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The Kongo Cosmogram
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Visible and Invisible Existence: How  the Human Life Cycle Is Marked

There are many ways to look at Tendwa Nza Kongo, Dikenga, or Yowa, the symbol some call  the Kongo Cosmogram. It is ancient and the foundation of many systems of philosophy and culture. It can be found in the Americas as the Medicine Wheel and in the Mandala's of  Tibetan Buddhism as well as in the hermetic system of the Tarot. The Kongo Cosmogram  is  a universal glyph, a  map of  the crossroad between the spiritual and material worlds.
 
For a first look we will use the Kongo Cosmogram as a key to uncode the  basic *labels* or the stereotypes which act as negative genotypes in American culture, images that have imprisoned  aspects of the Soul in the descendants of Africans who disembarked into slavery in North America.
 
KALA- (Ki-kongo name- Black like charcoal)
CHILDHOOD-  what is is birthed what has come into manifestation in the physical realm. In the language of the American South here we find the African child. There are names for the children that you will recognize such as “Topsy”, who Jes Grew, latter we would see Buckwheat and Stymie.  Oral tradition says the word pickanniny came from saying that the small children were  too young to pick any*  cotton.  The signature of the Pickanniny being the “buds ” the beginning of  locks and  short African style  braided hair.  PICKANNINY
 
TU-KULA ( Ki-kongo name, red like camwood paste- make-up)
ADULT -this part of life begins with puberty and lasts  for the female throughout her reproductive cycle or menses. For the male it is the peak period of his physical strength. In the period of enslavement it represented  peak productivity of the adult life cycle.  GAL & BUCK
 
LUVEMBA-(KiKongo name, white or grey like the elders hair)
ELDER -this is the menopausal years of the female and the slowing down of the male. The male cycle of child bearing ends in this portion of the life cycle.  The older people were no longer physically able to produce the same amounts of work. They needed more rest or a different type of work as their bodies began to age and change. The natural signal for this stage was the greying of the hair. AUNTIE  & UNCLE
 
MUSONI (Kikongo Name- to mark, or encode associated with the color yellow) 
ANCESTORS -these are the DEAD. The spirits who sit UNDER the door between the worlds or the Kalunga line. They are the basis of the gene pool. For African's in Amerikka this point would be personified as  the lineage founders Mammy and Ol' Black Joe those who were born in Africa but died in America.  HAINTS or SPOOKS 
 
One can see using the key of the Kongo Cosmogram how the stereotypical forms were  formed and then used  as part of a directed ritual of  disrespect  toward  our  enslaved African Ancestors. They ran away from the familiar and family Spirits of their own genetic make-up into the worship of a foreign WHITE savior.
 
 
1: White is unstable, it is the absence of color and absorbs the color  yellow from the EMS over time. (White hair, teeth, cloth all become yellowed, see the Lukumi fable of Oshun's one white dress)

2:  The African Dead aka Spirits or Ghosts were what POPPED OPEN the eyes of the Coon or  Fool of the enslavement period. He was shown running AWAY from his Spirits (*feet don't fail me now...*) in the early skits of the *ministrel show*. This vignette carried over into early film and was grafted onto the negative COON IMAGE.

See: African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo- Fu Kiau
 
 
 

 
 
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