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Ala Reborn Story 1

Oct 14, 2020 0 comments

1 


New York City 


The sun glared in Setitra’s eyes as she looked up at the soaring buildings from the back of the limo, she was riding toward the culmination of the project that had consumed her life for the past six years. She turned away from the clear blue sky and looked at her cousin who was still speaking in excitement as they headed to the opening services for the first temple in the United States for Ani the Goddess of the Igbo people.  

“I can’t believe it is finally done! It was so much work and there was no way I could have done it without …” Antoinette cell phone started ringing she looked at the screen “…Thank you Tee.” As she swiped the screen and put the phone to her ear. 


    Setitra went back to looking out the windows at New York City, and thought back to when she was asked to be part of this project. Bring back part of our history and culture that was left behind when we were brought in slave ships so long ago, when Antoinette called her fresh off her pilgrimage to Nigeria. She didn’t even think about it, a grand adventure to New York City and a project of cultural significance, it was too much to pass up. Then the planning committees, fund raising, city politics, protest, permits, and builders started, and the glamor of the project quickly wore off. Now she was burned out and needed to get away from it all, she thought of warm far away beaches.

 

    The limo came to a smooth stop in front of a red carpet leading to the city’s newest place of worship, a security guard in a black suit opened the door and Antoinette put on her best smile and stepped out to the press taking pictures and news crews recording. Setitra followed in her wake down the red carpet and into the temple. 


The temple was huge 300 ft on a side in a perfect square, Stone pillars and bricks carved by priest and priestesses in Nigeria, Tree trunks shipped from the Sacred grove made up the roof all integrally carved with the stories and Gods of the Igbo rising 300 ft high supporting the custom solar panels that looked like the traditional thatched roofs of the ancient temples. The interior of the temple was made of an inner ring dark wood pillars reaching to the high peaked ceiling, and people filled the space in a square around the dais and alter of pure white marble.  


    Setitra made her way to a glass podium set just in front of the dais and placed Antoinette’s prepared remarks on a lower shelf, then positioned herself where a small black piece of tape had been set for her to stand looking over the looking over the crowd of civil rights leaders, celebrities, athletes, financiers, and in the front row politicians and next to them was a representative from the different faiths of the city that surrounded her in the traditional square of the temple’s shape. Antoinette took her position on the other side turned and gave an excited wave mouthing OH MY GOD in excitement to Setitra. Then Setitra made her way to the podium and started speaking. 


    “I want to thank everyone for coming today.” She said into the mic as people took a kneeling position on padded strips on the floor in rows going back all the way to the surrounding wood pillars in lieu of seating. “Six years ago, on a rainy night, I picked my roommate and cousin who had just flown back from Nigeria. Who’s one week vacation had turned into a three month sabbatical of “spiritual awakening journey” her words not mine.” She paused to let people politely laugh before continuing. “ When she got into the car she was going on and on talking so fast I could barely keep up, and by the time we had arrived home I had promised I would be a part of what sounded like a crazy plan, that my amazing cousin Antoinette used all that passion and energy to build this unbelievable temple to Ala that we stand in today.” Setitra then turned and clapped her hands looking at her Antoinette as the crowd rose and the took up the applause. Antoinette waved to the crowd blushing as Setitra turned back to the mic. “Today is the opening of the Temple and in the tradition of the Igbo it must be blessed. All the way from Nigeria the Ala Priestess will perform the ceremony for us.” The crowd applauded as Setitra went back to her marker and faced the crowd. 


    The priestess walked out of the columns, she was tall for a woman and covered completely except for her feet she wore a mask of white with large black and white square covering her head. A golden vail flowed over her mouth covering her neck. As she wore a dark red gown with integral designs inside large blue squares covered the flowing gown making her shapeless. A through one of the paths of kneeling attendees and ascended the three marble steps to the top of the dais. She turned a circle looking over the kneeling people looking at her, she had never left her home before and today she saw in the face of the on lookers features from all nations, races, and religions in the grandest of all Igbo temples ever to be built. She said, “In preparation for this day I have performed the divination ritual seeking a glimpse into the future from Agwunsi, God of divination and healing, and he has shown that this will be a place of great power and of reembrace of the strength of their people. It is a place that the Goddess Ala would deem worthy of herself and would see us to a new place of peace and understanding.” She said through her translator. Then jumped and when she landed gongs were stuck and men women and children all covered from head to toe in brightly colored flowing gowns bright reds, blues, silver, gold, and white made up the majority of the colors and square boxes all with dizzying swirling patterns and wearing mask made of wood all depicting different Gods and Goddess of Igbo mythology. The Priest and priestesses performed ritual dances blessing the temple and calling Ala goddess to come to the temple and bless her children. And out of the corner of Setitra’s eye a light flashed behind the column to her right and she quietly step off her designated spot to find the offending photographer. 

 

2 


    Setitra walked down the back ally to the pillars to the back wall looking for what she thought was photographer. “There is no photography in the temple.” She said walking around the corner and not seeing anyone. She stood looking the way she came and ahead not seeing anything in the darkened corridor. The Gong rang and the chanting increased and Setitra turned her head as she saw a streak of light. “A Press release with pictures and videos will be released after the ceremony, please return to your seat.” She said heels clicking as she took a few steps. The gong rang out and a light swirled in front of her, she realized it was not a photographer and the light spread into a humanoid figure and plunged into her. She feel to her knees grabbing her stomach and opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. She opened her eyes seeing through a filter of red with black swirling spots, she closed them and tried to scream, no sound came from her. She felt like every muscle was clinched until it would snap the bones, a fire burned inside consuming her from the inside working through every nerve of her body consuming all thought and feeling. The pain receded and then a presence she felt in her thoughts started to think at her. “Sleep child of Chukwu” and then nothing. 

 

 

 

3 


    Setitra’s eyes opened and the Goddess Ala saw the world for the first time in millennia. She extended her vessels arm out and pushed herself to her feet, she was weak and stumbled against a pillar, her vision spun, and she hugged the pillar closer. Her vision cleared and she took in the crowd. These were not her people, pale skin tones, tan skin, yellow, red hair who are these people and how did she get here. She looked around as priests walked out of the center of the temple, she looked around and took in the temple. Only her personal temple in the spirit world surpassed it in grandeur, the temple glowed in her eyes, she looked closer following the patterns of energy directed by the blessing performed making this temple holy ground attuning the temple to her. Something was wrong the power of this temple should be much stronger. She looked at the living energy of the earth, the living energy was restrained only a portion of the holy earth life force made it through the barrier. “How is to be, no one is strong enough to restrain the living mothers force.” Still the energy was low, “Hello, and thank you for coming to the opening dedication of the Goddess mother’s temple Ala.” a voice spread through her temple and bounced off the walls. Ala looked around, this must be powerful magic, a witch with immense power to come into her holy ground and weld power here. She looked around for the offender, a dark woman in a dark red dress standing at table of transparent glass, spoke to the kneeling audience and they applauded her words. Her voice came from all over the room again, without a hint of power being used through her body. “We are taught in school that Christopher Colobus sail the ocean so blue, this is a children’s fairy tale. In 1619, the 20 and odd is a woke fairy tale! 500 years ago, Pedro Alonso Nino came to the “New World” and explored with Christopher Columbus, other Africans spent their lives exploring this new world. In 1502, Juan Garrido came to the new world, arrived, and explored North America. He joined an expedition and explored Florida in his search for the fountain of youth. Many others came, explored and settled this land as free people.” Ala stood listening, “500 years? the new world? Many years have passed, and this is a new land, but a new world?” The speaker continued, “James Armistead born into slavery but believed in the promise of this new American nation of free men, working side by side with the founding fathers he spied, and worked his way into the British command as a servant leading to information that lead to the end of the revolutionary war. This “American Hero” went back home after the war to be a slave. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman lead minds and people to freedom while thousands of black and brown Americans died fighting for freedom. Freedom that was earned through blood was then taken away by laws, segregation entered every aspect of American society. Resegregation of the military although we were called, and we responded to the call of this country that protected a nation that actively cut us out of the “American Dream.” We protected that American dream, The Buffalo soldiers, and units like the Tuskegee airman bravely put their lives on the line. To come home and have to fight for equal rights, rights that they went around the world to defend and many lost their lives. Martian Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and millions of others protested, and we paid for our rights in blood again. Then polices the great society and the war on drugs keep us from the American dream again. Now we have paid for the American dream in lives and blood for hundreds of years, we adopted American culture losing our heritage and being ignorant of our own history because the people who decide what history book does not think our history is American history. Today we make start to share our culture, because our culture is American culture, we paid for this land too and we will make it a place that our children can take pride in the land that we built and we will share the stories of our history and heroes. Mythology and religion of our ancestors, bringing our culture from our ancestral homes in Africa to here in American. No longer will we ask permission or wait for what we have already paid for and built. Thank you everyone for coming to the first in the start of a movement in this country, come and be the first to experience New York’s newest Museum that is dedicated to the outreach of African American culture showing how our ancestors beliefs and set the foundations of our culture today.” 


    The crowd applauded and Ala still had not seen the power moving of the spell. Antoinette thanked the audience for coming and Ala looked finding a small black box in the corner that the voice was coming out of, she looked around the halls and found others. Antoinette turned around and left the podium as the next speaker came and talk about all the artifacts that had been shipped to the attached museum. Antoinette looked around trying to find Setitra, finally spotting her in the corner behind some pillars looking at a speaker box. This was the achievement of a lifetime, six years of work for her to hide in the background and ruin the view. She waited until the speaker was done and then excused herself and walked to where Setitra was hiding, “What are you doing back here? You were supposed to be up there with me.” Antoinette said to Setitra. Ala stared at the woman talking to her like she was some commoner, Ala started to draw in power around her and nothing happened, she looked at her hands, no fire had manifested. Ala looked around and drew harder on the magic starting to feel something, the goddess pushed harder something was resisting her pull the harder she pulled on the mother’s life the tighter it pulled back. “What is happening, I can’t pull on the mother’s life” Ala said still looking at Setitra’s hands. “What are you talking about?” Antoinette asked, “Are you feeling alright, we should get you home.” Ala stood there staring, when Antoinette returned with a tall dark-skinned man, with close crop hair and a heavy build in a black suit that had been standing in the back. “Setitra, John here is going to take you home.” Antoinette said to Setitra. To John she said, “get her home, keep an eye on her, if anything gets her to the hospital.” John nodded and reached out to Setitra, here reached out his hand to her. “Come with me Mrs. Mallet, let's get you home.” He said. Ala took his hand and just nodded, she was off balance, she could not reach the world energy and needed to find out about this new land. 

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