WHO ARE YOU?????
HOW DO YOU KNOW????
ARE YOU SURE????
IS IT GOOD ENOUGH???
WHO VALIDATES WHO YOU ARE????
…the men and children will follow: has been the motto and the basis behind all of the work that I do with women. I am often erroneously accused of being a feminist. I have nothing against the word nor the cause, but it isn’t my bag. I respect the women who champion “the feminist” cause too much to perpetrate like i wear that banner. I am however, anti-patriarchal!
Patriarchy has not served humanity well. It is a key stone in building and maintaining dominion and oppression. It must be identified and replaced with healthier alternatives to relationships, for sustainability. As a citizen of this earth, it has never set well with me. As a student of history and an observer of people and behavior, it gets under my skin.
I am always looking for simpler ways to make points and share thinking. I came across this graphic and quote while surfing the web and I knew I had to share! The quote is very similar to a workshop I facilitate for women’s groups and sister circles, dealing with team building.
The quote says:
Patriarchy was founded on Separation from women
~ men from women
~ women from each other
~ women from themselves
With the Sacred Union of women with themselves, women with men, and with the archetype of the Sacred Sisterhood coming alive again, women are recreating and threading back a world of balance.
Men from Women:
This is evident in our marriages, or lack there of. In our relationships with our fathers, son and brothers, or lack there of. Society has built a huge gap between us. We have got to face each other and talk. We have been angry with each other a very long time. We decided to do without each other, a long time ago. We are disconnected. This is why it is so easy for our sons, grandsons and nephews to be so disrespectful. Society teaches them this behavior and we, without a united front, are loosing the battle to give them something better.
Women from each other:
This is where the bulk of the workshop hinges. This aspect of separation has assisted in destroying our family structures and communities in grave ways. Women can and will, annihilate each other. Women will hold other women up to standards and expectations that they don’t even live by. Jealousy and Envy are the playmates of dysfunctional women. Viciousness hasn’t met a better companion that a woman on a mission to “get back at” or “set straight” another woman. We have forgotten that we need each other -to be whole. God knew what S/He was doing when S/He made sisters. This life’s work is more doable and more enjoyable with sisters.
Women from themselves:
This may be the greatest travesty of all. The underlying reason for most of the dysfunction. The reason why so many women cannot even begin the healing process or find themselves stagnated in healing. The reason so many women are not even aware that they are the problem. They are too busy making everyone and everything else, the problem. Busy on the search for the external, all the while internally wroth.
But with more and more women coming together. To heal themselves and each other. To have candid and courageous conversations. To admit first, and then deal with, deep-rooted pains and negativity so that she may be free from it. To be a better sister, daughter, mother, friend, lover…and any other hat is the balm that soothes humanity. May the circle never break. May the circle expand wider and wider….for the healing of the nation!
From OGEBEDI comes a complex story about the dangers of not sacrificing, the benefits of making the sacrifice, and the dire consequences of jumping to conclusions. The tale also explains how Esu became the permanent slave of Ifa, Orunmila, and how Esu came to reside outside:
Ogbedikaka, Ogbedilele cast Ifa for Esu when he was serving a term of slavery with Orunmila, Orisa-oko, and Ogun. Esu was asked to offer as a sacrifice: palm kernel shells, nine pigeons, and eighteen thousand cowries. Ifa medicine should be prepared to enable him to pay his debts.
Esu refused to sacrifice.
Esu was a fisherman at that time. Whenever he caught a lot of fish in his trap, the irunmale (four hundred deities) were envious of him. They thought that Esu could soon make enough money to bail himself out of his financial straits. For this reason, they decided to send him on errands to distant places on the same day. Orunmila sent Esu to Oke-Bisi to bring his bag and tray. After sending the message, Orunmila thought of consulting the Ifa oracle on the matter. He called the babalawos who divined Ifa saw Ogbedikaka. Orunmilla was advised to sacrifice six rabbits, six pigeons, and twelve thousand cowries,
He heard and performed the sacrifice.
Ifa medicine was prepared for him by tying up the six rabbits in the bag. They warned him to carry the bag with him. Orisa-nla asked Esu to go to Ode-Irawo. Ogun asked Esu to go to Ode-Ire and bring his gbamdari (a large cutlass). Quickly, Esu got up and went to a nearby bush, where he conjured and obtained all the things requested. Immediately after Esu had left, all the irunmale went to collect the fish from his trap. As he was returning home, he found them sharing his fish. When he appeared unexpectedly, everybody pocketed the fish. He delivered all the items that they had requested him to fetch. Esu then began to question everybody. “Where did you get the fish you were sharing?” Some were apologizing; some did not know what to say. Those begging his pardon decided to give up their claims on the money he owed them. He should not let anyone hear that they had stolen. It was custom in Ife at that time that nobody must steal. Orunmila said he did not steal Esu’s fish. Esu said Orunmila must have stolen the fish that were tied up in the bag he was holding. Esu thought fish noses were bulging out of the bag. They took the matter to court at Ife town. They argued. The court decided to ask Orunmila to unveil the contents of his bag. He loosened the bag and they saw the six rabbits he threw out. They started to blame Esu. Esu begged Orunmila for his pardon. Orunmila refused to accept his apology. Esu further pledged his house and other possessions to Orunmila. Orunmila still refused to accept his plea. Esu responded that he would go home with Orunmila and continue to serve him forever. They handed Esu over to Orunmila. When they arrived at Orunmila house, Esu wanted to enter with Orunmila. Orunmila refused and asked Esu to sit outside. Orunmila said what he ate inside the house he would share with Esu outside.
Esu has been living outside ever since that day.
This verse teaches us about making our sacrifices. How many times have we read the ese Ifa and learned of penalties for not making the sacrifice? One must really evaluate and come to terms with what ‘making sacrifice’ really means for them, as devotees of this tradition. What it does on behalf of the person. This concept may help us to remember not to tarry on sacrifices, and when we have the materials and supplies, to give and give with a glad heart. Something is being done on your behalf, when you sacrifice. You win out in the end, so why is there so much tripidation in the beginning? This verse also shows us the power (or the downfall) of jumping to conclusions. I read that Awo must think about something several times before even asking Ifa about it. In other words, cool your head and ease your mind. Patience is the key to catching the fly. If you suspect someone, Truth will prevail, but if you accuse someone, and you are wrong, there can be everlasting effects. May we remember to do our sacrifices. May there always be money and materials at hand, so that we can make our sacrifices. And no matter how certain we are that someone is guilty, may we reframe from jumping to conclusions and false accusations….for our sake. Ase.
May we be rewarded for our faithfulness. May our prayers always be heard and accepted. Despite it all, it is The One that we know and call on. We know where our help comes from. Our foremothers passed it down to us, like seeds sown in cornrows. We are not ashamed. Yet, we stay humble and low. Out of sight even, for we have seen the Underskirt of God.
I have been on the quest for “bridging the gaps” longer than I can remember. I do know, It chose me more than I chose it. I had plans to be much more like sheeple and go along to get along. The Universe had other plans. It is not always an easy road. But when things like this fall into my lap, I can’t shake the urge to grab my tambourine (actually its an agogo) and dance.
Below are a few verses of chapter fourteen of the Book of Leviticus. The Lord is telling Moses and Aaron how the Priest will heal the client, the dis-ease, the house and ultimately, the community. What The Lord says is to be done, is what I know as Ritual.
Now, the Christian will say, “ignore this part of the bible for we are in the new testaments, where Jesus paid it all.” But of the traditionalist we say, “exhibit number one -that what we do is NOT witchery and sorcery. It is not magic nor idol worship, nor any of those other insidious accusations. There are more examples of The Traditions spelled out in the Old Testaments. No surprises there. They say, ‘move pass there; we have evolved’. Yet, it is the original way to talk to God…to know The Lord.
We are not asking our Christian family to change their beliefs. We accept them as they are. We ask them to reciprocate the respect and accept us as we are. Look at us as the descendants of the old testaments if that helps to start the process. One more thing, considering “Hell” will be filled with christians too, perhaps we can put energy into building Character, living in Love for Humanity and Earth, and building meaningful relationships instead of focusing on “Salvation”. It may make those family-Christmas-dinners more inviting, or even tolerable:)
14.The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 15 The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, 16 dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the Lord seven times. 17 The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. 18 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for them before the Lord.19 “Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness.After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering 20 and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean21 “If, however, they are poor and cannot afford these, they must take one male lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for them, together with a tenth of an ephah[e] of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of oil, 22 and two doves or two young pigeons,such as they can afford, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.29 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed, to make atonement for them before the Lord.30 Then he shall sacrifice the doves or the young pigeons, such as the person can afford, 31 one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. In this way the priest will make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one to be cleansed.”32 These are the regulations for anyone who has a defiling skin disease and who cannot afford the regular offerings for their cleansing.48 “But if the priest comes to examine it and the mold has not spread after the house has been plastered, he shall pronounce the house clean, because the defiling mold is gone. 49 To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. 50 He shall kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. 51 Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 He shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. 53 Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields outside the town. In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.”