In this episode, I explore indigenous spirituality. I briefly touch on European Indigenous spirituality and how it sometimes appears to be lost. However, I then delve into what I consider to be the core elements of indigenous spirituality worldwide. Therefore, this episode is not necessarily tied to a specific culture or practice, but rather provides a general overview of what I believe encompasses indigenous spirituality. I also share tips on how you can reconnect with indigenous spiritual practices.
If you want, you can read the transcriptions of Episode 4 of Under The Baobab Tree here:
Indigenous European spirituality: broken or unbroken lineages?
Today I want to talk about indigenous spirituality. The other day I had a conversation with my partner about Europe and its spirituality. As you know, I was born in Belgium. And he wanted to know more about it. He was interested in the people of the lineages of healers, medicine men, priests, priestesses, and how they operate now. Because in Ghana or in Africa, it's still kind of easy to find these unbroken lineages of healers or medicine men, priests. And I told him, Well, it's not really there. And he really couldn't believe me. So I needed to think myself if it really wasn't there.
But I remembered, one of my reasons of leaving Belgium was that I wanted to grow spiritually. And it was difficult for me there, even though as I said before, now I understand you can grow spiritually everywhere, but at the time I was searching, and it was so difficult. I did some weekends and workshops. But yeah, it wasn't a difficult to find for me to find spiritual teachers. I thought, if it was really there, the medicine women, the priestesses, the healers of an unbroken line, I would have found them.
Okay, in case you're listening now, and you're in Europe, and you're like, "No, no, no, no, no, I now more about this!", please reach out to me. I'm very interested in this.
Rise of medicine women, priests and priestess in Europe
But what I see now is that healers, medicine women, and whatever you want to call it, really, it's just labels. Some people will call it witches, other people think witch is a bad word, whatever, however, what feels aligned with you, right, but like these people who are deeply into spirituality, and working with the land and elements, with nature, holistically, even though it seems in Europe, these lineages are broken in a way, what I see now is that it is coming back or these healers and medicine women or men are coming back. And it's more of a remembering or a relearning, and an unlearning, not necessarily being passed down from a lineage or by elders or teachers. There's more that people are more and more being drawn by spirituality, and they're learning again. And simultaneously, also still searching, right?
Because if you don't have that lineage, or elders who teach you, there's other ways you're searching. And I wonder if that's the reason why so many European people like to go to Asia, for meditation or yoga, or like to go to Peru for ayahuasca, which is like a plant medicine they take in ceremony and brings you different visions and healing. Also, way more I can say about that. But the point is, we crave for this deeper wisdom, this ancient energy, and it's just a bit lost sometimes in this modern world. And it seems in Europe, there is a lack of spiritual teachers or systems or lineages to quench that thirst or, you know, to satisfy that hunger. I hope I'm using the correct English here. Traditional African Spiritual practices demonized And even in Ghana here, you know, luckily, there is still very much tradition alive and also traditional African spirituality. But since colonization, these practices were extremely demonized, are extremely demonized. The majority of the people look at it being something bad, something from the devil or something to avoid. But in my opinion, there is good and bad in everything, in every person, in every situation in every religion. And it takes an open mind to see these different energies playing out in different ways. It's also that sometimes something that's actually bad is acting as if it's something good right? So it's also learning to discern these energies and to also speak to the good in people and in situations or to see the good in situations or to learn from the bad whatever it is because I even don't really like these labels good and bad. But in a way, like there's always this polarity and you know, the duality in things in this world. And I believe it's everywhere. Reconnecting with indigenous spiritual way of living And why am I saying all of this, you might wonder? Well, because I believe reconnecting with our indigenous spiritual way of living creates balance and harmony, and has the potential to remove problems, conflicts and blocks that we're having now that we're experiencing now. I believe, even though the practices were different between different countries, different people, the core of many indigenous spiritual systems was the same. I believe, for all of them, there was this supreme creator, this higher being the most high, and that they understood that we're all connected, and therefore living in harmony with all beings, people, animals, trees, plants, are their spirits. And then they did, or do rituals to keep that harmony, or to bring it back. And that this also was part of life, part of living, not something separate, like not that spirituality was something separate, it was just what life was, it was part of everything.
And another thing that I also see that was the same or is the same in indigenous spiritualities is the understanding that we as human beings, we all have a role to play here on Earth, we have purpose, and helping each other to let your talents and purpose blossom is a priority because everyone living in their talents and living into their purpose is beneficial for the harmony and whole community. And I don't want to romanticize here. I don't want to romanticize indigenous spirituality as if everything before was so beautiful and perfect, because I know, there also were bad things or still are bad things. As I said, there is good and bad in everything. So in indigenous spirituality, yes, there, there were people with bad or divisive intentions aiming to destroy or tear apart, just as these people exist in some Christian churches or some Muslim mosques, we're human beings trying our best. And sometimes we're doing something very good. And sometimes you're really doing something very bad. And in all these spiritual systems, or religions, or how you want to call it, there are also so many people with good intentions, who are creating connection, peace, bringing love. So for me, it's not one or the other, you know, it's everywhere. And it's up to us to feel into that. And not judge but experience. So how can we reconnect our practice, our own indigenous spirituality? How can we integrate that more in our daily life? And again, the things I'm going to share here is inspiration for you, you take out of it, what resonates for you, what doesn't resonate for you. You do you and also about this topic, I think I could make a whole other podcast on its own, like how we could reconnect with it, I might dive deeper into it another time. But for now, there are different things I want to say. 1. The first thing is, if there are teachers, mentors, priests, medicine, men, healers around you, learn from them, learn from what they know, learn from how they do things, learn from the lineage. 2. If that's not around you, or if it's around you, I still also think this next thing is very important, which is connecting with your ancestors. Learning about how they lived pre colonial or for in European, pre Roman. And looking at it without a biased mind without judging and trying to really understand it deeper. What were their spiritual practices? Why did they do what they did to and to learn from them? And if you don't know your ancestors, like specifically, tune into,... meditate and tune into what resonates with you, what you know that is true. Another way is connecting with them, because your ancestors are still with you in spirit. And they actually also literally live through you, through your body and your DNA. Their wisdom is still in your bones. And you can connect with them. In meditation, you can ask for a sign, you can create an ancestor altar, they love to help you, but they only help you if you really ask for it right? So let them help you. Call up on your healthy ancestors. And asking for something, or even when you're just walking somewhere, just say like, "Hey, ancestors, I don't know maybe who you are, and who I'm talking to, but I wanted to say hi", they would love that, you know, it can be so simple. And what I also want to say is that sometimes it's difficult for some people to do ancestral work, or to try to connect with their ancestors, because they feel ashamed of their ancestors, or they have the feeling they don't really know them. But I really need to say here, we have so many ancestors, if you would start counting, even just like the last 16 generations, how many ancestors that are, it's huge. So like, we all have ancestors, that we could be ashamed of. And we all have ancestors that did great work, right. So if you connect with your healthy ancestors, ancient ancestors, or if you ask, like, I want to connect with these ancestors, that I can learn from, that did great things, that are transitioned and have huge wisdom, like just that intention of connection can make a huge difference. All right. 3.Another way of connecting with indigenous spirituality, is connecting with the elements and connecting with the land. This is so universal, all indigenous spiritual practices work with this. It can be tools for healing, to work with the elements, to work with the earth with water, wood fire, and try to work with the elements where you live or where you were born. Because it's very good to connect with the land, where you were born too, or even the land from your ancestors, right? But try to connect with the land. And this can be in different ways. For example, when was the last time you were consciously sitting with fire. And you can sit next to a river, or be on rocks and meditate, and you can listen to what they have to say. You know, there used to be river keepers, and in Ghana there are still people who are like priests who are connected to a mountain or a river and they are guardians, right? Guardian of the ocean, guardian of the mountain. So yeah, Think for yourself, how can I connect with the land? Is there a river nearby? Are there trees nearby? Is there some land nearby? How can I connect with these elements? In a more conscious way, how can I listen to them? 4. Another way, how you can reconnect has to do with focusing more on symbolism. Because life is really not only the rational mind, or our words are analyzing, that's just a tiny part of our brain, we're using them. There can only so much be said with words. Symbols and images they go deeper and the are they are the language of the unconscious mind. They are an ancient language. And there's so so much information in symbolism. And in a way we have forgotten that sometimes we just think it's fantasy or not true, or we don't understand what is being said. Because again, we're trying to rationalize it or trying to analyze it with our mind. For example, in Ghana, here, in some ceremonies, you have dancers who are dancing. And in their dance, there's a whole language, when people look at them, when they observe them, they understand what they are communicating. As for me, I still don't understand it because I didn't grow up with it. But that's a way of how symbolism can work without talking. There's so much information coming through. I also once did a ritual where I needed to buy a pigeon on the market. And I needed to let that pigeon fly free. And okay, I did that. You know, I threw it in the air and the pigeon started flying. But the way how the pigeon flew before it flew away. It flew a perfect circle. And the priest I was with, he said "Oh, because he flew that perfect circle. Now we know the ritual has succeeded." I mean, I wouldn't know that that's something to look at, like, I was just seeing the bird flying in a circle and then flying away. But it's a language we don't know anymore. But it is there. And if you listen to these deeper messages, if we start to understand symbolism more, we're really deeply connecting to things that we have forgotten. In a way we are remembering that way. And the last thing, I want to say how you can reconnect or practice your indigenous spirituality is understanding and practicing interconnectedness, that we are all connected people, plants, trees, the spirits in the unseen world, we're all connected. And maybe you have heard of Ubuntu, or Sunyata. These are terms for it. And it means, but I mean, I can't say one minute what it means because that's like, huge, deep philosophies. But in a way, it's about being connected," I am because you are", our souls, our hearts are connected, we exist because of all the other things in this world, too. We are spirits in human bodies, and our spirit is one, which means if you suffer, I suffer too. And if you feel that or not, if you want to admit that or not, or if you don't believe in that or not. It is something that we feel though, and very sensitive people feel these very deeply. And it has consequences, you know, if someone is in pain, on some level you are also in pain because of it. So because of this interconnectedness, it is also so important to take care of one another. And that's one of the things I wanted to say here. If you want to reconnect with that deeper indigenous spirituality, then learn interconnectedness and take care of yourself, of one another, of plants, of the trees, of spiritual beings, all all beings. Because if a person thrives, if one being thrives, the whole community thrives, it's a bit like, let me give you an example. It's a bit like a car, right? A car has a lot of different pieces. But it is just one car. If the engine of the car is broken, if it doesn't function, it affects the whole car. And the tires could say like, "Oh, it doesn't affect me." But that's not entirely true. Because the tires can't do what they are meant to to. Because of the engine not working. The tires are not really like you know, doing like driving...going forward. They're just standing still. Yeah, so we need each other, what we do influences others and the world around us. So being conscious about it, and taking that into account is very, very powerful. I probably have much more to say about indigenous spirituality, it's such a huge topic and important one too. But this is it for now. So feel into your own heart. How do you feel now. And what came up while listening? And what role might indigenous spirituality play for you? So you can live in your potential or more in harmony? And please let me know if you have a question or there's something you want to share with me about this. I love talking about this. I love connecting with you. And if you have a feeling something is holding you back or blocking you meanwhile you actually want to live in your potential you want to follow your dreams, you want to create harmony. I work with people one on one in under the baobab tree private sessions. You can also contact me here. It was lovely to connect with you and until the next! Bye Bye
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