'Dia de los Muertos': Physically Dead But Not Mentally
Today’s mathematics is understanding cipher. 'Understanding' is the ability to see clearly, through the knowledge and wisdom present. A 'cipher' is a person place or thing. To gain an understanding of the cipher is to see clearly the reality of it and to be able to interact with it and relate to it accordingly. It is better to have an understanding than it is to be understood. So it is your own understanding and mental clarity that will elevate all circumstances and individuals.
Dealing with or showing understanding often means ‘empathizing” or conceiving of one’s relationship to someone or something. As adults we have the ability to draw up our understanding about something according to our own knowledge and experience. Children, because of lack of knowledge and life experience, can not. Still, they conceive of their own understanding, as it relates to them and their lives. So it is not to say that they are incapable of understanding, b-u-t rather, their understanding may not be as clear as an adults. That is why it is integral to be involved with the education of our children, hands on. To foster their growth and development and understanding of themselves, their culture and all other ciphers in the world/universe. Raising children outside the parameters of normal Western standards usually means combating against cultural ideas that do not parallel with our own. Especially in a individualist and materialist Judeo-Christian society. Yet, we continue to educate, encourage and raise our children to be efficient and effective with advancing in this society. To do so means that must have a understanding of the cipher. Regardless to the structure and environment we set up for our children we must recognize the fact that at some point in their lives there will be socialization with other people who think and live differently than them. We need to prepare them.
One way a children internalizes concepts about who they are is through cultural affairs, such as days of celebration. Every culture has days of observance or celebration, which have specific cultural significance to them. As Original people, many of our customs and celebrations have been destroyed and diluted through the menacing hand of colonialism and the church. Yet, many survived because of our enduring determination of self-preservation. Many of us have created our own days of recognition and celebration is the march towards to self-determination and preservation, as has the Nation of Gods and Earths. Whilst our traditions may only be 44 years old, this past October, our traditions and cultural celebrations are very important and significant to us. We observe days such as the Father’s Degree Day (Allah’s physical birthday), Days of the Babies, Universal Shaamgaud Day (the designer of our national flag), etc. Many observe October as being the foundation and first month in the birth of our Nation, others acknowledge the season of Fall. Some Gods and Earths observe the “Asiatic New Year” which is the Spring equinox. All of these are integral with created an a progressive and healthy environment for our children, instilling in them a strong sense of pride and love for one’s self and people. As with all cultures and people. Especially when we as adults decide to reject the ideology of the ‘system‘. We may be very comfortable with refraining from observing and/or celebrating Euro-centric or Capitalist holidays, however our children still don’t understand or warm up to the idea of them not being able to ‘do what the other kids do’. Even though we may educate them and give them knowledge as to why, the understand must come in time and must eventually be present. Otherwise they can end up resenting how they were raised because of it’s disconnectedness with other children. And kids being kids, it is developmentally appropriate for them to want to socialize and do what others do, in the name of fun. Despite the subtle or overt messages being conveyed in such celebrations as Halloween or Christmas, they simply do see it like that. They don’t have a historical framework through which to understand the science behind these days. They simply become magnetized and attract, because of it’s un-alikeness. So how to we compliment their curiosity and development while maintaining our own cultural principles, and still allow them to become orientated with the world and other people, especially their people. And by this I mean the millions of Original people who still observe and celebrate colonial and religious traditions. Because, despite the person choice we have made as adults to exclude ourselves and our families from such acitivities, many of our people still observe them and we must be careful not to cause divisiveness in our children’s thinking or cause them to think they are ‘different’, even though we raise them differently.
“…He wants us to think we are all different.”- 7th degree, 1-14
Allah understood this. He disagreed with religion strongly, and he didn’t see himself as having any obligation towards 'holidays' except in regards to the children. While it may be very controversial Allah understood what it is that he was doing. He didn’t instruct us to refrain from celebrating Christmas or Easter. Primarily because he was focused on reaching the children and wasn’t opposed to anything to put a smile on a child’s face. He understood that the Muslims and other black groups opposed Euro-centric holidays and sought out substitutes such as Kwanzaa (which is feasible in my perspective, for those seeking transition into a more culturally attuned lifestyle or even just as a seasonal event for children). Ultimately, Allah understood that if you take something away, you must be able to give something back. And many children were risking abandonment (many were already abandoned) by their families and being ostracized by their family, peers and society for advocating what he was teaching. So he dealt with understanding, and allowed them to entertain themselves with certain aspects of childhood in America. As well, Allah understood that celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc, would be events which attracted many of our people who needed to be educated. So to exclude yourself from their social equality would be to exclude yourself from that population who needs you the most. It’s a worthless effort to try and educate someone about the history of Thanksgiving during the summer. Because that’s not where their mindset is at. It would be more effective to try and share some knowledge and wisdom with them at the table during Thanksgiving dinner and the only way to do that is to be with amongst them. As Allah had shown us, God doesn’t drop down upon the people, he comes up, from amongst the people. Thus, we need to strive to be in the world and not OF the world.
I have myself adopted a similar approach towards dealing with own my children. In our household we observe various days significant to the Nation of Gods and Earths. As someone of the Indigenous Diaspora, I as well observe certain days and traditions of Native and so-called Latin America origin. I chose to do so in the vein of promoting Indigenous and Latin solidarity and as a means to instill pride in my children concerning their specific ethnic lineage. Being a ‘Five Percenter’ has marginalized me in many ways from the day to day affairs of my brothers and sisters without knowledge of self, such as cerdo (pork) and religion. However, I still have a duty in elevating them and uplifting them, as well as making sure my children do not alienate themselves because of their lack of understanding, I.e. when my babies approach other Spanish-speaking children, proclaiming themselves as ‘black’ or that they don’t bear witness to God being in the sky. Likewise, I do not want my children to look down upon their own people just because they may not have a true knowledge of themselves. I strive to bring forth understanding in the cipher.
“…they are Original people…”- 3rd degree, 1-14
A particular day that is observed in my household is ‘Dia de los Muertos’. While it may have huge religious overtones, Dia de los Muertos or ‘Day of the Dead’ is actually a ritual celebration that predates the Spanish arrival in the Americas and extends back 3,000 years amongst the Mexica (Aztecs) and their celebration of the goddess 'Mictecacihuatl'. Mictecacihuatl was seen as "Lady of the Dead" and was thought to be the guardian of the underworld and the preserver of bones. People often compare Dia de los Muertos to ‘Halloween‘, and while at first glance there may appear similar, the two celebrations are actually quite different. ‘Halloween’ is a European holiday, or Celtic origin, that is based in their concept of death. This is quite different from the original Mexica meaning. The Mexica beliefs were very similar to the Kory/Aboriginal beliefs of Australia, whereas this ‘life’ is considered to be a ‘dream’ and when you die, you awaken. A concept the Kory call “Dreamtime”, the history before history. Skeletons and skulls were used as symbols for death and rebirth by the Mexica. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it and considered it a “moving-on” to a higher level of consciousness. Halloween, on the other hand, is celebrated with witches, demons and monsters. The Mexica originally celebrated Dia de los Muertos in August, however by influence of the church it was moved to the beginning of November (1st and 2nd), as they enforced “All Saint’s Day” and “All Soul’s Day” in efforts to erase the Indigenous tradition. The contemporary version most celebrated is a synthesis of Mexica and Catholic tradition. People throughout Mexico and Central America (and some places in the U.S.) make skeletons masks and costumes and have parties celebrating their ancestors. It was during this time that the ancestors are supposed to return and walk amongst the living. So people build altars in their home adorned with ancestors’ favorite drink and food, accompanied by pan de muerto, cookies and other food items, made in the image of skulls and skeletons. Many families in Mexico take these items, along with candles, to the cemetary where family members are buried, staying up at night to welcome their ‘spirits’, singing or telling stories, and honoring the memory of the ancestors.
“…never has revealed anyone returning from a physical death, but there is a chance for the mentally dead..” - 13th degree, 1-40
I will be both honest and respectful in saying that I do not subscribe to any of the above mentioned ‘beliefs’ about goddesses, ancestors and spirits. So how do I embrace Dia de los Muertos in my home, you may ask? We embrace it as a day of memorial for our ancestors. A day to celebrate their lives and legacies and to become closer with physical death, a reality of the living. We take time to build about those ancestors or relatives we may have recently lost, as well as those in our history, especially the Gods and Earths who made it possible for me to have knowledge of self and who illuminated the path of self-discovery and actualization for me. I take the time to explain to my little ones what ‘Dia de los Muertos’ really is and how it’s celebrated by most people, and why WE as Five Percenters don’t subscribe to the same ideas. It is important for them to understand that within our cultural paradigm, our ancestors live forever, in the hearts and mind of the people and why Allah told us that he could never die. Because very similar to the Aborigines and the Mexica, we advocate that everything in our lives is based on ‘thought’. We dialogue about Mexica culture and other similar traditions amongst other groups of Original people. Some activities we do is make paper masks of skulls with the kids, as well bake some ‘vegan’ pan de muerto and sugar cookies in the shape of skulls and skeletons. I am not appalled at the site of these images, for I have understanding of the cipher and strive to assist with the same in my babies. The skulls and skeletons are a way for them to become more comfortable with physical death, as a part of life. All things having a beginning and an ending. We build on the science of ‘transitioning’ (physical death) and energy as it transforms, since it can not be created or destroyed. We also study the bones and the body, so that can become more familiar with ‘themselves’. Referencing the role of 'Mictecacihuatl' in 'perserving bones', I like to add on about bones and them being related to the earth, and with the Original woman being 'the Earth' within the NGE paradigm, discuss the relevance between the 'physical' body and the physical world. The bones, being the only remains after someone physically perishes, which speaks marvels about the role of bones in our bodies. In Daoism, the bones are seen as holding significant life force, and proper meditation and exercise make the bones solid and ‘eternal’, as fundamental Daoists’ strive to become ‘immortal’. The 206 bones in the human body are also responsible for the production of red and white blood cells and the storing of vitamins and minerals. Which allows me to touch on the science of being “weak boned and wicked” (30th degree, 1-40) and the psycho-biological relationship in human beings. As well, the role that Mother Nature and the Original woman have in nurturing, nourshing and strengthening our bodies and bones through the right foods she provides.
For me and my family, Dia de los Muertos is a day to celebrate everyone who came before us and those we have lost along the way. It is a day to reflect upon are ultimately oneness with our ancestors, as we are the result of hundreds and thousands of years of their struggle, especially the last 516 years. For my children, to learn and understand that there are no ‘spirits’ coming to speak to them at night, because they are their ancestors, from cell to cell, brain to bolas. For as Allah taught us, any boy that doesn’t know who their ‘daddy’ is, all they need to do is look in the mirror and they’ll see him. They’ll be looking right at him.
Our history can’t be accurately documented by the Western world because of their bias and their absence when most of out history was being made. They have failed in both their attempts to trace our origins and plan our disappearance. The Original man has no beginning or ending. So with every attempt at erasing us from history, with every lie that the ‘Indians’ are long gone, we persist and continue on. We are living testaments to their lies. We haven’t gone anywhere and neither have our ancestors. I am them and they are me. For those who wish to sit and wait to talk to ‘spirits‘, to each his own. However, my ancestors speak to the world when ever I post a blog, write an article or put in work in my community.