Atare = Agbon = Odidere…

 The Magic of Ataré..”Grains of Paradise = Alligator Pepper”

Guinea Pepper is so called because it is a native plant from the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Other common names for this spice are Guinea grains, melegueta pepper, and grains of paradise.  Alligator pepper is a West African spice which corresponds to the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum Danielli. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum Melegueta. However, unlike grains of paradise which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds.

The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family of flowering plants, native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed, the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back. It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine, where it imparts both pungency and a spicy aroma to classic West African soups (stews). Often, a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added as a flavoring to West African soups. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavor.

It can open the way to communicate with the Orisha and Ancestors, it is the key ingredient in countless Sacrifices and literally there is no major initiation that can proceed without having a bit of its Ashé. It can also be used for protection and even to set wrong doings.In the Orisha community Ataré is also known as Pimienta de Guinea. 

When babies are born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of Alligator Pepper (Atare) shortly after birth as part of the routine baby-welcoming process, and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets. Alligator Peppers and kola Nuts are presented to guests at the top of the agenda and prior to any other food or entertainment. Prayers and libations are made together with kola Nuts and Alligator Pepper.

Ataré is important because its energy awakes our bodies & spirit, it increases our Ashé, it makes our words carry the heat of creation and it opens doors to the realm of the Ancestors and Orisha. However, the value of Ataré goes beyond the spiritual reasons our bright Ancestors recognized centuries ago.

                         *** Agbon = The Coconut Oracle ***

 Coconut Palm Tree = “Tree of Life from heaven” 

There is no doubt that the ritual of breaking the Coconut has its origins in Hindu practice. There is no doubt that it is performed by people of all religions today in India. It is even performed in enterprises conducted by the state, which are supposed to be truly secular.

Smashing the coconut is symbolic of annihilating the Ego and Humbling oneself before God. Whenever a work of magnitude is undertaken it is natural for the persons involved to feel a sense of pride at what they are setting out to achieve or what they have achieved. This ritual indicates that the actual “doer” is God and humans are merely instruments in his hands. Coconuts are also broken before the deities in temples during normal worship. Again, the philosophy is the same – complete submission to God.

Coconut Palm Tree is called the ‘Tree of Life’, ‘The tree from heaven which gives all that you desire’ by those living in coastal areas. As a thanksgiving to God and a symbolic gesture, for the path to Self Realization which you tend to forget in the midst of the stress and strain of day to day living.

*** Coconut is a symbol of selfless service to the almighty. Each and every part of the coconut is of use to mankind. Nurturing a Coconut tree does not require much effort. It can grow all on its own and serves the mankind in many ways.

The Evolution of Obi Abata to Coconut: Divination is performed using four pieces of Coconut meat in Santería Lukumí.  When the Lukumí people were abducted to Cuba, they found themselves in a different climate where many of their native plants did not grow. Kola Nuts do not grow on the island of Cuba, and yet the Lukumí people needed to perform Obí Abata divination to begin restoring their religious practices. They decided to innovate and used Coconut meat instead of kola Nut (Obí Abata). By cracking open a Coconut and extracting its meat then dividing it into four pieces, they developed a suitable alternative for Obí Abata divination. Over the years, and with the loss of fluency in the Lukumí dialect, Santeria adherents fell into the habit of referring to Coconuts as Obí since they were being used in the Obí Abata system of divination. But in the strictest sense, the Lukumí word obí actually refers to Obi Abata, and Agbon is the proper word for Coconut.

*** Coconut water is an essential spiritual item which stand for mystery and parity. We are require to apply Coconut water to this great bath ritual rites to purify ourselves. What we are suffering from is unknown to us, our enemy is known to us, items they used for the evil spells are unknown to us: mystery. For our deliverance to reach 100% purity, Coconut water must be involved. Remember, literary, coconut is been used to reduce or dilute the effectiveness of drug. The amount of injury, harm, pains, and suffer our enemies leveled against must be fight using mystic force of Coconut water.

*** The Coconut is an independent object of worship… A coconut  The fruit of God, alone is also used to symbolize ‘God’ While worshiping any deity. The three eyes of the coconut represent the three eyes of unknowns. In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a Coconut. It is also offered occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. In traditional ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshipers. The Coconut also symbolizes selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc, is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc.

Parrot =  Odidere = Ayekooto :  The World Reject Truth

The Magic in a Feather: A Feather Found***A Gift From SpiritThe Birds are sacred and special in various ways and thus make them to be different from other Birds. One of these Birds is a Bird named Parrot =  Odidere = Ayekooto which means = The World Reject Truth… because they believe the Bird is strictly a Bird that say nothing but the truth. This Bird is a special bird with many beautiful features and brilliant characteristics that makes it different from just any other Bird. Legend has it that during the Ancient times of myth, animals including Birds speaks and understand the human language. And it is believed till this day that Odidere = Ayekooto still retain this special mystical power to speak, hear, and understand the language of human.

Parrot spirit animal is the wise teacher of the power of your words, spoken or not spoken, for even the silent. Words in your mind are driving you forward, having dominion over your choices and the paths you take. Parrot reflects to us the immense power of our inner mind. Parrot spirit animal shares his wisdom; to take care in the words you speak and the secrets thoughts you carry.

In forest one can easily see other Birds like pigeon, sparrow, dove and even hawk. But to see this Bird named Parrot = Odidere you will have to go deep into the thick deep forest because it is not a common Bird, and even the nest of this sacred Bird is hardly seen by people. It is even the belief that the egg of Odidere is a sacred object that cannot be seen by a mortal, and thus make it so rare to be seen in open places. The feather of Odidere is used by royalty and it is a symbol of the elite. A symbolic special Bird that combines its beauty together with its mystical attributes… (Obatala Odidere-Crown Ogbe Ose)

Parrot is symbolic of truth telling = Speaking from the center of the heart. As Parrot speaks back to you the words you have spoken, you hear your own words with no filter. This is a powerful reflection of self, as you able to recognize the truth of your own words and what you are communicating or you will be reminded of the secrets that you are keeping, or the untruths that are being told. Parrot is a great teacher of communication and brings guidance and assistance in your ability to communicate that which you really feel.

Feathers come from Birds and so are thought to be magical by association. Birds have long been regarded as messengers to the Gods, as Ancient people believed they would carry messages to and from the heavens. Birds were the only animals who could defy gravity, and so they were sacred to many cultures around the world in old times. Because of this, their feathers were regarded as gifts from the Gods…and today if a feather is found it is said to be a gift from Spirit—be it a person’s spirit guide, angel, or deceased loved one. There is something special in every found feather, and feathers can be used to bring good things into one’s life. Every Bird’s feather contains the power of the Universe… Feathers are magically ruled by the element of Air. But each feather also can hold other special powers; depending on the bird it came from, its color and place of discovery and other factors.   

The feather represents the element of air, of the intellect and the realm of thought, which is the first step toward creation. Bird feathers are symbols of the wind, the mind and new opportunities. Finding a feather can also be a sign that we are connecting to the divine and the creator God. Finding Bird feathers is a reflection of change and of reaching new levels of consciousness.  

*** Orisha Worshiper practices open pathways to the sublime in all of us, and foster a deep and loving respect for all that lives through stones, crystals, trees, plants, animals and humans themselves. To the Worshiper, all is alive, all is sacred and all is connected in a cosmic web of beauty…  

  Reference Sources: Wikipedia =

Ogbo Edan *** Ogboni Society…

*** Good Character Is What Adorns A Man…  

Ooni Adesoji Aderemi Ile-Ife Yoruba

Ogboni  =  known as Osugbo in Ijèbú  is a fraternal institution indigenous to the Yoruba language-speaking polities of Nigeria, Republic of Bénin and Togo, as well as among the Edo/Benin people groups. The society performs a range of political and religious functions, including exercising a profound influence on regents and serving as high courts of jurisprudence in capital offenses. Its members are generally considered to be part of the nobility of the various Yoruba kingdoms of West Africa.

Though versions or lodges of this fraternal group are found among the various types of Yoruba polities – from highly centralized kingdoms and empires like Oyo, to the independent towns and villages of the Ègbá and the Èkiti. The Ogboni are recognizable for their veneration of the personified Earth (Ilè or Oduduwa) and their emphasis on both authority and benevolent service to the community. While membership in the Ogboni generally signified a high level of power and prestige, the society held pre-eminent political authority among decentralized groups like the Ègbá, where they were intimately involved in the selection of rulers that served as little other than figureheads in practice. In contemporary Yoruba land, Ogboni members still command great power and influence in the affairs of their societies, although this is largely due to the history of their respective chieftaincies and not to any official authority.

Ogboni lodges were one of the main commissioners of brass jewelry and sculpture in pre-colonial Yoruba land, using the metal’s rust-resistant qualities as an apt metaphor for the immortal functions and beliefs of Ogboni adepts. The most recognizable of these symbols was a pair of Ogboni initiates, one male and one female, attached by a chain and worn around the neck. The pair are thought to symbolize the attachment of the sexes in procreation and balanced society. Generally, one or both figures will hold a thumb in the grip of the opposite hand, demonstrating the paramount Ogboni handsign denoting initiation and membership.

Various fraternities in Nigeria have incorporated references and insignia from the original Ogboni, including the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity, the Indigenous Ogboni, and various others. Many of these contemporary societies combine elements of Ogboni’s historical functions with superficially similar institutions like Freemasonry and the Rotary Club.

Olori Oluwo Ogboni Ibadan

Similar traditional institutions combining political, judicial, and sacred duties exist among the various ethnic nationalities of southern Nigeria, including Nze na Ozo in Igbo-speaking southeast Nigeria and Ekpe/Ngbe/Ugbe in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. Initiatory secret societies are a common feature of pre-colonial government across much of West Africa and Central Africa.

Oluaye Oba Ogboni Agbaye

History and Structure: With regard to how to describe the Ogboni,  members of the Ogboni “society” would likely take offence at having their organization referred to as a “cult” or a “secret society” and would probably refer to themselves as a “lodge” similar to that of the Masons. In Nigeria the Ogboni are commonly referred to as a “secret society” by Nigerians, but that Ogboni members would likely self-identify the group as a social club whose members help each other in matters such as commerce, marriage. Consequently, in this Response the Ogboni will be referred to as a Society. There has been a lot of “cross-fertilization” between the Masons and groups such as the Ogboni, since there are many Masons in Nigeria and that they have been there since the 19th century.  

  The traditional Ogboni society was part of the checks and balances system of the Yoruba kingdoms. They were kingmakers, and disposed of both a religious as well as a judicial function. They had also the power to dethrone the Oba (the king) and could order him to kill himself. They are thought to still dispose of considerable local influence, forming part of the traditional power network to regulate societies and control resources. It is assumed that through their membership they also have strong connections to official state structures.  

  First we have the Osugbo gbede which is normally referred to as being owned by the Oba. This is for the Oba’s chiefs. There is Ogboni Aborigine fraternity of Nigeria, there is Iwule Ogboni and it is believed to be for the elderly four. Firstly we have Ogboni Out Ife, there is Ogboni Arapa Nika, this came from Akoko in Ondo State, there is Ogboni Ara Ife, there is Ogboni Akala, and there is Ogboni Agamasa, Ogboni Ogenete and also the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity which came out of Ogboni Aborigine.  

 The Osugbo’s being titled chief of the Oba can however attend functions of the Aborigine because they are respected members of the society. It is therefore not expressly possible for a member of one society to gatecrash into another’s. Asked to state when the traditional Ogboni was created, the Oluwo Ogboni Aborigine, Iledi Iyadamilola I, Imota Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Akinyemi said nobody could say when Ogboni started. “What is known about Ogboni is that they existed before the advent of colonialism, they ruled with the Oba, they governed and adjudicated matters in traditional ways and they were so meticulous that even when the colonialists came, they found the system so formidable that they coudn’t tamper with it,” he explained.  

  *** Ogboni society, including its history, structure, rituals and Sources indicate that information about the Ogboni society is limited. Several sources also indicate that they are referred to as a “secret” society or as a “cult”.   

Ogboni Society…

Historical Background: Ogboni society is an “assembly of elders” that created a cult based on the cosmology of Yoruba.   The Ogboni considered themselves as the “privileged intermediaries between the Living and the Ancestors”. They venerated mother Earth or goddess Earth, Sources indicate that the Ogbonis acted as the “check and balance” against the power of the king to the point of having the authority to remove him if necessary. The Ogbonis had judicial functions, their primary role was the preservation of the “Ife oracle”.  Priests of the Obgoni society are often called on to consult the oracle to determine a number of sensitive issues, such as Ancestral support for the King. In fact, members of the Obgoni society are Guardians and Protectors of the Divine Oracle and Laws. The Ogboni society was the highest court in Yorubaland, with the power to judge powerful individuals that did not face justice in the open judicial system.  

Apena Ogboni Oranfe

The only Yoruba parts of Nigeria where they still have some real influence on the traditional administration of the cities are in the Egba, Egbado and Abeokuta parts of Nigeria.  However, the Ogboni still have “quite significant” influence and power over the affairs of the nation. Nevertheless, the political integrity of both the Ogboni Society and the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity “has been called into question given their strong links with Freemasonry, the Rotary Club, or the Rosicrucian Brotherhood”.  All Ogbonis are under the authority of the political leader, referred to as the Alafin, who has the authority to convoke the priests into “extraordinary sessions”.   However, the structure of the Ogboni society is a “secret that only an Ogboni member can answer,” risking death by poisoning.

Rituals and Ceremonies: particularities about the rituals and ceremonies of the Ogboni society are a “Secret that Only an Ogboni Member can Answer,” risking his or her own death. Membership is open to Yorubas and other ethnicities, and that men and women are eligible for initiation within the society, although the “predominance of Male Elders is undeniable”.

The society is “potentially very dangerous for individuals who join them”.  Even though positions within the Ogboni society are not inherited, if one person’s parent was a member of the Ogboni Society, and that person had been exposed to their activities meetings held at his or her parents’ house while the child was present so that over the years the child grew up knowing the identities of the Ogboni; or the parent deliberately pledged that his or her child would become a member.  In most situations, individuals deliberately and voluntarily join these societies because they want power, financial rewards, and success….  

Lanre Awoyemi Oluwo Ejaloninbu

*** The Apena was the spokesman of the Ogboni society which was a central and important institution in all Yoruba states. The Ogboni has been defined as a ‘secret and ritually united corporation of political and religious leaders and its special priest. The Egba Ogboni as the ‘real leaders of the town’. The Ogboni was once the civic court, the town council and the Electoral College… In principle the Ogboni stood between the King and his subjects, preventing the one from being despotic and ensuring the proper subordination of the other.

Oluaye Oba Ogboni Agbaye & Ogboni Society of Cuba                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reference Sources: Wikipedia =

Orogbo = Bitter Kola Spiritual Benefits…

*** I have tasted and eaten Orogbo in the physical state of existence. Let my voice and my life attract longevity and sound health in the universe. The force behind Orogbo gives us  the power to enjoy longevity in the universe. Yearly , we set our eyes on Orogbo  at the market place.  I have eaten Orogbo in the physical existence let me live long , live old and live well in the world – let me live a life dignifies of an Orisha devotee before joining my Ancestors.

Orogbo = Bitter Kola…Garcinia kola is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. It is found in Cameroon,  Congo, Danxome, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Bitter Kola also known as Garcinia kola is a tropical flowering plant found in western and central Africa and it produces brown, nut-like seeds. A brown to deep brown peel covers it. This peel is removed before it is eaten. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when it is eaten. It is this bitterness that its name is derived.

It has been used in African culture for centuries for both traditional and medicinal purposes.In Yoruba land it is called Orogbo. The Hausas call it Miji-goro, while it is called Akiilu by the Igbos. Amazing health benefits of bitter leaf Bitter Kola was eaten mostly by the elderly people because of their belief that it could prolong life. Bitter kola can act as a serious healing tool because of its strong spiritual properties. Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing; Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool.  Used in special protective rituals for suppressing enemies.

The legend concerning the appearance of Bitter Kola states that Kola nut was the original food of the Gods. One day, while visiting earth, one of the Gods left a piece of this nut and people consequently found it.  Since then, the tree stake and the fruits of this plant for their stimulant effects have gained popularity of having some spiritual benefits of bitter kola; they began to be used in the sphere of magic or as a kind of an aphrodisiac. Benefits of bitter cola: wide range of effects The fruits of Kola tree have varied medicinal uses, especially in Nigeria. Bitter kola is primarily used as a tonic and stimulant, for the treatment of dysentery, fever, vomiting, and exhaustion. Bitter kola can act as a serious healing tool because of its strong spiritual properties.

Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing; Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool. Used in special protective rituals for suppressing enemies. Bitter cola can ease the flow of asthma, it can act as an antioxidant and diuretic. Its use enhances alertness and improves physical performance. It improves mood, suppresses appetite and stimulates libido – because of the caffeine as one of its components.

Negative Energies affect people and cause distress to them through their subtle energy. Negative energy can create a variety of problems such as depression, unclear thinking or malfunction of an organ which lead to even further difficulties such as addiction , financial problems or chest pain respectively. Negative Energy : The primary weapon used by negative energies is a spiritual energy capable of manipulating any process on the Earth plane. The extent of this manipulation depends on the strength of the attacking negative energy.

 Bitter Kola Benefit for Food Poisoning: In many rural areas of West Africa, when food is suspected to be contaminated by bacteria or someone accidentally eats food poison, traditional healers often recommend the mastication of bitter kola immediately after eating. This usually prevent the development of any infection or poisoning. Herbalists even recommend the seed and the bark of bitter kola should be eaten together in cases where food poisoning is suspected, it helps to detoxify the system. Bitter kola is not only anti-poison, it also has the ability to repel evil spirits according to traditional beliefs. Though it sound superstitious, many believe it works and do have spiritual benefits.

*** Do you know that bitter kola is one of the easiest ways to increase your Sperm without going through any medical means. The examination has shown that individuals that have the practice of chewing two slices in a day hardly suffer little sperm court. Both Men and Women can gain a lot of benefits of bitter kola when they chew it.  People drench the cola for 2 days, mix the cola with heated water to take out the extract, after which it is filtered so the unmixed and plain solution is obtained. Some people like better to take off the back that is the outer layer but it is more effective when you mix it together, by doing this you grow the level of the vigorous effect of bitter kola on sperm. It is believed to cure Male impotence.

Ify Asia Chiemeziem Museum…

*** Unlimited Sexual performance: Bitter kola is the number one Sexual performance medicine for weak Men. No other product can match the Sexual benefits of bitter kola as its give you unlimited performance in bed! This is a new discovery that has made this product a hot cake! Those who have tasted it are living happily now with their couples. And their Women has no reason to look outside. Get like 6-7 pieces of the bitter cola and mix until you get a smooth structure, add water to the blended mix, stir it up and drink. But it is passable when this blended mix is connected with honey, it tends to grow the potency and it is perfect for the individuals who cannot tolerate the bitter taste of the kola.

Bitter kola and honey Healing properties of honey are known for centuries. Bitter kola and honey are two brothers, which heal body, spirit, and soul. Honey and bitter kola are two natural antibiotics, so combining them you double-strengthen their effect. Honey and bitter kola are used both for the treatment of a sore throat and coarse voice, stimulating mucus, they soften the dry throat. The mixture of these two useful products is also used for the treatment of acne due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Now you know about healing properties of bitter kola and honey, these two medicines are given by nature and help in the treatment of many health problems. Why not to use what nature has given us. Chewing bitter kola relieves coughs, hoarseness, bronchial and throat troubles. Several studies discovered bitter kola to be a remedy for dysentery, osteoarthritis, antidote against poisoning and considered an aphrodisiac.

 The importance of Orogbo during initiation process, sacrifice, propitiation of head, prayer and other essential spiritual steps, before and after Orisha activities cannot be quantified, but it is important to know that Orogbo during divination is equally important, if just to be at the pocket of highly revered Babalawo . The presence of Orogbo depicts longevity for Babalawo and those around him, just like the presence of obi means, evil has no portion in the surroundings of a highly respected and honored Babalawo .

Just like any other Yoruba words , the word Orogbo is coined and derived from two words – oro and gbo.  Oro means very small, round, while Gbo means longevity, eternal, everlasting. when the two words are blended together, it becomes a unified and spiritually blessed word called Orogbo , which consequently means, a round fruits that attract longevity, everlasting blessing, enduring health and perpetual blessing of longevity .

During, initiations or any sacrificial steps, or ritual  or propitiation, Orogbo is used to pray for longevity, sound health, peace, harmony, and happiness. Indeed a man with the blessing of long life and sound health, so also his loved ones enjoy the same degree of health and longevity  is indeed a blessed man in the jungle of life that is filled with mishap, untimely death and sorrow. The name of the fruits Orogbo  is coined to denote Iwure (prayer), it is a spiritual seed  that establish the power of divinities with abundant  trait of long life  and sound health . However during  Initiations, Sacrifice or Ajiki , which is early morning prayer, Orisha devotees or seeker of truth through the tradition of Orisha, are required to pray and eat  part of this fruits, to serve as alignment  with the force and natural energies  embedded in the nature. Orisha is a religion or philosophy based on the use of natural materials in the nature .

While Obi Abata is perceived to be a Female fruit energy, that give birth to Male and Female alike, Orogbo is a Male fruit energy  that fail to have lobes or part like Obi. Orogbo can be cut into pieces either by teeth or knife, it has no parts, but a hard fruit that shows natural toughness and ruggedness. While obi is easily breakable with just hand and it is used also to denote the Feminine part of the universal force or energy. Orogbo represents   the dominant energy of God  with unique characteristics of solidity , strength , firmness and oneness of energy in the universe. Orogbo symbolizes  unilateral force of God  which means life, wisdom, strength, victory, longevity and sound health in abundance. Orogbo also denotes that life in any way cannot be explained or invented  except through divine  and spiritual understanding and wisdom .  

Orogbo according to above explanation is an object that represents the uniqueness and unified energy and vibration  of God in our lives. If all necessary spiritual, physical, mental, moral and emotional obligation are followed, happy lot, success,  longevity and sound health will be out lot, that is the meaning of Orogbo .

*** Another importance of Bitter Kola is that it  repels snakes. It can be used to chase snakes away. For snake prevention, spread it around the building. ***  

Reference Sources: Wikipedia = 

 

 

BIRTH = The First Initiation…

** A Harmonious Existence Is The One That Has A Balanced Relationship Between The Physical & Spiritual Realms **

Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense it can also signify a transformation in which the Initiate is ‘reborn’ into a new role. Examples of initiation ceremonies might include: Christian baptism, or  acceptance into a fraternal organization, secret society or religious order, or graduation from school or recruit training. A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites, such as those depicted in these pictures, is called an Initiate.

Initiation Rites: It is common in many Cultures, Religious or Otherwise, to mark the transition from childhood to adulthood by some ceremony. The importance of these ceremonies is two-fold. Firstly, it acts as a watershed for the individual concerned and secondly it gives the community an opportunity to acknowledge the changing status of the young.

African Initiation Rites which are fundamental to human growth and development.  These rites were originally established by African Ancestors while they were living in order to link the individual to the community and the community to the broader and more potent spiritual world.  Initiation rites are a natural and necessary part of a community, as are arms and legs natural and necessary extension of the human body.  These rites are critical to individual and community development, and it should not to be taken for granted that people automatically grow and develop into responsible, community-oriented adults.

The process of Initiation concerns undergoing a fundamental set of rites to start a new phase or beginning in life.  It marks the passing from one phase in life to the next more mature phase.  Initiation fundamentally has to do with transformation, and has been a central component of traditional African cultures since time immemorial.  The details of the rites vary among the different societies, but these rites are nevertheless basic components of the society as they help guide the person from one stage in life into the next stage of one’s life and development, that is, from birth to death and beyond.

The rites are Birth, Adulthood, Marriage, Eldership, and Ancestor ship.  A rite is a fundamental act – set of rituals performed according to prescribed social rules and customs.  Each of these rites are a key component that are a part of traditional African cultures.  Some societies have more elaborate and extensive ceremonies than others, but these five themes are the thread that links families and villages in traditional Africa and provide the necessary structure for individual growth and development.  The rites briefly represent an integrated Initiation system that has given indigenous African cultures the stability and longevity to provide a model of consistency and inter-generational unity.

They represent a complete set of devices that prevent the inherent conflicts between various age groups or the systematic ill treatment of women, children, or elders.  These problems are commonplace in western cultures, but they are virtually unknown in indigenous African cultures.  These African cultures were not “perfect” as all human societies have problems, but they do provide a viable example in the modern world of how to solve social conflicts and contradictions and give individual the societal support to discover and fulfill their life mission and unique contribution.

The Rite of Ancestor Ship, which concerns passing over into the spirit world.  This final Initiation rite is an extension of the elder/older distinction because the status that a person has in life is the same status that they bring with them when they pass on.  There is virtually no African society that believes that when a person dies this ends all ties and communication with the living.  Rather, African philosophy from one culture to another agrees that the spirit of the deceased is still with the living community, and that a distinction must be made in the status of the various spirits, as there are distinctions made in the status of the living.

One of the most important distinctions is the difference between an older person who dies and who is seen as nothing more than a “dead relative,” and a respected elder who passes on and is revered as an honored “Ancestor.”  The dead relative dies without honor and is someone who is not remembered as a great person or someone who should be followed or emulated.  On the other hand, a respected elder  who passes on becomes a respected Ancestor and is given the highest honor.  This group of Ancestor wield great power and are often called upon in matters of trouble or uncertainty to help influence a favorable outcome.  Thus, Ancestors are respected elders who have passed away and who continue to serve as an extension of the family and community.

** In the religions of Africa, life does not end with death, but continues in another realm. The concepts of “life” and “death” are not mutually exclusive concepts, and there are no clear dividing lines between them. Human existence is a dynamic process involving the increase or decrease of “power” or “life force,” of “living” and “dying,” and there are different levels of life and death. Many African languages express the fact that things are not going well, such as when there is sickness, in the words “we are living a little,” meaning that the level of life is very low.

Every misfortune that Africans encounter as “a diminution of vital force.” Illness and death result from some outside agent, a person, thing, or circumstance that weakens people because the agent contains a greater life force. Death does not alter or end the life or the personality of an individual, but only causes a change in its conditions. This is expressed in the concept of “Ancestors,” people who have died but who continue to “live” in the community and communicate with their families.**

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INITIATION: The Most Profound Journey Of All = Is The One That Brings Understanding To The Truth Of Your Soul.