When the Past Becomes [the] Present

Nine years before I completed the 30th year at my job, a year synonymous with retirement for some, I resigned my position and entered a doctoral program in African American and African Diaspora Studies.

Why would I leave a stable job and move my family to a city and state we had never visited to study and research full time about Black history, embodied memories, Middle Passage, healing, and past lives; topics without theories; liminal spaces with little hope of becoming more real outside of personal experience?

Because over twenty years after my first encounter with spiritual phenomena related to the ancestors and the Middle Passage, ´╗┐my life continues to be transformed by what I experienced.

Since that first encounter, I have discovered that I am not alone: others have had similar “memories”, “rememories”, and “re-experiencings”. We have all agreed on one thing: Our lives have been changed and healed in ways we would never have intentionally chosen for ourselves.

Notes of an Ariran documents my past and current encounters with memory through my experiences and research. It is an attempt to articulate more fully, through community sharing, the ways in which these encounters have helped heal me, my family, and the communities I serve.

I am hyper-conscious of what it means to remember and forget: I am the descendent of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and of people whose histories were/are forcibly and/or selectively dis-remembered.

For me, then, memory and re-membering are not simply academic subjects or spiritual phenomena. They are precious “things” because I still have the gift of both.

This work is dedicated to my ancestors who speak through me, and to my living family members who speak through the ancestors because neither this time nor this space have meaning for them.

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