Panther Kings, Barkcloth & Milk

From ancient times to the present day, Africa’s collective imagination has to one degree or another been influenced by the leopard as a symbol of its cultural and spiritual potency. The black panther is the melanistic color variant of leopards in Africa, so perhaps the phenomenal success of the movie of the same name can be used as a current barometer of that potency. North, south, east, west, and diaspora – the leopard is a powerful symbol of African warriors, sages, magicians, priests, gods, goddesses, queens, and kings. In West Africa, sculptures from Ife and Benin portray the leopard as a symbol of wisdom. This statue from ancient North Africa depicting King Tutankhamun riding through the underworld on the back Read More

Panther ~ Black Rite-of-Passage

“Great, another broken white boy for us to fix!” One of several funny lines from Black Panther delivered by Shuri in reference to CIA Agent Everett Ross. “What the hail!” My line when I left the theater on President’s Day with mixed feelings about the movie, but mostly about the droplets of ice which had just begun falling from LA’s South Bay skies onto my African head-wrap. Was this a sign? Movie promos had gone hard with Gil Scott Heron’s classic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, I mused while trying to extract pieces of the odd weather from my son’s fro for inspection. But why not build a strategic alliance between African cousins rather than having T’Challa, in true bourgeois liberal fashion, make a Wakanda charity-case out of Killmonger’s Oakland after the fact? Mom, it’s not your story… Huh?!  Read More

I Re-member ~ “Nakumbuka Day” (11/11)

“God never dies, therefore I cannot die”

Adinkra symbol of God’s omnipresence and the perpetual existence of man’s spirit… This symbol signifies the immortality of man’s soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die. Read More

Seshat ~ Opener of Heaven’s Door

In African oral tradition we have a communication concept surrounding the power of the word to generate and/or aesthetize life. In BaNtu culture, this is referred to as Nommo. This same concept in Khemet was referred to as Hekau – “words of power” which were key to the alkhemical authority of god-as-magician. Often viewed as the female version of Djehuti (Khemet’s god of magical arts and foremost scribe of the gods) goddess Seshat accompanied Khemet’s widowed Queen Auset in guarding murdered King Ausar‘s reconstituted and mummified corpse to ensure that he would go on to become God of the afterlife. Read More

Gods, Muses & the Summum Bonum

Ausar, god of the afterlife whom many believe holds the seven heavenly stars in his glorified form in the Hunter constellation, was said to have had a great passion for song and dance during his popular reign in Kemet. So much so that he recruited several African Muses to accompany him on a tour to teach the legendary Nile Valley arts of cultivation throughout Asia and Europe, and always had a troupe of musicians back at his court. These Muses became Goddesses in Kemet, but the later Greek conquest of Ausar’s kingdom led to their colonial conversion and subjugation under Apollo Musagete – “Apollo, Leader of the Muses” – of the Olympian world. Read More

KuNtu: A Well-Painted Home

I didn’t grow up a comic-book super-fan (more like occasional reader), nor grew to become enticed by Hollywood’s silver-screen adventures of super-heroes from the big-3 comic-book universes: Marvel, DC, and X-Men. Marvel’s recently-released trailer for the Black Panther movie (set for release on February 16th, 2018) may just have changed all that. Read More

HaNtu: Afrofuturism “In the Stone”

~ Posted in honor of African-American Music Appreciation Month, June 2017 ~

“The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly.” [Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss] Read More

PTAH ~ Hollywood Re-members…

The biggest night in show business is the annual Academy Awards show which pulls in a television viewing audience of 40 million (give or take). It’s where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (founded in the 1920s) recognizes the merits of its most talented artists/craftspeople and honors them with a golden idol, a statue whose nick-name Oscar means ‘divine spear.’ The specter of Hollywood as an ideological battlefield where dreams and stories as cultural artifacts fight, bleed and die for acceptance in the dream factory run by mainstream [white] gods is not farfetched from the industry’s competitive, often cut-throat reality. Harsher still are the ironic implications of the Oscar award itself whose form Read More

Hathor ~ Mansion of Heru

goddess_hathor_love

“…glorious”

Hwt-hr is the Kemetic version of Hathor, meaning ‘Mansion of Heru.’ Indeed, as Heru’s divine consort, Hathor is regarded as the sky in which he – as the sun god and Djedi Sky Walker”/ Dancer – dwells. Hathor is worshipped as goddess of music, dance, beauty, fertility, childbirth, women, children and foreign lands who personifies feminine love, joy, motherhood, and nature in general. Women particularly aspired to embody this deeply loved goddess’s conjoined roles as wife, mother, and lover which gained Hathor the titles of Lady of the House of Jubilation’, as well as The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy’.

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Heru ~ Djedi Sky Walker

horus2“Sky God… God of Hunting… Warrior God… Lord of the Horizon… Divine Falcon… He who came forth from Hapi [Africa’s Nile God]… Dweller in Sopdet [Star of Auset]… God of Kingship… Heir of his Father…” are some of the epithets ascribed to Heru, one of Africa’s most storied gods of salvation. Heru‘s hunting prowess is represented in the falcon or hawk whose right and left eyes respectively denote the sun and moonheru-eye-primary-colors1; and who is said to hold the stars in his speckled feathers as his wings create the wind. The circumstances of Heru’s placement in the Holy Trinity which includes Ausar (his father) and Auset (his mother), and his triumphant role in the battle against evil [Set]
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I Re-Member ~ “Nakumbuka Day” (11/11)

“God never dies, therefore I cannot die”

Adinkra symbol of God’s omnipresence and the perpetual existence of man’s spirit… This symbol signifies the immortality of man’s soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die. Read More

Pyramid Wisdom & Story

pyramid green“Pyramids are universal symbols of the human Self.” This statement caught my attention in the book entitled King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore (Jungian psychologist) and mythologist Douglas Gillette [NY: Harper Collins, 1990]. As I searched for how that was meant (“pyramid” as abstract geometric template, or as African architectural wonder and cultural treasure?) I got caught up instead in the discussion of masculine archetypes, one for each face of the pyramid. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – the “mature” (men) archetypes – make up their own pyramid, but each has its “immature” (boy) correlates which make up a smaller pyramid within. Unfortunately for society, according to the scholars, “the devastating fact is that most men are fixated at an immature level of development.” Read More