Seth and the African Experience by Ndungu Kahihu

Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
December 1998, Issue 3

Seth and the African Experience
by Ndungu Kahihu

Some Introductory Notes

This is not a discussion of Seth’s ideas or philosophy. It is a brief outline of the way I have observed these ideas as manifested in my life as an African. This has come mainly as a result of the many parallels I have noticed between the things Seth talked about and many African beliefs that I have grown up with. I do not speak as an expert on the African belief system. There is no such thing. Africa is a huge continent with an extensive variety in all things, beliefs and belief systems included. A little information about myself.

I was born in a small village in central Kenya, Africa in 1963. The last born in a family of three, I was raised mainly by my mother and grandparents. The two people who had the greatest influence on my life were my Grandmother and Grandfather. Both were healers. My grandmother practised traditional massage while my grandfather was a retired diviner. I learned a lot from both of them and my interest in everything African and traditional started then.

I first went to school in 1970. Although my mother has never been to school herself, she impressed upon me the need to do my very best in school. From this school experience, I gained my second major interest, reading. It was through reading that I first made acquaintance with the Seth books in 1991. I have been reading them since then. One of the statements that struck me first in the book ‘Seth Speaks’ was the one where Seth says that there are many people who do not need him as they can have access to his ideas in many other ways beyond reading books or even hearing spoken words. Others of course may not need him as they have grown beyond the reality paradigm he describes.  The majority of the people of Africa would fall in the first category. Even now, close to one half of all Africans can not read and write. This does not imply they are handicapped in any way. Some of the wisest people I have met in my life could not read or write. Everywhere I look I am reminded that Sethian ideas are not limited to a literate society. This is a brief description of some of the ways this happens in Africa, told from my personal point of view.

Jeni the Great Speaker (the Voice of  Muntu)

(Yet another Probable reality)

(This is the story of the great magician Jeni, who was born in the little village of El Mirah in the year of the great locust epidemic. She was the second wife of  the great ‘griot’ Batt,o the woodcarver. Some people said she was a witch while others said she spoke in the voice of the great Muntu himself. Some of her words have been preserved in the epic songs of  her ‘griot’ husband, while many others have been lost to the mists of time and misunderstanding.

It is still recalled that the lifetime of this couple was one of great knowledge and advancement. The sons and daughters of Muntu at last began to understand their great lineage and their important place under the sun.  Most important, Jeni and Batto taught that we are all magicians, even the smallest of us .

“We have the power to be anything we want, because we are,” she said. Some people said that this was Jeni’s first mistake, of which I am sure she would  disagree. “There are no mistakes in life,” she often said with characteristic impatience.

Nevertheless it is true that the words of Jeni and Batto caused a lot of fear among the court of the king and in the powerful guild of the magicians. Both Batto and  Jeni were disowned by the magicians and rulers as a charlatans. And then when the missionaries came with the fire stick and the bible in their hands. It was an easy matter to make converts by ‘dividing to rule.’

The holy missionary father declared, “None who follow the words of Jeni and Batto will see the kingdom of heaven.” You will all burn in the fires of eternal damnation.” The members of the Kings court, and many others that saw their power threatened, of course agreed.

Thus should have ended the matter. But these detractors spoke to soon and they forgot the epic song creation abilities of Batto. This was a talent only second to his skill as a carver. It is thanks to him that now the most important teachings of Jeni have been preserved for us, faithfully collected and recorded in the papyrus fabric that came with the missionaries.

As the great Muntu once said, “something good always comes, even out of evil.” Talking of Muntu, is it not true that the words Jeni spoke recalled those of the great African sages of old? The great Muntu in his last days used to say. ‘My children, what do I tell you that you do not already know?. Do not wrap yourselves in the skins of ignorance. You are like God and it is given you the power to touch many and bring healing and self knowledge to the world. Do not fear that you suffer. This is task that no one but you have chosen for yourselves. That day you will find yourself scattered among the shores of every land on Earth, you will then know your work will have begun.”

The Power of Word

Seth talks about the power of sound as a creative element that has been harnessed towards great accomplishments in human history. Written examples of this are recorded in many texts including the bible (the walls of Jericho). In Africa we place similar value on the power of words. My grandmother used to end any important injunction with the following words ‘Na ndakua ti kirumi.’ “Should I die today, may these words not be a curse on you.” In my tribe, some of the most cherished and feared things were an elders blessing or curse respectively. It was the desire of many young people to behave in such a way as to encourage the blessings of elders and others and avoid being cursed. A blessing and a curse could be uttered inadvertently. For instance you could receive blessings from being kind to strangers, children, handicapped people or women and others, even when they may never speak to you. In the same manner an elder could leave a curse by speaking in anger or by the way his or her words were taken by those listening to him. That is why all elderly people would use the standard invocation to neutralise any negative impact their words could have. This simply implied, listen to my words, but let this not be a curse on you or my lineage when I die, should you forget or contravene them. My mother is about 70 years old now and she has been a Christian for twenty years. Yet she uses the same invocation many times.

Many of the things Seth spoke about were in the past taken for granted in many African societies. Take for example dreams. In the Agikuyu tribe, to which I was born, the great seers of the past were also known as ‘aroti’ (dreamers). This was a recognition of the fact that most the information they imparted to society came to them through dreams. Every time something of importance happened when I was growing up, my grandmother would calmly tell me of a dream she had had that related to this. Sometimes she would also tell me of some of these dreams before the event happened. I seem to have inherited some of this ability from her.  In West Africa, Camara Laye, writing about his childhood in his book ‘The African Child,’ says that as children they never dared awaken their mother in the morning for fear of disrupting her dreams through which she may have been receiving important information. This is something I noticed applies in many other parts of the African continent.

The Unity of Things

We believe in the oneness of things, starting with the unity of the living, the dead and the unborn. As an example from my own tribe, most of our past religious observances in my tribe involved communion with the spirits of the ancestors. On important occasions, ceremonies to recognise these ancestors and seek their help would be performed. On the other hand every baby that was born would be named after somebody who was either already living or had died. We would say that the person whose name was given to the baby had been ‘named’ in so and so’s house. Where the person so ‘named’ was dead, the usual reference was that he or she had been reborn. On the other hand it was impressed upon the children that they should grow up and name their parents and relatives through birth so that in return they could be ‘born’ and ‘named’ by subsequent generations. Thus the concept of past, present and future would be represented in a single person at any one time and would be practically cerebrated at household and community level. Reincarnation to us was not a theoretical concept but an important basis for the continued existence of the tribe.

Where does God fit into all this? In the Agikuyu belief system, God was regarded as the supreme being who embodied perfection in all things. In fact no person would have dared pray formally to God unless it was on a matter of great importance to the tribe. Formal prayers to God would be made only after careful preparations and usually by a group of elders (men and women) who were past child bearing age. In addition they had to be as perfect as possible, both physically and spiritually. Some of these preparations involved fasting and other cleansing ceremonies. My grandfather used to belong to this special group of elders until one day he was involved in an accident and lost his finger. From then on he was deemed imperfect and withdrew not only from the elders council but also stopped his divining activities.

You Create Your Own Reality

A Kenyan Anthropologist, Philip Mbithi, once wrote that, “Africans are notoriously religious.” This is very true and it made some colonial writers claim that the African was basically flawed because of this fatalistic belief in a higher being. There has never been found an African people who did not believe in a supreme being or beings. My view is that this strong, common belief system, is our representation of the Seth theory, which he couched in words that would make sense to the Western, mechanistic world, ‘you create your own reality.’ The African defines his own place in the universe first in relation to his neighbour and next to a supreme being. When the colonial experience started in Africa, many Africans took from the new beliefs those that most closely approximated their own (religion) and left those that did not.

Another fairly basic African belief that proves this point is “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” In many parts of Africa it is taken for granted that if a people speak  in one voice their desire finds expression in direct manifestation, which is taken as Gods will. This not only recognises the ‘Godliness’ of every person but also the innate capacity of people to create reality by first expressing a desire for change. The need for joint expression of such desire guarantees that this capacity is not misused. It is a consensus creation. If Seth had come to the village of El Mirah in Africa (near Timbuktoo) rather than Elmira in America he would possibly have put his words thus ‘we are the will of God.’ In an individual oriented society this of course becomes ‘you are the will of God’  and where God is rapidly going out fashion, “you create your own reality.’ The difference is the same!

In Conclusion, ‘The Wrapping is Not the Gift’

None of the things that Seth said are new. Most of them have been said many many times in history in different words to different people. My summary of his teachings is ‘you are all a supreme being with a great purpose. Your current situation is only a brief interlude in the fulfilment of this great purpose that you have set yourself and are about.’

Many African healers, diviners, psychics etc took this message and wrapped it in a language, ceremonies, paraphernalia etc that our people could understand. In the process some unscrupulous fellows realised that they could easily manipulate people by the simple expedient of injecting fear into the wrapping. Far across the oceans their brothers and sisters discovered the same trick. Thus there grew up the many superstitions and fear inducing beliefs that have become the principle fabric of the global manipulation industry we call religion. Belief is a powerful thing. Perhaps the most powerful force the world has ever known. By manipulating beliefs, some people have been able to convince others to do anything, to happily suffer and die for them, for a promise or for even less.

Most of the great teachers the world has had have attempted to open people’s eyes by expressing these ancient truths in the language of the age. Seth does the same. First he tries to remove the wrapping of constricting beliefs. Yet he can not impart his teachings without wrapping them in a new structure that will encourage his students to look again at these ancient teachings. In the Western world this wrapping has to contain characteristics of the new, powerful, religion, science. If Seth’s message had been expressed in mystical language, or as a simple appeal to faith, it would possibly have worked in most of Asia and Africa but hardly in Europe and America. Yet by the time his words left the western shores, most of the rest of the world had become converts to the science religion and could therefore appreciate his teachings. This is where we are today.

Kwaherini na Nyote Mbarikiwe.

©1998, Ndungu Kahihu. Printed in the December 1998 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal. (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice.)