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The H3O/Art of Life Blog

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Being Woke: Becoming a Living Sun

By Heru Kheper Ra Bullard

Presented By Omni-University

Heru Kheper Ra Bullard

"Ours is a community of the Living, the Dead, and the Yet Unborn." Ancestor, Priest Jacob H. Carruthers, Ph.D.

Just as the daily sun rises and sets, so do we. The rising sun brings warmth, energy, light, and life into the living world. The sun asks for nothing in return, withholds nothing, and faithfully gives all that it has as it releases everything it has to give. The sun does not choose the beneficiaries of its life-giving energy; it just shines.

Even while the clouds block the sun's rays, the sun remains true to its nature. Although we may not always see the daily sun, we know that it’s still there and will eventually bless us with the warmth of its rays.

Actually, the sun is the perfect personification of what we should aspire to be- illuminators; Light; Life-energy-givers; Indiscriminate providers; and, unselfish benefactors; Guides...

For those who seek the Light, the sun is often referenced, both culturally and historically, as the amplification of God’s extended powers and Life-giving gifts. African scholar, Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau tells us that, within the Bakonga spiritual cosmology of life, the living sun animates man’s progressions in becoming “Ngunza Nganga.” The Ngunza Nganga is the initiated spiritual leader and cultural master, wise in all the ways of knowing as well as the living-dying-living systems of life.

As the appearance of the rising morning sun enters into the living world from the East -childhood- so, too, does the potential of the Ngunza Nganga.

As the sun reaches the mid-day apex of its full heat and radiant energy -adulthood-, so, too, does the Ngunza Nganga.

As the sun begins to set and diminish in the evening and lose its radiance and strength-

elderhood-, so, too, does the Ngunza Nganga.

Finally, as the sun disappears below the Western horizon, only to return, reborn in the East-Ancestorhood- so, too, does the Ngunza Nganga.

Fu-Kiau explains that this cycle, of the living-dying-living processes, reflects the basis for man’s cultural and spiritual transformation to “becoming” and “being.” Thus equipped with the inner knowledge of knowing that the “skin is not the end”, man is prepared for all of life’s stages, rites, and passageways between the triangulation of time, space, and location.

As the light is always there in the ongoing beginning, so shall it always be there in the re-occurring end. Let the Circle be Unbroken.

The African cultural concept of "Ngunza Nganga" is related to the teachings of becoming a living sun. As one passes through the knowledge processes and spiritual requisites required for knowing all the ways of the “Ngunza Nganga”, the ultimate stage is to move into, become one with, and transition -with the light- into enlightenment, thereby, emerging more powerful than before as an Enlightened Ancestor.

To become “Ngunza Nganga” is not just transitioning from the living world to the living-dying-living world, but to see the world in front and behind as well as operating and existing within and without. To become an Enlightened Ancestor is to become one who has not only made their transition from the living world into the sacred world, but also one who has made sacred the world in which they lived. An Enlightened Ancestor is one who, through venerated actions and divine speech, gave meaning to their time and space. One whose name, though not spoken, will never be forgotten in the libations and Ases* of our hearts and minds.

Enlightened Ancestors are those who stood up and stepped up when others, decidedly, stooped low and/or sat down. They are those who fought the good fight for the things they believed in and for which they were willing to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, but not their beliefs. Those who, with vision and inspiration, kept their eyes open - remained woke- as others closed theirs in fear; who courageously and willingly spoke truth to power while knowing the personal penalty and professional consequences of their bold actions.

Enlightened Ancestors are those who never gave up, never gave in, and never gave away the gains that resulted from our collective struggle; who, at the darkest hour, helped others to see the light with their life’s actions. Those who, once their life's work had been completed, walked without hesitation into the darkness of the unknown and transitioned into the Ntr (Spirit) World.

My understanding of "Ngunza Nganga" makes it clear to me that, within the Afrikan Centered cultural tradition, the ancient “keepers of the way” were those who protected the circle of life, embraced the living-dying-living process, and prepared themselves to transform and be reformed. This enables me to truly appreciate the fact that we are our Ancestors and our Ancestors are us--a continuum of the life-Light. Therefore, our cultural work is nothing more than the continuation of the work that was- and is now- waiting to be completed. To do anything less would be to reject our calling and deviate from our divine purpose in choosing to become human.

If we should choose to turn our backs on the fidelity required to keep the sacred circle unbroken, we risk what the “Ngunza Nganga” cautions as the cultural regression of becoming “blind” to one’s space. The danger associated with this blindness, as ascribed by the “Ngunza Nganga”, is being a “Stunted Ancestor”, one who fell asleep in their moment, suffered cultural blindness and missed their obligations to fulfill their life's purpose.

Just as the sun rises and sets, it is only in the darkest of the night that the sun, the Light, will return. As we proceed, we must realize that we, too, will be required to pass on this Light to our next generation. Therefore, we say to our Enlightened Ancestors: "We celebrate your lives and lived legacies within the meditations of our minds. Rest in Power and Peace. We will continue the tradition of protecting the circle, of carrying the cultural light, and of completing the unfinished work".

Our eyes are open. Using both eye-sight and in-sight,

We see the light,

We have the light,

We are One with the Light!

We are alive, We are awake,

We are Woke!

Ase!! Ase!! Ase!!!*

Recommended Readings

"African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo: Tying the Spiritual Knot: Principles of Life and Living" by Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau.

African Religions and Philosophy by Ancestor John S. Mibiti

Introduction to Kemetian Cosmology: Signs, Symbols, and Rituals. African Nile Valley Studies. by Faheem Judah-El DD, DN

*Ase( ah shay)-a West African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and/or to produce change.

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