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?