“Mom can you tell me about the initiation process again?” Mbara asked in her sweetest little girl voice.
Nalah Heru looked down and smiled upon her beautiful ebony-skinned daughter prompting her on with her soft pouty lips.
Nalah smiled and said “Of course my dear. I,” Nalah Heru began her testimonial, ”was only five years old when I first participated in an initiation.”
“Five just like me huh mama!” Mbara exclaimed.
“Yes sweetheart, it was not my own but my mother Daura’s. The Rainforest was particularly quiet that night. Grandma once said that it was out of respect for the initiation that the animals stayed silent. Deep within the Congo, in a place where even the sunlight could not penetrate the earth at noon, the ceremony commenced. With wide curious brown eyes I had marveled at the dress of the priestesses. The silk rococo designs sparkled in the candlelight. My own gown of silken wrapped cowry shells glowed against my ebony complexion. The ivory scepter that the high priestess yielded was intricately craved with images of the Sirius Star System. Grandma said it was given as a blessing to our people, the Tikar, 500 years ago by the Dogon as we migrated through their towns.”
Mbara sat upon the stool swinging her legs back and forth with anticipation. “Did grandma look beautiful?” She asked innocently.
“Grandma was gorgeous in her ruby red slip, diamonds from grandpa’s mine were sewn along the seams. The alter were grandma laid was placed over the black still primordial waters, the golden rods, supported her at at her shoulders, lower back, and ankles. The golden diadem which crowned her head reflected brilliantly in the waters.”
“What happened next?” Mbara almost whined.
“The priestesses,” Nalah Heru continued, “and the other initiates began the Hymn of Ur. Their deep throaty voices, which sounded heavenly to me, reverberated throughout the forested cove and through my chest. The still waters had began to tremble and grandma, overwhelmed by the experience, shed a tear which created a ripple in the waters.”
“The next part is my favorite part,” Mbara interrupted.
“Why is that my dear?” Nalah asked.
Mbara’s face glowed “because this part has magic!” She crooned.
“Do you want to tell the rest of the story?” Nalah questioned. “No, No,” Mbara made clear, “I like when you tell it.”
“Ok, Well stop interrupting so much unless you have a serious question” Nalah warned. Mbara nodded her head in understanding and then turned up her almond shaped eyes to signal she was ready to hear the rest of the story. “As if possessed by Amen,” Nalah continued, “Daura raised herself up off of her rods and floated over the stilled waters until she faced the priestesses, who dropped to their knees in worship.
“I am Ausar,” Daura’s body revealed.
“Certainly you are your grace, and we are your humble servants,” chimed the priestesses.
“Whenever an initiate truly masters their training,” Nalah recalled, “Ausar will descend into their bodies for a spell. One was considered lucky to witness the descent in their lifetime. Of every 1300 initiates, only one would come forth as Ausar. Questions, mainly of the future are asked of the omniscient spirit,” Nalah gave more context to maximize understanding of the importance of the occurrence.
“I know that you all have many questions,” Ausar stated, “Daura’s daughter Nalah Heru will ask the first question.
“Nalah stepped forward and bowed before Ausar before dropping to her knees as the priestesses had done moments ago, then stated “I am your humble servant your grace, my question is, what is the purpose of the initiation?”
“My darling Nalah Heru,” Ausar responded, “the initiation is for you. For there is a day on the horizon when the original woman will not know herself. She will struggle with her identity as she looks upon herself through the eyes of others. She will try an emulate the traits of alien- women. She will forget about the Goddess, weakening her in the process. She will raise up an alien god. In doing so, she will open the doorway to her own self-destruction. The initiation is to ensure that our knowledge will be passed down through the ages so that women can always find the path to remembrance.”
Nalah rose and bowed her thanks.
Ausar sensed that the lower priestess had a burning question, “yes Priestess Gura, you may ask your question.”
“Your Glory,” Gura acknowledged Ausar, “you revealed that the day is near when woman will forget themselves. How can we protect the initiation?”
“You must at all times recruit and deliver initiates up to me,” Ausar replied. “There are alien nations that will attempt to erase your memories, adopt your accomplishments, negate your ways, and decimate your numbers. You must at all cost continue the initiation throughout the Maafa (great disaster). It is the only way to ensure the knowledge survives.”
The hem of the gold studded turquoise robe of the middle priestess fell into the waters, causing rippling waves to disrupt the stillness, and she felt her permission to speak. “Your majesty, is there a way to avoid the Maafa?”
“No,” Ausar’s voiced boomed. “You will all be affected detrimentally in some way. The least affected will be those who continue to uproot themselves. Just as your ancestors were exiled from upper Kemet, invasions will continue to deform our spiritual centers. Alien peoples and their alien gods will destroy your settlements and capture your people. Keep your possessions light and portable.”
“And that is why we continue to move every few years, Mbara,” Nalah reiterated. “That was the same advice that was given to one of your greatest grandmothers, Nalah Auset, 1000 years ago. For 1000 years, our village has been moving from place to place, staying a few years in each space before uprooting ourselves and migrating further inland.”
“Mama, when will I be initiated...” Mbara began but was interrupted by the town crier’s urgent announcement.
“The city of Batanu has been invaded,” the crier cried, “the aliens come forward from the coast.”
By the evening, every family had packed their belongings. They would dismantle their huts and head further inland at dawn.
Nalah’s father is the head scout. For two years the scouts had surveyed the surroundings and found few new areas ripe for their next temporary settlement.
It took the invading aliens three months to find the abandoned village. The only remaining structure was the emptied pantry. The grounds were overgrown with weeds and the paths nearly invisible to the untrained eye.