There are some beings whose presence is felt when they are with you. There are some people whose presence is still felt when they leave this Earth plane. They leave a whole legacy. Malidoma Patrice Some is one of those unique persons that left a deep footprint here on Earth. Today, I heard he transitioned, and naturally tears rolled down my cheeks. The news of his death struck me right in my heart and sadness took over. I know he will be there on the other side now, still guiding us. And his teachings will live on. I am grateful that I got to know this man, through his books and in real life when I joined him on a journey to Burkina Faso.
Of Water and the Spirit
My first encounter with Malidoma was when I read his book ‘Of Water and the Spirit’. I don’t remember how this book fell into my hands. I have re-read this book twice after I read it the first time. The book felt like experiencing a ritual. It felt as if I wasn’t the same person anymore after reading it. Something had changed. I was transformed in a way, like the effect of a true ritual. It is as if certain parts of my awareness opened up or broadened. His writing style is so alive and it feels like you are watching a movie.
I could recognize so many things about myself in the book, being someone living between two different cultures, being on this quest back to my roots. Only that, he is, of course, a different person, with a different life trajectory and life purpose. His story also played out in another space and time.
In ‘Of Water and the Spirit’, Malidoma shares his journey from living with his grandfather when he was a child, to being abducted as a young boy to a French Missionary school, to finding his way back home and going through initiation. I have never read someone who was able to put into words the spiritual experiences one can have in such a detailed way. Spiritual experiences are so out of this world, otherworldly and different from what we know in this realm. So, a lot of times we lack words to express what we experience. It was truly captivating and intriguing to read his book.
There are so many lessons and teachings from this book and reading his story. But the main lesson I took out of it, is that everyone on this earth has a purpose and that it is important to know your purpose, to follow it and to bring your gifts that are related to that purpose into this world, in service to others. His name, Malidoma, was given to him when he was still in the belly of his mother. The elders already knew his purpose then, because of being so close to the spirit world and in communication with the ancestors. Malidoma means friends with the enemy. He has lived his life beautifully walking in his purpose. I know he succeeded because he has brought his teachings to many people. Also to people that were considered the enemy.
It’s through him that I met the Kontomble. In the book ‘Of Water and the Spirit’ I read about the Kontomble, these spirits that are found in nature, sometimes called little people. They are ancient spirit beings that are protectors of the Earth and have knowledge that helps human beings forward, too. Especially how to come back in harmony with nature and everything that is.
Life went in such a way that I was able to learn, work and do rituals with someone who apprenticed with Malidoma. It brought me closer to the Kontomble. Their messages are deep. They are honest and they will just say how things are, in a poetic and humorous way. In a way, I have the feeling that working with the Kontomble brought me back in alignment with what my purpose is. It cut the crap. They can see me for who I am, they can see people and situations for who they are. They bring clarity, even though the messages can be difficult to hear.
Journey to Burkina Faso
The most straightforward experience I had with the Kontomble was when I entered the Kontomble cave in Burkina Faso. As I feel it is too sacred to share too many details of that experience, I can tell you it was pretty altering to feel Spirits like them so physically close in this world.
The journey with Malidoma to Burkina Faso in general was very impactful to me. I have never been to a country where I felt so at peace. Even though I am aware of the current dangers and conflicts in Burkina. The area where I went to, people walk around super grounded, as if they know with every footstep why they are walking on this Earth and what their purpose is. And to me it felt like: if I would just stay here, my life would be complete. I felt very complete. As if nothing else was needed, as if there was no emptiness existing within me. We drank Millet beer that the people had learned generations ago from the Kontomble. There were beautiful huge Baobab trees. We met the guardian trees of the area. It felt like coming home, to be there.
It was an honour to visit Malidoma’s shrine & family house. I feel very blessed for all the different diviners I was able to work with and rituals I was able to do. I had experienced cowry shell divinations before already, but I remember the work with a sand diviner that was new to me and very mesmerizing and magical. The work with the different diviners also strengthened my own cowry shell divination work. All the work we did in Burkina Faso changed certain outcomes in my life. It supported my spiritual and personal growth.
The great Malidoma Somé
I still remember the first time I saw Malidoma. We were in a hotel in Ouagadougou, waiting to gather to travel to Dano, his hometown. He had his hat on and was sitting somewhere at a table. He was quietly reading something, while he was smoking a cigar. When we gathered with the group and I heard him talk, I just felt how Spirit was so alive within him. There was this combination of a light energy and an ancient, wise stream that came through. He was very humorous. Same kind of cracking jokes energy like the Kontomble can have. At the same time, he radiated a lot of trust.
Sometimes it felt as if he approached life as a joke. As if nothing could go wrong, whatever would happen. Even though he was well aware of certain dangers and energies. But in a way, I understand now better, that if you walk with one foot in the spirit world and one foot in this world, your approach to life is different. The way you see and experience things is different. You understand things are cyclical and there are lessons in everything.
The last meal we had in Burkina Faso together, Malidoma talked for some time. He shared with us the challenges that the world is facing right now (this was in January 2020). He talked especially about the modern world being sick and having lost its way. He told us the importance of being this beam of light and to keep on walking with Spirit. Every day now, living in Ghana, I can see how there is so much truth in the words he shared back then. People may say the ‘indigenous people’ or the ‘bush people’ are not civilized or backwards, meanwhile I am starting to understand it is the other way round. A lot of things in this world are upside down, and personally, I will do my best every day to contribute to the harmony of nature, to live my purpose and to help others live theirs. Malidoma was a great example of living your life in your purpose and being of service to others because of that.
Even though we grieve for Malidoma’s transitioning now, at the same time we know he is a powerful ancestor that will be here to continue to guide us. The most high knows why it was his time to transition. I send my condolences, strength and blessings to his family and everyone who loved him and was close to him.
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