Paying Homage to the Ancestors

Lavendar for Oshun
Lavender for Oshun

As a teenager, I always admired the way my Indian friend’s family paid respect to their ancestors and religious deities.  Her family had an entire room dedicated to worship, and beautiful, elaborate religious paintings hung throughout their home. In recent years I’ve come up with my own way of acknowledging and paying respect to my ancestors which include, deceased family members of direct lineage, cultural kin such as Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman, and spiritual guides like Oshun, the Elements, and angels. I like to pay homage to Oshun, very appropriately at the river bank, by bringing a token of gratitude and verbally expressing thankfulness. This practice reminds me that we are not alone and that our ancestors watch over and guide us daily.

Eye-and-eye mantra: Be the woman you want to be at all times.

Photography by Ajua Hawkins.

Copyright 2013-2014 Ajua Hawkins

Happy Kwanzaa!!


Kwanzaa, created in 1966, is the modern reincarnation of the African first-fruit harvest celebrations observed from December 26 to January 1.  Growing up as an African living in America, I have always felt that sense of homelessness and duality that so many African-American academics write about and discuss.  Last year, I decided to create a list of holy days that I felt called to observe and not just blindly celebrate those the government deemed worthy enough to grant official.  On that list I wrote Kwanzaa and this is the first year that I have ever celebrated it.

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