Friday, 31 May 2013

African Spirituality And Bereavement.

It's been quite a number of months since my younger brother passed on (September 2012) and quite recently it was his 20th birthday (May 15th). This was an obviously very difficult time for my family. Grieving can drain you. Even when you have those days where you're feeling good, everyone else around you isn't, so you have to do what you can for them.

I discussed my struggles with grieving with some of my close friends who have an African-centred mindset (if that makes sense). I was told about African spirituality and how that deals with death. I admit I was angry when I was told about it. I thought 'how can you sit here and basically tell me to just be ok with my brother's passing'? I felt like they could never understand until happens to them.

Fast forward a number of weeks later, my mentality shifted. I took in what my friends told me and did some further research on African spirituality and what it says about death.

Western ideas, i.e. Christianity, teaches us that there's a heaven, limbo, purgatory (in Catholicism) and hell. Atheists believe there is nothing after death. Both of these ideas can further complicate the grieving process. I admit that a lot of the grieving I had done for relatives who had died before my brother consisted of worrying where they would end up (heaven or hell) or whether they were truly gone or not (atheism).

African spirituality is quite different from the Western ideas of death. According to African spirituality, we are spirits and our body is just a vehicle. There is almost no distinction between the living and dead.

African spirituality also adheres to the concept that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only transferred (as seen in the laws of thermodynamics). Basically, death is the transfer of life from the physical state to the spiritual state; we travel from one realm to another. This explains why spirits can contact loved ones through dreams and visions.

One of my friends told me that the realm entered by the dead is a state of peacefulness and happiness that living beings cannot comprehend. This realm also enables the dead to obtain a guardianship role of loved ones and offer them protection as they go about their lives. Furthermore, our attachment to spirits (people), also complicates the grieving process.

African spirituality is why certain Pan-African or 'conscious' people tend to say 'passed on' or 'joined the ancestors' instead of 'died' or 'passed away'. They're acknowledging that the body has died but that the spirit has transitioned to a different realm.

I suppose African spirituality is why some cultures celebrate those who have passed on; a good send-off will ensure that the spirit can transition properly.

Shrines and the pouring of libation (a ritual pouring of liquid as an offering), are used to honour those who have passed on. When I was younger, my dad would pour beer at the bottom of the doorpost. At the time, I never understood it. Looking back now, I know he was pouring libation for his parents.

I'll do further research on African spirituality, perhaps read some books and speak to spiritual doctors who could teach me a whole lot more about it. I hope this post has been of help to anyone who needed it.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

In Review: ISIS Mag Issue 2

Review time! Haven't blogged for time because of life! However, I'm returning today... and what better way to get back into it all than reviewing the second issue of ISIS Magazine? 

The deets on the left and the acknowledgements on the right, can you spot my name?

Editors, contributors and contents. 

Layout is just perfect, the text is a good size and the colours are not overdone. References to pages in the editor letter.

Information on hair types.

The hair cycle.

Great information on the hair cycle; a vital process in hair shedding and growth that is also most often misunderstood.

Love for locs.

Ladies with locs are also getting some love from ISIS!

The right page shows different types of locs and a loc alternative (my most favourite protective style ever; yarn braids). The side box also explains the different loc styles... I really want to get locs someday!

I particularly loved this image.

Love your fellow natural sistas (and non-natural sistas too)!

Show support, show love... don't hide anything you know about your hair journey that may be beneficial to the next person. Share.

Specialist advice from Mahisha Dellinger

How do you stop frizz? The next page offers fast and easy techniques to fight the dreaded frizz... the technique also uses common household items such as apple cider vinegar and honey. 

This page spoke volumes.

A progression in age is no reason to let yourself go! Eat well, drink well, exercise well... look well! 

How to make your own dry skin face mask.

There's a really good interview with celebrity makeup artist Juliet Osodi. She offered tips on cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating. Whilst many of the products she recommended would burn a hole in my wallet, she did give some great tips which you can utilise in accordance to your budget and lifestyle.

An exposé: all about rapeseed oil.

I personally loved this exposé. We're led to believe that any oil besides mineral oil is good for us... but that is wrong, wrong, wrong! Rapeseed oil is one of the oils which is not good for us, as it ''contains a high proportion of erucic and ecosenoic acid which is not essential for human growth''. Read labels and do your research! 

All about the children.

Loved this section; great use of colours that seem to complement one another... also great tips for caring for children. There is also a focus on food and a list of ingredients (which are most commonly found in children's favourite snacks) which are bad for the little ones.

A personal favourite tip I found is healthier alternatives to our traditional fluoride-filled toothpastes.

We love our men. 

Inside the mind of a man.

Incredibly honest thoughts on women and exercise and women's figures.

I couldn't focus on the words when reading the men's section...

Interviews with George The Poet and Ryan Calais Cameron. Mr Cameron is an actor having starred in a number of programs. George is... well... a poet, and a really good one at that! 

This section highlights talents and also offers tips for you to make your money go further.

There is a great article in this section entitled 'The Psychology of Shopping'. I found this very, very useful because I struggle to manage my money pretty well. 

Interview with stylist Nedjetti.
Nedjetti has worked with Mos Def and Spike Lee. The interview section also offers some great high quality images of some of the models she's done certain hair styles on.

African Pulse

There's a feature on African Pulse. African Pulse sells African inspired clothing and accessories.

Neb Heru with his new app.
Neb Heru provides crystal-filled pyramids which ''harnesses and creates a healthy ambience for all homes''. 

How to stay in touch with ISIS. 

How did these ladies go natural?

Stories that many of us can relate to. I like this section of the magazine because it isn't about highlighting particular bloggers and their journeys, but it's about regular individuals (if that makes sense?).

'Your Love Is As Natural As My Hair'.

This was such an 'awww' moment for me. Curliegyl is seriously lucky to have a man who is so involved with her natural hair and her natural hair journey. I personally loved this story as it offers encouragement and lets us all know that there are many men out there who love natural hair!

Want to subscribe?

Life Lessons. 

Life Lessons with Esther Austin: Practice self-love. I think this was a very sweet and positive way to end Issue 2... I know it personally helped me as I was going through a few things at the time of reading the magazine.

Final Thoughts

Not all pages were included in this review (you really have to buy the magazine and check it out for yourself!).

Issue 2 really builds on Issue 1. It was well put together and provided a lot of good, useful and diverse content. My favourite section was the children's section! The individual articles such as the éxpose and Nathaniel Nwosu's piece on berries (not pictured) were a really good read as well. Overall, I have enjoyed Issue 2 because the magazine's ethos is in tune with mine.

Friday, 10 May 2013

All Done.

Today was my last exam and I'm incredibly happy. 

I feel like this weight has finally been lifted off of my shoulders. 

This past week has been hectic. I had a lot of fights with myself about studying. Procrastination is that real. 

I was also on 'Twitter silence' for like three days but I ended up breaking the rule twice (I really need to become less addictive to Twitter but it's so much fun!). However... I did quit Twitter from February until early May (this was a really hectic time for me emotionally and academically). 

But it's the end. The end of all my assessments. The only thing I'm waiting for is my results and my graduation day which is in November. I'm proud of myself. I pat myself on the back. I've risen above all the challenges that I have faced over the past few years. I have come out alive.

This summer will be an exciting summer for me. I'll be doing a lot more blogging, I will become better at it and I will also do some fun stuff in real life (i.e. traveling). I'm not so sure what the future holds for me, but I am thankful for coming this far unscathed and I am thankful for the supportive friends and family in my life (they really made this journey a whole lot easier).