My African Spirituality Explained

Religion is manmade and as such, inherently flawed. Despite addressing the seemingly innumerable soul and spirit devoid shortcomings of religion, I prefer instead to highlight that I am unashamedly and deeply spiritual and acknowledge my oneness with the divine source of life – God. Finally, years after having been raised as a devout Christian and then later having cultivated a healthy knowledge and love of the discipline inherent in Islam – I am proud to have wholly embraced and proudly raised my daughter to have a deep spiritual base and an equal acceptance of and respect for religious freedom. As such, my journey to African spirituality begins…

Though my life has spanned the absolute extremes of: periods of religious fanaticism; multiple Christian church inspired instances of ‘giving my life to Christ’ and baptisms; an abrupt, ideological rejection of Christianity and an eager embrace of orthodox Islam in college; a permanent, legal name change and spiritually affirming, African-centered name change ceremony; a hesitant yet spirit-filled and brief return to Christianity in young adulthood (but with an informed, discerning and inquiring mind – adoring qualities which the Black church generally frowns upon); an African-centered and decidedly ecumenical marriage ceremony which featured an idyllic commune with nature and was jointly officiated by a team (my A.M.E. pastor, revered members of the elected and Black Nationalist centered “Council of Elders”, AND spiritually uplifting, culturally inspired dancers/drummers), and a wedding ceremony, reception replete with ancient African traditions; only to determine (throughout my 30s and now in my 40s), that I am no longer a willing convert to organized religion, in any form. On the contrary, for the past 8 years or so, I have evolved to adopt a non-organized and much more fitting, affirming form of African spirituality – which I realize now was always implied in earlier, pivotal life decisions – and which, I pray, sustains me through the remainder of my unique life’s journey.

My increasingly intimate relationship with the divine source is strengthened through a unique combination of (previously learned and admittedly religious routines), including prayer, meditation, song, dance, praise and worship, charity, activism, physical exercise, work and using my life toward the fulfillment of the greater good. Yet, even in my heightened spiritual consciousness and innate joy of having grown closer to the divine, it is not lost on me that my unique African spirituality is yet another representation of the many ways in which my life differs from the accepted norm(s) of this society. Admittedly, my enlightened embrace of a powerful and affirming African spiritual base, also draws unfavorable judgments from some ‘holier than thou’ religious zealots (primarily among close family and friends), who consider it their obligation or self-appointed, pious duty to damn all who fail to subscribe to their myopic and various, un-enlightened forms of organized religion, most often expressed via the more popular routes of Christianity or Islam.

There is at least more widespread acknowledgement of other religious and spiritual paradigms in 2018. In light of a recent New York Times article highlighting Black people’s widespread abandonment of Christian Evangelical churches (and its corresponding White Supremacist ideology); and data reflecting the Millennial generations’ reticence to subscribe to virtually any of the traditional tenets of organized religion-I am convinced that a depth of spiritual growth may well ascend to a powerful universal movement. My own adoption of a rich, spiritual life in favor of organized religion, is a powerful testimony of my personal growth, an expression of Revolutionary faith, and a fierce acknowledgement of the divine. I am enormously blessed and affirmed to honor God in much more substantive ways at this stage of profound enlightenment.

Perhaps there are some who after reading this blog, would still reserve judgment and prefer to pray for my salvation and soul’s redemption as they struggle to fully comprehend my name, abandonment of organized religion, or unique form of African spirituality and all-encompassing praise. However, in my ultra peaceful household with strategically placed, ancient Egyptian/Kemetian symbols of life (the Ankh), and daily rituals which inspire prayer, praise, worship, joy, and most importantly, LOVE… I am at peace with my unique spiritual ascendancy to this coveted rank. I am interested in upholding the sacred tenets of divinity in my conscious, Revolutionary and purpose filled life which solely honors God and my ancestors than in being preoccupied with the judgment of others (who may unknowingly still be on their own, individual journey to spiritual fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment).

White Supremacy in The Trump Era

The Metro Detroit area has always been marked by the racially divisive undertones of White v. Black separation and as so goes Detroit, the rest of the country mirrors this pattern. In a curious paradox, Detroit is just as noteworthy for our historic alignment to figures like Detroit Red/Malcolm X and the infamous Rebellion (erroneously referred to as a riot) in the 60s; as we are for the storied legacy of White Flight, segregated city and suburban population trends and for a history of active, continuous Klan activity in areas like Howell, Mason, and even within the heart of the city. With Detroit area locations like the Little Caesar’s Arena and area artists like Kid Rock serving as the veritable ‘poster child’ for confederate flag wearing forms of institutionalized oppression – it is timely for all Detroit area residents to #StayWoke and to continually #EducateToLiberate the marked surge in White supremacy in the Trump era, particularly as it manifests in this city.

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The age of Trump marks a curios surge in White supremacy activity nationwide and this area is certainly no exception. This weekend, Alt-Right attorney Kyle Bristow has convened a conference of like-minded White supremacists (to be held in a ‘secret’ location in Detroit), and this is not surprising given that this area is not unlike other metropolitan areas in this country, which have become a hub for White supremacist and neo-Nazi activities. Perhaps as a public and unprecedented show of the Trump administration’s support of such endeavors, Vice President Pence is uncharacteristically ‘visiting’ Detroit today as well…(things that make you go Hmmm).

As Bristow’s organization comprised exclusively of White men, Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc. spearheads this White supremacist conference event and America’s de-facto, alt-right spokesperson Richard Spencer converges on the Michigan State University campus on Monday, March 5, 2018 – it is imperative for grassroots and social activists, city residents and all people of good conscience to #StayWoke and not be lulled into a haze of complacency or mis-guided media propaganda. Informed activists have always suspected that the Fox-led media leanings to the alt-right intentionally focuses public attention on that which is reactionary or insignificant, rather than ensuring that we as a people are well-informed and proactive in our knowledge base. Therefore, it is our responsibility to monitor and effectively ring the alarm of such incendiary, White supremacist activities as they crop up nationwide. The prevalent surge in White supremacy is a poignant reminder of our collective obligation to be mindful of all of the Holocaust reminiscent ‘ethnic cleansing’ tactics of the Trump administration and to #StayWoke as we conduct our everyday lives.

Rites of Passage: In Celebration of Our Daughters

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’!

The Chickens Keep Coming Home to Roost

We live in a country that so readily sensationalizes violence, rewards mediocrity and de-values education that mass destruction in our schools, at the hands of young people no less, is America’s collective and inevitable inheritance.

The presence of an NRA-financed, bought and paid for, Nazi-apologist President only exacerbates this nation’s problems. His failed leadership and that of our equally culpable electorate, increasingly frames the U.S. as the laughing-stock of global civilization. Mind you our educational system has long suffered this fate only now, our politics and day-to-day life matches our sub-standard regard for knowledge acquisition.

There is no secret that Mis-education is the American way. For far too long we have allowed education to be an afterthought of our economic and political priorities. Adding insult to injury, we have intentionally designed schools to overwhelmingly fail countless Black, brown and underprivileged students (erroneously thinking the repercussions would be limited to those communities), and via our insistence on ignoring the neon blinking signs – school safety is now a relic of the past. So, it really comes as no surprise that our children have begun to effectively mimic the sins of their fathers in opting to resort to AR-Rifles rather than a sound education, to command attention and respect.

When our “Shining Black Prince”, the beloved Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, initially diagnosed America’s fate as synonymous with the inescapable reality of our own chickens coming home to roost in our very own corrupt and disreputable yard, he was widely disparaged for having been prophetic enough to speak the truth. Now that our children continue to die in mass numbers at the muzzle of assault weapons while in schools…the only real question at hand is how long must teachers, administrators and our children exist as sacrificial lambs at the altar of America’s contemptible priorities?

If I Could Dream Me A World…

Ego Trippin’ II (Too)…

Lovingly Inspired by Nikki Giovanni’s “I dream me a world” & “Ego Tripping”

 

If I could start over again, I would dream me a world of pleasures simple and love sublime –

 

With the Atlantic Ocean as my Jacuzzi and sacred steam bath; instead of the burial ground of so many of my ancestors who perished in the Maafa

My backyard would be the Garden of Eden

And of the fruit of these trees, you could taste eternal life…

No doubt, preferable to the “strange fruit” which perpetually rots the roots and negates the perennial beauty of Southern trees

 

 

The Step Pyramid would have been Jendayi’s playscape, and the entire world her oyster

And with the stars as her swing set,

The crescent moon as her slide,

And the Great Sphinx her regal, majestic jungle gym –

Her Shining, African Genius and

Her Love of Science and

Her own special brand of Black Girl Magic could really rule the world

Instead of fighting back against the limited possibilities of being born a Black Woman in Amerikkka:

Whereby her inheritance is my own, and that of my Mother before me…

Righteous. Revolutionary. Struggle.

 

 

If I could start over again and dream me a world of pleasures simple and love sublime –

The power of our very thoughts could determine reality

And Religion would be replaced with Spirituality,

And Preachers with Prophets

And schools with Real Education like…

 

A ‘Divinity school’ which teaches only one lesson:

 

That God dwells within and that ALL we need to know

We already know (and really did know, even before Kindergarten).

 

And to trust wholly in our Divine Oneness with God, and to know that

…truly all these things shall be added unto you

 

 

If I could start over again, I would dream me a world

of pleasures simple and love sublime… YEAH