This article was written in 2018.
I was born in the UK in the 1970’s to first generation Jamaican parents; I am now in my forties, a professional, married with two children.
As a child I had been brought up in the African Methodist Pentecostal Church but by my early 20’s I rejected Christianity and other religions, as after studying Pan-African political history, I believed, a more culturally relevant theology would be African Spirituality. However, in honesty, for most of my life I didn’t really know or understand what it was.
For many years I had read much on what many and I believed was the pinnacle of African high culture and societal development, ancient Kemet (Egypt). To my mind, the ancient Kemetic mystery system was the basis of all religions and as such, I had decided the principle of Ma’at was to be the spiritual principle I would follow, but in truth, it, the 42 Negative Confessions and the Book of Coming Forth by Day, all core pillars of the belief system, I only understood intellectually. I didn’t have a spiritual connection or understanding; I only hoped that at some point I would.
My journey to becoming an African Spiritualist began in October 2017 as I became aware of ‘Ancestral Voices’ when I received a text containing a link to the DVD trailer. Out of curiosity I watched the trailers on the link and I found myself drawn to the information. It seemed to be discussing African Spirituality in a way I had not heard or seen before. It was not coming from a specific cultural perspective e.g. Akan, Yoruba, Ndebele, ancient Kemet etc. but incorporated them all and demonstrating the golden thread linking them.
I read the glowing comments on the YouTube page for the ‘Ancestral Voices 2’ DVD and book and knew I had to know more. I visited the Ancestral Voices website, read all the information explaining what they hoped to impart and bought the ‘Ancestral Voices 2’ DVD and book.
What a revelation! My life was changed; I felt a burning need to take action to tackle what I had learnt.
Further, I now strongly felt that the authors, brother Dalian and sister Verona Adofo, were building on the greats before them and consulting spiritual adepts across the world, in order to join the dots regarding understanding African Spirituality, so that what seemed unconnected information was now a cohesive whole. Additionally, the book and DVDs showed that there were many tools that Africans had developed to understand the life force/spirit that all existence past, present and future are a part of. The tools depended on our place in time, our location and language we spoke, therefore, the tools have many names: Vodoun, Dagara, Kemetic Mystery System, Obeah, Ifa, Candomblé, Dogon. None were more correct than any other, they were just the methods the Spirit gifted to humans to understand reality. Most importantly for me, ‘Ancestral Voices 2’ drew information from across the African world to encourage us to practically engage with African Spirituality because to truly begin to understand you couldn’t intellectually describe it, you had to experience it.
Amazingly, ‘Ancestral Voices 2’ provided practical directions to utilise African Spiritualistic rituals common across the world and time, which we could start to practice immediately. Further, it encouraged the readers/viewers to utilise the Creator within us, also known as, intuition to guide us. Therefore, we could become our own priests or conduits to interpret the messages from our ancestors and the Creator, it didn’t matter the language we used or the part of the world we lived.
So using the information within ‘Ancestral Voices 2’ I began to practice African Spiritualistic rituals, and from the moment I made the decision to do so I began to receive spiritual messages and insights from the ancestors and the Creator. I was astounded, and the more I stopped trying to intellectually explain my experiences and just go with the flow and experience it, the more they came – daily.
My first step was to erect an altar in my house so that I could have a spiritual focal point in my home. A place to perform daily meditation and prayers, a tool to allow me to connect with my soul (the Creator within) and the ancestors. As I practice Kwanzaa, I had many of the items needed to erect an altar except I didn’t have any crystals or stones. In fact, I didn’t know which crystals or stones I should use or where I could buy them from an African vendor.
Shortly after deciding to erect an altar, I was invited to a Black History Month celebration; at that celebration a vendor was selling crystals and stones. A coincidence? I believe not, this was the Spirit answering my request. I looked at the crystals and stones on offer and let my intuition guide me on what I should purchase. I chose quartz and shungite and the vendor taught me that quartz helps a practitioner to communicate clearly and spiritually while shungite repels electromagnetic radiation and is good for spiritual protection generally.
I knew by instinct that I was meant to come to that gathering and purchase this crystal and stone as their properties were what I personally needed. I was amazed, I had asked the Creator to assist me and I received the assistance I needed.
I had decided that the altar I erected should have on it symbols that exemplify both male and female energies as I was learning that the Creator is both father and mother. As I began to pour libation during my ritual, 6 magpies began to appear in my garden over the next 2 hours. Further, these magpies in my garden were not skittish and there was no food for them to eat, as far as I could see.
I needed to understand what the messengers from the ancestors meant. So once again using intuition I was guided to a shamanistic guidebook called ‘Animal-Speak’ by Ted Andrews. Within this book I learnt that magpies symbolise balance of male and female energies. Also that the number 6 symbolises: Home, service and family. The ancestors were informing me that I was on the correct path.
Once more the Creator was demonstrating to me that that there is no such thing as coincidence all experience is part of the Great Plan devised by the Divine Intelligence.
The Creator and ancestors continue to send so many spiritual messengers to cross my path to help me understand my journey and my Divine Purpose, such as: more magpies, cats, seagulls, squirrels, crows, horses, donkeys, robins, ducks, cranes and swans and even the constellations Auriga, Cassiopeia, Leo Major, Leo Minor and Orion to name a few.
The most amazing revelation came from the Creator, as I was praying/meditating in front of my altar staring at the candle flame. I was gifted with an understanding of all creation as a manifestation of the divine thought of the Creator and the ancestors’ role in this manifestation.
It was revealed that our flesh/experience of reality is an expression of our soul. Our soul being an extension of our ancestors and the spirit world/dimension. Our ancestors being our pathway/link to the Creator, necessarily being our intermediaries to the Creator. I now understood that we have a direct link to the Creator as he/she is all things including us, but on different vibrational wavelengths that the physical mind cannot perceive as it is distracted by the unreal expressions of the divine thought. Therefore, to perceive reality we must be in touch with our soul, which will allow us to connect to the ancestors and through them the Creator. It is this that I now understood that the Ancient Kemetians described as the ‘Fire’.
“Develop the life giving fire, few know how to use it and fewer how to master It.” – Egyptian Proverbs – Temt Tchaas by Muata Abhaya Ashby.
This understanding was like the opening of a lock, so that the spiritual concepts I previously struggled to understand, I now understood in a deep spiritual way.
For example, the 10 Virtues of the Initiates to Ma’at:
1) Control your thoughts.
2) Control your actions.
3) Have devotion of purpose.
4) Have faith in your master’s ability to lead you along the path of truth.
5) Have faith in your own ability to accept the truth.
6) Have faith in your ability to act in wisdom.
7) Be free from resentment under the experience of persecution.
8) Be free from resentment under experience of wrong.
9) Learn to distinguish between right and wrong.
10) Learn to distinguish the real from the unreal
– Egyptian Proverbs – Temt Tchaas by Muata Abhaya Ashby.
Further, I now understood why a very insightful and useful psychological self help book I read years ago called ‘The Tools’ by Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels resonated with me. It was because they were using African Spiritual concepts. The philosophy behind The Tools is based on three pillars of thought:
Thinking about higher forces is useless, you have to experience them.
When it comes to spiritual reality, each of us is his own authority.
Personal problems drive the evolution of the individual.
These are ancient African spiritual concepts that sister Verona and brother Dalian explained so clearly and with such insight in ‘Ancestral Voices 2’.
Further, the Creator called on me to re-read the prophetic, insightful and deeply African Spiritualistic book ‘Two Thousand Seasons’ by Ayi Kwei Armah, as I would now understand things that were impenetrable before. Sure enough this beautiful book is now clearer. Particular passages now appeared to reflect the Ancestral Voices work and all the works of the African Spiritualists consulted to produce it:
‘The reign of the destroyers has been long. It will be longer. But what is our present despair against the sharp abandonment of those first snatched away to waste? What puniness is this our anxiety against the howling agony of their murdered soul?
Remember this: against all that destruction some yet remained among us unforgetful of origins, dreaming secret dreams, seeing secret visions, hearing secret voices of our purpose. Further: those yet to appear, to see, hear, to utter and to make – little do we know what changes they will come among. Idle then for us to presume despair on their behalf; foolish when we have no knowledge how much closer to the way their birth will come, how much closer than our closest hopes.’
‘Our Way begins from coherent understanding. It is a way that aims at preserving knowledge of who we are, knowledge of the best way we have found to relate each to each, each to all, ourselves to other peoples all to our surroundings. If our individual lives have a worthwhile aim, that aim should be a purpose inseparable from the Way.’
‘Our Way is reciprocity. The Way is wholeness. Our Way knows no oppression. The way destroys oppression. Our way is hospitable to guests. The Way repels destroyers. Our Way produces before it consumes. The Way produces far more than it consumes. Our Way creates. The Way destroys only destruction.’
‘… all we did would be nothing, less than nothing , if we forgot the Way away from which all action is waste motion, if we forgot to seek the peoples’ understanding first.’
My spiritual journey is just beginning and I am absolutely sure that I am on the correct path. The daily spiritual messengers I receive and the understanding I have been gifted with evidence this. This is not a coincidence, luck or a mental breakdown as this spiritual awakening, has taken me to a place that I finally understand what my beautiful wife has been telling me for years.
I am very far from perfect and often fall short of Ma’at but one of the greatest gifts that the Creator has led me to understand is that every time I fail I gain greater understanding of myself, my Divine Purpose and the strength to persevere.
‘Everything is a teacher’
‘The self chooses the proper instruction for self’
‘Evil as well as good, both operate to advance the Great Plan’
‘To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements for the instruction of the children of God’
– Egyptian Proverbs – Temt Tchaas by Muata Abhaya Ashby.
I end with my personal Kiswahili affirmations: