The stench of urine filling the nostrils of the people aboard the vessels was on overwhelming reminder of what had been stolen from each of them. Gone were the swirling winds and soothing bonfires encircled by the proud cries of warriors from their native land. The darkness that encircled them now had never been known to them in ages before and perhaps never fully understood in some far-away future. Bound together in chains, forced to sit in each other’s fetid waste, and starved like savage dogs was nothing compared to the foreign language being barked at them by their European oppressors. They did not know the meaning of these words that would eventually shape their future, stealing away their culture like a wraith in the night and transforming the mindset of their children irrevocably. The feeling of dread filled each man, woman and child’s stomach like a serpent slowly devouring a squirming rat.
“You slavers will know what it’s like to be a slave
A slave to your hearts, a slave to your head
A slave to your souls, a slave to your graves” ~Dambala by Exuma
How could anyone truly understand the kind of spirituality that is born from the psyche of a desperate mother who is shrieking wildly as her child is ripped from her arms and sold in auction? Nearly a complete attempt at the cultural brainwashing of an ancient, sacred people into thinking that they are less or sub-human to their authoritarian overlords is the motivating force behind so many paths that arose from the politics and trade embargoes of the 1500-1800’s. Obeah, Wanga, and the various paths of Voudou provide a window to our shared human history and the condition of a displaced people in a strange new land. No words can be strung together in modern times to fully appreciate the unique culture that rose from African diaspora during the European craze of the sugar and spice trades. Those paths, like an interwoven basket, made for an interesting melting pot of new spiritual practices that differed from those that had roots in Africa.
Obeah is the focus of the path that I have chosen to study currently while immersing myself in various African traditions. Obeah is sometimes associated with having it’s start in sultry and exotic venues such as Trinidad or Jamaica. Those who are adept at Obeah ritual will tell you that the source of this power and understanding over the physical and inner worlds belongs to no single source and is free to be used by anyone who feels that their mind is halting their growth along their chosen spiritual path. No tool or teachings should be hidden from anyone who is seeking to challenge themselves to move forward and seek growth from their journey.
In modern times, we have just began to realize what slaves we have become. Tortured by the need to feel relevant, we fervently push the limits of our bodies, minds, and spirits with stress, fast food and a media-centric culture that does more harm than good. Trapped in a cage of our own creation, we can rise above the conditioning of our society and open a door to a more healthful and intentional life style. The voices of slaves crying into the night as the realization of their predicament began to solidify and twist reality can indeed be tapped into and respectfully adopted into our spirits as a way to motivate ourselves in modern times. There’s no more need to offset this karmic imbalance by feeling bad for ourselves. Obeah can help tap into our higher selves and release us from the binds we have chosen and further push us towards a heightened state of consciousness akin to the Siddhas of Buddhism.
In Obeah, nothing is freely given without immediately bearing the responsibility of the intent behind each action whether they are physical actions or actions on the astral planes. The attraction of a ‘loaded weapon’ draws many to the path of Voudou, Obeah and Wanga however, without proper deliberate thought of the entire picture, these traditions and their energies can take the participant on a wild and dangerous ride through their own minds and right past any spiritual defenses that one thinks may protect them. The appeal of accountability is what initially drew me to the African traditions as a whole. I believe Obeah can assist me in contacting my higher self and finding out my life’s true ambitions instead of concentrating on apparent distractions from this work.
In conclusion, I’ve only scratched the surface of the true impact these practices can have upon the practitioner. It is my wish to further my studies and abilities within this chosen sect of Magick because I no longer wish to be a slave to my emotions, conditioning or the actions of others that have molded and shaped me into the individual I have become. Reaching higher and harder is much of my personality however I am often finding myself working against my own previous momentum in an attempt to right what I believe is lacking or in dangerous abundance within my mind’s private battle with it’s self. The realization that I have never been alone in this is comforting to me and also brings forth tears of what humanity is capable of in the most frantic and madcap of times. As terrifying as it is to meditate on these closed doors within my mind, and even more frightening still to open them, I do it with the knowledge that the brothers and sisters of my past faced far worse and accomplished far more. It’s refreshing to have the bar set so high by so many brave souls and that is the realization that comes to one who is a student of the African Obeah law.