As I welcome my daughter’s 19th year of solar returns, I pause to “Give Thanks” for my most revered role of: Mother. Among such titles as daughter, sister, wife, friend, educator, scholar, activist, writer, Goddess, Queen and soon-to-be Dr…still, nothing is, nor ever has been quite as fulfilling, (for indeed all else pales in comparison), to the esteemed rank of motherhood.
This year my annual, sacred and Rites of Passage inspired tribute to my daughter is rendered somewhat more public – because of this blog designed to Educate to Liberate. Moreover, what is natural to some, might be instructive to others – so I willingly share a portion of my unique philosophy of maternal experience as a means to exchange ‘best practices’ and to otherwise challenge familiar, Euro-centered, seemingly shallow traditions and norms accompanied with the sacred Mother-daughter relationship.
Namely, many conscious Black women don’t regard the title and responsibility of Mother (purposeful capital ‘M’) lightly, and this fact alone speaks volumes. On the contrary, I, like my Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmothers before me, recognize the divine presence of ‘Loyalty, got Royalty inside my DNA’. And so, as an intentional embodiment of God and the divine I Am… I am proud to be a Black Woman: Mother of Creation, Progenitor of planet Earth, and Queen of the Universe. This status is a reminder that it’s incumbent upon me to teach and (most importantly), to lead by example.
Thus, as is our family’s personalized interpretation of traditional Pan-African cultural custom, I exercise the right to annually salute the Rites of Passage significance of my young adult daughter’s solar return with expressions much more meaningful than that which our resources can afford. A traditional, ROP acknowledgement of one’s birth is to exchange authentic gifts of the heart. Such endowments are not expended or measured in wealth, but are priceless all the same in that they reflect the insight, instructions and literal wisdom of the ages that Mothers are duly obligated to impart to our beloved daughters. It is important to establish an annual practice to cherish and commemorate the sacred Goddess Consciousness of our daughters throughout their lifetime(s) – because the world is comprised of far too many young women suffering from low self esteem and without a knowledge of self thus dooming future generations.
Nurturing, lessons and love don’t automatically cease at age 16, 18 or even 21. Nurturing our Goddess consciousness is a lifelong endeavor-so I am proud to celebrate my daughter. As a pertinent case in point, in prior years our ROP-inspired occasions and gifts of the heart have encompassed: poetry, sunrise meditation near a body of water, sacred women circles, books, chocolate dipped strawberries, unique trips and stay-cations, narrative/video tributes, handmade jewelry and waist beads, ceremonial henna, piercings (not automatically bestowed at birth, but rather earned and gifted beginning at age 7)…the list is endless, but the objective is abundantly clear. So long as Mothers substantively sow into and celebrate our daughters via time-honored, culturally significant and notable traditions, then we perpetuate a legacy of strong women who too have ‘Loyalty, got Royalty inside our DNA’ for countless generations yet to come.
Ultimately, our solar returns are meant to foster an increased knowledge of God/self and to bathe one in the infinite love and light, which will divinely center their life’s purpose and order one’s steps for the entire year ahead. And when as daughters, we are no longer blessed to have a Mother’s physical presence to bestow these sacred traditions and gifts, we are then entitled and divinely encouraged to engage in ritual libations, to ensure one’s readiness for the path ahead. So this year, prior to embarking on a long anticipated spiritual retreat and commencing with an annual narrative or video tribute – I pause to publicly salute my ‘Warlike, Revolutionary Blessing’ of a daughter and to give thanks for the divine light that is Jendayi Nkenge. Ase’!