THE ANCIENT ANCESTRAL”SLAVE” TRADITION OF AMENGANSIE http://www.mamiwata.com/amen.html
“After Afa Comes the Amengansie” -Ewe proverb
In the West African Vodoun (and current African-American) traditions, an Amengansie (Ah-mah-gah-see) is defined as a high-priestess whose primary function is divination. Namely communication with the dead (ancestors), the African deities, and the destine (Ori) souls of the living. It is an ancient tradition in which the dead, the deities, and the souls of the living actually come in direct contact during consultation to speak. The Amengansie tradition is an ancient, ancestral matriarchal tradition that is passed down through the bloodlines. Although there are some male Amengansies (when their lineage have no immediate female heirs), 99% are women.
AMENGANSIE HAVE MANY SACREDOTAL FUNCTIONS
Many Amengansies are also queen mothers, and head their own Egbes. Some are spiritual chiefs, meaning that they are also guardian to many of the sacred rare Vodoun deities bequeathed to them from their ancestors. An Amengansie is the mother of all Mami Wata and Vodoun adherents. More importantly, the Amengansie is known as the first “mouth of Afa,” Meaning that their existence pre-dates the current tradition of utilizing the Opele to consult with the gods. Hence the Ewe proverb “After Afa comes the Amengansie.” It is for this reason that many in West Africa consult directly with an Amengansie to verify the results of a reading with a Bokono/Babalawo diviner. Today, some Amengansies have chosen to utilize the Oplele, but many have opted to maintain the ancient tradition of speaking directly with the spirits, and carrying out any ritual requests that the spirits might order for their family members and clients.
It is the Amengansie whom the West Africans consult when they want to speak with a departed ancestor, or to check the accuracy of an Afa consultation with a Bokono, or the validation of an initiation, or to call-up the deity which an initiate (from any African tradition) is alleged to have crowned. It is the Amengansie who is consulted to determine if a family member is speaking the truth, to find a missing loved-one etc.,. Many Amengansies also conduct ancestral ceremonies, initiations, and maintain shrines and conduct major ceremonies to all the major deities. She is advisor, counselor and mother to many god-children, and often acts as chief advisor to government officials on matters involving the religion.
AMENGANSIE TRADITION BEQUEATHED TO DESCENDANTS OF THE SLAVES
If ever there was an ancestral tradition that dispels the myth regarding the ancient origins of the Vodoun tradition or the system of slavery being confined to the West, it is that of the Amengansie. The Amengansie predates its current West African location. It has its ancient ancestral origins in the East (Africa) where they were known as . Reminiscent of the current Trokosi systems in West Africa today, in ancient Egypt, during the rise of African patriarchy, the Sibyls were often sold as slaves, and forced to work in the male (priestly) controlled Sun/Thunder temples in the Egyptian colonies in Libya and at Dodona and Delphi in ancient Greece, Rome as well as in other African temples scattered throughout the ancient world.
Universally known as the “Black Doves”, the Sibyls have been referred to by many names, such as “Sisters of Isis, and [prophetesses] of the Black Di-ana of Euphesus”. The “doves,” symbolize the sacred soul or “holy spirit.” An Afro-mystical symbol later adopted by the emerging Christian cults. It was the Sibyl matriarchal groups who settled at Asia Minor (ancient Turkey), and installed Mami’s worship, more than 2500 years before the Dorian (Greek) and Turk invasions.
“Mami” whom the Sibyls venerated in ancient Minoa (pre-Doran Greece) as “Laocoon with her serpents,” was known as the manifestation of the Divine logos, with her holy temples scattered all throughout Asia Minor (Cushitic Mitanni Empire) and in Minoa and Mycenae (Aegean Islands).
During the decline, and the dismantlement of the African matriarchs, many were exiled, condemned as “harlots” “infidels,” “false prophetesses” and “witches.” Many fled, but most who were unable to flee were murdered or enslaved if they refused to convert to the religion of their conquerors. Their forced migration drove them from East to West Africa, by the emerging patriarchal Mohammedan Islamists, Judaic and Christian invaders.
During these intense periods of religious persecution, the ancestors of these enslaved Africans bequeathed to them a means in which they could continue to consult with them and with the African deities who were now condemned as “pagan” and “lustful idols,” by the many foreign (Assyrian, Persian, Turk, Greek, Roman i.e.,) invaders. It was these foreign invaders who carried out the final destruction of the Sibyl temples, and converted (forever concealing) the multi-faceted images of the African mother deities into the ethnic faces passed down to the West today. During the entrenchment of African patriarchy, many Sibyls were persecuted, and stripped of their sacerdotal pre-eminence, and ultimately forced to the foreground of African religious, social and political life where they remain today. But their sacerdotal powers are still respected and utilized by all who seek their counsel.
Contrary to Western historical speculations that the enslavement of Africans in the West is largely an isolated phenomena rooted in West African chieftaincy ambitions, the history of African enslavement actually follows a continuum which began in the East more than 2000 years ago. Many Africans enslaved in the New World already descend from these ancient matriarchal clans including Mama Tchamba. In the Amengansie and Vodoun traditions of West Africa, the songs, proverbs, dances, and lore are dominated by the history of slavery which pre-dates slavery in the “New World.” Many of these ancestral spirits are still longing for their kin scattered the world over. Hence, today, anywhere the Africans were enslaved the spirit of the Amengansies is born in to many of the families in the Diaspora. Unfortunately, because the Amengansie tradition is a secret tradition, many women (of all sexual preferences) in the Diaspora are not aware of its symptoms as they seek spiritual wholeness in the African Traditional/Diaspora religious available to them in the West. It is the ancestral calling of Mama Zogbé whose great-great grandmother was an Amengansie chief in America, to re-introduce this ancient tradition back into the Diaspora.
Reference: 1. Hunter-Hindrew, V. M.Ed. (Mama Zogbé) Mami Wata: African’s Ancient God/dess Unveiled Vol. I & II: (Reclaiming the Ancient Vodoun History and Heritage of the Diaspora