Tag Archives: mental-health

Orisha On The Horizon

The year is 1619. On a voyage across the Atlantic ocean towards Jamestown, Virginia, captured African slaves carried with them a disabling sense of loss and a nagging uncertainty about their forthcoming destinies on their journey to the new world. Among the pain these resilient people also held onto various spiritual traditions and ways of relating themselves to the world from their perspective homelands which helped them sustain some sense of sanity within the hellish conditions they were forced to endure.

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Amidst European Christian and Spanish Catholic indoctrination, enslaved West Africans who were transported to various parts of the Americas had enough dignity and audacity to secretly practice various indigenous African spiritual belief systems against the will of their captors. Most prominent of these indigenous beliefs was the worship of Orishas, a Yoruba practice known as Ifa, with origin in present-day Nigeria and surrounding areas. Ifa is a potent method for displaced Africans to rediscover their true identities, claim access to birth-right cultural memories, and empower the world with a religion rooted in humanism, ancestor reverence, and the preservation of Earth. Ifa evolved over time into several distinct spiritual systems known today as Regla De Ocha (also known as “Santeria”) in Cuba, Candomble in Brazil, and Haitian Vodou.

Ifa stands out from the reigning religions of the day, some of which encourage separatism, because of its humanistic aspect. Practitioners of Ifa place all power into the people. While the Orishas are worshipped, it is clear that they are not merely outside entities, but symbols of nature and representations of ancestors. Here is where the value lies, because unlike most European religions where energy is invested into mere ideas, Ifa seeks to empower the individual, the community, and the world at large.

The rediscovery of our true spiritual traditions, rooted in West Africa, begins with the resurrection and globalization of the Black gods known as Orishas, who were almost successfully wiped clean from the communal memory banks of enslaved African peoples by colonizers. Profoundly described by Wole Soyinka as “paradigms of existence,” the following mythical symbols are, in my opinion, the most beneficial to know: Osanyin, Oya, Oshun, and Yemaya. Each of these Orishas teaches a valuable lesson through their various stories and what they represent which can prove to be useful in the evolution of oppressed Black peoples across the globe.

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During these times of critical health crisis’s and medical apartheid within the global Black community, a proper knowledge and respect for the healing powers of nature is necessary. Osanyin, known to be the god who has dominion over wild plant life, especially herbs, serves as a bridge into ancestral medicinal wisdom. Consider him Father Nature who rules all flora and fauna. The spirit of Osanyin can be found at the core of Blacks like famous botanist George Washington Carver, urban gardener and food activist Ron Finley, and the many other “healers” around the globe. Osanyin’s ashe, or life force, peaks Black interest in the field of medicine in addition to the cultivation and nurturance of plants and herbs. All of which are needed today with the spread of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, mental health disorders, and preventable diseases like diabetes that plague the Black community.

Yemaya and Oshun are two goddesses embody the power of motherhood, protection, and hold the memories of our fallen ancestors. In the Yoruba tradition where spiritual baths and cleansings are commonplace, water, like herbs, is a constant necessity. Though both embodiments of water, each Orisha has a distinct purpose when called upon. While Yemaya reigns over the oceans, full of purifying salt water, Oshun is the essence of rivers and fresh waters.

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It is widely known that Black women are among the most oppressed and disrespected individuals in the world. “Misogynoir,” a term coined by Myo Bailey, is used to describe how racism coupled with misogyny specifically affects Black women. Faced against powerful forces such as racism and misogynoir, the goddess image can be extremely empowering for Black women of the Diaspora. Yemaya and Oshun are not passive mothers. They can be gentle, but are fierce protectors of women and children. These goddesses, as well as Oya, divinity that guards the cemetery, are warrior spirits who not only give birth to nations, but are just as powerful as their male counterparts. Having female warrior goddesses to turn to in moments of strife and hopelessness, for Black women, can prove to be affirming and earn them proper respect from all others.

Ifa is a beautiful religion rich in ritual and adornment, but what’s most important is the devotee’s connection to spirit, the earth, and a respect for the past. Ifa forces its followers to open up to the worldwide community, being a religion of undoubted acceptance and care of fellow man, regardless of sex, gender, religious affiliation, or race. At the core of worship, Ifa would be most rewarding as a dominant force in the world because of its promotion of healing, loving, and respect, for self and others. As a people so stricken with pain, these Yoruba religious practices maintained and taught by those dragged unwillingly across the Atlantic ocean, provide for Black people a home in foreign lands.

Change is spreading across the Diaspora like germinated seeds blowing in wind produced by Oya, searching for fertile ground in which to settle. My ancestors and I share a common surety about the rising of the Orishas, who, like the Costus Spectabilis, are destined to flower in the minds and spirits of reawakening oppressed peoples.

FW.289 Yellow Trumpet, Costus spectabilis, N Zambia

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The Power of Now Becoming Powerless.

Here at AfroMadu we take pride in preaching and discussing “The Power Of Now”, but have the ideas of thinking for today became too much? Are people just simply thinking about now and not their near future?

Our society THRIVES off the idea of  being “on-the-go”, making everything and everyone so hip to moving in a fast pace. We eat on-the-go meals and fast foods, make time commitments where we rush everywhere, have road rage because traffic  is too slow for our liking, and overall make temporary decisions for our permanent plans.

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“The Power of Now” is the simple reasoning of not worrying about the past or the future but for living and loving everything in the “now”. In our society it’s pretty hard to worry about how to live now and enjoy every momnet without worrying about what needs to be done in an hour or what you plan to do for your birthday next year.

Living in the now can also level your head to what’s important and beneficial to the process of self discovery. And besides, whats soo good living in the past when you have a present to worry about????

Although this seems like a blasphemous concept, there are extremes to the Power of Now. Allowing yourself to act in a uncontrollable manner because you are living in the now, is beyond extreme and detrimental to the rest of your life. Let me explain…

This new on-going trend of  “YOLO” (You Only Live Once), has people going bonkers. There have been many crimes committed and lives ended because living in the now went too far. 

But should life really draw down to that? When you finally feel like you are comfortable with being grounded and secure in the present that people must live a life of extreme partying and crime? Do we drear away from the now because of what can potentially happen?

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This Fall season, don’t let YOUR Power of Now become wasted or miscued. Live the present life that you were always supposed to live. Be comfortable in  understand and accepting that NOW is really the only thing you can have. LIVE FOR NOW! 

Peak of Reflection; Time of Execution.

As summer rolls down and the cool wind begins, fall will be here in no time. School will begin, work will get serious, and the ridiculous amount of time that was used to go to the beach and have fun in the sun will be gone. Then it hits, what can i do with that time during the new season?

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Summer is always the beneficial point of reflection. Marking summer as the deadline to the completion of your goals, to then create new ones when next summer rolls around is always a great idea especially with so much free time on your hands.

Now that summer is ending and Fall is coming, what have planned to do with your time during the upcoming season? If you haven’t thought about this, now is the perfect time to. Want to start saving money? want to be fit? read/ write more? take a few classes? find a new job? All of these things are possible with the right game plan and effort. If you haven’t proclaimed your goals to execute them, who will?

It is important to understand that at any giving time, change is possible. So why not start today if you want to start changing? Here are a few tips to execute your goals:

1. WRITE THEM DOWN: the idea of writing your goals down can mentally assemble the energy and motivation to get them done. Start by getting a goal journal and write down everything that you want to accomplish. When you are finished with  the goal, cross it off. Challenge yourself to get all the goals done.

2. THE MORE THE MERRIER: Having a support system can always be a good way to stay on track. When you are feeling like there is no hope, your support system is there to motivate you. Want to get fit? Find a group of people that have the plans and workout together? Nothing is better than doing things in a group to get the job done.

3. REWARD YOURSELF: Making sure that you receive the proper praise for completing a task or getting something done is vital in goal planning. Looking forward to that special treat can be another motivator in the execution plan. After finishing up a resume, reward yourself by hanging out with friends to celebrate that accomplishment. Just stay away from rewarding yourself too much!

All these plans can be great to get started in this new season of execution. LET’S BEGIN!

Finding your Inner Peace of Mind.


meditation-retreats-2Nowadays life moves so fast that its hard to grasp the idea of living. Feel like your days are passing you by? Are there not enough hours in the day to finish everything you need to do? Are you just ready for the perfect break start a fresh slate?

Believe it or not, the problem does not lie in the little time we have, rather the way you value and use your time. This idea lives within the nooks and crannies of your mind and in order to save yourself, you MUST find inner peace and tranquility. This article is not going to outline your meditation regimen, but it will reevaluate your everyday routine in some aspects, and perhaps fix little problems that will allow you to live stress free, and actually grasp the life you live in front of you.

Finding you inner peace of mind simply means disciplining yourself to focus on your task and goals at hand. Doing so requires the renewing of basic characteristics that restrain your from focusing. This includes pride, blame, grudge and the idea to always be right. Does any of these characteristics sound familiar?

Holding grudges causes you to think about the specific thing you try not to think about. Doesn’t it sound redundant? of course it does, because it is. Learn to forgive! (if you haven’t already) Just coming to copes with yourself that your forgave the person or the certain situation allows your mind to come to peace and worry about better things, like YOUR LIFE! images-19

Living the life of being ahead and expecting the utmost respect also distracts your mind from life lessons, and instead requiring unnecessary attention to your cluttered life. The benefits of humility and never expecting anything can compliment your working peace and spark the element of surprise that your life lacks. Always being ahead requires you too no so much, instead of “going with the flow”.

Of course the weekly sessions of yoga, chai lattes, and the old fashion dose of relaxation can be a temporary medicine to peace, but you can’t forget these not so basic-  but BASIC- concepts of living a happy and healthy life 🙂

For more tips on Self-Disclipline and Peace of Mind, “Brian Tracy’s “No Excuses: The Power of Self Discipline” is a great read to the start of your new Self-Empower slate.