Black Spirituality Religion : The power of prayer in ATR: taking Esu to work

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Love_Unknown, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I have been living and working in Tokyo Japan for the last three years, so with my options for an ATR community being very limited, I have since begun to seek ways to creatively enhance the use of angelic energy in my life in safe and effective ways. The following is my personal account and analysis of a particularly powerful real life experience that I recently had with an African angel, and also an example of how to effectively pray in the ATR fashion.

    Acting is not my day job, and is not even one of my ambitions in life. In fact, I have never had any formal acting training, and being on stage or in front of a camera always makes me nervous. But as a businessman, seeing an opportunity to supplement my monthly income by spending a single day working as an actor on a TV commercial makes me more than willing to battle my nerves and jump in front of a television camera. And finding ways to conquer my stage fright not only contributes to my monthly income, but is also something that I feel may benefit me tremendously in whatever professional direction I may decide to go. Therefore I decided to harness my understanding of African spirituality and enlist the aid of the Orisha in this matter.

    Esu is the “Opener of Doors,“ the creator of possibilities and opportunities where there are none. As the keeper of the “ase,“ (spiritual power that is molded into all things that manifest in creation) he/she is the great angel/god/Orisha that provides the heavenly half of the African creative genius. His children are of free spirit, connoisseurs of the “spice of life,” lovers of “wine, women, and song,” theater, performance, and fun. So knowing and understanding the attributes of this Orisha, I realized that a network television studio is a perfect playground for Esu, and the god may very well delight in an invitation to accompany me on my next television commercial audition.

    Feeling a great sense of comfort, freedom from worry, spiritual companionship, and peace when I pray to this aspect of the Almighty on my knees at home, I simply wanted to take this feeling of comfort, peace, and calm with me on my audition. Wanting and expecting nothing else, I simply asked the angel to “be with me” when I walked into that audition studio and stood in front of the camera. So on the train to the studio, on the steps walking up the platform, in the coffee shop where I waited for my manager, or wherever and whenever I felt any sign nervousness, anxiety, or doubt before, during, and even after the audition, I would very gently and assuredly say to myself “angel be with me.” The sense of peace and calm that I felt afterwards was instantaneous and indescribable.

    This is no ordinary angel. This is world famous angel Esu, the messenger of God, the mighty angel that receives a portion of any offering to any Orisha, the one that comes first in all angelic ceremony, the one that sits at the Crossroads. Whether an ATR initiate, Muslim, Christian, pagan, atheist, or whatever, you’ve heard of him. This is the “opener of doors,” the divine aspect of the African American’s ability to break through the barriers in America designed specifically to keep us off of the world’s stage. Knowing who this angel is, and knowing exactly what this angel does, my faith and my conviction was that if this angel is with me, then the angel will certainly do what the angel certainly does. Angels/gods/Orisha are not simply heavenly “personalities,“ in fact they are not “persons” at all. They are aspects of nature, and elements of universal law. So my practice of ATR is not based on “belief.” It is an understanding of metaphysics and scientific principle as it manifests itself in our daily lives, and is a practical science based on what I know and know how to use.

    I did not ask the angel to “please help me get this job.“ I removed my own biases and personal opinions from my prayer, and simply invited the god into the room and left it free to do its work. I trusted that having this angel with me means that I simply cannot lose. A door “will” become open to me. I will not restrict the actions of the angel by insisting on “which door” I wanted to be opened. I chose instead to trust in its goodness and divine intelligence to lead me through whichever door is chosen for me. So whether it be this commercial, or perhaps another one, or a movie deal, or a TV show, or even a new business contact, meeting my future wife, or making a new friend, a door “will” become open to me. Of this I had complete faith. Not concerning myself at all with which particular one, I readied my soul, mind, and body to walk through whichever door swings open.

    Like most foreigners in Japan, I don’t speak much Japanese at all, although there are however quite a few actors who speak the language quite fluently. So for actors such as myself who don’t speak Japanese, having a competent translator at every audition is an absolute necessity. With the help of a translator, the majority of auditions don’t require a foreign actor to speak very much if any Japanese, but occasionally however a script will be presented that requires an actor to speak a great deal of Japanese. Needless to say, it is at these times where an actor such as myself has about a snowball’s chance in Hades of getting the part. It is also highly important that your translator is a very capable and competent individual, because it is also his/her job to formally introduce you to the commercial executives and verbally highlight your acting skills and qualities that make you the “perfect” commercial representative for their company. Some tanslators/managers are good at this, and some are not.

    Being that I was the only actor from my agency attending this audition, and being that I didn’t speak Japanese (a requirement for this commercial that my agent failed to mention,) my agency had sent out all of its normal translator/managers to other auditions where they felt their chances for success were much better. So therefore, about an hour before the audition, my agent calls to tell me that all of the normal mangers are busy, and that they will be sending a guy from another department, who unfortunately does not speak very much English, to come and “translate” for me. Angel be with me.

    As I walked up the steps to the meeting spot on the platform, I immediately encountered another actor from a different agency by the name of Steve standing there with his manager. I had met Steve almost 3 years ago when I was first trying to get into the acting business in Japan. A mutual friend of ours arranged a dinner for us to meet and introduced him to me as the “most famous man in Japan,” who in her opinion could tell me all the ins and outs of the business. Of course she was exaggerating about his fame, but this guy does in fact speak beautifully fluent Japanese, has a captivating sense of humor and personality, and is “by far” the most successful independent Black actor in Japan. He also happens to be the guy who referred me to the agency I was with now. I don’t see him much, and the angelic energy was really starting to build up by this time, so although he represented possibly the stiffest possible competition for me, I was truly and genuinely glad to see him.

    Seconds later, my “new” manager/translator stumbles onto the scene, ruffling through papers in his hand, looking generally flustered and confused. After we fumbled through an English/Japanese introduction, and after two wrong turns on his part, we began to walk toward the studio. Having witnessed this incompetent spectacle, Steve yells to me “you got a real good one,” as we both immediately realize that I was certainly “not” in good hands. But I didn’t even think about it. Just said to myself, “angel be with me, angel be with me” (had to say it twice.) So as my new manager/translator and I are “talking” on the way to the studio, I realize that he seemed to be a very nice guy, although he knew about “ten” words of total English. Angel be with me. These kind of little obstacles in life fall under the jurisdiction of the angel. Such things are not under my control, so I generally do not and did not concern myself with them. I was content to let the angel to do his/her job, while I remained focused on doing mine.

    As I’m coming up the elevator and walking into the studio, the angelic energy continues to build, and my cares are melting away. We approach the first commercial rep who speaks even less English than my new manager. Angel be with me. He then hands me a script, written entirely in Japanese, which my manager/translator could not translate for me, not even a single word. Angel be with me. So without an opportunity to rehearse, and without even an indication of what I was supposed to be doing, I just sat in the chair and smiled to myself without a care in the world because it was at this time that I began to feel the angel’s presence very strongly and very, very close. It’s presence relaxed me, comforted me, and pleased me in ways beyond my ability to explain. My mind and spirit seemed to be floating somewhere above consciousness, and in this euphoric state, all of the little pressures and concerns of the day and even the outcome of this audition really didn’t matter.

    After making my best effort to try and decipher what was on the script by looking at the pictures, I realized that my personal ability had reached its end, and I had so far done all that I could do. So without any kind of game plan for my performance, or any real idea of what I was supposed to be doing at all, I decided that I would simply focus on keeping my energy and spirits as high as possible, and walk into that studio room to do the absolute best that I could. After they called my name, and as I walked toward the audition room door, my simple prayer was that when I walked through that door, the people in that room felt my energy at its highest point, and also felt the powerful energy of this angel that was with me.

    To add insult to injury, not one network execs in that room could speak more than three words of English. Feeling almost intoxicated with the angelic presence at this point, It really didn’t matter to me ay all. They gave me the audition instructions in Japanese, and as I did my best to understand what they were telling me, I couldn’t help but to feel a bit embarrassed for being with a “translator” that couldn’t hardly translate a word. Angel be with me. I did my best to answer their questions and follow their instructions, and my memory is a little hazy at this point, but it is at this time that I could almost see little whisps of energy flashing in the room, darting from corner to corner. Not in a calm, gentle, or reserved fashion, the god seemed to dance around that room in tiny flashes of light, like a child at play. Esu was in that room having a ball! I did my best to speak my Japanese gibberish, and I don’t really even know exactly what I was saying, but as the god danced around the room I felt good, and from the looks of their faces the network execs felt just as good as I did. I couldn’t really understand why, but they were smiling and nodding at everything I was saying.

    “Most” commercial executives in Japan will “try” to seem appreciative of a performance that an actor has given, no matter how good or bad it may have been. So although these execs seemed to be generally pleased with my performance, I figured that they must be some pretty good actors themselves because I can’t imagine them even considering me for the art after that bumbling, fumbling, and completely clueless performance that I had just given. As I left the room, I felt very thankful for their patience with me, and having written this one off already I thought to myself “Oh well, I’ll get the next one for sure.”

    Walking through the studio I see Steve sitting with his manager who is going over the script with him in intricate detail. I was almost certain that they would love Steve’s performance, and I interrupted his rehearsal long enough to tap him on the shoulder and tell him “knock them dead brother.” The brothers always say good luck to each other on the way out, but having already considered myself to be out of the running for this one, I truly wished for him to go in that room and absolutely dazzle those nice people. At this point I had already put this commercial behind me and was already spiritually and mentally moving on to the next one.

    On the way out I ran into two other Black actors, one who has become a bit of a friend of mine, and the other who I had met before on other auditions. With the Esu energy still lingering with me, I was very happy to see the both of them, and was delighted to give them any information I could about the audition. One brother spoke fluent Japanese, but the other didn’t speak very much at all, and when I told him the audition was entirely in Japanese, he threw his hands in the air and said, “Why didn’t they tell me this before, I wouldn’t even have come!” I just laughed when he said this because I felt the exact same way, but I calmed him down and assured him that he would get through it ok because I managed to get through it, and his Japanese was almost certainly better than mine. Not to mention the fact that his translator could actually “translate,” and he would at least have a pretty good idea of what he was “supposed” to do. So I wished them both the best of luck, and got on the train to go home.

    On the way home however, I could still feel the angel’s energy with me, and despite this professionally embarrassing grand waste of time, I actually felt quite good about the whole experience. But as soon as I get home, about one hour later, I get a call from my agent who was almost out of breathe as she spoke to me. This is strange because not only is she about the most “robotic” and expressionless lady I’ve ever met, but it usually takes days (one to three usually) before an actor receives any word about the commercial execs decision. A commercial actor represents the entire public face of a company, and audition tapes are painstakingly reviewed, and every exec with an opinion is invited to assist in the process of selecting the commercial representative of their company. A commercial can make or break a company, and selecting the actors that will be in it is no easy process.

    Surprised that I’m getting a call from her this early, my agents shouts to me over the phone “you got the job!” I was like “Your kidding!” Not only had I just gotten a job that was virtually impossible to get, but the sheer speed of the commercial exec’s decision would indicate that they never actually even considered anybody else! In less than one hour, the execs couldn’t have possible 1) auditioned all of the other actors, 2) reviewed the audition tapes, and 3) consulted with the other execs in the company. So it would appear that not only had I gotten a commercial job that was “impossible” for me to get, but the commercial execs were somehow so blown away with my “performance” that none of the other actors even had the slightest chance. My agent, just as blown away as I was about all of this, wanted to know exactly what I did in that audition to be “that” impressive. She shouts to me over the phone, “What did you say?“ Almost dumbfounded by the whole experience myself, I just shake my head and say to her, “I really don’t know.”

    Of course I was even on more of a natural high after this news, and I began to contemplate on this experience and marvel at the sheer power of this Orisha. Thinking to myself, “This is great! What other ways in my life, and with what other angels can I do this with?” I was so excited, and still am. Thanks to our ancestors, we have sooooo many choices, and an infinite number of possibilities in using our African spirituality to reap the blessings of the Creator. As I returned to my regular job, and continued through my day, I could still feel quite strongly that this energy still with me. It had not left. Although I was done with it, it was apparently not yet done with me. At this point, partially due to the state of bliss that I was still in, I failed to take into consideration the law of duality in the universe, and did not at this time realize that having so strongly experienced the positive aspect of this energy, I was also due to feel the negative.

    Still in a bit of a “haze,” I didn’t realize that I was ripe and ready for Esu’s famous other aspect, “the trickster.” While the other angels promote moderation, Esu does no such thing. He/she is the energy of extremes; very good and very bad, very young and very old, the immature child and the wise old man/woman. In his/her child aspect, Esu is the divine trickster that loves to play. He loves action and excitement, and can never be bored. Just to test men/women, and just to entertain him/herself, he delights in mischief and foolery. He is said to bring out the fool in us all. Esu “tries” us, and if we demonstrate “iwa-pele” (right character, right action) the angel rewards us, but in failing to do so the fierce angel does not hesitate to punish. The following is written about Esu:

    A famous Yoruba story centers around two farmers, both neighbors and friends, who had failed to sacrifice. Esu, in his tri-colored hat, one-third red, one-third white, and one-third blue, walked down a road between two offending farmers. “Did you notice the fellow in the red hat?“ the farmer asked. “No,” replied his friend and neighbor, “there was a fellow who passed this way, but his hat was blue and white.” “You’re wrong,” insisted the first. “You’re wrong,” retorted the second. And soon, the insults increased, and a physical fight began. The two were dragged before the local oba, where each told his story. As the oba was ready to sentence them for fighting, Esu suddenly appeared and explained that it was he who had caused their problems, because they had not sacrificed. The lesson, hopefully was learned. (The Way of the Orisha, p75-76)

    So after leaving a client’s office that I had visited last week, I walked onto the platform and got onto the train I “thought” was going toward my city. Shortly after sitting down I began to suspect that we were going the wrong way. This was extremely strange to me because I had actually done this same exact thing last week, getting on the same wrong train, at the exact same time, leaving from the same place. And having felt so stupid for doing it last week, I vowed to myself that I would not make this same dumb mistake this week. But here I was doing the exact same thing that I had vowed not to do just a week ago, and feeling strange about the whole thing I suddenly realized that this angel who was still very close to me was not only the “opener of doors,” but also the “trickster.” Esu had opened a heavy door for me, and now he wanted to play. I smiled and grinned on the platform, looking like a complete idiot to all the Japanese people walking by, and I said to myself “Ok, I know what you’re doing, you got me, that was a good one.” I thought to myself, “ Esu got me with one of his/her famous “tricks” this time, but now that I know what’s happening, I won’t fall for this again. Although it’s freezing cold, and I’m getting hungry, I remember the parables about the great god and instead of getting irritated and upset, I just calmly got off the train and walked to the other platform to wait for the right train.

    This time I make sure to look at the sign very closely to make sure that I was getting on the right train. Train pulls up and I get on. I find a seat (which is rare for this time of night) and I think to myself, “see, because you stayed calm you actually got a seat and don’t have to stand up all the way home.” Thinking that it’s all over, I relaxed and began thinking about writing about this experience when I got home. But I started getting that strange feeling again, and I suddenly realize that this train is going in the reverse direction again! How is this possible? Go in the wrong direction twice! And I made sure to look very closely at the platform sign before I got on this time. I said to myself, “Wow, he got me again!” Now I’m impressed, and just had to give the angel his/her props on that one. And I’m taking this seriously now as I begin to focus all of my concentration on finding a way to board the right train to get home, something I have of course done a thousand times, but on this day it was proving to be quite difficult.

    I find the “correct” platform, and the train pulls up. I see a lot of empty seats, so again I’m thinking “I guess because I kept my cool I at least get to rest my tired bones on the way home.” So I board the train and pick my seat and begin to notice that everybody seems to be leaving except for me and another man in the next car. I scratch my head in confusion when a Japanese woman, a complete stranger, walks onto the train to tell me that this train is making it’s last stop for the day, and I would have to get off. Last stop at 8pm at night? What the ???? So I realize that Esu had gotten me again.

    Finally boarding the right train, we go a few stops and pull into the station where I want to transfer. So I exit the train looking for the “Saikyo line,” which runs in the same direction as the last train I was on, but makes far fewer stops. Thinking that Esu’s tricks were finally over, I dropped my guard and let my instincts guide me through a station that I had been through many times. But as I walked my mind somehow got lost again, and although I had “thought” I had been walking toward the Saikyo line, I had actually walked an extra 300 meters through a mini mall to found myself standing in front of the Hibya line. This time however I didn’t assume this to be one of Esu’s tricks, and figured that I had walked to the Hibya line out of habit because that‘s the line that I most often transfer to from this station. But I was wrong.

    After back tracking all the way back through the mini-mall, I pay for another ticket (something I wouldn’t have had to do if I would have transferred to the correct line in the first place) and begin to head for the Saikyo line platform sign. There is a little gap in my memory at this point, but I boarded the train and surprisingly managed to find a seat, and begin to fall half way asleep as we head toward my station. I wake up on the train and realized that an unusually long amount of time has passed and we seem to be only pulling into what “should” be the third stop on this line. But not biggey, we are going in the right direction, so I leaned my head back in my seat and nodded off again, and this time I actually think that I lost consciousness (something I had never done on a train before.) This time I wake to find us pulling into a stop that is on my way home, but is “not” supposed to be on this line! I’m utterly confused. We are going in the right direction, but we are making stops that we should not be making! We finally pull into my station, and I get out the train and look back at it to realize that I had not been riding on the Saikyo line at all! I had actually been riding on the Yamanote line which goes in the exact same direction as the Saikyo line, but makes 5 additional stops. It also happens to be the exact same train which I had “attempted” to transfer from in the first place.

    In affect, I had initially gotten on the Yamanote line, attempted to transfer to the Saikyo line, but instead I walked to the Hibya line, and catching my mistake I then back tracked back toward the Saikyo line, but then somehow I actually “re-boarded” the same Yamanote line. Confused? Me too! And I swear to you I had not been drinking or taken drugs or even medication of any kind: 1) I don’t like drinking and have never been drunk in my life, 2) I never have and never will taken any drugs of any kind, and 3) I don’t trust western medicine and I avoid it as much as possible. So as I stood there on that platform my mouth dropped open as I watched the train roll away. How is this possible? I could distinctly remember walking toward the blue/orange Saikyo line sign, which stands in stark contrast to the bright green Yamanote line sign. How could I have made this mistake again, and again, and again, and again, and again in the same trip? I just stood there frozen. At this point I’m awestruck, and actually beginning to get a little bit scared. To be played with like a toy by such a powerful being is mind blowing and somewhat frightening experience.

    Standing on the platform, attempting to gather my thoughts about what has just transpired, I am absolutely humbled, and I soon begin to realize my mistake. I had tried to use my tiny human mind to contend with the will of a god. I had tried to outsmart Esu, or rather tried to prevent him from outsmarting me. What a painfully ignorant and spiritually novice mistake. Fully realizing at this point that I am completely powerless and completely subject to the will of this god, I threw myself on its mercy and asked Esu to “Please, please stop messing with me.” I had no control over what was happening, and I didn’t know how to stop it, and I was becoming afraid. But my fear didn’t get too far because I had already felt, and could still feel, the indescribably wonderful feeling of the angel’s presence, so I never once doubted this African angel’s goodness. So in experiencing both the positive and negative aspects of angel, I had not come to fear the god, as much as I had come to respect it, but there is a fine line between the two. Almost instantly after I threw myself on its mercy and asked the god to please stop messing with me, it was over. I could feel the energy moving away from me, but not so far. I had invited the angel in and welcomed its presence, and I wish to keep it close always. But the distance from which I had been standing next to a deity on that day was incredibly close, a proximity much too spiritually intense to be maintained for very long. The angel has not gone far from me I feel, but has retired to a safer distance.

    As I safely and “correctly” boarded my final train home, my thoughts were drawn toward a book that I read on Ewe Vodu. I remembered reading about ritual possession, the closest possible interaction between men/women and angels, and how it is described as absolute ecstasy. It also said that women tend to be much more prone to have this experience than men, in that women are usually much more comfortable with subjecting themselves to powers superior to their own, and more comfortable with allowing their bodies to be “entered” into by other beings. The men, it was said, were not as comfortable and accustomed to doing this, and were even afraid of the gods, because the gods are fierce. After my experience with an angel/god first hand, I understood this passage completely. In interacting with an angel on the far lesser level than possession, I could easily feel the intoxicating unearthly pleasure of the god’s energy, and quickly learned to respect and even fear its awesome power as well.

    That Saturday, Esu’s day, I thanked the god through offering and prayer. I cleaned my altar, found a nice clean bowl, and filled it with an entire package of red hot peppers, one of the angel’s favorite delights. I opened the package, took out the peppers, closed my eyes, and smelled them in my hand. I tried to feel and understand the angel’s joy and carnal delight as he/she consumed the spiritual energy of those peppers. Still a little giddy myself, I talked to the god, almost like a child, as I placed each pepper in the bowl, “You like that don’t you. I know you do. Smell’s good doesn’t it. You like that.” I made myself laugh, all in the spirit of the angel, and said my prayers of thanks on my knees.

    It is said that spiritual powers are deliberately elusive, and will not allow themselves to be weighed, measured, quantified, dissected, or analyzed using our primitive senses and our crude scientific instruments. Angels are energies that cannot be understood by attempting to reduce them down to our human level. To gain an understand you must attempt to elevate yourself to theirs. Some reading this may try to dismiss the events in this story as coincidence, an exaggeration, or something less than actual fact, but I know what I saw, I know what happened, and I know that every word that I’m telling you is true. Words do not yet exist to describe in any real detail the interaction between angels/gods and men/women. It is an indescribably powerful and moving experience that simply must be experienced. Can you dig it my soulful people. Peace to you all.

    Love Unknown
     
  2. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Wew wee! sorry for the length of this post yal, but I find it impossible to put good information into little sound bites. :tongue2:
     
  3. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    se daadaa ni ore mi?

    I did reply to your email. Then I did what I said I was going to do and now I feel like a natural woman:D

    I find it really significant that even though you started out trying to be humble and submitting to the will of Esu at the audition for the commercial he/she still took you through that process that revealed your lack of complete submission. this tells me that it's no good to think of the spirit as a mere energy one can weild if one follows the manual correctly. It's wonderful that the Supreme Being wants us to have a deepe experiential knowledge of him/her. This reminds me of the song that comes to mind wheneve I see your name

    Just as I am Thy love unknown
    Has broken every barrier down
    Now to be Thine oh Thine alone
    Oh Lamb of God I come,. I come.
     
  4. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Namaste' Brother Love_Unknown

    Wow!!, thank you for sharing such a personal experince, all your posts seem to flow together like a masterpiece in the making, do you plan on writing a book? If i'm being too nosy let me know.
     
  5. nibs

    nibs Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    it's a shame that experiences like this are regarded as out of the ordinary; people should reflect on the power we have as a people when everyone is relying on a divine connection in order to solve their daily tasks and obligations...
    imagine the civilizations that could be built ;)

    ghana...japan...you get around...
     
  6. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Always glad to hear from you sister River.

    I was just in the middle of writing another post which mentions you by name so you might be interested in reading it. Your analysis is exactly the kind of thinking that I would really like to see more of here at Destee. I want to see more thought and discussion on our ancestral African spiritualities, and less attention paid to foreign, Abrahamic, religious wastes of time. Every thing we learn and every step we take in learning, understanding, and practicing our indigenous culture and faith is a step closer to our liberation. Your analysis of the story is a good one, and it gives me even a little more to think about. There is definitely something more to the nature of an angel/Orisha than simply natural law. I reflect on experiences like the one I described, and other such information many, many, many times. We must take the information that we get from books and bring it to our doorstep, apply to our everyday lives, otherwise our pursuit of knowledge is little more than intellectual exercise and not too far from a complete waste of time. Love to dialogue with you sister. Until next time.

    Love Unknown
     
  7. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hello Amnatt77, very nice to see you in chat yesterday. I enjoyed it very much. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It was actually a very powerful experience for me and I had reservations about posting it as a thread. Your powers of insight and observation are very impressive because I am actually in the process of writing a book. The subject matter is so incredibly diverse though, and I have so many experiences and topics to write about. Destee.com is a kind of intellectual and literary workshop for me where I can dialogue with like minds, write rough drafts, and sharpen my focus. Words like yours contribute to this process very much, and also just make me feel good, so I sincerely thank you. Peace and blessings Amnatt77.

    Love Unknown
     
  8. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother in arms, always good to hear from you souljah. You and I both know that when we become fully conscious, get ourselves together, and get our gods back in our daily lives "again" we'll be invincible "again." The ancestors know that we are doing our part brother. They smile at us both. Ase.

    Love Unknown
     
  9. Zacharias

    Zacharias Banned MEMBER

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    Hotep




    What is your definition of the ATR ?
    Where did you get your knowledge from according to ATR teaching .
    Who teaching the ATR . doctrine ?
    What are some of the prayers used ?
     
  10. Love_Unknown

    Love_Unknown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hello Zacharias,

    Sorry for the tardy reply, but I got side tracked in another thread, and the answers to your questions required a little bit of thought.

    What is your definition of ATR?

    My definition of ATR is African life science. And the word “science” should not be limited to linear theories, calculations and equations as it is in white western thought. African science includes all endeavors in life to exist as a “guide” (not a mandate) for every possible aspect of life. It does not demand or command, but simply states the rules (universal laws,) and based on thousands of years of practical application, it details the benefits of adhering to natural/universal laws (God’s laws,) and also the consequences if we ignore them. It sees all the ways of spirituality around the world also as branches of science, and recognizes the existing benefits of each.

    African spirituality is not based on belief. It is a practical science that is based on real life effectiveness, and a practitioner is expected to “do what works,” not simply what some priest or religious person/book/or whatever has told him/her to do. ATR requires thought and understanding to be used/practiced effectively. It views the world from inside to out, and sees the spiritual world as the “natural” world, and the physical world as its mirror reflection, opposite of white western thinking.

    Where did you get your knowledge from according to ATR teaching?

    My knowledge and understanding of ATR is the result of a 15 year search for my spiritual culture using every available means at my disposal, and a lifetime of experiences as an African American.

    1. My first step was to gain as much knowledge, understanding, and respect for my own culture/history/my own people/myself as possible. It was by gaining a profound love and respect, and admiration for all of the above that allowed me to break my trust and dependence on white education and societal/religious beliefs, and broke the fear of my own culture/spirituality that a Christian society had instilled in me. I started 15 years ago with books about Black history/culture/spirituality in general, which included all cultures and understandings around the world. The number of books I’ve read is in the hundreds, and including articles/websites/essays and other sources, that number would be in the thousands. But perhaps even more importantly, I sought a deeper understanding on the limited knowledge that I received from books by searching for evidence of the information that I was being presented in my own life. I analyze the claim of Black scholars that Africans invented civilization, and dominated world affairs up until modern times. I observe the validity of this statement in my own life as I could see healthy minded black children from fairly stable families (myself included) dominate both classrooms and playgrounds. I study very closely the genius and dominance that we clearly exhibit in every endeavor that we “choose” to put our energy into. I observe other races intense admiration and jealousy. I observe the white power structure’s fervent attempt to hide all evidence of Black intelligence, and insidious effort to propagate a belief in their own intelligence and superiority. I spend every waking hour observing such things on the street, in society, in the workplace, at school, on TV, in the movies, in music, and everything else. It is this process that allows my mind to “truly” believe and accept my own history and culture. Otherwise the information that I read in Black history books is simply Black people’s opinion against white people’s, and will forever remain a “belief” as opposed to “knowledge.” You must seek and observe the truth in everything around you if you expect your mind to actually accept what’s true as being true. Otherwise, a well-constructed lie will often be much more believable and even acceptable in the mind.

    When you are not fortunate enough to be born into an Africentric spiritual community, this process is a vitally necessary step in helping us break our psychological chains, fear, and ignorance to prepare ourselves to be able to learn and practice our own spirituality. Quick mentality check: if you have any apprehensions or reservations at all about studying, learning, and practicing African spirituality to the best of your ability, then you still have some psychological chains to break. Growing up in white western dominated society, these chains have been instilled in our mind and must be actively broken (requiring much effort) before we can effectively learn and practice our culture and spirituality.

    2. The second, and even more powerful source of information comes from people, most notably African people. The first African brother I got to know was Ethiopian, and he started to explain to me how the publicly portrayed image of Africa was completely wrong, and that Africa was a beautiful place full of beautiful and intelligent people, much like himself. A few years later I dated a Ghanaian girl for about 3 years, and her detailed descriptions, culture, circle of friends, and entire lifestyle changed my whole life. Not only was she gorgeous, but also a virtual genius who entered our college (one of the best colleges in America,) at the age of 16, graduated at 19, and was one of the top students in our school. Through my experiences with her I learned to love everything about my ancestral land (people, food, style, music, art, culture, history, spirituality, etc.) It was through her that I ended up traveling to Ghana myself and receiving the education of my lifetime. Since my relationship with her I have constantly surrounded myself with Africans from all over the continent and the diaspora, and the little bits of information that I constantly gain by their manner, customs, belief system, family life, childhood stories, and everything else really forms the backbone of my knowledge and understanding of African culture/spirituality.

    3. I have consulted a number of African priests in person, and have involved myself with some African religious practices. And although I’ve been in contact with a few, I have never been a member of any particular African spiritual group, or had anyone function as a guide or mentor for me for any length of time. I would very much love to be a part of an African spiritual congregation, but I have not yet found myself in close proximity of one that suits my very particular needs. I also believe that there is a very large gap between how ATR has been traditionally practiced, and the practical use of ATR in our society today. In traditional African society, each community stood upon a mountain of information that had been amassed and handed down by their ancestors since the beginning of time. Therefore, our ancestors were practicing African spirituality/science at the expert level, the very highest level in the world. Our link to our ancient wisdom had been severed, and so our understanding of ATR is very basic, and so should be our level of practice in my opinion.

    The closest cousin I’ve seen to African spirituality is Native American spirituality, which every African American should also learn and understand because 1) It duplicates African Spirituality in almost every conceivable way that I’ve seen, and 2) nearly every one of us has some Native American blood, an aspect of our history and heritage that has been generally over looked. These good people took us in, protected us, allied with us, and entered into our families, and they should be recognized and appreciated for having done so. And the knowledge that I’ve gained from studying Native American spirituality has been wonderful, but no spirituality that I’ve seen in the world even comes close to the knowledge and practical power of ATR. To bolster my spiritual understanding in general, and as a basis for comparison I've also studied Buddhism, Confusciasm, Taoism, Shinto, Aboriginal Australian spirituality, Celtic and Nordic religions, and more.

    Who teaching the ATR . doctrine ?

    Concerning Black history, culture, or spirituality, I’ve never had anyone in my life that would qualify to be called a teacher. I have specifically consulted a total of 4 ATR priests, three Yoruba (a priestess from Nigeria living in California, one African American living in California, and one Nigerian priest visiting America,) and an Ewe priest that I consulted while visiting Ghana. I had a number of readings/consultations with the Yoruba priests/priestesses that lived close to me in Southern California, but my consultations ceased after I moved to Northern California. There I came into contact with people who practiced Santaria and Lucimi, and I learned from them as well. Everywhere I have been I have sought out priests and practitioners of ATR, and have learned what I could from them.

    My personal practice however was most significantly developed by my contact and friendship with a Yoruba brother who I had met through my roommate, who was also Yoruba. As he explained and demonstrated to me, his practice was not something he had learned in some African spiritual church, but was a natural extension of his culture and lifestyle as an African person. Like me, he occasionally consulted priests, but his practice was for the most part a private experience that lay at the core of his entire way of life. For about two years we met regularly and exchanged information. He told me everything he knew, and I also shared with him what I had learned up until that point in my life. He had not been raised to practice his traditional spirituality in Nigeria, as traditional African spiritual/cultural practices are generally shunned and even forbidden by many continental Africans with money because it is either through the government or through missionaries (agents of the government) that money is commonly obtained in Africa. My roommate even told me even that his parents didn’t even allow him to speak his own language (Yoruba) in his house growing up, and he had to learn his own native language in the streets of Nigeria.

    So like me, they had both been deprived of their own culture/spirituality also, but living in Africa they were much closer and had a much more of an intimate relationship with it than I had growing up as a Black American, so I considered brothers/sisters such as these to be walking sources of my own cultural/spiritual education, and I learned from them all that I could. These brothers reached into the sights and sounds and traditions and customs that surrounded them and were able to extract elements of insight that formed a solid spiritual base for their practice of ATR, and I learned to do the same. ATR to them, as it is to me, is not something that needs to be taught to an African person, but is a natural part of them that is evident and included in every part of their culture and way of life. As I came into contact with various priests and practitioners of ATR, I came to realize that none of these people, books, or other sources were actually telling me anything new, nothing that I didn’t already understand at either a conscious or intrinsic level. My ATR education to me was very much like my first macroeconomics class in college. Having been raised in a business minded family, and having been intimately involved in businesses since I was 11 years old, my study of macroeconomics consisted of giving names and phrases to concepts and practices that I already understood. Although some new information is added periodically, the information that I learn from various sources simply reinforces an understanding that I already have.

    My practice of ATR is very similar to the way I dance. I live in Japan now and as you know the Japanese try to copy everything we do. When I can find some descent music, I enjoy nothing more than “gettin my groove on,” and every time I do so in Tokyo I see Japanese people staring at me. One girl I danced with recently basically stopped dancing in the middle of the floor, and proceeded to stare me up and down to try study what I was doing on the dance floor. She kept asking me, “What is that,” “What’s that called,” “How do you do that?” I had to ask her to please top staring at me and just dance because that was exactly what I was doing. I hadn’t ever “practiced dancing.” I’ve never been or have never considered myself to be “a dancer.” The music is in my culture. The drums are in my soul.

    For much of my life however, I didn’t feel comfortable either dancing or practicing ATR. I remember even my 5th birthday where my parents threw a dance party for me, and my living room was full of little Black kids “gettin down.” I was shy at that time so I just sat in a chair and refused to dance at my own party. I never got on the dance floor too much all the way through high school, but one day at a party in my first year of college they played the old school song “Flashlight,” and I just had to let it go. It was always in me, as I used to tap my foot and bob my head to most anything with a beat, but it took a while for it to come out of me. But since then I’ve come to love it. The same is true with ATR.

    I was also raised as a Christian, went to a Christian school, and attended Christian church 2-3 times a week (protestant on my mother’s side, Catholic on my fathers.) I never once doubted Christianity as a child, and had always considered myself to be a devout Christian, although the religion itself never did make sense to me on an intellectual level. It’s teachings left me with a long list of unanswered questions that did not present themselves as a problem to me as a child, but needed to be answered if I were going to live my life as a Christian adult. I knew that the answers to my questions did in fact exist, and at the age of 19 years old I began to actively pursue the answers to these questions. And instead of choosing to simply believe what I had been taught simply because that was what I knew and was comfortable with, I promised myself that I would believe instead believe that God is truth, and that anything said about God would eventually be proven to be true.

    I also resolved that I would not be a zealot (a person who fanatically and irrationally believes something,) but I would instead trust in God, and promised myself to accept and believe whatever unmistakable truth that my search led me to. Because all things are connected, the truth cannot be hidden, at least not for long. If you look at something, anything, close enough (study it, turn it over, approach it from every angle, from every discipline- mathematically, biologically, chemically, metaphysically,) its true form will eventually be revealed, no matter how well other men/women have attempted to hide it. After doing this for many years I was forced to concede that Christianity failed miserably to the test of scrutiny, and African spiritually absolutely excelled in its understanding of natural law and the universe around us, and its practical application to improve the quality of our daily lives. My movement from Christianity to ATR was not an easy or a willing one. I was afraid to leave the religios environment that I had grown up in, and become a sort of a cultural/spiritual alien to my own family and friends. But I made myself a promise to accept the truth, no matter how much more difficult and complicated it made my life to be. Practicing ATR in today's society takes courage.

    What are some of the prayers used ?

    Along with my own personal prayers, I generally use ATR prayer books which I have found to be very extremely effective. My main prayer book is one that I purchased from Mama Fama when I consulted her and her assistant Babalawo in San Bernardino California. The prayers are written entirely in Yoruba, with an English translation under each line, which allows me to pray in a native African tongue, and still have a full understanding or the prayer’s meaning. Praying in an African tongue I feel is more pleasing to the ancestors and orisha (making them increasingly effective in my opinion,) and also helps us to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of our culture and history. Traditional African prayers are generally very poetic and beautiful, and they also mention all aspects of traditional African society (houses, gardens, kings, tools, weapons, streets, foods, trees, brooks, streams, animals, plants, kings, queens, magistrates, and all other aspects of traditional African society,) helping us get a clear picture of what our cities, towns, and villages looked like before western invasion and destruction, and also helps us to learn the language. My main book is Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion by Chief Fama, but you can get a number of others from a good black book store, and even on the net I’m sure.

    My personal practice is limited to prayers, offerings, and meditation. As I said earlier, ATR is a science. It is a very real understanding and practice of natural law and its principles, and should be practiced only in stages according to our understanding. My study of ATR is general, and the level at which I practice is a basic one. I dare not attempt to graduate into any of the higher levels unless I am under the strict tutelage of a knowledgeable and trusted African priest. Beyond the basic level are advanced sciences such as African divination, direct communication with orisha (angelic spirits representing aspects of nature.) As God created it, nature is of course both constructive and destructive, both good and bad, but on the whole it is always good as it is directly from God who of course is always good. Nature however should not be “played” with, because you are literally “playing with fire.” Fire of course is used for an unlimited number of good things (warmth, purifying food/water, cooking, cleaning, shaping, molding, building, etc.,) but of course it can also burn you. As the spiritual essences of natural phenomena, the orisha/angels are the fire, water, mountain, river, moon, love, wealth, etc., and should also not be toyed with.

    If you do not know what you are doing, then you should limit yourself to a level of practice that is within your level of understanding. For example, it’s ok for a child to place his/her hands next to a fire for warmth, or perhaps even to roast marshmellows and hot dogs, but children should never be allowed to haplessly handle fire. And even adults themselves should limit the use of fire to what they know, and should be trained before attempting level of advanced use such as welding metal, or building combustion engines. As of now, we exist as spiritual children, and should limit our practice to the basic level of ATR, including prayer, simple offerings, meditation, festival celebration, study and practice of ethics/morality, cultural practices/customs/norms, historical research, etc. This application of ATR will take us very far, and our understanding and practice of more advanced levels should be a gradual one.

    Hope this information is useful for you. Peace.

    Love Unknown
     
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