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I realised at the weekend how little I blog nowadays because of all the irons I have in the fire. I will rectify this. I am coming.

Wait for me.

Iji Ala: An Ancient Igbo Sacred Science of Energy Management and Harmonization for the Present World

Nwunye:

I thought you might be interested in this article. I certainly am!

Originally posted on Odinani: The Sacred Arts & Sciences of the Igbo People:

Geodesy (Iji Ala/Iji Ana/Iji Ani) is one of the ancient sacred sciences which the Igbo people demonstrated a great mastery of. They knew, expounded and extensively practiced this spiritual science of bringing celestial harmony down to Earth (Anakwudo-ma-Enukwudo). In this light, Geodesy is a truly multi-dimensional science or what may be termed ”a meta-science” driven by high precision thinking, the manifestation of which is evinced in such notable cosmological engineering feats as the creation of geothermal pyramid powered human settlements, through the specific application of this sacred science in the form of “Ikwunite-Aba-Igwe” (lit. Raising the Crown of the Celestial Mound).

Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land
Nsude Pyramids in Abaja, Northern Igbo land

For the Igbo people of old and present, inhabited houses can be ensouled and rituals abound for ensouling houses before habitation, as well as for un-ensouling houses after the demise of their occupants. The same exists…

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I am tired of this hair, hair, everywhere.

Maybe I’ve always been a bit blasé about hair because mine grows so easily; I could always switch from natural to permed and back again.  But lately especially, I find myself tiring of the natural versus relaxed hair debate.

I understand all the connotations of having relaxed hair. Believe me, I do. I too have had weave itch, the sort that leaves you slapping your head repeatedly in public, with no thoughts whatsoever as to how mad you look.  No care either. Nothing but the desire to scratch that unreachable, infuriating, itch.  The near soporific effects of scratching it cannot be matched by anything in this world.

I have suffered the sores that come from digging too deeply with a pen or other handy pointy object under dandruff and sweat encrusted wefts. I have had my hair fall out from too much relaxing and traction from braids. It was not pretty.

Still it’s such a shame that black women’s hair is so highly politicized. I understand why it would be but it still is sad that it is so.  Because the truth is that I didn’t change the way I wore my hair because of any movement but because relaxers affected me really badly. It was just not worth it. To ME.

And that’s what hair boils down to in the end: personal choice. It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks. Of course it is entirely possible that had I not been in Newcastle where African hairdressers were few and far between, or were not properly trained and expensive to boot, I might have continued with the weaves and the braids and the creamy crack. It is possible. After all, it costs twice or three times as much to have natural hair made in the market in Nigeria – unless it is isi owu. And even then,  chances are that they will use the wrong  comb  and complain so loudly about their fingers hurting  that you will feel you have serpents for hair like a gorgon.

The way we wear our hair is not only an expression of how we feel, who we are. It is also purely functional. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, not everyone might choose to have natural hair. Some women might prefer to wake up and run a fine-toothed comb through their hair before they leave for work. Others might polish their gorimapa with coconut oil and bounce. Because let’s face it, hair is work. Natural hair is work, even our ancestresses knew that. Hence the wigs and head-dresses they wore to give their own hair a rest in between styles. Relaxed hair is also work; anti-breakage this and placenta that and hair burning and sores and picking the scabs on your scalp and money, money, money.

So, I guess what I am asking is, can’t we all just get along? Shouting abuse across the (not-so) great divide isn’t really the way to be heard. That girl with long flowing Brazilian/Peruvian/Chinese hair might secretly wish she was another race. She might have received negative messages about her hair her whole life.  Or she might not even consider herself any less proud of her race. That woman with dread locks/an afro/bantu knots/a twist out might have her hair that way to prove she is a Sister. Or she might simply prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing she can walk under the rain or swim any day without a huge freak out session being involved. (Or that emergency plastic shopping bag, shoved over her face like a masquerade!)

It’s a shame one side is considered more ‘professional’ to the other’s ‘creative’ and ‘political’. Does having weaves mean I can no longer write poetry and fiction? No. Would having locks mean I can no longer wrap my head around facts and figures in financial institutions? I don’t think so. And yet that is the way it is seems now. People are being forced into these boxes by corporations, society and even by themselves.

Let it be. Live and let live. [Insert choice of cliché here]. This post was not supposed to be deep (or even particularly well-writen, har har). I am just a bit tired of all the slings and arrows. How a black woman chooses to wear her hair should be her choice. She is entitled to it. Just like she is entitled to change her mind about her choice. That’s what it means to be truly free and that can only be a good thing.

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Happy-people-who-look-after-children Day!

I must have woken up on the wrong side of my bed or else, Mother’s Day is really starting to grate.

As children my sisters and I would strip the church bushes of all their flowers for my mother because yes we loved her, but maybe out of some childish notion of guilt also; to make up for all the nasty things people said behind her back.  She didn’t have the same Mother’s Day as all the other women in our church.

Our mother was Catholic. We were not.

In recent times I have called to wish her a happy day but have done nothing special for myself. Today, I have woken up to a lot of smugness and it is starting to annoy me.

Don’t get me wrong, raising a child is very, very hard. Trying-to-crack-a-palm-kernel-with-your-teeth hard. Walking-on-hot-coals hard. Heck some mornings I wake up and wish I was still in labour. Raising a child is especially hard when – like me and so many other mothers here – you don’t have help and are trying to work/working from home. I am not trying to diminish this. But something about today has got my goat.

I think that a lot of times in trying to celebrate one group, we isolate lots of others. ‘Being a mother is the most important job in the world’ is starting to sound like it should come with a ‘But’.  A friend sent me a lovely message today that ended ‘If God didn’t think you could be a mum, he wouldn’t have let you have kids’ or something. I beg to differ. Have you ever seen a child suffering from drug or alcohol withdrawal? Abused kids? Sexually molested ones?

So what am I saying? I am saying that today maybe we should celebrate not just mothers biological or adoptive, but all child-rearers and carers, guardians. We should celebrate people who are trying to have kids, or who have lost the kids they have carried sometimes to term. We should think of ‘aunties’ and’ uncles’ who teach our kids things we cannot because everyone has a special something to contribute to the upbringing of a child.

We should celebrate those who teach them to blow bubbles and to paint, those who read to them and watch them so that parents can have a life outside the family unit, those who love our kids and treat them like theirs, those who raise them and feed them and clothes them and pay their school fees when their birth mothers are daunted by the task and their birth fathers have followed their erections out the door, grandmothers and grandfathers who give illegitimate children the protection of their names (in African societies).

Let’s celebrate people everywhere who are trying to keep children alive; strangers running from conflict in South Sudan and from heavy fire in Syria. Let’s celebrate those  strangers that tried to help children in the Westgate Massacre and those that hid children during the Biafran war and the Holocaust.

Maybe we should scrap Mother’s Day and Father’s Day or merge them into ‘Guardian’s Day’. That way we can also celebrate people who chose not to have kids, because without them to keep the balance, Mama Ngozi in my village would not be able to bear the 12 kids she needs for farm work.

I’m off. Chores beckon as per usual. But just in case anyone is asking, I would like for the clocks NOT to go forward in the UK on ‘Mother’s Day’. Losing an hour is not my idea of a good time.