of water and the spirit: ritual magic and initiation in the life of an african shaman

Grandfather used to call the rain ‘the erotic ritual between heaven and Earth.’ The rain represented the seeds sown in the Earth’s womb by heaven, her roaring husband, to further life. Rainy encounters between heaven and Earth were sexual love on a cosmic scale. All of nature became involved. Clouds, heaven’s body, were titillated by the storm. In turn, heaven caressed the Earth with heavy winds, which rushed toward their erotic climax, the tornado. The grasses that pop out of the Earth’s warm center shortly after the rain are called the numberless children of Earth who will serve humankind’s need for nourishment. The rainy season is the season of life. Yes, it had rained the night before.
—  Malidoma Some, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman
Overcoming the fixity of the body is the hardest part of initiation…there is a lot of unconscious resistance taking place. There is also a great deal of fear to overcome. One must travel to the other side of fear, crossing the great plains of terror and panic to arrive at the quiet one feels in the absence of fear. Only then does true transformation really begin to happen. It feels strange to not be afraid when one thinks one should be; but this is the condition of the voyage to other worlds. This metamorphosis cannot happen as long as the body is weighed down by heaviness. One must go through a process of relearning, enforcement of these lessons, and the consolidation of new knowledge. This kind of education is nothing less than a return to one’s true self, that is, to the divine within us.
—  Malidoma Patrice Some - Of Water and the Spirit: ritual, magic, and Initiation in the life of an African shaman.
No one can tell us who we are or how we must live. That knowledge can be found only within. To deny our true nature can only cause us tremendous pain…you cannot be who you truly are until you can put what you remember into action in your life.
—  Malidoma Patrice Some - Of Water and the Spirit: ritual, magic, and Initiation in the life of an African shaman.
As long as we are not ourselves, we will try to be what other people are. If these people are also not themselves, the result is terrible.
—  Malidoma Patrice Some - Of Water and the Spirit: ritual, magic, and Initiation in the life of an African shaman.