The first thing that anyone interested in African spirituality should know is that it is one and the same as astrology. And vice versa. The concept of modern-day western astrology was actually derived from African spiritual systems. The idea of charting planetary movement and understanding how it impacts our day-to-day lives came from the ancient mystic schools of Egypt, the Dogon tribe of Benin, and many other African people groups.
In some circles, the term horoscope is said to come from the Egyptian god Horus. Among other African groups, Egyptians were the first to attribute the names of the zodiac signs to their gods and goddesses. Of course, the names of the deities (or planets) are different than the ones we use in western astrology. So Egyptian astrology looks a little different than western astrology. But the basic concepts are still the same.
In West African and diaspora traditions, we can easily see some parallels between our deities and the planets. Because the primary energetic pattern among the deities and planets is basically the same. For instance, we can easily correlate Ogun to Mars; Venus to Oshun; Mercury to Papa Legba, and so on.
However, understand that the energies have different attributes in each of the systems. The culture and history of the people group determine how the spirit or energy manifests. In some cultures, certain energies are hotter or cooler than their counterparts in other cultures. So, it isn’t as easy as saying that they are the exact same. Though, they do have many of the same attributes and can be easily synchronized with each other.
The Impact of Colonization and Slavery
The names and, in some cases, the attributes of many African deities were changed or skewed during colonization and slavery. They were replaced by Roman and Greek names, and the energies were recategorized as planets instead of deities. These acts have obviously made the concept of western astrology appear as a foreign, non-native system when it was primarily derived from the ancient wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors.
Sadly, much of the knowledge about our deities and how to chart and track their movement was lost through this process. As such, a great deal of their knowledge about these concepts is missing or scattered.
Most Africans in the diaspora were only able to hold onto bits and pieces of their traditions. Therefore, communication from the spirit realm is often translated through possession and other forms of divination in the diaspora. While the knowledge of charting planetary (or deity) movements is not implemented in some African spiritual systems to a major extent as it once was.
Integrating the Spiritual Systems
This is one reason why I talk about both subjects quite often. One of my goals in teaching about African spirituality is to integrate the dispersed knowledge of our ancestors. Doing so helps people throughout the African diaspora have more extensive knowledge of our ancient systems. It can likewise help us make better decisions according to the movement and phases of our deities.
Instead of being ignorant of, ignoring, or disrespecting astrological phenomena, we can use this knowledge to our benefit. This can be done in conjunction with the knowledge that we obtain through divination. In this case, we can make wiser, more resolute decisions that can impact our holistic well-being.
For instance, when Papa Legba (Mercury), Oshun (Venus), or Ogun (Mars) are in retrograde motion, we will know that it is not a good time to start new projects or certain types of ventures. We will have a better understanding that when the moon eclipses in the sign of Venus that an important relationship may come to a conclusion. And instead of mourning or questioning such events, we can rest assured that Mother Oshun removed this connection because it was not for our greatest good.
We will also know that the new moon is the best time to set intentions. And that the full moon cycle is the best time to release that which is no longer serving us. Connecting with the phases of the moon can also help us make more effective business and other life decisions. In essence, we will have greater access to the resources in our native toolkit to help us make more informed decisions when we understand the connection between astrology and African spirituality.
Combined with traditional forms of divination, integrating astrological knowledge can make you a spiritual powerhouse. You can learn deep-level secrets and wisdom that are specific to your situation by consulting a priest or priestess. Likewise, you can make sound, beneficial decisions through the use of astrological knowledge without having to consult anyone else. Marrying African spirituality with astrology can take your magic to the next level!