Dedicated to the Memory of LaNisha Simon. I had not yet met her at the time the events in this diary took place. However, this is the diary that focuses the most on fashion and adornment. As trivial as we may try to make it, we have always been a people who took great pride in our appearance, no matter the occasion. It made me think of LaNisha, her beautiful spirit, and her wonderful contributions to the world of fashion. I dedicate this diary as a literary libation to the memory of LaNisha Simon.
1982 – 2022
Sankofa. It means to go back.
To give thanks and praises to the Creator, regardless of the name in which we call Him/Her.
To remember our ancestors, we know not by name, and their ultimate sacrifice.
To remember our recent ancestors, and the wisdom their lives left behind.
To reflect on where we have been, to be clearer on where we are headed.
This is my personal diary of the last decade of experiences with attending Sankofa: The Caravan to the Ancestors, hosted by the Houston Chapter of the National Black United Front….and how these experiences changed my life.
The intent of this is not only to inspire all who have attended a Sankofa: Caravan to the Ancestors to share their their stories, but to bring an artistic and literary perspective to the history of this ceremony. The art of storytelling has long been a part of ancestral tradition.
2015’s diary gives my reflection of the ancient and elegant beauty of our people.
Hear the audio version of these diaries infused with old skool music and other mystic teachings on 222.9 The Mothership Internet Radio, and read the written part of this diary on www.poeticallymused.org/echoesoflegacy.
Pataki. Oni mi Ojo Abameta, Owara Medogun, Odun Egbawa Medogun
Merindilogun ojo Ogba Ooru.
Translate: Diary. Today is Saturday, October 15th, 2015, 16 days into Autumn Equinox.
The day vibrated on a 6, a day of manifesting material values.
The Moon was waxing in the 9th house of Sagittarius.
It was a 8 year, a year of infinity and ripeness.
The energy of this year was better than before! I was growing more active in the community, more comfortable in my beliefs and practices of the ancient ways, and going deeper into my creative side with bottle art and jewelry. By now, Oya had been identified as my orisa mother, and life was making more sense to me than ever before! My work as a spiritual counselor was gaining momentum. While I loved it, cabin fever was setting in, and I longed for the water. This year for Sankofa, I didn’t want to go too deep. I went this year to give offerings in gratitude, relax my mind, have some fun, and love on me some black people! This year’s caravan felt the most organic of all of the diaries!
This year’s Sankofa found me at the NBUF house, adorning with the other ladies in the house. Group adorning is a whole other energy from when you’re doing it alone. The feminine energy was ancestral, complete with face painting, makeup, sewing, fixing each other’s headdresses, and even the collective effort in fixing the zipper on my dress when it got stuck. We all helped each other look our best, and it was amazing.
This was the first year I rode with the actual NBUF Caravan, escorted by the Houston Police Department. This year marked the first time I experienced the ceremony held in front of the NBUF house before loading in the cars to head for Galveston. We formed a circle right there in the front yard, where we gave thanks and praises to the Creator, the Egungun, Esu, and Ogun for safe travels. Then, all who didn’t have a ride there were to step into the center of the circle, so those who had room in their cars could offer a space, ensuring no one was left behind. Beautiful.
I ended up in the backseat of a car belonging to a mystic merchant named Sade Perkins. Remember in the last diary entry when I said caravan was for connecting, or should I say, reuniting with new spiritual family? Well here it happened again. We enjoyed laughter and refreshing conversation all the way to the beach. After that, we were butterflies. Parting ways, bonding with others and just saturating in the ceremony…just something about those drums.
This was the Sankofa in which I was the most social, losing more pliable and letting myself enjoy life in this divine moment. I took the time to enjoy the fashion parade, and everyone looked amazing in their different expressions of white. Much like in ancient times, those different expressions of white were clues to the energies of persona. The elder priests and the officiating were adorned in their elaborate crowns and robes of traditional cloth. The women were various expressions of divine feminine beauty, not at all stingy with assescories or tribal designs on the face! The men looked relaxed and handsome. In this frame of life, we were a
mosaic of beautiful black people. We knew it and we were basking. The ancestors were clearly happy that year because it seemed to host a lot of laughter. I participated in the group ceremonies and danced in the drum circle more this year than I did the other three years I went. Our ancient ways saturated my being more and more every year I attended Sankofa. It became a holiday I held in higher regard than any other holiday I ever celebrated, except my solar returns. Every year brought new discovery, new revelations, new understandings, and new connections. This one was no different…an enhancement to my improving life…and when it came to fashion? I found myself laying out what I’d wear to Sankofa like I’d lay out my Sunday clothes.
I was given the honor of sharing poetry at the Luncheon following the beach ceremony.
I did my first rendition of “The Whispered Symphony,” dedicated to the ancestors, and all they have done. Gratitude.
Ase in Love,
iiiYansaje T. Muse