Many hours of my day are filled with immense reflections, observation, mental notes and analysis, and just a whole bunch of thoughts! I blame it on my Aquarian imagination and air sign tendencies. So much of what I observe draws me in deeply.
One thing that has always intrigued me is how people express their love and appreciation for God, the divine, or their spiritual deities in the form of constant spiritual practices centered around devotion and appreciation, or bhakti.
Ceremonies, rituals, and all kinds of spiritual events occur around the world where hundreds of candles are beautifully lit, thousands of flower petals nicely adorned on altars, incenses burn strong and sweetly, prayers and empowering words are said, and fruit or carefully prepared foods and dishes are not eaten but offered as a sign of a follower’s gratitude — all an energetic exchange that says, ‘thank you, i love you’.
I’ve always thought of it as beautiful, but that concept of an energetic exchange didn’t really hit me until a little while ago when I came across the documentary, May I Enter, a story of a European woman’s spiritual quest in Brazil and her search for meaning and understanding of who she is spiritually. She wanted to learn more about herself and her deities and/or guides, and many readings and rituals were performed — one of which was a bhakti-centered ritual where she made beautiful offerings to show her love for Spirit and, in a sense of exchange, to ask to know herself more. It was like she took a step towards God in hopes that God would take a step closer to her — at least that’s how my mind registered it. I didn’t take it as “you have to do something for God in order to get something in return” but rather, you show your true intentions and put energy and/or effort towards what you want to create.
After all, actions will always speak louder than words.
I also saw it as a way of building a foundation for a relationship with God, as well as a new kind of relationship with Self, where you are committed and devoted to your practices and constantly opening the way or creating space within yourself and your life through which Spirit can dwell and shine.
This observation has been empowering for me. Since then I’ve attempted to focus less on studying spirituality and thinking my way through everything, and more on practicing, doing, applying and allowing spiritual growth to happen and guide me in this life.
I recently said on Facebook that:
“Prayer is powerful not just because of what you get or manifest but because of the person it transforms you into… a person willing to look within, use their spiritual power, and immerse themselves in a cultivated relationship with the divine.”
I think that what is truly beautiful about all spiritual practices, especially all forms of bhakti, is how we are transformed by the experience these practices allow us to have.
The path is the practice.
Recommended articles by Gogo Thule Ngane:
- 3 African Proverbs to Live By
- Why We Honor The Ancestors
- Kundalini Awakening from an African Perspective
- Why The World Needs Healers
- 3 Morning Rituals to Empower and Enrich the Soul
- Darkness, Transformation, Cycles, and Rites of Passage
- 4 Ways to Listen When Your Body Speaks
About the author:
Gogo Thule Ngane is a Sangoma Traditional Healer, Priestess, and Medicine Woman. She is guided by the Amadlozi, Elevated Ancestors of her lineage. Her work includes divination, traditional healing, and leads workshops, ceremonies, and retreats on ancient African healing and spirituality. She is devoted to awakening ancestral wisdom on the earth.
Journey with Gogo at: