“There is a deep longing among people in the West to connect with something bigger — with community and spirit. People know there is something missing in their lives, and believe that the rituals and ancient ways of the village offer some answers.”
These are the simple yet deeply poignant words of author, teacher and activist, Sobonfu Somé —one of the foremost voices in African spirituality to come to west. Destined from birth to teach the ancient wisdom, ritual and practices of her ancestors to those in the West, Sobonfu, whose name means “keeper of the rituals” travels the world on a healing mission sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native land Burkina Faso, which ranks as one of the world’s poorest countries yet one of the richest in spiritual life and custom.
Recognized by the village elders as possessing special gifts from birth, Sobonfu’s destiny was foretold before her birth, as is the custom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso and was fostered by early education in ritual and initiation in preparation for her life’s work. “My work is really a journey in self discovery and in building community through rituals,” says Sobonfu. Dagara rituals involve healing and preparing the mind, body, spirit and soul to receive the spirituality that is all around us. “It is always challenging to bring the spiritual into the material world, but it is one of the only ways we can put people back in touch with the earth and their inner values.”
It is this reliance on spirit, community and ritual that has allowed Sobonfu’s personal and professional path to become one. Since the beginning of her journey in the West Sobonfu has traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe, conducting workshops on spirituality, ritual, the sacred and intimacy. Her work has moved African spiritual practices from the realm of anthropology, to a place alongside the world’s great spiritual tradition, with a message of profound significance and practical application in the lives of Westerners.
Sobonfu has written two books, “The Spirit of Intimacy” (William Morrow) and “Welcoming Spirit Home” (New World Library), her newest offering which draws on rituals and practices involving community, birth miscarriage and children.
Filled with grace and eloquence, Sobonfu possesses a charm and modesty that enables her to touch her audience deeply. Her message about the importance of spirit, community and ritual in our lives rings with an intuitive power and truth that Alice Walker has said “can help us put together so many things that our modern western world has broken.”
(bio source: http://www.sobonfu.com)
Watch Below: Sobonfu Somé describes how letting our guard down can lead to greater intimacy in our relationships.
Book to Hang out With
The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships
Somé generously applies the subtle knowledge from her West African culture to the West. Simply and beautifully, she reveals the role of spirit in every marriage, friendship, relationship, and community. She shares ancient ways to make our intimate lives more fulfilling and secure and offers powerful insights into the “illusion of romance,” divorce, and loss. Her important and fascinating lessons from the heart include the sacred meaning of pleasure, preparing a ritual space for intimacy, and the connection between sex and spirituality. Her ideas are intuitively persuasive, provocative, and healing–and supported by sound practical advice, along with specific rituals and ceremonies based on those used for thousands of years. With this book, the spiritual insights of indigenous Africa take their place alongside those of native America, ancient Europe, and Asia as important influences on Western readers.
A renowned, respected teacher and mentor to thousands, Sobonfu Somé is one of the first and foremost voices of African spirituality to come to the West. Somé was born in Dano, Burkina Faso, a remote West African village with a population of about two hundred people. Dano has preserved the old ways of African village life, with family structures, spiritual practices, and methods of living that have been in place for more than ten thousand years. In The Spirit of Intimacy, Somi distills the ancient teachings and wisdom of her native village to give insight into the nature of intimate relationships.