For as long as I can remember I knew that a Creator existed. I knew that those who came before us were able to watch our movements from the stars above, no different from the way we observe the universe. I believed in magic, the knowledge of animals, and that nature was something to be respected. I still remember when ancient civilizations and the solar system first began to form a special place in my heart. I felt a connection to something greater every time I looked at the sky, onto the earth, and whenever I saw pictures of the great pyramids.
As a child, my father, who at the time worked for a publishing company, would surprise my sibling and I with a random box of books every month. He always managed to get his hands on the ones he knew we would most love, and it felt like a holiday every time he came home with them. Symbols of Egypt was one of the titles that made it onto my bookshelf, and I still reference it to this day. Thinking back on it, I grew up with Egyptian symbolism all around me in childhood, albeit unintentionally. The images of Ma’at, Isis, and Osiris were always featured in our living rooms, and you could usually find my father wearing a prominent ankh around his neck.
For my parents, especially my mother who had been raised in a Christian household, attending church was the primary way to connect with one’s spirituality. My journey and point of reference for religion began there. Around the age of six or seven, some of the first Christian stories I learned were, “Jonah & The Whale” and “Noah’s Ark.” Not to mention, my sibling and I, like most kids at the time, were obsessed with the “Prince of Egypt” and “Joseph King of Dreams.” Fast-forward four years, my parents had us try out different churches, but it wasn’t always easy to find places of worship where we felt at home. Even when we did find a place we really liked, our attendance did not last. In the end, we stopped attending church altogether, and I was never baptized. As I grew older, I had the space to question Christianity and its teachings for the first time.
By high school and college, I began to study the darker side of religious history, particularly the intolerance towards Indigenous peoples and nature based religions. This dramatically shifted my relationship with Christianity and, more generally, spirituality. I realized there were significant pieces of my history missing because of Christianity and colonialism. What I had been taught to think of as ancient history was not actually so. Today, I still have an evolving relationship with the teachings of the Bible because of this.
In 2019 I was reminded to look towards the sky for answers again. This guided me to learn about the practices of my ancestral lineages, including Ifá, Santería, and Zemiism, to name a few. All of these belief systems incorporate ancestral reverence, and this gradually led me to the creation of my first ancestral altar space. I also felt the need to revisit the Metu Neter, or Egyptian pantheon, which I had not done since childhood. In doing this, I found out that my West African ancestors had also once learned sacred knowledge from the Egyptians. It is no wonder so many people feel drawn to that ancient kingdom, considering how many schools of knowledge they impacted across the world. This encouraged me to keep learning and seeking out answers.
One of my lifelong dreams is to make the journey back to all of my ancestral homes, and bring my knowledge full circle. My favorite phrase to remember this dream is, “Sankofa,” which to the Akan of Ghana means, “To Go and Come Back.”