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African Spirituality Does Not Assimilate

“Folks will come to understand that traditional African spiritual thought has been as central to our radical movements as it is generally accepted vodou was to the start of the Haitian revolution and that certainly goes for what we now call hodoo too. It literally cannot be removed from the history no matter how much folks think they’re avoiding something woowoo. It is a grave disservice to reality.” -@LordeBarrington

“I would like an AfroCuban tour but I don’t want to see any rituals” the email said. I was a bit confused as to why a complete stranger would boldly assume that we at, AfroLatinx Travel would invite and show them any intimate sacred rituals of the Yoruba spirituality and much less on a tour. I thanked them for reaching out and suggested they look for another tour as we do not do AfroCuban tours without including the history African spiritualities that grounded the various ethnic groups of Africans who were kidnapped, trafficked and enslaved in the Americas.

You cannot begin to fully and in any semblance of well-roundedness, understand Black and Afrodescendant history, legacy, and personhood by separating the people from their spiritualities.

Dr. Marta Moreno Vega reminds us that “the legacy of our people have remained in the memory of who we are… our memory is spread throughout the world…There is a special thread that runs throughout the African world, there are some philosophical sacred aesthetics that defines us as a people …that foundation that my grandmother and my parents taught me… to always remain rooted in those traditions that spoke to my history, spoke to my legacy and spoke to those who came before me. What my abuela called los espiritus, the spirits.”

African traditional spirituality is the source and cornerstone of those histories, legacies and enduring will to survive in the face of extreme violence, repression, genocide through the Castille Crown’s hegemonic imperialistic, domination, subjugation and colonization of land and peoples.

Divinity is in the everyday. Divinity is in our connection to spirit. Divinity is nature. We are divine beings. We are the Black Magic that is spoken of and speculated on. As African descendants we had our blueprint, the past, the present and the future, for this earthly plane and infinite more through our connection to the divine, nature, and our life force energies. It is infinitely more easier to subjugate people who are divorced, banned from, and outlawed out of their traditional spirituality systems. It is difficult to “hispanicize” (christianize and impose the Spanish language and customs) on folks whose beings are grounded in their OWN traditional practices. The Iberians wanted to eliminate all “vestiges of Africa.” It is to say folks who are rooted in their African traditional spiritualities don’t “assimilate well.”

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