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Birth in African Spirituality

In African spirituality birth is regarded as the beginning of a new lifecycle whereas a spirit has decided to reincarnate on Earth again. This spirit comes with a life purpose to fulfill, which is the reason why our date of birth isn’t considered a coincidence. It’s believed that the planetary constellation at the time of birth influences our path. We are given many lifetimes and chances to fulfil things on Earth within the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Picture: @osengwa

Birth itself is regarded as a spiritual process. The woman is accessing a level of inner power that enables her to spiritually transcend higher by creating and manifesting new life. Therefore midwives and doulas can play an important role in guiding the moms towards an energetic peaceful environment for birth, which reduces physical and emotional stress. Hypnobirthing is another way of keeping anxiety and fear at bay. It’s a self-hypnosis method that encourages birthing mothers to use words like “waves” or “surges”, instead of contractions while using visualizations, positive affirmations, and breathing techniques.

Children are considered to be very connected to the spiritual realm as they have just arrived. The Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso has a tradition where the child can spend its first years with grandparents. They believe the child carries information from the spiritual realm which the grandparents might soon leave to join. Before the birth of the child they organize a ritual where things like the child’s future character and preferences are analyzed so that the community can prepare in supporting the child in the best way possible.

The arrival of a new soul is highly celebrated in many African cultures with Name giving ceremonies. A name is considered to have the power to shape one's life and it can carry the energy of the person they’re named after. Names are chosen with consideration, bearing in mind the purpose and vision the parents see for their child.

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