This is our second Local Body Spotlight on Black Sun Lodge and our second LBS on diversity initiatives within the Order. It was written by a member of the Lodge and is timely for the season as Kwanzaa starts tomorrow, December 26.
Kwanzaa is a celebration in the U.S. and in other areas impacted by the African diaspora. It is in part, about rebalancing human dignity with local and global communities.
The concept of “Pillar of Community” was coined at Black Sun Lodge, originating with their local body master and is also aligned with Agape in Action.
I had given the project of a Kwanzaa Ritual a lot of thought before and afterwards. It was actually disheartening to realize, while researching, that the celebration is in a sharp decline amongst African-American communities overall, with the exception of a few major cities. In some of my online communities of African-American Pagans, I would find one or two enthusiastic persons who felt inspired to pick the tradition back up as well. As a whole, however, people have forgotten how hard previous generations fought to see equality finally catch up in the latter half of last century. As if none of the hard-fought liberties could ever go away.
I found it ironic, given at the time what was about to be in store for our nation, and what we are going through right now and for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, I saw an opportunity to celebrate Kwanzaa’s 50th Anniversary and integrate it into my own practices. I shared my idea with members of Black Sun Lodge, and they encouraged me to share this as a public ritual.
The core of the celebration, for me, served as a reminder to live by our doctrines and the oaths I have taken, both within the Order and within myself, and that words can only go so far without action and commitment. Those of us who attended readily agreed that we should hold a Kwanzaa ritual every year. This provides an opportunity for guests and members to experience and appreciate diverse, cultural beliefs that are in alignment with our own tenets on θηλεμα and Αγαπε.
Inspired by Maulana Karenga’s Pan-African holiday and by Black Sun’s pillar of Community, I reviewed the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and adjusted them with our Thelemic values in mind:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. One Family, One Community, One Nation, One Race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as individuals and as a community, as well as to create and speak for ourselves, individually and as a community.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and support our brothers and sisters as we solve our own Mysteries, and find solutions together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together, while inspiring other magical communities to do the same.
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to exhault our Divinity within each and every one of us.
Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our individual and unified struggles.
Written by a member of Black Sun Lodge.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U.S. Grand Lodge or of O.T.O.