african spirituality

The concept of sticking pins in a doll used to inflict pain on others is not traditional in the practice of Haitian Vodun. Dolls/figurines have been used as symbolic icons on shrines or in rituals to represent the Loa/Lwa (Divine forces of nature). 


Voodoo dolls are now commonly found in New Orleans, Louisiana; this is due to the mix of spiritual practices including Vodun, Hoodoo and European magical practices.

Some Western African practices use figures with and nails and pins in them they are known as nkisi. However instead of being used to inflict pain they are essentially a container of spiritual forces that are used for healing purposes. 

The concept of revenge dolls can be traced back to medieval European folk magic with use of poppets, effigies of specific people, which were used to place curses. The poppets however were also used for positive purposes such as healing and bringing good luck.

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The Yoruba Orisha Part 1 (Part 2)

An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba religious system. (Olodumare is also known by various other names includ
ing Olorun, Eledumare, Eleda and 

Olofin-Orun). This religion has found its way throughout the world and is now expressed in practices as varied as Candomblé, Lucumí/Santería, Shango in Trinidad, Anago and Oyotunji, as well as in some aspects of Umbanda, Winti, Obeah, Vodun and a host of others.

These varieties or spiritual lineages are practiced throughout areas of Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Togo, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela among others. As interest in Yoruba religion system grows, Orisha communities and lineages can be found in parts of Europe and Asia as well. While estimates may vary, some scholars believe that there could be more than 150 million adherents of this spiritual tradition worldwide.

(Please note many Orisha have male/female personifications)

Click here for a Brief understanding. 

Courtesy: James C. Lewis (http://www.noire3000studios.com/)

Do not remove the original comments.
THE ANCESTORS RESIDE IN OUR DNA:
“Pour one to the homies”
The act of pouring liquid (usually an alcoholic beverage) on the ground as a sign of reverence for friends or relatives that have passed away.

Libation is an ancient way of prayer. A petition is made while pouring water or alcohol to the Creator and to the passed over ancestors, for their assistance with our human affairs. The libation is symbolic of invoking these energies, it is at this point where the prayer is stated plus giving thanks and appreciation for the guidance and blessings received. Libation is also carried out funerals and to commemorate loved ones
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Voices of the Gods (in full)

This documentary captures the rich legacy of ancient African religions practiced today in the United States. It provides viewers with rare insight into the practices and beliefs of the Akan and Yoruba religions and illustrates how mass media has been used to ridicule and denigrate these belief systems. Voices of the Gods provides intimate and respectful studies of an Egungun ancestral communion ceremony and daily life in the Yoruba village of Oyotunji in Sheldon, South Carolina, the only traditional African village of its kind in the U.S. today. directed by Al Santana. via

for more information on the director, click here. for more information on the film, click here

African spiritual systems predate all religions and all other spiritual systems. It’s not hard to understand this because humanity started in Africa. Many invasions by outsiders, slavery, and colonialism led to the destruction of the African civilizations.

One thing that is devastating is that Africans are very spiritual people by nature and their conquers would make it a mission to rid them of their native spiritual systems. They would beat, kill, rape, demoralize, and propagate Africans away from their native spiritual forms.

Today many people believe that systems like “voodoo” are “evil” this is a western interpretation that has plagued the world. Many Africans have actually internalized that their native spiritual systems are inferior to that of the oppressors. Like ALL religions and spiritual systems there is “good voodoo” and “Bad Voodoo” meaning there are good ways to use voodoo and bad ways. Anyone realize The KKK identifies themselves as Christians? They sure do have some “righteous” ways , huh?

Back to my post this propaganda about voodoo plagued the world. Many Africans abandoned their native spiritual systems and adapted their conquerors. Today a lot (not all) of Africans don’t even realize this because they don’t teach the true history in schools just like they don’t in America. A colonial influenced spiritual system is the only one that is accepted.

Interesting fact? The Haitians prayed to the God “Ogun” (God of War) before they defeated the oppressors for their freedom. Ogun is an Orisha from a spiritual system considered “Voodoo” …I guess voodoo (Vodou) can’t be all that bad, huh?

Food For Thought

Post Made By @Solar_InnerG
vimeo

The United States of Hoodoo

The United States of Hoodoo explores the influence of African spirituality, traditional religions, customs and Culture brought to the Americas by with the people taken during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, in American popular culture.
It is written by Darius James and Oliver Hardt and directed by Hardt.

Documentary overview The United States of Hoodoo is a road trip to the sources of black popular culture in America. The film’s main character is African-American writer Darius James who is known for his often bitingly satirical and self-ironic texts on music, film and literature. The film’s story begins when Darius´ world is turned inside out after his father´s death.

Uprooted from his life in Berlin, he unwillingly returns to his childhood home. All that remains from his father is his mask collection and a cardboard box filled with ashes. His father had been a painter and sculptor, his work drawing deeply on manifestations of African-based spirituality.Yet while he lived he fiercely rejected any idea of being inspired by the old gods of Africa.

Back in a house that is now his, but not quite, Darius finds himself confronted with many questions about his own life. In need of answers he sets off on a search, not for his roots but for traces of the spiritual energy that fueled and informed a whole culture.

It is available for digital purchase and download from Amazon.

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Osun Osun (pronounced O-SHUN) Is the Yoruba divinity of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She literally is the personification of beauty and sexuality. As the guardian of Oshogbo, Which she retains, to this very day, she holds a unique place in the pantheon of  Yoruba orisa. Yoruba mythology tells how the town of  Oshogbo was founded and survived due to the protection of Osun. The Oshogbo is the last and Largest Orisha grove still standing in Yoruba land (Now known as Nigeria) today. 
Importance in Yoruba culture

According to Yoruba elders versed in ifa, Osun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Osun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore, she is believed to be omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba proverb which reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Osun, as well as her followers.

Osun is the force of harmony. Harmony which we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. She, according to the ancients, was the only female Irunmole amongst the original 16 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “Yeye” - the great mother of us all. When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Osun due to her femaleness, she removed her divine energy (called ase by the Yoruba) from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain. It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging for Osun’s pardon (as advised by Olodumare) that the world could continue to be created. But not before Osun had given birth to a son. This son became Esu/Elegba, the great conduit of ase in the Universe, the eternal and infernal trickster.

Osun is known as Iyalode, the “(explicitly female) chief of the market.” She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers, she dances, flirts and then weeps- because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.

Osun’s significance

Osun, for all her beauty, sexuality, and wealth, arouses distrust in  many Western women. For Osun men, who reflect her energy, the path is somewhat easier. In one sense, the very power of her movement for quintessential femininity could be seen as an impediment to the movement for women’s equality. Not only is this not true, but (seriously) Osun would never give up her dominance and settle for equality! Osun is an energy force focused on the present  and intimately connected and comfortable with all sensual pleasures. If you were forced to give a one-word description of the energy quality of Osun and her children,  it would be sensuous. 

In Yoruba mythology contains reference after reference to the beauty of Osun, but beauty is often culturally or societally defined. Her children can be short or tall, skinny or fat, young or old, fair or dark,  but they will all have a tangible sensuality that often transcends the current standard of beauty or attractiveness.  Those in touch with that  energy, regardless of their body style, carry themselves and behave in a manner befitting the most beautiful movie stars. If you have ever been at a party where an overweight man or woman, for example, acts as if he or she were the most  handsome or beautiful  creature there,  walks about  exuding charm and the absolute confidence that  you will  be smitten by those charms, you have been in the presence of a child of Osun totally in touch with his or her orisa energy. That energy, that sensuality, is the core and essence of Osun and her children. 

This sensuality is not a casual or hedonistic energy. It helps Osun and her children accomplish the single most important task in the life of Ifa devotees: conceiving and bearing children. The magical moment of conception is made more probable when both participants reach full sexual expression. 

Osun’s sensuality epitomizes the powerful, sexual female that Ifa extols. It is through this transcendent sexuality that conception can take place and our Ori called from heaven to share its next journey with the newly created fetus. In the philosophy of Ifa, children are the greatest single blessing that people can achieve. Though Osun is more than just a conceiver and deliverer of babies, it is this one aspect that places her in a position of prominence in the lives of her children and of all Ifa devotees. And though all orisa can help women who are having trouble conceiving, Osun more than any other is capable of giving children to the childless. 

The sensuality of Osun also offers us an opportunity for transcendence, a chance to be open to the world of spiritual energy through orgasm. During orgasm we experience pure feeling, and afterward we are better able to cope with our routine responsibilities. That, in great measure, is what the world of spiritual energy is all about—it replenishes our energy. 

It might seem that, because of her obvious and overwhelming femininity, Osun would have no male devotees. But that’s not true. There are many male omo Osun. For all her abounding femininity, Osun does carry a male energy component, who is known as Ikoodi Osun. 

He is the messenger of the male sexual energy necessary to complete the act of conception. Male omo Osun represent the same sexual and sensual intensity in male form that daughters of Osun represent in female form. To put it simply, male Osuns are usually quite sensual and are uniquely aware of and responsive to female sensual needs and desires. The true male lover, as opposed to the performer, will likely be a child of Osun. 

Osuns Sensual energy

The sensual energy of Osun is not limited to sex or conception; this same sense of total involvement is what provides Osun’s children with the road map to wealth and love. Ifa understands that money is a necessity for fully exploring and appreciating the beauty and spiritual This sensuality is not a casual or hedonistic energy. It helps Osun and her children accomplish the single most important task in the life of Ifa devotees: conceiving and bearing children. The magical moment of conception is made more probable when both participants reach full sexual expression

The sensual energy of Osun is not limited to sex or conception; this same sense of total involvement is what provides Osun’s children with the road map to wealth and love. Ifa understands that money is a necessity for fully exploring and appreciating the beauty and spiritual prayers to even hope for her forgiveness. Her children have much the same trait. They are easily offended, and once genuinely injured, they will cross you off their list forever. 

Osun both loves her children and provides them with the finest of everything: beautiful clothing, fine food, vintage wine, and colorful jewelry. Their love of fine things has a certain down side as well. Osun men and women must be careful not to overindulge, as extra weight or portliness is always a risk.  Osun is intimately acquainted with and adept at witchcraft. Her children have an almost instinctive ability to work freely in this area as well. Those in touch with their energy will find themselves drawn toward spells and ebos designed to strongly influence the behavior of others. With all the natural allure and sensuality of Osun, witchcraft seems almost superfluous. 

Those who cannot handle flirtatious behavior had better find a mate other than an omo Osun. Though it is not imperative for Osuns to act out the flirtations, they do thrive on constant admiration and attention. In Ifa mythology Osun was originally married to Orunmila but was attracted to and married Sango. In so doing she left Orunmila and took Sango away from his original wife, Oya. It was said Sango built her a glorious brass palace where she bore him the blessing of twins. Since that time brass has been the special metal most associated with Osun. Her children should wear brass bracelets to help connect with her energy. In the same context, children of Osun will seldom get along with children of Oya. In the visceral recesses of time, the injury and hurt felt by Sango’s loyal wife Oya at losing him to Osun has not diminished or faded away. It is an undercurrent that almost invariably will strain any relationship between these two powerful orisa. 

Children of Osun (People who Osun is the Orisha of the their head /Basically people born with predominantly Osun energy)

Osun’s heightened sense of life creates a number of idiosyncratic traits in her children. One of the most perplexing to me is what can be called the “vote syndrome.” Osun’s children, perhaps because of their sensitivity about how other people view them, will invariably ask a host of people their opinion about something the omo Osun is considering doing. They may ask four or five or twenty people the same question, 

“What do you think about … ?” After they have completed their poll, they will do whatever they want or feel is right regardless of the opinions the others expressed. Why then take the vote? Only Osun and her children can answer that question. Osuns favor bright colors, music, dance, and excitement. An omo Osun, tired from the everyday workplace, will find her energy replenished by going out and having a good time. While other orisa seek peace or seclusion as a means of recharging, Osuns can play or dance into the wee hours of the night and awaken refreshed the next morning. For those living with or loving an Osun, understanding this is extremely important. If you try and fetter Osuns you will not only drain their energy, you will create a situation they will eventually leave. 

In the workplace as well, Osuns need excitement or, at the very least, people contact. To place an Osun in a cubicle running a computer for forty hours a week would be the equivalent of an emotional death sentence. When Osuns do not understand this energy or attempt to exist in an inappropriate atmosphere, they become emotionally stressed and physically ill. The worlds of fashion, cosmetics, acting, photography, television, public relations, hairdressing, or modeling are environments in which omo Osun would thrive and grow Children of Osun will love her waters and find themselves able to fill up with her inexhaustible energy by swimming, sailing, or even soaking in a perfumed bath. 

In Africa her followers wear necklaces of brass beads and favor the color yellow. The peacock is symbolic of her beauty and bearing, and five peacock feathers adorn the thrones of Osun. Mirrors and fans, along with shells and brass combs, are among the symbols that cater to and help connect her children with her. Fish are her divine messengers, and the catfish is of particular importance as an ebo or offering. It is believed that the tentacles on each side of the catfish mouth are charged with energy similar to that of the orisa. Honey, both as a symbol for sexuality and for her appetite for it, is a regular offering to Osun. Her children will often go to the water’s edge and slowly pour honey into the lake or stream while asking Osun for the favor they seek. 

Osun Oshogbo Sacred Grove  

The Osun-Osogbo or Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove is a sacred forest along the banks of the Oshun River just outside the city of Osogbo,Osun StateNigeria.

The Osun-Osogbo Grove is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. Every year Osun-Osgogbo festival is celebrated, Osun- worshippers come from all walks of life to celebrate this day.

In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Legacy

Carried to the new world during the middle passage by descendants of West African diasporic faiths like Santería/Lukumi ( In the Caribbean) and Candomblé (In brazil) this divinity developed in the Americas. In Cuban SanteríaOshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba’s patroness. In Cuban Lukumi tradition, Oshun has many roads, or manifestations. In Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, She is worshipped with the name spelled Oxum.

“Can you name one African God? How can you then define yourself, the very true essence of yourself and the very essence of your soul and organise the very nature of your life here on earth based on a god handed to us by our slave master and say that you have no slave consciousness?” Dr. Amos N. Wilson.

 Ancestral Voices: Esoteric African Knowledge

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Native American and Afrakan Spirituality

Animism: The belief that the the supreme being lives in all things. Nature is alive and filled with spirits that can communicate. Some energies are agreeable and some disagreeable.

1. Hold the principle that the supreme beings is in all of nature, so one must respect nature in live with nature. Humans are not above nature or animals but coexist with it. E.G. Native Americans would pray to a buffalo before killing it. Noting that one day there spirit will occupy the body and they will understand the reasoning to.


2. Yoruba tradition holds also that there is a cure for everything in the world. Every plant has a cure! And that the ultimate cure is found in self. But one must have patients. Nothing happens instantly!

3. Native afrakans believed that the stars,animals,plants have a direct effect in humans!

4. Nature as a shrine. Njelele shrine, Bulawayo Zimbabwe. Tutuventiwngwu(Hopi ethnic ) Willow Springs

5. Passing scared knowledge,religious rituals and traditions.

6. Dance was a form of prayer. Dance invites the presence of particular spirits, depict the history of a particular spiritual or honor the dead.

7. Masks: Kwele masks of Gabon are used during initiation ceremonies and or at the end of a mourning period
Potlatches commemorate major events in a family history

8. Ancestor Veneration: Death is a mere passage from the human world to the spirit world… In many Afrakan societies the ancestor occupy more devotional attention than god supreme!

9. Beadwork: shows social status

10. Totem poles: Shows social life

11. Mother water!

YORUBA AFRICAN ORISHAS: These are the gods & goddesses of the IFA Religion which originated in Nigeria West Africa. Due to the slave trade the religion spread to Brazil, Cuba, The Caribbean and several other areas around the globe. There are over 400 Orishas however, approximately 20 key deities are still readily known and worshipped. 

An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba religious system. (Olodumare is also known by various other names includ

ing Olorun, Eledumare, Eleda and Olofin-Orun). This religion has found its way throughout the world and is now expressed in practices as varied as Candomblé, Lucumí/Santería, Shango in Trinidad, Anago and Oyotunji, as well as in some aspects of Umbanda, Winti, Obeah, Vodun and a host of others. 

These varieties or spiritual lineages are practiced throughout areas of Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Togo, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela among others. As interest in Yoruba religion system grows, Orisha communities and lineages can be found in parts of Europe and Asia as well. While estimates may vary, some scholars believe that there could be more than 150 million adherents of this spiritual tradition worldwide.