For those of African descent- Have you ever studied African spirituality?

I am of African descent and have always been interested in learning more about my roots and where my ancestors came from, including the spirituality of my ancestors. I am aware that in parts of the Carribean and South America, African spirituality is practiced, sometimes even under the guise of Catholic tradition. As I am aware that my own ancestry is the same as some of the populations who practice these traditions, I would like to learn more about the spirituality behind the practices. I think my current understanding of it may be tainted by somewhat prejudicial views that actually come from my own Baptist upbringing and I want to understand what these spiritualities really are. I know what the limits are when it comes to actually practicing certain aspects of said spiritualities- but I also would like to understand where those aspects come from, if they really are what the spirituality is at its root, and how the deeper, underlying spirituality may inform some of the worldview and perspectives that I’ve learned from my family.

My question for anyone of African descent who’s walked this road is- what have you discovered? Are there aspects of the spirituality that have helped you understand your mindset, worldview, and beliefs better? Have you found anyone within the Church who was open to this kind of exploration and understanding? The dream is to have someone with whom I can have civil, open-minded conversations about traditions, culture, being of African descent in the Church, and the potential place of African spirituality vis a vis the Catholic faith…have any of you out there reading this found it?

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You go back far enough, you’ll find that all humans are of African descent. You can find a lot in Christianity, that originates in Northern Africa, in terms of spirituality. It’s not that these were co-opted from Pagan religions, that’s not true, but when you have people like Saint Anthony Egypt and Saint Augustine, you find that a lot of the spirituality and devotions that exist now in Catholic Christianity, originated in Africa. And remember, Africa’s a big continent, it’s not a single group, some Africans speak Arabic, some speak Niger Congo languages, some speak neither. I don’t know what specifically you’re African Heritage is, but I know here in the United States, where I live especially in the Southeast, most African descendants, African Americans, are descended from West Africans by way of the Caribbean, since here in South Carolina there was a good bit of slave trade between the Caribbean and here. That being said, I’m always impressed when people want to find out more about their own heritage, keep at it. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.

Hi iwillrisenowinfaith,
my children’s father is African ,I can share a little I know in a PM
God bless

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