i wonder how much of that "better life" is coming from outside africa (e.g., u.s. and arab financed faith-based groups).
i wonder why so many born in the diaspora are discovering, as you put it, "a good life, one full of meaning and significance, one of power over self and adversity" in african spirituality.
it seems to me that christianity/islam works for the continental folks because they need the material comforts, while we're called TO them because we're more in need of the (in my opinion more fully developed and collectively compatible) spiritual edification.
i could go on for days on that notion of "breaking curses" and such, but i think i'll link this post on my blog and do a follow-up there.
i know that yoruba culture has been in existence for at least 10,000 years.
prior to that, the civilizations and spiritual systems of kush and nubia gave way to the rise of kemet, which has influenced the rest of black africa and the world ever since.
it is now scientifically accepted that all life came out of africa, so it makes sense that our collective unconscious was born there as well. while there have always been nominal variations due to region, culture, and language, our ancestral traditions have formed the archetypes found throughout humanity.
i defend orisa and the other african systems not solely because of my personal investment, but because of the flow of history and time.
our way is the original way.
if it weren't for the kemetian mystery schools, we wouldn't have the bible. arabic culture, too, was goddess/god-balanced long before muhammad came on the scene.
despite that, we now have millions of people afraid of anything that doesn't fall between the covers of two largely plagiarized books, despite the long and deep history of humanity preceding these things.
so, as far as "breaking curses and covenants" as dr. ukpai so eloquently put it, let me share a basic fact of physics--in my opinion the most spiritual scientific discipline there is:
energy is never destroyed, it only changes form.
human beings are, in essence, energy, just like everything else. those ancestral artifacts and sacred sites people are destroying have nothing to do with curses and everything to do with respecting what came before, what allowed them be. i shudder to think what will happen to their children, communal self esteem, and spiritual and moral centers in the coming generations.
i'm aware that capitalism, colonization, and global economies have changed everything. hence, christianity and islam become attractive for the same reasons they were attractive during the initial invasions: survival.
people have to eat. i'm sure that the christian/islamic communities around the world will support these people materially, and that's fine, far as it goes. maybe we'll see a shift when traditionalist communities here are capable of providing a comparable level of financial assistance.
it is also unfortunate that traditional beliefs can be coupled with a crippling lack of education and other equally desperate situations, leading to modern day witch hunts and other tragedies.
i pray that there are some who are savvy enough to syncretize and pass along at least a bit of knowledge (props to catholicism for keeping just enough paganism to make it simple...).
despite the disappointment i feel around these issues, i am convinced that the universe does nothing by accident or coincidence.
maybe the americas are meant to become the epicenter for the african deities because of the access to education and the fulfillment of basic needs.
a place where age-old botanical knowledge can be incorporated into doctor's offices.
where african cosmology can be combined with western astronomy and physics, leading to a greater understanding of our world.
where the hoodoo way can be learned in conjunction with the history and culture of our people so that we are not worried about hunting down witches, but focused on casting spells (i.e., social programs, books, media, curricula) that will strengthen and uplift our people and the world.
i hope i'm not too optimistic.