Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sacred Woman

If Crazy Sexy Diet was written by Erykah Badu, Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit by Queen Afua would be it. Where Crazy Sexy Diet is written in magazine-style, Sacred Woman is a manual of how to self-heal the female body focussing on the womb. Why start with healing at the womb? Queen Afua believes that beginning with the womb helps to heal the world of its problems as well as the spiritual, physical, and emotional body of the woman. The book really gave me an insight into the spirituality of Erykah Badu who is one of my favourite singers/artists and an observer of the ancient Khemitic (Egyptian faith). (Listen to the Baduism Live album where she talks about the ankh, ancient Khemitic symbol for life.) She is also listed as a 'Sacred Beauty Contemporary' in Sacred Woman and has a quote praising the book on the first page. (Erykah Badu is also licensed as a Holistic Health Practitioner which follows the "professional footsteps" of Queen Afua and precedes those of Crazy Sexy Diet author Kris Carr.)

What do these 3 women have in common? Holistic health practitioners.

Like Crazy Sexy Diet, Sacred Woman focuses on the foods we eat (mostly raw vegan is recommended, although Queen Afua does not use this term), juicing, cleansing, colonics, meditation at an altar, and yoga. At first, I wondered if Kris Carr rewrote Sacred Woman as Crazy Sexy Diet because her tips were so similar to those of Queen Afua. Sacred Woman was quite dense and detailed and, at times, I felt a bit lost wondering what exactly was the bigger picture. This book is like a whole course on Africentric (more specifically Khemitic) spirituality, womb healing, nutrition, and alternative healing practices. Queen Afua uses an instructive, very prescriptive, and disciplined plan (she recommends rising at 4 to 6 am everyday to begin the healing program) that is a series of 9 Gateways of Initiation to be completed over several weeks for each one. One may interpret this book as trying to convert one to practice a particular religion, yet on page 133 Queen Afua depicts how women of nine faiths (Christianity, Yoruba, Nubian/Khamitic, Rastafari, Islam, Hari Krishna, Hebrew Israelite, Buddhism, and Aboriginal) may find a connection to this text. Sacred Woman is very specific with such things as the elements, oils, prayers, colour visualizations, and herbal tonics designed for each gateway. Other more general practices which apply to all the gateways include libations, prayers, fire breaths, and chants. I did not read the entire book but stopped at page 137 since Queen Afua devoted the next 225 pages of very detailed rituals, recipes, homeopathic, and herbal recommendations for each Gateway. Each Gateway has creative suggestions that I like too for literature, movement, music, and even hairstyles to celebrate the woman. I find many of her suggestions helpful but it is a lot to wrap my head around. This healing plan does have some proven effectiveness since it shrunk the uterine fibroids of A. Breeze Harper, the author of Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society. Click here to listen to her speak about how Sacred Woman helped her. There is some "taken for granted"-ness in Sacred Woman that the reader fully understands Queen Afua's healing philosophy. It feels a lot like getting a textbook for a course that you know bits and pieces about without having an instructor to guide you through. Nevertheless, I am interested in reading more Queen Afua books like Heal Thyself which I thought Sacred Woman was when I first bought it in Harlem. Perhaps, a re-read or comparison of other works will help me to gain a better understanding.

Coming Up Next: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food by Gene Baur and God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection by Jeff Levin, Ph.D.

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