African American Women and the Divine Feminine


Healing individuals, families, and communitiesOshun by Brigid Aswood
Warning: I’m about to get all Afrikka Bambatta on you. I lovingly invite African American women everywhere to gather around this sacred fire. Boomshakalackaboom *waves fragrant incense around*  Ok, silliness aside . . .I see that we have important, restorative work to do. There needs to be a women’s movement to re-establish balance in our families and in our communities at-large. The movement is powered by our ability to tap the divine feminine or sensual spirituality.  Black women in particular are needed to lead our own charge.

Shared Struggles
Our collective history has blessed us with strength, fortitude, and resilience. But it has also cursed us with identity struggles, health issues, social and economic challenges, as well as attacks from all sides by the mainstream American culture.  And how does this affect our families and our communities?

  • Historic racial and gender injustices. Lately, turn on the news, or log onto social media and what we see about what is going on today is enough to make us scream. We desperately need our divine feminine power to help us raise strong children in a society that continuously depicts or girls as inherently unattractive, hyper-sexual, and unworthy; and our boys as dangerous, criminal, unintelligent, and less than human.  ENOUGH!
  • Man problems. Buying into the tired myth that there are not enough eligible men?  Forget about it, he is out there!  In order to attract the right man, we need to be sure we reflect the right woman. Living in fear of being without a man and “settling” for the wrong one (not because of some arbitrary physical or unreasonable financial requirements, but wrong because he is not compatible with our values and aspirations) out of perceived necessity is damaging our families.  Being happy as a couple first requires our happiness as one.
  • Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Despite recent studies and media coverage of confident, overweight black women these diseases are running rampant and threatening the very foundation of our physical selves. The old habits of the past need to be replaced with new habits for the future, if we are to thrive as a people. This is more than an issue of vanity. We may be living longer, but what can be said of the quality of life?  What about the burden we place on our young ones when we suffer from bad health?

Historically, African American women have surmounted some of the steepest barriers ever. We are survivors, the daughters of survivors from the worst times. It is a willingness to embrace the spiritual aspect of our very DNA that can make each of us better. Better for our families, our communities, and the world.   As women of the African Diaspora, this is our birthright, and it needs reclaiming.

African American Women: The Feminine Archetypes
You may have some concept of your inner feminine power. It’s but one part of our complex source of energy. It’s the spirit that’s represented by different aspects of the divine Goddess.
I’ve compiled some general characteristics into archetypes to highlight the nature of our specific feminine strengths and weaknesses. To which “archetype(s)” do you self-subscribe? How do others view you?  Note: these could be construed as stereotypes, but please put that idea aside for our purposes here, because this is more about self identification here.

  • The African Queen:  Elegant and regal, the African queen’s head is lifted. She’s always looking up, and looking out. She identifies with her often lost or unknown motherland heritage; she wears battles past deep in her heart. She is the protector of civil rights and humanity, and the arts. She commands respect. The African Queen struggles to bring her level of consciousness to the masses, in order to bring positive change to communities at large. She seems all-powerful but often needs more self-nurturing to sustain herself long-term.
  • The Diva:  Being a Diva is about looking good and feeling fierce. A Diva has attitude and raw, exuberant confidence. A proud African American woman, she is confident about her life choices, particularly when swathed in the latest designer brands. She is sharp, talented, and insightful. She’s on a mission to take the world by storm. She lives the lights, cameras, action life. Yet, there’s always something still missing. There is more to her, something deeper,  that needs to be revealed.
  • The BBW:  Some African American women are big and beautiful. But don’t get it twisted! She does not lack high self-esteem because of her size and shape. Unlike women in other cultures our BBWs often bask in the sexual attention their thick, curvy bodies draw. BMI be damned, she is just not that pressed about losing weight. Nor does her generous frame typically prevent her from enjoying a vibrant social life. There’s just more of her to love.  It would benefit her to embrace a healthy lifestyle they way she embraces her voluptuous curves for a better and longer life.
  • The Momma:  The matriarch and nurturer, and the protector of everyone and everything.  She is demanding but she doesn’t always take time to care for herself.  She can be hell on wheels at times but we all know that inside she is tender and loving.
  • The Sista-girl:  The sista girl is like the girl next door.  She operates well within the American mainstream.  She is driven, independent, successful, and very smart.  But despite all of her successes she can still become caught up in society’s (other people’s) ideas of what her ideal life should be like. She is often health conscious, but vulnerable to poor body image.

No matter our types – or archetypes – there is still a need for transformation. Every one of us could use a measure of balancing, to bring us to the level of a Goddess. The balance and true beauty happens when we embrace and expand on the divine feminine within us.

Call to Action

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. ~Marian Wright Edelman, American Activist, Families in Peril

Take small steps, very small steps. Flash one extra smile today. Open one door faster to heal an issue with a friend or family member. Say a little prayer for peace with your nemesis. From there, it is a small distance to travel to accomplish bigger, better things for yourself.
Consider these among your first steps:

Feel Powerful and Self-complete:  If you’re not “whole” when that special someone arrives, you make it tough for them to stay. When shopping, no one buys that which is broken. Increase your value by “fixing” your neediness, jealousy, and possessiveness. Nobody can “complete” you. You have everything you will ever need to be the best you can be.

Balance your Masculine Power:  Tone down negative masculine attributes we all possess–the aggressiveness, greed, and materialism–by releasing the scarcity myth. Soften those calloused, calculating edges with more feminine attributes. If you’ve been told you’re too self-absorbed, that is masculine energy overkill. When you embrace your true power from within, new and magical things begin to occur.

Banish Fear of the Unknown: Get past the doubts and old wives’ tales that keep you from discovering your own unique happiness and success. What works for one sista may not work for you. And trust me, the answers are not found in those low-level girl-mags on the newsstand or the latest celebrity talk shows. The answers are within you, but you have to be open to receiving them.

Deal with Health and Stress-related Issues: Become a stronger version of yourself. Shed excess pounds and prevent health overall. Improve your life by becoming physically active. Expose yourself to more positive vibrations. Come on out of your boring old comfort zone and try practicing dance, yoga, art, or something completely new and exciting.

Want to go Deeper? Discover Tantra to Uncover Your Bliss
Roughly translated from Hindi, the term tantra means “to weave” the mind, body, and spirit. It literally means you can expand your entire being through acceptance. Specifically, it will increase awareness of your intuition, your senses, and energy. When you have awareness of your powerful energies, you have the ability to balance them with tantric meditation and chakra work. Tantra balances your feminine and masculine energies. It will give you the impetus to seek better health and relaxation. Tantra also gives you a focused sense of purpose. Through tantra, you’ll learn to be open to receiving your gifts when they appear.  Don’t be skeptical. Tantra is not that hot mess you saw on HBO Real Sex. It’s a scientific method, a world view, and a way of life. 

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