During our initial Stopping the Clock for Those Now Gone: A Remembrance Ritual for Black Loss, Black Love & Black Life on 20 June, sistah Angela Franklin, 2019-2020 Xavier University Stained Glass Initiative Artist-in-Residence and owner of Chez Alpha Books (Dakar), introduced us to her work “When Feeling Blue, She Reaches for the Redbird.” The multi-media work reflects the belief that our ancestors are always with us, that they come to us . . . as red birds . . . The striking piece offers us solace, it offers us the reminder that in spite of our grief, our ancestors are accessible. That we can communicate with them divinely.
As Caroline Shola Arewa reminds us in Opening to Spirit: Contacting the Healing Power of Chakras & Honouring African Spirituality, “belief in the Eternal Spirit and respect for our Ancestors is probably the worlds’ oldest spiritual practice.” As she goes on the remind us, ‘[w]e exist today because of our ancestors; they gave us life. It is on the fruits of their labor that we live today” (48, 69). Throughout the African Diaspora, many of us understand that our ancestors are always with us. That they are here to help, protect and guide us if we chose to be open to them and “we recognize our earthly limitations and humble ourselves” (Arewa 69). As spirit, our ancestors are recognized and revered as members of our community.
In this week’s session, recognizing the wisdom of Angela and Arewa, and with the guidance of our beloved brotha Lawson Bush, we will consider how we might creatively and intentionally stay connected with those now gone, our ancestors. In addition to knowing that they come to us in our dreams and as red birds, we can create a sacred meeting place where we can recognize, celebrate and communicate with them. We will learn the importance of intentionally, consistently and creatively holding space where we can connect with our ancestors and learn how to set up an ancestral altar.
All new sessions will be available each Thursday at 5:00 p.m. EST. Access to previous sessions is available here as well.
Feel free to come back to enjoy sessions at your own pace, in your own time.
We will explore how food and nature can support us as we seek to deepen our connection with our ancestors and as we work acknowledge our loss and honor our grief.
We will focus on how our creativity and our capacity to bear witness can be healing and restorative as we grieve and navigate loss.
We will explore the ways that restorative yoga can help us to find healing and restoration as we grapple with grief, loss and race-based stress injury.
Yoga Mat or Beach Towel, Yoga Bolster or Pillow(s), Yoga Blankets or Towels
Communally co-create a memorial (mandala) for Those Now Gone made from natural items – shells, rocks, leaves, beans, plants, flowers and more as an individual, family, a neighborhood or a community.
Please let us know if you are interested in organizing a Nature Memorial |Mandala in your community firstname.lastname@example.org