For Black people and people of the Diaspora, giving libations is a way of remembering and honoring the ancestors.
It’s a way of remembering the names of those no longer with us in the physical form, honoring the legacy that continues to live on within us.
When we give libations, we pour liquid to honor the cycle of life, bringing our remembrance of their spirit back to the earth so new life can flourish.
We say Ase—a word stemming from the West African Yoruba tradition to give thanks— giving thanks to the essence and the life force energy of our ancestors.
The sound of the water that plays throughout the meditation represents the sounds of the Atlantic ocean, honoring the Diasporic journey and the lives lost during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The libations begin with honoring Nina Pop, a black trans woman who was murdered inside of her Missouri apartment in May. Too often we leave out Black trans women—the most vulnerable when it comes anti-black violence and terrorism. When we say black lives matter, we mean all black lives: black trans lives, black queer lives, black lives with different abilities—all of us.
This libations meditation is modeled after the work of Tiarra Asia Knox and Mizan Alkebulan-Abakah, as well as the elders throughout time who passed down this sacred tradition.
Learn more about Mizan’s work at Spearitwurx, an Oakland-based organization that inspires inter-generational wellness, prioritizing the healing of Black communities. Follow follow them on social media.