"The roots don't depend on the tree. The tree depends on the roots." / "As raizes não dependem da árvore. A árvore depende da raíz."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Community & Ancestor Acknowledgement Pt. 2


                                                         By Taganyahu Gazaheng Swao

           The ego exists in the person who is devoid of the intention of true healing.  The ego can only exist in an environment devoid of divine wisdom. Divine wisdom is what teaches you love and all the manifestations of it.  The ego is everpresent in Capoeira Angola as there is the constant presence of competitiveness. I believe that this element of ego is what limits a capoeirista from furthering their spiritual development and healing. As one must know what they are fighting against in order to go to the next level. 

Ego going unchecked can cause a capoeirista to lose the path they set out on. Capoeira Angola, or N’golo as it was called in the continent, emphasized prudence, brotherhood , solidarity , chivalry, camaraderie, etc. All of these attributes were essential for captured africans to maintain their identity and sense of honor.  Secret socieities were constructed to maintain these traditions.  An outsider couldn’t be invited into a ritual space unless that person had already been through their own ritual space. This means that if you were a N’golo practitioner at the time that every person you’d meet in the roda had already done their own personal ritual and had spoken to their ancestors before starting their day.  This was common amongst the captured Africans that held onto their customs. Captured Africans had been displaced and needed these tools to empower themselves. N’golo was their tool. However, nowadays the scars from slavery still haven’t been healed, rather inherited from our forefathers. 


There is an acknowledgement of the suffering that captured africans suffered through however Capoeira’s solutions to this is rather short sighted. What I mean by saying this is…..Capoeira Angola is carrying the karma of our ancestrial trials and tribulations. Individually and spiritually people are suffering. Capoeira Angola is our respite from our daily stresses however it isn’t the end all solution to our trials and tribulations.  It is a fantastic and amazing form of liberation, however. If everyone isn’t doing their own individual healing ritual, when we come together in the roda, Capoeira Angola will be our only outlet for healing. Ritual is when you engage in an act that calls upon non-humans (spirits) to help you with something that you aren’t able to do by yourself. All indigenous cultures have some form of ritual.  I would also define ritual as doing an act that acknowledges spirit.  There are different forms of ritual. Your personal ritual, your family or group ritual. Then there’s the village ritual and finally the community ritual. If anyone of these rituals are missed by the participants involved in say a community ritual, the ritual will suffer as you are only as strong as your weakest link. I believe Our Masters don’t teach us these things overtly because "hiddenness" is effectiveness. Hiddenness is power.  Disclosure or exhibition is threatening to the relationship between us and the spirits invoked within a ritual. It becomes obvious there’s something more to capoeira than just the playing and singing. The more you spend around the game and the roda, it’s clear that there’s something else much larger than us present.


At some point or another we come to some understanding of the spirit in Capoeira. We sing about it then at some point we feel it. If you don’t have an awareness of ritual and spirit and Capoeira Angola is your first experience with it. You will never get enough of it!! Because Capoeira feeds the spirit.  And as individuals in a society that goes against what we believe in. We can become very hungry spirits!  This is quite natural when the majority of our experiences are based around making money and constantly running around to fulfil materialistic responsibilities.

The question shouldn’t be what can Capoeira Angola do for me, but what can I do for Capoeira?!


We have to satisfy our own ancestral suffering within ourselves in order to heal the community’s collective suffering. You have to have the intent to heal when you go to the Capoeira Angola roda. To play without ego, to play without fear and to play with your love for the game and see it advance. Or else your game will not advance spiritually. You can even become a master and will still carry the suffering of your ancestors. So it is imperative that Angola now make a shift consciously towards healing in totality.  If you have made the first step towards Capoeira Angola then take the next step towards working to fully heal your ancestors. Which will heal yourself. Then you will not play with ego and seek to be the best in the roda because you can only be the best at being you. 


Let us write ladainhas of our victories over the system that has kept us captive.  When anger, envy, fear or any manifestation of the ego appears let us be able to recognize it and not follow it. Let us acknowledge that we are indeed now free and only need to embody freedom through our character. If we are positive,  understanding, patient and compassionate in our actions then we will be truly free. Our interaction with our fellow angoleiros is important. To be genuine in greeting one another is the first thing we can do when we see each other.  There is no more room for being fake. There’s no more room for denial. We all feel incomplete and seek wholeness or else we wouldn’t’ be attracted to Capoeira Angola. Our thoughts are being manifested in the year of 2012 because the earth’s vibrational frequency is speeding up. Thus we are in a time where our experiences are becoming more spiritual and less materialistic. It is a shift we’re going through and we must be extra perceptive and aware of our thoughts and actions.

The problem with western culture is that it is a show-off culture that intimidates. If our goal is to repair all the damage done by the powers of progress, it becomes important to make sure that we focus on how to stay underground while attempting to connect with true rituals and our true ancestors. The focus here is not on just the ritual itself but on opening up something in our hearts and spirits that has been locked away so long that individuals can barely remember the source. Sometimes it is better not to partake in a roda at all than to do so in the wrong environment. I am against the powers of progress because in my opinion this is what has led to the demise of many African cultures.  Because what is being called progress these days is far from where Incan, Mayan and African technologies had reached before colonization and the transatlantic slave trade took place.  Can we call where we have advanced to as a planet in the last 100 years progress? I think not. It is time things go full circle.

“What is so good about being together with each other is that we can be the starting point for the possibility of building a larger community. Formation has to happen in a nurturing way if it is to work and prove itself to the rest of the world. In other words it has to prove itself to be different, attractive and nurturing without the ambition of competing with the current dysfunctional communities supported by an army of policemen. And for this to happen ritual must be the principal ingredient of its operating dynamics. Ritual must constantly be involved in order for the weak to become strong and the strong to get even stronger.”
- Malidoma Patrice Some


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