Fear and Loathing in ATR/DTR Communities.
To initiate or not to initiate that is the question, whether tis nobler to initiate in Africa or in the Diaspora to suffer the slings and arrows of this ilè vs. that ilè.
Whew… it’s only Tuesday and I have finally come up for air and well, these innanets have me in my feelings before my second cup of coffee! I’m going to start with the shit and end with sugar, bear with me as I vent.
Over the years I have heard countless first and second hand accounts of people being scammed and taken for everything they have when initiated into Orisha traditions, Palo, Voodun, Kemet, etc.. The stories have been heartbreaking and I am often left wondering when the powers that be will swoop down and devour the predators in our communities.
I have seen seemingly strong and fearless men felled by the smooth talk of a Babalawo and women give up their most sacred possessions in the hopes of connecting with spirit and satisfying that deep emptiness that calls out for spiritual nourishment. I ask again, when will it change?
Many people turn to African or Diaspora Traditional Religions for many reasons. The most common reason for this return to ancestral practices is most of us are in some state of chaos in our lives, whether it be financial, health issues, spiritual matters or relationships, we find that the big 3 religions are not providing the solutions we need to change the course of our lives for the better.
It is through chaos that the predator priests and misguided internet fame/money seekers thrive. These types use fear and loathing to reel in those who are at their most vulnerable and desperately in need of love from their spirits.
Predator priests are no different than the pimp on the corner. They are, in their own right, knowledgeable, good diviners and gifted in the subtle art of manipulative talk. These men and women recognize the chaos, emptiness and potential goldmine in those that seek them out for help and they exploit the hell out of it. Everything from exorbitant fees for services, fake trips to Africa for initiation, sexual assault disguised as a spiritual offering, mental abuse, etc. if you can name an outright criminal and/or abusive act hidden under the guise of Orisha, Lwa, Mpungo I can tell you of a true story where such things have occurred.
Then there are the McMagic YouTube Scholars who have had access to credible houses, priests and information, that feel the spiritual downloads they received between episodes of “Luke Cage” was somehow transmitted by Orisha and now gives them license to teach, charge and mislead those who are in chaos and searching for help. They don’t need initiation (but do have a priest on speed dial for clean up in aisle “I fucked up”).
These McMagic types espouse things like;
- Oshun only likes light skin daughters
- You don’t need initiation to unlock the secrets of Lwa, Orisha or any divinity
- Feed your blood to the spirits in a cemetery
- Orisha will Mount you at night for sex
- I could make a list full of ignorance promoted as truth, that would take the masses a month to read in its entirety.
- The FUCKERY is real and it’s so deep that some days I cannot begin to see how we can stamp out the bullshit that occurs and is prompted globally as truth.
- It is times like this when I must turn to Spirit, ancestors and my elders for proper guidance and get balance. Why do I do this? It’s because THERE ARE MORE PHENOMENAL PRIESTS AND LAYPERSONS ON THIS PLANET THEN BAD ONES.
- Let me say it again, THERE ARE MORE PHENOMENAL PRIESTS AND LAYPERSONS ON THIS PLANET THEN BAD ONES.
- If you’ve made it this far in my rant, thank you! Now let me share with you what I do know.
- An initiation can happen in Africa or anywhere in the Americas. With the right Godparents, Iyanifa, Babalawo or Awo, your initiation can and will be done correctly. An elder that is truly in service to God, ancestors and Spirits/Energies of their tradition will have ups and downs just like the rest of us BUT, they will make every effort to help you help yourself walk truthfully in your destiny.
- YOU are solely responsible for who YOU choose to give your spiritual head and heart to. Do your damn homework!! I KNOW that potential godchildren are lead by spirit to their future godparents. If a person has an open recruitment campaign for godkids, question the hell out of that? Why does anyone have to advertise for godkids? Stuff like this reminds me of Christian churches going out into the world to save souls but, in the case of ATR/DTRs a hefty fee is usually attached. Verify a person’s title, talk privately to members of the community to get the 411 on the person you are considering trusting with your well being.
- Learn to trust this one person I am about to name above all others. This person is YOU! Listen to that little voice, trust that uneasy feeling and/or pay attention to the red flags raised when you are around a so-called elder. Trusting the divine spirit within you may just save your life and a few thousand dollars, as well as, lead you to the right godparents.
- When I was visiting the home of a woman who claimed to be an Egungun Priest, she was in the process of getting evicted. She had a “bonding” session with potential new members to her Egbe. That bonding session was really just her getting free labor because she and her husband had 4 days to vacate the premises. As I sat and watched what was unfolding, I listened to what walks with me AND what walked in her house. I knew at that moment I would never do any type of business with her, on any level ever again. I share my personal story with my readership so that you all know that I have made the mistake of walking into situations without fully checking the person out and, I have also listened to as well as, obeyed what my spiritual court had said to do. We all go through learning the hard way at some point in time, so don’t beat yourself up about making a poor choice. Just consider it a lesson learned, fix it and do better going forward. Allow no one to shake your faith and knock you off of your path. If you get burned by a shit stain of a human, take it as a life lesson and move forward.
- Oh, one more thing if you have a question, ask. Ask a million times if necessary.
- I’m going to be patient and keep on doing the work I am supposed to be doing in my traditions, Mpungos got this and everything done is seen and eventually addressed.
- Back to the shrine I go…
Ambrozine LeGare is a Medium, Diviner, Rootworker, Incense Maker and Writer-at-Large