There is an old West African Story that illustrates the power of looking back and is represented by symbol of the Sankofa Bird. Sankofa literally translated means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.
Visually and symbolically, Sankofa is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth. This ties with our motto: “In order to understand our present and ensure our future, we must know our past.”
Journal and Draw
Draw an image of the Sankofa bird. As you draw think about what it means to remember your past history for a better understanding of life in the present. Beneath the drawing of the Sankofa bird write about where you grew up—describe housing and landscape memories. Then draw yourself as a child surrounded by images of those who influenced you. Pay attention to the feelings attached to those memories and let them be reflected in the drawings.
Finally draw a flower. Underneath the flower shape, write one dream you have for your future. Close the journals sit back, close your eyes and take at least three deep, cleansing breaths and exhalations.