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.
2016’s diary gives my reflection of two very important sisterhoods born that would impact my life in a major way. This diary features an excerpt of an episode of 222.9 The Mothership Internet Radio’s Podcast, The Cosmic Ear Hustle, that features Nana Sula Spirit’s part of the this story! 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 Meridilogun
Merindilogun ojo Ogba Ooru.
Translate: Diary. Today is Saturday, October 15th, 2016, 16 days into Autumn Equinox.
The day vibrated on a 7, a day of completing old cycles.
The Moon was full in the 1st house of Aries.
It was a 9 year, a year of intense shedding and radical changes.
Life had spun me a cocoon on Truxillo Street. Not quite a home, but a studio. Studios are for work, and I was the project. The art was the work on self, and all else centered around it. I was in the center of much-needed demolitions to make way for new structures. This year was really deep for me, and couldn’t wait to get to the water.
This year for Sankofa, I joined Queen Ohemma Zaid for the trip to Galveston. She came for me right at dawn, and helped me loosen up some. I didn’t realize how guarded these changes made me and it sure felt good to let my hair down. As always, my energy instantly relaxed at the sight of the water. Now don’t get me wrong. The beach in itself is relaxing on any trip one would take to see Yemonja. That’s what she does. When you add that to a collective ancestral presence, it takes the energy to another level. The more I allowed myself to open my spirit to the blessings of this ceremony, the more I got out of it. This year, I not only received much, but I was blessed to give. This year’s theme was “Seeking Peace for Our Souls and Hearts.”
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.
See, what had happened was…earlier this year, I met an interesting man, but not in a romantic sense. He more so reminded me of an uncle, or distant relative, as he was double timing through the Shrine of the Black Madonna. We met in Oya’s domain, the marketplace. Since then I’d been seeing him everywhere. I knew better than to call it concidence, yet he was too familiar to call it eerie. He was an Ifa priest, crowned by Ogun who would one day be my godfather. He was the first person I greeted at the water, sitting next to my future godbrother.
We were in the thick of dancing in joko(the ancestors speak) in the drum circle. When singing to the orisa Oya, a certain woman caught my eye. I knew immediately I had a message for her because when I saw her, everyone else disappeared. They were a blur of spinning white, as if they became a physical embodiment of Oya’s whirlwind. She saw me too, but danced in the other direction, running away from me. It was to no avail. Oya was already on her path. We danced around each other for a few more drumbeats until Oya planted our feet face to face. We embraced, and I allowed my spirit to speak to hers in words I cannot recall. She received greatly, and a sisterhood was born. That sister, is Nana Sula Spirit. I glanced over at the tent where the elder were sitting, and for some reason, a couple of the elder priestesses were smiling, and even laughing at what they saw. The energy felt positive, yet deeper that just a laugh.
Oya is a shapeshifter indeed, because in the next moment She shifted my energy from an ancient vessel to a child. I caught the gaze of an elderly woman. We were a similar height(ok she was a few inches taller, I’m short) similar complexion, and she long, long, locs flowing from under her white hat. She embraced me, and her energy was very healing. The next thing I knew, I was involuntarily following her all over the beach for hug after hug! It was like she was Mama Goose and I was Baby Duck. Little did I know that I was chasing an Iyanifa, crowned by Yemonja who would one day be my Yeye. Time has yet to reveal this.
I saw Nana Sula Spirit at the luncheon, and she blessed me with the most amazing gift. It was a double CD set titled, “The Spirit of the Orisa,” by the Zion Trinity. It was her music. How did she know I loved music? Spirit always knows….
I did a lot of meditation with this CD often for the following year. For me, it resonated better than singing bowls and OHMS. It was the spiritual music of my native ancient essence. It was as if Oya was preparing me to receive Her crown the following year, and she sent this preparation through Her other daughter.
“The Spirit of the Orisa,” music is featured everyday from 7am to 9am CST on my 222.9 The Mothership Internet Radio’s sunrise set, “The Rising Bembe.”
Ase in Love,
iiiYansaje T. Muse