Monday, February 13, 2017

From Looking to Seeing #52essays2017

A few years into the mix of me having freedom living virtually on my own and studying bits and pieces of various traditions, spiritual practices and religions I started to feel the loosening of the chains that bound me to old God concepts and ideas. I had been working in the hospital with my cousin and we became even closer than any two siblings could get. While practicing Wicca with her and being turned on to the connection of elements and spirit to energy work, I still was not completely taken with the wiccan practice. I was grateful to it, I sensed its power and or energy as a practice which was in stark contrast to the Kingdom Hall in which I felt was devoid of all energy, spiritual or otherwise. I just did not find the connecting feeling in which one feels so overwhelmingly drawn to a practice that they can claim their own.

In the course of me working at the hospital I befriended a young lady a few years older then me but in my age group none the less. We talked for two minutes in person and were instantly drawn to each other. Two peas in a pod, this was a best friend from another lifetime that I found again. Of this I was so sure. We began to spend lunches together as my shifts fluctuated between night times I spent more with my cousin and day times I was able to spend with my new friend. One particular day when we were sitting and having lunch we were discussing spirituality and the many religions and practices that exist. She was scared or mistrusting of my cousins Wiccan practice, the notion of her being a witch made my new friend automatically think of "dark" magic or devil worship. I took the opportunity to educate her that it was not that at all, and that the connection to the earth and sky around us was inherent and natural and there was no devil in the wiccan belief. She began to tell me of al the spirits she had encountered in her life and how they were dealt with either by herself or her family. This was like a missing key to my secrets, I too had obviously had so may experiences but never was able to 'deal' with them per se more than I was at their mercy. After discussing with her my perceptions and experiences with the unseen, she grew interested and asks me, " Have you ever heard of Santeria?"
I clutched my invisible pearls and gawked at her... did she just...? The first things that flew out of my mouth was the old rhetoric. "Bitch I don't worship the damn Devil. I don't kill chickens and goats and shit! Oh hell nah!"
She laughed but she took the time, as I did previously, to educate me a bit on what the Orisa were and that is was much more than I was thinking and or allowing it to be. She invited me to her mothers at that time 32nd anniversary of when she got initiated to the Lucumi (afro Cuban Orisa worship) deity, Yemaya. I was hesitant beyond belief but I decided to take her up on her offer.
About a week from the time she asked me I arrived at a ranch house in the wyndanch/Wheatley heights section of Long Island. I entered a house with Salsa , reggaeton, and hip hop playing and smelled the familiar smells of sofrito and Puerto Rican cuisine. This was not spooky at all so far and I definitely did not hear the sounds of chickens clucking or winnies of any goats. I was introduced to my friends mother, her aunts and her cousins and brother. I was taken in like family right away to this endearing family. we moved the festivities downstairs and I was in awe as I took in the beautiful display in front of me. It was a large blue and white Chinese ceramic jar standing regally in the middle of a space that contained fresh colorful fruit, fragrant flower. The walls were draped with cloth that were various shades of blue and I was overcome with an emotion I could not explain. I was in awe and reverence but could not put a finger on why or what exactly, I just knew this was Hollow ground. It was explained to me that this was a day in honor of Yemaya and her pact with my friends mother who initiated into her priesthood. The woman began to speak about her honor and thanks to yemaya and the room became deathly quiet, and something in the atmosphere changed. My arm hair raised, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end and goosebumps traveled from the nape of my neck,down my arms and through my torso. Just then my friends mother shakes as if touched by electricity and she almost falls over. She was aught and held up by family what she said next was, "Yemaya madre del mundo (Mother of the world)will be respected and will show the extent of her power in a big way this year, that we may pay attention and respect the water that covers the earth." Everyone nodded but the energy still permeated the room and everyone could still feel it. At one point my friend brought me over to her aunt and mother and asked, "what orisa do you think he would be initiated to?" The two women looked at each other looked back at me and said, "Oshun." I had no idea who that was or why they smiled with knowing eyes but I just nodded and smiled myself. By the end of that short time spent with the mother and family I felt that whatever preconceived notions I had of Santeria were wrong. Having felt supernatural energies that did not feel so nice, this was the complete opposite. This was the current of energy that most sought out to feel when interacting with the divine.
I befriended the mother and she began to open my eyes to a new world. She introduced me to espiritismo, this was a practice that developed on the islands to various degrees but most associated with Cuba and in this case Puerto Rico. This was a blend of practices loosely based on Catholicism, indigenous Arawak and imported captured African beliefs. Allen Kardec a scientist turned believer had interviewed mediums who were trance possessed and collected and documented all that the spirits had shared with him. Some of these teachings permeated the island and developed methods to communicate and deal with spirits, but the culture of the island severely influenced the spiritual movement and practice and this was something that was practiced to this very day. What I was being taught was that not only was I able to commune with any spirits that came my way, I was also able to protect myself from anything I did not want to deal with, and I was able to identify what and who the spirits were. Another saving grace was I had my own spirit guides and protectors I could work with closely and call upon to help me in any instance naturally and supernaturally.

This rocked my entire world. I felt cheated I some way and betrayed that this info was somewhere out there and I had gone through so much fear in my life when I could have easily dealt with this early if someone was willing to help me develop spiritually to work and deal with spirit.

I finally felt empowered and able to deal with things that may or may not have come my way. I was instructed on how to set up a personal altar, how to clean and prepare my space and how to sit still in the sacred space I create and commune or do dedication work for to and for my spirit guides. My eyes were open I was finally able to see and through the connections being made I was able to feel a deep connection the likes I did not feel in any previous practice. It was wonderful not feeling blind or ignorant to things.

Monday, February 6, 2017

From unseen to understanding #52essays2017

I left the church, the whys are a conglomeration of things. I am seventeen and change approaching eighteen and I had come to the conclusion God and me did not mix and could not mix. I was outside the conditions in which it was said God would love me. I already had this strained relationship with this supposed being who loved but judged all things and people, most of all people like me. I had a couple of major things against me. However, religion and the Kingdom Hall was all I knew. These dogmatic teachings were inculcated into my mind and very being. It was second nature for me to "educate" someone about the biblical verses and from a lens by which the watchtower strongly influenced. I found myself in a very odd position as a young teen. My parents had decided to move and in the process had stayed with my aunt for a week or two. I knew of all things I was not going to live back with my parents I could no longer keep this as an option. I approached my aunt and asked if I could live with her for a bit until I got my own place. I asked her what my cousin paid and offered to pay double that. She of course talked it over with her husband and it was agreed upon that I could stay.

Funny thing is during the course of us staying at my aunts house my mom has seen apparitions and felt the presence of something she claimed was dark. I could not say I saw what she saw but one night when I had come in and laid on the make shift bed of blankets and sheets made for me, as my aunt accommodated a whole other family in her house. I kept feeling the bed thump to my left shake and then I felt a smooth recurrent wind by my face as if someone or something was waving their hand in front of my face. I noticed each time the air by my face switched the bed thumped. My mother was mumbling and praying telling whatever it was to leave her alone and get out of the room. I asked her what was wrong she said the spirits were messing with the bed, and I was spooked as I was able to see underneath the bed clearly as my face was perfectly level with it and I couldn't see a thing but felt the rushing breeze as some force shook the bed. IT stopped shortly afterwards. Even with that episode I decided I rather take my chances staying in my aunts house than living with my parents.

My first night in the house by myself I was sleeping on the couch and I was falling asleep and nodding out. My aunt had a cat at the time who would of course use the late hours of the evening to play and run around the house to expend energy. Well the cat was sitting on it hind legs with his paws up tapping at the air as he played.. as I nodded off and my eyelids became heavier something took shape in front of the cat. It was a hairless small impish creature who was sitting on the opposite end of the couch playfully tapping back at the cat... I bolted up in shock and stifled a scream. My cousin heard me and ran out of her room, to check I told her what I saw. She laughed it off and went back to her room and I stood up that night until I couldn't fight sleep no longer and it overtook me.
Next even in that house was a shared experience. Me and my cousin worked at one of the local hospitals and would come home a little after 11pm stay up until 2am and then go to sleep. This particular night we stood up talking and decided we were too tired to move from our seats. Me on the couch and her on the recliner out.. well she got up and turned off the light over the computer desk in the living room and went back to the recliner. Once she settled back in her seat the light turned back on. At this point we looked at each other a little spooked. She got back up and turned it off again and on her way back to the recliner it turned back on. She sat back in the recliner as though it may have been a bastion of safety for her. The spirits had another agenda however, to prove their presence they decided to shake her recliner with the intensity of a small earth quake. My cousins eyes opened wide as did mine.. she got up and looked at me and said, so you want to sleep in my bed. I quickly responded yes and that was how we shared the bed the remainder of our time living together.

My cousin, my fellow Cancerian who was only one year and two days younger than me was my twin. She felt and saw what I felt and saw most times or was aware. We were often in synch and I was glad to have someone validate my experiences in which I would have felt crazy had I experienced them alone. I was always plagued as I mentioned in my second memoir essay, with sleep paralysis. One particular night I was being plagued by the heavy feeling which kept me in place and scared witless as I found myself unable to move. MY cousin heard my moans and turned over to shove me when she said she saw something cloudlike hovering over me and when she shrieked it vanished and that's when I came too with full mobility.

During these few years I stood with my cousin and aunt I fought severe depression. I had no sense of spirituality and one thing I knew about my cousin was that she was Wiccan. She was open about it and had pentagrams, smudging bundles, athames, and various other craft books. She often invited me to cast circle with her and raise energy but I had too much fear in what the church had placed in my psyche which caused me to object anything other than what I had. MY cousin was patient and would still invite me, and one day realization hit me. If God did not love me anyway and was not there for me I had nothing to lose in trying something new. The old way obviously did not work, maybe a new way would.
Casting circle was peaceful, it was abuzz with energy that charged the air with in the circle. You could feel the atmosphere change and crackle with energy as spell work was done until it was all released when the circle was taken down and closed.
This led to us taking a class in Sayville where we learned form two coven leaders who taught metaphysics through a wiccan lens, and craft work. It opened my mind to connecting to the Divine through the elements and the various archetypes of deities as they exist in various pantheons. This opened my mind back up to the possibility that God or a source of power existed that was operating in all things and maybe it was less of this man in the sky who was all powerful and so vengeful. A Mary H, owner of the shop at the time would often discuss southern root work with me because she said she felt I had a knack for it. She read me with a tarot deck in her shop one day and told me to not fear my gift and to tap into my Cancerian intuition and allow myself to see and feel what I have closed myself off too in fear. She told me at around or near 30 I would shift and find something totally different than what I am even learning about now. She said she saw me all in white with beads and I would either be a mambo/hougan or a Santero. I opposed all of that and could not believe she could suggest such a thing, I would never worship the Devil or kill animals in a basement. How ignorant I was then believing I was still above these "other ways" I had closed myself off too haughtily as if I had no been judged and castoff from the very church who taught me these very thoughts.

I at least knew at this point spirit existed and it did not have to be a bad thing but an energy we could call upon and or manipulate to some degree when raising energy that helped the other elementals feed the desired intent and result we put into the universe through craft work. Something shifted in me in regards to spirit and how I could now deal with my interaction with it/them better. I could walk unafraid to a degree with a new mindset and knowledge regarding that unseen realm. How good to know I could have a handle on things and I was powerful enough to protect myself if I so choose.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The unseen part III #52essays2017

Confusion and uncertainty was what I came to know as I tried to juggle and process these feelings I had with my innate ability to see the unseen and interact to some degree in what seemed like a one way street. I saw them, the others from the invisible realm they controlled everything else. I had no power, I had no way to escape or manipulate the situations in which we seemed to meet and clash. I knew that I had been told my faith would see me through any tough situation and since I went to church three times a week and I prayed often, attended several modes of bible study as well as went door to door to preach the "good news" or even woke up two hours earlier on school days and preached at the local Brentwood train station. I knew that had to account for something, I mean God was the reader of hearts was he not? I must have been defective, something was wrong with me. I was not good enough. This is what I learned.

The unseen encounters did not go away. It was a part of who I was. My friends had come to know this about me and most ignored it while others were intrigued by it. I was simply trying to get by being normal as possible.
My mother often reminded me that she too was hip to the notion of the unseen world and that which became visible at times in this one. Let me delve into the sensitive subject of my spiritual gifts and their parallel with my sexuality.

Part of my understanding of myself extended into other areas of my life, that shaded augmented understanding that included the awareness of my "differences". I was still living at home in my late teens and I was not comfortable to discuss my sexuality with anyone I lived with. My parents were severely homo phobic. Puerto Ricans of a certain age and time where gays were seen as problematic as drug dealers, prostitutes and other stigmatized groups. I played the game, I was friends with the most beautiful of girls, I made out with a few, I had sex with some when their straight boyfriends left for the night. I connected to women intimately, they were always holders of safe space for me to just be and likewise I provided the same safe haven for them. Even if that was physically it was an honor to be allowed into the safest place they could offer, their body. However, I always felt off ... I couldn't put my finger on it but something was always missing in the sexual exchange. Sure we both got off, sure we both had inflated egos as we got each other to climax. Something never felt right, it was sexual and highly charged but it was plutonic at most. I might as well gave just made them a sandwhich and enjoyed the notion of them enjoying its consumption. I longed to explore my sexuality, to kiss the boy to perhaps interact intimately the way I was with my lady friends. This will however be discussed in another essay.

When I was 17 years old (or so) I had started volunteering at a local LGBT community Center in Bay Shore. I met this whit boy named Michael. He was Italian, he was short, he had thick ass glasses but decent frames, he was cocky in the weirdest way that blended with a street edge that both annoyed me and attracted be thoroughly. One night after my volunteer shift was over he asked to hang out with me. After cleaning up the youth center we had went to the local diner, and spent time walking the main street of Bay Shore. Some where in our play fighting banter he leaned in real close and kissed me. It was my first kiss with a boy. His lips were much softer than I thought they would be he acted like it was no big thing. Something he needed to do and get off his chest or out of his system. For me I was mesmerized and elated, someone wanted to kiss me. ME? I remembered everything about that moment, what cars were parked, what color his shirt was, what he smelled like.. This I lived on, a brief memory of something wonderful I shared with a boy I thought was attractive and actually found me attractive. For once I wasn't the fat kid who was chill to hang out with and laugh, I was actually attractive to some one. This was semi short lived as I got home that evening and my mother was up in her vata (house coat). She was sitting in the kitchen sipping tea and reading something. When I walked through the door, she looked at me shrewdly and put down her reading material. She said to me, " David you need to be careful in these streets late at night. I had a 'dream' that some white boy was all up in your face. He had thick glasses a red shirt and you were out in the street and I couldn't tell if he was up in your face to fight you or something else.."
MY jaw dropped! I stammered briefly but laughed her off and told her she was crazy and funny, that I knew how to take care of my self if I needed to. I walked up to my room to be paranoid. My mother was in East Brentwood I was all the way in central Bayshore and no way she would be out the house spying on me or anything, especially since she didn't drive. This was another one of her clear and concise visions, she either saw what me and Michael were actually doing or it was not as clear as she admitted to receiving the vision.

In my sexual exploration I had hid many things, sex toys, detailed notes some may have wrote me and I kept... my mother would find these things and be upset because I was harboring "immoral things" under their roof. What she did not realize in her anger was something she admitted to while lost in emotion, "THEY kept telling me.." and then the sentence would end in "To look in your third draw behind your underwear" or "in your closet behind the shoes you keep in the back". Whoever "THEY" were, they were mighty talkative and nosey as hell. I knew better than to question her in these moments and most times I could not or did not want to bring up whatever incurred her wrath.

Once I was in Mount Vernon hanging out with a fellow band mate and friends, and it was late. Hours where parents slept and their semi grown children tip toed quietly getting dressed or allowing guest in to use the bathroom as we made our way out to hang. My friends and I went to his cousins house and we waited in the dark entry way of what would have been the living room. The light shone from his room which was several feet away and only slightly illuminated the room in which we stood. My friend excused himself to use the restroom, I was left alone waiting in the living room while the cousin was changing in his room. That is when this old lady short in stature, with white cropped hair, red wool knit cardigan and blue jeans walked through the living room past me and into the lit hall way. In mid stride she turned her head my way making eye contact with me but never said a word to me. When my friend and his cousin had come back to the living room I turned to the cousin and said, " Yo, I think we woke your moms or someone." He looked puzzled. With a face that showed confusion he responded, "What moms? What are you talking about?" I was now battling my own confusion, I know what I saw. So I said, "Yo, the short old lady in the red sweater and blur jeans that just walked through here a few minutes before and walked into that room next to yours. I think we woke her or something." He visibly blanched a bit. He turned on the living room light and said, " No woman lives here other than my folks." He grabbed a pic that rested in the corner and handed it to me, it was a picture of a little white old woman that was wearing that red cardigan and smiling. Justified and satisfied I looked at him and said, "Yes this is her. She just walked through here and gave me this look. What you mean she don't live here and you giving me her pic." He took back the pic and placed it back, and looked at me a bit haunted when he responded, "That was my grandmother she used to live here, but she died a few months back." That was enough for all of us we decided to leave the apartment that now felt spooky. We never talked about it again.

My mother and I was very close. I mean I was the baby, I was left home more with my mother than my siblings who were so higher up in age that they were hardly around if they even lived with us. In several moments in which we talked very little about the paranormal we would breeze by some interesting conversations. She would tell me about the world she came from which was riddled with spiritualism and Santeria. She has run ins with spirits and the people that worked with them. She would get upset and fearful all at once when mentioning them. She would continue to tell me how the Devil and his demons would often come and bother people who were right with God. The more right you are with God the more these things bother you was the advice I was often given. I would try to pry as to why she had dreams and why she could predict so many things so accurately and she would dodge alluding to the fact these things still bothered her up until this day and told her things every now and then. So that what she thought "THEY" were... demons bothering her with information she would or should not have been privy to. The best example of this I could share in which we both experienced things together. We had got invited to a funeral by a cousin of mine. He was her brothers son and he had lost his wife/Girlfriend. My mother, father and myself stepped into the funeral home for the wake and instantaneously the room felt foggy and heavy. I can only describe it as atmospherically thick, dense where it took effort to just breathe let alone walk through the midst of it. Our heads were both light and we were dizzy and at one point reached out and grabbed each others hands at the same time. She looked at me and me at her and I asked, "Do you feel that?" She nodded and she tried to shake it off both mentally and physically. It did not let up until we got outside shortly afterwards and left. Asking her about it while waiting outside as my dad brought the car around, she just hushed me and told me something bad was there and those who could sense it were effected by it.

Between being gay and being able to see, feel or interact with these things my perception of anything remotely spiritual or my relationship with God all I knew was that I was plagued. Different. Bothered. I could not quite figure it out but all my senses and flags flared up. This could not be right. On one hand it didn't feel right but on some level it sounded like it could be correct. This was all the start to soul searching that was much needed. Who were these "THey" for me? Why was I being plagued? If going to church all these times and the name of God being muttered around me didn't clear the air then perhaps these weren't the demonic forces my mother said they were. Perhaps there was more to this story. It was time to consider differently.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The unseen part II #52essays2017

Having shared a bit of my experiences with the unseen and the unknown, I knew to fully tackle the subject matter I would have to break up the many experienced into two pieces. This is essentially a piece about young helplessness and introduction to faith and fear. It took a while to get there but you can see the various struggles as I navigated through the feelings having a connection to the unknown and unseen.

This second piece leaves me at a state of innocence and naivete where I am still too young to focus on what was actually happening to me and reacting on pure instinct alone. My parents knew that a small two bedroom apartment was not ideal for four growing children so with much determination and several hours of overtime my father was able to start looking at houses in Long Island. They decided upon a house in Brentwood, Long Island. I was about five years old or so and it was summer. I could not tell you the joy as I looked around the yard and stood under a tall pine that stood proud and tall on one side of the yard and a medium sized evergreen on the other. There were about three bright yellow flowered forsythia bushes that lined the driveway, and rhododendron bushes that hugged the house budding magenta and white flowers. The smell of lily of the valley that were planted by the main stoop. Grass everywhere, green and crab grew without end. The back yard was big as well and empty with some birch trees and hibiscus flowers growing randomly along the fence that separated our property from the neighbors. There was a small deck outside that extended 3/4 from the back sliding glass door and was rickety and worn. Wild grapes grew along the fence and deck and jutting from the small corner between the deck and the fence that separated the front yard from the back, was a mulberry tree.
The house was a double ranch and had a kitchen, a dining room and living room, a master bedroom, a standard bedroom and a bathroom all on the first floor. Up stairs the Attic was turned into two bedrooms one with a crawl space that acted as a closet and the other with a standard closet. This house also had a full basement the length and width of the hole house, this is where the washer machine and dryer were and more storage space.

This was our new home. This was that safe space. My parents got acquainted with the local Jehovah witnesses and located the then nearest congregation which was on Beaverdam rd off of route 111/ Islip ave. We were warmly welcomed and everything was cake. This all felt surreal and new and I was too young to appreciate anything other than the new spacious home and my ability to have my own space and bed and the option to play in a yard. Sounds fantastic, right? Yeah, more like Phantasmic.

I was sleeping in one of the upstairs rooms and the closet door/crawl space would often creak and open. This was an attic and so although freaked out sometimes in the night with that sort of movement and sounds, I could always fall back on the wind which my parents always explained was the reasoning. This I could rationalize to some degree and find rest as needed. What I could not rationalize was the cold darkness that seemed to come alive at night and the sleep paralysis I would experience that rendered me useless and fright filled. I would often find myself aware of my surroundings could see wherever my eyes roamed and sometimes even see me laying in the bed freaking out as though another part of my consciousness was viewing me from atop. That's right folks, I was floating above myself looking at my self. Where they do that at? Apparently my room.
Having my wits about me I tried to utilize the remedy my parents had instilled in me, this was prayer. Praying to Jehovah that would stop demons, which is what I was told were responsible for all these supernatural events. James chapter 2 verses 19 "For there is one God, the very demons know this and tremble at the sound of the name." Sometimes, some very rare times it worked. I would call upon the name which blurted out in an incoherent mumble and sometimes the feeling would recede and I would be able to move. Other times it did nothing but further amuse the very thing responsible for holding me down, I knew this because sometimes I would here a guttural unnatural laughter that mocked my attempt to call on anything.

This is where I realized that God may not have been there for me. May not have been what I thought he was in regards to these things. This was a lot to ponder and mentally marinate as a young child.

The basement. That horrible, horrible place of which nightmares are born and horror movies are fashioned after. That basement I still shudder when I think about it. See my mother believed if I was high enough to reach knobs and tell colors from whites, I could do laundry. She would have be bring down the basket full of dirty clothes separate and start loads. This was fine, it was going down those stairs and feeling the ominous presence of things moving but unseen. Often while I was pouring detergent into the cap, or placing clothes in the dryer I would sense movement from the corner of my eye only to see the tail end of some ones garment as they turned the corner of now empty doorway. Or that peripheral vision where you could clearly see the image of someone you could identify key characteristics of, but when you turned your full attention to they would be gone. Particularly the skinny white man with long stringy shoulder length brown hair, porn-stache and gray quarter fur coat with brown fitted bell bottoms. Yes that man who watched me as I did laundry and practically leered at me only to dissipate before my eyes leaving me wondering if I ever saw him in the first place. Then there was the clothes hanging in storage moving and swaying on the line where no wind or breeze could be felt as if someone moved amongst them. The sound of feet pitter pattering around you and box lids moving, with no one you could catch with the naked eye.

Throughout the years with turn around in the house hold as siblings moved out and moved on I was able to switch bedrooms. This was a room previously occupied by my sister. This room always had a heavy feeling, while there I wanted to seclude myself from everyone. Doodle on paper, listen to music but not leave the confines of that space. This room was were constant apparitions would visit me. The old man in white robes and flowing beard, reminiscent of the character Saruman the white of Lord of the Rings. He would smile in the corner and extend a hand towards me as he came to my bedside, in greeting or just to touch I could not tell you as everything in me crawled up a wall and I screamed, cried, and prayed for him to go away. Sometimes in his place would be this little pale skinned girl with the blondest of hair and the frailest of looks. She would sit there looking innocent and yet wise beyond the years of any child I would consider a peer. There was the hunched over dwarf like man with rotten and snaggled teeth who would twirl his long beard around his finger and snicker as he stared at me. There was an instant these entities woke me up to the sound of screaming, I could tell it was my mother. She cried for help and screamed in agony, I got out of my bed to inspect and follow the source of sound only to find that my room no longer had a door I was surrounded by only four white walls.

Oh I was not the only one, my mother would often have insane nightmares of which she would wake up screaming and fighting the air. She would often scream in the middle of the night where she would describe a big man standing in the closet with the face of a rottweiler or large dog black dog. My mother once left the house anxious as we left for church one night. MY father asked her what was wrong and she said she had a disturbing dream early in the day that loud rock music was playing and three white men were rummaging through the house. Cabinets were open and things smashed and littering the floor. She couldn't shake the feeling but we went to church anyway. When we got home after that service, the neighbor flagged us down as we pulled into our driveway. Mr. Nixon, the neighbor across the street, had stopped a burglary in action at our home. He heard loud rock music and saw three white men who parked an unfamiliar van by our house and who walked into our back yard where they stood for awhile. He pulled out his firearm and followed their route around back and found they had broken in to the house and were throwing things about looking for valuables. He pointed his firearm and chased them out of the house. So as my mother had dreamt, this all came to pass.

My parents could not relay any further insight into what the super natural occurrences or strange events that transpired exactly were. They could only classify it as demonic and pray it away or ignore it, as if acknowledging it gave it some power. I could not help but acknowledge it, it was happening to me on an almost constant. I knew that God had it in for me, whoever this Jehovah was he might have needed a hearing aid or maybe I needed to do some extra activities in the kingdom hall so that he would respond to my prayers and pleas for help. So, I began to delve into this strange relationship with this supreme being who I couldn't see who had the power to stop the entities I sometimes saw or who effected me most but who wouldn't always show up when called. How's that for a toxic relationship with the Divine? Fear and faith and the fight as they coexisted in the same space. Until part III my peoples, this will continue.

Monday, January 9, 2017

To see the unseen Part 1 #52essays2017

Paranormal activity. This was the theme of more horror movies, some TV shows, and even some ghost hunting shows. People going out of their way to substantiate their experiences of the "other worldly." I believe it links to a part of ourselves that fears and is in awe of the unknown. I think back to the ancestors who saw the night sky and limited glow of moonlight to illuminate their darkness. The awareness there were things beyond the flicker of the fire light that may or may not be predatory. Things that may have been corporeal or ethereal but either way, real.
Lately within the least 10 years or so I have the seen the very repetitious trend in cinematography. People, places, and things being haunted by some malevolent being and trying to survive the encounter if not the whole movie. I often joke, "Paranormal activity? Yall better stop playing! I grew up in paranormal activity." Allow me to explain I promise this should not be too scary, well for some.

My earliest memories of seeing what others could what others wouldn't rather than couldn't was four years old. At this time we were a family of 6 living in a 2 bedroom apartment with one bathroom in Astoria Queens near Ditmars. I can recall the lay out of our home even from 4 years old. Front door you entered was a small highway with a bathroom and master bedroom to the left of the door and the other bedroom to the immediate right across the hall. Further right past the bedroom was the living room and kitchen. My brothers slept in the bedroom right to across from the door in bunk beds, my sister and I slept on the pull out couch bed. I can remember vividly breaking my leg when my eldest brother, Eric let me down from his shoulders and on to the slate stone steps. I remember my leg facing dangling abnormally from my knee down. I remember being rushed into the gold Pontiac grand a my father drove and the many hard stops and near accidents as I was rushed to the ER. I remember the moments when I was at the local kingdom hall my parents attended that had a bight mural painted of a paradise scene on the wall heading to the bathroom. Why was I headed to the bathroom in some of these memories? Well I was an active little bad ass who didn't listen and I would be escorted to the bathroom for that Pow Pow... ask any Puerto Rican what pow pow is and you they will fill you in on that. I say all this to really give you an idea of how vivid some of my memories from old were, in hopes to lend credence to what I am sharing as my experiences.

First thing I remember was the movie Troll coming out in theatres, I believe 1986 or so. I was a very verbose young lad and I spoke and reasoned fairly well. I wanted to go to the movies so bad having all this energy and wanting to leave the confines of our apartment so I requested of my mother that I wanted to see this movie. She tried to dissuade me with warning that I would have nightmares and she did not want to contribute to that. I begged and pleaded and convinced her that I was old enough and I really wanted to see this movie. She gave in. WHY LORD, WHY DID SHE GIVE IN? That lil creature scared the Buh-Jesus out of me. So much so that night I could not sleep, I felt so uneasy about the dark living room with only the light from the street lamp shining through the window pain and into the living room amongst my mothers tall lush house plants. What I saw then would stick with me forever, hence my abhorrence for all things troll like to this very day. Amongst my mothers plants, I saw movement. This was not the flitter of something scurrying across the leaves. This was something behind the bush-like plants that shook all the foliage. I then saw a small brown and hairy hand creep out with an oily sheen and claws, pull back some of the foliage only to unveil a troll like creature whose facial features were illuminated by the street light glow. This was the ugliest creepiest things I ever seen in my 4 years I was mortified and transfixed. Every instinct in me screamed to run and to hide, but fear froze me in my place and I took in the creatures snaggled sharp teeth and its grotesque and elongated nose and pointed elf -like ears. He smiled at me, but this was a mirthless smile devoid of any joy. This was malevolence incarnate, it was a smug sinister smile which promised by demise and discomfort. The troll moved closer to my sister who lay sleeping next to me, facing me in her deep slumber. The creature began to slowly and gently pet her hair as it continued looking into my eyes smiling its gruesome smile. It then grabbed her hair and yanked. My sister woke up with a scream, the spell was broken I threw the blankets over my head and hid. My sister was irate blaming me for waking her up and pulling he hair. I began crying, I tried to convince her I could not have pulled her hair from the opposite side of her without having reached over her or gotten out of bed to stand behind her. She was so angry and nothing I said would or could make sense to her. I was reported later to my mother and reprimanded but this was my first encounter with the unseen. No one believed I saw what I saw, this was a product of my imagination. No it wasn't.

That same apartment, my bothers were out and so were my parents. I was left in the care of my sister who was old enough to watch me. She had took notice of the time and while on the phone talking to her friend had started to run my bath. She called me in the bathroom but me sensing a lack of any true authority decided to mess with her. I ran into the bathroom and got naked only to psyche her out and run away from her last minute out of the bathroom and back out into the living room where our pull out bed was already awaiting us. My sister who remained in the bathroom yelling for me, while balancing the phone on her shoulder pressed to her ear and feeling the water for the best temperature, had left her chanclas (slippers)by the bed side and her vata (night gown) folded on the bed right above that. This was normal for her, as she was quite orderly. What was not normal was her vata was standing straight up as if the air around it formed a body that now wore the flowing material. The vata stood straight up inhabited and adorning some unseen entity and if this was not enough to make me yelp the chanclas started to walk towards me as the vata moved in tandem. Something in the vata was walking towards me, something I could not even see... I yelped, shrieked, Mariah Carey'd whatever you need to call it and ran back into the bathroom where I jumped my little brown ass into the tub with such gusto. I shocked the shit out of my sister, she asked me what was wrong but I refused to talk to her about it. No one would believe me anyway.

Thirst encounter in that same apartment, I had been put to bed and this really meant I was restless and it was time to put my ass down somewhere so my parent and family could get things done without me running around and having to be watched so thoroughly. I sat in bed trying to get tired, but found my eyes just focused on the room and every little detail I could. The light from the kitchen was on and so this was not the limited light provided by outside street lamps and/or moonlight. This particular evening my attention was bought to the living room window that led to the fire escape. On the fire escape was some movement. This was a man in a trench coat and fedora. I could see no specifics of what he wore or the color of his clothes. This was a shadow with the shape of someone with the silhouette of which most pronounced was the long coat and the hat. The man was ascending the stairs slowly and stopped by my window to turn in my direction briefly, and then continuing his next few steps to continue his ascent. I screamed and pointed, "The man on the fire escape. There is a man climbing, looking at me through the window!" My father ran out the our front door and up the last flight upstairs that led up to the roof to see what pervert or creeper was up there. He found no one. NO one on the rooftop or the fire escape. He came downstairs baffled thought I was lying or making fun to keep myself occupied, but my mother consoled me and my father popped in Mannequin. I loved this movie and I watched Kim Cattrall and the fabulous Hollywood, played by Meshach Taylor transform and light up the screen. This was how I eventually calmed my nerves and fell asleep.

My mother later corroborated the apartment in Astoria felt off. She said she first new something was up because about a week before she had a vivid dream of climbing these slate stairs up a few stories and stopping in front of this door. She described the dream to my father and told him she would know our next living space when she saw it. The last look for apartments on that day and my mother said she saw those slate stairs and all her hairs on her body stood up. She followed and counted the steps and stories only to know when her and the land lord would stop, and in front of which door. She had already dreamed this place. She further decided to tell me of the weird happenings she experienced there. Our Chihuahua, pebbles would wake up from a deep sleep only to start growling at the door. The growling would in turn wake up my mother and she would see the door handle of the room, turning. This would be ok or less spooky if everyone in the apartment wasn't already asleep. She would get up to yank open the door and face whoever might have been trying... only to find dead air there. The dog continued its growl sensing something that could only be felt and not seen. My mother would pray out loud to Jehovah her God and tell whatever was there it had no power there and had to go... sometimes this worked and sometimes this didn't. The other memorable account was when my mother was in bed one Saturday morning and heard me giggling and saw me run past her bedroom and into the bathroom. She said she remembered my red shirt and the heard the door of the bathroom close rather forcefully. She was up at this point but laid in bet a bit longer waiting for me to come out the bathroom and maybe even enter her room and stay with her a bit. She said she waited a while and nothing, she got up and went to the bathroom and knocked. No one answered, and so she turned the knob and pushed the door open only to find the bathroom empty. This confused her, she went to check on me and I was fast asleep on the pull out with a blue shirt on.

As you can see early on in my life my interactions with the spirit realm were too frequent for my taste, I didn't know it then but my mother was experiencing the same experiences. She would tell me to ignore these instances and to pray them away. This was the only way she knew how to deal with the unseen, or allowed herself to acknowledge their existence as it pertained to her and her home. She tried to pass this method on to me, however this did not work for me. Oh but that is a whole other essay of how I began to further experience and see the unseen. Expect a part II next week, I promise it gets a little worse before it gets better.

Monday, January 2, 2017

I remember #52essays2017

It is so funny how life continues forward in its momentum and we can give so much power to a memory that it literally robs us of our present and possible future. I have had some memories lately that have robbed my of breath as I realized the impact they have had on me. I look now at the very notion of toxic masculinity as it applied to me indirectly. This is how poisonous this stuff is. Forget cyanide, forget lead, forget mercury or any other product you have to child proof or wash thoroughly after use. Masculinity and how it tends to be viewed is some of the most noxious material we can encounter in this world. Allow me to recount my first encounters with this harmful substance.



I remember being a child, free and authentically myself in every way despite the natural mode of development. It wasn't until I was in elementary that I realized others around me did not see me as whole or complete. I have always been drawn to girls/women for as long as I can remember. I unintentionally felt comfort in small circles of girls my age and their conversation than I did my male peers. I had zero interest in playing whiffle ball, touch foot ball, hoops, or any other activity involving running with balls and sticks just to prove how well one can compete and move amongst their peers. I much more preferred playing drawing squares on concrete and black top and play hopscotch. I had no problem turning the rope in double dutch playfully feigning indignation at anyone who would dare try and label me "Double handed." I was a pro at playing various hand games and rhymes like Numbers, Miss Mary Mack, Down Down Baby Down Down the Rollercoaster and such.. This was art. It was rhythm, and music, it was interactive without having to be competitive. You were not ridiculed for not performing well, it was teasing laughter devoid of any real malice.



This apparent joy with my female peers was a threat to the likes of my Mother, Father, Brothers and I was swiftly punished for this type of interaction. I remember my mother calling me into the house and sitting me down. Anger written all over her face as her eyebrows arched in that particular way we still joke about. Malificent eye brows, these things arched with a magic of their own. The spell they casted? Fear. My mother began to question and interrogate me as to whom I played with at school. She called over Herby, the young boy she baby sat who although was in one grade lower than mine attended my school and decided to tell my mother I was not playing with the other boys. She began to tell me how wrong I was. How little boys like me didn't play "girls games," that boys like me had to play ball and with my fellow male peers. She warned me that if she heard that I was playing with these girls during recess that I would get hit when I got home. I had not been warned about getting hit for anything unless it was something I was explained was bad and would hurt me. So this struck me as odd, as my young mind tried to grasp how playing with my friends Christina, Vanessa, Chrissy, Fran and Alexis could possibly be wrong.



I instinctually ran to my "girls" at recess only to stop dead in my tracks and remember my mothers warning. I walked over to the boys and tried to find interest as they threw balls through hoops and simultaneously dribbled this ball while running. Something that seemed intimidating and would require more hand to hand coordination that I could muster. Running and bouncing a ball in place? Sorcery I say!


Well to be honest I was not well received. These boys had already singled me out as not one of them. I was chubby and made no attempt to play with them before, why was in their midst now expecting to be embraced and or included. I heard the first insults as I could not perform as well as they did. I missed my the safety of my female friends.
I attempted to nurture back those relationships and see if I could keep an eye out for Herby, that maybe I could sneak in games with my girl friends.. Some were ready to take me back within minutes. Others, they must have got the memo from my mother or the other boys. There was no longer a place for me there, I was allowed to play but with a stern encouraging verbal nudge that I should go play with the other boys.


How did I become messed up so quick? What just happened? Were we not having fun days before? I made up my mind it was not worth feeling unwanted. I took to music and art rather quickly. These activities didn't require anyone else but me. I had a knack for doodling cartoon figures, something I picked up from my father who always sketched cartoons on everything from inlays of my children books or my cast when I broke my leg at 4 years old. Imaging my excitement as the entire cast of Fraggle Rock was drawn on my cast.Similarly my brother would sketch amazing pics of eagles and wolves and lions with a pencil. Drawing must be ok and a safe thing to do. Music was also everywhere around me. My Father had tapes he recorded at Coney Island when karaoke tapes could be recorded for fun. I can still hear his resonant baritone and sweet tenor as he sang, "Under the Broad walk. Out of the sun, We'll be having some fun." He collected vinyls that he kept in treasure chest also known as milk crates. These vinyls were our every Saturday morning soundtrack to our chores when he happened to be home and not working. These were the smooth sounds of the Delphonics, Stylistics, Dells, Temptations, The Moments, Teena Marie and Rick James, Ohio Players, OJ's, Labelle, Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. My Sister like my father collected many tapes and the newest CD's. She would write and sing music in her room, she would lip synch to the likes of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Debbie Gibson, Brenda K Starr, EnVogue, Mariah Carey, Soul II Soul, Delight and other popular late 80's/early 90's artists. I could perform safely in my room and lip synch to, or try my vocals at that one song that moved me so much. Music easily trumped my desire to draw. In fact from the music I was introduced to I really loved EnVogue, Mariah Carey, Patti Labelle, Angela Winbush and Lisa Fisher. I would attempt all those high notes and to my surprise I could hit some of them and I actually sounded ok. While I was not as good as the artist I attempted to imitate I was certainly not bad.
I remember once being forced to mow the lawn, which I hated and still do hate the smell of grass which instantly reminds me of forced chores. That damn lawn mower was so loud I felt like I could sing boldly and no one would be able to hear me. Apparently not having learned how science worked, my father and brother ridiculed me for singing like a woman. They reminded me I was not a woman and singing high was unnecessary. I was told only a few men could even sing that high and it was not the norm. I was in elementary I had none of this "bass" in my voive, and singing low was not an option, but I guess these stratospheric high notes were not the "boy thing" to do. UGH, I guess I was messing up again. Doing the wrong things one more time to my parents and siblings chagrin.



Noticing that my comforts lied heavily into female peers, and female singers I remember the first time I was in my room drawing and listening to music and my father opened my bedroom door and told me to get dressed and come out side. I knew not what he wanted nor was he willing to volunteer any info on why, but I knew that I had to. I met him outside to find he had pulled our weighted portable basket ball hoop and forced me to play him. He got so frustrated because I couldn't dribble and run and I remember in a tone of exasperation he snatched the basketball from me and reprimanded me, "Stop dribbling like a faggot! Its like this, DAMN!". I flinched at his words and tone. Faggot I heard before, this was the word my mother spit out with disgust when Ricky Lake and Jenny Jones shows came on and these gay men were talking about fashion or dramatic love relationships. I was equated to that person of disgust in that moment. I was the less desirable, less than person or thing that could be called that word."
This pushed me to try to play with the boys at school and some of the boys from church... I was not going to pretend to dribble so my skill to be BIG and tall, block as many shots I can and guard the hell out of anyone I was assigned to guard to lessen their chance at scoring. I felt so embarrassed and so under the microscope. I had no desire to play these kind of games. Can I please go back to my room and draw my fave Xman, Storm? Can I please go and throw on Envogue's Born To Sing track number 9 & 10?



This awkward abuse transferred to my gym teacher as I moved into middle school. Her name was Miss Brown, she took every attempt to let me know in front of the whole class how unathletic I am. I was chubby and out of shape, I was incapable of doing anything with the ball worthwhile. She pushed this point home when one day when teaching us how to run and dribble the basketball, I in my usual ill coordination kicked the ball away from my grasp and half way across the gym. Out rang the words of the worse rhetorical question, "Whats wrong with you? Dribbling that ball like a faggot!" The boys and the girls laughed at me, I was already sweaty and out of breath. Having developed body issues from realizing I didn't look like other boys. They were lean and muscular or with minor body fat. I on the other hand always packed a little extra. These words stung as they mirrored my fathers dissatisfaction with me at our own basketball session we had prior. She cemented her disdain of me by throwing that ball into my face and into my right eye. She convinced the whole class through intimidation that she was "Passing the ball to me and I was not fast enough, or athletic enough to catch it." However, she never taught us passing at that point and I surely was not expecting it. The insult or the ball toss.



Quickly I knew more of what was wrong with me than what was right with me. I was only comfortable with male peers when I could observe them from a safe distance. This was also when I realized I watched them with a certain attention and intent that strangely made me feel flush. I hated them and was intrigued by them. They were smelly boys that repulsed me and yet I sniffed when they walked by trying to inhale their masculine scent which I was strangely attracted to. I avoided the changing in the locker room opting for the bathroom stall instead. I however, took every opportunity to catch glimpses of my peers male forms as I passed them on the way to my bathroom stall/changing room.



I then started to think, maybe I was made wrong?! Maybe I was supposed to be a girl. Girls were not as intense and foolish as the boys were. They certainly were not as disgusting. Their fashion sense was cool and although smaller or more fitted def attracted other boys... could I ever attract anyone? If I wasn't part of the boys club really, was I perhaps part of the Girls? Parents declared no pretty early on, so I discounted that. All I was sure of was I was different and I was not the "norm" I was not fine as I was, I had to be this other "son."


This had me an angry young male in a world of other aggressive young males. What I determined pretty early on as early as 4th grade was that if anyone hit me I had ton hit them back. In fact my mother instilled in me the fear of God. The threat was if I came home and she found out that someone hit me and I didn't hit them back, the moment I came home she would beat the hell outta me. This sunk in, I had to fight. Finally something I can use my chubbiness and height for. I would fight anyone that attempted to get physically harmful or maybe even verbally. If a girl hit me thinking a boy couldn't hit her back I quickly showed her I was wasn't that boy. SLAP! If a boy called me a faggot or tried to mush/push me... BAM! Punch them right in the face or a good ol fashioned body slam. This earned me quite the reputation in school. I was the jolly chubby gay kid but who would fight instantly and relatively well. Most left me alone.



This anger, this attitude effected everything as I entered the hyper feminine yet misogynistic gay scene in which there was even harder criteria to just be. You couldn't just simply be gay there were sub groups and the more you associated with your feminine side and or took a "feminine role" of receiving another male, you were the butt end of a joke or specific smirk and look. The triggers as other gay men would refer to me as "girl" and I would become irate. I was not one of the girls, school yard proved that. Parents said I couldn't even play or interact with them like that. I was a boy, at least I wanted you to believe that because if I was anything less than what was expected of me it was confirmation of my inferiority as a masculine anything. I already wasn't one of the boys but dammit if you would point that out or make me feel that any more than I made myself feel that way.



I laugh now as I realized I had been fighting for respect my whole life. Can you imagine? I was fighting to be this false idea of who I was supposed to be. I believed the story written for me by people who were not me. It took me a long time to just release the weight of the pretenses. I can be called girl and be honored that someone felt comfortable enough to refer to me as such. I didn't have to be upset at that because I loved girls, I loved women, I loved the feminine. Always have, childhood inclinations proved that. I just had to embrace me, I had to define me by allowing myself to be myself. I realized I was being poisoned and geared to resent the safety of feminine circles and concepts that I believe males severely need. Femininity is he medicine to male misogyny. So much to learn from our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and such. That though is an entirely other essay.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sitting in Gratitude with Faith Recharged (Orisa Ocha Birthday Celebration) 2015

I am going to try to verbalize exactly what happened this week into this weekend. I had planned a drumming one of the many ways we honor our Orisa with song of praises and dances that mimic their time on this earth as well as their metaphysical manifestation in dance form. The drumming was a notion, I knew it would cost a bit of money and with simply planning and sacrifice I know I could pull it off. However, I had a lot to do and it seemed that I had few around to help me, or so I thought. I got stuck in my head with the notion of not wanting to bother anyone to ask for help, that everyone has their own life and things to do. Well Orisa wasn't having it, to my surprise my best friend and brother, an moo ELegba, sent out a Facebook message to his god kids and delegated assignments to my drummings including serving food, clean up, and various other duties I would not have even thought of. Then he himself volunteered to come by early and help build a throne and help make a famous dish of his I love. This dish must be mentioned, its called Grandmas Pasta... Its a New Yorican play on a would be Italian dish.. thats all I can say as the recipe has just been shared with me and I intend to replicate it soon. Well during this last week some upheavals occurred that caused two very good friends and brothers of mine some major upset, these two friends/brothers who would b helping me with this drumming planning and execution. I knew things could get hairy soon and so the night of my rogation when I came home and placed my rogation onto of Obatala I prayed that the rogation not be just for me but that it extend its purpose into my friend that they can think clearly enough to not do anything "too" stupid. I then immediately the next morning got in front of Oshun and rang my brass bell to my hearts content telling her my worry and concern, and acknowledging if anyone could ever bring people together who would normally not be together, it would be her. That if there was anyone to turn a bitter situation around into a sweeter one, it was her. Well the end of the week came and what I witnessed was emotions (very much a realm of Oshun) break through and bubble forth like water from a hard and craggy rock. Sometimes these emotions poured forth in anger, sometimes in sadness sometimes in regret until finally two people I love dearly who love each other dearly and couldn't see past their pain, actually sat down and spoke. No not just spoke, they poured out truth which it seemed was missing from their 7 year interaction, truths about themselves and about each other. More importantly through the various emotions I saw the healing work start to happen, I saw through the physical altercations and hurt words, a much needed cry and hug. I speak of this vaguely because its not my story, but the part of it that is my story was the witnessing of Oshun doing what I asked her and acknowledged of her a day or two ago. By any means this was not a renewal of something but an opportunity to move past that which does not serve us, the negative thoughts that get in the way of us moving past terrible things, because we allow it to build up and weigh us down. Im glad most of those things got washed down river (pun very much intended) and a load was lightened on myself and my loved one. While preparing for the drumming, Oshun had asked me to prepare the space with her waters. And My brother Omo Elegba Im sure did his own little juju. But when the drumming started and I looked around the room I saw people of various backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, all coming to celebrate with me my Oshuns 5th anniversary of being on aye/earth. I received beautiful arrangements of flowers and heartfelt sweets and prayers offered to her on my behalf and in good faith. I saw people i don't get to see often whom I love, and family members who cane to show support and I saw my God Parents, special should out to Omi Lari and Omi Lana for their support and desire to help me in this time and be present during this time of celebration and honor. Well my Beautiful Iya Amma Mcken who practically walks with Yemojas Ashe wrapped around her like the beautiful handmade clothes she designs and wears, sang Oro to all the Orisa and there it started... my tears bursted up. My face contorted into Ugly cry.I was filled with this emotion of gratitude, that people took time out of their beautiful weathered saturday and decided to spend time with me. That through travel issues and craziness they took time out to celebrate Oshun and in this I couldn't help but cry as I think about what I witnessed this past week, let alone since having her Ase put on my head. Well I cried for a good three song and took a tissue to my dripping nose and decided to enjoy my bembe. Shango came down through his Omo, Alex and really spoke some truths to people in that room and in usual Shango fashion made them face the things they fear. Be it uncomfortable conversations with themselves, with other, or situations they are faced with and shy away from. Shango I swear is the lightnings illumination of issues not yet dealt with, this is my experience with him and my observation. When you hear him ask you a question that resonates through you whole body, mind, and soul like silent thunder. Yemaya came down through my Ojugbona, Omi Lana and was able in pure Yemaya fashion tell people she is there, she see, and listens and to understand the Mother is always watching and always present even when we think she isn't around and doesn't see. To further reinforce this belief in her Omo she decided to tell them some very choice things about them she witnessed and or knows that left peoples mouths opened because these are things they only know was truth. Obatala came down on a dear friend Exodus, Obatala gestured to folks and confirmed things said or acknowledged by other orisa even though not physically there when the orisa gave these messages to certain individuals. Hence why the King Of Orisa is named such, he is over seeing without even being their in first person. Oya came down through my dear friend and Sister Suzanne and oh what a councilor Oya was. If ever you want not only truth but the inspiration to change and transform yourself into your next step and self, Oya will bring it out of you. The rest is a blur as my Oshun decided to come down today, I remember dancing and my thighs and calves hurting so bad my feet throbbing really just wanting to sit down... next thing I know IM in a small dimly lit room with my god brother and God father standing over me asking "are you here? Are you ok?" If there is nothing else to say in this blog that hasn't already been said is that Orisa is real, tradition extends beyond going through the motions and repeating of words and gestures, that Orisa heals if you allow it and will it. That if you are willing to put in the time, labor, and such you will receive blessings and confirmation that life is so good. My faith is recharged and Im humbled by all it, grateful to be a part of it all.