Over the past 25 years, I have devoted myself to being the voice from out of the continent of Africa dedicated to the inclusion of its Ancestral wisdom in the concert of world culture and spirituality cradled by the West. I have done so with no long term vision, no strategic apparatus in place and this to the detriment of its integrity, originality and purity.
To date, there are numerous people claiming to have the blessing of the Dagara people to teach and administer healing rituals. Some are militant enough to even defy the legitimacy of the wisdom by anointing themselves as neo-African Christs invested with the power to teach the way. Suffice it to say, this chaos has contributed to diminishing the value of the medicine making it homeless and vulnerable to capture and distortion at the hands of spiritual wanderers.
It never occurred to me to inquire with colleagues about the appropriateness of certification which seemed so matter of fact to them. It soon became clear to me, that endorsement validates and legitimizes practitioners while protecting the integrity of a culture’s wisdom. It was then that the path to certification began to make sense.
Simply put, this certification program is a response to, and a reaction against, the danger of misrepresentation. It seeks to establish a unified front loaded with practitioners whose sole purpose is to impart the wisdom with the exactitude and integrity it deserves, and with the kind of devotion appropriate to the wisdom. Therefore, it is akin to an ordination into indigenous priesthood of the African Dagara brand. It is an endorsement of the most spiritual kind, from the Ancestors and from the culture, at a time when it is crucial that respect and reverence be given to the spirituality of Africa.
One does not become a teacher of Dagara wisdom on the basis that one has partaken in an Indigenous African Spiritual Technology (IAST) training. The vulnerability to distortion or misrepresentation is too great. In actuality, these trainings have a principal goal to help participants find a path to their own healing. They provided a means to connect with the basic elements of the cosmology, access to their imaginal selves, and connect with their Ancestors.
Similarly one does not become a practitioner of Dagara wisdom by mere participation in a ritual, a seminar or workshop or even an initiation into elderhood. The path of the teacher begins with apprenticeship into the subterranean underpinnings of the material, the teaching of which becomes a call to service.
Consequently, I’m reaching out to the Brothers and Sisters who align themselves with the native values of Africa, particularly the Dagara people as I have brought to the West. You who have journeyed with me in sacred space, in ritual, in training, if you feel called, please check in and register yourself. Become a member of this emerging united front in service to this medicine. Forming this united front gives us strength and resolve to confront the threat of adversity and claim our time to rise together. It is time for African spirituality and wisdom to claim its right to respect and legitimacy.
Certification therefore becomes an opportunity for professional compliance, endorsement and blessing of the ancestors of Africa, particularly the Dagara ancestors, including Grandfather Bakhye who stands behind my work here in the West.
I look forward to our continued journey together into the Heart of African Shamanism as we move forward to reinstate the values, authenticity and respect for this brand of African wisdom.