Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eboni Joy Asiatic Introduces You To The 14th Degree's Interactive Cipher... This blog's for you...

“The 14th Degree and Beyond, Inc. is dedicated to furthering and nurturing the strength of Original Women and children by sponsoring, facilitating, and educating, through classes, publications, and events, throughout the community…"

(Articles of Incorporation, 2001)



Peace Family!

Oh where to begin… I’m Eboni Joy Asiatic, one of four members of The 14th Degree and Beyond Inc.’s not-for-profit Board of Directors and magazine’s staff. The staff of the Original Thought Meta-Zine asked us to bond with them in order to elevate the Black woman’s collective consciousness, strengthen our bonds, and destroy the tension. So, this blogspot has been established for you, not just to read, but for us to openly converse with each other on issues affecting us as original women – so-called women of color, sistas of the Afrikan Diaspora, the true Asiatics – for us to share in our ideals on how to be better mothers to our young, better wives/Earths to our men, better at keeping house, more skilled at holistic health practices, more apt to adopt refined diets, build a support system for each other, evolve as community builders, and do all of this by empowering each other through the expression of our own original thoughts – those that are distinctly female oriented! My fellow staffers – SciHonor Devotion, Victorious Lanasia, and Queen Civilized Zag – voted me, to my own chagrin (smile), to be the first to spark a build on this here forum, and I will be moderating the board this week until the 31st of the month, and so… this blog’s for you!

Ideally, you’ve already read our home page about who we – The 14th Degree – are and what we represent as a collective, so I’ll just give a brief introduction of myself before I spark this collective conversation. Since we always feel the need to categorize each other, I’ll say that I have been reppin’ the Nation of Gods and Earths for more than 11 years, however, I don’t confine myself to that school of thought or organization alone. My ideals have been shaped and activism heavily influenced, dating back to childhood, by Islam and the NOI, Black Panthers, Atheism, the MOVE Organization, Pan Afrikanism, Black Nationalism, Socialism, Anarchists, Taoism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, the FTP Movement and more. I consider myself to be a staunch humanitarian, a minimally productive community activist and organizer, an animal rights activist, and a half-assed vegan. I am without question, an early childhood development specialist, educator, holistic health practitioner, social commentator, poet, rebellious daughter, dedicated auntie, nurturing Godmother, loyal sister, loving Queen, and mother of civilization in more ways than one. While I’m at it, let’s keep it all the way live – I’m that no-holds-barred kinda sista who attracts with my directness and passion, as much as I repel when some confuse those traits with being tactless and overly emotional. So, although I will strive to be on my bestest behavior (lol) – here’s my disclaimer – these words are my own, so find no blame in my fellow staffers. As the intent of us all will never be to offend, degrade, embarrass or hinder. Still, brace yourself, and be as open, honest, forward and direct as I know I’m gonna be… but, as I, do it in love… understanding the intent and purpose is ALWAYS to awaken minds, broaden horizons and bridge gaps!

So, enough about me already… good grief!

These labels we place on each other, these boxes we put each other in, we do it based on our individual perspectives gained through observation and experience. However, we – well, let me speak for self – I find that I don’t always consider how another defines herself. I may condemn a sista for coming in the name of “Earth” when she doesn’t fit into my ideal or standard of what it is to BE an Earth. Heck, even to say that that ideal IS a standard teeters the border of self-centeredness. But, I don’t stop to think that her definition of “Earth” ain’t necessarily like mine. I hear a lot of us, sistas who supposedly look like me – with the natural hairstyles, cosmetic free, vegetarian/vegans, in the colorful floor-length skirts and modest blouses – criticize sistas for how they look – wearing shorts, short skirts, or shirts that flaunt their ta-tas, straightening their hair, wearing make-up, rocking tongue rings. But does how a sista dress, wears her hair, and makes-up her body (be it with cosmetics or ornaments) TRULY define her character, her intellect, her righteousness, her civility, and whether or not she is an active participant in the salvation of the Black family? This question is not rhetorical!

In fact, of these desirables (and please, in your response, don’t hesitate to define them as you see them) – to be of good character, intelligent, righteous, civilized, and a community builder – which, if any, is the most important… which, if any, will bring the most relief to our aid? And in considering the answer to these questions, keep in mind that I said “our”, meaning the collective, the whole of original peoples of the Afrikan Diaspora.

I point this out, that I’m speaking about us as a collective, because our responsibility as women is all too often relegated to our Kingdom/Queendom (our individual homes) and our immediate families. Even for my fellow Earths of the NGE, we call ourselves “Nation Builders” – building for the benefit of those who come in the name of Allah, rather than for the Universal Black Family. When our lesson, the Student Enrollment, states that “the Original Man” is “God of the Universe”. And when we take on the title Earth, we are consciously deciding to reflect the righteous Black man who has knowledge of himself, his origins in this world, and his responsibility to man, woman and child. So, in reflecting him, I always considered my responsibility to be to the Universal Black Family, rather than the mere confines of my/our respective households, the men we lay down with, the brothers and sisters we share parentage with, and the babies we carried in our womb.

So, the question I’ve been leading up to, the conversation I want to REALLY spark is – what is the woman’s role in community activism and organizing, in universal building, in teaching the youth whom we did not birth and getting back to the basics of “it takes a village to raise a child”, in reaching and teaching sisters who may not look like us on the outside but have the same potential as us when it comes to taking action (also, learning from them and welcoming correction as well), in respecting, nurturing and loving our brothas even if they are not our “man”, in breaching the threshold of our adopted nations, organizations or schools of thought in order to reach, teach, uplift, train, organize and move/motivate to action the people in the streets, the folks who do not have “knowledge of self”, the folks who don’t even have any concept of character, intelligence, righteousness, civility, nor community building regardless of their outward appearance, those who are the most endangered of species (Black boys, Black youth), those who are the most in need of the healing powers of The Earth, so that – as one of my favorite poets, Margaret Walker, said – “a race of MEN now rise and take control”???

I look forward to the exchange!

Eboni Joy


Valerie said...

Peace! Great article! I have a question... can a woman get a man to become righteous? If so, how does that woman get that man to get knowledge of self?

Valerie said...

And also, what exactly is knowledge of self to you? If I have knowledge of who I am, am i wrong for trying to teach a blackman who is is and to let him know how much light I need?

The 14th Degree and Beyond said...

Peace Valerie,

Thanks for the positive feedback, energy is real and positive energy is reinforcement for us to keep doing what we do!

I don't believe anyone, man or woman, can get another to become righteous. A person has to be receptive to the knowledge presented to them, thirsty to learn more, channel the strength of will be a better person in regards to their character and endeavors, and work toward becoming selfless in their acts. This is what righteousness means to me (it may mean something different to you or another), and so although I do see these as being traits or patterns any person has the potential to learn, as a realist I know that everyone will not have the fortitude nor desire to adopt all of the above into their lives. Not because they can't, but because they choose not to.

If a brotha has the desire to know better and do better, and the knowledge you share with him, the wisdom you display to him, the understanding and patience you show him can certainly inspire and motivate him to be a better man - a righteous man. But righteousness is based on conscious intentions and deeds, and since you cannot think for him nor act for him only he can choose that path for himself.

You also asked "what exactly is knowledge of self" to me? First let me say that if you're speaking the truth and what you're teaching is right and exact then how could that be wrong? At the same time, we are not all qualified to teach, and those who are qualified are never qualified to teach all things. Feel me? We all have our specialties, and sometimes we just don't have enough knowledge or experience to attract someone to our school of thought or way of life; we may not be able to explain our point of view in a manner that our audience will be receptive. And so that doesn't mean they don't want to learn, it means they aren't gettin' what you're saying, they're not able to process the knowledge based on the way we're teaching it. Does that make sense?

"Knowledge of self" is a relative term. Since knowledge can be infinitely gained, we exist in a perpetual state of gaining knowledge of who we are - strengthening our character in the process. If a person thinks they know all there is to know about themself then they are gonna be one stagnant mickey fickey. So in regards to the brotha, show and prove through action Queen. Actions DO speak loude than words, and people often think when a person initially comes into new information and are just refining their way of life that it's a fad. So you'll have to remain steadfast in being the Queen that you KNOW you are... and ideally, the people who come in contact with you are inspired by that and consciously strive to, as I said above, know better and do better.

I'm willful my answers brought you some understanding Sis! Again, thanks for your support!

If you need clarity on anything stated please don't hesitate to ask.

Peace Queen!
Eboni Joy Asiatic

Valerie said...

Peace Eboni Joy Asiatic! Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer me. I have to say that I am so happy this section is available!!! I do have another question/thought... speaking of refining myself... Although as time goes by I'm finding that I no longer want to show off my legs in the summer and wear the jeans I love so much! LOL How do you see 3/4ths? I see it as a righteous act.. being modest and not presenting myself "body-first"... I don't always wrap my head... matter of fact.. I very rarely do... although in time as I want to "live my live like its golden" :-) does this matter within The Nation of Gods and Earths?

The 14th Degree and Beyond said...

Peace Queen... you are very welcome!

Well, like I asked in the blog, does a woman's dress determine her righteousness? As stated in my initial response, to me righteousness is (1) being receptive to knowledge (2) thirsty to learn more (3) applying what one knows to be right and exact, making them a better person in character and endeavors, and (4) work toward becoming selfless in ones acts (do for others without expectation).

*Do the knowledge to Buddhism's Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path to understand my idea of righteousness better.*

This isn't the end all be all of righteousness, but it's the basis for how I define it when it comes to myself.

The way a person dresses can reflect the knowledge that a person has and/or the tradition of their culture. But it has nothing to do with a person's deeds - what someone gives to and does for the improvement and mental elevation of others.

Many sistas dress in 3/4ths because that is what's expected of them, but they still fall victim to lust, jealousy, hatred and anger, greed, distrust, selfishness and more. Many sistas dress unrefined, yet their actions are honorable, selfless, responsible, just and true.

Righteous and Refined are two differnet things, they CAN coincide, but one does not always accompany the other. To me, dressing modestly is refined, not necessarily righteous.

As for the NGE, yes, the Nation of Gods and Earths is in full support of sisters dressing modestly in 3/4ths of cloth. Though, the idea of what exactly is 3/4ths varies from person to person. At the 10-24 Earth Conference held in June 2007, the elder Earths defined what the traditional 3/4ths of cloths for Earths entailed - skirts that draped below the calf, blouses that went to the elbow, if wearing pants sisters wore blouses that draped below their butt cheeks, and if wearing a tank top or tank dress they wore a shawl covering their shoulders, if a sister wore clothing that didn't quite cover 3/4ths of her body then she wore a headwrap to complete the covering. Earths traditionally wear headwraps outside of the home, however, it is not mandatory.

Please know that no matter how you dress you are presenting yourself in the physical first, because no one can peer into your mind. So, initially, we all "judge the book by its cover" (packaging is a sales tactic) however those who are not superficial, before pre-determining to discard it, will open the book to learn about and ideally from its contents.

With that... please continue to add on and share in your ideas freely!

Peace Sis,
Eboni Joy

Valerie said...

Peace Sis,

Will do.. I have more questions to come..:-)