Keeping Akan Spiritual and Cultural Traditions Alive
Let me begin by stating I derive a great passion from this question and the others that I will discuss in this article. I have a history of exploring many spiritual traditions and in particular those traditions and philosophies that lead me back to the Motherland. In an attempt to identify with my roots and culture I took this brave journey to the chagrin of many who knew me as a devout Catholic for much of my youth. Coming up in the era of the 60's there was a fervor that I believe will never be derived again in the history of the African American. We were filled with our own destiny of knowing who we are as a great and powerful people and re-uniting with the stock from which we came.
I spiraled into this era moving through Catholicism and on to the dogmatism, politics and ethical constraints of the Nation of Islam. Still in search of that deep-rooted connection I practiced Orthodox Islam. This provided me with some kernel of emotional and spiritual intensity but after all was said and done it left me somewhat empty and still searching. This journey moved me forward to what came to be known as the Ausar- Auset Society, an organization that identifies with the Ancient Kamatian (Egypt) Mind Science, cosmology, lifestyles, food and dress. Uplifted I felt that I had arrived only to be steered by the Ancestors (Nananom Nsamanfoa) toward another vehicle of African spiritual expression, the Yoruba. I came there wide open and willing to assume whatever was necessary to belong. Needless to say, I had to make some internal adjustments from the Ausar-Auset way of doing things to that of the Yoruba. In addition to that, as it is in many religious and/or spiritual practices, there were schisms and conflicts and disconnections that had me blowing like a tumble weed trying to find that place where I could feel most at peace.
MY FINEST HOUR
In my finest hour and deepest moment of commitment to this way of life, I was called by the Abosom, the Akan Deities of Ghana, West Africa. This proved to be quite challenging. I had no knowledge of their practices at all. I had spent several years studying the Yoruba culture and practices and had inculcated these practices into my everyday life. It was quite perplexing, unexpected and yet more endearing and moving than all of my other previous experiences.
THEY ROCKED ME
When the Abosom first began to rock me, I heard that the Abosom do not speak in English. This confused me to some great degree, as I could not fathom how an awesome power would be relegated to any single language. I knew from my Islamic background that being Islamic involved the culture of the people who were the original Muslims. I also knew that in following these practices you would be endowed with an energy that would exude your own Islamisity, to coin a phrase. What I could not understand was the limitations that were set on the Abosom, especially when they would visit non-suspecting folks like myself, my predecessors and those who followed after me. This statement cautioned me on one hand and then on the other challenged me as to whether or not I was truly being called, because I certainly could not speak Twi, the language of the Abosom. Could it be that they were Deities (Abosom) from God (Nyame)-Almighty and yet limited in their capacity to know me and who I am and what language I speak? How could that be when I am told they are gods and goddesses?