Tapping into your Power

Only we can break our chains, we are actively refusing to allow our ancestors' kidnappers to dictate our full humanity, we are rejecting their foods and traditions casted upon us. The Black Diaspora has been through centuries of struggle, resistance, and joy since being scattered from our original homelands. African and Black Diasporic spirituality, like the Yoruba, Lucumí, and Santería traditions; many practitioners of these religions offer a different type of healing, one that is removed from traditionally Westernized versions, which generally stress individualism and independence. African traditions, instead, are reliant upon collectivism, strong communities, and healthy interdependence.

For practitioners of African spirituality, healing often comes in the form of liberation and resistance. These traditions are made even more pressing considering the centuries-long attempts by European kidnappers, colonists, and neo-colonists to suppress and demonize these religions. 

During enslavement, Christianity was used to justify the horrific practice. As such, the enslaved were often forbidden from practicing their indigenous religions, and other religions like Islam. However, as a form of resistance, other enslaved Africans syncretized their indigenous religions with Christianity, creating traditions like Santería, Vodun, and Hoodoo. For instance, the word Santería means “honor to saints,” and the religion is infused with the Spanish Catholicism that was indoctrinated into enslaved Africans early on. In fact, some practitioners correspond Orishas with Catholic saints — Eleguá, associated with roads and paths, corresponds with Saint Anthony, the patron saint of travelers and lost things — while others believed in removing the Catholic component altogether, as they saw the European influences as antithetical to goals of decolonization and autonomy.

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