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A Linguistic View of Spirit: Taking the spookism out of African spirituality Asar Imhotep 8/13/2014.

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Presentation on theme: "A Linguistic View of Spirit: Taking the spookism out of African spirituality Asar Imhotep 8/13/2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Linguistic View of Spirit: Taking the spookism out of African spirituality
Asar Imhotep 8/13/2014

2 Asar’s Greatest Influences


4 Africa

5 What is Spookism? spookism: belief in or the practice of communicating with spooks or spirits; especially : spiritualism <dabbler in wireless and has a specially equipped set which collects the voices of the dead — Sydney (Australia) Bulletin>

6 What is Spookism? spook (n.): 1801, "spectre, apparition, ghost," from Dutch spook, from Middle Dutch spooc "spook, ghost," from a common Germanic source (German Spuk "ghost, apparition," Middle Low German spok "spook," Swedish spok "scarecrow," Norwegian spjok "ghost, specter," Danish spøg "joke"), of unknown origin. According to Klein's sources, possible outside connections include Lettish spigana "dragon, witch," spiganis "will o' the wisp," Lithuanian spingu, spingeti "to shine," Old Prussian spanksti "spark." Meaning "undercover agent" is attested from The derogatory racial sense of "black person" is attested from 1940s, perhaps from notion of dark skin being difficult to see at night. Black pilots trained at Tuskegee Institute during World War II called themselves the Spookwaffe.

7 What is an -ism? -ism : suffix forming nouns of action, state, condition, doctrine, from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus, from Greek -isma, from stem of verbs in -izein. Used as an independent word, chiefly disparagingly, from 1670s.

8 Spookism from the NOI perspective
In a nutshell, Spookism is believing in and teaching the existence of a spirit God. The believe in God that's not real, not human, not of flesh and blood not man

9 Etymology of “spirit” spirit (n.) mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from Anglo-French spirit, Old French espirit "spirit, soul" (12c., Modern French esprit) and directly from Latin spiritus "a breathing (respiration, and of the wind), breath; breath of a god," hence "inspiration; breath of life," hence "life;" also "disposition, character; high spirit, vigor, courage; pride, arrogance," related to spirare "to breathe," from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic pisto "to play on the flute").  Meaning "supernatural immaterial creature; angel, demon; an apparition, invisible corporeal being of an airy nature" is attested from mid-14c.; from late 14c. as "a ghost" (see ghost (n.)). From c.1500 as "a nature, character"; sense of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological context, as in Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1680s, common after 1800; Spirit of '76 in reference to the qualities that sparked and sustained the American Revolution is attested by 1797 in William Cobbett's "Porcupine's Gazette and Daily Advertiser." 

10 Etymology of “spirit” Animating force Breath/breathe Wind; to blow
Life Disposition, character; high spirit, vigor, courage; pride, arrogance

11 The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition
“Where ever there is sky, there is Spirit”

12 The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition
“Every spirit belongs to Spirit Some of our spirits lived as human beings; others are forces of nature. They respond to our petitions, though they also operate from their own agendas. If we are unaware of any spirits, they are better able to exercise their own will and roam about freely. The focus of our lives is how effectively to interact with the world of spirit.” pg. 4

13 The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition
“Nyama is the energy that emanates from Spirit and flows throughout the universe. It is the life-force that links all of existence together; humans, animals, plants, and minerals. The power of creation and destruction, nyama commands everything from bountiful harvests to droughts and plagues; it directs the twinkling stars and the rippling tides. This energy of the universe shapes nature into its many forms and yields to our handling of its power.” pg. 5

14 Sobonfu Somè (Dagara of Burkina Faso)

15 The Spirit of Intimacy - pg. 13
When indigenous people talk about spirit, they are basically referring to the life force in everything. For instance, you might refer to the spirit in an animal, that is, the life force in that animal, which can help us accomplish our life purpose and maintain our connection to the spirit world. The spirit of a human being is the same way. In our tradition, each of us is seen as a spirit who has taken the form of a human in order to carry out a purpose. Spirit is the energy that helps us connect, that helps us see beyond our racially limited parameters, and also helps us in ritual and connecting with the ancestors. Ancestors are also referred to as spirits.

16 But what can African languages tell us about spirit?

17 Jean-Claude Mboli





22 Urhobo erḥi “spirit double”
Arabic riyḥ “spirit, wind” Hebrew ruwaḥ, ruwḥ- “spirit, wind, temper” Hebrew reyah “scent” Yoruba ori “luck, destiny” Yoruba ori “spirit double” Lugbara ori “ghost” Lugbara ori-ndi “soul” Swahili roho “spirit, soul” Kikuyu roho “spirit” Bantu: ribo “spirit” (123, 189) Bantu: rima “chest” (46, 80) Bantu: rima “heart, soul, spirit” (123, 189) Bantu: rimo “soul, spirit” (23, 189) Bantu: rumu “soul, spirit” (123, 190) Bantu: rumu “ghost, devil” (51, 99) Bantu: roho “spirit, soul” (123, 191)

23 Spirit and breath Jaba hyong “spirit” Twi honhom “spirit” Yoruba hon (oorun) “snore” Yoruba ohùn “voice” (breath of life) Hebrew hamah “to roar” (like waves) Arabic hamhama “to mutter” M-E hn “shout, cheering” M-E hnhn “soft words, lullaby, songs” M-E hn “thorax” (controls breath/chest area)

24 Spirit and breath Yoruba emí “spirit” Yoruba èémí “breath” Yoruba mí “breathe” Igbo mmuọ “spirit” Ga mumọ “spirit” M-E am “breathe in” Tshiluba: nnyumà "spirit" Tshiluba: anyìmà "soul"

25 Spirit and breath Bantu: boe “spirit, soul” (123, 191)
Bantu: bili “chest” (46, 79) Bantu: bara “name” Bantu: bono “name” (72, 126) Bantu: bara “name” (38, 63) Tshiluba: mvidi "spirit“ Dogon: kinu “breath, life” Dogon: kikinu “soul” Numbers from Rev. W. Wanger: Comparative Lexical Study of Sumerian and Ntu (Bantu): 1935

26 Wind in Kongo-Saharan languages
PWS pi “to fly”, pí “to throw”, “feather”; PWN PAPA “wing”; PWN PHET “blow,” PHUPH “wind, blow”, PHUP “pigeon, dove” (flap wings), I Yorùbá a-fefe “wind,” III Lefana o-fe-fe “wind,” V Temne a-fef “wind,” VI Mende fefe “wind, breeze,” Mangbetu mbimbato “wind,” Bantu pepo “wind”, Swahili upepo “wind,” Bantu (Meeussen) peep “blow”; Fula fufede “blow” (forge); Bantu padad “fly”; Kongo epapi “wing”, Ngala lipapu “wing” etc.; Mande pã “to fly” (with wings), also dama “to fly”; Mangbetu kupapa “wing” See GJK Campbell-Dunn (2006: 88). Who Were the Minoans: An African Answer. Author House Publishing. Bloomington, IN. Also Campbell-Dunn (2009b).

27 God xpr as divine breath (in Tshiluba)
Cipepu or Cipepewela can also be rendered ku-ku-Pepa or pepula “blow, being carried by the wind.” pupa, peeps, pepula, pupwila “blown” Cipepu-la means “strong wind,” “Breath bearer of Ra.” Remember our Egyptian term: ppi "unknown"[verb]{used about movement}

28 God xpr as divine breath (in Tshiluba)
Cipepu or Cipepewela can also be rendered ku-ku-Pepa or pepula “blow, being carried by the wind.”

29 What’s in a name? A name is the soul of a person
The word for name is connected with the word for “breath/wind” and “speech”

30 What’s in a name? The Egyptian kA “soul”
The “soul” in the Egyptian writing script is rendered with the Gardiner sign D28 with the consonant value of kA “soul, spirit, essence (of a being), personality.” This is actually a k-r or k-l root. The /A/ grapheme is a nasalized uvular trill:

31 Alain Anselin in his article "Some Notes about an Early African Pool of Cultures from which Emerged the Egyptian Civilisation" (2011: 49) si3 <*s-r, ‘to understand, know > god of the knowledge’ (Old Kingdom; Wb IV 30, 1-21), written with the hieroglyph of the cloth (Gardiner S32); si3.t, (Pyramid Texts; Coffin Texts variant, sr3.t, identifying /i/ as a reflex of /r/): Central Chadic: Mofu-gudur: sǝr, ‘to know’ (Barreteau 1988, 198); Merey: sǝr, ‘to know’ (Gravina et al. 2003); Udlam: -sǝr, ‘to know’ (Kinnaird and Oumate 2003); Muyang: sǝr, ‘to get to know’ (Smith 2003). m33 < *mVl, ‘to see, look, examine’ (Old Kingdom; Wb II 7, 1-10, 7), phonetically written with the hieroglyph of the sickle (Gardiner U1), the phonetic complement of the vulture (Gardiner G1) or the determinative of the eye (Gardiner D4) (Kahl 2004, 166-7): Cushitic: Agaw: Bilin: miliʡy-, ‘to look, examine’; Kemant: mel-, ‘to examine, observe’; Eastern Cushitic: Oromo: mal-, ‘to think’; Sidamo: mal-, ‘to perceive, advise’; Somali: mala, ‘thought’; Burji: mala, ‘plan’ (Anselin 2001). Omotic: Wolamo: mil, ‘to believe’; Kafa: mallet, ‘to observe’ (Dolgopolsky 1973, 180).

32 What’s in a name? The Egyptian kA “soul”
Egyptian kA “soul” Akan (Niger-Congo) ọkra “soul”; Ga (Niger-Congo) kla “soul” Bilen (Cushitic) inkēra “soul, life” Kwara (Cushitic) enkerā “soul, life” Tyo (Niger-Congo) nkira “spirit”

33 What’s in a name? The Egyptian kA “soul”
Egyptian kA “to say” Hebrew qero “call” Arabic qera “say, read” Hausa kira “call” ciLuba akula “oral”; -aakula “talk, speak, utter, express” mwakulu “language.” Igbo kalu “voice, sound, declair” Twi kra “call for, place an order” Hebrew qowl “sound, voice, thunder”

34 Relationship between “name” and “call”
Egyptian kA “name” ; kA “to say” Twi b’ din “to name” ; b’ din “to call” Hebrew shem “name, fame” Arabic ‘i-sm “name, fame” Twi a-sem “proclamation” Yoruba e-sun “proclamation” Yoruba f’…sun “report” Swahili sema “say, speech”

35 Relationship between “name” and “call”
Yorùbá dárúko (d-r-k) “to mention, to mention the name of” Arabic dakara (d-k-r) “to mention” Assyrian zikaru (z-k-r) “to mention, to name” Hebrew zekar (z-k-r) “to remember” Egyptian sxA (s-x-A) “remembrance, memory, call to mind, mention”

36 African Religion Defined: A Systematic Study of Ancestor Worship among the Akan (2013),
Dr. Anthony Ephirim-Donkor, a Ghanian king,

37 African Religion Defined: A Systematic Study of Ancestor Worship among the Akan (2013),
"Kwame Gyekye, for example, maintains that the Okra is located in the head, although, in general, the Akan believe that the seat of the okra is the shoulders—or that the shoulders balanced the soul in the head as the head, the seat of intelligence, sits on the shoulders. Still the fact is that to call anyone by name is to call the soul of that individual, and since the soul is an intangible agency, it is assumed that the dead has 'appeared' in spirit.” (Donkor, 2013: 54-5) 

38 KA Statue of Horawibra

39 KA and Paronymy kAwt "to carry, to support" kA.t “thought”
kA.j   "to think about, plot” kA “soul, spirit, personality, essence” kA “to say”

40 Oduyoye in Adegbola (1983: 283)
“We can then think of kra/kla as “consciousness,” the part of a man that responds to a calling.”

41 The “soul” = “consciousness, intelligence”
kA   "ideogram for cattle" (Gardiner sign F1; symbolized by a cow's head)

42 Alain Anselin -"Some Notes about an Early African Pool of Cultures from which Emerged the Egyptian Civilisation" (2011: 49) b3 < *b-l, ‘soul’ Angas-sura: bĕl, ‘reason, sense, to be wise, intelligence, understanding’ Matakam: *bl, ‘genius, spirit, mboko’, belbele-hay, ‘genius’; Fulfulde: ηbeelu (ηgu), 'vital principle in man - in danger of being devoured by soul eaters' Semitic: *bāl, ‘spirit, mind’; Aramaic: bl, ‘spirit, intelligence’; N. Syriac: bālā, ‘reason, attention’; Arabic: bāl, ‘attention, consciousness, mind’

43 Alain Anselin -"Some Notes about an Early African Pool of Cultures from which Emerged the Egyptian Civilisation" (2011: 49) The bA “soul” is symbolized by a bird (a turtle dove) and the “soul” carries the same consonant cluster set as the word for “bird” in African languages: e.g., Western Chadic: Bole: mbólé, Mupun, Sura: mbul, Angas, bul, Ankwe: Nice, Karekare: bélawi, oriental Chadic: Gabri: bélu, bird, Bidiya: bálya, dove. PChadic: *mbul, dove.

44 The bA “soul, spirit” of a person

45 Urhobo erḥi “spirit double”
Arabic riyḥ “spirit, wind” Hebrew ruwaḥ, ruwḥ- “spirit, wind, temper” Hebrew reyah “scent” Yoruba ori “luck, destiny” Yoruba ori “spirit double” Lugbara ori “ghost” Lugbara ori-ndi “soul” Swahili roho “spirit, soul” Kikuyu roho “spirit” Bantu: ribo “spirit” (123, 189) Bantu: rima “chest” (46, 80) Bantu: rima “heart, soul, spirit” (123, 189) Bantu: rimo “soul, spirit” (23, 189) Bantu: rumu “soul, spirit” (123, 190) Bantu: rumu “ghost, devil” (51, 99) Bantu: roho “spirit, soul” (123, 191)

46 Spirit and breath Bantu: boe “spirit, soul” (123, 191)
Bantu: bili “chest” (46, 79) Bantu: bara “name” Bantu: bono “name” (72, 126) Bantu: bara “name” (38, 63) Tshiluba: mvidi "spirit“ Tshiluba: lumvwilu "understanding, intelligence“ Kikongo: bèndo “electronically radiated shadow” Proto-Bantu *bàndà "ghost"; bàndà /mbàndà "medicine-man“ Bambara ba “essence of a person, spirit” Numbers from Rev. W. Wanger: Comparative Lexical Study of Sumerian and Ntu (Bantu): 1935

47 Tshiluba mwoyo "heart, life, mind, soul, courage, will, desire, inclination, sense, mood, thought, salvation, greeting“ Egyptian: jb “heart, mind, understanding, intelligence, will, desire, mood, wish; think, believe, feel, fancy, perceive lunkanyì "spirit, intelligence, judgement" nngènyi "intelligence, spirit" nnyuma "spirit" bungènyi "logic" bukolè(à) "force, energy"

48 Sesotho lelôpô "spirit, witchdoctor";
môya "air, wind, breath, spirit"; semôya "mentally, spirit" (Egyptian sbA “learning, to teach, to instruct, wise”).

49 Ori - Baba Obafemi Origunwa
In Yorùbá symbolic language, eiye ororo (the bird of descent) represents individual capacity for astral travel. Placed atop the king’s crown, it communicates female spiritual authority, organized around what might be termed the birds’ society. Similarly, the bird that tops the staff of the divinity of herbal wisdom, Osanyin, denotes medicinal potency. Likewise, ilé orí, the shrine dedicated to the divinity within, is completely covered in bird symbolism. Covered in cowries, and topped with a bird, ilé orí “conceals an allusion to a certain bird, whose white feathers are suggested by the overlapping cowries.” (Thompson Page 11) In this instance, the bird symbolizes the emblem of the mind that God places in the head of every human being at the time of birth. Everywhere this mystic bird appears in Yorùbá sacred arts, it seems to signify spiritual elevation and divine consciousness.

50 To think is to speak Speech is simply outward thinking
One hears “voice” in head when thinking Thus, thought is simply organized sounds, speech in one’s head. This is why the ancients considered “creation” the manifestations of “God’s speech.” In Egyptian, we call this mdw nTr “God’s words”

51 Amadou Hampate Ba (1981:170) “The Living Tradition” – UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. I

52 Amadou Hampate Ba (1981:170) Let me point out, though, that at this level the terms ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’ refer to realities far more vast than those we usually attribute to them. It is said: ‘The speech of Maa Ngala [the Creator] is seen, is heard, is smelled, is tasted, is touched.’ It is a total perception, a knowing in which the entire being is engaged. In the same way, since speech is the externalization of the vibrations of forces, every manifestation of a force in any form whatever is to be regarded as its speech. That is why everything in the universe speaks: everything is speech that has taken on body and shape.

53 Spirit & Conscioussness
In African Traditions

54 DOGONA ELDERS from Mali





59 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“Amma preserved the whole, for he had traced within himself the design of the world and of its extension. For Amma had designed the universe before creating it.” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 83)

60 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“Each of the four sectors thus formed contained originally eight drawings, each of which, in turn, produced eight more. Thus, the oval contained 8 x 8 x 4 = 256 outlines, to which were added 8 (2 per semi-axis) and 2 for the center. The total was then 266 “sings of Amma” (Amma bummo).” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 84)

61 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
The vertical and horizontal lines are the “guide-signs” (bummo giri), literally “eye-signs” The four pairs placed in the four sectors are called bummo ogo, “master signs” The 256 signs are “the complete signs of the world” (aduno liga bummo). All these signs as a whole are also called “invisible” Amma.

62 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“This hierarchy of figures that composes the central picture is in harmony with the “descent and extension” of the world. It bears the name of “articulated (organized) signs of the world in descent,” indicating that each of the three categories performs a particular function in the development of the universe: the “guide-signs” show the way to the eight master-signs.” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 84)

63 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“ ‘The guide-signs show (make known) the series of the eight master-signs.’ This is to say that they govern and classify the following signs. As for the ‘eight master-signs, they give soul and life force to everything.’ In addition, these ‘ten signs determine whether (a thing) is great or small in volume.’ Finally, ‘the complete signs of the world give all things color, form, substance.’ Thus do they allow an understanding of the creation, for ‘one knows the root (the principle or essence) of things by their form, their substance, their color.’ This amounts to saying that signs, manifestations of creative thought, existed before the things that they determined. ‘In the Dogon word (idea), all things are manifested by thought: they are not known by (i.e., do not exist in) themselves.” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 85)

64 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“Amma’s signs, which he sent into the world, went, entered into things which (at the moment) became.” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 92)

65 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“But if the sign precedes the thing signified, it is dependent upon conscious and active mind. It is said, ‘Amma, in beginning things, chose the bummo with thought. The first design, it is through (the work of)thouth that it was divided (into four). It is (also by) this that the final design (in four parts) was made.’ It is the mind which conceived and produced the initial design and which perfected it by dividing it, so as to specify the essence of things. In its first state, the sign is an articulated whole, then divided into four parts, permitting the recognition of the basic elements which give rise to the thing. But a thing, in turn, is a rearticulation of the parts forming a complete and unique whole, which is the thing itself: ‘The sign of Amma is one (whole). (Amma) broke it down (into) distinct (parts), he presented the image of the four elements, (the thing) existed (by forming) a whole.’ ” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 92)

66 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
And having sprung into existence, the thing becomes conscious of itself, ‘comprehends itself,’ as indicated by the presence of the kikinu say, ‘intelligent soul’, in the sign. (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 92)

67 The Pale Fox – M. Griaule & G. Dieterlen (1986)
“Moreover, as we have seen, first the sign and then the diagrams are evidence of the genesis of the thing they represent; whereas the drawing realizes it and therefore leads it to its end. It is said: ‘The sign which one writes (is) the good to come. The drawing that one draws is, after the good, the bad (which) follows: ‘In Amma’s body were the signs (that is, by accumulating signs). The signs went into each thing, transformed themselves into drawings, drew the departure toward the end (that is, marked the beginning of the transition). The sign is (a) good thing (always) there; the drawing is a thing that has an end.’ To draw is to make (something) begin to be, thus marking the first step toward destruction.” (Griaule & Dieterlen, 1986: 99)

68 What we call in Yoruba “ashe”
The Science of Sound What we call in Yoruba “ashe”

69 Ernst Chladni who in 1787 published his Discoveries Concerning the Theory of Music which laid the foundations for the science of acoustics (the science of sound). One of his major discoveries was a technique on how to make sound visible with the help of a violin bow and a flat plate covered with sand (see image to left). Chladni would perpendicularly strum the edge of the plate and the sounds that would resonate through the plate would cause the sand to take different shapes depending on the frequency and pitch. These shapes later became known as Chladni figures, named after its discoverer and some of these patterns can be seen below:



72 Of Water and Spirit
1: 11, To be able to break it down into pieces, there is what we call the discursive part, and then there is the melodic part. . . any person who speak(s) is singing. There is a way in which you can determine the frequency of your verbal rendention, and there is a specific freqency that you have to stay with in order to trigger the opening of the other world. It's not like a sentence that you can say anyway you'd like, and then it would happen. No! And by the way it is dangerous to say it the wrong way; something else might happen. You might get zapped out of there. That's why I think that, you know, the Dagara are very smart by leaving that only to people who go through initiation who learn how to control that. And there are many verbal keys like this. (For example) There are (is) the one that can make you completely invisible. It can even make you invisible to a camera.

73 Of Water and Spirit
1:15:37 A person's name is associated with a specific function A person's name is an energy signature. And so a name that is randomly assigned to somebody could affect that person positively or negatively


Dibas are “speakers on behalf of God of Light that commands and posesses the Atu, or the ‘Potent Mouth.’ Thus the saying among the Igbos, “After God is Dibia.” Like KMT, the defining operational aspect of the Igbo world view is expressed, “Truth is life, Falsehood is death.” Dibias claim descent from ancient KMT.

76 After God is Dibia, Vol. I Notes (1997) by John Umeh
“ ‘If the assistance of the brave is appealed for at the war monger’s place, the brave would take up his shield or armour.’ And so it is fundamental that the Dibia must know the true name and pronunciation thereof of the herbs, roots, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, stones, minerals, stars, liquids, gases, soils, Spirit, Deities, days, times of the day, ages, periods, phases, places, sites, world ages, numbers, etc., connected with the universe, Dibia’s word, Ogwu and so on. My father was very insistent on this. I still remember a heated argument he once had with Ikegbe Dunu alias Ogbukambakwe Onumba who was one of the great Dibias in my town and died around My father asked him to name the various herbs he, Ikegbe, had assembled for fashioning Ogwu. He succeeded in naming about half the log and then held the remainder together and pronounced them: aghata na ibiom Ogwu, (which literally translates “chaotic and miscellaneous herbs for making Ogwu”). My father objected and insisted that for any herb or root or unit for making Ogwu to be potent and do its work efficiently, and as required, you must call it by its true name and tell it what it normally does and instruct it on what you want it to do in the Ogwu under preparation.

77 After God is Dibia, Vol. I Notes (1997) by John Umeh
My father concluded that failing to do so reduces Ogwu preparation to a hit or miss affair, and the potency, a matter of accident rather than [a] well programmed expected outcome. He further illustrated by stating that if someone comes into a hall full of people and merely stands and mopes at them without mentioning the name of the person he or she is looking for and without telling the person when found, why he or she is being looked for (in other words what to do), the man or woman must have wasted his or her time visiting, for no one will respond or act for him or her.” (Umeh, 1997: 43-44)

78 Babalawo from Atlanta, Part II

79 Odu Ifa I II On Off

80 Babalawo Joseph Ohomina - Benin
“The odu of Ifa are structures of knowledge, autonomous but interdependent agents that shape and interpret the data-saturated environment, providing portraits of intersubjectvity that are shared between artificial entities and ourselves; dramatising interaction between synthetic and organic life, provoking exploration and interaction that enhances curiosity in the face of emergent phenomena which are beyond our control. They are agents, elements of a system, sharing information, adapting and evolving with a changing environment, developing intricate interrelationships. They are spirits whose origin we do not know. We understand only a small fraction of their significance. They are the brains behind the efficacy of whatever we prepare. They are the spiritual names of all phenomena in existence, whether abstract or concrete; plants, animals, human beings, the elements; abstractions such as love, hate, truth and falsehood; all kinds of situations; concrete forms such as rain, water, land, air and the stars; situations such as celebrations, conflict, ceremonies, are represented in spiritual terms by the various odu.”

81 Dr. Sylvester James - Adinkras
Theoretical physicist

82 Dr. Sylvester James - Adinkras

83 Dr. Sylvester James - Adinkras
I II On Off

84 The Healing Wisdom of Africa
"In the indigenous world, the physical human constitution is regarded as an expression of mind and Spirit, and a rather limited expression at that." (Some, 1998: 60). "The indigenous belief of the Dagara is that we are primarily Spirit. In order to exist as material beings, we have to take a form, and there is the sense among my people that to be in matter is not the most familiar or suitable form for us." (Some, 1998: 61).

   1. The Principle of Mentalism.     2. The Principle of Correspondence.     3. The Principle of Vibration.     4. The Principle of Polarity.     5. The Principle of Rhythm.     6. The Principle of Cause and Effect.     7. The Principle of Gender.

86 The Kybalion THE ALL IS MIND - The Universe is Mental
This Principle embodies the truth that "All is Mind." It explains that THE ALL (which is the Substantial Reality underlying all the outward manifestations and appearances which we know under the terms of "The Material Universe"; the "Phenomena of Life"; "Matter"; "Energy"; and, in short, all that is apparent to our material senses) is SPIRIT which in itself is UNKNOWABLE and UNDEFINABLE, but which may be considered and thought of as AN UNIVERSAL, INFINITE, LIVING MIND. 

87 Dr. K. Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau, Nganga from Maniaga, Congo
“Hearing is seeing, and seeing is reacting/feeling. Life is fundamentallly a process of perceptual and mutural communicaqtion; and to communicate is to emit and to receive waves and radiations {minika ye minienie}. This process of, receiving and releasing or passing on {tambula ye tambikisa} is the key to human being’s game of survival.”



90 K.K. Bunseki Fu-Kiau – Kongo Nganga

91 KONGO WORD Like inscriptions incised upon our calabashes, our pottery, and our masks, speech remains among Black Africans what it always is : namely, a thing unveiling, a thing unveiled, a thing remainnig to be unveiled. It never exhausts its message. Its speech is suggestive, in senses virtually extreme, because of its fundamentally enigmatic spirit, pluridimensional or pluridimensionable. In its comprehensiveness, this mode of speaking forever raises points anew because, it speaks with an imitative voice. J. Kinyongo


93 Ra w nu prt m hru [Spoken words for coming into enlightenment]

94 Egyptian Opening of the Mouth Ceremony



“Go with our tears, wet upon your face, and represent our problems among the dead: be our medium.” By similar interpretation, the open mouth, with the lips rendered in relief, symbolizes the leader speaking to the dead: “the funeral is over and now he is talking in the other world. All niombo should have open mouths. This means there is speech in the other world.” …If the open mouth of the niombo brings parlance into the other world, and tears code messages of shared concern, the towering gesture of the niombo, right hand up, left hand down, in similarly significant. It maps the boundary to be crossed; it identifies the cord connecting life to death; it is “the crossroads pose.” … The niombo gesture…also marks a person’s transition from this world to the next. On behalf of his community, niombo hails the heavens and the horizon line. When you die you automatically become an ancestor. But not everyone becomes a niombo. Being buried in a niombo figure means the community believes this person will become our medium. Robert Ferris Thompson Four Moments of the Sun (1981: 61-62)


99 “Yoruba medicine is very closely connected with incantations and powerful words that one must utter. Sometimes if you don’t utter these words, medicines don’t come alive. Most of these words … have their roots in IFA’, (GOD OF WISDOM.)” BABALAWO WANDE ABIMBOLA, YORUBA, NIGERIA




103 Other Notes Bonaabakulu AbaseKHEMU - The Brotherhood of the Higher Ones of Egypt. Founded in the reign of Khufu whose founder was a priest of Isi (Auset, Isis) Ukwazikwesithabango , which means that science which depends on the power of thought Dogon – divides their country into Upper and Lower (so does Rwanda) and the colors are Red and White. Red represents success in cattle herding (look at the Massai) and white for successful agriculture and all its industries including metallurgy

104 Ideology as a source of power
A source of power…in fact the ultimate base of power…is the power of ideas. The power of mind, of thought, imagination and vision; the power of symbols and the word; the power of ideation and the translation of ideation into action, are manifested in a multitude of personal, social, cultural and physical forms. Dr. Amos Wilson, Blueprint for Black Power pg. 220

105 The Honorable Marcus Garvey on the Benefits of Science
"Dive down Black Men and Dig! Reach up Black Men and Women and Pull all nature's knowledge to you. Turn ye around, and make a conquest of everything, North and South, East and West. And then when ye have wrought well, you would have inherited God's blessings, you would have become God's chosen people, naturally you'll become leaders of the world because of the superiority of your Mind and your achievements (…) The world is indebted to us for the benefits of civilization. They stole our arts and sciences from Africa, then why should we be ashamed of ourselves (…) And out of our own Creative Genius we make ourselves what we want to be, follow always that great Law.

106 The Honorable Marcus Garvey on the Benefits of Science
There is no Height that which you cannot climb without the active intelligence of your mind. Mind creates and as much as we desire in Nature, we can have through the creation of our own minds. But in your homes and everywhere possible you must teach the higher developments of SCIENCE to your children. And make sure...And make sure that we have a race of SCIENTISTS PAR EXCELLENCE! For in science lies our only hope to withstand the evil designs of modern materialism.

107 Definition of Àṣẹ Àṣẹ: a coming to pass; law; command; authority; commandment; enjoinment; imposition; power; precept; discipline; instruction; cannon; biding; document; virtue; effect; consequence; imprecation. Dictionary of Yorùbá Language.(1913). Church Missionary Society Bookshop. Lagos, Nigeria.

108 wAs “dominion, have dominion, power”
Egyptian Yorùbá wAs “scepter” àṣẹ “scepter” wAs “dominion, have dominion, power” àṣẹ “law, command, authority, power” wAs “honor (due to a god or king), prestige” ọ̀ṣọ́ "elegance, finery, neatness, jewels" ọzō (Igbo) “honor, title of high degree” [Pulaar wasu “glorification” (Lam, 1994: 44)] wAs “fortunate, prosperous, well-being, prosperity” ajé “money, the goddess of money” (s>j) àṣẹ “the force to make all things happen and multiply” (Thompson, 1984:18) [Pulaar waas “riches” (Lam,ibid.)] wAs “to batter, to strike, to break, to bruise, to lay” wAs “ruin” wsi “to saw, cut up, trim” ọṣẹ́ “hurt, injury”; ẹṣẹ́ “blow with the fist”; ṣá (ṣalogbe) “to cut, to wound with a knife”; aṣá “a heavy spear or javelin used to kill elephants”(with noun forming prefix a-); oṣe “club of god of thunder [Ṣango]” (a striking instrument); [1]There is also àjé “the spirit of a bird” used by women (Ìyáàmi) to invoke powers used for abundance and justice.

109 Woko Staff – Hamar, Ethiopia
Hangool Staff – Afar Woko Staff – Hamar, Ethiopia A = Egyptian staff (Cairo Museum) B = Peul of Sengal (A. M. Lam) C = Nanakana of Ghana (I’Fan Museum Dakar) [1] See Lam (1994: 58)

110 Goddess wAs.t “the powerful female one.”
wsr “make strong, powerful, wealthy, influential”

111 PR AA MERYIBRE KHETI Teachings to son MERIKARE c. 2100 BCE
Be skillful in speech, that you may be strong; [///] it is the strength of [///] the tongue, and words are braver than all fighting; none can circumvent the clever man [///] on the mat; a wise man is a [school] for the magnates, and those who are aware of his knowledge do not attack him. [Falsehood] does not exist near him, but truth comes to him in full essence, after the manner of what the ancestors said. Copy your forefathers, for [work] is carried out through knowledge; see, their words endure in writing. Open, that you may read and copy knowledge; (even) the expert will become one who is instructed.




115 AFRICAN DIASPORA Master Teachers


117 ASE'

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