Why is it important to explore traditional Igbo concepts that are considered to be Taboo?
There are many reasons including:
- Freedom from fear and shame
- Self confidence through identity
- Awakening your Creativity
- Empowerment through Authenticity
Just to keep things short I will discuss two of these benefits:
Self confidence through identity and freedom from fear and shame
Number 1. Self-confidence through identity
Imagine a world where Africa stops fearing, demonizing, fetishizing it’s past, and begins to look at it with eyes wide open; freely taking elements of it’s past and laughing about it, crying about it, chatting about it…putting it on their key chains, and bumper stickers and backpacks.
Did the Salem witch trials stop Americans from creating the show “Sabrina the Teenage witch?”What progressive culture do you know that has ever been so terrified of their past that they pretend it didn’t happen…I’ll wait. The answer is none!
Even America, no matter how much they say slavery and racism does not exist, they still acknowledge it was their past and are making conscious decisions about how to deal with it and even incorporate it into their framework. Why? Because doing so is part of their identity, and feeling shame about any part of your human identity denigrates your humanity and diminishes your self confidence.
Acceptance is key to the psychology of recovery, because it re-establishes a sense of accountability in the individual, and empowers them to take responsibility of their own actions.
So, accepting our heritage wholesale without attaching excessive emotional bias to it one way or another, will give you a sense of empowerment that will be exponentially beneficial to your sense of self.
Number 2. Freedom from fear and shame
Fear kills relationships, opportunities, morale and chronic fear destroys your quality of life.
Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self, withdrawal motivations, and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.
The two emotions exist solely in the mind, and are linked to many addictions and other mental illnesses.
Science teaches us that fear and shame can be changed by changing the association.
Psychology Today has a great article online called 5 Ways to Silence Shame. Some things listed include:
- Acknowledge the shame
- Analyze what you are feeling and compare it to what you really should be feeling
- Know the difference between what you do and who you are
Changing the association of what you fear and are ashamed of, can be very instrumental to accepting Africa’s past. If you stop associating Africa’s indigenous symbols with something to be ashamed of, like witch craft and devil worship, and start associating with them something like a curiosity or scientific discovery, you will find a greater sense of pride in your heritage.
Much of Western scientific symbols and language comes from occultic symbols. Using symbols to pay homage to the past are not the same as engaging in worship of those symbols.
It is all about reframing your mind. So, looking your ancestors square in the eyes through education and reframing your beliefs about who they are and what that says about you is key to empowerment.
When we run away from concepts such as Odinani, Osu, Ogbanje, Amadioha and so on, we are effectively refusing to deal with their implications and shying away from using our thinking faculty as human beings. All progressive societies advanced through transforming their understanding of the world around them through education and reasoning. Let us begin to ask questions about these symbols from our past and use them to design our future.