How The Chicken Teaches Us This Sacred Lesson On Liberation

Our ancestors understood that all living things have value. Much of their sacred practices and wisdom we inherited depends on their understanding the difference between “relationship” versus “ownership.” Take the chicken for example.

How The Chicken Teaches Us This Sacred Lesson On Liberation
Via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout the African Diaspora chickens were included in our ancestral sacred practices. 

For West African spiritual shrines, offerings were essential for practicing reciprocity with spirit guides. Sacrificing chickens served this purpose.

Our enslaved ancestors brought extensive knowledge of chickens with them. Enslavers’ didn’t value chickens, so they didn’t police those enslaved from having chickens like they did other livestock. 

Fried chicken became a staple at Sunday night dinners. The best pieces, coined “Preacher’s parts,” were served to spiritual leaders within the community. 

Hoodoo practitioners used chicken feet to make protective amulets. Amulets were powerful because they honored the nature of the animal they were working with. 

The chicken, for example, naturally scratches the ground when it walks. As an amulet, the chicken foot worked to brush away the wearers’ enemies. 

Chicken gave our ancestors continued spiritual, financial, and nutritional sustenance. 

Eventually anti-Blackness saw chickens represented a source of power for us, so it went out of its way to shame our eating habits

Our ancestors understood the value of the chicken as something they were in relationship with, not ownership of. This is indigenous wisdom coming through. 

Anti-Blackness doesn’t just impact humans. Our liberation depends on us remembering all living things are related.

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