“I do not need to be amongst other people for validation, I am magic(k)al in my existence, solely.” -Princess Nokia
We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We pay gratitude for their continued communicative efforts with us, for their guidance through our spiritual discipline and their acts to ensure our return to them; our return to ourselves. Give thanks for our remembering. Ase.
There have been clips popping up on Instagram and Facebook of an interview Princess Nokia did at Brown University recently. The interview runs over an hour-long, with Destiny Frasqueri (Nokia) speaking on her childhood, the major influences for her live performances and most poignantly, her spirituality and how she came into her magick.
Princess Nokia has become recognized as putting brujx and conjure culture on the mainstream music map, reminding black and brown femmes, bois and queerdos to be unafraid of our whole selves and not give a fuck who likes it, but us. There’s a moment in the interview where the interviewer asks Destiny about solitude – or “spiritual solitude,” as Destiny calls it – and why she stresses its necessity.
Often a hard state to conceptualize, our highly connected and web-space savvy generation is often not allowed that time for solitude. Between notifications and emails and text messages and calls, the threat of turning off your phone to only incur an anxiety about disappointing others, often doesn’t feel worth the true quiet and mindful time we might otherwise have had.
Some of us who’ve found ourselves feeling at odds with a lot of the world, existing at the margins of the margins, will find solitude to be an old friend we deeply despised. Like that cousin or sibling you were forced to take around with you or babysit. Not your choice. Forced. Lonely. But as with all things, when we are able to make a choice about it, it reminds us of the control we should always have over our own lives; it feels good to be self-determining. To choose to step into solitude is far different from being placed into it.
Destiny recounts her youth as a lonely time; being weird and unique, and often not fitting in, she was relegated to solitude regularly. She said that she learned to really enjoy that alone time, especially because it allowed her the opportunity to begin building a relationship with the Orisha, Yemoja. This solitude wasn’t an expression of loneliness, but instead an expression of “spiritual discipline” required to receive and control ancestral communication.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés says in “Women Who Run With Wolves”: “After a period of practice, the cumulative effect of intentional solitude begins to act like a vital respiratory system, a natural rhythm of adding knowledge, making minute adjustments, and deleting the unusable over and over again. It is not only potent but pragmatic, for solitude lives low on the food chain; though it costs something in intention and follow-through, it can be done at anytime, in any place.”
Whether we are tuned into our favorite jams, reading a book, writing out our states of being, walking in a park or down the street, or intentionally sitting in silence, solitude is something that allows us to deconstruct our needs and wants and symbiosis them into desire–understanding that our needs and wants are not mutually exclusive, but instead, the same thing.
We are able to contemplate our current realities and parallel them to our dreams and passions. We are able to sit with and inside self such that we may engage in self-determined thought, unencumbered by the wants and needs (desires) of others. Choosing solitude, to enter these states of self-analysis, can often be the first step in practicing intentional self purpose.
“Solitude is an offering,” Destiny says, an offering (ebo) to the ancestors who walk with you daily. It is an offering of your time and your love, to them, in gratitude for their guidance. To get quiet with self is to open up your spirit to their conversation. This communication shows up in many ways; dreams, symbols, animals, weather, the elements and often through direct communication. Solitude allows us the opportunity to decipher the thoughts that are genuinely ours, the thoughts of others, and those that are the voices of our guides/ancestors speaking to us.
“Solitude, spiritual solitude, is a huge component in self evolution, and when you wanna evolve or you are evolving, regardless if you want to or not; like someone like myself who’s developing clairvoyant abilities by the age of 20, because that’s my genetic disposition as a Caribbean person. Just comes to you – it comes to you and you have to accept it. You can denounce it if you want, it’s gonna be a hard life after that though; you gonna be at odds with yourself,” says Princess Nokia.
As black and brown people, it is our birthright to engage in our ancestral practices, and that includes communication with our guides. And clairvoyance, as all things, sits on a spectrum–it is a communication with alternate dimensions that varies in individual expression and understanding of it. From two people wanting to call each other at the same time, to ‘knowing’ that someone cannot be trusted, to hearing your transitioned great-grandmother’s voice reminding you how to fry plantain–these are all states of connection that are raised into us and are stamped into our DNA.
We do not require dogma, doctrine or rules to create relationship with our transitioned ancestry. Truth is, they will find us whether we want them to or not. The spirit will always find us, because it is within us. It’s just up to us to choose to offer ourselves to solitude (ebo) such that we may receive their communication and their eternal blessings and lessons (ache).
Featured Image: Jocelyn Reynolds