Friday, July 28, 2017

Nana's Response to Mansa Musa's From the Plantation to the Chur-chation (Videos)

Nana's Response to Mansa Musa's From the Plantation to the Chur-chation 

In this video I will share my reaction to Mansa Musa's Facebook Post, "Moving From the Plantation to the Chur-chation" Modern day Religious Slavery and Its Devastation.

As I have mentioned in my previous video, this post by Mansa Musa caused a paradigm shift in my consciousness but not before I was struck with cognitive dissonance that had my mind reeling. I believe I can speak for many of us who have shaken off the trappings of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic constructs but have we really shaken off "religious slavery" or have we just replaced one for the other.

Today, it is unbelievable how much Christianity and Islam have impregnated the African. He has left behind his traditional beliefs and taken up Christianity or Islam. In my next video I will explore why and how Africans Embrace Christianity.

But let me add here, that, when attempting to determine the many religions that
exist in our world today, one is hard pressed to find any mention of African Indigenous Religion and or spirituality. It is as if it does not exist when in fact it is quite prevalent in many countries across Africa and the diaspora. The lack of any mention of African Traditional Spirituality smacks of blatant dismissiveness more than ignorance as far as I am concerned. It is hardly hidden from view. It flourishes in South America, particularly in Brazil where there is a very large number of African descendant folks and a store house of history about their determination to maintain their connection to the African Gods, despite the brutal incursions by the Portuguese. Or the revolt lead by Tousant L'Ouverture in Haiti. 

Clearly the omission of African Indigenous Religion is purposeful, particularly by day, yet engaged in by many of the elite by night. Some refer to it as Black Magic, or root work, or polytheism, but whatever the tongue in cheek manner in which they refer to it, the fact that these religions are absent when referring to the pantheon of World religions, says something about the so-called scholars who purport to be well versed in world religions. But that is not what this video is about.

In this video, I wish to share my responses to Mansa Musa and ask that you take this journey with us as we share our thoughts, impressions and experience on African traditional spirituality.

Nana Baakan's Response
Mansa Musa I quote; “what is your take on the African Traditional Spirituality rituals, lore, sacrifices, etc? Your article did not specifically point to this, and while African Spirituality is not called a religion, in effect many of the same things happen among the "worshipers".

Mansa Musa
Mansa Musa: My answer is; prior to the modern day religion as we presently know about it, African Spirituality was based on the worship of the Spirit as our God; it was never based on worshiping of God in a human form as it is presently been taught in most religions, simply because they never had a bible. They will worship the spirit of their ancestors and even up today, many of them still do. The purpose of paying homage to your parents or grandparents instead of any other known or unknown deity was because you knew of them personally and no one had to tell you to believe in someone you never knew or saw. 

Nana Baakan's Response: 
Yes, I agree that the Ancestors were most important to the indigenous people from all over the world before the advent of institutionalized religious practices. I believe that it changed when the elite, in their desire for power and control, began to create systems that would be meted out to the masses and protocols to go with them. With that process they were able to convince the masses that following these protocols would put them in more favor with the Creator and their Ancestors. In some instances, nowadays, you will find diasporic Africans making a separation between the Ancestors and the deities, pointing out that the deities are more powerful and should not be mixed into the same ceremonies as the Ancestors.

Having a long history in Traditional African Spirituality, I found that to be confusing because the Ancestors are most close to us through our blood lines, etc. But even with that, certain Ancestors were more highly esteemed than others, as it were, and there again, your personal Ancestors were taken a notch down. I am sure that the initial intention before all this, was for each human being to be responsible to themselves and their community and thereby having the motivation to leave behind a legacy that could be remembered and revered.

In Ghana, there is a strong emphasis on the Ancestors and no apparent separation, however those who manifest the deities are still considered the "elite" of the clan. And again, many rituals and protocols surround the ceremonies with a convincing narrative that it is for the protection of the worshippers "or followers.

Mansa Musa: "Man never created the spirit, but they created all religions and all religions have their own dogma or teaching based on control of the minds of the followers. Once my brothers and sisters remove the spiritual aspect out of that confine and start erecting building to house their meetings and for commerce, then it becomes more like a religion. Once men set themselves up as the head of any organization with the authority to dispense reward or punishment to a member, then it is practicing a religion." 

Nana Baakan's Response: 
You see, this is very, very prevalent among the Traditional African Priests and Priestesses. Many of them make money off folks, some, in dubious rituals and props. Others are victims of the institutions that were presented to them, and the protocols that were said to be appropriate for all Priests and Priestesses to follow. In doing so, you would gain favor from the Deities as well as heal the folks who come to you for help, mental, physical or spiritual.

What I have found, is that the "elite", who by not teaching the masses of their own inner powers and abilities to access the spirit world, but telling them they need/must come through them; has provided fertile ground for exploitation across the board. Many people in these traditions are slaves to it, paying and praying for release, support, upliftment from entities outside of them and not truly given knowledge of how to access it from within.

Mansa Musa: "So based on what you describe in the following paragraph, if such activities are now being practiced, they are indeed practicing a form of religion as far as I am concerned." 

Nana Baakan's Response:
This statement, along with your article hit me like a ton of bricks. Why? Because I have been in communion with Spirit, rather intently of late. The entire time that I have spent involved in Traditional African Spirituality, I have made a huge point of denying that it is a religion. I have gone through great pains to "call it something else." But what else can it be?

And what about slavery? Was it not a practice among the Africans before they were taken from the homeland? In fact, was it not something that was done after the many wars on the Continent? Not to mention the invasions, and land-grabbing, and wealth grabbing along with the capturing of the women and children?”

Mansa Musa: That is a very interesting topic that I have spoken about lots of times before. There are many  different forms of slavery that were practiced in the African continent. I will be very wrong if I was to say that there was no slavery in Africa before many of us were sold and brought to the western hemisphere. However, before you were shipped to the west, you were free people and when you were sold, and then you become a slave. What we have to take into consideration was that, once slavery was practiced from a biblical point of view, it gives everyone and their brother the right to do so. Because if you can prove to someone that your God sanction slavery because it was written in your holy book, then you are setting up the human race for destruction. Slavery as it is defined as the owning and selling of another human being goes contrary to the Universal Laws Of Nature or as I will say, it goes against the principles of Spirituality.

Nana Baakan's Response:
Here I must say that slavery was indeed practiced on the continent. Maybe not

Here I must say that slavery was indeed practiced on the continent. Maybe not everywhere, but surely on the West Coast where most of our Ancestors came from. Because it was familiar to them, I believe they did not see any wrong in it. It certainly "may not" have been as brutal or lengthy as in the Western Hemisphere, but after reading about the Golden Stool, how it was acquired and the circumstances surrounding those days in Ghana... I am not too sure. Surely there were many influences around the people at the time, but then, if today, someone would try to convince you, to buy someone else, I am sure you would think twice of it. To blame it on others, even the Bible, to me takes away man's complicity in it. Slavery is wrong, no matter how you slice it. You do not even see that practiced in the animal kingdom, as far as I know, so what would behoove a human being to do so? 

Your point about the Bible sanction of it, is very poignant. I would think that many folks would rather put their head in the sand about that one. But history tells it. Even in Islam, slavery was considered lawful, Prophet Muhammad came along to regulate it, not to destroy it. In the Talmud, you can read of the many hateful statements made about anyone who was not of the "Chosen People" and what their lot in life should be as a result. If we move away from the bastardized three world religions, we still must be aware of the incursion that happen among the indigenous folks and then beg to question.... is this about religion? or is it about man's inhumanity to man?

Mansa Musa: "The bases of Spirituality is that everyone was born free and should always remain that way until they are transformed into another dimension. As a human being, you don’t have that right to own what you cannot create, especially when you are also part of that creation. In the spiritual life, the slave owners’ suffered just as much and sometimes even worse than their slaves. Once you take it upon yourself to own something as unique as another human being, then you are saying or playing that you are a God." 

Nana Baakan's Response:
Would you agree then, that our world is in the shambles it is in for this very reason? One day, my seven year old daughter asked me after going to spirituality classes with me. "Mommy, what did African people do to be put into slavery?" Imagine?? The cognitive dissonance reigns supreme in White Supremacy camp and the Black Supremacy camp. Each denying their responsibility for the destruction of civilizations.

Mansa Musa; I know nowadays, many African countries are quickly adopting the Christians and Muslims way of life and also start having the same type of problems like those who they chose to follow. ..........What they don’t understand is that’s another human being who was also created by the same God, that they are now destroying. The only sad difference is that those people chose to worship a different God than theirs......main foundation for most of those crimes against humanity. 

Nana Baakan's Response:
Here I must totally agree with you. I think that you are one who must take this issue up from a certain perspective. And since you are in the position of giving lectures, then you are able to bring this truth to the masses. It is a hard pill to swallow, like I mentioned before, the cognitive dissonance is pervasive on both sides of the aisle. But like I mentioned before... there was slavery in Africa, before the Bible. there were tribal wars, raping and pillaging going on before the Whites and the Arabs. That is why Africans were subjugated in the manner they were. They were already weaken by their differences that were exploited by the invaders.

Mansa Musa: "There is no bias on my part for my African traditions. Africa is and has become just as developed as many other parts of the world. However, from a spiritual point of view, the way the people used to worship prior to the intervention of many other religions is what causing many of the problems today." 

Nana Baakan's Response: 
Indigenous Africans before the Bible did not fight religious wars as we see them today, but they did fight wars over land, power, control, resources and military might. To me, that made them ripe for the picking. It was easy to supplant a spiritual methodology over it and make it appropriate in that manner. There are African people who lived so far back up in the bush, they never saw the likes of Western style slavery, however, among themselves, the power grab of who was better had become prevalent among them. I would like to take you with me on this thought.

As indigenous people, who know all was part of Creation, therefore to harm one was
to harm all. When it was introduced among them, that some are better than others, then the divide occurred. This is what humanity has done for the thousands, if not millions of years it has inhabited this planet. They then began to Create Gods/Goddesses to prove that because of their relationship with these Gods/Goddesses they were superior. They created among themselves an elite class of Priests and Priestesses, Chiefs and Queen mothers, leaders, etc. who were to be honored, cherished, followed and worshipped. Again, I point to the separation of the masses into haves and have-nots, powerful and powerless... long before the bible. This is present in African Spiritual Traditions that pre-date the invasion of Biblical teachings.

Your article catapulted me on my journey of understanding and innerstanding myself as I express myself in this reality. I had a shrine house where people came to pay homage to my shrines and ancestors. They brought "gifts" and they asked for help. While I claimed not to be a religion, I too was suffering from cognitive dissonance. I too was in denial that what I was doing was different than my christian/muslim/jewish counterparts. I set myself aside from the others, because I believed that what the indigenous Africans did was good and holy.

I looked away from the power grabs, the lust for power, the covetedness, back biting and scandals that went on.

I also believed in the punishment that would come by virtue of the Gods disfavor. How is that different? Not at all.

Mansa, you may not even realize that you were poised to place your ideas on my facebook wall as a result of my call out to the Universe. It matters not, that we agree on every issue, or see it in the same light. In fact, our different perspectives on it, is truly a blessing and a gift, one human being to another, and I thank you for allowing that urging to manifest there.

Mansa Musa: "the Bible is just like fire, you can use it to do a lot of good things with it and you can take it to do a lot of evil things also, but the bible is just that, a book, it is neither good nor bad, but the way you chose to use it."

Nana Baakan's Response:

In closing, I would replace Bible with any religion that is used for the purpose of subjugation instead of elevation. Thank you so much.

In a Facebook post "Ayizan Jekele" wrote:
For those of you in Ifa. Thank you for your adherence. 
For those of you in Vodun I respect your respect for ancestors. For those of you who gather for Akom I honor you. For those of you who make offerings in Candomble I treasure you. Many blessings to those of you who visit Sangomas and listen to them. From the tip of our continent to the cape, from Madagascar to Trinidad, all over the globe I salute those Africans who keep our spiritual traditions healthy and alive. You inspire me and have taught me. Inspire and teach your children. They may turn their back today but perhaps their children will find the path to who we are. Sankofa. We are pushing on. The numbers don't matter. The quality matters. The integrity matters. On both the west coast and the east coast I have come across groups who are working to make sure we know who we are. They are working to help us unite. We aren't there yet but we will be. We are all in AIR (African Indigenous Religions) and we are sisters and brothers in the world's oldest, most mature, most powerful spiritual traditions. Each individual will die but our traditions are eternal. Thanks to you.

Nana Baakan's Response: 
Thanks Ayizan Jekele for sharing. Holding on to the true and deep essence of the Ancient African Spiritual Traditions is what most needs to be kept alive. We get caught up in the politics, and economics the pomp and circumstance. We forget, that the true essence of AIR is about our "Natural" connection to all of creation.  Once that is achieved we can say proudly that we truly have made our Sankofa journey. All the pomp and circumstance will fade away, leaving us truly unclothed, unhindered, unshackled and unbeholding to anyone or anything but our true genuine connection to All That Is.

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