A renowned, respected teacher and mentor to thousands, Sobonfu Somi is one of the first and foremost voices of African spirituality to come to the West.
Somi was born in Dano, Burkina Faso, a remote West African village with a population of about two hundred people. Dano has preserved the old ways of African village life, with family structures, spiritual practices, and methods of living that have been in place for more than ten thousand years. In The Spirit of Intimacy, Somi distills the ancient teachings and wisdom of her native village to give insight into the nature of intimate relationships.
Somi generously applies the subtle knowledge from her West African culture to this one. Simply and beautifully, she reveals the role of spirit in every marriage, friendship, relationship, and community. She shares ancient ways to make our intimate lives more fulfilling and secure and offers powerful insights into the "illusion of romance," divorce, and loss. Her important and fascinating lessons from the heart include the sacred meaning of pleasure, preparing a ritual space for intimacy, and the connection between sex and spirituality. Her ideas are intuitively persuasive, provocative, and healingand supported by sound practical advice, along with specific rituals and ceremonies based on those used for thousands of years.
With this book, the spiritual insights of indigenous Africa take their place alongside those of native America, ancient Europe, and Asia as important influences on Western readers.
|Edition description:||1ST QUILL|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
Sobonfu Somé, whose name means "keeper of ritual," was born and raised in Burkina Faso, the former Upper Volta. She is an initiated member of the Dagara tribe of West Africa. Sobonfu and her husband, Malidoma Somé, teach the ancient wisdom of their tribe throughout the world.
Read an Excerpt
A Song of Spirit
Intimacy in general terms is a song of spirit inviting two people to come and share their spirit together. It is a song that no one can resist. We hear it while awake or sleeping, in community or alone. We cannot ignore it.
The Embrace of Community
Community is the spirit, the guiding light of the tribe, whereby people come together in order to fulfill a specific purpose, to help others fulfill their purpose, and to take care of one another. The goal of the community is to make sure that each member of the community is heard and is properly giving the gifts he has brought to this world. Without this giving, the community dies. And without the community, the individual is left without a place where he can contribute. The community is that grounding place where people come and share their gifts and receive from others.
Born to a Purpose
When two people are married and have built an intimate relationship, there is a desire that they make themselves available for other souls to come through, that they create a safe and sacred space for spirits who want to bring their gifts and fulfill their purpose.And so people in our village would say that children do not belong completely to the parents who gave them birth. They have used their parents' bodies to come through, but they belong to the community and to the spirit.
Initiation: Gaining Knowledge
In our village, children learn about intimacy and ritual from birth onward. As they mature, it becomes crucial that they develop a profound understanding of these matters. At initiation, elders guide the young deeper into intimacy, sexuality, and ritual so that they know what isawaiting them. They do not just wander into the unknown territory of adulthood and get wounded.
Marriage: Two Worlds Together
Marriage is two souls coming into one soul still distinct but forming one entity. It is a way of bringing two people's gifts together in order to strengthen them and make them even better. It acknowledges that two people are embarking on something bigger than them and bigger than the tribe.
Conflict: A Spirit Gift
Conflict grows out of challenges that are presented by spirit. It is a gift, meant to help us move forward. It is through conflict that we gain knowledge of ourselves and learn new situations for using our own gifts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a difference is to read a book about African traditions and teachings when the person who is writing has been born there. Often times when we read books writen by western writers (or even when we see a documentary about Africa) the main theme is how strange these people are... But the Book that Sobonfu Somé presents, telling the the views and stories about the Dagara people, give us a whole new perspective about how life can be lived and what is really important about life. This book is not about whose views or culture is superior, and yet it shows that there is a richness in the native way of living that cannot be found, and bougth, in our civilized society. The Spirit of Intimacy ends up serving as a brigde to only to help us rethink about how we can connect we our lover, but also with ourselfves and our community (the world).
Sobonfu Some, a member of the West African Dagara tribe, brings to the Western World wisdom uprooted from the ancient elders of her people. This small, concise little gem of a book is filled with practical advice and common sense practices to garner and enhance intimacy in all couple relationships. Although most of her teachings and suggestions are not practical for Westerners because of cultural differences and the negative influences Western society has on our lives today, there are still plenty of meaningful and thought provoking passages here that would easily apply to all cultures everywhere. People are people. The ways of love, human sexuality, and intimate relationships between men and women are the same worldwide, no matter which spot on the globe you look. Sobonfu¿s simple approach to intimacy takes the reader from their initial contact with their partner on through the many stages of growth the couple will experience. The ancient ways of intimacy in West Africa are community built; all village members participate in the nurturing, care, and growth of a couple¿s relationship, straight on through to the death of one or both partners. The most interesting aspects of their philosophy on intimacy revolves around the ¿spirit¿ and the rituals that can be created to help two people learn and understand each other¿s personalities, wants, dreams, conflicts and pain, and the importance of creating these rituals early on so that they will be carried forth throughout the duration of the relationship. In creating scared spaces for sex, in the process of inviting in the spirit of nature and the spirit of love into their hearts and homes, in both parties total immersion into the communion and joining of hearts, minds, souls and the sacredness of their joined bodies, the African way of intimacy is a welcome breath of fresh air to read about. The author teaches couples to explore, learn, to be patient and to communicate openly about all aspects of joy and sorrows, doubts and fears, expectations and disappointments. Open communication, the spirit of making effort and never giving up or into negative thoughts or actions toward the other partner is key to a healthy relationship that will beam with ultimate intimacy if some of these simple loving rituals and beliefs are put in practice every day. Some other topics covered are: controlling behavior patterns, death and dying, the illusion and dangers of romance, homosexuality, divorce and the importance of family and friends who can support the relationship when nurturing and healing are needed.This is marvelous quick little read was well worth the time to peruse, and worth letting the wisdom offered up sink in, and make this reader ponder on her own experiences.