Black Spirituality Religion : The “Orisha” (part 1)

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Shango Sage, May 15, 2014.

  1. Shango Sage

    Shango Sage Member MEMBER

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    The energy sources that make up the known universe are referred as “Orisha” by the Yoruba of Western Africa, and are referred to as Neteru (Kemet,) Abosom (Akan,) Vodun (Fon and Ewe,) Kami (Japan,) etc., by other Africans and other cultures around the world. The science of the Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami is a highly complex science that represents one half of African science which is divided into two - physics and metaphysics, which are always use in combination with each other to effect change in African science. Metaphysics as a discipline however is far more difficult, complicated, and far reaching than physics.


    Recently I had very long conversation with an environmental biology professor for the University of La Verne in California (a White professor,) and we got into a really long conversation about science and nature. He introduced me to two scientific terms that I was previously unfamiliar with: 1) the Engineering Approach, and 2) the Holistic Approach. The Engineering Approach, as he explained, is the practice of science focusing on nothing other than the material or economic benefit that can be gained by a given scientific practice, discovery, or technology. For example, making a fossil fuel burning engine machine that is able perform a great deal of useful work, but also spews toxic fumes into the air that destroy our natural environment is an example of the Engineering Approach to science. The singular focus of the Engineering Approach is the “power” that can be gained by the science, caring little or nothing about the social and/or environmental harm that may result. The Holistic Approach, on the other hand, is the scientific approach that is concerned with the “overall” benefit and also the potential harm that a technology may inevitably produce. As you may have guessed, the Engineering Approach has been the singular approach of European science since the times of Ancient Greece. After enough of the earth’s environment and institutions have been destroyed (ecosystems, plant and animal species, air and water quality, the family structure, civil behavior, moral institutions, etc.,) European scientists are FINALLY beginning to realize that the Engineering Approach is not only a failure, but is increasingly destroying everything on this fragile planet.


    This White Environmental Biologist revealed to me that members of the scientific community such as himself have now come to the conclusion that THE ENGINEERING APPROACH TO SCIENCE IS SIMPLY IMPOSSIBLE. After 2,000 years of destroying the earth’s environment and social institutions European scientists have realized that every single thing in the entire universe is connected, and therefore it is “humanly” impossible to know what the end result will be when performing any scientific practice. When creating an engine, or chemical, or audio device, or anything else, it is simply impossible to know how it will affect the environment in the long term. It might emit a form of radiation that is harmful to the human anatomy, it may produce a toxin that destroys the soil’s fertility, it might produce a chemical bi-product that destroys the sea’s ability to product algae, which in turn destroys the natural balance of the entire ocean, or it may cause a chemical reaction in a plant or animal that mutates into an entirely new incurable disease on the earth. There simply is no “human” way of telling what the end result of any particular technology will be.


    European scientists right now are manipulating cells, chemicals, animal and plant biology, radiation, soil composition, UV light, electromagnetic waves, protein antibodies, genetic codes, bacteria, viruses, sub-atomic particles, and everything else in every laboratory in every part of the world at this very moment. Any single one of these practices can and eventually will lead to environmental imbalance and destruction. This is where we get pollution, radiation, mutation, new deadly diseases, toxins, poisoning, mass extinctions, acid rain, global warming, and every other form of environmental destruction that we have today. In other words, European scientists are practicing science “BLINDLY,” and really have no idea how their chemical, product, engine, or method will affect the earth’s ability to sustain life, and this is where African Science comes in.


    I often tell the story of my experience with the Ewe people of Eastern Ghana and Togo. An African professor and economist told me of how an Ewe diviner healed his collar bone after Western doctors had told him that it was impossible to heal. The professor told me that his collar bone had been smashed so badly that there were only bone fragments left, and therefore there was no bone left for them to set, so the doctors could do nothing to heal him, and could only give him pain killers to help ease the intense pain. On his friend’s advice he went to see a traditional African healer of the Ewe people in the Volta Region of Ghana, and after about 1 ½ weeks of treatment by the healer the professor told that he returned back to his family completely healed. He also told me that during the 10 days or so of treatment he had been unconscious for most of the time, and therefore he really had no idea what the “priest” had done to treat him so successfully. He therefore asked the priest “What did you do?” and the priest told him “I asked an angel what to do and he told me.”


    I had first heard this story in 1995 from the professor’s daughter who also witnessed the incident, and heard it again from the professor himself in 1998, but it was not until many years later that I came to understand what the priest meant by saying “I asked an angel what to do and he told me.” After studying African Metaphysics for a number of years I began to realize that the explanation that the priest gave was very difficult and confusing for a Western educated person such as myself to understand. What he meant by “angel” is what the Ewe people refer to as the “Vodun,” the Akan people refer to as the “Abosom,” the Kemetic people refer to as the “Neteru,” the Japanese refer to as the “Kami,” and the Yoruba refer to as the “Orisha,” the same metaphysical energy forces that people often refer to as “gods,” and I will explain why.


    Traditional Africans have never seen the concept of “God” in the same way that Europeans have. In African thought, God is a very real and working scientific concept, not unlike gravity, electricity, electromagnetism, cellular mitosis, nuclear power, or any other natural force in the universe. In fact, Africans have always understood that the Universe itself (and everything in it) makes up the physical and metaphysical manifestation of God. In other words, the sum total of the physical things in the universe can be seen as the physical “body” of God, and the unseen force that gives movement, consciousness, life, and being to everything in the universe as the metaphysical aspect or “spirit” of God. It is also understood by traditional African scientists that all things have consciousness (which people refer to as “spirit,”) but that does not mean that all things possess a human-like consciousness.


    The consciousness of a human being is extremely limited, and our conscious minds can generally focus and conceive of essentially only one aspect of the universe at any given time. Therefore the conscious mind can process only about 40 bits of information per second, while the deeper subconscious human brain can process roughly 40 billion bits of information per second. The conscious mind is what we can generally refer to as the “real person,” composed of the thoughts and self-awareness that we identify as being “ourselves.” The subconscious brain is part of the universe, and is not essentially a part of our conscious being. The conscious mind is a metaphysical energy source that we can identify as being part of the human life force that we call “spirit” or “soul.” African scientists therefore understood, just like many people today are beginning to understand, that human beings are essentially “spiritual/metaphysical” beings that are currently having a physical experience. The subconscious brain is part of the fleshy physical body, which is essentially part of the larger universe, composed of the exact same matter (atoms, molecules, etc.) that are found in the universe (carbon, nitrogen, calcium, oxygen, etc.) Africans have long understood that we as human beings are therefore “attached” to our physical bodies, but that our physical bodies are essentially a part of the larger universe around us, and it is the conscious mind (soul, spirit, force of will, etc.) which makes up the true essence of the human being. This sort of theory has become popular among many “exploratory” thinkers of today, but this was no theory in ancient Africa. It was a universally known scientific principle that stood as one of the founding principles of African scientific thought and practice.


    The physical and metaphysical universe is known to be infinite, and therefore beyond human comprehension. Numerically, the universe can be represented by the mathematical concept of “infinity.” Of course “infinity” represents the sum total of all things, but because this number is far too large to be conceived by the limited human mind, we as human beings consciously recognized the existence of infinity, but also recognize that this numerical value is far beyond our comprehension. This number that we call “infinity,” meaning the sum of all things, is certainly a number, but is essentially far too large of a number to be utilized by human beings. Therefore we cannot realistically add, subtract, multiply, or divide the number “infinity,” because we simply don’t know what the numerical value of infinity actually is. In order to function in this world, and to accomplish things of a scientific nature, human beings are forced to work with smaller numbers, which are essentially only “smaller pieces” of the number infinity. We cannot conceive of the number “infinity,” so we therefore use smaller numerical values such as the number 1, 2, 5, 10,100, 5,000, 60,000,000, etc., when adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. This is how Africans have scientifically developed and used the concept of “Orisha.”


    The Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami/gods/angels, etc., are not “different” or “separate” from what Africans call God (the physical and metaphysical universe.) Instead, the Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami/gods/angels, etc. are much like the smaller numbers in the numerical value of infinity. The Almighty God (universe) is = to the number “infinity,” and the Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami/gods/angels, etc. might be = to numbers such as 1,000,000, 100,000,000 or more, while the human being may be the numerical equivalent of numbers such as 1,2,3,4, and 5. Just like in the example where the African priest (scientist) used what he called an “angel” to heal the professor’s shattered collar bone, Africans use the energy of the universe (God) for scientific practice. The most popular way to use this metaphysical energy is to heal the human body, but the metaphysical energy of the universe can be used to do anything and everything.


    One of the most famous engineering examples of the scientific use of metaphysical energy has been to build the pyramids of Kemet. It has been proven numerous times that the pyramids of Kemet cannot be built using physical engineering methods, not even when using the advanced heavy engineering machinery of today. Some years ago a Japanese company was given permission by the Egyptian government to try and construct a pyramid. Even after using modern heavy machinery, the megalithic blocks of the pyramid constructed by the Japanese company were in shambles. The blocks were simply too heavy and fragile to be moved by using engineering methods, and by the time they were done the Japanese company had constructed a mound of cracked rocks that essentially amounted to a heap of rubble, which the Egyptian government demanded to be torn down. According to Ivan Van Sertima, in his book “Egypt Revisited,” the Egyptians themselves revealed how the pyramids were build, but Western scientists simply refuse to believe what the Egyptians themselves said. The Egyptians said that their “priests” would lay down a long sheet of metal with symbols inscribed all over it, and when the gigantic blocks were placed upon the metal sheet the priests would strike the metal with a staff and the gigantic block would levitate, and the priest could then move the gigantic block under his own power. This is an example of the African use of metaphysical energy, exactly the same kind of science utilized by the Ewe priest of Ghana who used “angelic” energy and advice to heal a collar bone that could not be healed by human methods. Both practices are examples of exact same African science, simply used for different purposes.


    PERHAPS THE SINGLE GREATEST USE OF AFRICAN SCIENCE IS TO VALIDATE THE LONG TERM END RESULT OF ANY SCIENTIFIC ACT. As African priests (scientists) will tell you until this day, the African scientist does not do anything without the consent of the Orisha. And since the Orisha are essentially “forces of nature,” and since the knowledge of the Orisha is far beyond our own, the Orisha are the only forces in existence capable of knowing and understanding the far-reaching consequences of any human act of science. For example, only the Orisha can say if a certain energy source, or a certain medicine, or a certain chemical will begin a series of events that will eventually lead to some sort of social or environmental destruction. The human scientific community alone simply cannot observe and quantify the unlimited number of variables involved in any scientific act. A single flap of a butterflies wings in Arizona, for example, can start a chain reaction that leads to a hurricane in the Caribbean. Manipulating chemicals, germs, atoms, molecules, electrons, and genes scientifically begins a chain reaction that a human being cannot possibly predict. There are simply too many variables to consider, and too many possibilities.


    As of right now, the African concept of Orisha communication is the only way to gain information as to the long term environmental result of any scientific practice in the history of mankind. As I stated earlier, metaphysics is far more complex and “conceptual” than physics, and therefore when European invaders gained access to the practice of African science they gained a clear understanding of African physics, but did not develop an adequate understanding of African metaphysics - the true basis and foundation of African science. Since the European (and Middle Eastern Asiatic) did not fully grasp the entire science, they separated African science into 1) “European Physical Science,” and 2) “European Religion.” The greatest us of African metaphysics is to act as a system of checks and balances for the practice of science. Therefore, when Africans practice science, the Orisha make sure to reveal to the scientists/priest which scientific theories and concepts “should” or “should not” be done. One of the reasons African people have always loved the Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami/gods/angels, etc., is that the Orisha have always been known to look out for the best interest of human beings, and one of the primary ways in which this is done is to reveal to African scientists 1) the theories, ideas, and practices will lead to a healthy advancement in human society and civilized development, and 2) the scientific ideas and practices that will inevitably lead to social and environmental destruction. Without this African practice of communication with the forces of nature themselves (Orisha,) the scientifically community is simply laying the groundwork for our own destruction. Ashe.


    African scientists (priests) of the Yoruba people of Western Africa today will tell you that this process of scientifically utilizing metaphysical energy in their language is called “Awo,” and this is the reason that their priests (scientists) are referred to as Babalawos – which means Baba (father) of Awo, and their priestly initiates are often referred to as “Awos.” What the Yoruba priest (scientists) will tell you today is that “awo” is the process of channeling much greater universal energy through the human being in order to achieve a scientific feat that is simply beyond the limited body and mind of the human being, therefore enabling the human being to cure incurable human conditions, build impossible architectural structures, or anything else. African right here and now will tell you that the African priests of today are still doing things such as levitating, curing incurable diseases, passing through solid objects, traveling metaphysically to distant places, and many other feats that are considered “humanly” impossible, and that African priests regularly have festivals where they perform these feats for the public. Of course you can be skeptical if you like and say that these things must be “slight-of-hand tricks” or something like that, but African people will tell you that you need to go see for yourself before you make such a snap judgment. And I’ve heard these accounts about African priests from people who hold PhD’s, such as the professor I traveled to Ghana with who held a PhD from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard. So let’s give our African ancestors the benefit of the doubt and try to understand their scientific practice more thoroughly.


    People often ask the question, “If our African ancestors held all of these powers then why didn’t they use it to defeat the Europeans, etc., etc.?” The truth is that Africans do not and have not ever held such power, not any more than you or I. African priests will tell you that they are not in “control” of such incredible power, the Orisha themselves are. As I stated earlier, everything in the universe has “consciousness,” but not the kind of consciousness that works in exactly the same way as a human consciousness. The universe, and its representative aspects of nature (wind, water, earth, fire, mountain, metal, etc.) all have their own unique kind of consciousness, that can be seen as being somewhat similar to the human subconscious, and like the human subconscious, the universal consciousness if far greater and more efficient than the human consciousness, and doesn’t possess the same limitations as the human mind which is localized and fixed onto a single point in space and time. The universal consciousness, like the universe itself, is virtually limitless and possesses an unlimited amount of information and power that the human being can tap into, but does not actively possess. The process of Awo involves tapping into this universal consciousness, and is usually done in a “trance-like” state (unconsciousness,) because the human conscious mind is far too limited to channel large amounts of universal energy. This is why the professor in Ghana had to be “unconscious” during the 10 days of his treatment by the Ewe priest in order for the metaphysical energy to be properly channeled through his body and mind.


    African priests will tell you that “Awo” is the process of taking the human being’s small quantity of universal energy and plugging it into the much larger quantum of energy that is found in the larger universe, and localized in the form of a force of nature (wind, sun, water, etc.) Africans have long understood the human body is made of the exact same elements as everything else in the universe (tree, water, rock, fire, mountain, moon, etc.,) and that the same metaphysical energy that is ascribed to these larger aspects of the universe are also found in the human being, just in much smaller quantities. Through a unique science, Africans have been able to connect their small quantity of energy to much larger energy sources in nature to achieve scientific results that are essentially beyond the limited scope of human comprehension. But just like the human being, these aspects of nature have their own consciousness which is essentially much greater in quantity than ours, and that the true power lying behind such incredible scientific feats is theirs (the Orisha) and not ours. This is why the Ewe priest said “I ASKED an angel what to do and he told me.” Awo is primarily a highly complex means of communication between human beings and metaphysical forces of nature that Africans refer to as Orisha/Neteru/Abosom/Vodun/Kami/gods/angels, etc. Through a systematic means of communication called “divination” Africans simply "ASK" the Orisha for information or services, and the Orisha respond by either saying “yes” or “no.” But essentially it is not up to “us” whether we possess these “powers” or not, it is the decision of the Orisha themselves.


    The reality is that sometimes the Orisha say “yes”, and sometimes they say “no.” We as Africans understand however that the knowledge and wisdom of the Orisha is FAR beyond our own, and therefore we trust and understand that the will and decision of the Orisha is always is our best long term interest. We often don’t understand why the Orisha say yes or no until much later in our lives, and sometimes we may never understand at all. It is also understood however that the Orisha and the Almighty God are similar, but not exactly the same. The Orisha, like us, are simply “pieces” of God, and do not represent the entirety of what we call God Almighty. In fact, the human being simply cannot conceive of the entirety of “God,” because the entirety of God is infinite, and we cannot humanly conceive of infinity (limitlessness,) because our minds are finite (limited.) Therefore, what many people and cultures refer to as the “Son of God,” actually represents LARGEST AMOUNT OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD THAT WE AS HUMAN BEINGS CAN CONCEIVE AND UNDERSTAND. Since we can only conceive of a “finite” portion of the universe, we as Africans understand that our conception of “God” is actually quite limited, and does not truly represent the entirety of “God Almighty.” Therefore, the human concept of God is often referred to as the “Son of God,” in recognition of the fact that our concept of “God” will always be an inadequate representation of the infinite entirety of God. Therefore, out of respect for the infinite reality of “God,” our African ancestors recognize and worship the Almighty God through the concept of the “Son of God,” which is a recognition of mankind’s limited understanding of the infinite and Almighty God.


    The “Son of God” in Yoruba is called many names. The physical persona of the Son of God is referred to as “Orunmila,” and in Yoruba metaphysical mythology the Son of God is usually therefore referred to as Orunmila. Since “knowledge” is power, then the greatest power of God is certainly omniscience. God’s earthly representation that we call the "Son of God" is also therefore referred to as the Orisha energy of divine knowledge, which we often call “divination,” - the ability to see past, present, and future events. The divine knowledge (divination) aspect of the Son of God is referred to as “Ifa.” And since the basis of all scientific practice is “knowledge,” and the Orisha energy of Ifa is the energy of limitless divine knowledge, then the entire Yoruba metaphysical practice of science is commonly referred to as “Ifa.” The concept of Ifa, however, really represents the sum total of all of the knowledge of Yoruba metaphysical science, which includes all of the energies of the Orisha. The practice of Ifa is therefore divided mainly into the seven major Orisha, which roughly represents the “known” universe divided into seven parts: Obatala, Yemonja, Ogun, Oya, Shango, Oshun, and Eshu. Each of these Orisha represents a distinct type of metaphysical energy that makes up approximately one-seventh of the “known” universe, and the entire body of knowledge and combined energy of all seven major Orisha energies is refered to as “Ifa.”


    The seven major Orisha energies, cumulatively known as “Ifa,” are highly complex energy matrixes that represent approximately one-seventh of the metaphysical energy in the known universe. Each Orisha is a huge quantum of energy that is extremely large, complex, and very difficult to understand, especially for Western educated minds such as ours. The greatest challenge in understanding Orisha energy is that these energies are metaphysical in nature, and because they are not essentially "'physical," Orisha energies can only be experienced and understood spiritually and conceptually.

    To help make this process easier to understand, Africans developed the practice of ascribing symbolical physical traits to the metaphysical Orisha. For example, the Orisha energy of “wisdom” might be symbolically represented by an old white haired man/woman, because in human society we know that our elders tend to be the wisest among us. And because our elders possess white hair, the "sacred color" of the Orisha of wisdom would be "white." The Orisha energy of “metal” might be represented by a large muscular warrior, because in human society metal is used primarily by metal smiths who tend to be large muscular men that make tools for technology and weapons for warriors (who also tend to be large muscular men.) So therefore, the Orisha only have the gender and physical traits that we ascribe to them, a system that Africans developed to help understand the metaphysical energy better. Many people today however have confused the symbolism of the Orisha with the metaphysical reality of the Orisha, and therefore think of Orisha in much the same way as they think of people, which is far from accurate. I will go into the individual attributes of the seven major Orisha in other threads. Ashe
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
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