The Owner of Four Eyes
“The Yoruba term olujumerin means the “owner of four eyes.” It refers to someone who can peer into the spiritual dimension. In a world imprisoned by materialism, it’s hard to see with spiritual eyes. But that’s the task before us. Nigerian writer Ben Okri says: “most people are born blind; few ever learn to see.”
The reflection above also appeared in my 2008 Sacred Journey Fine Art Calendar along with this very image of the young girl with penetrating eyes. I wasn’t planning to write about this topic or this photo, or this girl today….but such is the power this child possesses. I feel “commanded” to write about her, even though I planned to write about something else.
This photo was taken around 2005/2006. I was in Ile Ife, Nigeria to undergo spiritual initiation to the orisas Sango, Yemoja, Ogun and Obatala. We were driving around the ancient city when the little girl dashed by the car. I told the driver to stop immediately. We followed the young girl and I ask her family for permission to photograph.
The photo session lasted a few minutes – but the memory and the image will speak to the world forever. This image reminds me of the power of Spirit, the ancestors, and the orisas. It’s also a reminder that we must make the world of Spirit our home.
A Burst of Light: Sunrise On My Way To Africa
“Turn the ringer off your phone. Don’t answer the doorbell. Tell your loved ones that you cannot be disturbed. If you get distracted or allow yourself to drift, you will never make it to your destination.” – Walter Mosley, “This Year You Write Your Novel.”
I’ve always loved the advice author Walter Mosley gives to aspiring writers in his book, “This Year You Write Your Novel.” I’ve never read the entire book, but I love what he says in the first chapter about dedication.
What does Mosley’s advice have to do with you or me? Everything! I believe part of each day should be dedicated to something that is sacred to you – something that’s connected to your purpose. In order for this to happen, you have to make sure that YOU are on your own agenda. You have to constantly remind yourself what YOU are about, and then you need to ensure that part of each day is dedicated to doing YOU!
Unfortunately, that’s not how many of us live. Too often, we allow ourselves to be tossed about by the demands of society or family and we forget to pay allegiance to the inner voice. That’s why when Stephanie, my wife, asked me about painting the house, I promptly said: “not today. I’ll do it on Saturday.”
See….I take the journey to the film seriously. I’ll paint the house – BUT not during hours when I’m supposed to be working on the film. I have a schedule and I stick to it. (Emergencies, of course, are an exception).
I believe we all should have a sacred routine. Learn to say NO. Learn to honor your sacred space. Make sure that that YOUR vision is part of your daily ritual. (Your family will just have to deal with it).
The comment from Mackala Fall, our FB French translator, caught me off guard. I was telling him how it seems very likely that we’ll get funding for our film this year, and I’ll be traveling to L.A. in August to meet a potential investor.
Mackala simply said: “Don’t make haste. Even if we are funded next year or the year after our vision will come true.” His remark made me think about “Asiko Olorun” (God’s Time). In society that rewards us for “getting things done,” setting goals and achieving them, it’s very difficult for most of us to consider that are other ways of organizing our lives and reaching our goals.
We tend to forget that there’s an “appointed time” – a sacred time when things are meant to unfold. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take steps to advance toward our visions – it means that we learn to approach our aspirations with patience and the understanding that there is a greater force at work – and what will be, will be when the right conditions come together.
I can tell you without hesitation that if I received funding for this film two years ago, Across The King’s River would not have been nearly as good as it can be now. Why? Because some of the kindred souls that are working on the project now were not around at the time; Plus, there were other things I needed to learn. I also had to leave some people behind. Yes, sometimes you need to “cut folks loose” too.
Know that there is an appointed time- you’ll know it when it arrives. The path will be made clear. So many things will begin to make sense! Your spirit will talk to you. You’ll feel it in your bones!
Producer, Across The King’s River
African Researcher Discussing Vodun/Voodoo
“Respect for nature, a comprehensive worldview that has a solution for everything, the answer of the ancestors to the philosophical questions people ask: “Where are we? Who are we? Where do we come from?” That's how one African describes Vodun/Voodoo in the link I've attached above – a philosophy that has been demonized and ridiculed in racist films and books for decades.
Although I've known for many years that the twisted portrayal of voodoo in Hollywood and the media has nothing to do with the truth of the religion and how it is practiced in Africa and the diaspora, I was still touched by what Gabin Djmasse (the researcher) had to say.
Here are my favorite quotes:
* Nature must be respected; you must not violate the laws of nature.
* In our culture, one must never deliberately choose evil. If you choose evil be sure that it will turn against you because you are not respecting the principles of nature.
* In the education, initiation and practice of Vodun, we teach the importance of respecting nature.
* When we say respect for nature, it includes human beings.
* You must not think evil thoughts.
In the book “Flash of the Spirit,” historian Robert Farris Thompson describes Hatian Vodun as “one of the richest and and most misunderstood religions of the planet. A vibrant sophisticated synthesis of the traditional religions of Dahomey, Yorubaland, and Kongo with an infusion of Roman Catholicism.” Thompson's book also pays tribute to the sacred art of Vodun and other African-inspired spiritual traditions.
Although my upcoming film does not take us into Vodun territory, we make reference to this ancient tradition from time to time. We will attempt to set the record straight once and for all. Hollywood and the media will not have the last word – the ancestors will!
We return to theme of Vision because we firmly believe it's our obligation. Who's we? The elders. The ancestors. The orisas that empower, protect and inspire us.
Why do we return constantly to the theme of Vision? Because we believe that all who embark on the quest for vision ultimately discover that they are not only better off, but happier. Not only happier, but stronger. Not only stronger but more creative. Not only more creative but more resourceful. Not only more resourceful but more courageous. Not only more courageous but more alive. Not only more alive but more aware.
Aware of what? The source of your own power!
But the source of your own power is only one of the many gifts you discover all the way. You also discover kindred souls that help you to realize that the journey is not only about what you become and the lessons you learn. It's also about humility. Allowing yourself to be an instrument for a force greater than yourself.
The reconnection and reawakening of kindred spirits is a treasure like no other. All who experience it can never fully be the same again.