Many African cultures believe that when someone dies, their spirit continues living in the “afterlife.” But strict rules dictate which spirits are accepted into the afterlife and which are reincarnated. Would you make the afterlife?
Reincarnation occurs when spirits have “unfinished business” within the realm of the living, like unpaid debts or unresolved trauma.
While accessing the afterlife was preferred to reincarnation, reincarnation was still better than the third option, which awaited SOME spirits.
Spirits deemed “bad” by guardians of the spirit world remained lost in the realm of the living! Bodies of bad spirits weren't buried properly, signaling to guardians of the afterlife to leave them trapped in our realm.
The decision for a community to not bury someone properly wasn’t made lightly. Trapping a spirit interrupts the cycle of life as all living things are connected.
Many Africans strove to live “good lives” in preparation to becoming “good ancestors” in the afterlife. This sacred role was seen as a high honor, for ancestors are responsible for the entire life cycle’s continuation.
Eventually, we all die – will you be able to say that you exercised care, kindness, loyalty, and love throughout your life, and thus move on to the afterlife?
We should all aim to live lives that will allow us to become ancestors – future generations of Black people will need our guidance on their journey towards Black liberation!
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