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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Holy Kabbalah of Rastafari

Is it Resh Tiphareth (Hebrew) or Ras Tafari (Amharic)? Both Hebrew and Ethiopian Amharic are related languages.  Interestingly enough, author Timothy White says that Ras Tafari, who was renamed Haile Selassie following his coronation as emperor of Ethiopia, “exhibited familiarity with Cabalistic doctrines,” in his book Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley. Selassie’s hand gesture in the photo above is not a coincidence, as he intentionally displays the same gesture in several other photos. 

On the Cabalistic/Kabbalistic Tree of Life the power vector known as “Tiphareth (Beauty)” is representative of the sun which is known as “Zion” in Hebrew. Tiphareth unifies the concrete and the immaterial since it is a bridge between the objective plane and the subjective plane. In Cabalistic thought, Tiphareth is also synonymous with the “King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Meanwhile Kether represents his father who art in heaven.

When we magnify the beauty within ourselves, then beauty becomes an inescapable realty in the world around us. Fueled by love, this dedication to the cause of refinement fosters the Collective Security of the 10 power vectors that comprise Tree of Life. Once this covenant between the 10 spheres of influence has been achieved, the gift of the Holy Shekinah comes down from heaven to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2), which is really the New HERU Salem (Peace). 

The descent of the celestial city, is the equivalent to the rise of the new day’s sun, Heru, who refuses to “Set” below the horizon. Peace of mind is what propels a man’s ascension through various stages of evolution as he reaches his highest ground.

If we were to superimpose Kemetic deities on the Tree of Life, then Heru would occupy Tiphareth, which is the sphere of beauty.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sweet Djinn Music & The Psychology Behind Power Accretion

“Spirits do not fall from Heaven except in anger or because they are expelled,”

 – Dogon priest Ogotemmêli speaking on the descent of the Nummo to planet Earth.

There are Sunni Muslims—specifically those of Indo-European descent—who believe that musical instruments, especially wind and string instruments, are Haram (forbidden) and should be avoided by true believers of the Islamic faith.

Some Islamic thinkers have even said that music is the Quran of Shaitan (Satan) and they use respected texts of their religious sect to reiterate this belief. According to the 13th century Islamic legal document Reliance of The Traveller, which references Hadith compiled by Abu Dawud—a 9th century theologian who moonlights as a ventriloquist for the prophet Muhammad—we read:

“Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress. Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.”  

The tambourine, which is a non-African instrument, is regarded with exception in this case. The quote above shows us the thought process of one who does not value a wide variety of sound in their music—a feature that has always typified African and African derived music. I’m willing to bet that Dawud was born to a people who aren’t known for making powerful music that can appeal to millions of people across the planet of all races, colors, and creeds. In other words, Dawud was not an African.

String instruments, like the violin and the piano (a piano was really just a harp inside of a wooden box with ivory keys attached to the strings. Harps were imported into Europe from North Africa. So were the elephant tusks used to make the piano keys since there are no elephants in Europe), were introduced to Europe by the Moors who gentrified Europe in the 8th century C.E. The Moors are the forefathers of what we have come to know as “classical music.” Do some research on Angelo Souliman. He was a Nigerian classical music composer and reformer of Freemasonry during the 18th century.

I won’t even bother to get into blues, country, rock, jazz, pop, R&B, reggae, funk and hip-hop music which were all created by Black people, who have always stood at the vanguard of creative musical expression. Music has always been an essential part of Black culture wherever it has been found on the globe. Therefore any teaching, whether religious or secular, that demonizes the creative expression of modern music as a whole is a direct assault on Black people wherever they are found in the Diaspora. The 2012 ban on all non-religious music in Mali, initiated by Wahabists in the country’s  northern region, is a primary example.

Yet is the belief that music comes from the devil just a fringe concept among a few Muslims over the centuries? Perhaps. Maybe the Moors of Medieval Europe and West Africa—who improvised various forms of music—were not as Islamic as many Moorish historians make them out to be in light of the indisputable facts pointed out above. Perhaps Islam was merely a political filter that the historical Moors used to Africanize Europe without completely alienating potential strategic allies among the orthodox Muslims of Arabia and the emerging Ottoman Empire.

According to orthodox Islamic theology, Iblis (Lucifer) and many of Allah’s other angels came from a smokeless fire in primordial times. This was long before the creation of Adam. According to some West African cosmologies—which were certainly familiar to West African Moors of the Medieval period—all Black people literally come from the sun. Cultural anthropologist Marcel Griaule says that the Dogon wise man Ogotemmêli specifically told him this when you read his book Conversations with Ogotemmêli: An Introduction to Dogon Religious Ideas.

It is conceivable that Muslim theologians living over 1,400 years ago would consider our sun as a “smokeless fire.”  After all, in order for fire to produce an abundance of smoke, oxygen would have to be present in outer space. Yet according to modern science, which owes a great debt to Islam, there is no oxygen in outer space, which might give one the notion that the sun is a “smokeless fire” even though it is really hydrogen which is very different from fire.  

Orthodox Islam, as it is understood and practiced by the majority of Muslims on the planet, is diametrically opposed to traditional African spirituality. Among other things, it demonizes Iblis/Lucifer, who is nothing more than the mythologizing of the Black man and woman as they are seen through Indo-European eyes that are gazing at the rear-view mirror of world history.

The Lucifer myth colorfully summarizes Black history going back to the last Age of Libra, which ended around 13,000 B.C.E. Mind you this is approximately the same time that the Sahara Desert began to dry up, which lead to mass migrations of Africans into the Nile Valley and the land mass surrounding the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The Age of Libra accelerated the Black race’s “FALL from grace,” given that Libra is a FALL Season. The Light of Egypt: The Science of the Soul and the Stars (Volume Two) offers additional insight on what the Age of Libra entailed for the Sons and Daughters of Light. However this is only if you have the prerequisite knowledge of ancient Black history on a global scale. Otherwise, that passage in the book is useless unless you’re a Libran looking for insight concerning your spiritual career on Earth.

To be anti-Luciferian is to be anti-Black. For the scary readers who don’t understand what I just said, please allow me to clarify. Satan and Lucifer are not the same entity although they are portrayed as such in Christian commentaries. The Latin prefix “Luci” means “Light.” The suffix “Fer” comes from the Latin word “Ferre,” (from which we get the English word Ferry) which means “to carry, to bear or to bring.”

If you have light to dark brown skin you have large quantities of carbon in it therefore you are a “light bearer.” Carbon absorbs light, therefore you are a Luciferian, a torch bearer, the polar opposite of a dumb muthafucka. This is why Blacks are more energized and alert in warm climates and sluggish and mentally slower in cold ones. Many Blacks even deal with bouts of depression when cold winter months set in. Blacks literally eat sunlight through their skin because they are LUCI-FERRY-AN (Light Carriers/Transporters). 

A Black person with an African-centered consciousness will never ever thrive in Orthodox Christianity or Orthodox Islam because these two religions have demonized the ancient Black man and woman at the height of their power through the Lucifer/Iblis mythos.

The picture below is an orthodox Islamic painting of Iblis (Lucifer). Notice that his skin is Black. This is because he is a Djinn who bares the mark of those who were burned by  the smokeless fire. He is also wearing a green robe, which is the color associated with the “Morning Star” Venus which is the astrological ruler of Libra. The Olmec as well as some ancient West Africans utilized calendars that were based on the cycles of Venus in ancient times.


Besides the supposed Abyssinian slave Bilal, Iblis is probably the only central Islamic figure that orthodox Muslims have depicted in their art as Black by a large consensus. ABYSSinia, the original name for the old Ethiopian Empire, gave us the English word “ABYSS” which is a bottomless pit. To enter a bottomless pit you must FALL into it.

The European took an African word and made it apply to something in its fallen state to reinforce a reality in which the African is in a perpetual state of degradation. The words that you use on a daily basis dictate your thought patterns. Your thought patterns construct your present reality. Understanding the inherent psychology behind the words you use imbues you with the tools of the master builder who has received the grip of the lion’s paw.

Until the Black man and woman spiritually identify with the smokeless fire that they came from they will not be able to harness the kinetic power of their souls’ inner sun. In his book The Rainbow: A Collection of Studies in the Science of Religion, author Claas Juoco Bleeker sates the following:

“In ancient Egypt thought was greatly fascinated by the dualism of life and death. The contrast between the fertile Nile Valley and the arid desert as a antithesis made the Egyptians consider life and death as mutual enemies. Still they were convinced that these two powers could be reconciled, namely in the divine life that overcomes death. Hence the Egyptian gods are beings who die and thereupon demonstrate their divinity upon resurrection and renewal after death.”

This is the single greatest challenge facing Black men and women today—the divine challenge of resurrecting and renewing ourselves on the heels of our holocaust so that we may reach our “Higher Ground” as Stevie Wonder sings. If you are a Black person functioning within the Judeo-Christian paradigm then Lucifer, “The Bright Morning Star” within you, is your only true redeemer.

Only the man who has fallen to earth can find his true home in the heavens. Don’t agree or disagree with me. Just think about what I’m saying. You came from a higher plane of existence. You can musically transport yourself back to this realm when you hop inside your musical mothership and enjoy the sounds of the greatest Merkaba Mystic of all time. I’m talking about the legendary George Clinton and his funk band Parliament Funkadelic.

A Black person who promulgates the virtues of art and high culture is an alien to planet earth.  In Arabic—which is a language developed by the ancient Blacks of the Arabian peninsula, that was both culturally and geographically a part of what we today call Africa before the advent of map sorcery—the name “Ali” means “Exalted.” The word “Ali” is used to identify one who comes from a state of elevation.

A person who is highly elevated naturally comes from a place that is high, possibly the heavens. The word “En” means “Lord” in Sumerian cuneiform. Sumer was one of the earliest known civilizations of the Near East, and the Blacks of ancient Arabia incorporated elements of Sumerian language and culture in formatting the Arabic language.

“Anu” or “An” is the Sumerian “Lord of Heaven.” Through deductive reasoning, it would seem to me, that an “Alien” is really an “Ali-En” or an “Ali-An(u)” which is an “exalted lord of the heavens” whom a modern English-speaking person would call an “Alien.” The English language is a hybrid of Latin, French, Spanish, German—and unbeknownst to many people—Arabic. English words like “Alcohol,” “Alchemy,” “Algebra,” and “Chemistry,” are all derived from the Arabic language. Don’t believe what I just said. Research it for yourself.

The thought that Black people are the direct descendants of Fallen Angels from heaven was not a fringe concept in early Christian Europe. In one of the pictures here you will see a rare Medieval depiction of Black people with wings being cast out of heaven. The two others are from France.

                                          Fallen Angels

One depicts Moors as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse while the other depicts them leading the Anti-Christ in their conquest of Rome to usher in the Apocalypse.  Yet another image shows a European being tormented by Black devils, who European academics agree was intended as a propagandistic depiction of Moors by white Christians. Mind you, this was all during a time when Black men known as “Black Oppressors” ruled large territories in Medieval Europe.

The Four Moorish Horsemen of the Apocalypse

         Moors leading the Anti-Christ into Rome

As long as your mortal enemies see you as the devil, then you can relax and rest assure that you are firmly planted in the seat of power. When the idea that you are the devil becomes laughable to them, then that’s when you should be a little concerned. In Western society, the man who runs the show, calls the shots, and gets to tell everyone what to do is always called the devil.

                 Medieval painting of Black Devils

The album sales showdown between 50 Cent and Kanye West in 2007 marked the beginning of a media campaign to erase the image of the Black male as one who evokes fear. The experience of fear is based on the observer’s recognition that the raw electro-magnetic energy that is radiating from the person he is observing is greater than his own. This cognition produces intense fear in the observer. The observer will have one of two responses to what they fear. They will passively submit to it, or move in to destroy it. This is part of the fight or flight mechanism.

 Since the Black male, by and large, is no longer a source of mystery who inspires fear—which is the only real power he has consistently had in The United States of America since 1865—a growing number of his own women do not want him anymore. He is being marginalized in American society more aggressively than any other group.

The Black male is being pushed into the meat grinders of socio-political and economic irrelevancy like a fucking cow. All desirable women want a man who radiates power in some way, shape, or form, whether it’s physical, intellectual, economic, political or all of the above. If you’re not the kind of woman that desirable men want, then I’m not talking about you in my reference to such women. You may in fact be attracted to the first guy who looks at you for more than five seconds, whether he has something of value to add to your life or not.

That’s none of my business though. My preoccupation with this particular blog post is to help inspire a transformation in the Black frog into an emerald-robed prince. The reason why the Black man no longer inspires fear is because he can be bought and paid for. He’ll do anything if the price is right. He isn’t willing to struggle to initiate the New World Order of the Ages that only he can usher in. A lot of men talk tough and pay lip service concerning what they are ready to die for, but what are we willing to live for? Dying is easy. Living is hard. What are we willing to live for that is eternal and everlasting?

Black Man, Do YOU call any group of men the devil? If so, why do you do it? Historically speaking, what power have you ever acquired from doing this? If you have not acquired power in calling other men “The Devil,” then what value is there in identifying them as such? I don’t have all the answers about life. I’m still learning and striving to figure out this puzzle just like you. However I strive to use things that work, so that I can become stronger, while discarding things that don’t work because they will only hamper my efforts to acquire power.  

For a man, few things are more important than the acquisition power, because only power enables a man to express the full capacity of his love. This love radiates from the man outward toward his family, then to his community, then his nation, and then his planet. When the kinetic energy that he has generated over time far surpasses the carrying capacity of the human flesh that he is encapsulated in, then the man eventually incarnates as a sun perpetually impregnating planets with love, life, and vitality.

Every time you look up in the sky and see the sun you are looking at a masculine intelligence that was once a man like you. He had fears just like you. He had flaws and imperfections, dreams and aspirations. The only difference between you and that glowing man in the sky is that he was able to rise upward on the scale of evolution through the acquisition of power.

Anyone who wants to limit your power, regardless of their race, religion, or gender, is trying to limit your capacity to express love. They’re trying to stop you from becoming a sun, which is a part of your destiny. You were born to shine. The only true lover that a man has, the only true friend that a man has, are those who assist him in increasing his power as opposed to containing it as an unrealized, wasted potential. If you do not have such people in your life then you are a single man with no friends.  

Let your ENEMIES call YOU the devil by being a loving, hard-working, and productive member of society who serves their community. When your enemies typecast you as the devil, don’t get mad. Instead, find ways to get them to depend on you. They will then talk horribly about you behind your back and smile in your face because of the comforts you afford them—which only confirms the unbearable reality for them that YOU are THEIR God.

They can’t afford to tell you how they really hate you to your face because you are their God, and offending you will heap hell-fire upon their heads as they are wholly dependent on you. Under this circumstance, they have no choice but to revert to what clinical psychologists call “Reaction Formation.” This is when you really hate someone, but you treat them with the extreme opposite emotion of intense love and admiration.

The personality of the Uncle Tom is a classic example of Reaction Formation. The Uncle Tom hates his slave master. He wishes to torture and kill his master, but he’s a bitch ass nigga who would rather live a lie. When in a position of authority you should identify the disgruntled members within your enemy’s ranks and secretly reward those people for being traitors to your enemies.

As long as Black people hate their enemies seeing THEM as devils, then they will also hate having Power since it is impossible to be powerful without also being demonized for it. People only call you the devil when you have POWER and they are scared to death about what you will do with that power since they are powerLESS. Your gain will usually be someone else’s loss. The universe can be a beautiful place, and all of its life forms can be safe, and cosmic order can be achieved, so long as you thrive and your opposition falters. When you are not thriving in life, then the universe is upside down. You must work on making the universe upside up by acquiring power with the highest intentions.

It is wise to multiply the losses of those who challenge your highest aspirations while rewarding your allies. A much older family member born and raised in Jamaica told me once how Jamaican gangsters would drive up in the roughest, toughest ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica in luxury sports cars, come out, and leave the doors wide open, with expensive jewelry on. No one would rob these men. They paid for the neighborhood children’s school uniforms and books, employed the men through construction contracts and gave food away to families. Although they were hardened killers they had values and ethics. They were men of their word who looked after the people they loved.

When you look out for your people out of love they have a vested interest in your success and survival. You won’t have to declare war on your enemies. Your people will declare war on them for you because they will see any attack on you, as a direct attack on them. You are assisting people in acquiring power. You are helping them to realize their potential. Only then are you a man of value.

There are haters all around. Seduce them with sound. Your soul is your soil. Uproot melodies from your ground.

The formula for Pi is 22 divided by 7. We know that 2+2=4, which denotes the four dimensions of our waking space-time reality. Space is made up of 3 dimensions: height, width, and depth which preclude the fourth dimension, which is time. You cannot perceive time without also perceiving space (height, width, and depth), hence you have the term “space-time” as seen in physics textbooks and journals.

Meditation, as it is commonly understood within the context of Eastern philosophy, is an artificial way of removing yourself from the space-time continuum so that you can bond with the unobserved observer of this reality, which happens to be the real you.   This bonding process exemplifies what it means to live in The Positive because it involves expanding into the source of higher intelligence.

When you invest your 7 chakras into the 4th dimension (22 divided by 7; 2+2=4, 4th dimension) you are actively participating in the process of creation, which is a Negation, a contraction. This is where we get the concept of the black dot in the center of the circle. The circle is the feminine principle, which in this context would be the muse which inspires us through its magnetism. The Muse moves us to thrust our pelvises forward so that we may create. 

The dot in the center of the muse’s circle is the masculine principle, the musician aroused through inspiration by the beautiful muse to make music through artistic intercourse. No words can capture the Muse’s sonic beauty. The dedicated musician aspires to capture her through his art which is audial, and cyclical. Music is non-linear.

                               The Key to Infinity

As a matter of fact, the Muse’s vagina is literally the musical scale: doe-ray-me-fa-so-la-tee-doe.  Notice the “doe” sound appears twice, at the beginning and at the end of the scale to continue the cycle, which is a circle, which is the womb which holds the Key of Life. The scale is a never ending cycle, a never ending cipher, a never ending spiral twisting and turning into infinity. Those who possess hair that spirals out of their heads were meant to master the musical scale. Those without the spiral like Abu Dawud will only condemn it through religious dogma.

Only the people from the sun can touch it. Only the people of the sun can stuff it. Only the people of the sun can fuck it ’til she cums, making her ooze with the sweetest melodies and nectarous harmonies that are spun. You can feel the bass in her bottom, the rhythm between her thighs, the ecstasy in her cries, the soul within her eyes. She is music.

Are we comfortable with being devils, or are we more concerned with being liked by people who don’t give a fuck about us anyway? If EVERYONE genuinely likes you, then it is only because you are undermining yourself so that that they can enjoy eternal life, and have it more abundantly through your willing sacrifice.

Music is a big part of the Black spiritual legacy. Culture Vultures who undermine it must be clearly identified and isolated. I highly recommend you listen to Dame Dashs interview on The Combat Jack Show in which he addresses the Culture Vultures in hip-hop naming names. 

No one should be allowed to make money off of Black music unless they are promoting it as a tool to nurture and edify the people of the planet. I would love to see all of the older, legendary Black recording artists collaborate with the young artists for a Resurrection Concert. The sole purpose of the concert would be to inspire people, to heal and reinvigorate the planet with music in the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity. 

Imagine seeing Nas and Chuck Berry performing on stage TOGETHER with original material. Picture Kanye West & Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder & Pharrell, Prince & DAngelo, Outkast with Earth Wind & Fire, Maxwell and Patti LaBelle, Sade & Beres Hammond, Snoop Dogg and Parliament Funkadelic, Jay-Z and Diana Ross.  

It wouldve been interesting to see Beyonce and Michael Jackson or Rick James and Rihanna, but since Rick and Mike have returned to the essence that will never happen down here. My friend William Cox and I were throwing ideas back and forth, and we both agree that such collaborations could unite multiple generations of music lovers and infuse new life into the music.

If you love hip-hop, R&B, rock, jazz, blues, pop, reggae, funk, or classical music, then you love Black music. You have a responsibility to help maintain the integrity of the art. Don’t let it degenerate into an opiate for buffoons and a moneymaker for modern minstrels. Music is power, and that power should never be relinquished to anyone who doesn’t come from the stars.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Phil Valentine Speaks on the Rules of Racism

In the exclusive interview below with Brother Rich of Underground Railroad Radio metaphysician Phil Valentine gives us a preview of the new documentary Hidden Colors 3: The Rise of Racism. Valentine—who has consistently shared a wealth of knowledge on ancient history, health and wellness, and the arcane sciences for over 37 years—has been a mainstay in the Hidden Colors series produced by Tariq Nasheed. 

Valentine is also the founder of the University of Kemetian Sciences. You can find out more about his classes by clicking the link HERE. The poetic prose he has shared from his note pads at classic lectures, along with his careful articulation of his thoughts in a clear and direct manner, has been a great inspiration to me as a writer over the years.

I remember attending the theater premier for Hidden Colors 2 in 2012 and a German woman, apparently waiting to see another film, asked me what the subtitle “The Triumph of Melanin” meant. I kindly told her that it is a reference to a once battered and beaten people who are rising into the knowledge of themselves to realize their true potential. So it is about the rise of the Blacks?” she asked me seeking confirmation. I said yes.

The woman literally walked away from me in disgust, saying the movie promotes reverse racism, which it does not. Now imagine that: Black people who simply want to learn more about the rich history and high culture of their ancestors—which the dominant society has always refused to share with them—are seen as reverse racists by many non Blacks. Any Black person who wants to know as much as they can about their people’s past, beyond the narrow scope of chattel slavery and the civil rights movement, is a racist now, I guess. 

A Black man or woman who wants to be the best person that they can be without intentionally divorcing themselves from their traditional Black heritage to become a neutered Negropean, is seen as a reverse racist by many non-Blacks. I dont harbor any hatred toward any race of people. I believe in treating men and women of all races with respect and dignity as long as they treat me in like manner. 

I want to be the best Adika Butler that I can be, but in order for me to do that, I need to learn the richer aspects of Black history, culture, and tradition so that I can create a brighter future for myself based on the treasures of darkness that my ancestors left for me as an inheritance. Out of darkness, came light, therefore I must get back to Black to harness the glow that is already within me. I dont want to hurt anyone. I only want to improve my own condition as well as the condition of those around me. If that bothers you, then you are my enemy and I will eventually destroy you with my Third Eye. 

“How dare a Black woman take pride in carrying herself with grace and dignity like the Candaces of ancient Ethiopia, or the queens of ancient Kemet,”asks the latent white supremacist. “How dare a Black man aspire to be at the vanguard of the arts and empirical sciences like the Moors of medieval Europe.” So much for the so-called “post racial America” that deluded people lie to themselves and others about. Enjoy the interview in the video above as Valentine goes in, saying what you may not like to hear, but need to hear. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dancing with Shadows: Silhouettes of Afro-Caribbean Mysticism

May 2014 is looking like a month of firsts for Mind Glow Media. On the heels of my first published e-book Voices of the Dawn I put together the first of possibly many e-Motion pictures for the site. This one is entitled Dancing with Shadows: Silhouettes of Afro-Caribbean Mysticism. The audio visual presentation, clocking in at over 50 minutes, highlights some of the sights and sounds of the Afro-Caribbean spiritual experience with a brief exploration of Brazil thrown into the mix. 

Enjoy and share. If you would like to get in touch with me concerning the video, or any other Mind Glow Media posts you can email me by clicking on the Ptah photo under The Architect bio section on the lower right side of the page.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Voices of the Dawn (Free Ebook Download)

My free ebook Voices of the Dawn is now available for download. It is a revised literary extract from The Voice of the Dawn, which will not be available to the public. At least not at this time. 

To my current knowledge, most mythologies are culturally relative. Although many of them contain universal themes and story elements that seem to overlap with one another, they elucidate the rich cosmologies and meta-histories of specific ethnic groups. This story—which you are about to read—is arguably the very first global mythology of the 21st Century.

I hope that you get something of value from it. Donations are accepted. Just click the donate button on your right. Download, read, and share this electric scroll with those you love. The download link is right HERE. Before you click the green DOWNLOAD button, make sure that you uncheck the tiny box right beneath it. The goddess Tantalah lives within you. Peace.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Theatric Rise of the Orisha: A Q&A With Nosa Igbinedion

Once she brings the lightning and thunder, Mother Nature is expected to bring the rain. But what is expected of a young man who uses technology to do the same? After Nosa Igbinedion, 29, released the trailer for his new film Oya: Rise of the Orisha, a virtual tsunami of excitement and anticipation flooded the digital shores of social media. Thousands of faces lit up. Hearts rumbled with intrigue. A super heroine of the African continent was spinning her way to the big screen.

Although Oya may not be as recognized as the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses who have told their stories in movie theaters across the planet for several decades, the level of curiosity and interest that she has garnered is very well deserved. The original Buffalo Soldier (the buffalo is one of Oya’s animal totems), who is usually armed with two machetes, is a tireless West African warrior goddess who is invoked and externally revered throughout Nigeria, the Caribbean, and Brazil. She has also been embraced by diasporic communities throughout the United States and Europe that practice the sacred psychology that underlies the African life sciences.

Like her polygamous husband Shango, Oya has the power to generate lightning and thunder. Royally adorned with a rainbow crown of nine colors, Oya embodies the cycles of change and transformations that occur within nature, as well as within our very own personal lives. Her wrath and anger brings violent storms, raging hurricanes, terrifying floods, and sudden calamity.  She’s kind of like the god Saturn with feminine sex appeal and a severe case of PMS. You don’t want to fuck with Oya. As I’m writing this article I can hear her say “I wish a bitch would.”

The name “Oya” literally means “Destroyer” or “Tearer” because she humbles those who suffer from delusions of grandeur, much like the Tantric goddess Kali of India. Whenever we breathe OxY-GEN, we are inhaling the GENerative essence of OYa who presides over the winds in Earth’s atmosphere. The use of windmill technology to generate electricity is evidence of the psychic imprint that this powerful incorporeal intelligence has left on humanity.

The entire story about Oya breaking Ogun’s heart by leaving him for his younger brother Shango is an alchemical explanation of how Oxygen and rain (Oya) corrodes iron (Ogun) through the process of oxidation. The oxygen molecule robs iron of its electrons, only to increase its own electric charge (Shango) in the process. Within the Ifa tradition we can also observe the Ogun man or woman breaking themselves down like acid through self-analysis and introspection to foster a higher level of self-realization.

All ancient mythologies, are in truth, mathematical equations and chemical formulas imaginatively explained through the use of allegory. This is why these stories are timeless, and cherished by people across the globe. They are cultural, mirror reflections of both numerical and chemical truths. Before you can create your own mythology you must first decide what chemical formula or mathematical equation you would like to share with the world. Oya is the wrath of the math. You’re in MGM class.

Marvel Comic aficionados may equate Oya with the character, Storm, of the X-Men. Although it is a fitting comparison, it should be understood that most comic book super heroes and heroines are grafted from the most popular archetypes of world religion and mythology.  The Orisha pantheon of deities that Oya is part of is no different. It is as ancient and as colorful as any other on the planet, with rites that go as far back as the early Neolithic period.

The men and women of West Africa tended to Oya’s sacred shrines, thousands of years before Jesus Christ was a thought in a colonizer’s mind.  The book Oya: Santeria and the Orisha of the Winds authored by Baba Raul Canizares identifies the goddess as one of the Seven African Powers of Yoruba spirituality, which also includes Obatala, Shango, Ogun, Yemaya, Oshun and Elegba. The initiates of Ifa are those whose heads literally serve as thrones for these divine emanations of the universal Godhead, which is the Grand Monad. 

This particular aspect of Yoruba tradition predates the Throne Mysticism of classical Jewish literature by at least 9,000 years. Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla was a Castilian Jewish mystic who lived in 13th Century Moorish Spain. In his Kabbalistic book Gates of Light Gikatilla teaches us that “If a person succeeds in purifying one of his limbs or organs, that same limb or organ will become a throne for that celestial entity…”  

In Yoruba tradition a person finds their Ori (head) which houses the very organ (the human brain) that serves as a vessel, or a throne, for a specific celestial intelligence known to the Yoruba as an Orisha. This Orisha guides the initiate as they seek to fulfill their destiny in everyday life. It seems plausible that Ifa forms part of the conceptual basis for what is widely considered the exclusive domain of the Jewish Mystical tradition.

This is not a far-fetched suggestion when one considers the fact that the Igbos—who occupy Nigeria alongside the Yoruba—have many elements in their own spiritual traditions assumed to be exclusive to the Judaic tradition, yet predate all elements of Judaism by thousands of years. Remy Ilona’s book The Igbos and Israel: An Inter-Cultural Study of the Largest Jewish Diaspora highlights less esoteric cultural parallels between the Hebrews of Canaan and the Igbos of Nigeria, and it is written by a Jewish scholar who is also a native of Igboland.

Many of the classic Kabbalistic texts now available did not exist prior to the advent of Moorish Spain, but the Moors of Medieval Europe, were in large part, the descendants of West Africans, not unlike today’s Senegalese, Nigerians, Malians, and Ghanaians. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, but there are also 22 letters utilized in the Ghanaian Twi language.

Although Solomonic Magic is a divergence away from traditional Jewish mysticism it is worth noting that many of the seals of the Goetia resemble those used to identify the Orisha. In Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies, the perceptive student acquires profound insight concerning the role that Moors played in writing the earliest grimoires. These rhyming books of sorcery made their earliest appearance in Southern Europe on the cusp of the renaissance period.

According to The Encyclopedia of African Religion edited by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama, offerings to Oya may include eggplants, rum, beer, wine, plums, red or purple grapes, a hen or a female goat.  In his book Powers of the Orishas: Santeria & The worship of Saints, Migene Gonzalez Wippler relates that as fearsome as Oya is to even the bravest of men, she is terribly afraid of a severed ram’s head. Interestingly enough, the ram is one of the animal totems of her ex-husband, the god Ogun. The film synopsis for Oya: Rise of the Orisha states:

 For centuries the doorway between the world of the Orishas and our world has remained closed, until now. Our hero, Ade, is one of the few people with a connection to one of the gods, Oya. She has been tasked with the job of protecting the innocent and that means keeping the door to the gods shut.

If the doorway to the gods is opened, they will wreak havoc and chaos upon us as retribution for our abandonment of them. To keep the door shut, Oya must find ‘the key’ and keep the young girl who has the potential to open the doorway safe.

The adventure unfolds with a host of memorable characters and a string of unexpected twists as Ade goes in search of the key. She battles against those who wish to open a portal and unleash a horde of forgotten gods and goddesses into the world, with powers and skills beyond our human comprehension. These supernatural gifts have the potential to change the course of human history for mankind, forever.”

Many professional critics bitch and complain about the redundant roles that Black actors and actresses play as slaves, criminals, and clowns. Instead of joining the chorus of whiners, Igbinedion decided to roll up his sleeves and do some work. He picked up a camera and used the technology available to him, and made a short film that reflects the kind of story that he would like to share with the world.

Mind Glow Media recently spoke with the UK-based prodigy over Skype on a stormy Saturday afternoon. Among other things, we discussed the film, the media’s power of depiction, and the growing sense of cultural awareness and pride among young Africans.

After you released the trailer for your film there was a lot of excitement across social media. What made you want to do an action movie on the Orisha, and why did you center it around Oya in particular?

That’s an interesting question. To be honest, I guess it goes back into my history, and my past as a film maker. I’ve been making films for about seven or eight years now. My initial introduction to film was The Hydra. It was a short film that went on to win quite a lot of awards and was kind of like my introduction to the film industry, especially over here in the UK. It was for an audience at the British Film Institute, and it really was successful.

From there, I started to make a lot more films. But I started to realize that the films that I was making was more targeted towards the tastemakers in the film industry, as opposed to what I like, and what I’m interested in. I sat back and thought to myself, “What is it that I really like? What do I want to talk to people about with my films?”

Growing up, I’ve heard loads of stories about various parts of my culture. I’m from Nigeria, so I decided that I would make a film about Nigerian deities, specifically the Orisha, just because I felt that they are beings that connect with humanity on a deep level. They are all about connecting humans to a higher level of consciousness. I thought it would be a really apt subject for this film.

The reason why I chose Oya is because I was looking at the different Orisha, and there was something about her that just stood out to me personally.  I didn’t want to just make a film to please and placate the tastemakers and the institutions—especially those here in the UK. I just wanted to make a film that I liked. Oya’s energy is very much about coming to a place, destroying everything and then rebuilding it again. I think that’s why I chose her, and the Orisha as a whole, to work with.

What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in putting this film together?

When you’re making films that are aimed at the tastemakers—and by tastemakers I’m talking about people and institutions who say “If you’re gonna make a film I want the film to be about what I say, and I will pay you if you make it about what I say it should be about.” I did a couple of films like that, and I realized that there weren’t many institutions from the get go who were ready to make a film about African gods.

We had to raise funds for this film ourselves, and the way that we did it was through crowd funding from various people who would like to see this type of film. I heard a lot of people talk about films that they don’t want to see. My mentality was that I was going to take it upon myself to put something different out there, and if you want to see it and you have 5 pounds [Editor’s Note: “pounds” is a reference to the UK currency] 10 pounds, 1 pound, whatever—put it together to show me that you really want to see this film.

So micro funding, or crowd funding, was the way that we raised funds, but it was quite difficult. That was the main challenge. Also, I have a great team working with me, but as far as production, making a super hero movie, at this level, with this amount of money, you’re always going to have to do more than one job. You have to put in extra hours. In addition to being the director, I also wrote the script and I handled the effects. But for me, if there is something I want to see, something I want to do, I have to go one hundred percent into it to make sure it happens.  

You said earlier you were Nigerian. What is your ethnic background? Are you Yoruba, Hausa? Where did you grow up?

I’m from Edo State, specifically Benin City. It’s a city in the South of Nigeria with a very rich history. Anyone reading this can Google “The Benin Empire.” It’s quite well known. As far as the relationship that we have to the Yoruba culture and the Orisha, it’s quite close. We’re cousins. We have the same origin, we both agree on that, but often disagree about who came from who. Still we share the same customs and the same deities.

I actually grew up in the UK. I’ve spent most of my life over here. I’ve always been influenced by African culture. My parents gave me my name so that I would never forget where I came from. I don’t have an English name as many Nigerians tend to.

What does your name mean?

Nosa means “What God knows will come to pass.” Igbinedion means “I’m protected by the elders,” and that’s my surname. My great, great, great grandfather was the last born to a lady who had eight stillborn children. He was born at a shrine which referred to the ancestors. They chose the same name for him to show that the ancestors were protecting him. That name traveled through many generations, through his lineage, as my surname.

Was Ifa, or any other traditional African religion, an integral part of your personal upbringing?

Yeah, I would say so, but not in an obvious way. It was sort of like I picked up stuff by osmosis. My cousin and my aunt may have left food in particular places without eating it. I saw that growing up, but never really questioned it. It was just a part of what we would do. As I started to learn more and research more, I realized that there was a reason for all of that.
It was a part of our tradition, our culture, which they genuinely followed. My parents never told me “You have to be this way,” or “you have to be that way.” They very much advocated free thinking and choosing your own path. I’ve seen loads of things as it relates to African tradition and religion. I know that a lot of people are afraid of African religion and tradition because they have been indoctrinated to think a certain way.

A friend of mine told me about how she went to a restaurant with a church group and the restaurant had masks of Nigerian deities. The church people said prayers referencing evil spirits and so forth because of the masks on the walls. I think that kind of thing is what makes me want to make movies like this. I want to tell a story that isn’t being told.

Oya is generally acknowledged to be the wife of Shango in Ifa tradition, but before that, she was Ogun’s wife. I’m aware that Ogun is very much associated with calculation in warfare, but also technology in many respects. Now you have a young man such as yourself who is very much immersed in the use of various technological applications. Were you aware, going into this, of how connected you and Oya are on a mythological level?

Yeah, I was kind of aware—perhaps not as much going into this as I was when I was already in it. From researching, I was quite aware of the relationship dynamic between Ogun and Shango and the different confrontations between them.

I know a couple of people who have Ogun shrines as well. I think Ogun is a character who is very interesting, especially in these days and times. I think the fact that you and I are literally talking with each other over the internet favors Ogun. I think that these types of things are really important as far as the types of stories we tell about African stories in general.

A lot of stories that have been told, and are being told, tend to link Africa with living in the past and being anti-technology, but one of Africa’s most recognized deities is Ogun, who is technology itself in many ways. Relating these stories to technological advancements—even if they are in social media—make these stories far more relevant to a modern audience. It’s something that I’m definitely thinking about.

In many African films—particularly those coming out of Nigeria—traditional African religions are often characterized in a very negative light. What do you think about this as a Nigerian film maker?

Before I say anything, I just want to say that Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry has amazing potential to shape the mentality of the world—just in the sense of giving a voice to people who haven’t been heard before. I would like to preface by saying that, but on the other side of things, it’s kind of crazy how we sometimes see what we actually originated as a people in a negative light.

There is an element in the Oya storyline that sort of talks about the shrines being destroyed. This came from me actually reading about sacred shrines in Nigeria actually being destroyed. The Nollywood demonization of traditional African religions is an extension of that self-destructive mentality.

We have such a rich culture that the world doesn’t really know about. It’s kind of like we’ve taken the images that Hollywood has presented to the world about us, and we reenact these destructive stories which only work against us. We live in the 21st century where just about everyone has a social media platform, but many of us are still reenacting the propaganda that others have spread, yet we have the platforms to say something different.

It’s sad, but I’m working with a group of young Nigerians in the film industry and our aim is to bring change and do away with some of these old stereotypes that are still prevalent in the Nigerian film industry.   

It may not be pervasive, but there is a perception among many culturally oriented Blacks in America that Blacks on the continent of Africa do not value the rich history and culture of the ancient Nile Valley, and other ancient African civilizations as much as they do. What are your thoughts?

There are two sides to every story. I definitely think that there are Africans who are more lost than anybody. There are deep internalized feelings of self-hate, but then again, there are so many Africans that I know personally who represent the exact opposite. They are proud of who they are and they are proud of their culture.  I can credit people like my cousins, my uncles, my father, as people who are rooted in tradition and are very proud of it.

As a youngster growing up in the UK, I had a friend who was American that told me a similar thing.  He told me that he thought that being African, being from the continent of Africa, wasn’t cool. I’ve known Africans who have told me that they try to disassociate from being African.

I know a young boy named Ade, but when people asked him what his name is he would say that his name was Nathan. He switched it up. One day I sat down with him and showed him and his friends, who were from different parts of the world, the trailer for this film.  He’s Yoruba, and once he heard the Yoruba being spoken in my film he sat up with excitement like “This is my language!”

He saw a woman walking with electricity around her. He was excited because he saw his culture being packaged to him in a different type of way than he was used to. A lot of people, including Africans, see Africa presented to the rest of the world as poverty stricken, war-ridden, and corrupt. Those are all things that people, regardless of where they are from, don’t want to be associated with. I think we are moving to a point where we can change those perceptions. 

I don’t know how familiar you are with Nigerian music, but a lot of the artists are using Nigerian terminologies and phrases, but they’re repackaging the culture to make it more stylish, give it more swag, so that it is appealing to the youth who are contemporized. Now a lot of young Nigerians are speaking with their accents proudly. So there is some validity to American perceptions, but a lot of that is changing.

 Oya is an Orisha of storms, with powers over the forces of nature. However she also represents change. What changes would you like for this film to inspire in film making overall?

Reality is very malleable, but perception creates reality. When people are exposed to different possibilities it opens their minds up to different potential realities. When I talk to different film makers I want them to see different ways of telling Black stories.

Why aren’t there sci-fi stories set in Lagos, Nigeria with hovercrafts and other visions of a technological Africa? I teach a class every Tuesday for young people who want to learn about film. The student’s ages are 15 to 25. Once I sat with this young guy to help him develop a script that he was working on. It was about a guy who wanted to save the world from a disease that was breaking out.

I asked the boy a couple of questions about his character:  where’s he from? Is he Black, white, what is he? The guy looks at me like I’m crazy and says that the hero can’t be Black. I asked him why not, and he told me that no one is going to believe that a Black man wants to save the world. No one is going to take that seriously. I was like, really?
After one of my films came out a year and a half ago I said to a film festival audience that I wanted to make a Nigerian super hero movie. For like 30 seconds there was complete laughter throughout the audience.

They had no idea.

Right. I was very clear on what I wanted to do, but they didn’t take me seriously at all. Now that I have something to show a lot of those same people are like “Okay, I get it. I can see how this can be an amazing movie.” There’s no reasons why we can’t see movies about the Dogon tribe, or a movie about Hannibal [Barca]. 

There’s so much about us as a people that hasn’t been told through film. I’m going to do my best to tell stories from my perspective, but I can’t tell everything. We have lower cost technology that allows us to produce higher production films. Now, we can all create crazy movies that depict the African experience in a way that it hasn’t been seen before. That is what I hope will come out of this.

How will the world be able to see your film?

We did a crowd funding campaign for the shoot that you saw the trailer for. The idea was to provide a visual for larger financiers. The script for the feature is already on its fifth draft. It’s quite near its completion. We’re going to have a few screenings for the short film in the UK, the United States, and hopefully Brazil and Cuba. There are already a couple of festivals that have requested screenings for people to see wherever they are.

The next step for us would be going into production for the feature film. We’re quite close to where we want to be on that. It’s a long process with obstacles, that I’ve had to navigate my way through, but we’re getting into a good place.  If it is picked up by a major distributor great, but not before the majority of the production is done.

How can we help you with your efforts?

We’re just working on getting the trailer and short film out as much as possible. What people can do now to help me and my team is go to our Facebook page Oya: Rise of the Orisha, and like us there. Look for the trailer on YouTube, like it, share it within your networks. They can also visit our website which is