Honoring Indigenous Wisdom


Door of Temple, Ile Ife, Southwestern Nigeria

When I began Well of Indigenous Wisdom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania prior to moving to Puerto Rico, many years ago, I was met with a question of identity and truth to myself and my family. We are Africans living in the Americas, faced constantly with the society forcing us to disown our traditions and teachings. Mainstream Western world ways promote the removal and neglect of the ways our ancestors used to live. It is evident in all forms of systems of governance and society; schools, work, religion, healthcare, dress code, gender roles, food accessibility as some examples. Indigenous societies did not have the kind of one sided education system that we see today. We can all agree schools for children aren't even safe any longer! When my children were in high school, I always felt like I was visiting a prison, courthouse or airport. Police check, bag check, body check, sign name in and out and no access to my child's classroom, they would have to call them to meet me in the lobby where the police person was sitting. Thank goodness I always taught my children the double walk of todays life. I told them, you go to school to know those ways, understand why those ways don't work and where they do work but after school and on holidays and weekends you will learn our ways. Our ways are the most important ways because they are the ways that will always guide you, the world ways just keep you current in a changing world. Our lessons would often take place while forest bathing, river bathing, sun bathing and gazing, observing moon phases, embracing dark spaces and places with candles and fires. Most importantly, hours and hours of conversation in philosophy, storytelling the oral traditions passed down to me by my people, and training them to perceive the world and all life from another angle. In essence, the ancestors were leading me towards my life commitment; being the preserver of indigenous wisdom. The one who will not be embarrassed, not ashamed, determined and sometimes walking alone to remind many of indigenous wisdom. What was happening as I was growing with my children is that I was channeling from the well of wisdom. Drinking from it myself and sharing cupfuls with the children. Passing it on, as already I could see 7 generations drinking from it. And I would also "see" my ancestors sitting around a fire, the element of transformation and passion, their eyes glowing with hope and approval, that the whispers from the mouths of all my grandmothers and grandfathers that I have sat with, spoke words packed with more than was spoken, the well water is being shared. Like a pocket of light, photons are much more than warmth and light filled particles, they have a message in them that is filled with energy to make sure that life of a plant continues to be nourished, will continue to nurture life and will continue life no matter what challenges are faced. Plant people are indigenous people. They have those pockets of wisdom and knowledge within them that speak they're own language and transmit they're own frequency. Our connection to them will enhance ALL life and bring happiness and peace to our planet. The current imbalance that can be seen as a nightmare has been going on for more than 400 years here in the Americas it is working it's way out. I truly recommend not being afraid to connect with plant people (tincture, growing, oils, salves, teas, teachers) who can guide you to where you need to be. Your true self is birthed out of your desire to want to see it happen to you because our collective destiny on this planet relies on you. I hope these words that are not mine alone, will inspire you during this time. Let it be so!

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