsion, supply and demand on 133). One of the reasons The Salt Eaters is a difficult read is that it cannot be read like a traditional linear novel. The book works more like a webbed-matrix, interweaving in and out of various stories, people, and signs who are all connected to Velma, the main center. The entire community is an extension of Velma and Velma is an extension of them, as we journey through the “master’s mind.” Velma’s healing will affect the entire community It also interweaves various aspects of life from myth to spiritual ritual to science that underpin the book as they are versions of each other and shape each other. If one area is sick or lacking it impacts the others.

Continue reading The My-Stery: Manual for The Move Forward (Based on The Salt Eaters)

Modern Griots Reviews: The Summer of Gods and Panel Discussion


Some of the best stories are the ones that connect back to original tales and cultural rituals that are part of the human journey. Today, sometimes the universal meanings, archetypes and principles behind our modern stories are hidden because we are disconnected from those ancient tales and rituals. Think of, for example, Little Red Riding Hood, which can be interpreted as an initiation fairytale with the grandmother as the grand wise mother or crone figure and the wolf as an Anubis-like figure leading her onto a path of rebirth of herself.

Eliciana Nascimento captures that universal story of returning to one’s roots and the ancient continuing to live in the new in her Afro-Brazilian and Yoruba Orisha-inspired film, The Summer of Gods. Opening with a boat ride, a young girl, Lili, is traveling with her mother and brothers to visit her grandmother and right from the start, we see she has the ability to hear and see spirits around her. Lucumi priestess and professor of afrofuturism, Koko Zauditu-Selassie, said during the panel that this establishing scene of the family going across the water symbolizes fluidity of generational memory and listening to the past, and that despite being abducted and forced across the water during the transatlantic slave trade, it did not change us completely. Water is a theme throughout the film, including a honoring ritual at the waterfall in Brazil in the beginning of the film and the two water-related Orisha – Yemanja (whose is along with her Brazilian festival a main inspiration for the film) and Oshun (the Orisha of the life-giving rivers). The water represents for this young girl a return to her ancestral roots and traditions, but also a fertile creative place where her new life can begin.

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: The Summer of Gods and Panel Discussion

Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music


*Wildseeds: The NOLA Octavia Butler Emergent Strategies Collective is presenting Cosmic Belonging: A Conversation on Afrofuturism, Sustainability, and Dreaming Black Into the Future. See more information about it in the picture below.

*John Jennings and Stacey Robinson has released their comic, Kid Code: Channel Zero via Rosarium Publishing. Here is the description of it: “Kid Code: Channel Zero is a rollicking, cosmic, time-traveling adventure, fusing classic hip-hop culture and outlandish sci-fi fantasy in this alternate universe to create the ultimate mash-up.

Everything’s a remix! And Kid Code and his comrades must fight against The Power, who eons ago sampled the first sounds made from the God MC and created the Dark Mix (a version of the universe that was never intended).

Now there’s a race against and for time throughout the universe to assemble The Everlasting Cosmic Mixtape–nine tracks that can re-assemble the God Sample and help set things back on course.

The adventure starts here in Kid Code: Channel Zero.”

*Daily News’ “Run-DMC’s rapper Darryl McDaniels launches new comic book line:” “The newly minted comic company, Darryl Makes Comics, is ready to debut its first novel, ‘DMC’ at New York Comic Con in October. Darryl McDaniels portrays himself as a superhero instead of a rapper in the graphic novels.”

*A Killing in the Sun, a collection of speculative fiction from Africa, was recently released: “It draws from the rich oral culture of the author’s childhood, to tell a wide variety of stories. Some of the stories are set in a futuristic Africa, where technology has transformed everyday life and a dark force rules. Others are set in the present day, with refugee aliens from outer space, ghosts haunting brides and grooms, evil scientists stalking villages, and greedy corporations creating apocalypses. There are murder mysteries, tales of reincarnation and of the walking dead, and alternative worlds whose themes any reader will identify with. This collection is deftly crafted, running along the thin boundary of speculative and literary genres.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: News, Posts, New Music

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Elizabeth Nunez ‘s Books of Caribbean Magic


Next week, Elizabeth Nunez will be read from her memoir, Not for Everyday Use, at the fifth annual ringShout event, which will be the Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event. The event will take place September 16 at 7pm at the Franklin Park Bar and Beer Garden in Brooklyn, and also features Bridgett M. Davis (Into the Go-Slow), Saeed Jones (Prelude to Bruise), and Lauren Francis-Sharma (‘Til the Well Runs Dry). By coincidence, i randomly picked up two of Nunez’s works at the library a couple of months ago, Beyond the Limbo Silence, and When the Rocks Dance, and they were great introductions to her mythic and magic-filled writing. As I continue to look for Caribbean works that can be analyzed from an afrofuturist lens, I was fortunate to stumble across her work.

Born in Trinidad, Nunez combines Trinidadian and Caribbean culture with magic realist, mytho-spiritual and mystical elements. The first work of hers I read was Beyond the Limbo Silence, an alternate historical fiction set in 1960s Trinidad and America during the Civil Rights Era that infuses water myths, dreams, Voudou ritual and Obeah magic. The story follows Sara Edgehill, a young woman who feels like an outcast in her native land of Trinidad, Continue reading Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth: Elizabeth Nunez ‘s Books of Caribbean Magic

Modern Griots Reviews: “Mulheres De Axe” – CCCADI Celebrates the Sacred Power of Women of Spirit


Mulheres de Axe (Axe Women)
Marta Vega, Iyalorixa Pereira and Lorelei Williams

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We still struggle for empowering spaces to hear the voices of Black women of the African diaspora, including those part of powerful spiritual traditions outside of the typical Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism). But during this month, CCCADI has hosted a few events honoring specifically Brazilian women of the Candomble religion and their struggle to continue these traditions onto the next generations despite persecution from those in power.

First was “Spirituality and Justice in Brazil” featuring a conversation with Candomble priestess and activist Iyalorixa Valinizia Pereira and translator Lorelei Williams at La Casa Azul Bookstore. From one of the most well-known terreiros (ritual temples) in Bahia, Brazil, Terreiro do Cobre, Pereira is responsible for the preservation of sacred rites, ritual music and dance, medicinal knowledge and liturgical African languages passed down to her for seven generations. Candomble is a West African-derived (or an African-Matrix religion as Pereira and Williams described) syncretic religion. The primary purpose of Candomble is to cultivate a connection to nature and spirit because we cannot do anything without the elements of nature, like the energy of water or the plants and greens that nourish and heal us (early morning usually include herbal baths). Candomble members believe in one main God, Oludumare, who is served by or is dispersed into numerous smaller deities, the Orixas, like Chango, Yanson (Oya), Omulu, Osain and Oshun, who are responsible for different aspects of nature. Pereira described this as universal connection to nature even if one is not religious.

Continue reading Modern Griots Reviews: “Mulheres De Axe” – CCCADI Celebrates the Sacred Power of Women of Spirit

Moving on the Wires: Recent News and Posts


*Today is my Birthday!!!! Officially 24! You can give me a gift through support of my blog by becoming a patron on my Patreon page or sending donations to my PayPal account (email: svfreebird87@gmail.com). Any amount is appreciated. Thank you!

*I haven’t been able to post as frequently lately, since I have been working on other projects, but thank you for continued reading. Also, if anyone wants to help with the blog, click on the Contact/Submissions page.

Here are news and other important posts from the past few weeks:

*”Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” on Open Culture: “In 1971, he served as artist-in-residence at UC Berkeley and offered a spring semester lecture, African-American Studies 198, also known as “Sun Ra 171,” “The Black Man in the Universe,” or “The Black man in the Cosmos.” The course featured readings from—to name just a few—theosophist Madame Blavatsky, French philosopher Constantin Francois de Chasseboeuf, black American writer and poet Henry Dumas, and “God,” whom the cosmic jazz theorist reportedly listed as the author of The Source Book of Man’s Life and Death (otherwise known as the King James Bible).”

*Support Joy Kmt and bekezela mguni’s Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception Creating the World: “We transform the world with words, stories, art, ritual & activism. The Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception is dedicated to producing work that disrupts time as we commonly understand it and centralizes the humanity and stories of black women. The TOIP also works to create environments that are slightly alternate other-worlds, using soundscape, storytelling, poetry, interactive ritual and visual arts.  When you pledge, you support innovative creation, workshops, ritual and art that is about creating space by and for black women….We will also keep you updated on the progress of the work of the Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception, which includes Testify, a traveling interactive performance-ritual-, workshops like Liberation Science, Shrining, You as Tabernacle, and more. We hope to bring it to your city soon!”

*Upcoming events from CCCADI:

Spirituality and Social Justice in Brazil- A Panel Discussion on August 15th: “The Schomburg Center, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), Home Slice Magazine and Veterans of Hope co-present an evening celebrating African ancestry and activism in Brazil through the lens of Iyalorixá Valnízia Pereira, a priestess and activist from one of the most prominent candomblé terreiros (ritual temples) in the state of Bahia, Brazil. As Iyalorixá of the Terreiro do Cobre, Valnizia Pereira is responsible for the preservation of sacred rites, ritual music, dance, pharmacopeic knowledge and liturgical African languages that have been passed down to her for more than seven generations.”

Mulheres de Axe, Celebration of the Sacred Power of Women of Spirit on August 27th: “Silvana Magda and Brazilian Week join with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and Senator Bill Perkins to present “Mulheres de Axe”, an event shedding light on the Brazilian women, the keepers of Afro Brazilian sacred traditions who have formed a network to challenge and combat misrepresentation of their historic sacred traditions and practices, violence against women, condemn racial discrimination, gentrification and the lack of resources available to youth and families of economically poor and disenfranchised communities. Visitors will enjoy a display and discussion of Ritual Candomble Dresses of Mulheres de Axe (Women of Axe) representing the different Orixas, African Yoruba Divinities, of the varied Candomble Temples of Brazil, a musical presentation of the diverse rhythms honoring the varied Orixas of Candomble, a panel discussion, and more.”

*Check out Floyd Webb’s timeline, Afrofuturism:Reframing Afrofuturism, a Historical, Spiritual and Conceptual History. Also, “The Strange Story of Afrofuturism” on Cool Accidents and “Afrofuturism: Space Is the Place” on Viva Scene.

*Afrofuturism takes flight: from Sun Ra to Janelle Monáe” on The Guardian: “A new generation of artists are exploring afrofuturism – Outkast and Janelle Monáe take the philosophy to the mainstream, while Flying Lotus and Shabazz Palaces push jazz and hip-hop to their extremes.”

*Conversation on Chronicles of Harriet about the relevance and problems of the term Afrofuturism.

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: Recent News and Posts