Mami Wata is an integral part of our Diasporic Soul Heritage and Healing Experiences in Senegal.
Reconnecting to Mami Wata is one way that we practice ritual to deepen our capacity to experience healing and restoration.
Ritual is integral to healing, to experiencing harmony and wholeness, as Malidoma Patrice Some explains in The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual and Community.
In order to restore our connection to Mami Wata we must remember that we share a collective trauma that created the rupture between us and the ocean. The dis-ease some of us have with the ocean is rooted in our shared collective, ancestral and historical trauma.
Yet, as this young man explains, meeting Mami Wata as sacred ritual and with a community where he feels safe, secure and a strong sense of belonging changes how he feels about her. This young man’s named-fear-of-the-ocean has shifted to reverence and deep respect for Mami Wata. At the same time, seeing other Black people in relationship with her allows him to change how he sees his own potential and place in the world.
Meeting Mami Wata in this way, in sacred ritual with community, also allows us to surrender and let go so that we can experience joy, delight, awe and wonder. So we can play. Offering some of us a chance to reclaim our childhoods, which are often cut short as we are taught early on to hunker down and protect ourselves from the constant threats of pernicious racism and violence.
Allowing ourselves, like this young lady, to revel in the joy and delight we can experience as Mami Wata rolls up and tickles our toes and caresses our calves is transformative. She evokes awe and wonder at the same time she brings a sense of well-being and peace.
These two young people show us that spending time at the ocean, with a sense of curiosity rather than fear or dread is an act of reclamation. An act that offers us space to feel free, unfettered and unbound, as vast as the ocean herself and the endless sky above her.
There’s a power for us, as Diasporic Souls when we restore our connection with the ocean, with Mami Wata, because we are “also connecting with a part of [our] heritage.” Mami Wata was a “crucial part of our ancestors’ identities..” We are, “[t]he vast majority of us, “descended from African people who were coastal, ocean-dwelling people.” It is clear that we, as African people, as Diasporic Souls, are deeply bound with her. A connection, a bound that is profoundly healing and restorative.
Learn more about Mami Wata’s sacred place in our lives and the way she feeds our SOUL in We Got Soul; We Can Heal, Chapter VII – #Ritual Heals – Meeting Mami Wata.