IMINYANYA – the ancestors are seen as those who have died and joined the spiritual world. In most African cultures, death is viewed not as an end but rather as the immortality of spirit.
We are often asked what we would like our legacy to be … how many of us truly understand what that means. It’s not about being famous, or being wealthy, ultimately, we are remembered by the impact of our spirit. Some may forget our name, spend our wealth but they will never forget how we made them feel, how we uplifted them as individuals, how we changed their course.
Just like the snake we need to discard that which is no longer working or useful in our lives, we need to transform and renew. Every seven years our bodies renew, it is accepted that part of us dies and rebirths, the cycle of life. So too should we rebirth our spirit and our attitudes.
We are constantly asked to adjust to a fast developing and ever changing technological world around us, yet our spirit remains constant. It’s the attitude we choose to live with that makes the difference. We need to learn to live with harmony between our souls purpose and society. The creator and creation balancing the natural laws with mans environment.
Throughout our lives we experience different cycles, from birth to our coming of age, to our own procreation of the next generation to death. Practice good judgement, evaluate your life and the stage you are in. Undergo transformation or metamorphosis and embrace each new reality with wholeness and integration.
20 The Earth – IMINYANYA The Ancestors
CONCEPT Good judgement; Rebirth; Introspection; Transformation; Evaluation; Metamorphosis
Iminyanya invites you to follow your destiny.
Reaping reward from past actions /Analysis and evaluation /Absolution /Responsibility /New view of reality /Making wise judgements /Integration /Wholeness /Ancestral and family matters /Avoidable influences
The Ancestors: Iminyanya/amadlozi/badimo/vadzimo/abezimu – all these terms refer to those who have died and joined the spiritual world. In most African cultures, death is viewed not as the destruction of life but the immortality of the spirit. It is believed that when man dies he often turns into a snake – the snake is named iTongo (amaTongo).
Ouroboros (tail-devourer), a snake depicted with its tail in its mouth forming a continuous circle, is considered a symbol of eternity. It is present in many African artworks – cloth patterns, wall paintings, and metal works. According to legend, the snake carried the creator in his mouth while the earth was being created. The creator feared that the earth would sink into the sea beneath the weight of the mountains. The snake coiled itself around the earth, holding firm with its tail in its mouth; this hold must never be loosened, otherwise all of creation will disintegrate.
In order for African people to live in harmony with the creator and creation, all natural laws and observances were divinely revealed to the first African generation as a community at the beginning of time. The death of that generation meant the beginning of intercession between the living and the creator, or ancestor worship, as the first generation had now joined the spiritual world thereby marking the beginning of the ancestors. Many African peoples regard the earth as a female deity, a mother-goddess who rules all people and is the mother of all creatures. The earth lives and gives birth to ever-new generations of beings and the ancestors live in the earth. The earth’s elements: fire, air, and water are recognised as gifts from the great mother, yet the earth is seldom worshipped. Nevertheless, the earth has a very powerful spirit that rules over life and death.
The Stages of Life (Rites of Passage)
Birth is the first rhythm of a new generation and the birth rites incorporate the newborn child into its new society.
Initiation rites continue that process and make the child a mature, responsible, and active member of society.
Marriage makes the young adult a creative and reproductive being, linked to both the departed and future generations.
Death stands between the world of humans and the world of spirits, between the visible and invisible. Burial rites make it quite clear that the bereaved feel that the dead are only making their way to their final destiny, i.e. to the new world of the living dead – their ancestors.