An Elder Blessing in Guinea
January 5th, 2018

I’ve just returned from a three-week trip to Guinea, West Africa with one of my teachers and good friends, Mohamed DaCosta.  Mohamed got married over what was Christmas holiday weekend for Christians, although it’s not much celebrated in Guinea as it’s predominantly a Muslim country.  There were three days of ceremonies, gatherings and celebrations for the wedding, with all the family members very involved in the planning and preparations.  I was able to attend most of the events with some other American friends who were on the trip, and we were always given prime seating at the very front of each gathering.

There was a party called a sabar that was just for the women; there was a religious ceremony in the bride’s family courtyard; there was a short legal ceremony with a lot of humor in a really hot government hall; and there was an enormous traditional ceremony in a big park with hundreds of people, lots of food, a band and a famous praise-singer.  It was all exciting, colorful, and joyous.

During the religious ceremony there were praise singers, drummers, and a DJ all performing.   There was a period of time when Mohamed and Aida sat on a big plush couch and family members and friends took turns coming to them with blessings and good wishes.  We ‘fotes’ (whites) were seated in a prominent place just behind the couch with other family members.  As unusual as all these raucous energies were for my expectations of a wedding, there was a moment that reminded me of the universal experience in every culture of life being passed on.  One of Aida’s grandmothers came to the couch and stood in front of Aida, and without a word, pressed her hands together in front of her heart and smiled, then took Aida’s hands.  Aida started to cry, and I could feel the flow of the ancestors coming through this beautiful elderly lady and blessing Aida and the marriage, and the children they hoped would come from it.  It was as if Grandmother was saying, “I understand.  I sat once where you’re sitting.  You’re at the beginning of this road, and I’m near the end, and I see you.  I’ll be with you.  I’m close to those on the other side, and I feel them smiling and sending their blessings through me to you.  May you be happy.”

The moment reminded me of the fleeting experiences that sometimes arise in constellations when a person glimpses the soul agreements they’ve made to be in a particular relationship, and to be born into a group of souls that forms a family.  There’s a stillness and expansive space that opens up, and a sense of peace to be able to come to acceptance with the particular ways life has moved through the ancestors and come to us.  It’s like stepping into a deep, fast-moving river and knowing that even though the current is strong, it’s just the place one can best stand with confidence and clarity.  I felt honored to be so close to this sacred moment that Aida shared with her grandmother.

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