My Response To The Here and Now. Negotiating a mixed Ile.

I feel that it is necessary for me to post at this time of unrest and justified anger, in response to the murder of George Floyd. First of all I have to say that just as I believe that the personal is political, I believe that there is power in this Spiritual Tradition, and as a Mentor and Iyalorisha  of Oshun, I see my role as a medium to enable all those that choose me to be their Spiritual Mentor  to align  with their destinies. I am here to use what I know to empower my Godchildren.  However, as time has passed, and I have experienced much on a personal one to one level with a lot of people, I have come to the conclusion that I must be discerning on many levels in who I choose to crown, and who I even bring to the feet of Oshun to ask for blessings on who I may guide.

My Ile is a mixed Ile. I am guiding 30 people presently. All at different stages of initiation. Very few crowned heads.  Majority black and mixed heritage but I also have white godchildren. At one point it was open to all, in the sense that I turned no one away. I had the philosophy that all people need help and have their own stories and battles.   However, three years ago, I had an issue with a white, European Godchild, whereby I realised that after a couple of years of feeling ill at ease and trying to focus on her individual problems,  hours of conversation and one huge argument, where I was shouted at with the words: ” It is not just Black Lives Matter, it is all lives matter”  I was never going to change her perspective. She was never going to look at herself or question why she was attracted to a tradition with African Roots, whilst remaining openly racist. I thank my Egun and my own common sense to have halted the initiation  that she was preparing for. I wish in hindsight that I had not let it get so far, but as they say, everything happens for a reason.  In my response to me telling her I could no longer justify guiding her spiritually, because of her racist views ( which she denied) she replied ” that is fine, I will look for someone else. I find you too challenging”. We didn’t speak again, although she had the cheek to ask me if I could recommend any Olorishas or Babalawos in the area where she had moved to. Of course I denied her the information.  After that incident, I decided to write my Ile’s  Aims and Objectives, which incorporates my stance with regards to Race and it is none negotiable. Everyone knows where I stand. I often wonder, where she went next. Who accepted her, if anyone, who is guiding her.

The crown that I wear, I take very seriously. I am guiding people and I get to know them and what they are going through on every level. It is my responsibility to understand and listen to my Godchildren and those that I am mentoring at the moment.  Yesterday I felt that I had to address them separately. It is the first time, that I felt that it was necessary. Collectively I explained what our mission of the year was as an ile.  Collectively I asked them to connect to ancestors, take time, before taking action. Everyone’s destiny is different and not everyone is meant to take to the streets. Nor do I judge any of the anger or protest that is going on right now. Ashe takes many forms, transformation does not always happen in a peaceful way.  We know this through Odu. But my message to each group was different, because it is what it is, and this is not new, and it is important never to question the experience of Black People, especially if you are white and you are living the life of an Aborisha or Olorisha. Finally, we are based in the UK. Let me reiterate that although the history of the USA is different, the UK, is not innocent. The UK, was as much a part of the Slave Trade as the other European Nations, and is still a colonial nation. Racism is alive and well and manifests in individual and institutional ways. Have you looked at the figures of those murdered in custody without being held accountable? The distribution of PPE in hospitals in the UK has favoured white nurses and doctors and that is why the figures show that there are disproportionate numbers of Black and Asian doctors and nurses and key workers dying. We cannot remain silent. We need a healthy society for all of us. These riots and protests all over the world now, are happening at a time of Pandemic. This really spoke to me today.  A couple of weeks ago, the world was in lockdown. What is the real disease? Racism or the Pandemic?

So my general message to white Olorishas, those who wish to change things ( I know there are a lot who do not wish to lose their white privilege) specifically those that have crowned and who continue to crown other white Olorishas. What is your criteria when being approached as a spiritual mentor? What are you actively doing to make sure you are not crowning racist Olorishas? Do you have an anti-racist policy in your Ile? You owe it to all those that went before you, so that you could be initiated to stand up, to not remain silent and to really examine who you are guiding and who you are as a person.  For these people, I post the following.

Resources for white people who wish to understand more

For conversations to be had with children

Some videos: This is why Black Lives Matter.

Listen!

She’s with an org called Until Freedom.
Venmo: @untilfreedom
Her IG: @tamikadmallory
Until Freedom’s IG: @untilfreedom

Artist Instagram account @Shirien.creates

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