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The AfroSacredStar Story
Ancient West African Spirituality
Kicking the Game around
With my granddaughters about our Ancient Ancestors
Grandpa: “Well Granddaughters, I kind of moved into the position of taking your minds on adventures, as I have been doing throughout the “Grandpa! Tell us a Story/ Drinking from Ancient Wells series.” That means that I can afford to indulge in my favorite pass time of entertaining your brains with something that has been bothering my mind for a long time. I believe it is time that we have a family reunion with our Ancient African Ancestors.
Although we inherited many things from them, things we used to survive and grow as a people, some where along the line we seem to have forgotten about them. Most of the ones that haven’t been forgotten there seems to be a lot of negative thoughts about them. They don’t deserve this kind of treatment. They should be held in high esteem out of respect for their gifts.
This means that we don’t know much about them on a conscious level, and therefore, don’t show our appreciation for their gifts. That is a shame; after all, they are the roots of the whole Black race, which makes them family. Now tell me, is that any way for family members to act towards each other?
Grandpa personally believes that we should have a special holiday set aside to have communion with our Ancient Ancestors. After all, we have Mother’s day, Father’s day, some are even talking about a Grandparent’s day; so why not Ancestors day (slave Ancestors), and, Ancient Ancestors day (African Ancestors)? They are our Ancient grandparents, parents, and cousins. It is time to acknowledge them and their games as members of our family; isn’t that what History of the Game is all about?
I say lets have a family reunion with our Ancient African Ancestors, get re-acquainted, and then decide what day of the year to honor their memory; create a holiday. What do you think of that as a way to entertain your brain, and maybe learn something about yourself in the process?
Tiffany: “Say, what’s up Grandpa, you told us a story of “The Game Black people play,” and that was very interesting We learned a lot about our history and life. But, and I speak for all of your grandchildren, you talked about human nature and African Traditional Religion throughout “Grandpa! Tell us a Story/ Trilogy” like we have a PHD in African theology and sociology. Is this the way it will be with “Family Reunion with Ancient Ancestors?” Don’t you think we should have some insight into that before we can think about a family reunion? Break it down Grandpa, and make it real!.”
Rachel; “That’s right Grandpa, I have two different races of Ancient Ancestors, who are at odds with each other. How does that fit into African theology, sociology, and family reunion with the Ancient Ones? And, how am I to think about that, like you told your grandsons about wants and asking the right questions? (Mentioned in the prologue of your book, “Questions of Black Salvation/ Black History and African Soul Story).” Do granddaughters follow the same thinking process as grandsons?”
Omni: Speaking of thinking, how we are going to understand African Traditional theology and sociology, on a deep level, without joining their religions, and look at it from the inside?” If not, how are we going to have a family reunion with them?
Nikki: “I have heard all of my life that there is only one true religion, Christianity, and to deal with any other in any way is a sin. How am I going to think about that?”
Grandpa: “Well! Well! Let me see. Grandpa has to come up with a way to explain theology, (religious beliefs), and sociology (the way one lives their life according to their religious beliefs) in a way to answer all of your questions; it boils down to what you want from the religion one believes in, and what you get out of living that lifestyle.
Another way of saying the same thing, sociology is how one lives life according to their religious belief; from the point of view of your experience and the Game you play in life to get what you want; I will use your belief and experiences in Christianity as an example.
The theology of sociology is a religion based on the worship of at least one of the many spiritual aspects of human nature; in the case of Christianity, the spiritual aspect of human nature worshipped is Love, symbolized by Jesus Christ. In your religious beliefs, the power of Christ is Love and the power of Love is Christ, they are one and the same thing.
I know you hear your Preachers talking about how “Christ’s Love can heal the sick and raise the dead,” and, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to redeem the world from sin,” and there are thousands of other examples I could mention to show the central role love plays in Christianity.
So there can be no doubt about the foundation of love in the Christian religious beliefs, and it is a big part of human nature; especially when we take into consideration the number of Christians in the world. So we will have to come to the conclusion that Christians worship Love, and use it as the foundation of the way they live their life.
This means that everything you see Christians doing and saying, in their ritualized lifestyle and the rituals in their church services are to get Christ’ love into their life. And the designed purposes of the way they live their life, their moral concepts, are designed to keep an ever growing love in their life, as they would say.
Next, take a look at how the Catholic Church worships Ancestors by calling them Saints, and how all Christian Churches worship Jewish Ancestors as mentioned in the Bible: And that to, ritual relationship with Ancestors, is part of human nature. The designed purpose of all of this is directed at getting love into their heart and soul, which is the foundation of theology and sociology of Christianity, and the way they see the world; worldview.
The point is, all of the religious beliefs in the world, past and present, are a Game of life related to one or more aspects of human nature. This is and was the case with African traditional religions before we were brought to America.
In all Religions, these aspects of human nature become original premises for their theological and sociological focus in life, or to say, the point of departure for their Game of life.
When I speak of original premise, as foundations, I mean the things people choose to worship; like the Christians ritual relationship with Love, and how that produced the foundation for the Christian Game of relating to human nature. There is something to be learned in every ancient religious belief.
This means that African religions are the product of Ancient African theology and society based on the aspects of human nature they chose to worship. And the things they worship are the foundation of their Game in life, and their Game traveled down through the generations until it reached African Americans in the 21st Century as gifts to us, and will extend into the future of our unborn, as our gifts to them.”
So Rachel, you see, understanding African Traditional Religions are a way of understanding all religions and what purpose they serve people, period. It is the study of universal spirituality, i.e., human nature. Therefore, to understand your Ancient Ancestor beliefs, in order to understand them, you have to have communion with them as part of studying your history and human nature at the same time. When you understand one path, you understand the nature of all paths; they all lead to wisdom and knowledge. One is not better than another.
As to your question, do granddaughters follow the same thinking process as grandsons? This is a very interesting question Rachel; do men and women follow the same thinking process? That tells me that you are successfully entering womanhood. What I mean by that is, you are realizing that your mind‘s ability to think is the most important thing you have to do the things you want to do in life; because it is your responsibility to realize your dreams.
As Grandpa sees it, men think in terms of, what “I want,” and women think in terms of what “we want;” (we, being her and the eggs a woman is carrying in her womb. This means that the two most important right questions, a young woman must ask herself, what do we want and how much am I going to pay for it? A woman and a man have to keep in mind that what they want becomes the wants of their children; their family’s mission (chosen destiny) in life. So the answer to your question is to know what you want, and your mind will lead you to it. So in that respect, men and women follow the same thinking process. The only difference is between “I” want and “we” want.
Maya: “Stop! Stop Grandpa, you have ran all kinds of stop signs and red lights in our minds, back up and let some clarity come into the picture of what you mean by this family reunion with our Ancient African Ancestor thing.
My cousin asked you one simple question, break down African traditional theology and sociology, and you go on some long abstract theatrical explanation. Why don’t you just tell us a story about West African Spirituality.
Now I ask you Grandpa, does that fit in with that logic thing you are always talking about leading to a understanding of the wisdom and knowledge of life. Since I reached puberty, I am beginning to wonder about you Antique Gray Heads; but I guess its ok, after all you have survived long enough to become antique, so I know you can do it, once you get on the right track."
Grandpa: “Well Miss Maya Augusta Imani Benjamin-Harris, I see why your mama and daddy gave you such a long name, and I can see why it would seem like I am side-stepping the issue. So now let me see, how can I make African Traditional theology and sociology logically real to my grand children, and tell them a story about West African Spirituality?
To really answer Tiffany, Rachel, and Maya’s question will lead us deep into the Drinking from Ancient Wells part of the title of “Grandpa! Tell us a Story/ Trilogy. And the heart and soul of the physical and spiritual roots of the Game African Americans play; this is what we will "Drink" from those Ancient Wells.
Now to deal with Omni’s question, “How are we going to understand African Traditional theology and sociology, on a deep level, without joining their religions, and look at it from the inside?” And Nikki’s, “I have heard all of my life that there is only one true religion, Christianity, and to deal with any other in any way is a sin. How am I going to think about that?”
Drinking from Ancient Wells
Since Grandpa is the Chief Detective/ Investigator/researcher for the Ben and Bertha Memorial Institute, the only way I think I can make African theology real, interesting, and educational, is to take my Grandchildren on an adventure of actually having a family reunion with our Ancient Ancestors by investigating some of these great Truths in the Ancient Wells of African Traditional religions. This will be the general outline of our family reunion. This doesn’t have anything to do with joining their religion, only understanding how it works.
Along with Grandpa, you will be real Truth Detectives, Investigators, researchers working for the Ben and Bertha Benjamin's Memorial Institute of West African Spirituality. Your title will be, Junior Truth Investigators, whose job will be to find African Truths by Drinking from the Ancient African Wells of a family reunion.
We will accomplish our goal by doing some Detective work on our Ancient Ancestor’s religious beliefs. And you will see the definition and functions of African theology of the Game, and sociology of how to play it. This will be the structure of the family reunion.
We will look at the beliefs of the people on the southern coast of West Africa and the Western Coast of Central Africa, long before the Europeans came to Africa, to see how they thought about spirituality.
And then, use those beliefs to understand and write about the roots of African American's history; or to say, look at our history through the eyes of our Ancient Ancestors. This is the purpose of the family reunion.
In addition, where possible, to make it real, I will use your names as names for individual Bush Africans under investigation. In this way you can visualize and identify with them in your imagination (intellectually experience their beliefs), and better understand what they do, and why. In other words, each one of you will take an active part in the investigation, as well as be characters under investigation. This will be the way we will participate in the family reunion.
Grandpa thinks we will have fun being African investigators, using African Bush Logic to investigate evidence, using that evidence to reach conclusions, and using those conclusions to tell the story of our Ancient Ancestor’s Game; and this will also give you experience in using African Bush Logic.
This should be fun and a very interesting way of making it real enough for you Ms. Tiffany Lynn Askins, and especially little Miss Maya Augusta Imani Benjamin-Harris. This is how we will enjoy the family reunion with our Ancient Ancestor’s Games."
Before we can have a family reunion with our Ancient Ancestors, and make it real, as Detectives/Investigators/researchers, we have to research who our Ancient Ancestors are, and where in Africa they were and are located; Since we call ourselves African Americans.
For the answer, we will turn to some of my research, where I found that Europeans, mostly English in our case, were in the business of buying and capturing Africans, and transporting them to the United States of America to be slaves. Records were kept of most of these transactions, and some of them still exist.
Also, I found that the White people in America buying Africans had concerns about where in Africa we came from; especially rice farmers in South Carolina, and that has been documented.
So first, we will research some researchers, who did original research of those records and documents, beginning with authors Philip D. Curtin’s book, The Atlantic slave trade: a Census, and, “Melville J. Herskovits book, Myth of the Negro Past, among a lot of others.
These records not only tell us what part of Africa we came from, but also, how many of us from each part. And answer the question as to, where in Africa we came from, and see how many ideas we can find to use in our investigative research of our Ancient Ancestors.
Below is a compilation showing numbers and places of pick-up and delivery of Africans to the Colony of Virginia between the years 1710-1769.
Gambia and Senegal ………….…8,793
Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo……….11,918
Benin and Nigeria………………...14,365
Angola and Congo……………….…9,001
“Now, for those landing in the Colony of South Carolina, in the years between 1733 and 1785.
Senegal and Guinea………………13,132
Liberia and Ivory Coast……..…….4,542
Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria……18,931
Congo and Zaire…………………..11,615
When I take a large number of these records, and do our numbers thing, we find that just about an equal number of Africans came to America from each of these areas.
Then, when we investigated this information as foundations on which to build our research, I find that in Virginia, between 1710 and 1769, i.e., 59 years, 44,077 Africans came to that state, which equals 747 per year, or about 62 per month. In the case of South Carolina, in 52 years, comes out to be 1249 per year, or about 104 per month.
When we take into consideration that Virginia and South Carolina were by far the biggest importer of slaves, followed by Maryland, Georgia, and later Louisiana, we see that the majority of Blacks were imported into those states. And if we use the same numbers for Maryland, Georgia and Louisiana as those for Virginia and South Carolina, and allowing for the other much lesser importing states, we estimated that 300,000 to 500,000 Africans were imported into the United States in the 246 years between 1619 and 1865, when the slave trade ended.
In fact, after a close look at the records, we find that 5-10% came between 1619 and 1700. However the vast majority of Blacks, about 80-90%, came to the United States in the hundred years between 1700 and 1800, and about 5-10% came between 1800 and 1865. Most important, we noticed, that because of the slow rate at which we came, the Africans in the United States always knew what was going on in Africa over our slavery history, 1619-1865.
Meanwhile, when we take into consideration the nature of the wars between European nations over trade with Africa, and wars between African nations over trade with Europeans, and wars between African and European nations, and where and when they took place, and at the same time, take note that directly and indirectly, these wars promoted the slave trade, we can see that all of the Africans who came to America as slaves were warriors captured in war situations.
Also it is still another way of seeing that the vast majority of Africans that came to the United States from the above mentioned areas of West and West Central Africa.
This answers the question: Where did our Ancestors come from? Answer, West and Western Central Africa. The next logical question is how did our Ancestors come to be in America? Answer, we are captured male and female African warriors, brought here as slaves.
Then, we can come to the conclusion that, throughout slavery, it stands to reason that newly arrived Africans to the United States brought their religious beliefs with them. This kept Africans already in America updated on African Traditional Bush Religion.
Therefore African Bush Religious Beliefs was a growing and dynamic reality in our slave history in America. And more importantly, those beliefs are what guided us through slavery, and on into the twenty-first century.
“To push our research and analysis even further, when we look on the map and saw this vast area of West and West Central Africa, our research shows that those areas consisted of seven nations of people. And we find that each one of these nations had a name, language, and spiritual beliefs of their own:
“They are the Yoruba-speaking people of western Nigeria: The Akan-speaking people of the southern two-thirds of Ghana, south eastern Ivory Coast, and south western Togo: The Igbo-speaking people of south eastern Nigeria: The Aja-speaking people of Benin and Togo: The Secree-speaking people living in the western half of the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, some call The People in the land of Secret Societies: The Wolof-Serer Mending-speaking people in Senegal and Gambia: And seventh, the Nzere-Bantu speaking people in the Congo, Zaire, and Angola. Therefore, they are the ones we want to have a family reunion with.
However, we are going to have a family reunion with only five of the seven nations. The reason the other two are not included, is because we have already had a reunion, so to speak, with our Ancient Wolof-Serer-Mending Ancestors, who live in Senegal and Gambia: And our Ancient Nzere-Bantu Ancestors, who live in West Central African countries of Congo and Angola: In Grandpa! Tell us a Story/Drinking from Ancient Wells series. The story of the game Black people play-trilogy-book two, the Game’s Mind.
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