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What Ancient African Cultures teach us about nature

nature connection

From as far back as I can remember I've had a fascination with Ancient Cultures, particularly those that regarded consciousness and nature as one and the same. It was through nature people could connect with the spiritual aspects of life. In ancient times, honoring the consciousness of all life was simply a part of normal everyday life. There were rituals, honoring the nature gods, herbal and energy medicine, sacred healing rituals and rites, altered states of consciousness, honoring of the feminine, other dimensions, life beyond the physical, worshiping animals and even tapping into the energy forces of the universe. Nature was regarded as a gateway to the spiritual realm. Nature was also regarded as the feminine aspect of life.

In contrast, today science and technology are worshiped as Gods. People today look to their digital devices for guidance and direction. Modern western culture is more about facts and figures than trust and insight.

The Ancients believed that for a society to be prosperous, peaceful and harmonious it had to honor the feminine or rather nature.  This meant all that decisions and choices were in the end based on intuition, cycles and creation. The masculine is more focused on science and technology.

Cycles of time

According to researches both anthropologists and archaeologists, human civilization goes through cycles, even like the financial market cycles, there are highs and lows … I’m sure you’ve heard of the golden age, the silver age, the bronze age and the dark age? Well, the theory is that cycles move from one to the next and then repeat. The Golden age is at its highest and the dark age are at its lowest. What influences this is what fascinates me the most.

In times when people, nature and other species have prospered the most was during the Golden age and that is when the feminine was at its most prominent. The feminine with its focus on intuition, cycles, ritual, magic, altered states of consciousness, healing, nature, animals and art actually had great importance and often dictated direction and course of action. The masculine did take equal position beside the feminine but always referred in the end to the feminine before taking action. The Masculine represents: history, linear time, dogma, rationality, reality and science. According to many sources the feminine is right brain and the masculine is left. Based on my previous connection with Oriental Medicine I understand the feminine as more yin and the masculine as more yang.

In the Golden Age of the Ancients it was the balance of both the feminine and the masculine and the reverence for the feminine that gave birth and nurtured good times on all levels. In Africa, ancient cultures had a much more feminine perspective.

Animism, a feminine perspective

Ancient cultures such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari which is one of the oldest cultures in the world dating back some 60,000 years, the Masai of Kenya and Tanzania which have been around for more than 3000 years and the Egyptians all had a spiritual connection with the consciousness of nature. These ancient cultures viewed all life as one, everything was part of the whole. Simply, Animism sees all life, animals, plants, seeds and even insects as part of spirit and that humans are intrinsically part of the same consciousness or spirit. Ancient cultures all had the common thread of Animism and they lived as if this was just taken as a matter of fact, never questioning it. They looked to nature and the animals for much of their wisdom and they prospered until European ways influenced their lives with religion and technology.

Ancient cultures worshiped the consciousness of nature (life force) because they intuitively knew that this was the source of peace and harmony. Compared to our world today this is a completely different way of being human. Our modern urban lifestyle disregards nature in favour of gadgets and technology and has adopted a supremacy status over all other life forms. Its a very masculine approach to living particular when the feminine is put aside as non essential and many believe this is the root cause of all our environmental and emotional issues we face today.

Let's face it, we are spiritual beings having a earthly experience, but so is every other species on the planet!

When you look into the lives of other species, particularly Elephants, dolphins and others, consciousness is definitely present. All you have to do is be still and be present and you connect.

Wild animals rely heavily on their natural instinct, cycles of time, sense of knowing and their intuition for survival. Animals seem to know the change in weather before there is any sign. Even my dog knows he's going for a walk even before the thought enters my mind!

Ah .. the mystery of the feminine. To understand we must step into the unknown where all things are possible – the seed of creation.

Human beings and their ancestors have lived for millions of years in the Kenya and Tanzania regions which anthropologists call the “The Cradle of Mankind.” The knowledge of these cultures can only be traced back as far as their stories go plus what researches discover from fossils and remains. According to studies of DNA humans descended from a small population that emerged from Africa about 60,000 year ago but this is still in question, it could go back even further. The Bushmen of the Kalahari is considered a close relative of the ‘original' humans. However it seems we may be all originally Africans!

Perhaps that why I feel so connected with life when ever I'm in Africa.

Shamanism and Animism, a common thread in African cultures

New discoveries are being made as well as new understandings are being formed about the ancient ways. It seems that Shamanism and Animism were both practiced extensively and a common thread that weaved through many ancient cultures. Both Shamanism and Animism consider the entire universe to be alive and interconnected. Actually that is what I feel when I'm in Africa!

Shamanism is still used to heal and enlighten, using ceremony which can include rhythmic music, mind altering herbs and mythic journeys into consciousness. The Ancient Egyptians considered altered states of consciousness as one the most important practices in their culture. Today we find an ancient living Egyptian culture called the Dogon who reside in Male, north west of Africa. They believe every aspect of life is in rhythm with the universe and that all life experiences have a spiritual value. They tell us that they live as the ancients did.

The Masai of Kenya and Tanzania are a tribe that originally migrated from the Nile in the south region of Egypt and can be traced back some 3000 years. The Masai have branched off into sub tribes which include the Samburu tribe. They have handed down through many generations the wisdom of bush medicine, the use of certain plants to cure different diseases. They even have a cure for Malaria!

The Massai have maintained a natural and harmonious relationship with nature for the most part despite the influence of the West. They still practice rituals and ceremony and dance. What is common with Ancient cultures is their intimate relationship with the consciousness of nature and their view that they are part of the web of life.

When it comes to the modern urban culture of the west it becomes blatantly clear that aspects of our human consciousness has been disregarded for the sake of economic growth. We have forsaken something incredibly important, or rather essential to our own well being as a species.

Ancient wisdom for today

The wisdom developed over millennia by Ancient cultures in Africa can be advantageous when resolving the real psychological and spiritual issues of the West. Animism, a term created by anthropologists is based upon the idea that mind and matter are not separate but rather rooted in nature.

The balance of the feminine and masculine can be likened to yin and yang and currently we live in a yin deficient world. The core lesson here is that we must embrace the feminine in order to prosper and live in harmony with all other creatures.

The Dalai Lama back this up by saying The world will be saved by the western woman”. My take on this is that the feminine must rise and take its prominent place and play its crucial role in bringing things back in balance.

There is no doubt we are in extraordinary times … all things are shifting dramatically. We are entering a time of re balancing because the feminine is influencing our human consciousness. There are more women taking roles of greater influence and many who are devoting their lives to changing the world for the better but its not just women, men are also connecting with the feminine aspect of life, finding balance and taking up positions of greater influence. People are realising that a one sided approach to life is limiting and destructive on all levels. Without balance of both feminine and masculine we restrict our senses and limit our reality.

Ancient cultures reveal that we limit ourselves to only 5 senses, in fact they tell us we have over 300! Imagine that! What would that truly feel like?

“Nature and the Earth are conscious. They speak to us through our dreams, intuition, and deep longings.
By opening our minds, hearts, and senses we can consciously awaken to the magic of
the wild, the rhythms of nature, and the profound feminine wisdom of the Earth.”

Psychologist, Robert Wolff, Author of Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing.

The evolution of our human consciousness is unfolding right now. We are beginning to tune into feminine wisdom, which is understandably shaking things up, dismantling old systems and reshaping our whole society.  And I say, bring it on…