How To Gain Knowledge of Self: The Second Pillar of Black Consciousness
Why is it that no matter how many Black Consciousness books you read, you still dont feel like you are gaining knowledge of self?
Yes, you might have read The Destruction of Black Civilization. You might know Biko, Akbar, and Kete. You may even be able to recite quotes from Dr. Neely Fuller. But you feel like something is missing.
Not from them. But from you.
The truth is simple: reading these scholars only gives you a small piece of the puzzle. There is more to Black Consciousness than your books, your Afrocentric clothing, and the events you attend.
This article will help you understand the second of four pieces of that puzzle. We call these the ‘pillars of Black Consciousness’ and they are:
A knowledge of who you are,
A knowledge of how you came to be,
A knowledge of the world around you,
And a knowledge of your place in the world.
If you haven’t done so already, click here to read the first part of this series. If you overstand the first pillar and your 5 elements of life, this article will help you gain knowledge of how you came to be.
Your Blood Remembers
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? If you are asleep, you see a one dimensional reflection. But if you are ‘woke’, you see five hundred thousand years of your ancestors who all gave a physical piece of themselves to you. And with that physical piece of themselves, they gave you a part of their memory, too.
Here is how.
The human body uses a network of substances called neuropeptides that act just like brain cells. And just like brain cells, these neuropeptides dont just communicate – they remember. This cellular memory is passed down from the mother to the child, generation after generation.
When a mother is in a constant state of fear, anger, stress, or anxiety, her hormones activate genes that record these states and pass them on through the blood-bond shared between her and her child in the womb. Thus, the child ‘remembers’ the mother’s experiences on a cellular level.
What this means to you is that if you want to understand who you are, you must understand who you came from. Understand that your ancestors passed down more than just physical traits to you. They passed down their love, their anger, their stress, their experiences, and their memories through the blood-bond that you share with them.
The study of how this blood-bonded cellular memory works is called epigenetics in the West, but African peoples have possessed this knowledge for centuries through concepts like the Egun.
In the Yoruba traditions, your Egun – or ancestors – is the lineage of souls that can be traced all the way back to the beginning of time. Your soul is created from a constellation of similar energies that can be found across the spectrum of your family.
These familiar energies incarnate within a physical body that shares the cellular memory of your direct ancestors. So not only do you share your looks with your ancestors, you share the same energies they possess.
Those who are ‘woke’ are able to cultivate this memory to the degree of ‘remembering’ thousands of years of experience as clearly as they remember their routine this morning. Those who are ‘woke’ honor their ancestors to access this memory and as a means of cultivating the positive energies of the Egun, healing negative energies, and nurturing Iwapele – or a balanced character.
The Birthplace Of Belief
My heart, my mother; my heart, my mother! My heart whereby I came into being!The prayer of Ani.
Do you know what you believe about who you are? This is such an important question to ask yourself that it should be one of the first on your path to enlightenment! But before you can answer that question, there is a deeper question that must be asked: what is belief?
Those of us who are initiated into Black Consciousness practice sankofa and return to our Egun for answers to our most important questions. We can find answers in the Kemetic concept of the jeb – or heart – as one of the parts of the African soul.
The heart is more than the name of an organ. To the Egun, the jeb was the essence of life and the seat of the mind with its emotions, intelligence, and moral sense. In short: the jeb is the birthplace of belief.
The jeb gives birth to your personal truths. Your jeb creates beliefs when experiences combine to tell you about the world around you. Those beliefs then guide your actions and when combined with the other elements of jeb produce results.
Thus, to understand how you came to be, you must understand how your experiences have created your beliefs, emotions, intelligence, and your morals. And it is the combination of your experiences and your jeb that create the world around you.
If you find yourself out of balance (in isfet according to the Kemetic language, or Iwaibaje in Yoruba), then start by repairing your beliefs. Your actions will naturally change.
Finding The Egun
None of this information means anything if you dont know your ancestors and you dont know what you believe about who you are.
No matter how many books you read, how many incense you burn, or how many lectures you attend, you will still feel like a piece of you is missing. The only way to fill that black hole is with knowledge. If you are serious about your path, here are your next steps:
Take An Ancestry Test
Many of us have been separated from our knowledge of self during this period of tribulation called the Maafa. Some of us are the descendants of indigenous explorers. Some of us are the descendants of slaves. All of us can clearly trace our melanin back to the African continent
To be able to study your ancestors and the conditions they came from – which will in turn help you understand why you are the way you are – you must be able to identify your family’s specific culture. We only use DNA testing kits that do not sell or expose personal information for members of our organization and so far Ancestry.com is the only one who returned our inquiry about how they use the DNA they collect.
I personally tried African Ancestry, but the company made it clear in bold text that the test wouldn’t provide me with details about any countries or ethnic groups associated with my DNA.
I was slightly concerned when I read the terms and conditions, as one section seemed to indicate that if African Ancestry couldn’t report on my ethnicity from my DNA for some reason, they would only reimburse me 50% of the fee I had paid.
And the fee was hefty compared to other, more detailed options. African Ancestry costs $200 more and gives you less. So we continue to use Ancestry.com DNA testing.
Plot your blood lines through your mothers womb first
Once you have the results of your ancestry test completed, plot a family tree through your mother – not your father.
In the West, we are taught that the father’s lineage is the most important factor in determining ones social standing. In African cultures, this is rarely the case. In Kemet, a Suten (King or Queen) was only qualified for the throne if their mother was Kemetic. Many African societies remain matriarchal as well.
But most importantly, one hundred percent of your mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA, comes from your mother, and none from your father. This makes your mothers lineage the best one to track if you truly want to understand the physical aspects of your consciousness.
Once you know who your ancestors are and where you come from, you can begin to study the conditions that your ancestors came from. Then and only then can you begin to fill the hole that 500 years of suffering has left within you.
This is the key to building the second pillar of Black Consciousness. For the rest of the series, click here to subscribe!