Tag Archives: African-derived-religions

Ancestors, the Divine Creator and Us

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.
Publisher, Journalist, Activist
and Africanist. He is also of the
ONH (Order of National Hero) in Jamaica.
Image: wikipedia

The idea that included us, the living, united with our African ancestry was for me revolutionary indeed, and it started to clarify things for me much later. It was then and only then that I became involved with my African-nessContinue reading

Life’s Equation Solved by African Derived Religion

A painting of a Kumina ceremony.
Image: mydancing.com

Recalling Mother Campbell I’ll just back up a little bit. Shortly after arriving in Panama from what at the time had been my honeymoon trip, I found myself showing up at the door of Mother Campbell in Rio Abajo. She, even at that time after many years had passed without hearing from me in the United States, remembered me, whom she had known since I was a child. I had always admired her for always carrying an authoritative demeanor as the “Madame” I had known since I was about eight years of age and whose church was a frequent stop for my grandmother and me. Continue reading

The African Tradition of the Matriarch Queen

A True Matriarch. Image


The African-derived religions of our childhood in Panama, the religion we Westindians referred to as
Beji-Nite, in particular, I would later encounter in my research of extracts of religions practised in ancient times in certain regions of Central Africa. It would then be safe for me to conclude that it is an ancient African tradition for women to take on the role of intermediary with the Spirits for the protection of their family, the clan, and, in fact, the general environment. Continue reading

From Purgatory to Beji-Nite

An old etching of a group of slaves being branded.
I would say this and similar situations of bondage
are the essence of “purgatory.”

From most of the accounts of what life was like coming from the Black Canal Zone to live in the urban cities of the regions around the Panama Canal, some of the people who experienced it would probably have described it as “living in Puckatery” which is purgatory in our Westindian language. Yet, even today, a great many Westindian people shy away from even participating in the surviving African derived religious practices that many frown on as one of the regrettable deceptions in their existence. Continue reading

The Ceremonies in the Beji-Nite Religion

This is a good example of a bush church.

My increasing personal interest would make me a willing partner with my paternal grandmother, Fanny E. Reid, particularly in our excursions into the “bush.”  We traveled to different religious ceremonies by public transportation to as far as Chivo-Chivo and Chilibre which today are as far by automobile as they were in those days of the late 1940’s. Continue reading

The Beji-Nite Heritage

This is a Matriarch, a member of the
Spiritual Baptist Church of Trinidad/Tobago,
ringing in the Spiritual Baptist Day Liberation Day
Celebrations in Port of Spain. The image is from the
Trinidad Express, accompanied by an excellent article.


You may recall my constant, and at times tiresome, complaint that no one ever spoke to me or any other kid about such things as religion or religious practices in our early childhood. It was not until I had grown and made my own choices concerning these issues that I would seek to participate in these practices with my paternal grandmother. Growing up with my grandmother, however, I would remember meeting
Beji-Nite practitioners and adepts. They would be coming and going at our home in Magnolia Building where I was growing up. Continue reading