We See Beauty, When We See Ourselves

United African Diaspora believes in the unity and solidarity of African descendants. As we unite and begin to interact on a global scale we will be able to swim in the deep rivers of love that flowed from the Motherland into the world at large.

We will look in the face of others and see ourselves; though complex, looking in the mirror is rest for the body and soul. The image in the mirror is good; it makes us feel good, and when we feel good, it makes for good days.

When we see our faces in the mirror, we must be able to say to ourselves; “Black is Beautiful.” Whether brown sugar, bronze gold, milk chocolate, dark chocolate or even black that is brown, yellow, or close to white; the diverse hues of “Blackness” are beautiful.

 

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Beauty and Wellness

When Africans were taken from African, via the North Atlantic Slave Trade, the slavers knowledge of African civilizations, or call it intuition; whatever the case, they believed that Africans could build a kingdom in the West; if fact transform the world as it was, into what it is today.

As the beauty of blackness aspires to it’s rightful place in the universe; that is, in family life, community life, national life, and international life Black people need not hold back their pride in natural beauty; it is a beauty that has given the world a rainbow of humanity.

For thousands of years we have walked the earth looking good, smelling good and feeling good. Early in the history of the world we married ourselves to nature and the world we live in, and we began to understand the elements in nature and use them to better ourselves as human beings.

Egypt

Take for example the Egyptians, there is overwhelming evidence that going back to 4500 B.C.E. the Egyptians used what we call today essential oils. Egyptians were admired, and became renowned for their knowledge of cosmetology, ointments and distinctive, pleasant smelling oils.

The most famous of their herbal preparations “Kapet” was a mixture of 16 ingredients that could be used as incense, perfume or medicine.

They used balsams, perfumed oils, scented barks, resins, spices and aromatic vinegars in everyday life. Oils and pastes from plants were transformed into pills, powders, suppositories, medicinal cakes and ointments.

At the height of Egypt’s power, priests were the only authorities allowed to use aromatic oils, as they were regarded as necessary to be at one with the Gods.

Pharaohs had their own special blends for meditation, love, war and so on.

West Africa

Recently the Journal of Ethnobiology, in a paper written by anthropologist dated the use of shea butter back to the first century ((100 CE). Excavations at an archaeological site called Kirikongo in the West African country of Burkina Faso, turned up fragments of shea nut shells salvaged from the remains of multiple layers of households. When analyzed, the carbonized shells were found to date back as far as 100 CE.

A seed found at the site of the medieval village of Saouga is evidence of shea butter production by the 14th century. The butter was being imported into Britain by 1846.

For centuries, Africans have used shea butter; in fact, shea butter recipes have been handed down form one generation to another just like cooking recipes.

West Africans developed the skills to extract the butter (fat) from the nuts of the shea tree before there was an America. Africans used shea to protect and moisturize their hair and skin.

 

How is Shea Butter made - The traditional process of making Shea Butter
Shea Tree Nuts, quality shea butter

 

How to use shea butter:

On skin: You can apply shea butter directly to your skin. Raw, unrefined shea butter is easy to spread.

You can use your fingers to scoop a teaspoon or so of shea butter from your jar, and then rub it onto your skin until it’s completely absorbed.

For women who ware makeup: Shea butter is slippery and can keep makeup from adhering to your face, so you may prefer to apply it at night before bed.

On hair: Raw shea butter can also be applied directly to your hair.

If your hair is naturally curly or porous, consider using shea butter as a conditioner. Make sure your hair has absorbed most of the shea butter before rinsing and styling as usual. You can also use a small amount of shea butter as a leave-in conditioner.

If your hair is naturally straight, thin, or fine, consider using shea butter on the ends of your hair. When applying shea butter to your roots, massage into scalp to avoid an oily looking buildup.

Shea butter is ultra healing and nourishing to the skin because it has high contents of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D, and E. Not only does it moisturize and lubricate, it also protects, holds in moisture and keeps the skin balanced.

Shea Butter’s natural, beneficial properties make it a lipid suitable for blending with essential oils. Shea Butter’s stand alone benefits can maintain and improve skin health. And adding essential oils, the right quality and amount can open up additional benefits for the body.

Essential Oils

To better appreciate the value of essential oils, it helps to understand how they assist their own plant to flourish in their environment. Consider the example of how they provide protection from predators.

Plants are everywhere, some grow along streams and in swampy areas, others grow and survive in hot, humid conditions. Plants growing in these conditions must have a strong internal immune system in order to both survive and thrive (produce and reproduce).

For example, the Melaleuca strength is found in the primary constituents of the aromatic compounds forum in the melaleuca tree, namely a & y-terpinenes, Terpine-4-ol and p-cymene, which are naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, anti fungal and analgesic in their nature. (The Essential Life; 4th Edition)

Since humans are carbon-based just like plants, extracted essential oils are compatible and beneficial. We have been able to prove that we can use oils to strengthen protection from microbes in our own terrain.

The molecular size of active compounds of essential oils allow them to pass through the dermal layers of the skin, allowing them to absorb directly into the bloodstream, cross the blood-brain barrier, and penetrate the cell membrane. In simple terms, essential oils are accessible and transferable to the body.

 

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Geraniums, quality essential oil

 

Conclusion

United African Diaspora loves the history, contributions and evolution of African descendants. We can see how good God has been to us when we look in the mirror.

We are created in His image and likeness, and God has preserved African descendants through some tough storms.  Just a quick look in the mirror, and their in front of our eyes we behold the beauty of the universe; “it is below, as it is above.”

 

Kaput Ancient Egyptian Temple Incense

This is the recipe recorded on the walls of the temple at Philae*.  It is the source that is closest to the original culture, time, and intended setting that is also the most-complete.

The recipe of Philae contains a complete list of ingredients used (including exact amounts) as well as methods of production; it is also specifically stated to be used for temple rituals.

A sacred place to the Egyptians, Philae was the site of a Ptolemaic-period temple dedicated to the goddess Aset (Isis) which became the last bastion of pharaonic religion in history; the temple was not closed by the Christians until well after their rise to power.

*Philae was the site of an extensive temple complex in Egypt. (Manniche, 1999, p. 51)

To make Kyphi or Kapet:

1  Start by mixing the following ingredients together in a large bowl, in order:

  • 8 T ground frankincense
  • 8 T ground myrrh
  • 4 t ground mastic
  • 4 t dried & ground calamus root
  • 4 t dried lemon grass
  • 4 t dried mint leaves
  • 4 t dried & ground juniper berries
  • 4 t ground cinnamon

This dry mixture is then set aside for later use.

2.  Next, mix the following ingredients together in a bowl or other container with an airtight lid:

  • ½ C raisins
  • 1 C wine (or enough to just cover the raisins completely)
  • 1 T honey

3.  This wet mixture is then set aside to steep for 5-7 days. While the wet mixture is steeping, be sure to check it periodically, stirring it and adding enough wine to keep the raisins covered since they will absorb the wine as they steep.

4.  When the wet mixture is finished steeping, pour it into a food processor (or mortar) and macerate until well-blended into a smooth fruit paste.

5.  When the fruit paste is suitably blended, stir in 6 T honey and pour the mix into a pot, setting it to a low simmer and stirring every so often.

6.  Once the mixture reduces by about half, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool to just above room temperature.

7.  When the wet mix is cooled enough, pour it over the dry mix prepared earlier.

8.  Work the wet and dry mixes together until they form a consistent dough. If you need to add extra moisture to help form the dough, add a little extra honey; be careful not to add too much moisture, as doing so will prevent the dough from curing and thus ruin the batch!

9.  Once the dough is mixed evenly, you can begin rolling it into small pellets, placing them onto parchment- or wax paper-lined trays to cure. Pellets should be about the size of a fingertip, and no bigger than your thumbtip.

10.  When all the dough has been rolled into pellets, place the trays in a warm, dry place to cure – this can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on your location and climate.

11.  After the pellets have finished curing, store them in an airtight container with a light dusting of powdered benzoin to keep them from sticking to each other.

The pellets should be good for 6-12 months. Be aware that the incense is made of all-natural materials and thus can grow mold if not properly stored.

To burn the incense:
Use charcoal disks (obtainable from most New Age, herbalist, or hookah shops) in a heat-safe container half-filled with salt or sand. This incense produces a good deal of smoke, and should not be used in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, or around smoke alarms. An average household fan should be enough to disperse the smoke if necessary.

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