On more than one occasion, I have to explain the importance of African cosmological thinking like the maa aankh. Here recently, I was asked what were my thoughts on the end of the world and here is where I saw the greatest benefits from African cosmologies.
As many of you know, for the past few years now, there has been talk about the world coming to an end. I don’t know about you but we have been here before. History will show that people felt this way 1799, 1899 and I remember people talking this way in 1999. Now the new thing is 2012, because of the Mayan calendar, which now some scholars are claiming is incorrect calculations. Still this doesn’t stop doomsday prophets from standing up and claiming that the end is near. Then to take advantage of the publics’ ignorance and fear, there have numerous doomsday shows, documentaries of people like Nostradamus, and movies like 2012 that have been airing. And, the one thing I noticed is that it seems like every time there is a major change people return to this Doomsday Thinking, and become increasingly more violent.
I thought about this and wondered why do people feel this way every time there is a change? It dawned on me that this is a part of Western cultural thinking – particular Christian influence. Traditional Christian beliefs hold before the Second Coming, that there will be all sorts of chaos, violence, wars, etc., which means that if none of this calamity existed. Christianity would not seem legit. To many traditional Christians the future doesn’t seem too bright, in fact, when my wife and I were trying to have children. I had one Christian individual say that they wouldn’t want to bring up a child in this world today.
What shocked me about this statement was that I couldn’t see how was life easier in the 1960s or any time prior, as it compared to today? Isn’t it interesting that more technological advances we seem to get, the more depressed, pessimistic, violent, unethical, etc. that people tend to become? At first, I couldn’t understand why I saw things as being different, then I remembered that Christian cosmology begins with order and degrades to chaos, such as with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Every since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, life has become progressively worst, which is why traditional Christian in an odd way, look forward to all of this calamity, because it signifies the coming of the Lord.
African cosmologies don’t see things this way because they all began by creating order out of chaos. Proof of this can be seen in all of the Kamitic creation theories, which start by saying that there was nothing that existed but a great chaotic void, until the self-created God caused the Maa to come into existence, which brought forth law and order. In the Yoruba traditions, a similar story is told of hos there was a great void that existed until the Great Almighty God, Olodumare gave his son Obatala a long silver chain to descend upon, so that he could empty from a snail shell he was carrying earth onto the waters, a five fingered guinea fowl to scatter the soil all over, and a palm nut in order for a tree to rise from the earth, so that he can descend into the newly created world, naming the place where he landed “Ile –Ife.”
It is this cosmological thinking that is the epitome of African thought. It is because of this theory and other African theories like this that made it possible for people to resist slavery. Basically the train of thought goes like this, where some see chaos, African thinkers see a way to create balance the way God does. This is why in this bleak world we live in, those influenced by traditional Africans thinking still have faith and hope because they live knowing that what is done today, will affect tomorrow. Rather than sitting around in fear of the future, wasting thousands of dollars building shelters, bunkers, etc. under the ground, in the ocean, or on the moon. African thinkers prefer to put their faith in something they know will work and that is the concepts and principles mapped out by their ancestors.
This is why I have faith that things will change because according to the maa aankh, changing times symbolized by the Ra Atum (the setting sun) does not necessarily signify the end, but it is the end, as we know it. To understand what I mean by this we have to understand that this change was brought upon us by the preceding moment in time Ra (midday sun), which symbolizes the rashness of youth, over zealousness, lack of maturity, lack of spiritual tradition, a lack wisdom, spiritual ignorance, impetuousness, and so on. The color of the Ra moment is red, which is the color of hot, hence caution! But, no one is trying to heed the words of the elders. So, people (in general) today are experimental mode and trying anything just because it feels good. Like the dog that never gets walked, once the chain is taken off runs dangerously free, or the coming of age child leaving their conservative parents’ home for college finding they have the freedom to do anything they want. This is the state that the society appears to be in, where there are no ethical or social restraints. This is what is leading to society’s downfall and ultimate demise; it is the experimental phase. It is sad that people don’t see the importance of spiritual traditions and don’t understand that for a greater majority. It is the lack of spiritual traditions that makes people seek out other ways of expression such as the use of drugs, etc.
But, like I said, I remain optimistic, because the end does not mean the end of everything, just the end, as we know it. In order to survive there are a lot of things that will have to go in order to make way for the new. This is they cycle of life, the maa aankh. This may appear to be an unfortunate thing only because our lower self does not like change, but it is very fortunate because out of change comes new things, new opportunities, etc. Some who are already seeing the benefits of the Amun Ra rebirthing period are already noting that some of the traditions that use to work are no longer valid in these changing times. So, don’t fear the change. In fact, don’t give power to the anxiety, fear and worries of the lower self. Instead embrace it and take advantage of it by discovering and anchoring yourself in what you know works versus what you think and believe.