Be careful of what you ask for, you just may get it.
Don’t wrestle with pigs because you’ll only get dirty and the pig likes it.
This too shall pass.
At the beginning of this year I did ebo and prayed to be shown the ways in which I needed to change for the better. True to form ancestors AND Orishas AND Mpungos did not disappoint, they showed me all kinds of stuff to work on. One of the things was to stand on truth and principle even if I was doing it alone.
Well here I am, reflecting and looking at myself. Asking hard questions and wondering what I should do next to begin to close out this adventurous year. One of the things I have been passionate about is helping in some way to stop sexual abuse within the ATR/DTRs. For the life of me I simply cannot understand why so many elders in ATR/DTRs who know the stories and have heard the rumors about faux-priests (I refuse to call these viruses priests) know the truth stay silent year after year, sweep things under the rug, handle things in-house or simply turn a blind eye to the dangerous people in our midst. Is there an odu or a parable that says “If the leopard kills a flock of sheep and mauls the King’s son, do we reward him with more sheep and the King’s next child?” I have struggled with this silence and shaming of women who dare to share their stories.
I have never been a victim of a priest’s advancements or attempts to bed me in front of their prenda but, I am a rape survivor. So when I hear and heard the pain in the voices of the women that call me asking what to do when they’ve been attacked or felt they had no choice, how could I stay silent especially when I personally know a predator? We all want to believe the best of those we choose as our elders? We all need to believe that we are walking the path of our spiritual destiny in the right house. When a sacred trust is broken and the facade is removed what does one do?
I was faced with that question a while back and I made a choice. I walked away, because in Spirit and ancestors I trust, not a flawed person. I was angry for quite sometime, at someone whom I called brother, friend and Tata. Privately many could not understand my anger and stoney silence whenever the subject of this failed relationship was broached. In public, the act of “we are all one big happy family” was kept up because it is a traditional practice to keep in-house matters within the house. The real source of my anger was not that my former friend was a silent predator but that I held out hope that he would change. When I met him, he was who he was, slick, arrogant and a womanizer.
Being knowledgeable, charismatic and passionate about spiritual things was also the flip side of his coin. Over time, the rumors and allegations about his behavior didn’t fall on deaf ears, each new instance was put into a mental file that I had unconsciously kept. I was mad because the leopard didn’t change his spots and I said nothing for a long while.
When I started my own business as a diviner and spiritual teacher, I started receiving clients who would tell me about this priest who did or said x, y and z. Before these women could say the name of the man, my spirits would tell me who it was. There was a point in time that I dreaded getting a new female client for fear that I would hear yet another personal story and receive screenshot proof of what took place. I struggled with keeping my clients confidence and punching this man in his face. As time went on my initial anger turned to rage and when I asked him why, his response was that all of these women were crazy… little did he know I had screenshots, dick pics and all that bore witness to all of the women’s stories. Daily I asked myself what will you do?
Every family has a black sheep that is loved but, this didn’t make things right in my mind and heart.
Eventually I had to face myself. I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend and worker. I try to do what I can to dry a tear, give counsel, hold a hand, laugh, refer and call out the dangers in our midst. I found that I my idealistic hope that with growth would come change wasn’t exactly going the way that I personally held onto. I was torn because multiple women across the country confided in me, some tearfully and ashamed, about their negative experience with this man. I had many long conversations with myself about this and it was no secret within the house that I belonged to, I was no fan of the head. At one point in time, I refused to go to any function at the house and on the rare occasion that I would show up, I made a point to shake things up so no woman felt trapped or got something done that wasn’t necessary. I spent many hours counseling former god siblings on what to do and how to do things, when their worlds seem to be falling apart.
I became angry and bitter because I felt trapped with secrets that I felt should be exposed. I was angry at those in my former house who knew but confided in me that they were either afraid to come forward or wanted to pick the man’s brain a little while longer. Cowardice, fuckery, predator and virus became words that I used regularly, I did not like going against my own personal code to keep things quiet just because that’s your Tata and y’all go back to the days before internet fame. The unexpected passing of my spiritual sister Beatrice, his live-in partner, pushed me to a point where I had to do the only thing I knew how to do, go to my ancestors and ask for their guidance.
The message that I received was told to me via spirit and within 2 days of getting this spiritual message, my love told me that exact thing word for word.
“Stand on the truth, even if you are standing alone.”
These words, helped to break any anger and any doubts that I had. There was a way to advocate for victims, educate both men and women without breaking confidences, as well as, out a monster in our midst. This was a turning point for me and a huge shackle taken off of my head.
Any priest that asks a woman or man to have or exchange sex with them in order to help them is a predator. Any priest that spends his days lining up sex dates instead of doing promised work is a predator. Any priest that gets drunk at a misa or initiation, flirts with and/or sleeps with their god kids and/or hits on women is a predator. Any priest that does these things or things in this vein is not a priest, they are a predator. A dog can’t get mad if you call it a dog, I’ve said this time and time again.
Any person who has been or currently, is caught in a situation where a person in power, whether a priest or not, is harassing them or asking for sex has the right to walk away. Do not fear spiritual threats because trust and believe there are MANY HONEST AND SPIRIT LEAD PRIESTS that can and will help you. Do not be held captive by fear! As for the many elders that may read this, please speak up! YOU ARE OUR ELDERS, let’s stop allowing these spiritually and morally corrupt men and women from dishonoring our creator, divinities, ancestors and our religions.
If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would have stood on the truth sooner. I would have let go of anger and got down to the business of building instead of fighting him, fighting off his attacks & fighting to maintain my reputation that he has worked overtime to ruin.
These days, I have the great privilege to have Godparents, a partner and god siblings who are flawed but honest and full of love. I am surrounded by people that value and work towards achieving iwa pele and iwa rere daily as well as, serving the Divine in all of its forms. I am very fortunate!
If you have made it this far in my long ramble, I thank you for reading. I want to leave you with these words, people will be who they are. People will gossip, spread lies, try to invalidate your experiences, shame you, etc., when this happens do not despair or get angry. Remember there is always hope and help if needed! Do not sell yourself short or allow yourself to be convinced that your salvation lies in someone’s bed, shrine room or in front of their prenda. Those that do wrong will eventually have to answer for their wrongdoings.
Remember this and hold onto as you overcome any challenges your enemies try to put in your way.
Papa Candelo is a beloved spirit and a man is just a man. If that man is a predator don’t call him by the name of the righteous instead, call the cops!
Live your best life and stand up.
You are worthy!