“BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”

December 20, 2006

MY LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SENTINEL,MARCH 21,2005

MY LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SENTINEL,MARCH 21,2005

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SENTINEL

‘BLACK

IS BEAUTIFUL’

As I viewed the two beautiful

black women on the cover of

the December 13, 2004, Sentinel,

“A journey toward

peace,” I could only think of

how far the Church of Christ,

Scientist, has come.

Growing up as a black

Christian Scientist in Kansas

during the l950’s, I encountered

racism in the church,

such that my grandmother,

who had introduced us to

Christian Science, felt she had

been passed over as First

Reader because of her race.

Now we have a dutiful

black President of The Mother
Church, who is relating to the

black community. A black

Gospel choir singing in The

Mother Church—unbelievable!

(Black music is what I

miss most being in a “white”

church such as ours!)

“It is well!” Black is becoming

beautiful in the Christian

Science Church!

MRS. YEYE AKILIMALI

FUNUA OLADE

ADEYIPO VILLAGE, OYO STATE

NIGERIA

AFRICAN KING (for Alali)

December 18, 2006

AFRICAN KING
You have given of
Yourself.
Shared with
Me
Your tenderness
Your warrior strength
Has
Protected me
Your Imhotep mind
Has inspired me
Your passionate warmth
And love for Black
People has
Turned me on
Asante*!

*Asante: Swahilli for “Thank You”

by Sister Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade

BLACK JESUS CHRIST WITH WOOLY HAIR AND AN EARRING!

December 16, 2006

REMEMBER THAT J.A. ROGERS IN HIS BOOK “SEX AND RACE”,3 VOLS.,SHOWED A PICTURE OF WHAT HE CALLED THE ONLY KNOWN LIKENESS OF JESUS CHRIST ON A ROMAN COIN,NOW IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM WHERE ROGERS SAW IT.
PICTURED WAS JESUS CHRIST WITH WOOLLY HAIR AND AN EARRING!

AFRICAN SPIRITUAL VALUES CAN HELP US BLACKS IN AMERICA TO RE-DISCOVER OURSELVES!

December 8, 2006

Writer Crusades to Bring African Healing to Troubled America

(From Africana.com website)

by David Johnson

Although the West African nation of Burkina Faso usually ranks as one of the world’s poorest countries, it has a spiritual wealth that rich nations lack, according to a traditional African healer and writer. “Burkina is very rich in spiritual life and in communities,” said Sobonfu E. Somי (pictured with her husband, Malidoma), a Burkina Faso native now living in Oakland, California. Somי said that although Burkina Faso is technically poor, life is often easier there than it is in the United States, and there is much that Africans can teach Americans. For those who want to learn, Somי provides many important cultural lessons in a new book on African healing traditions, Welcoming Spirit Home: Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community, which was recently released by New World Library of Novato, California.

In a recent interview, Somי discussed the cultural distance between Africa and America and the messages contained in her book. Somי said isolation is one aspect of American life that makes it particularly difficult. In her homeland, and in Africa in general, just about everyone has an extended family ready to help with life’s problems. “It is the support of communities that makes a person keep his self respect in a crisis,” Somי said. “Wealth is not determined by how much we have in our bank accounts but by how many people we have around us and how much our spirit, soul, and heart have to offer.”

According to Somי, not only is financial wealth a false measure of the quality of life, materialism can be an obstacle to spiritual fulfillment. “If you have so much stuff around you, you are worried about how to keep it up,” she said. “It gets in the way of your spirituality.” Somי said that when she visits her village in Burkina Faso and shares photographs of her American apartment, people are surprised at the overabundance of material possessions. “The elders see collecting material objects as a way of actually keeping yourself away from spirit, of ‘stuffing’ yourself until there is no room for spirit,” she writes in her book. “When this happens spirit could be at your door knocking and you can’t answer it – there is no room.”

Although she admitted “it is always challenging to bring the spiritual into the material world,” Somי explained that in the face of constant stress and overwhelming activity, ritual can put people back in touch with the earth and with their inner values. Her book draws on rituals and practices involving community, birth, miscarriage and children. While many of the rituals she discusses are common throughout much of Africa, Somי draws specifically on her own village of Dano in southwestern Burkina Faso, and her ethnic heritage as a Dagara, one of some 60 ethnic groups in that nation.

Dagara rituals involve healing and preparing the mind, body, spirit and soul to receive the spirituality that, according to Somי, is all around us. “[The Dagara] don’t see things as separate, they see things as one whole package you have to deal with,” she said. “It is important to cleanse the body physically and spiritually so the spirit who comes here doesn’t come into a whole mess.”

“It is very important to look at pregnancy, birth and miscarriage, not as mechanical processes,” she said, “but as a series of steps that need to be acknowledged.” Ritual can help bring children into a caring, supportive environment, Somי said, adding that Americans are frequently more involved with their careers and other interests than they are with their own children. “So far, I haven’t seen any country that can survive without children,” she said. “[Americans] ignore children and they look for acknowledgement in other ways that are not always healthy.”

Somי suggests creating a shrine in your home as a way of taking the first step on a spiritual path. “I definitely recommend shrines because shrines are a doorway to the spiritual world,” she said. Creating a sacred space for prayer and meditation in your home can be easy, since it only requires everyday items. Objects should represent the five element classes of the Dagara – fire, water, earth, nature and mineral. Water should be present, preferably in a blue bowl, since blue represents water. A bowl of fruit, and/or soil, represents earth, while a small potted plant or a twig can signify nature. Bones, stones or metal can indicate mineral, while fire can be portrayed by a mask, ashes or, if possible, a fire. Photographs, pictures or other meaningful personal items can be used to individualize the shrine.

Colored candles may also be used to represent the elements. Blue or black candles, representing water, promote peace and reconciliation and improve concentration. Somי recommends water rituals for those under stress. Red candles symbolize fire, which enhances vision, the ability to communicate with ancestors, and dreams.

White candles represent mineral, which facilitates memory, as well as connections to other people. Green candles symbolize transitions and permit magic to occur, while yellow portrays earth, creating grounded energy, fertility, and a sense of identity. Other rituals in the book discuss cleansing and bathing. Somי explained that bathing with certain herbs can also have beneficial effects. She said, “Lavender and sage are very important, since they cleanse the body as well as the spirit.”

Another ritual of great importance involves the proper naming of children. Somי noted that her own name means “keeper of the rituals, keeper of the knowledge,” which has been appropriate for her work. She said that if a child is named improperly, negative energy could build up and send him in the wrong direction in life. During a naming ritual, the expectant mother is put into a trance and the elder village women interview the baby in the womb to determine its character.

Another traditional practice had direct impact on Somי’s life. In 1992 she was married to Malidoma Somי, in a ceremony arranged by village elders. The wedding was unusual in American eyes since Malidoma was not only absent from his own wedding, he did not even learn he was married until some time later when he received a letter from his parents. Malidoma was teaching comparative literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor at the time.

While she said her marriage is now “delightful,” Somי conceded the adjustment to an arranged marriage was hard on Malidoma at first. “There he was, an educated man with two PhDs and three master’s degrees,” she said. “It was a challenge.” Also challenging to many Americans is the African concept that marriage is not simply a private affair between two individuals, but a set of relationships between two extended families. “You may marry a whole tribe, a whole village, a whole family,” Somי said.

Malidoma and Sobonfu now teach African spirituality together. They are also involved in the Friends of the Dagara Water Project, which funds water irrigation projects in the Dagara region of Burkina Faso. Somי explained that the Sahara Desert is marching south at the rate of several miles each year. “It’s scary and very frightening,” she said; savage dust storms from December to February regularly obliterate the sun and make people ill.

Whether working on an African environmental preservation project or instructing readers in Dagara rituals of spirituality and healing, Somי has carved a niche for herself as an African resident in America, rooted in her ancestral homeland and quick to share African cultural gifts with new American neighbors. Welcoming Spirit Home and Somי’s first book, Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient Teachings in the Ways of Relationships, are available through the Africana Media Center.

For more information on the Friends of the Dagara Water Project, contact: Echoes of the Ancestors, P.O. Box 4918, Oakland, CA, 94605-6918, or visit their website. For information on the Dagara people, African healing, or on several books by Malidoma and Sobonfu, visit the Malidoma website.

About the Author

Sources: Sobonfu E. Somé, Welcoming Spirit Home, Encarta Africana.


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