Welcome to my Santera reflections!
It has been quite some time since I have written a blog post or anything longer than an IG post. After losing my brother this past October I have had a challenging time coming to the page. Most days I am planning writing activities, getting ready for panels, facilitating workshops, planning retreats and conferences, teaching fifteen classes and my schedule has not allowed for much self care time—and those who know me know how much I am an advocate for self care.
Last week I hit a wall. I recorded a diary that even for me was enough to make me stop and check in with myself. In it I spoke about “killing yourself for your dream!!!” And for anyone who watched it I know you could see the exhaustion not just in my eyes but all over me.
When I played back that video I could see my own cries, these llantos screaming for me to, “Slow down!!! Chill sis!!!! Breathe!!! Take care of you!!! Don’t make any decisions in this state!!!”
Today I am thinking about what I needed and was reminded of my year in white. More specifically Obatala me acompañó in my journey as I moved from center to center and borough to borough. Then a vision was mirrored back to me, the moment I was initiated.
I have had a few initiations and a coronation which are not things I intend to share specific details about, but what I will share about being initiated was that it was a very sacred ritual and my birth into the religion we call, La Regla de Ocha. I was called to the religion in 2001 by an African American writer Iyanla Vanzant who wrote that she was a priestess in her memoir, “In the Meantime”. She did not expose the religion, she did not share intimate details about her initiation, but I felt very connected to something that I did not fully understand in that moment. I remember feeling incredibly connected to Nigeria specifically. I was pulled to a spiritual way of life that felt more like a secret between me and the spirit world, that for so long had been hidden from me, but that would only be revealed to me when I was ready.
I believe you are called! I believe you are chosen! And what I know for a fact is that your guardia del ángel chooses you!
Los tambores me estaban llamando. Voces y visitas de mis guías siempre han estado presente. But I didn’t have anyone close who could teach me how to tap into my gifts. So I went searching for it.
But I was born Catholic, as in my parents had all four of us baptized in the religion. We each received the sacraments required by the church. We were initiated into the colonizers religion in a blessing intended to protect us. Then we grew up and all followed our own path. We are what you call, “special occasion Catholics” we went for all the major holidays Christmas, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s day, baptisms and weddings. As we got older we got to decide for ourselves what we would believe in. I loved going to Church, I still do. Mass doesn’t even have to be in session for me to spend time in a church. I have found so much peace sitting in an empty church just writing, reflecting, praying on the page and meditating. So much was changing in my life. Things that once filled me no longer seemed to match who I was becoming.
Much of my transformation took place when I came out. When I came out as a lesbian I found myself at war with a Bible that I held dear. I began to question my place on earth, my place in this life and felt surrounded by death. I believed that because I loved women, was attracted to women, and slept with women that I would go to hell. During my coming out days I was an avid yoga practitioner and spiritual seeker and I have been on this healing journey for over twenty seven years now. But during this point in my life I found myself at a crossroads. Everything I had believed came crashing down around me.
When you are searching for the meaning of life, for your purpose, for the path that is best for YOU and you begin asking the tough questions life has a way of revealing to you exactly what you have been searching for. And often we are not ready for these truths and revelations. Of my immediate family, parents, brother, two sisters and my daughter only a few of us continued to go to church, but I was drawn to something else. I was being called to something else. My visits from spirit were coming more frequently. My messages were becoming clearer. The spiritual journey I was on was in response to my desperate need to know something, to find answers for something, and to be grounded in something. This desperation and vacío could only be filled by listening to how I was being guided. My writing was changing, the people I took comfort in spending time with was changing, and what I was attracting was changing.
To be continued… – PART II