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The Art of Forgiveness

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, I witnessed an act of forgiveness that took my breath away, angered me and brought tears to my eyes all at once.

Eighteen year old, Brandt Jean, asked Judge Tammy Kemp for permission to hug his brother’s murderer. He wanted to hug the woman who up until the moment she pulled the trigger, in the wrong apartment, proudly posted her racist beliefs. Up until that moment she was the law, after that moment she became a small defenseless woman who was afraid for her very existence. Another day, another scared cop and another dead Black body.

Brandt Jean’s genuine need to forgive his brother, Botham’s, killer was an act that is filled with so many shades of grey, one will spend a decade counting them all.

The Art of forgiveness is a discipline worthy of study in any institution of learning and is definitely a subject that needs to be taught in churches everywhere. Brandt Jean showed a depth and width of forgiveness that Black Americans are known for. We forgive our oppressors. We forgive our killers. We walk with olive branches in our purses and pocketbooks at the ready because it’s hardwired into our DNA via our ancestry and the sting of massa’s whip.

The moment he touched his brother’s killer, the pieces of me that have grown weary of the another Black or Brown body show was angry. How many more scared cops must we endure? How many more home grown shooters must we see humanized to avoid saying what the children of the hues already know? We pray, we forgive and now we hug. THAT HUG!

That hug and act of forgiveness took my breath away and drew me back into the recesses of my mind. Back to the night I had to write my own victim impact statement for the sentencing of one of my son’s attackers.

My child lived. My child lived.

The day I wrote my victim statement it felt like it took me hours to get the first word out. I got up before sunrise to pray and couldn’t, truthfully I didn’t want to. I watched the sunrise, listened to the house wake up and everyone go to school and work. I just sat in the window staring off into space.

I never got a chance to write a victim impact statement for my father or my cousin. Too angry and grief stricken during those times.

My son lived, he lived. I was deeply grateful for this. He was here and received justice, a privilege denied to many, denied to Bathom Jean. I spent hours looking for “it”. That moment where forgiveness would kick in and love would come dancing in to replace the rage, hurt and deep longing for another moment with my loved ones long gone. I sat on my bed for most of the day until I realized that the sun had set and my face was stained from my dried tears. When I looked at the time, I had less than an half day to get my statement together.

I decided that I would write from my heart and tell the man who attempted to shorten my child’s life exactly what I thought of him. To my great surprise, sometime during the early morning, I wrote my statement. I didn’t even remember doing so. I read what I had written and it was profound, so much so that to this day I swear my Ori descended and wrote what I could not.

As I watched that young man hug that killer, I understood the why’s and how’s. I understood it completely, even though I didn’t agree, I got it.

Over the decades I have learned that there is an art to forgiveness. To put yourself in a state that allows you to forgive someone who has betrayed you or taken a loved one from you is an act so revolutionary that it defies logic. True forgiveness is not a sign of weakness or being a mental slave. Forgiveness is that unique sonata, jazz riff or one of kind poem that requires you to remember all of the pain and ugliness so that you can transform it into your own elevation. Some people need to use religion, some use creative pursuits or throw themselves into projects/work to help them get to that space of forgiveness because otherwise we would drown in our sorrow and rage.

Here is the victim statement I wrote:

Mr. ****, a little over two years ago you made a decision to participate in a series of events that has forever changed the lives of both your family, our family and yourself. The actions taken on ***** cannot be undone, all we can do is move forward.

The history and levels of violence towards African Americans both external and internal has taken a huge toll on our communities, families and individual psyches. Daily we grapple with the inherited burden that comes from generations of oppression, hopelessness and struggling to get ahead in systems that were not designed for the advancement of men such as yourself.

When you made the choice to act as a societal virus instead of as a man who could correct, you became another part of the generational and societal machine that would seek to keep Black and Brown bodies in a state of dysfunction, fear and disenfranchisement.

It is our hope that one day, you will be a man that helps young African American men and boys make better choices, that you will be a community builder and a leader, instead of a thief, a partner to assault and part of the larger problem that plagues African American communities nationally.

There are no free actions in this life and today you are paying a heavy price for the poor choice that you made.”

There are no winners in this, we hope that whatever your destiny maybe from this point forward, you walk it with integrity and become a community and nation builder.”

I forgave, have forgiven and will forgive again but I won’t be hugging anyone who harms me or mine… I’m not that quite evolved yet.

To the Jean family and all of the many others who grapple with the never ending night of grief, anger and the countless what ifs, may the forgiveness you have extended bless and elevate not only yourself but, your family past, present and future.

Ibae Ibae Ibae

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The Case of Loving Coconut Mojitos

I have fallen in love with the coconut mojitos served in Loiza, Puerto Rico. No, I am not going to tell you the name of the restaurant that sells the version of this drink that I have fallen in love with because…

It is the season of me and I am not sharing.

During the past few months the folks who manage the invisible realm have turned my life upside down. Turnt it up and completely out! As I sit over 10,000 feet above sea trying to figure out how in the hell I got here, I remember…

That I prayed for change. Not just any change but the kind of change that takes your breath away and makes you fall down, give thanks and kiss the ground in awe. The Spirits have given me this and more.

I kiss the ground often these days because They heard my prayers and placed me above galas, galaxies and faux-internet grandstanding.

I am grateful that I am in living in a space that is somewhere between the ceiba and iroko trees.

Those who know, know that there is far more to this elevation game than a carefully placed Malembe and Aalafia that gets bandied about. Lush vegetation and dialogue with the trees have changed my perspective on a whole lot of things and thangs.

As I sit in this bar, lovingly eyeing my drink, wanting to push my man down and thinking of what instrument belongs to Zarabanda versus Ogun, I feel a deep sense of gratitude.

Gratitude that I am connected to Mother and in my world, every day is a coconut mojito kind of day.

Taita, I dedicate this blog post to you. Little did we know that day in the shrine, when you shared some secrets of the knowing with me, it would be our last time together in the flesh as teacher-student ~ godparent-goddaughter. You gave me wings Sir and now I am looking at the ocean from 10,000 feet above the sea, Thank you! I promise to call my brother and BFF’s tomorrow, tonight I am going to selfishly bask in all of this, whatever it is!

Life is GRAND and the right coconut mojito makes it even better.

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Life, Death and Amaretto

My Palo birthday, grandmother’s transition and anniversary of my sister/friend’s passing are all within a 30 day timeframe.  My mind has dwelled somewhere between gratitude and grief the past couple of days and the only things that have truly interested me are incense making, baking and planning my next trip.

While in the throws of reflection, prayer (aka incense making) I called out both my grandmother and sister/friend’s names; Rosie and Beatrice.  I fussed out loud to Ogun about the things beyond my control, cried about the realities of not having physical access to my loved ones any longer in this life and complained bitterly about the unjust lies, betrayals from former friends/colleagues and inconsiderate clients that dared called me on the day of my grandmother’s funeral.

My prayers are in part praise, casual conversation, Q & A’s, bitch sessions and thanksgiving. In my mind I like to picture my egun, Orisha and Mpungo sitting at my dining room table with a slice of cake and coffee, watching me with semi-amused expressions, the way my grandma would do when I would come over to her house to show her something new or lament, waiting for me to pause long enough so that they could interject and impart some much needed wisdom to me, their child.

Somewhere in the middle of my conversation with Ogun, my phone vibrated indicating that I had a new text message. I was set to ignore the message but felt that I should read the message immediately.  What I saw shocked me, it was a message that I sent to my sister/friend Beatrice right before she passed away telling her that I was praying for a miracle.  This message was sent on April 23, 2018 and here it is April 1, 2019 and the message I sent came back to me as undeliverable.  I stood stunned for a nanosecond because right after that, a former god-sibling called to apologize to me for their role in things done to smear my name, business and work done against me at the request of my former godfather.  The way my spiritual life is set up… things happen.

I listened to the caller, re-read the text, listened to the confession and re-read the text again.  At the end of the conversation, I thanked said god-sibling, told them that I am happy that they found the strength to stand up and on the truth. I hung up the phone and then I cried.

Cried because my gramma is gone from this world, cried for Beatrice because during her final days she was too weak to do so herself, lying in a hospital bed knowing she was dying while her lover was off with another woman, cried because I can’t legally get away with punching mofos in their lying mouths.  I cried that soul cleansing ugly cry and then I remembered a conversation I had with an Iyanifa friend of mine about how rich I am because I am not poor in spirit.

That’s when I looked at my dining room table and saw them once again in my mind’s eye telling me not to worry, Orun sees all and nothing is unbalanced in this life.  The lessons of this past year came fully to the forefront as I washed my tear stained face and prepared to walk to the liquor store for some amaretto because a lady needed a drink.

Of the many lessons that I have learned over the past year, two in particular, stood out as I went on my walk to purchase personal libations.  The first lesson is there are a great deal of many unjust things that we will see and experience during our times lifetimes, it is how we respond to the challenges that come from the littlest of slights to the biggest of offenses that will define our character. While it is easy to go on a tear against a real or perceived enemy it is difficult to maintain iwa pele while trying to keep your head up while he or she attempts to undermine your life.  Living the principles of Ifa is what nets true results and brings long term, consistent and sustainable blessings. No need to fake or put on airs when life is divinely ordered.  My life is not without ups and downs but it is divinely ordered and I see the results every day.  The second lesson that stands out is to bring my troubles to my egun, Orisha and Mpungo. Doing this has helped me to see and think things through clearly.  It is through Spirit that I have learned that when I move in the ways that they show, nothing stands in my way and all that I need is at my disposal, including confessions.

I also learned a third and an important lesson that night, don’t forget to get egun their own bottle when doing a libation run.  The bag with my precious amaretto slipped out of my hands and broke right at the front door. For a nano second I was about to fuss and then I remembered that these folks of mine on the other side and throughout the multiverse hold me down in ways that I can’t even begin to describe or know about so I must always give them their due!  Instead of going into the house, I turned on the hose, got the outside broom and started singing an egun song.  Before long my uber Christian neighbor was peeking out of her window and I was crying again.  This time my tears were filled with the knowledge that Gramma and Bea are alright and, they were, are and will forever be remembered and shown favor in the heavens.  I cried tears of thanks because once again Ogun said, daughter stop worrying and complaining, everything is going to be alright.

For this I am grateful.

Gramma, Bea I’ll keep a light on for you two and put out some cake.

 

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The Book of Revelations

I don’t think there will be a time when I will not be amazed by how Spirits move. From the smallest of movements to the outward moments of grand miracles, when Spirits do things even skeptics must take notice.

FaceBook or The Book, as I like to call it, has become a global mass market of connection that has allowed various groups and communities that were once underground or hidden in plain sight to exist openly in the ethers. The ability to connect with like minds of your hive of choice has opened up avenues of information to those in remote parts of the world to learn about different religions, cults and spiritual practices that were once unheard of or seemingly off limits.  Because of social media giants like the Book, many across the global are now part of all types of spiritual groups and it is in these groups where micro-gangs, real fellowship, partnerships and voyeurs are given life and an audience.

What has fascinated me the most is how quickly we give the most intimate details of our lives via direct message to a complete stranger (I have been guilty of this) and form a kinship that is full of genuine internet feelings. These direct messages often contain some of the most personal thoughts and honest opinions of those participating in the conversation.  Within spiritual communities we find out, via DM, who read for who, who is a real worker and who is not, what so and so did, what Ms. Thang looks like nude and my favorite one who was new to the game last year but is a grand wizard today.  When internet kinships go awry, people are left quacking in their proverbial boots hoping that their once online BFF doesn’t share what was said in moment of cyber love.  Sometimes today’s grand wizard and 1.5 headed root woman think that they are so powerful that they can trump, let’s say, Olokun as an example, from revealing what they have said and confessed to in a purposely worded message.

Great spirits like Olokun are the masters of space and time and when their children are the subject of the hour. People would be surprised at just how quickly the Divine will align all the elements together so that the one who has been wronged will know exactly who all the players are, what was said, when it was said and what was done.  I am convinced that screenshots were invented in heaven so that the hardheaded and sometimes, too trusting children of Divinities can see for themselves why it is important to use discernment, discretion and wisdom when loving up via direct message with a stranger.

An online friendship can be a great thing, because of social media, I have met and befriend some truly wonderful people that I always welcome a direct message from. For those that have been less than honorable, Egun and Orisha make good use of the Book of Revelations.

Hopefully, you my dear reader will make good use of it too.

Ambrozine

 

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Flash Sale: Esú 50% Off

A couple of online shops are having Valentine’s Day sales. If you are in the market for an Esu/Elegba you may find yourself a real bargain and snag a custom made Esu head for your ancestor/Hecate/Goddess/office desk altar at 50% off. That’s right folks, 50% off.

As of late I have been wondering when the shift from reverence of Esu to make it happen for me Esu happened? A recent conversation that I had with my Godsister has left me questioning if people really care to know more about Esu and why we propitiate him. Is any thought given to what it means to have a consecrated icon of Esu in your life. What does one think will happen if you buy an Esu head, doll, etc. head off of a random website and start giving this thing you brought but, have no idea what spirit you’ve called, candy, cigar smoke, a candle and rum every Monday?

When did it become ‘a thing’ to just grab and go an Esu of your choosing?

Receiving an Esu is, in my opinion, a privilege and honor that should not be taken lightly or for granted. When an Esu is made by a priest that has the authority to do this type of spiritual work and it is given in ceremony to a person it is a gift and also a responsibility. That gift is made even more special when you receive proper instructions on how to have a relationship with the Esu you receive and how to take care of it. Let me be clear, receiving an Esu from a REAL PRIEST is totally different than buying a random object named after this Orisha.

Esu is everywhere and no where. He opens and closes. He has many roads. He is the Powerful One, the great teacher, the One who throws a stone today to hit the bird yesterday. What he is not, on sale at your nearest online Etsy, Amazon or Pop-up witch website.

There’s so much more to learning, growing and walking with Orisha. It’s a beautiful way of life not the latest spiritual trend.

Thinking via blog on this long road home.

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One Drop Rule 21st Century Style

There was a point in time, here in the United States, that having one drop of African blood meant that you were considered less than. It also could mean enslavement, little to no opportunities, being victim to the whims of any White person that came across your path.

African descendent, Negro, Negress, Nigger, Black, Black American, African American, etc. so many terms to describe the descendants of African slaves here on this side of the pond. So much history of brutality, oppression, attempts of erasure, racism and theft from an entire group of people for the profit of others. This is the truth of being Black in America, a truth of several hundred years and now, in the year 2019, the advent of commercial genetic testing has given people all over the world a glance at where and from whom they descend.  There is a subset of people within the greater spiritual community that have discovered that they have one drop and in some cases, far more than one drop of African ancestry.  It is this discovery coupled with the generational and subconscious belief of entitlement that have a few believing that they have a right to claim, use, alter and pimp African religious traditions and technologies (Native and Asian traditions as well) for their own edification and bottom line.

A recent podcast that I heard left me shaking my head at the comments of the host’s guest as he spoke about his right to practice indigenous traditions because his DNA showed he had some Black too.  Some Black… Black that more than likely entered his bloodline within the past 7 generations.  Black that probably didn’t come about because of love but, because of rape and bondage. As I listened to this podcast, I scoffed at the arrogance of a man and, those that think like him, that feel because they have African ancestry they have “user rights” to ATR/DTR traditions while not realizing that they are continuing with the very same behaviors their forefathers and mothers exhibited. Just like their white ancestors, they are justifying the use of their privilege but in a 21st century manner, flipping the one drop rule on its head.

I’m certain many will feel some kind of way about my observations but that is yet another facet of having inherited privilege no matter what your current socio-economic status is. The privilege of thinking that you can do or have access to something because your DNA test said you have some central or west African ancestry.  I am fully aware that no one person or group has exclusive rights to any religion, God is God and the blessings as well as, help from the heavens is there for everyone but, perhaps the attraction to the ATR/DTRs by people who are not descendants is the need for appeasement to the African ancestors whose lives were forever changed by the slave trade that made the Western World what it is today.

I long for a time when the color of one’s skin is not a factor in whether one is or is not. I also long for a time when people are honest about their why’s for doing what they do. Until then, I will keep on working on doing and being a better human being while navigating the waters that is this life.

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An Underground Walk with Ancestors

December 31, 2018!! This year has been one filled with many challenges, blessings and many lessons for me. I can sincerely say that 2018 was the year that I was stretched, challenged and held to task by all that walk with me, for this I am grateful because I have grown in ways that I cannot begin to articulate. I am grateful for the fuel that has been given to me from the realm of the ancestors and heaven!

Any who, there has been a recent controversy in the online and physical spheres of life, another outcry about appropriation has reared its head and has yet again, pulled the scab off of the racial divide within various groups in spiritual communities. Many people are weighing in, some with actual inside knowledge, others with knee-jerk “I read it online, so it must be true” responses to what has been exposed. I will leave the debating to those better suited and/or who like to get involved in the latest hot topic being shared.

After spending two hours of my life that I cannot get back, reading posts, comments and the like, I had to take a step back and look at the debate as well as the larger issues that have been brought to light by the publishing of a book.

The first issue I have seen (which I will not address here or anywhere else for that matter) is POC and Pantheacon. There seems to be a long standing issue that needs to be addressed by those that attend and those run this event. Every year there is yet another out cry by POC that have attended and based off of what I have seen year after year, I’m wondering why do POC even bother to attend PCon if this is the case, but I digress.

The second issue that has me saying hmmm, WTH and ain’t that some shit, is the subject of ancestral knowledge appropriation and who gets to tell the narrative of Africans in America, Indigenous Tribes and the those who supported the enslaved, oppressed, etc.. I cannot support culture vultures, appropriators and the sort.  No matter what the excuse or reasoning is behind a person laying claim to the knowledge of people from outside of their ancestral paradigm is, I will not endorse them. When I think of how Mother Zora Neale Hurston’s work and the real life spiritual workings from slaves, etc. has been carefully crafted into a Hoodoo Course or how in academic circles works about Mother Moses, for the most part, goes through one person who is not a POC and Black authors rarely have their works about our ancestors and traditions published by major publishing firms I feel some kind of way about it all.  When thinking about what the historical landscape will look like in 100 years, knowing that people like the Lucky grand dame of appropriation in California will be thought of as some sort of benchmark for what rootwork was, just makes me want to scream. Knowing that behind the scenes people work overtime to delegitimize authentic works by credible practitioners who have the support of the families, academia, and POC in their communities makes me rage. Many of the people online who scream about appropriation have not dared to come out swinging against the likes of the appropriators that make millions a year off of ancestral knowledge that is not theirs.  Those of us who have called out a bitch, bastard and their 3 legged dog out for their cultural thievery have been slandered, lively hoods attacked to the point of being destroyed and isolated for daring to call blatant dishonor and theft out. Many who know the truth about cultural thieves go silently into the night and talk in private circles about what they know and that brings my rage back with a vengeance. When the rare moment comes along and someone, whether a POC or not, publishes something that goes against the status quo, the internet is set on fire and no one addresses the 800 lb. gorilla and the pink elephant in the room, racism, how it drives the spiritual economy and who stands to gain the most when people bandwagon jump to slay the pitbull instead of killing the monster standing plainly in their midst.

By the time I am knee deep in the second issue, the ancestors tap me on my shoulder to remind me of what is most important. Preserving ancestral knowledge and factual history and, passing on both to future generations. Each day there is a new person that hops online looking for spiritual enlightenment. These people are hardwired with beliefs that lead them to follow this one or that one. These very same folks most times end up following the big names in the online spiritual community, names that have taken from others without proper credit or compensation to their descendants. Then there are the folks that are fueled by ego who honestly believe that Africans in America have not been major players and are not the backbone of rootwork and/or did not carry on their spiritual beliefs brought over by their ancestors in bondage. This and several other factors are helping to perpetuate false narratives, cement appropriators place in history as the knowledge keepers and insure that our future generations lose important lessons because others are out here creating their own version of spiritual paradise that retells and/or excludes the originators of what they have stolen.

I am hoping that in 2019, more people READ and RESEARCH, instead of getting angered up by the latest shares. I am hoping that people take the time to verify that the authors they support or decry, are who they say they are and not believe a social media share. If a person can show and prove that they have the backing of the descendants of an historical figure, are legitimately initiated, have factual information and are wiling to have the hard conversations, then lets work towards building bridges and preserving our ancestral traditions.  Let’s deconstruct or bet yet, shutdown those businesses, institutions that block authors of color from publishing, rewrite history to fit their ulterior motives and who love our green dollars but not our colorful hues. Imagine what our collective ancestral work would look like if we take on those who block our ability to tell our narratives, hold our events or own the rights to our families stories. Our spiritual and ancestral beliefs are worth fighting for, our right to be safe in any and all spaces are worth fighting for and the need to teach our future generations where and who they come from are worth fighting for.

With this rant being done, I wish everyone a 2019 that is filled with blessings from THEIR   ancestors and if you are at the dinner table of another cultures ancestors, be respectful, be an honest ally and remember that you are a guest.

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Standing Up and Alone

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.  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 pardino.  The unexpected passing of my spiritual sister 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 doubts that I had.  There was a way to advocate for victims, educate both men and women without breaking confidences. 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, initiation and hits on the women around 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 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 globally 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 that anger and got down to the business of building instead of fighting.

These days, I have the great privilege to have Godparents, a partner and god siblings who are flawed but honest. I am surrounded by people that value and work towards achieving iwa pele 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 or shrine room. Those that do wrong will eventually have to answer for their wrongdoings. Live your best life and stand up.

You are worthy!

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Oh Palm Oil Where Art Thou?

I am in any town USA visiting relatives for the next few days and discovered this evening that I was out of palm oil and did not have any in my trusty spiritual travel bag (I’m still trying to figure out how this happened). About 6pm I decided to go in search of some palm oil so I could make things do what they do.

Well, after 2 1/2 hours and a 1/4 tank of gas, I still had no palm oil. I drove past an Indian market and got excited because I felt that this might be it… the store that would be my savior. It took me 15 minutes to find a parking space and guess what? This store had everything except palm oil. Every-mofo-thing except that orange gold. To say that I was in my feels is an understatement, I was beyond aggravated!!

I had spent a ridiculous amount of time driving around, hoping in and out of my car looking for an elusive bottle of palm oil and found nothing. My question to myself was, ‘how in the hell is there no palm oil in this diverse part of town?’. Did I mention how aggravated I was?

Anywho, on my way back to my car, I decided to walk around the block to calm down because it was silly of me to be this upset over palm oil. While I was walking I came across a house all decked out for Halloween with a full blown party going on. The owner of the house was standing outside with other adults and kids in creative costumes laughing and chatting when I walked by. The owner asked me if I wanted a piece of candy and I started to decline but decided why not. After all of that driving around a piece of chocolate was probably earned. Before I knew it, I ended up in a conversation and had forgotten, for the moment, about finding some palm oil. After about 30 minutes one of the men in the group asked me what brought me to their part of town and I responded, palm oil. The lady of the house asked me if I needed some because she had plenty.

I swear you could have knocked me over with a feather because that was the last thing I expected. To end up at a Halloween party and leave with a cupful of palm oil was not on my agenda but I was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. As I was leaving and saying thank you as well as goodbye to everyone , that’s when I noticed the Ogun pot in the corner. I could not have made this evening up even if I tried. Ogun had the first, middle and last laugh tonight and, I am laughing right along with him. Well played Baba, well played.

I’ve got a cup full of palm oil, a few Kit Kats and a bag of M&M’s on the passenger seat and, a memorable evening that I will laugh about many times over.

Help is always there when needed. If I didn’t take this sentiment to heart before, after tonight, I most certainly will.

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Uncle Sango and a Glass of Wine

It’s been many years since I’ve been in a position to watch a storm. Tonight there is a severe storm lighting up the sky and thunder so loud that it is rattling the windows of the house.

City living dulls the senses and blots out the memories of dark country nights were you can see a million stars. Where I find myself on this dark and stormy night is in a place I call home. Up on a hill, far yet close to the city.

I’m sitting in the dark, sipping on a nice red blend, typing on my phone and glancing out of the window so I can see the next big flash from Sango.

Sango the Orisha with so much energy and pizzazz the stars dim when he is in town. The Orisha that is sometimes talked about as a lady’s man, the wild and fiery one. So many stories, so many human characteristics that one could question whether or not this is an Orisha worthy of adoration and praise.

Kawo Kabeyisi, I hear people say this all the time in the same way I hear people say God is good. They say it loud and often but, it feels empty when the phrase rolls off the tongue with no true love behind it. I question myself, wondering if I am too being judgemental when I become irked by rote reciting. When Sango steps up to defend his daughters and the daughters of other Orisha and yes, even the daughters of Mpungos, there is a sense of security and justification that comes from knowing your Uncle walked up the block and kicked the bully’s ass soundly for messing with his niece. Baba Sango is more than the patikis repeated, he is a protector and defender of women, the energy that moves things forward, he is love and lessons in pliable strength. It is hard to describe a Sango moment, event or interaction. You’d have to experience it to even begin to understand my feelings about Him. In my many philosophical conversations with myself I wonder if people crowned with Sango lack his good characteristics and it is their job to emulate their father in this lifetime. I think and wonder.

Perhaps it’s me and my overactive mind that has me in my feels tonight. Maybe I am stretching beyond the confines of blind acceptance and am beginning to feel the edges of the universe or maybe it’s this wine and light show that has me feeling the need to expand beyond the ordinary.

The lightening is still flashing away, my wine glass is almost empty and I have to get some sleep but first I think I will put on my favorite Sango song and thank my Uncle for always being a quick prayer away.