Honoring the Spirit of Resistance!

19 11 2012

Hetepu (Peace) Family

The 20th of November marks the official death of Zumbi dos Palmares (1655-1695), the ex-slave and last leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares, who fought the Portuguese on behalf of the Maroon society in Brazil. Many people I have talked to about Zumbi asked “Why should we celebrate this event? It happened in Brazil.”

Well, I use to think the same way. I changed my thinking because the 20th of November is celebrated in Brazil as Black Awareness Day and is used as a time to reflect upon the contributions made by people of African descent, as well as erase the vicious stereotypes that have been created about blacks.  In the beginning, I found this to be a little odd because throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, there are a lot of stereotypical images that are held dear to people of African descent like the Mammy figure. I remember, the first time I met Mammy it was at my padrino’s (my spiritual godfather’s) house. She stood next to his Ellegua and he told me that she was his Ellegua’s wife according to his spiritual practice. Being an African American I was a little offended by the image until I began to really learn the cultural connection.

Mammy also called La Madama in Cuba

You see, when the Africans were brought to the Americas. Many of them finding themselves in a foreign land, living as prisoners under the yoke of a racist slave owner, tried to recreate the life they knew in their homeland.  But they were unable to do so because the same social system did not exist. So, the Africans had to create a new cultural model in order to survive slavery, racial discrimination and most importantly resist the propaganda directed at them that they were inferior to whites.  So, having no kings and queens to turn to, the Africans turned to the wisest amongst them, which was their elders.

Preto Velhos of Brazil

Contrary to popular belief, the elders in the slave community were the most beloved because they were not seen as a physical threat to the slave owners.  As a result, the slave owners were more inclined to trust them versus younger slaves. But, the elders were also the most knowledgeable about the old ways of Africa. As a result, the spirit of resistance (from my research) in the slave community began with the brave men and women that worked in the slave owner’s home. Afterwards, these same men and women would return to their community and teach what they had learned to help their people. The elders of slave community basically played a dual role and they taught everyone they knew how to do the same thing until conditions were more favorable for them to institute the desired change.  It was from the elders religious syncretism was born, along with the whole idea of masking ones true intentions.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Now, when some whites got wind of how the slaves were living.  They tried to sympathize with their plight as Harriet Beecher Stowe had done in her antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. What Stowe was trying to show in her book was how contradictory it was for them as Christians to enslave other Christians based upon the color of their skin.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was made into a play, which was performed all over the country and even the world.

What ended up happening was that millions of her books were sold and a number of Uncle Tom’s Cabin plays were performed around the United States and the world. It was from this book that a lot of whites got the idea that slavery was not the Christian thing to do.  But, the book also laid the stereotypical foundation of what the African way of life was all about. This gave rise to numerous stereotypical images and icons, that blacks were either pleased being meek, happy-go-lucky, submissive, singing servants or were brute, unruly, sex-craved animals.  This stereotypical imagery of people of African descent dominated the Western world. Although, many of these images that were embraced by people who never even read Stowe’s book or saw the cinematic viewing of the story, simply perpetuated the racist belief that blacks were inferior and meant to live in servitude.

Mexican black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin

Todays although many of these stereotypical images have been removed from the public’s eye. They continue to rear their ugly heads in the entertainment industry and other areas because of people refusing to embrace their ancestral heritage.

A Big Italian Newspaper Published A Shockingly Racist Cartoon Of Soccer Star Mario Balotelli As A Monkey

African Americans were the most damaged culturally by these stereotypical images I learned because we were outnumbered by the whites in the United States, but in places like Cuba and Brazil. Where the African descendants managed to preserve the truth about who these individuals were prior to the creation of this stereotypical attack. The images did not do much to destroy their cultural psyche because they knew that this was just a war on their cultural way of life. A war that they were determined to fight to win.

El Negro Jose

This is why an analysis of all of these ancestral archetypes will reveal the same thing, which is that these individuals were very knowledgeable slaves with high virtues and integrity. Many of which became or were the leaders of the slave community.  The darkness of their skin, as was in Kamit, symbolized that they were the original Africans of one’s lineage.  They all had white hair, indicating that they were wise.

Francisco, Francisca and La Madama on a Espirista shrine.

In Brazil the so-called Uncle Tom and Mammy figures of the United States were commemorated, honored and respectfully known as the Pretos Velhos (the old black slaves’).  In Cuba, they are sometimes known as Francisco and Francisca, or Jose Negro and La Madama.  In Puerto Rico they are known as El Congo (the Congo) and La Negra (the Black Lady). Their respectful names in Southern African American culture are Uncle Joe or Ole’ Black Joe and Auntie or Big Mamma.

A Black reader reading tea leaves for a young white patron, painted by American Artist Harry Roseland.

By the way, the real Big Mamma was usually a cook or house servant, but she was known throughout the slave community as a midwife, herbalist and a fortune teller, that was sometimes called a Black reader or Black Gypsy. Notice the similarity with the reader below.

Card reader reading cards for a client in Cuba

 As you can see, the stereotypical images was a ruse by the oppressors to ridicule our cultural way of life. In these contemporary times it is not the oppressor that ridicules our culture, but our own out of disgrace, ignorance and shame of who and where we come from. 

The new image of Big Momma

e now, but our selves out of disgrace and ignorance of our own culture.

The new image of Uncle Joe

So you see, this is why Zumbi should be important to people throughout the Americas (and others like him such as Gaspar Yanga), because he is the epitome of what our ancestors did in order for us to live today.

Zumbi dos Palmares the celebrated hero of Capoeira

By celebrating the life of Zumbi and others that resisted in their own way. We not only honor them but erase negative imagery created to ridicule our cultural way of life and show the true power of why our culture is so beautiful.

La Madama in all her beauty

Celebrate the Day of Resistance by watching the movie Quilombo and Sankofa.

Hope that helps,

Hetep

Derric “Rau Khu” Moore

 

* P.S. Please note that I am not against Martin Lawrence, Tyler Perry or any entertainer that makes films. It is just important for people to realize the impact that negative images such as these has upon the rest of the people in the diaspora.





How to Communicate with the Egyptian Gods/Goddesses (Netcharu)

12 06 2011

My bad…My bad…You know, when I first posted information about the netcharu or Kamitic guardian spirits on the “Who and What Are the Ancient Egyptian Gods?“, I posted the Roman Catholic correspondences because the saints help me to assist those coming from this background.  I forgot to post their Christian associations, which are the forms these guardian spirits took when they first communicated to me, since I come from a fundamentalist Christian background.  I will post their corresponding forms in this post, but before doing this I wanted to explain how I made these connections.

I was not trying to plug and play but really trying to understand how these guardian angels could speak with me. I knew that others like Ra Un Nefer Amen of the Ausar Auset Society had done it using surviving information from the Indus Kush and Yoruba tradition to make a connection, but I was in the spiritual desert or TASETT (see the maa aankh) at the time. I didn’t know anything about the Indus Kush or Yoruba tradition when I first began. So I would have to try and understand both of those traditions just to scratch the surface of what I needed. I went through this arduous and long intellectual process because as I stated I was raised as an Apostolic Pentecostal Christian, which basically means “Jesus only!” For those of you who don’t know what this means, let me give you a real brief explanation.  This faith, along with Jehovah Witnesses, believes that if you do not accept Jesus (or Jehovah in the case of Jehovah Witnesses) as your sole lord and savior that your soul is going to hell (or annihilated). Your salvation is in the hands of the Lord and while giving up one’s individuality and the right to question God was considered heresy.  So, even though culturally speaking I was raised to believe in spiritual beings that we called angels or ministering spirits.  Talking to them was seen as border lining on devil worship in their eyes, so in a way you were raised to ignore your culture.

I had read numerous books on the subject and still had no clear understanding of these spirits until I met my Cuban padrino who told me a story about the orishas. Papa, the name I called him, told me a legend he learned when he was in Cuba. I am giving a condense form of the story but he basically goes like this. At bars, when Oggun comes in with Oshun, all hell breaks loose because Oshun only has eyes for Chango, which leads to Oggun and Chango fighting and that’s when Ochosi comes and carts everyone to jail.  As Elegua sits in the corner laughing at the mischief he just caused.

If you ever went to a party or bar and witnessed fighting this is usually how it occurs, which gave me the foundation I needed to connect with the netcharu myself.  It was shamanic meditation that helped me to move beyond the intellectual phase of just giving a definition of the netcharu, to actually interacting with them.

Since the Kamitic writers of old did not leave any texts explaining who and what the netcharu were and where they came from, a number of theories have been created to fill the intellectual void. Some believe they were created out of the blue, while others believe that they were anthropomorphized from nature.  I think that both of these theories are an insult to the Kamitic people of old intelligence and believed that these guardian spirits were once upon living people. For instance, the first legendary ruler of Kamit who united the kingdom was King Menes also known as King Narmer. This is no netchar named Narmer but, the closest netchar resembling these historic feats is Osar.

Why was King Narmer given another name you might ask? I don’t know for sure but my guess is that by honoring him using his name he could really only be honored as an ancestor by immediate family. By rewarding him the name Osar he was able to be honored as a saint by all people, including those outside of his family lineage. This way anyone knowing the important points of his story, because the historical account of Osar (Narmer) at this time was probably lost, could invoke the memory of the first king.  It was by admiring the positive attributes of the individual that these guardian spirits or ancestral archetypes were created that we call netcharu.  But as previously stated, the Kamitic people didn’t leave any texts explaining who the netcharu were, so with no existing information on them what do you do? How do you make contact with them? Well, by relying upon my Christian upbringing and Afro-spiritual culture.  I recalled that when the early Africans were brought to Protestant Christian North America, they were not able to create the same type of religious syncretism that their kin had done in the Caribbean and South America. They took the existing knowledge that they brought with them from Africa and using the bible created or “conjured” their own ancestral archetypes.  Using the same technique with the Kamitic guardian spirits and the bible, I conjured the netcharu and they are:

Osar (Osiris by the Greek) is Jesus

Oset  (Isis) is Mary the mother of Jesus

Hru manifested himself to me as King David from his extraordinary, naïve triumphs of a child over the giant to the humbling positioning he was placed in due to his arrogance, chauvinism and abuse of power.

Nebhet is Queen Esther, the queen that used beauty, riches and pleasure to defeat her enemy.

Hruaakhuti is none other than the two sword wielding apostle Peter

Sokar is the biblical Job who showed me how to be persistent and dance in the face of trials, tribulations, obstructions and especially illness. It was Sokar that taught me that the righteous are the ones that are reborn.

Maat appeared to me as John the Baptist the jailed prophesier who abided by and preached to the people about the Law

Djahuti is King Solomon, the alleged wisest man in the bible.

Npu is the lucky, faithful and optimistic Joseph the Dreamer. Another one of Npu’s avatars is the biblical Moses.

These ancestral archetypes that our ancestors conjured helped me to communicate with the guardian spirits or netcharu.  One lesson I had to learn was that Spirit is unlimited. It is not bound by time and space nor is it confined to rigidness of color, ethnicity or affiliation. Spirit can manifest itself through anyone and anything.  The connection has to be based upon energy.  This understanding helped me to see that even though these ancestral archetypes are not as prevalent as they were years ago. A comparison between the Kamitic legend, the biblical stories and documentaries about African American culture will give you a connection to the netcharu.  For instance, you can see the dreaming and great oratory skills of Npu manifested in Joseph the Dreamer and Moses in many preachers and leaders like Martin L. King Jr.  The same brute and sharp swords of Hruaakhuti can be seen in the Apostle Peter expressed through Malcolm X. The wisdom of Djahuti seen in the words of Solomon is expressed in the late great John H. Clarke. While the courageous, golden tongue and heir of Osar, Hru can be read about in King David’s biblical psalms and other great adventures, and seen in Muhammad Ali, and so on. Through them one can see how to invoke the power of God for self-improvement and wellbeing.

 For a complete discourse see:
Kamta:
A Practical Kamtic Path for Obtaining Power








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