Which African spiritual traditions can you practice if I don’t know where in Africa your lineage is from?
Here is some ideas to help you on your journey.
Research and start learning about your country and links to Africa.
This could help you start looking into traditions that may have been used by your ancestors.
If you have access to elders from your family or community they may have some knowledge or clues to help you start learning.
As you learn, you can also begin practicing and see what works for you.
Even if you don’t know who your ancestors are, they know you.
Use some discernment, intuition, spirit guides and ancestral messages to help you on your journey.
Give it time, there is no rush to commit to one religion or spiritual tradition. It's ok to learn, explore, be curious.
I think it’s also ok if you are not fixed in one tradition because many people across Africa lived together for generations in the diaspora.
For example Jamaica received the highest number of enslaved people from 1) Nigeria, 2) Ghana, 3)Benin/ Togo. Also, other areas in Africa would also make up this mix.
The practices would have also been influenced by the indigenous Tainos and to also the colonisers beliefs.
All African spiritual traditions have broad commonalities and beliefs, with a different flavour due to language, landscape, culture ect.
Just because the trans Atlantic slave trade disrupted the lineage physically, it doesn’t mean spirit cannot be reclaimed.
Another modern day option is to take an ancestral DNA test as this can give you further help and add a piece to your history.
I would highly recommend this, not as a definitive answer, but as a reclaiming what has been taken for most of us.
I have created some affirmations for healing in relation to ancestral wisdom.
Ancestral connection is a key aspects to African spiritually.
When someone leaves the physical body, the spirit still remains whether that is in the form of reincarnation or becoming an ancestor.
There is no division between the spirit world and physical world.
Within one west African cosmology the belief is the spirit remains as long as they are named and remembered.
I've been researching and studying African spiritual traditions for maybe 3/4 years and it has given me hope, connection and healing.
African traditions are demonised and misunderstood in the mainstream due to hundreds of years of colonial violence and indoctrination.
However, times are slowly changing and people are more aware and open to learn about these rich and diverse traditions.
I recorded an IG live about divine destiny from an African spiritual and black feminist perspective.
In the Dagara tradition a diviner will know the destiny of a child before they are born.
The community is responsible for nurturing the child's talents and destiny. This is a beautiful way of being I aspire towards living one day.
However, it's quite rare to have our talents and gifts supported within the colonial, capitalist, patriarchy.
There are still the traditional expectations to get a secure job, with no regard if it makes you happy.
Then get married, buy a house, have children then live happily ever after.
We have so much more of our life to explore outside and within these ideals.
I've rarely been asked if I'm happy and fulfilled. Have you?
When we follow our true desires that go against the above formula of womanhood, there is a lot of push back and critique.
Being independent, speaking our mind, doing things different is still not accepted within our male dominated culture.
We are told to be polite, be nice, be girly, be agreeable.
The negative messages we receive about who we should be extinguishes the passion and fire of many.
The antidote is the ancient African practice of community support and healing.
Having a community of like minded people genuinely cheering you on is powerful.
One of the ways I've started to find community is through my IG pages @healing_space_bipoc and @african_spiritual_traditions
I've connected with so many like minded people, who also want to do things different in a more grounded and spiritual way.
Without this community, I would not have made so many new friends, learned so much. It also helped me get my new job!
Within African spirituality mentoring is also key, having someone to guide you along unfamiliar paths and give you support.
I've been fortunate to have some amazing mentors and teachers in the past few years including Dr Rosales Meza, decolonial seer, Asha Frost, rainbow medicine woman and Luvena Rangel yoga philosophy teacher.
I have been able to move forward in profound ways with support and expertise. I used to be someone who thought I had to do it all by myself and muddle along as best I could.
I'm now good at receiving help, which used to struggle.
As we well as having teachers and guides along the way I found my voice to step into the role of mentoring for BIPOC women, femmes and non binary people.
When the path seems long and unclear, I can shine a light on the road ahead and walk with you.
This mentoring is for all healing, holistic and spiritual practitioners who want support and encouragement to take the next steps on their journey.
This could be those who have a business or simply a calling or passion.
I can do spiritual and practical to get things in motion and make dreams a reality.
If you'd like my guidance and support replay to this email to arrange a zoom chat to see if we are a good fit.
The details for my mentoring can be found by clicking the blue button below.
Recently I was talking with my boyfriend about how upset I was about the UK government wanting to send people seeking refuge to Rwanda and how racist and inhumane it would be.
We both felt some despair and hopelessness about not being able to do anything.
After the conversation I felt deflated and almost resided to the fact people will be racist and BIPOC have to put up with mistreatment.
Around this same time I had been deep diving into researching Harriet Tubman for the upcoming workshop African Sheroes of Turtle Island.
The thought popped into my mind, what would Harriet Mamma Moses Tubman do or say in this situation.
It completely shifted my energy from inaction, to fired up and hopeful that myself and the collective good can and will do something.
Harriet Tubman was a determined women, she never give up and despite all the odds against her she did some unbelievably amazing things in her life for the greater good of her people.
At 5 feet tall, being unable to read or write and having a life changing disability she escaped slavery and walked 100 miles solo to freedom.
She then went on to free 80 africans and navigated across hundreds of miles getting them to safety.
This is just a few of the exceptional things she did in her lifetime.
Learning about and sharing stories of African sheroes, like Mamma Moses gives me hope and strength to overcome obstacles.
I know it inspires others who join these workshops, whether it's to take the next steps on their spiritual path or introduce a new character to their new book. (This is the feedback from two of our previous workshop attendees).
The African Sheroes of Turtle Island workshop is now available to purchase on a replay.
You can see the details by clicking the button below.
The practice of obeah is an African derived spiritual tradition created from various countries across west and central Africa during the transatlantic slave trade.
This practice was made illegal in Jamaica in 1760 and was also illegal in other Caribbean countries including Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and many more.
The violent suppression of African spiritual traditions by the British coloniser’s, was due to Tacky's revolt that took place in Jamaica in 1760, this was the biggest enslaved uprising in history at this point in time.
The Obeah men and women were integral in this rebellion as they performed an important role in unifying the various African groups together.
The role of the Obeah men and women was to boost the morale of the fighters by performing rituals where each person made an oath to the cause and provided spiritual protection.
Sadly this uprising was unsuccessful and the British colonists noted the importance of the obeah men and women and captured, beheaded and displayed them for all to see.
All things related to Obeah and Africanness were heavily punished and were forced to be practiced in secret. Christian colonialism also played a crucial role in demonising and punishing Africans for practicing their own religions.
These legacies of British colonialism can still be witnessed in many countries today, where African practices are wrongly equated with evil and devil worshipping.
As someone who is Jamaican heritage I thank all the ancestors known and unknown who continuously fought for freedom and against all odds and all oppression they maintained their commitment to African liberation and freedom.