Category Archives: Philosophy

Religion of Rift Valley Women

 

Majid Ali, M.D.

Once mothers worshipped differently. They helped their children to make sense of life – of people and things around them. When the children grew up, the mothers helped them understand their rightful place in the tribe as well as their responsibilities. That was their religion. That was the first religion of women of the Rift valley in East Africa. That was the beginning of authentic religion.


Then appeared the great nontheistic, monotheistic, and polytheistic religions of the world ushered by men. These men of fought ferociously hard among themselves to prove whose Gods were more powerful than whose gods. These fights also generated a distinctive tenet of the religion of early men which the religion of Rift Valley women did not have: fear.


On the subject of fear, here is some text from my article entitled Africa – the Mother of Medicine: ” female dieties were assigned crucial roles of life-givers, life-sustainers, and nurturers while male dieties were often warriors and destroyers; and (4) the transition from primarily matriarchal to patriarchal social mores occurred in Egypt and Greece long after the evolution of far more insightful, humane, just, and enlightened thought in earlier African times. (for more on the subject, see the related article entitled “Africa – the Mother of Medicine” at this site.


Men also, for unknown reasons, found it necessary to separate people into two orders, one higher for themselves and the other lower for women. Also, for reasons I do not understand, women submitted to those two orders. However, women for reasons that are easy to understand never completely surrendered their first religion to the later religions of their men.


The writers on comparative religions of the world now usually dismiss the religion of Rift Valley women as “primal” – not quite real, let alone authentic. These writers have little, if any, interest in Rift Valley religion.

It is interesting that mothers of our time are not any more impressed by the superiority claims of their men in matters of religion than the Rift valley women were of the religious claims of their men.


Suggested Reading:

Africa – the Mother of Medicine

Advertisements

What Is Spirituality?

 

Majid Ali, M.D.

 

The longer I work with my patients, the more aware I become of the fundamentality of the spiritual in health and disease. Here is just one observation concerning the phenomena I refer to: An open heart does not close its arteries, and a closed heart cannot keep its arteries open. I anticipate snickering from some cardiologist who might read this. But I write only what my truest teachers (my patients) teach me.

How does one define the spiritual? In my book The Canary and Chronic Fatigue (1994) I could not resist walking that definitional tightrope with the following words:

The spiritual to the early Man was unknowable. The spiritual is being outside the capacity of our bodily senses and the reach of the mind. Spirituality lies outside the needs of the body or the demands of the mind. Good teachers of spirituality may take us to the limits of our bodily and mental experiences—to the gates of spirituality—but they cannot lead us into it. No one can show anyone else what is the spiritual, no one can make anyone else spiritual. This is what the early Man must have known—through some spiritual journey—when he conceived the mind-body-spirit dimensions.

In 2003, in Integrative Cardiology, the fourth volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine, I made a second feeble attempt to put my notion of the spiritual in words as quoted below:

“My working definition of the spiritual, which I have used for several years, is this: It is a state of surrender to the larger unknowable Presence that one recognizes only by the way one changes through the light and love of that Presence.”

One Can Know Only As Much Divinity As Exists Within One’s Self

One sees that vividly only when in throes of pain and suffering. We physicians, by and large, insist on the ‘hard’ evidence of blinded studies. We are uncomfortable with notions of healing with spirituality and one’s own divinity. I once read somewhere that it is better to keep quiet and be considered a fool than to speak out and prove that. That has never kept me from speaking out about my personal quarrel with the mysteries of healing. I seldom have had difficulty seeing the fool in me. But the fools do have wonderful insights sometimes. So I persist.

 

A Prayer

Lord,

Today may I be in your Presence for a few moments.

Today I demand nothing.

Today I Protest Nothing.

Today may I simply be in your Presence for a few moments.

        Taken from my book The Canary and Chronic Fatigue (1994)