Do you remember “home” as a designated location on the playground where you couldn’t be tagged or subject to capture? You could relax there not have to watch your back. You may have even found yourself championing others to reach this space. Extending your self till the tips of your fingers because if they could just touch you as you are touching safety then by extension they too are safe. This is the most basic example of the importance of having/holding a safe space. Someplace you can breathe easier and extend yourself. What’s said in such space is sacred, protected, and honored.
When this trust is broken or betrayed it is like a death that individuals need to take time to grieve and then choose to rebirth relationships or let go of the behavior or person you thought was “safe” so you can get back in the game. Although the next round you may need to reach out to this person again. Funny how that happens .
In my experience I have found that we to often make excuses for betraying safe spaces and thus our relationships. Justifying why we just “had to” share with someone other than the owner of a story or experience. Or listen to someone else’s confidential information or struggle/story for the sake if “knowing”. We take for granted that someone outside of ourselves whether you’ve known them for 2min or two decades may need more than anything else a trusted space, an honest heart, a sweet word or an ear that listens without judgement.
I’ve learned to identify emotional story eaters as individuals who fish or mine for emotional stories and hold that knowledge as currency. Attaching their own story to yours adding to a storage space of unresolved dramas like a personal Netflix of collected stories disguised as safe conversation. This information is then used in third party settings to prove that they “know” you better than others… Mixing ones own personal beliefs and judgement with what you think you know about another.
As an attempt to have clear boundaries as priest we may frame a conversation as “Awo” meaning sacred or sensitive to the development or manifestation of a project, idea or healing process of a client or group.
"But it’s natural to share what’s going in your life with your homies! all this spiritual micro managing can make you self conscious and anti-social. Come on be real."
Well here’s the real… What you say/ your Ase and the feelings (heart/Ogun) behind those words have the power to heal, curse, bring ease or complicate, provide safety or expose.
This Is a fact… In a society where so much fiction and entertainment drives interactions between people. This truth can feel isolating but it is still a fact.
Therefor the habit of speaking only the best about yourself or others is one that is most critical to cultivate early.
"But that’s not balanced or practical sometimes people piss you off and I lost sleep to waking up extra early to pray and then packing lunch for youth then an 8 hour work day. What he/she said was disrespectful and they needed to be checked. How can you expect us to pray for enemies when enemies fronting as friend are working so hard to block my forward movement???"
There are no simple answers or paths to building character, Here is an analogy.
Warriors who carry lethal weapons don’t seek out enemies to fight. That’s what worriers do. The strongest warriors work hardest within themselves to tread lightly and effortlessly across the earth in reverence to and maintaining of natures balance. Worriers put ego before all else making them the center of everyone’s universe. Warriors are often the first to apologize, the first to inquire what needs to be done to create a successful relationships. Warriors choose the at times discomfort of silence unless they have something to add to the silence that will make it more beautiful. Worriers fill interactions with “just talk” often not confident or trusting of the process of sharing space.
Warriors use exercise to release and channel. Worriers think about what is stoping them from exercising. Warriors use song, touch and food to heal. Worriers use song, touch and food to get attention or chase pleasure and escape. Warriors use meditation, rest and reflection to replenish, journals to process. We are all the most disciplined warriors who have known the limitations of worrying. It’s your choice…
"I see where you’re going but I’m not a priest or some monk…" Incorrect you are the priest of your household. You have the opportunity to step out of judgement, harness and transform the energy of your space to support you and your families highest destiny and reflect the best of all those your represent. Why else did you chose this path? "But who has time for all that? Everyday I’m hustling. Can’t you be to spiritual?"
What is it about changing the way we think that has us holding on to excuses? Feeding and justifying insecurities? Paranoid and seeking other to validate our worries.
Choose the members of your compound/ village / community carefully. If those who surround you are not actively working towards being more compassionate, trustworthy, forgiving and seeking resolution. If your confidants do not support your purpose and the sacrifices you make to realize it. And you for them…How safe are you? How at home can you be? And how does that speak to the spaces you hold for others?
THIS IS THE WORK! The ritual we get together to do helps support this work but make no mistake the WORK is all of the challenges that come between visits from your Baba or Iya.
I was once told that you Ancestral alter is the safest space because the honorable Egun are behind and in front of you 100%. Ask then them to help you identify who can hold a safe space for you on your walk and to help you become one who can hold safe spaces for others.
Learn to pray for those who you feel are your enemies… Not just talk about praying for them or how they need prayer but be about extending yourself.
Our youth will experience and witness the fruits of our struggle and kwon how to identify safe spaces and those who take responsibility for maintaining it. They will have no trouble finding home.
Awo Obaniyi Fasanmi Fayemi Adesanya
Florida is a State of organized money and organized minds amongst many with in this nation with absolutely no institutional respect or value for the body that I, my brother, father, uncle nor nephew live in unless it is performing in a way that diminishes my spirit and the legacy of those who struggled, sacrifice and died so that I could live or exemplifying a sick one dimensional ideas that perpetuates a psychosis. This is proven in the injustice system and the miss-education systems. Every day with every criminal act of injustice this is reaffirmed. How does this truth make you feel? Does it give you to gaul to fix you mouth and utter that this is the “greatest” nation? Morally policing the rest of the world.. How do you reconcile the contradictions? How do you reaffirm life? Do you introduce the struggle into your privileged spaces or justify repeated murder as someone else’s issue? I pray for the soul of this body politic because nature must find its balance and that process is often times disastrous. Rebellion has always been a natural response to prolonged injustice and Amerikkas greatest threat. But what do we really have to loose?
The Mino, Women Warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey
The Kingdom of Dahomey was a small but powerful realm in East Africa located in what is now the present day country of Benin. A very militaristic society, the Dahomey became a regional power by conquering the many tribes and cities that neighbored it on the Atlantic coast. One of the reasons for Dahomey’s great successes was a well organized and professional standing army, something rare among the disorganized tribes and peoples of Africa. One of the most interesting curiosities of the Dahomey Army was an elite corps of soldiers called the Mino, who were considered the best of the best among the Dahomey.
What made the Mino so unique was that it was a unit made entirely of women. Known as the “Dahomey Amazons” to Europeans, the Mino recruited unmarried women who were often virgins. They were trained to be tough, disciplined, and fearless. Often they were unstoppable, and even well equipped European forces such as the French suffered terrible defeats at their hands. Being captured by the Mino was most unfortunate, as Mino women tended to decapitate captured enemies. According to the account of Jean Bayol, a French officer who visited Dahomey,
“I watched as a teenage recruit, a girl named Nanisca who had not yet killed anyone, was tested. Brought before a young prisoner who sat bound in a basket, she walked jauntily up to him, swung her sword three times with both hands, then calmly cut the last flesh that attached the head to the trunk… She then squeezed the blood off her weapon and swallowed it.”
Along with their ferocity and skill, the Mino were also successful because they were equipped with the best weaponry in all of Africa. This included firearms, often acquired from Europeans by trading captured prisoners to European slavers. Along with clubs, knives, machetes and spears the typical Mino warrior was armed with a flintlock musket. By the late 19th century the Dahomey had even managed to acquire a number of Winchester repeating rifles with ammunition. At the height of their power, the Mino numbered 4,000 - 6,000 women, about 1/3rd of the Dahomey Army.
In 1890 the Dahomey picked a fight with an enemy they could not conquer; France. The French declared war after the Dahomey attacked a city that was the protectorate of the French. They decapitated the French governor of the city and forced his wife to roll her husbands severed head in a French flag. At first the Mino won several victories against the French, who were unprepared to fire on women or stand up to their ferocity. According to accounts from the Battle of Kotonou, at one point a Mino warrior who had been deprived of her weapon killed a man by biting him on the throat. Despite such ferocity French superiority of arms took its toll, as the French were well armed with modern repeating rifles, machine guns, and cannon. By 1894 the French had defeated and conquered the Kingdom of Dahomey, turning it into a puppet state called the Republic of Dahomey, later renamed Benin. The Mino were the last Dahomey to surrender, being reduced to only 50 women out of an original 4,000. Interestingly, most of the last Mino warriors emigrated to the United States, where they were hired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The last Mino warrior was identified as a very elderly woman living in Benin named Nawi, who died in 1978 aged over 100.
African religion was suppressed, often brutally, in the United States, more so than anywhere in the African Diaspora. Despite the ridicule it received from Hollywood and an ignorant media, which still uses terms like “voodoo economics,” the Hoodoo people of the South were able to sustain the faith. Today, African Religion has reemerged in the United States stronger than ever, with followers, students and writers, who are influenced by this powerful force, no longer finding it necessary to camouflage the “Saints,” from the Santeria people in Miami, to the Ghedecelebrants in Brooklyn, to the upscale women in Berkeley who dance to Yemanja….
Ishmael Reed (via hoodoo-seed)
"The United States Government is offering you a piece of land of your own."
"We have our own land."
"No, it’s not yours. It’s the US Government’s."
— S1E6, “Pride, Pomp and Circumstance”