Monday, September 4, 2017

Seshat, the African Math Goddess, and the Stretching the Cord Ritual

Seshat is the ancient African Egyptian goddess of knowledge, wisdom, and writing.  She is the matron deity over seven scientific professions including mathematics, accounting, architecture, astronomy, building, surveying, and time keeping.

The name Seshat means “she who is the scribe”, and she held many titles in antiquity including:
The Mistress of the Library
The Mistress of the House of Books
The Head of the Mansion of Records
Mistress of the House of Architects
Lady of the Builders
Foremost of the Builders
Sefekhet-Abuy, She who wears the 7 horns
She who reckons life-time
The Lady of Years
The Lady of Fate
The Original One, Who Originated Writing at the Beginning
She who opens the doors of heaven

Seshat is depicted as a woman wearing a leopard skin dress, which is believed to represent the starry sky.  In some astronomical ceilings, Seshat is present as the personification of the star Sirius. Seshat’s headdress, which also was the hieroglyph for her name, was a seven-pointed emblem beneath an arch.  There are many speculations and interpretations about what Seshat’s symbol actually is.  Some believe it is a magic wand.  Some believe it is flower or plant with seven leaves, beneath a pair of inverted bull’s horns.  And. Some believe it is a seven-pointed star beneath an inverted crescent moon.  While all of these interpretations view Seshat’s symbol as a mere ornamental fetish, there is one interpretation of Seshat’s symbol which views it as a scientific instrument which was used in one of Seshat’s most important and practical functions, the “stretching of the cord” foundation ritual.

The Stretching of the cord foundation ceremony was performed prior to the construction of any building, temple, or pyramid in Ancient Kemet.  The cord that was stretched was the mason’s line, which was used to measure out the dimensions of the building and align the building with stars and points of the compass.  The stretching of the cord ceremony is mentioned on the Palermo Stone to have been performed as early as the 1st Dynasty by the Pharaoh Den, and Seshat has been depicted as part of the ceremony as early as the 2nd Dynasty, with the Pharaoh Khasekhemwy, father of the Pharaoh Djoser.  Since then, Seshat has been depicted as part of the stretching of the cord ceremony for many Pharaohs through the thousands of years of the long storied history of Ancient Egypt.  Although Seshat had no temple of her own, she was honored and revered at the creation of every temple, pyramid, and building in Ancient Egypt.

One interpretation of Seshat’s symbol is that it was used as a surveying tool during the stretching of the cord ceremony to mark the position of the axis and four corners of the future temple.  The reigning pharaoh and a priestess personifying Seshat, would proceed to the future building site, each with a golden mallet and a stake connected by a cord to another stake. Seshat would drive her stake home at the previously prepared spot, and the Pharoah directed his gaze to the constellation of Ursa Major "Great Bear". After aligning the stars as seen through the visor formed by Seshat's headdress, he would raise his mallet and drove the stake into the ground, thus marking the position of the axis of the future temple.  Once the observation of the stars had been made, the instrument would directly give the “four corners” of the temple

This is attested to by similar passages like the following, which have accompanied images of the pharaoh and Sheshat on many temple walls:
"I hold the stake. I grasp the handle of the hammer.  I grip the measuring cord with Seshat. I turn my eyes to the movements of the stars. I fix my sight on Meskhet(yu) [the Bull´s thigh, the Great Bear, the Big Dipper]. I count off time, I watch the clock, I establish the four corners of your temple"

When people admire the incredible accuracy that the Ancient Egyptians displayed in laying the foundations and orienting their buildings, it must be emphasized that the Ancient Egyptians accredited the math goddess Seshat for this accuracy. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

African Pygmy Gods

One fascinating, yet little known fact, about the history of humanity, is that our origin, inception, progression, and proliferation, was dependent on the African Pygmy.

Millenniums ago, Before the first Dynasty of Ancient Kemet, Before the construction of the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, In a time reaching back to the Pre-dynastic period, and even earlier, going back countless ages into the Neolithic era, the stone age, and even further back to the very dawn of Humanity, the African Pygmy tribes were appointed by Nature to reign as vicegerents over the Planet Earth.

Scientific genetic studies have shown that the African Pygmy tribes have the oldest living DNA on planet earth. Namely, the San, Twa, Mbuti, Aka, and Bayaka tribes of Southern and Central Africa.  Moreover, as it is discussed in the book “The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man” by Albert Churchward, the Africoid Pyrmies travelled all over the planet.  The pygmy tribes called “Negrito”, namely the Ati, Andamanese, Seman, Maniq, Aeta, and Koro-pok-guru, were the progenitors of the people in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, India, and Japan.  The Africoid Pygmy tribes were also sailors and navigators who traveled to the islands of New Guinea and Australia as the predecessors of people in that region.  Back on the African continent, the Dogon tribe of Mali tell stories of small red-skinned pygmies called Tellem, who were the first to live and settle in the area.  The Tellem pygmy tribe built their dwellings high up on the sides of cliffs and on the tops of mountains, and the remains can still be seen to this day.  It is believed by the Dogon tribe that the Tellem must have been “aero-pygmies” gifted with the ability to fly in order to reach their dwellings built high up on the cliffs and mountains.

What we can surmise about the philosophy of the African Pygmies is that it was a philosophy which held a deep and profound respect for Nature.  As a means to ensure their survival, the African Pygmies would have to observe nature in order to gain knowledge of nature, understand nature, and then make practical use of the nature knowledge for their survival and well-being.  Based on this process, the Nature philosophy of the African Pygmy could be considered a spiritual Science.  The African Pygmies had the ability to craft and create any tool or technology they needed for their survival and well-being.

Oral tradition amongst the Pygmy tribes of the Congo says that in Ancient Times, the Pygmies became so Highly Technologically advanced that they almost destroyed the entire forest, but the Pygmies realized they needed the forest to survive, so they decided that the highest form of technology, the highest form of wisdom, would be to learn how to live in tune with nature and the forest, and thus, they have lived what modern people see as a primitive life in the forest by choice ever since.  They say “Our society will die if the forest dies”.

When the Anthropology of Religious Evolution and Development is studied, we find that Animism was the first and earliest spiritual system in the world.  In many Animist traditions, the Ancestors are honored and revered, and as Animism gave way to Polytheism, the Ancestors also became deified.  And thus, the progression from African Pygmy Ancestors, to African Pygmy Gods.

African Pygmies were present in Kemet, or Ancient Egypt, since the very beginning of the First Dynasty as can be seen on Narmer’s palette.  In the Ancient Egyptian Language Medu Neter, the word for Pygmy or Dwarf was Deneg.  African Pygmies, or Deneg, were also noblemen, craftsmen, and entertainers in Ancient Kemetic culture as is evident from the statues of Khnumhotep from the 5th Dynasty, and Seneb, a court official who lived during the 6th Dynasty.  There were also several Ancient Kemetic deities or Neter who were Deneg, Pygmy Dwarves.  The Ancient Egyptian deity Bes was also a Nubian deity, and was seen as a protector of households, mothers, and children.  The Ancient Egyptian Neter Ptah was a deity of creation, craftsmen, and technology.  There was also the Ancient Egyptian deity Patake, who was seen as a younger form of Ptah, and also as the synthesis of the deities Ptah, Sokar, and Ausar, symbolic of Creation, Stability, and Death.  There were also the 7 Dwarves, Pygmy sons of Ptah called the seven Khnemu.  

Pygmy Dwarfs also show up in African culture and mythology as both helper and tricksters throughout the continent.  In the book “Of Water and Spirit” by Malidoma Patrice Somé, he speaks of magical dwarfs known as Kontomble to the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Ghana in West Africa.  The Kontomble are said to live in the forest, have the ability to appear and disappear, and have immense healing abilities.  The Akan people of Ghana also tell stories of similar magical dwarfs who they refer to as Mmortia (Mmoatia).  The Bwa people of Burkina Faso also tell stories of an ancient dwarf ancestor named Luruya who lived in the wilderness and had the ability to speak with the animals.  In the Congo, they tell stories of dwarfs that they call Ogriwabibikwa (Obrigwabibikwa) who have the ability to shape shift into reptiles.

Perhaps over time, the stories of the craftsmanship, technology, and command and control over nature that the African Pygmy Dwarves had in antiquity, have turned into folklore tales about magical goblins, fairies, pixies, sprites, hobbits, leprechauns, and elves which have spread to the four corners of the earth.  Who knew that such small people would have such a big impact on humanity?

Deneg, Bes, Ptah, Pataeke, Pataikos, Khnemu, 7 pygmy sons of Ptah, Tellem, Kontomble, Mmortia, Mmoatia, Luruya, Ogriwabibikwa, Obrigwabibikwa, Khnumhotep, Seneb, Perniankhu, San, Khoisan, Twa, Batwa, Mbuti, Aka, Bayaka, Negrito, Ati, Andamanese, Seman, Maniq, Aeta, Koro-pok-guru, Duende

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ifá Mathematics and Quantum Computing

The Ifá Divination system, which originated in West Africa, utilizes a system of binary Mathematics to retrieve answers to life’s questions and solutions to life’s problems, from a book of knowledge called the Odús of Ifá.  There are 16 major Odùs of Ifá, or “Books of Knowledge”, and within each book is contained 16 chapters, for a total of 256 chapters believed to reference all situations, circumstances, actions and consequences in life.  Orunmila, the Orisha of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, is the Orisha associated with Ifa divination system, and is identified as the Grand Priest of Ifá.  Performing Ifa divination is done by a "Priest"/Mathematician called a Babalawo.  The system of binary mathematics used by the Babalawo to select one of the Odús of Ifá occurs in this fashion.  The Babalawo may uses a divining chain called an Opele, on which there are 8 cowry shells.  The 8 cowry shells on the Opele chain are used as an 8-bit random number generator.  In Computer science, 8 Bits, or Binary Digits, is called a Byte.  The open side of a cowry shell on the Opele chain corresponds to binary digit of 1, and the closed side of a cowry shell on the Opele chain corresponds to a binary digit of 0.  In binary mathematics and computer science, there are 2^8 = 256 different possible values that can be represented by 8 bits or 1 Byte.  To randomly select one of the 256 values, the Babalawo throws the Opele chain in the air, allowing the 8 cowry shells are able to spin freely on the Opele chain.  When the Opele chain lands on the ground, each cowry shell on the Opele chain would have landed with either the open side facing up, indicating a binary 1, or the closed side facing up, indicating a binary 0.  The Babalawo then writes the 8 Bit binary number indicated on the Opele chain, in 2 4-bit columns on a wooden divination tray called Opon Ifá, and proceeds to read from the corresponding book.

Understanding how bits, or binary digits, are generated in the Ifá Divination system also provides us with an analogy to understand how Qubits, or Quantum Binary Digits, operate in Quantum computing.  First we must understand that the word Quantum refers to the smallest quantity of something.  In Quantum Physics, Quantum Particles are the subatomic particles, the smallest particles in nature: Quarks, Electrons, and Photons.  Whereas classical computers use the flow of electrons, or electricity, in states of High and Low voltage to electronically create digital binary digits, Quantum Computers are able to use the quantum mechanical properties of the electron itself.  As an electron spins, it creates a North and South dipole.  The direction that an electron spins will determine which direction the electron’s north dipole is pointing.  Let us use a single cowry shell on the Opele chain as an analogy for an electron, and let’s have the open side of a cowry shell represent the north dipole of an electron.  As you can see, in three dimensional space, the north dipole of our cowry shell electron can have an infinite number of positions.  Just as we previously defined before, the open side the cowry shell pointing up corresponds to a value of 1, and the closed side of the cowry shell pointing down corresponds to a value of 0.  But as our cowry shell electron spins, it can also have an infinite number of statistical probability values that when it lands it will have a value of 0 or 1.  While our cowry shell electron is spinning in the air, we can think of it as being in a quantum superposition state of both 0 and 1 at the same time, and we will not know its final value until it is measure, i.e. lands on the ground.  Although it is somewhat paradoxical and counter-intuitive, this is the way Quantum Binary Digits, or Qubits work.  Just like classical computer use Logic gates to create digital circuits which use Binary Digits, Quantum computers use Quantum gates to create Quantum circuits which use Qubits.  Quantum computers utilize the infinite number of superposition states of an electron to perform parallel or simultaneous computing operations exponentially faster than classical computers, which improves the efficiency of processing and managing big data.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Woke vs Conscious

Most people think that wakefulness and consciousness are synonyms.  That is to say, we think that to be awake, is also to be conscious.  While it is most common for consciousness and wakefulness to occur simultaneously, in cognitive science however, these two terms have important distinctive definitions.

Consciousness is the state of being awake and aware, able to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment.  When you go to sleep, this is an altered state of consciousness, with limited, to no ability, to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment.  When Neuroscientists study the EEG brain waves of a sleeping person, they find that during a night’s sleep, a portion of the time is spent in the waking state, even though the person is not fully conscious.  Parasomnia disorders such as “sleep walking” or “sleep talking” are examples of instances where a person is in a waking state, but not fully conscious.  Daydreaming is another example of a mental state where a person is awake, but not conscious of their immediate surroundings.  Conversely, Sleep paralysis is a condition where the mind is awake and conscious, but the body is not awake and unable to become active.  What we can take away from all this is that
1. Consciousness and wakefulness commonly occur seemingly simultaneously
2. Consciousness also requires one to be awake
3. It is possible to be awake but not conscious
4. It is possible to be conscious and mentally awake but not physically awake and active

The preceding deliberation served as a primer for our discussion on the terms “Woke” vs “Conscious” as it relates to African American English Vernacular.

The term “Consciousness” in the Black community has a long and storied history throughout Africa and the African diaspora, stemming back to the early 1900s, and has to do with an awareness of one’s black identity, and nonconformity to mainstream social, political, economic, religious, and spiritual constructs.  The UNIA, Moorish Science Temple, Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, Ausar Auset Society, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM, are all examples of black conscious movements in America.

The term, “Woke,” is an idiom that has surfaced in recent years, essentially referring to the same concepts, precepts, and principles as “conscious”, but with more of a focus on social, political, and economic awareness.  In recent years, the term “conscious” has become associated more with a focus on historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness.  The Activism of someone “Woke,” tends to be of a social, political, and economic nature, whereas, the activism of someone “Conscious,” tends to be of a historical, cultural, religious or spiritual nature.  If we were to retrospectively apply the new definitions and connotations that the terms “Woke” and “Conscious” have taken on in recent years, to the aforementioned groups, then we could classify the UNIA, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM as “Woke,” and the Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, and Ausar Auset Society as “conscious”.

After a multitude of scandals erupting in the Black Conscious Community in recent years, and many Black people feeling critical of, or unserved, underserved, or unrepresented by the modern Black Conscious Community, in some regard, “Woke,” seems like a re-branding of “Conscious”.  In 2017, the difference in the socio-economic disposition of Black People willing to label themselves as “Woke” versus “Conscious” can also be observed.

But if “Woke” has become used to refer to more social, political, and economic awareness, and “Conscious” has become used to refer to more historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness, then just like in cognitive science, it is most common to be simultaneously “woke” and “conscious”, that is to say, having simultaneous affiliation and interest in organizations concerned with both social, political, and economic issues as well as historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues.

Also, just like the concept of Sleep walking and Sleep Talking in cognitive science, it is possible to be “Woke” but not “Conscious”, that is to say, have affiliation with, and interest in, organizations primarily concerned with social, political, and economic issues, and having no affiliation with, or interest in, organizations concerned with historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues.  These individuals are aware of the social injustices in the world, but have no knowledge of their historical past or traditional systems of spirituality.

And lastly, just like the concept of Sleep Paralysis in Cognitive Science, it is possible to be “Conscious” but not totally “woke”, that is to say, having interest in historical, cultural, religious, and spiritual issues, and having no interest in social, political, and economic issues.  These individuals are fully aware of their historical past, have “knowledge of self”, and practice some form of traditional spirituality, but have no concern or activism in regards to the social, political, or economic injustices in the world.

Who knows what new terms will emerge in future vernacular, or what new areas of awareness may come to the forefront.  In the foreseeable future, “Scientific Awareness” may become a movement of its own.  Essentially, “Woke” and “Conscious” are mental states, and the ultimate goal is to become Active, with an expression of one’s awareness demonstrated through practical application.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dr. Théophile Obenga and Atomist Philosophy in Ancient Egypt

The following clips are from lectures given by Dr. Théophile Obenga where he discusses the Ancient Egyptian Origin of Atomist Philosophy.  The points discussed in this lecture are expounded on more in his book entitled “African Philosophy: The Pharaonic Period: 2780-330 BC”.  It is important to note that the Ancient Egyptian Atomist Philosophy dates back to roughly 2400 BC, almost 2000 years before the Greek Philosopher Democritus’s Atomist Philosophy.  In the 2000 years since Democritus, Atomist Philosophy gave birth to Atomic Theory, and Atomic Theory gave birth to Electrical Technology.
Clip #1:
So this is the wisdom, the foundation of wisdom, it came from Kemet.  So in fact there was no Stolen Legacy, no, in antiquity they recognized...This is one of them too, He spent 5 years in Kemet studying, Who they call the “Father of Atomist Theory".  He spent 5 years in Kemet studying there physics and what they call Nature.

Clip #2:
Now the question that would arise is, “What would the Greeks learn in Egypt?”  And that’s why I would like to expand on the principle elements of Egyptian philosophy.  The main question really in all philosophical systems has always been, “What is?”  That is to say, an explanation of the world in general.  The Egyptian Philosophy postulates that you have a concept of a Nun in existence.  The Nun comes before creation,  Before God,  Before Man,  Before the Skies and the Earth,  Before all that could have existed before the existence of the Earth…And this principle called Nun had been seen by the Egyptians as a concept of “water”, of aqueous liquid…Therefore the Nun is a state of the world, before the world, before the world came into being.  And before the world came into being, as it is known today, existed a matter called Nun.  But this Nun is already a pre-configuration of the dimensions of the world as it existed before.  I’m reading here a Coffin Text now:
"The Nun whose dimension is one of the heavens and whose length is one of the earth
Therefore this primordial matter was widespread.  But it was not organized."
But another text of the temple of in Edfu, this is an Ancient Egyptian temple, it’s saying that everything was condensed in the Nun, and that the initial matter was inorganic, and that the Nun was condensed in one single form.
Another Coffin Text says “I am Nun, I am the unique, I am without equal, I have created myself”
But in this Nun, something will happen,  RA, the symbol of intellect, For spirit and understanding, The symbol for intelligence, for superior intelligence, like the Nous described by Anaxagoras.  And RA will come out of this primitive liquid through his own will and he will come out in a light all of the sudden.
And the text says, In The Book of the Dead:
“I am the Eternal, I am RA sprung from Nun, I am the master of the light”
Therefore you see that the Egyptians take the principle of matter at the beginning, and it is from this matter that the demiurge will come from.  In many explanations of the Genesis of the world, you have on the one hand, the God creator, and on the other hand, the matter that God is going to create,
In the Bible for example, Elohim, because Elohim is a plural form in Hebrew, So it should be Gods in plural, but the Bible translates God in singular,
So therefore you can see that in the Bible, God is separated from the being that he will create, In Plato’s Timaeus, the Demiurge is separated from the beings that he will create.  Egypt postulates the existence of matter first, and from that matter will come out life.  Therefore today’s debate between the contradiction of the debate of matter and spirit was unknown to the Egyptians.  And if we continue to philosophize, maybe in the 21st century, we will come with a synthesis between matter and spirit, but such a synthesis was already present in the Egyptian philosophical system centuries ago.  Therefore you will see that the first Philosophers in Greece, (Thales, Democritus, etc.)
The first Greek philosophers will philosophize on the Nature of the Universe, Because the ideas that I just explained were already widespread in Ancient Egypt, In Memphis, Heliopolis, or Thebes, it was already taught in the schools of Higher Learning.  And even the dead people, the mummies, you had on the cords that were used to mummify them, such references.  Therefore, the Greek students present in Egypt were aware of such ideas.  And that’s why one can say that the Greeks did not innovate compared to Ancient Egypt, because they refer to water, to air, to earth, and fire, as the main constituents, of their philosophical system, but this was already present in the Ancient Egyptian philosophical system.

This is a very brief explanation of a very important point in Egyptian philosophy.  I would like to talk about existence, and how the Sun came into being, which is a very important philosophical point in the history of philosophy...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Black Panther and African S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

The story of Marvel comic’s Black Panther is an interesting fictional story which weaves together and draws on multiple fascinating factual elements found throughout various African cultures throughout time.  Perhaps the most important of the facts and themes in the story of the Black Panther is the significance of Metallurgy and Blacksmiths in African culture, spiritual systems, and technological development.

The Story of Black Panther and Wakanda
10,000 years ago a meteorite comprised of a metal called Vibranium crashed on earth and landed in the country of Wakanda in Northeastern Africa.  The crashed Vibranium created a mountain, or mound, which was discovered by the Panther Tribe in Wakanda who became the guardians of the Vibranium moundBast and Sekhmet are two of the feline deities of the Panther Tribe, and the King and protector of the Panther tribe is a warrior who holds the title of “The Black Panther”.  The Black Panther also has a group of female warriors who serve as his personal bodyguards called the Dora Milaje.  As guardians of the Vibranium metal mound, the Panther tribe became skilled blacksmiths and metallurgist in antiquity which translated into a highly technologically advanced and economically stable African country in the present day, where one of the major resources of the country of Wakanda is Vibranium.  Because of their high level of advanced technology, Wakanda has never been conquered, colonized, or enslaved.

Metal from the Sky 
The earliest known iron artifacts are 9 small beads, dated to 3200 BC, from Ancient Egypt in Northeast Africa, identified as meteoric iron shaped by careful hammering.  This evidence shows the Ancient Africans in Egypt were the first to use Iron prior to the official start of the “Iron Age” in 1300 BC.  The Ancient Egyptians called this Meteoric Iron “BAA EN PET” meaning “iron of the sky” or “metal of Heaven.”  The Ancient Egyptian’s word for the Blacksmith’s Forge was “Khepesh”, and that same word was a homonym to the word for a scimitar sword shaped metal weapon casted in the forge, as well as to the constellation of the Great Bear - Ursa Major.

The Iron King:
The 7th Pharaoh of the Ancient Egypt’s 1st dynasty was named Anedjib Mer-ba-pen (spelled various in English as Merbiape, Meribiap, Merbapen, Miebîdós, and Mibampes) which literally meant “Lover of Iron”. Anedjib ruled around 2930 BC.

African Blacksmiths
Ancient Africans in Egypt who were Blacksmiths and Metallurgists had knowledge of several different types of Metals and Metal alloys as attested to in the Medu Neter from Ancient Egypt:
  • Meteoric Iron    - baa en pet
  • Iron        - benpi
  • Gold        - Nub
  • Silver        - hetch
  • Copper        - hemt
  • Tin, Lead    - anak
  • Electrum     - nub waas
  • Bronze        - ut
The Medu Neter word for "Blacksmith" was Mesen (singular) and Mesniu (plural - the 7 mythic blacksmiths of Heru who made weapons).  The Medu neter word Mesen may be related to the English word "Mason".  The Mesniu are also called the Heru-shemsu  (the blacksmiths of Edfu).  Additionally, the word Nebi in Medu Neter meant "to smlet, to work in metals" and was also a homonym to the word Nebi or Nebibi meaning “Leopard or Panther”.

The Blacksmith deity in Ancient Egypt was Ptah, who represented the Primordial Mound, and he had two wives Sekhmet (Southern Egypt) and Bast (Northern Egypt) represented by Felines.  The Ancient Egyptian Blacksmith deity Ptah’s son by Bast was the Lion-Headed deity of war named Maahes, who was called Apedemak in Nubia and Meroe.  The “Sem” priests of Ptah (who were more scientists than "priests") were also Blacksmiths and Metallurgists who wore Leopard Skins.  The wearing of Leopard Skins was also a custom of the Nubians of Meroe, and the Nubian Kingdom of Meroe was huge Iron smelting capital.  It is important to know that Panthers are Melanistic Leopards.

Overtime, various Leopard “Secret Societies” who were also Blacksmiths, spring up across the African Continent:
  • Ekpe - Nigeria (uses the Nsibidi script) 
  • Abakuá - Cameroon and Nigeria
  • Anyoto Aniota - Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Nigeria
  • Leopard Society of Bassaland - Liberia (uses the Vai script)
In the books "African Jungle Doctor" by Werner Junge and "Jungle Pilot in Liberia" by Abe Guenter, an experience in Bassaland (Liberia) during the early to mid 1900s is described where reports were made about "Leopard Men" and people who would dress in Leopard skins and fashion and wear claws of steel with which they would use as weapons.  Brass Metal rings called 'Dwin', 'tien' or 'nitien', meaning “water spirits”, or 'Gods of water' were forged by the blacksmiths of the tribes of Bassaland and left as offerings to the “Brass God” of the Leopard Men.  The Kru and Grebo people believe these objects are living creatures that can be found in creeks, rivers and lagoons.  These objects have shared interpretive meanings with the Dikenga from the African Congo, Thor’s spinning Hammer Fylfot (also called Swastika), and Ptah’s Hammer (the Djed, Ankh, and Waas).

Similar to the "Dwin - water spirits," the Mande, Bamana, and Dogon Blacksmiths of Mali tell stories of water Spirits called the Nommo who are Blacksmiths of a Metal from the star Sirius called SAGALA.  The Mande Blacksmiths control a force called Nyama, which is synonymous with Nyame of the Akan people.  An important Blacksmith ancestor in Akan culture is Nana Adade Kofi.  The Mande Blacksmiths of Mali form Castes called Nummu which is phonetically similar to the Nommo water spirits spoken of by the Dogon Blacksmiths.  One of the Nommo the Dogon Blacksmiths speak of is named OGO, who is synonymous with the Orisha Blacksmith OGUN in Nigeria.  The Blacksmith culture in Nigeria has existed since 1000 BC with the NOK culture.  The Blacksmith Orisha Ogun is called GU in the Dahomey culture of Benin.  The Blacksmith Ogun, OGO, or GU is said to be married to the warrior Orisha OYA.  The 19th century Kingdom of Dahomey (present day Benin) who were practitioners of the system of Vodun which ackknowledged Oya, developed an all-female military regiment who were an embodiment of the warrior Orisha OYA.  This group of African Warrior Women had various names including N'Nonmiton or Mino (meaning "our mothers"), Ahosi (meaning King's wives), and Gbeto (meaning "Elephant Hunters").  European narratives referred to these women soldiers as Amazons.  This “warrior Queen” characteristic found amongst the women of the  Dahomey Kingdom was also found amongst the Kandakes, or Candaces, who ruled the Nubian Iron smelting city of Meroe (800 BC - 350 CE).

The Role of the Blacksmith has been central and integral to African Culture, Society, Spirituality, and Technology throught the ages, and the Leopard, Panther, or Feline has been one of the Symbols associated with African Blacksmiths since Ancient times

Friday, April 8, 2016

Heka - Magic or Engineering

Magic is defined as the art of producing a desired result through the use of various techniques, such as special words or certain actions, which are perceived as supernatural powers, and presumably give the impression of human control over the forces of nature.  It’s important to note, that within the definition of the word “magic”, when the attribute of “supernatural” is applied to the words or actions which produce the desired result, it is based on the perception and presumption of the observer and onlooker. 

Magical Thinking is the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which cannot be justified by reason and observation. In religion and superstition, “magical thinking” looks for meaningful relationships and correlations between rituals, prayers, sacrifices, or other traditional practices, to some event occurring in the natural world.  However, Magical Thinking is a type of causal logical fallacy, and Magical thinking is diametrically opposed to Scientific Thinking.  That is to say, without knowing the details of the method, without knowing the specifics of the process, without knowing the engineering algorithm, mathematical formula, or scientific procedure which goes into the production a certain result, the observer, in the search for an explanation, may qualify the production of the result as “Magic”.  This notion is embodied by the famous quote from the futurist Arthur C. Clarke, which states: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  Indeed, since Engineering is the application of scientific knowledge to produce machines, tools, systems, and technology which facilitate the control over certain aspects of nature, then naturally, the analogy between magic and engineering is a plausible extension.  What differentiates Magic from Engineering is whether or not an observer is informed of, or ignorant of, the process that goes into creating a certain outcome.  An individual informed of the science which goes into the production of a certain outcome will likely qualify the production of said outcome as engineering, while an individual uninformed of the science which goes into the production of a certain outcome will likely qualify the production of said outcome as magic.

So when we consider the Ancient and traditional practices of Africans, on the continent and in the diaspora, which are qualified as “magic” by outsiders observing the culture, we have to take a second look at those same practices from an insider’s perspective to know if those practices are truly viewed as “magic” or “engineering” within the context of the culture.  This has been one of the many aims of the African Creation Energy series of books, to show the relationship between African Philosophies and Theologies to Scientific Theories, to show the relationship between African Symbolism and Myth to Modern Math, to show how African Artifacts, statues, and relics are related to technology, and to show how the African practices and techniques such as Vodoun, Hoodoo, and Ifa, which are relegated to the realm of “magic” by the uninitiated, should be in fact viewed as engineering within the context of those disciplines. 

A perfect case study which speaks to this point is the concept known as “Heka” from the culture of Ancient Kemet (Egyptian).  The word Heka is from the Medu Neter language of Ancient Kemet and is often translated as meaning “magic, spell, sorcery, charm, incantation, and words of power”.  However, we know that Heka was also considered a deity who was the patron of medicine and healing, and the doctors and healers in Ancient Kemet was called “priests of Heka”.  Since the earliest Medical text in the world come from the culture of Ancient Kemet, and these papyrus also provided detailed steps of the scientific method, then we must recognize that within the context of the culture of Ancient Kemet, Heka was viewed from a scientific perspective rather than from a “Magical” perspective.  Heka is also translated as meaning “to activate the Ka.” S,o if we consider that Heka is a scientific concept, then we would also have to investigate the concept of the Ka, which is often translated as meaning “spirit”, to see if there is some scientific association with the Ka as well (for example an electrical phenomena which serves as an “animating spark”).  Heka was also used to describe the process of sculpting or carving a statue, writing hieroglyphics, and building a structure.  In the medu neter language of Ancient Kemet, Heka was used as both a noun and a verb: Heka was something you could do, or Heka was something you could be.  Similarly, in English, the word Engineer is both a noun and a verb: you can Engineer a new invention, or you can be an Engineer.  It may be that outside observers to the culture of Ancient Kemet who were ignorant of the process and methodology of Heka, may have viewed it, understood it, and translated it as “Magic”, but clearly within the context of the culture of Ancient Kemet, Heka was used to refer to practices akin to Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Structural Engineering.  Hence, Heka was an Ancient African form of Engineering.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is such a thing as “African Science” and there is such a thing as “African Engineering”.  Just like there is such a thing as “European Science” or “German Engineering”.  No one would argue that there is no such thing as “African Art” or “European Art” or “African Language” or “European Language” or “African Food” or “European Food”.  What makes the Art, Language, Food, Clothing, Music, or Philosophy “African”, “European”, or otherwise, is the group of people who develop it.  What makes the Science or Engineering “African” or “European” or otherwise, is determined by the person or group of people who develop the scientific theories and engineering methodologies.  How many people have ever watched a Mercedes Benz commercial, or a Volkswagen commercial, which boast about “the power of German Engineering” and then said, “There’s no such thing as German Engineering”?  - I would wager to guess very few to none.  But when we discuss “African Science” and “African Engineering”, we get choruses of people saying “There’s no such thing as African Science and African Engineering”!  One of the reasons for this is because the vast majority of people have been convinced that many of the African Sciences are just African Myth and African Magic.

Unfortunately, over the years as Africans on the continent and in the diaspora have been subject to slavery and colonization, we have lost much of our traditional knowledge, and now our Sciences have become Theology and Religion, our Symbols for Math have become mere Myth, our Technologies have become mere fetishes, trinkets, and lucky charms, and our Engineering has been degraded down to mendacious Magic.  So we cry out as a people looking for answers, looking for results, looking for solutions to the problems which we encounter in life, and gravitate towards anything which seems like it may effect a change.  Now, void of our traditional knowledge and desiring quick and easy solutions, Magical thinking has become the order of the day, more prevalent than scientific thinking, while our problems perpetuate, and the world laughs at the new stereotype which they have attributed to us.  Let us return to our traditional African Scientific way of life.  Let us use our minds to discover the Science to accept things we cannot change, Technology to Engineer the things we can, and the Mathematics to know the difference.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

African Monkey Gods

African Monkeys – From Divine to Disparaging:
A Traditional African Perspective on Monkeys Prior to Slavery and Colonization

If I were to call you an “African Lion,” you would probably take this comment as a compliment, as a metaphor symbolizing bravery, courage, and ferocity.  If I were to call you an "African Rhino", you would probably take it as a compliment about your size and strength.  I have heard of women who are supermodels referred to as “African Gazelles” as a way to compliment their grace and beauty.  I have heard “Conscious” people refer to themselves as “Nagas” and embrace the qualities and characteristics of African snakes and reptiles.  Even the qualities of the “African Elephant” such as size, strength, and excellent memory, are viewed fondly, so much so that even the South African King Shaka Zulu would refer to himself as the "Great Elephant”.  But, if I were to call you an “African Monkey”, this remark would most likely be perceived as a derogatory insult, and taken as a sign of disrespect.

However, the disdain and contempt that many African-Americans have towards African Monkeys seems to be the result of slavery, colonization, and socialization at the hands of other than "self and kind".  Since African-Americans were disparagingly compared to Apes and Monkeys in America and Europe, Black people have now grown to hate the monkey.  However, in traditional African cultures which existed prior to the influence of white people, Apes and monkeys were held in high esteem.  Observing all the creatures in Nature, Apes and Monkeys were seen as one of the most intelligent animals, and so Apes and Monkeys became anthropomorphic symbols of wisdom. 
This is why in the Disney film “The Lion King”, the character who was the symbol of wisdom was that of Rafiki, the baboon.  In Swahili, the word “Rafiki” means friend, and the wise baboon Rafiki in the Lion King movie, was based on the baboon depiction of the Ancient Egyptian god of wisdom Djehuti, Tehuti, or Thoth
Rafiki from the Lion King Movie
Many people know Djehuti to be depicted with the head of an Ibis bird, but another frequent depiction of Djehuti is in the form of a Baboon because the Ancient Africans in Egypt saw the Baboon as a very intelligent animal.
Djehuti Depicted with the Head of an Ibis Bird and as a Baboon
Despite slavery and colonization, the traditional African stories which used Monkeys as Nature symbols of wisdom and intelligence made it into African-American folk tales such as the story of the “Signifying Monkey” made popular by Rudy Raymore from the movie Dolemite.  The story of the “Signifying Monkey” tales of how a Monkey was able to use his intelligence to manipulate and outsmart a lion and an elephant.  However, many people do not know that the story of the “Signifying Monkey” is derived from the trickster figure of Yoruba mythology, Eshu, Elegba, or Eleggua, the God of the crossroads who is an intermediary between man and the Orisha ancestors.  Eshu is mentioned in the Yoruba Chant “Bara suayo” in the line “Obbara suayo eke eshu oddara

The role of Monkeys as guardians of the crossroads or gateways to the Ancestors can also be found in the God Ghekre or Gbekre of the Baule people of the Ivory Coast
Different forms of Ghekre or Gbekre, the African Monkey God of the Baule people of the Ivory Coast
 The Ivory Coast Monkey God Ghekre is said to be a judge of the souls of the dead, and is connected in appearance and function to the Ancient Egyptian God A'ani, the god of equilibrium, who is depicted as a monkey and can be seen on top of the scales of ma’at in the famous “weighing of the heart” scene from the “papyrus of ani”. 
In addition to Thoth and A’ani, other important Monkey Gods in Ancient Egypt include Hapi, as son of Heru depicted with the head of a Baboon.  And also Babi, Baba, or Bebon, the “Alpha Male” baboon god of virility. 
Babi or Baba - "The Alpha Male" Ancient Egyptian Monkey God of Virility
 The name of Baba is suggested to be the etymological origin of the English word Baboon and the Arabic word “Baba” which means father.  Which is why it should not be surprising that the first Pharaoh of Egypt, King Narmer, the Baba or Father of the First Ancient Egyptian Dynasty, was depicted as a Baboon known as Hez-Ur as part of his rejuvenation festival.
Ancient Egyptian Baboon Divity Bearing the Name Of Pharaoh Narmer On Base
In EA Wallis Budge’s Hieroglyphic Dictionary, there are over 40 different Monkey or Primate Gods mentioned by Name.   In Ancient Egypt, Monkeys were both Solar and Lunar deities.    Remember, The root of the word Primate, is Prime, which means first, chief, excellent, and best.  So like your African Ancestors, it is important to embrace all of nature’s qualities, characteristics, and creatures. 

List of Ancient Egyptian Ape or Monkey Gods mentioned is EA Wallis Budge’s Hieroglyphic Dictionary:
01.    Aani - the ape-god (page 2)
02.    Aaanu - the Ape-god Thoth (page 2)
03.    Aasten - one of the 8 ape-gods of the company of Thoth, chief of the other seven  (page 25)
04.    Aaau - the ape gods who prased Ra (page 28)
05.    Aanait - ape-goddess (page 29)
06.    Auf - a dog-headed ape-god (page 34)
07.    Afa - an ape-god gatekeeper (page 43)
08.    Af-ermen-ari-f - an ape-headed associated of Thoth (page 43)
09.    Afu-heri-khent-f - an ape-headed god with a knife-shaped phallus (page 43)
10.    Amiu-hetut - the apes that sing to the rising sun (page 47)
11.    Ami-kar - a singing ape-god (page 48)
12.    Anhetut - the singing ape-gods (page 63)
13.    Aa - and ape-god who slew Apep (page 113)
14.    Aanau - the four ape-gods who judged the dead (page 114)
15.    Asheb - an ape-headed warrior-goddess (page 138)
16.    Uatch-au-mut-f - an ape-headed keeper of the 9th hour of the night (page 151)
17.    Up - an ape-god of Edfu (page 162)
18.    Usten - an ape-god (page 184)
19.    Utennu - an ape-god, "the copyist" of Thoth (page 191)
20.    Baiu-aabtiu - the ape gods who sang at dawn when the sun had risen; (page 198)
21.    Ba-ta - an ape-god (page 199)
22.    Banti - a dog headed ape-god (page 213)
23.    Benti - a singing ape-god (page 219)
24.    Benti-ari-ahe-t-f - an ape-god (page 219)
25.    Benti - Isis and Nephthys in ape form (page 219)
26.    Besi - a singing ape-god (page 222)
27.    Betnu - dog-headed apes (page 227)
28.    Patheth - a singing ape-god (page 233)
29.    Peri-em-thet-f - an ape-headed warrior god (page 241)
30.    Maa-en-Ra - an ape-god door-keeper (page 267)
31.    Maa-tef-f - an ape-headed god, a grandson of Horus; (page 268)
32.    Mbentiu - the apes in the 1st division of the Tuat (page 296)
33.    Mhettut - the ape-gods who sang to Ra at dawn (page 316)
34.    Mesen - an ape-headed fire-god (page 325)
35.    Nether Rethnu - an ape-god with a star (page 408)
36.    hit - a dog-headed ape (page 444)
37.    Hethti - one of the 9 singing ape-gods (page 452)
38.    Hett - one of the 4 ape-gods who slew Apep (page 452)
39.    Heri-sha-f - an ape-god (page 498)
40.    Heru-Neb-Au-Ab - an ape-god (page 502)
41.    Heken-em-benf - a singing ape-god (page 516)
42.    Khensu-sa-Tekhit - an ape-god, a form of Thoth (page 553)
43.    Khenti-she-f - an ape god (page 557)
44.    Sa - an ape-god, a foe of Apep (page 586)