From The Publisher


Iya Ifalola Omobola

In preparing a piece for this edition, I was led in many different ways.  I was finally told to reprint this piece from my Fear book and am doing so.  Those interested in reading further will be told how to obtain a copy below.

Standing upon the shoulders of those who come before us means that the life experiences, wisdom and guidance that our ancestors garnered are the foundation from which we can spring forward.  We do not need to make the same mistakes – continue the sins of the fa­thers as some cultures reference it. We learn and move ahead taking who and what they were along with us.

We have learned that some of those shoulders are a little weak­er than others. It is the guidance from those ancestors that is shaped by conditions. This does not mean that we ignore those ancestors. There is work that can be done for them to help give them light and elevation even when they have gone beyond the veil that keeps most of us in this world from seeing.

Prior to discussing the process, let us investigate some of the reasons that such conditioning came about in the first place. We will approach it from an African American point of view but the model can be applied to any of the cultures privy to this information.

It is obvious, at least to many African Americans who have studied this subject that conscious attempts were and are continually being made to totally obliterate all sense of culture from the psyche of a major portion of the descendants of Africans found in the Amer­icas, especially in the United States of America.

Beginning with such tools as the Black Slave Codes, a system­atic approach was taken to strip away all identity from the captured African, as evidenced in the following excerpt:

All servants imported and brought into the Coun­try…who were not Christians in their native Coun­try…shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion… shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resists his master…correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction…the master shall be free of all punishment…as if such accident never happened.

This initial code, passed in 1705 by the Virginia General As­sembly, served as a model for other colonies, such as Louisiana, which passed its own version of the Black Code in 1724.  Its code ordered that all slaves in the province be instructed and baptized in the Catholic religion and that the exercise of any other religion other than the Catholic was forbidden.

Regardless of the province, all of the codes held certain commonalities within them. The color line was distinct, with any amount of Black blood classifying the person, free or slave, as Black (Negro.) All black children followed the status of their mother so that the offspring of a free father and slave mother (or white father and slave mother) were slaves.  Slaves could make no contract, own no property, and if attacked, could not strike a white person. They could not meet unless in the presence of someone white, they could not learn to read or write, and were not permitted to marry.

Obedience to the slave codes was exacted in a variety of ways. Such punishments as whipping, branding, and imprisonment were commonly used, although death (which meant destruction of prop­erty) was rarely called for except in extreme cases as the murder of a white person or whistling at a white woman. White patrols kept the slaves under surveillance, especially at night.

Coupled with the continued attempt to erase the culture of an entire race of people by black slave codes organized three hundred years ago, was the aftermath created as an inherited behavior that was then passed down genetically from generation to generation. This behavior was shaped as a reactionary position within slavery that put its victims into a secondary state of dependency as opposed to a primary stance of responsible action that continues to have a strong hold even as the 21st century makes its presence known.

Such inherited behavior, commonly referenced as a slave mentality in modern day jargon, is a deep-rooted occurrence within the African American community and one that has to be addressed not only on a psychological level but on an ancestral one as well.

Unfortunately, the establishment of the many forms of ances­tral reclamation in the western world is an anomaly. The culture con­tains all the mechanisms for creating a healthy relationship physical­ly, mentally and spiritually, in an individual, familial, communal and global way. The reality of the situation, though, presents a fractured mirror reflecting distortions of the essence of that which could have been.

The preponderance of dysfunction within the lives of African Americans drawn to African Traditional Religions continues to per­petrate the New World urban legend that anyone but themselves is capable of leading them to the promised land. They look to their new masters, in the guise of priests and Awos, to show them the error of their ways and the path to follow in order to reap their rewards in a heaven that has now been transposed into Orun. They are still wait­ing to be saved.

Such mentality has been ingrained into the being of the Afri­can American so deeply that it is now within their blood. The experi­ence of slavery in the Americas has drastically altered their DNA so that the potentiality of their destiny is being replaced by the altered direction their captivity created.

There is even some conjecture that the DNA of the African in America has been consciously altered.  It is a theory that is not as far-fetched as some may think, considering the history of genetic engineering and the ground it has covered.  Originally labeled “se­lective breeding,” its roots go back to biblical times where Jacob received black sheep from his father-in-law, Laban, as wages for being his shepherd. Laban kept all the white sheep. Jacob mated his black sheep with Laban’s white sheep and created spotted and streaked sheep. This made Laban’s family angry and they made him leave.  Today, “selective breeding” has become “genetic engineer­ing” which includes mixing strands of DNA and the remapping of genetic code.

It is not simply arbitrary that the Africans of America are the only group of people in the world who do not have a land. The term ”African American” or even “Africans in America” never became accepted labels for the majority of people here, who still consider themselves Black. There is no country called “Black.”

It is not a mistake that African Americans are the only group of people in the world who cannot remember their past. The inabil­ity to remember is heightened by an emotional charge that creates and continually reinforces disfavor with the continent of their origi­nal birth.

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African Americans are the only group of people in the world where the light in their children’s eyes has died almost before they are born and if it is not successfully dimmed prior to school age, be­tween following the public school curriculum and taking drugs ad­ministered “to make them normal” – both legally and illegally – the light is thereby extinguished.

Such unique obstacles create an understanding that ancestral reclamation needs to be approached from a slightly different direc­tion in order to facilitate necessary healing within the African Ameri­can community. The holistic, healthy structure created by their for­bearers is no longer easily accessible. That structure is steadfastly being erased from their memory. It is not desired that African Ameri­cans gather their wits about them, for their New World experience combined with their traditional intuitive understanding, would give them the power to once again restore harmony in the world, on all dimensions.

There exists the means, though, with which to reverse the pro­cess, as the key to accessing the memory contained within their DNA is found within the realm of the Ancestors. The solution to reversing the process of annihilation, for which the African American’s journey to this country is preparing them, is to assist their immediate Ances­tors in reuniting with those Ancestors who lived back home prior to being kidnapped so that they can collectively help us as a people to remember that which has been forgotten.

The difficulty in such reunification on the astral plane is wit­nessed in the constant in-house fighting and turmoil found on the physical plane in the western world among African Americans who claim to follow the patterns set forth in a more traditional world. The irony of the situation is that the friction is orchestrated in order to prevent keys of memory access from being utilized. Putting forth a concerted effort to push past the currently restrictive dead zone would allow a remembrance that reshapes the recent past to reflect the quality and tenor of original foundation. As long as strings are allowed to be pulled and perceived enemies are viewed simply by looking in the mirror, such (re)awakening simply cannot take place.

The beauty of such a dilemma is that the Ancestors have built in an escape mode to freedom. Yoruba culture teaches that no one can know who they are if they cannot call their ancestors going back seven generations.  When the seventh generation of Ancestors is rec­ognized, acknowledged and supplicated, that energy can literally bring back life in the form of ancient wisdom. Those who would have it otherwise understand this which is the reason ancestral recla­mation had such a difficult time making it across the waters and had to hide among the costumes of other more acceptable traditions.

It is imperative – IMPERATIVE – that the present generation puts full focus on regaining relationship with those pre-slavery An­cestors and strengthening that bond because their children who are now entering the world have, as their seventh generation of Ances­tors, those who knew nothing but slavery.

In other words, if focus is not immediately placed upon recon­necting with lineage that goes back seven generations, the informa­tion, guidance and understanding those ancestors can provide will be completely lost and their culture will die.

This puts me in mind of an article I read in the magazine, National Geographic, about 20 years ago.  Scientists had come to the conclusion that for all their attempts to replicate nature, the best way to cure disease would be found in the herbs, plants and trees that grew in areas of the world that had maintained their indigenous populations. They decided to go to those areas and see if they could question the people in the areas to teach them where to obtain and how to use the natural medicine.

The only keepers of the knowledge who were left were elders and they refused to pass the information along to anyone but their heirs. Unfortunately, missionaries had come into the lands much earlier and had either stolen or coaxed the young people away to be educated in foreign lands, teaching them that their ways were primi­tive and backward.

When the scientists approached the children, in an attempt to get them to return home to garner the knowledge, the children laughed in their faces. They refused to buy into the “backward gib­berish.” They were “civilized” now and were not going back.

Going back seven generations, however, presents a catch-22 situation. Many African Americans are unable to go back five gen­erations, let along seven generations.  Those who have done ge­nealogical research will testify to the difficulty inherited in such an endeavor.  In moving backwards through the census, the ordeal of witnessing human beings suddenly becoming pieces of property in a mere twenty year leap is phenomenally painful and affects not only one’s emotional frame but their spiritual one as well, as those Ances­tors who walk with the investigator are slapped by the impact of such a reality yet again. Additionally, many of those records have been burned or lost.

However, it is imperative that African Americans get in touch with those ancestors that existed prior to slavery.  The tools and meth­odology to approach such a gargantuan task have to be sought both in ancient traditional wisdom as well as the westernized approaches to such understanding as manifested in the practices of ancestral rec­lamation experienced through Yoruba culture in this country.

It would behoove those of more immediate African descent, to initially focus all of their attention on creating a lightning connec­tion to their ancestors, both recent and past – back seven generations. This seemingly impossible task can be well met by taking appropriate steps which outline a slightly more specialized approach than may be found in other similar instruction.

The above is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of my book  Fear Ain’t Nothin’ But A Five-Letter Word: A Self-Help Journal to Transforming Fear. You can get more information by clicking on the image below.

Article by Iya'falola H. Omobola

An initiated priest of the Orisha, Ifa, Palo and Vodoun systems, Iya'falola has been observing the Yoruba culture for the past thirty five years and is a published writer - three books with a fourth on the way (click on her name to see her website). She began Oya N'Soro as a printed newsletter called Oya's Marketplace in 1991, which then transformed into a bound book called Ogbe'Soro. She eventually turned it into an ezine entitled Oya N'Soro: Oya Speaks! in 2004. She operates an Ile in Jackson, MS called Ile Ominira Ilu - The House of the Land That's Been Freed.
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