Congo : My Call to the Congo

Blackbird

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Nsala malecum...

I write this in the spirit of sharing with my family....

In 1999, I received a mysterious email from a brother based in London. His name was Tekesala and he was a Bakongo person from Angola. The brother was very intuned and passionate about Pan-African issues and the oppression of White Supremacy ideology. We conversed over many e-mail communications. I discussed with him the possibility that I may have Bakongo ancestry. In one email reply from Tekesala, he asked me how did I know this word. He said it was the last word in my email. The word meant "wisdom" in Kikongo. I told him I never wrote any Kikongo words and he was adamant that it was in one of my emails. He sent me the email. In my email, I remember writing him thinking about one of my great great auntie that was still alive. For some reason, I had been thinking about her. During this time, I had a dream in which there was a funerary ceremony taking place. It was definitely an African ritual. In the dream, there was a man officiating, speaking in center and commanding the attention of all. He was speaking a different language. He turned to me, came over to me and said, "You think you are Yoruba. I'm here to tell you your ancestors were not Yoruba." At the time, I was involved with an Yoruba Ile and Egbe Egungun. Toward the end of my dream, I noticed one person standing out - my great great auntie, sitting there dressed in African garb smiling.

For a couple days after the dream, my auntie was on my mind. I was living in Minneapolis at the time. My mom called from back home to tell me Aunt Annie had passed. I was going to ask her how Aunt Annie was doing because she had been on my mind. The connection of Aunt Annie, Tekesala and the Congo is Aunt Annie represented the last living old-school person on a particular side of my maternal great grandmother's family, the Platts. The Platts had a certain funerary tradition, that after some research I came to find out was an African retention from the Congo area. The Platts' American journey began in early South Carolina, a state known for having a high concentration of Congo people.

I grew up on Platt family land in rural Louisiana in all-Black hamlet; a place that, according to my romantic childhood memories, held mystical qualities of stray guinea birds, glass bottle trees, stories of "simbi" spirits in the nearby pond, a mythical tree that cured asthma and ritualized buckets that contained railroad spikes and nails. To be continued....

Blackbird (leaving to go get dirt from a crossroads and meet with Papa Legba)
 

Blackbird

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Before I leave, I wanted to add....

As fate would have it, I had a few more dreams which I informed my godfather about. He was a babalawo. He told me those dreams are not Ifa or Yoruba. He told me perhaps I should check out Vodou because they sound like Vodou dreams. I knew nothing about Vodou - absolutely nothing. I was at an impasse. I chilled out for a brief moment until I had a dream about Palo - at least that's the name said in my dream. I eventually moved to New York, go involved in a Haitian Vodou sosyete (yes I'm leaving out details) because of more dreams and Lwa confirmation. I ran into a Tata Nganga, who had to initiate into Vodou because the Lwa was calling him too. I can to find out his story was similar to mine. He was born in Louisiana not far from where I was from, but his people moved to Cali when he was less than 2 years old. We both experienced the crises of initiation where we were struck by mysterious and undiagnosed illnesses.

I will off here for now.

Blackbird
 

Blackbird

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Bro. Darkside said once that in the secret societies one is called to them. Here's my calling.....

I spoke briefly about a phenomena called "crises of initiation". In many African and First Nation societies, this call manifests as a deadly sickness or extreme tragedy that prompts one to consult a priest/ess, shaman, medicine man or sorceror.

My crises of initiation started with a dream of an old wrinkled Black woman dressed in white. She told me, "You were born into Vodou." She raised one finger up and said it again, "You were born into Vodou." Next she pointed her finger at me and said, "You can run, but you can't not hide for what is true."

As I said I knew jack about Vodou and never considered it an option to follow. I wanted nothing to do with Vodou based on my previous indocrination as a child that Vodou was "bad and evil". As Bro. Darkside alluded to, a moralistic stance hinders true growth.

Later than week, I dreamed in was sitting on the floor in a house of a Vodou priestess. She was instructing me and telling me I must learn quickly because there are people waiting for me. I told her I don't think I can learn this and especially not so fast. She responded, "You must. There are no options. People have been waiting for a long time on you." I told I wanted to stay in her house and take my time. She said, "Do you believe this house we are in is mine? This is your house and people are waiting for you. You must proceed."

Later on that week, I dreamt there was a ceremony taking place to honor the ancestors. Everytime, I tried to approach there was a force field blocking me for entering into sacred space. I attempted three times to go to the ceremony and three times I was rejected, feeling a serious buzz and vibration around my head. As I began walking away because I couldn't enter, I passed by an old African woman. She told me to come here. I went over to her and she said, "You can't enter because you must cool your head, my child." She continued, "Your head is hot and because of this, you can not see certain things yet and nor are you allowed to."

The next day, after this dream, I had a freak accident and got a serious cut on my head. There was copious blood coming down. I went to the ER in the early morning, with a blood soaked T-shirt up to my head. The people in the waiting room looked at me like they were looking at someone who just got their head busted open in a fight. I had to get my head stapled.

Two weeks later, I developed a sore throat which is common because I have allergies. I tried all the over the counter drugs for sore throat but they didn't help. One day I was driving I felt real hot and decided to go to a Quik Care. The doctor there told me I had a really high fever and a nasty sore throat. He prescribed me Tyenol with Codeine. I took this for 3 days straight. I was sleep for most of the whole time only waking up to take a pill because the anagelsic effect had worn off.

My friend set a doctor's appointment for me to see a doctor. I went to the doctor and described the onset, my symptoms and my course of action. He told me to open wide so he could look down my throat. Aahhh... I said. The doctor jumped back with a "Whoa!" I'm like what's wrong. I told him I was in so much pain that I could barely say a couple of words and he said, aftering looking down my throat, "I know you are hurting. It amazing you can even talk. Your throat looks really raw with white spots in it. I don't know what that is."

He looked in his little doctor's book and couldn't find anything that fit what I had. He said, "we will have to get some blood and do some tests." He told for the pain, he knew of some medication that give AIDS patients for throat pain and he prescribed some antibotics. I was paranoid since I was taking medicine prescribed for AIDS patients and starting thinking about any one night stands or irresponsible unprotected sex I ever had. ****. The doctor told me he would call with the results and I was afraid of what they were. He called two days later, and to my anxious relief, my tests were negative and I had no signs of any infection of any kind. So what caused my sore throat? Sakpata.

During my crisis ordeal, I coughed up blood in an undetermined illness nearly on my deathbed, was grazed by a car that jumped a curb, alienated from my family over b/s, lost my job, severely broke, homeless on the street eating in Wednesday soup lines and out of garbage cans. I had to cool with head because I was approaching complete destruction. I even checked myself in a psychiatric unit for a brief moment. Someone I met by chance knew a priest (remember my dreams) and I went to consult. My life was upside down.

Blackbird
 

Blackbird

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Now I can hear the drums so clear. I am Bantu, a child of the Congo, a son of Mpemba Kasi. My journey to Vodou highlighted my affinity to the Bakongo area since Haitian Vodou has Congo origins as well as Dahomean. I later went on to become affiliated in other Congo-derived traditions. I have the scarifications which tests to my national origin. I am home with my Bantu brothers and work each day to Loango.

The journey is not over, it has just begun.....

Blackbird
 

Blackbird

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My reason for posting this is to share with my folks. I like to provide experience. This post has more so to do about rediscovery of African ancestral connections than it does about a certain religious or spiritual tradition to ascribe to. Many times we get caught up in the ideology, philosophy and speculation that I believe we lose sight of things of a more compelling nature - something very intimate and personal. Something internal. No two people will have the same experiences or share the same destiny, so I believe for us to assert our way as truth is a little egocentric and self-centered. The route you arrived to your own being is the best route for you. Yes, the Bantu systems have provided me with a way of working with nature and understanding this reality that is conducive for me.

Everyone is looking for that grand teacher, that guru, to give them the "Teachings". Look within, find your center and live it. The fire that illuminates and consumes is the flame that ignites your being, eradicating all impurities for your circumference.....

With love and respect,

Blackbird
 
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