The halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox is the perfect time to look back at the past and make assessments. In a literal sense, this is when I know whether or not I have enough firewood to outlast the cold. In a metaphorical sense, we can take this time to look back on our histories, both personal and global, figure out what we did right and wrong, and take those lessons into the rebirth and regrowth of Springtime. The groundhog invites us to examine our shadows.
For the past few years Missing Witches has hosted a Zoom circle of brilliant and inspiring Black Witches for a "Future Histories of Black Magic" special to mark Black History Month. We believe that all of our guests are creating what will be the future of black history with their incredible work.
Investigating the past to inform our future, the prompt for this year comes from a quote from Frederick Douglass:
We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.
How do we/you make the past useful for the present and future?
This year's guests are: Maria Minnis (aka Feminnis), OlaOmi Amoloku (aka Got2BOshun), Nadra Nittle, Christena Cleveland, Marcelitte Failla, Zoe Flowers, Sherry Shone (aka That Hoodoo Lady) and Thea Anderson who weave us through a tapestry of ideas and conversation.
We thread together the mother wound, respectability politics, non-liner time, holiness, wholeness, rewriting scripture, mustard seeds, life art, and paradox. This conversation is a spell, a blanket of protection over black witches everywhere.
Listen now - transcript below:
Huge thank you to our guests - please support their work, buy their books, take their classes, book their services!
Maria Minnis (aka Feminnis)
Maria Minnis is an unapologetically Black, Jewish, autistic, and queer tarot reader of 20+ years who teaches people about blending their spirituality with magic, liberation work, and eroticism in their everyday lives. She believes that the end result of all magic should be to cultivate a more equitable and empathetic planet. Her highly acclaimed antiracism tarot workbook Tarot for the Hard Work is available online and in stores. Follow her work on Instagram @feminnis and at mariaminnis.com.
OlaOmi Amoloku (aka Got2BOshun)
Iyalosa Olaomi Akalatunde is an author, educator and priestess, perhaps better known to some as Got2BOshun. She a hereditary Black witch, hailing from a line of Native American and African healers, midwives, herbalists and fortune tellers, and has been initiated into the Anago tradition as a priestess of Oshun for 25 years, trained by The Medahochi Zannu in the United States and the Fagbenro and Fatunmise families in Nigeria. She the author of two books on The Tradition, one on Pan-African unschooling and a collection of essays on the power of the Black Woman. She has been a proud unschooling mother for 27 years, and has guided hundreds of Black women along the path to full womanhood with my Black Witchcraft classes, youtube videos, lectures and podcasts. She is honored to fulfill my destiny through the uplifting of my sisters.
Nadra Kareem Nittle is the author of the Fortress Press books “bell hooks’ Spiritual Vision” and “Toni Morrison’s Spiritual Vision,” named one of Spirituality and Practice’s best spiritual books of 2021. She also edited multiple book series for Enslow Publishing and wrote the 2018 book “Recognizing Microaggressions” for that publisher.
An award-winning journalist with a background reporting on a wide range of topics, including education, religion, public policy, food, health and the arts, she is now an education reporter for The 19th News. She is a former senior reporter for Civil Eats and a former staff writer for Vox.com, the Los Angeles News Group, and the USA Today Network. As a contributor, she has written for publications and news sites such as The Guardian, NBC News, KCET, The History Channel, Outreach Magazine, Insider, and The Atlantic.
Find Nadra on Twitter.
Christena Cleveland, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, public theologian, author, and activist. She is the founder and director of the Center for Justice + Renewal which supports a more equitable world by nurturing skillful justice advocacy and the depth to act on it.
A weaver at heart, Dr. Cleveland integrates psychology, theology, storytelling, and art to help justice seekers sharpen their understanding of the social realities that maintain injustice while also stimulating the soul’s enormous capacity to resist and transform those realities.
Dr. Cleveland holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara, a B.A. from Dartmouth College where she double majored in Sociology and Psychological and Brain Sciences, as well as an honorary doctorate from the Virginia Theological Seminary. An award-winning researcher and author, Christena is a Ford Foundation Fellow who has held faculty positions at several institutions of higher education — most recently at Duke University’s Divinity School, where she was the first African-American and first female director of the Duke Center for Reconciliation, and also led a research team investigating self-compassion as a buffer to racial stress. In 2022, she published her second full-length book, God is a Black Woman (HarperCollins), which details her 400-mile walking pilgrimage across central France in search of ancient Black Madonna statues, and examines the relationship among race, gender, and cultural perceptions of the Divine. Her work has been featured in a number of major media outlets including the History Channel, PBS, Essence Magazine, the Washington Post, NPR, and BBC Radio.
Though Dr. Cleveland loves scholarly inquiry, she is also an avid student of embodied wisdom. She recently completed the Art & Social Change intensive somatic training for millennial leaders, and is currently deepening her mind-body-spirit integration in a year-long embodied leadership cohort for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
A bona fide tea snob, lover of Black art, and Ólafur Arnalds superfan — Christena makes her home in Minneapolis. Find her on Instagram.
Marcelitte Failla is a Black and biracial scholar whose interests lie at intersections of Africana Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Black Religion. Her current research investigates how Black women and femmes employ African diasporic religions for manifestation, healing, and protection from anti-Blackness. Marcelitte is a Visiting Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University.
As a practitioner of Ifá and Hoodoo, Marcelitte often holds ceremonial space in academic and community settings. Marcelitte has articles in the Black Scholar, The Journal of Religion and Culture at Concordia University, and Liturgy. She is also the recipient of the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Marcelitte currently lives with her partner and three cats in Atlanta, GA.
Find her on Instagram.
Zoë Flowers is an accomplished author, advocate, and healing practitioner with a diverse body of work spanning multiple mediums. In 2004, she interviewed survivors of domestic and sexual violence, resulting in the publication of her groundbreaking book, “From Ashes to Angel’s Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood.”
Zoë is also the founder of Soul Requirements, Inc., a healing-
centered consulting company that combines her artistic endeavors, 20+ years of
domestic/sexual violence expertise, and holistic healing practices. Zoë’s work has beenpresented at a variety of venues, including The Black Women’s Arts Festival, Yale University, Smith College, Brown University, Bowie State University, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The White House’s United State of Women Summit, as well as numerous conferences, theaters, and community-based organizations throughout the US and abroad.
As a researcher, Zoë has conducted listening sessions with a wide range of communities, including survivors of violence, Tribal Elders in Canada, Black students at universities, community members and advocates in the US, London, and Canada about sexual assault and Uber rideshare service, and advocates in the US Virgin Islands about Hurricane Maria/transportation/and the rise of sexual assault on the island. She has spoken at over 300 conferences on issues related to racial equity, underserved communities, art as a healing methodology, and gender-based violence.
As a healer, she facilitates individual and group healing sessions, retreats, and workshops across the globe.
As an artist, she creates films, theatrical productions, and books that explore social issues, healing, and spirituality. Her work has been presented at a variety of venues, including The Black Women’s Arts Festival, Yale University, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The White House’s United States of Women Summit, and conferences, theaters, and community-based organizations throughout the US
In 2021 she published "In Praise of the Wytch."
Check out Zoe's Abundance candles
Each candle is infused with Reiki energy, attraction herbs, and oils to lift your energy and attract good luck. Magickal Candles
Register for Zoe's Ritual School today. Principles of Ritual 101 March-September 2024
What you’ll learn:
- Understanding Magick as a response to capitalism.
- Ethical considerations, including offerings to the land and closed/open practices.
- Tools of the trade, including herbs, crystals, oils, and more.
- Astrology, planetary influences, and planetary hours.
-Various rituals, such as jewelry enchantment and money rituals.
Sherry Shone (aka That Hoodoo Lady)
She also hosts Wine, Cheese and Wisdom every third Wednesday with Joy Vernon and Granddaughter Crow.
Find her on @thathoodoolady on Instagram, TikTok, Threads, YouTube, and Facebook, or contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thea is an astrologer and writer. Her ancestors were enslaved in central Texas and various family members have been incarcerated in this country. She writes about historical events through the lens of astrology.
Thea is Chief of Staff at CHANI, Inc., and lives in the Berkshires in MA with her family.
Check out Thea's podcast Down To Astro with Chani Nicholas and Eliza Robertson.
Amy: If you want to support the Missing Witches Project, join the coven. Find out how at missingwitches. com.
Hello, and welcome to an extra special episode of the Missing Witches podcast. For those of you who are long time listeners, you know that we love to celebrate Black History Month, and every year we invite a panel of brilliant inspiring Black witches to sit in circle with us and chat because we believe, and we say this all the time, that our guests who are here tonight are creating what will be thought of as Black history in the future.
So we call this Future Histories. of Black Magic. And this panel, y'all, if you're in the coven and you saw this invite, so many of you were in the comments freaking out over this panel, and I am too. This is an amazing array of thinkers and, dare I say, historians. Before I get into the prompt that we chose for this year, all of you contend with history in some way or another, whether it's your personal history or.
The history of the United States of America, or the history of the stars, even I'm looking at you, Thea. I want to, again, say a huge and special very special thanks to Maria Minnis, Hi, Maria. And Olomi Omoloku, aka Got2bOshun is here. Hi.
OlaOmi: Hi. Greetings,
Amy: everybody. Hi, Nadra Niddle is here. Hi, Nadra. Welcome back. Hello. Hello, Christina Cleveland. Hi, mama. That smile, I'm telling you. The first time I met Christina, I was so nervous because her book was so good.
And then she smiled. And I was like, okay, everything's going to be okay. Marcelite Fala, hi, how are you doing?
And Zoe Flowers is here. Hi, Zoe. Hello.
Zoe: Hello. And
Amy: of course, Thea Anderson, our resident astrologer is here.
Thea: Hi, y'all. It's an honor.
Amy: It is always an honor to be in circle with all of you. Thank you again so much. Of course, again, we're marking Black History Month with this conversation, with this episode.
And so I pulled a prompt from Frederick Douglass, a speech that he made in, I want to say 1852. A speech that he made in 1852. Where he says we have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future. So I feel like a lot of us, again, are encumbered either by our own personal history, or American history, or global history.
And sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to make use of those feelings for the present and the future. Again, whether that's our own personal history or a global history that we are contending with. I want to start by asking you to introduce yourself. There's that old saying, you're under no obligation to be who you were five minutes ago.
We always ask our guests, even if you've been on the podcast five, ten times, I want to know, who are you today? Where are you today? And I mean that in a metaphysical sense. Like, where are you at? How are you contending with the past? But let's just start with an introduction. So I am going to turn to Zoe Flowers, who happens to be in the top corner of my display.
How are you? What are you? What's going on, Zoe? Tell me about the past, present, and future.
Zoe: Sure. Thank you again for having me. Love to be on the panel again. Yeah, I've been sitting with this question since I saw it. I'm well, as well as, can be expected with everything going on.
My pronouns are she and they, and today I'm calling in from Connecticut, also known as the land of the podunk and the Pequonic people. So I just wanted to start out with that first. So I think I'll just call myself a storyteller
Since we get to choose every day. And that's the vibe I've been in since the beginning of the year.
This history piece. So I'm in my mother's house, the house she grew up in the house I spent a lot of time in. So it's also my grandparents house. I came here during COVID at the very beginning. I thought I'd be here until April because of course it was going to be over in April and still here going back and forth between Brooklyn, here in Brooklyn.
And so I've been confronting my past like every single day. What did it mean to be, growing up? As the sensitive, weird kid in the family healing those wounds, repairing the mother wound day by day. Sometimes I do it better than others and, yeah, and I've also been wondering about the history of my grandmother, because I remember her doing things, she's from Tipton, Georgia, so I remember her like sweeping the front doorstep.
I remember dream books by the bed. So there are certain like witchy things that I remember that we, they would have never called witchy. So yeah, so I've been, I renovated this house by a year and a half, still more to do. And yeah, I'm trying to find pieces of myself in this family. Yeah.
Amy: I would say yes And as it is, we are literal pieces of our ancestors, that's what makes our DNA, right? But then what about what we do with those bits of DNA and how we go into the world? And being in your mother's house, I imagine literally and metaphorically is like a lot to contend with.
Zoe: Yeah it is, but
OlaOmi: we're making it through.
Amy: Of course. We all come from our mother's bodies, and in effect, our mother's houses, and it affects us all completely differently. I am not a mother, but I know that Olomi is one. And maybe you want to tell us, Olomi, about the mother wound from both sides of that, being a child and also being a parent.
OlaOmi: Fine. I'm so glad you asked. I'm happy to be here as always. It is always a blessing and an honor to be amongst those that know and a specific blessing and honor to be around sisters that know. Grateful. Always grateful. Ugh, the mother wound. I am actually in the process of musing over this.
Over the the winter holidays. I was just thinking about how a lot of the way that we view our mothers is still through a patriarchal lens. So there are so many ways that our mothers were just powerful beings and the leaders of the family. And that translates to bitches, it's a bitchy translation.
And it's if your father was there, then he ganged up on her with you. Both of y'all thought she was a bitch, and if he wasn't there, when you did see him, he still thought she was a bitch. So it's you're looking at her still through a patriarchal lens. And I always hope and pray that for each of us, we can come to a point where we understand that for most of us, our mother was the first strong woman that we were taught to despise.
The first strong feminine presence that we were taught to despise for her strength. In ancient times. It was understood that your mother was the being whose responsibility it was to push you to your highest level. And so you expected your mother to tell you what to do and do these things and do it.
Now, we see that as nagging, as worrying. Oh, she made me do all these things I didn't want to do. Whereas in ancient times, that was part of what made her the goddess. We were like, of course, she's going to come along and write the whole script and I'll just follow it up until I'm ready to follow my own, so now it becomes this thing that is so daunting and dangerous and something that we have to heal from. So there's that side of it, of course. And that comes from not only me being a mother, but My mother being an ancestor and so much of our relationship is better now that she's an ancestor, because there's so many things that she can say that she couldn't say while she was alive.
So there was so many pressures on her to make me be a particular type of person. And she knew I wasn't that kind of person. My mother is the person who told me I was a witch. She was like, you're a witch and we come from a long line of witches, right? But she still was afraid of what that would mean in my life.
So still, there was all of this, oh, don't do that. Don't say that. Don't wear that, and so much of that happened while she was alive, that then once she became an ancestor, it's oh, really? You just wanted to say this? My vision of her is always in the spirit realm, in hot pants. and a thigh high boot dancing with Jimi Hendrix, because that's who my mother is, but she didn't get to be that person in my life for social reasons.
So whenever I think about the mother wound, I think about that. And then as far as mothering, I try to explain to my children, if I have to put some sort of strictures around you, it is to keep you safe. It's not because I don't think you're perfect as you are. It's not because I'm not proud of you as you are, but.
So many places in this world are still unsafe for you as you are. So having children that are non binary, having children that are trans, there were certain ways, and especially in the black community, there were certain ways we've always had to navigate that, from the time they were small, we were navigating in particular ways.
It's now that they're adults, I'm like, okay, I'm just the supporter. I'm just the ally. But when you're little, I have to tell you to do it a certain way. We don't want to, but. I want you to be safe. So I think for me, from that mothering perspective, I really think I know you've heard me say a thousand times and I hold true to this.
I don't believe in forgiveness. I think forgiveness is something that was created to keep women and to keep black people in a position that's less than human. Because nobody that is considered fully human is expected to forgive. People who are considered fully human are expected to fight. When they are confronted with something that can take their lives.
But the only people I forget are my mother and my children. That's it. So I always try to come from the perspective of give your mother grace. If you ain't gonna give nobody else, great. Give mama a little bit of grace, so yeah, those, that is my thought on that. And before,
Amy: I ask our our next guest can you tell us our listeners who maybe are new to the podcast, who you are as people who haven't met you before?
OlaOmi: I'm a homeschooling mother of six. My oldest child will be 34 this year, and I have an 11 year old grandson, so I've been homeschooling my entire life. For that, also for that whole same period of time, I've been a priestess of the Yoruba deity, Oshun. So I'm a priestess of Oshun. I'm also a hereditary witch.
From my mother, my grandmother, and my great grandmother. And I am the teacher and the creatrix of what we call black witchcraft, the black witchcraft lifestyle, being a witch and making sure that you're incorporating your blackness, your diasporic African ness, and those aspects into your craft. So that's who I am.
I teach courses. I do funerals. I do weddings, all of those priestly things. And I try my best to always be an example of a ferocious woman and to encourage other women to be ferocious. I think that to save the world, which is ours, because we're the ones who gave birth to it. We have to become ferocious.
We have to get out of the patriarchal mindset of trying to be sweet and kind and meek and mild. And we have to realize that motherfuckers are coming for our creation and we've got to be fucking ferocious. Yeah. That's who I am.
Amy: And there's like a ferocity that is somehow tender that comes off of you.
It's you're such a paradox and that's one of my favorite things about you. You're like equally like terrifying and comforting as a human. So thank you for existing inside the paradox that we all do. I want to move to Sherry Shone, that hoodoo lady, because You've arrived just as we were doing our brief introductions, and so I missed your name.
So also with us tonight is Sherri Schoen, aka That Hoodoo Lady. It's so good to see you, Mama. How you doing?
Sherry: I'm highly favored, y'all. I am so grateful to be around all of this love and magic. I love this time of year, and I love that the work that we do can be so eclectic, but yet still from that same unified spirit.
Amy: Tell our listeners who you are.
Sherry: I am that hoodoo lady. I am honored always to be on anything that you all do on Mrs. Witches podcast. I am an author of two books for everyone else. And also the who do guide to the Bible. I am a believer in intention, faith and direction. I am a believer. That the Bible is the largest spell book known to our understanding over the last 2000 years, and it can be used for deliverance purposes.
What else? I no longer do readings, but I am doing class work in the form of book events. virtual hosted class and work that we're doing as well as wine cheese wisdoms every third Wednesday online as well so i don't get into a lot of classy things because i'm actually still doing my next project which is my very first oracle deck that if everything in spirit says the same will be produced in Samhain of 2025.
Amy: I'm looking forward to that. I cannot wait to see your deck.
Sherry: Y'all, y'all. The artist is from Peru and I just, every time I look at the artwork, I just go that's mine. That's mine.
Amy: That's all yours. Jeremiah 2911, we're always preaching that Jeremiah 2911 at each other.
Sherry: It's about bringing forth that thing.
It is all for good. It is all for your forward movement. The times of us thinking that, to me, the times of us thinking that deity or your ancestors or your guides are there to put a thumb on you and put you in your place are over this, that to me, when I want to encourage you and inspire you, I'm doing it to push you forward as you want, because I believe the deity loves you exactly who you are and what you are.
They're not asking for you to change. But they're giving you the tools to change if that's what you want.
Amy: Sherry, can you tell me, how do you define deliverance?
Sherry: How I define deliverance is very tactile. It is very action oriented and very now. If I need rent paid, that's deliverance. I'm not gonna ask, in my hoodoo practice, I don't ask hoodoo for, I can, but I don't ask hoodoo for what hairstyle I need.
I can do that something other way. I can pick a card for that, right? I can pick out a card and if I see the tarot card, I go, Ooh, time for a new wig. Great. Total change. When I use Hoodoo for, is the rent page, is somebody stepping out that doesn't need to step out. If I'm trying to banish a neighbor who's coming over to try to partake of my legally growing herbs, that's deliverance.
That's an absolute need that you are needing to come about with some kind of change that you want to influence your world. If I want to change the vote, if I want to cover myself in protection before I go out and protest so that I can get the right to have an abortion. These are the things that are deliverance to me versus I'm just going to ask for deliverance that when I drive down the street.
I get the best coffee. That's not deliverance work to me in my world. My world is when you're coming to something with a place of urgency. When my daughter was growing up, we would ask her, me and her other mother would ask her to have alacrity. Are you doing this with some kind of urgency? And she would go, Oh, okay.
There are times to be urgent and there are times not to, when there's a fire happening, that's urgency to get that fire out. When there's something else going on. That's not an urgency. If you're, if you have time and you're Maslow's hierarchy of need is being met at the first and second level, probably not urgent.
But if you're not beginning food, shelter, health, that's urgent. That's deliverance.
Amy: Thank you, Maria. I thought of you and Sherry said, maybe the tower card just means it's time for a new hairstyle.
Maria: I freaking love it. I love
Amy: it. Tell us about your book that just came out and who you are and hi Maria.
Maria: I'm so excited to be back. Thank you for having me. I am so grateful to be in a community with all of you today, both everyone who's in the room with us as well as the listeners. Thank you for tuning in. So yeah, I'm Maria Menes. I consider myself to be an unapologetically Black Black woman. Earth worshipping
Maria: Jewish autistic queer woman who's and I think you can sum up my work that, I'm a tarot reader, I'm a teacher, I'm a ritual facilitator, and my work centers around blending spirituality with magic, liberation work, and also eroticism in everyday mundane life. I think that there is so much self development that you can do with spirituality, but what is the point if it ends when you die, right?
It has to extend beyond yourself. I think the end result of all of our magic should be to cultivate a more equitable and empathetic planet. And I consider myself a vessel, a future ancestor, and I am so proud of the book. That I just had come out, Tarot for the Hard Work, it is an anti racism tarot workbook that I have written for all kinds of people who care about tarot, people who don't, people who know a lot about tarot, baby tarot readers.
And honestly, I also wrote it for white people and people of color, because I have to admit, and this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to admit is, so I come from the sticks. I come from just, I come from Virginia, right near the West Virginia line, not even gonna bother telling you the town. But just to sum it up, my county was called the breadbasket of the Confederacy.
I am not, I am ashamed,
Maria: but not afraid to admit that I'm working on my own internalized racism, and that's why when I wrote this book, I started it with an intro that says, I'm not the boss. I'm not the master. I don't have the answers. I'm doing this work alongside you. And that's the, that's a god honest truth.
I'm doing the work, and I am teaching people what I'm learning along the way, but I'm also trying to inspire people to Come up with their own strategies and understand their own sort of superpowers and how they can superpowers that they can leverage in within themselves, within their relationships and in their communities, because I feel like all the work that we do toward this more equitable and empathetic planet ripples, and it ripples beyond what we can ever fully perceived in our human bodies in this human life at this time.
I think that the root of all of our work and honestly all of our existence Is interconnectedness. And I know we'll talk more about the prompt that you shared, but I repeat it over and over again. None of us is an island. And this mass rugged individualism is a huge part of why we are where we are. And we, what do we have if we don't have each other?
I think I, I don't have anything if I don't have my health and part of my health is community and I care a lot about bringing people together and helping people empower themselves to see themselves as agents of change, rather than just passive bystanders in a world where convenience Seems to be keen.
I'm very passionate.
I'm sure that's not too,
Maria: to much of a surprise for anyone. But yeah, my book, Tara for the hard work in archetypal journey to confront racism and inspire collective feeling is it's, I think of it less like a book. It's more of a tool yes, there are 60 essays, but there are hundreds of activities in there, and they're for everybody, and I and I'm just really proud of that, and it Honestly, a great book, I think, for anyone who's where the hell do I start, who the hell am I to, think that I can make a difference?
Wake Up, you can. And this book for me is like my interpretation of a wake up call. And I, it's my biggest spell yet. And it's the one I'm the most
Amy: . Absolutely. And we are so proud of you. We're so proud of you, Maria. And we're proud of you too, Nadra, who has written books about some of the greatest minds of our time.
Toni Morrison, Bell Hooks. What are you working on right now, Nadra? Who are you today?
Nadra: Thank you for having me. I'm a journalist as well as an author. So right now I'm just focusing on journalism, but I am toying with the possibility of writing another book but my first two books that you referenced, I wrote about the spiritual visions of both bell hooks and Tony Morrison.
My latest book, which came out in October is bell hooks, spiritual vision, Buddhist, Christian, feminist, and. In that book, I explore the role of, like the title says, Buddhism and Bell Hook's life and writing but as well as the divine feminine and witchiness, witchcraft the African American folk tradition of hoodoo and witchcraft.
I love it. Also, the role of,
Anti capitalism and anti patriarchal,
Nadra: Thought in bell hooks is Writing as well, and the 1st book was about Tony Morris and spiritual vision. And that when I look at, Faith, her faith,
Nadra: her folklore,
And feminism and her books as well. And I'm in Los Angeles, I'm on Tongva land and.
I think that's pretty much it. That's who I am today. I'm nursing a sore throat right now. And I have to say I didn't mention the dark version or the black Madonna, which I explore in both of those. And one of the reasons I'm pointing that out is because Christina Cleveland is here and she sent me a sweet message.
I just want to say, I am also, a huge fan of your work. Christina, and so grateful that you are exploring the role of the Black Madonna and what that means.
Amy: Yeah. Let's pass the mic. Christina. Hi.
Christena: I am not a
fangirl. I'm like Beyonce, who?, you know, but Nadra, I am fangirling right now. So touched that you even know who
Christena: I am because I'm working on another book on the Black Madonna
and I'm quoting you about as much as I'm quoting myself.
Christena: for people who are new to my work or I'm new to you my name's Christina Cleveland.
I'm coming today in Rapture. It's a new thing for me.
Christena: I've always been a little envious of the sort of historic saints of all stripes and traditions who have these moments of ecstasy,
Christena: That are rooted in spirituality, but I feel like I'm experiencing some of that with the Black Madonna these last few months.
As she helps me to release some attachments, so it's also been gnarly. And there have been a lot of tears and sleepless nights, but also transformation. I am grateful to be here, honored to be with all of you. I think I know all of you either through your, yeah, through either reading one of your books. Or hearing you on this podcast and or all of the above. So thank you for existing. You feed me, all of you. And nourish me. I'm currently working on a second book on the Black Madonna. The first book had a little bit more me in it than I would have liked. And so the second book is really about her.
And I'm looking at three aspects of the Black Madonna across history and across Blackness. And I kind of resistance. A term I borrowed from bell hooks in the way that she described the black Madonna mother of abundance and then nourisher of black souls also borrowed from bell hooks. So that's those three aspects I'm looking at and writing in from what I know, the first book for black people on the black Madonna.
Unfortunately, white women have had the mic for far too long.
That's where I'm at today. Happy to be here.
Amy: I'm going to pass the mic as quickly as I can. Hahaha. How are you doing Thea? Thea Anderson, whose approach to history is so fascinating and inspiring.
Thea: I'm fascinated and inspired to be here. Hi, y'all. I'm just Speaking of being fed, speaking of the mother wound, speaking of community, speaking of lineage, speaking of black Madonna, I just feel all these energies and I want to have a three hour long conversation, but I listen all day.
Also just hit me up. I'll talk to you. I'll take a break. We should form circles, but I think the childhood version of me is just like, Oh my God,
Thea, look what you get to be a part of,
Thea: There is a kid version of me. That's just freaking out right now. And I'm really excited to bring that forth, for the future for my own daughters for this whole world.
My approach to history is that I don't think that time is what we think it is. I think that time is ritual. It's motion. It's movement. It's not calendars. It's not schedules. I'm really interested in this age of productivity, how we experience our lives, how we experience the past. And for me, What astrology has given me time and time again as a, as an astrologer and as someone who does planetary magic is an ability to apprentice time the way that I want to.
And so that means looking at things that are on the edge of the archives, understanding what is the story that I want to tell? We're all here telling stories and history. Is the telling of what has happened and what is happening and what will happen. It also points to that. And so I just, there's that.
What am I working on? I, okay, I have a lot of Gemini placements. So I work on a lot of things at one time. So if you ask me, I'm like but most recently I finished a piece and it was the same editorial team who helped me bring forth the Harriet Tubman piece that astrologer two years ago.
So this one is looking at the astrology. Of a discovery of mass graves in the town of Sugar Land, Texas, where I grew up, and it was the graves of they call them the Imperial 95 but the people who died working where they stood during the time of convict leasing and the studying those charts and what led to their discovery had been, I would say, an obsession for.
Far too long. I could probably I would like to write a book about it at some point, but the article feels like a good resting place for now. So I talked to ghosts as well in my astrology. That's really important to me. They're just here. Sometimes I get frustrated because I'm like, ah I feel like I've wrought all I can from a chart.
And then three months later, I'll wake up in the middle of the dream. And it'll be like, There's more here. So it's a flat 2d chart, but I view history is also like the spiral that I can keep going in. And that's what a horoscope shows me as well. But I give readings, I work, I'm the chief of staff at the Chani app.
So I get to work with brilliant people. It's a feminist led company just doing things in a completely different way. I love the work that I get to do. And yeah that's
Amy: it. That's you in a nutshell.
And it's a big ol nutshell. Thank you so much for being here, Thea. And Marcelite, an incredible scholar, and also a powerful spirit. How are you contending with the ritual of time these days? You just say me?
Marcelitte: My my headphones cut out right as you turned to me. I'm so sorry. Although right now how am I going to tend to you with time?
I'm well. So hello everyone. Thank you all for having me. This is such a wonderful space. I'm really honored to be around such powerful people. So I am, so my name is Marcelite Faiella. I'm a scholar of black religion. I currently am a visiting, assistant visiting professor assistant professor at Emory, where I teach classes in Africana religions and in black feminism.
And I'm, I think. What I wanted to say today was I'm what I'm excited about right now is teaching. I'm really excited about teaching. I really it's just it's all consuming. But it's what I'm excited about. And yesterday, last week time I don't know time. But last week my students I so I do a lot of ritual in the classroom because I try to make.
religion not taboo religion and spiritual practice not taboo. And so we, and so I have students from all backgrounds, all different backgrounds. And we did a honor, we did a ritual for Oshun. And I brought in my I brought in some of my altar items. And so they were introduced to Florida water.
They were introduced to a phone. They were introduced to had some sunflowers for ocean. And it was just so beautiful to see each of them. Participating and honoring Oshun and comfortable and like very uncomfortable, but then they start saging each other.
And then make them stand and put their arms out and turn around and lift up their foot and lift up the other foot and sage the back and stuff. And they loved it and they loved it and they, and some of them were like, a little scared, definitely had some students of Christian Baptist.
backgrounds and some were raised in Muslim homes and a little concerned about the, the about, particularly about traditions that their parents had said were demonic. And but it. Related it connected them to the material and the spiritual element of the traditions in a way that I could lecture all day, and I don't think that it would have really gotten it.
So it was beautiful. So that's what I'm excited about. In terms of what I'm working on. I submitted an article, it'll be in a It's going to be in a chat, in a volume. New, oh my goodness, African American, new movements in African American religious history. I'm getting that but it's on the term witches and witchcraft.
And it's a, it's affiliated with the Crossroads Project at Princeton. And it is. It's it's on the terms, which is in witchcraft and how African American people have been using this term for a very long time and that the terms are not exclusive to white practitioners. And so I did quite a bit of archival and primary source research to uncover how how our black ancestors have been using these terms in much of the same ways that we use conjure, who do root work, and yeah, there's one case of this woman to changing the term queen and which and it's everything is wonderful. That is me. Yes. Happy to be here. Thank you.
Amy: Yeah, I think I could get into witch and queen being interchangeable, but Marsali, I feel as a history professor, you're like, uniquely qualified to speak to our prompt for this evening.
By you, for you, from you, how do we make the past useful for our present and for our future? And from this point on, guests, please just jump in. Don't wait for me to call on you. Don't wait till the end of the song to clap your hands, as Lisa King Kauffman always says during her shows. Please just jump in at any time.
Marcelitte: I I'm thinking about my classes from yesterday. That's okay. I remember the day we were in my black feminisms class and we were talking about we were talking about, we read, we had read bell hooks, like the first chapter of an eye woman. It's just talking about slavery and the ways that black women experience racialized and gendered violence.
And then we read, we were reading the canon. So we read Angela Davis and and I, and then And then I showed them. So I live in the West End in Atlanta. And maybe this summer there's it was the Malcolm was the Marcus Garvey Festival. And Umar Johnson, I don't know if you knew at all.
No, he was there speaking and he was spewing He was spewing hate against women and queer and trans people. And and and also I think his name is Ifa Tunde too. So I think he definitely calls forth in the ways that he might call forth some Ifa, Orisha communities is quite concerning.
But the just to bring it back to religion, but. But I showed this video and then we just had a long conversation about and we actually showed the video and they all they all maybe knew who he was or, Oh, my goodness. And we just had this long conversation about how these.
Messages are still very much ingrained in kind of a black masculinist nationalist rhetoric and how it's still being, it's still being used, right? And why and what is the kind of the history of the black feminists of the 80s at this point, who was the legacy of their lineage.
And so just, yeah, just thinking about, bell hooks and just really honoring those ancestors. I thank goodness for their work and that we still have so much to learn from them. And
OlaOmi: making sure that we. Are truthful in our representations of the past. Is essential. When we move forward I'm an Afrofuturist working on my PhD and Afrofuturism when I was allowed to teach classes at the Florida University where I teach.
That was what I was teaching was Afrofuturism obviously you can't teach that in Florida anymore so no longer doing that. But I think that it is essential to be truthful and to be honest, I think that so many times. What Marceline was just saying, there's a particular type of, what's the terminology?
Marceline will know what I'm, respectability politics, that's the terminology. That we always play with past black figures. That is just a lie, it's just a lie. I did a podcast on that earlier this year, and it's like, when you're a black woman and you're being very free in your religious expression, in your sexual expression, when you're not Dressing like a Middle Eastern woman when you're not doing those types of things.
They waggle, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman at you and they say, what do you think those people would think? Sojourner Truth took her breast out in the Ain't I a Woman speech. She took her breast out. So I don't think that she would mind that I don't have a brow. Harriet Tubman was literally walking around toting a gun, completely removing people from one system.
So that they could be liberated. So I don't think that she would mind that I don't follow the status quo. So I think when you think about the past. You have to actually represent it for what it is. It's even when we, if we go into Jesus, Jesus is literally a middle Eastern revolutionary who turns over tables and kisses his favorite male disciple in the mouth.
Let's actually be. Truthful about what was happening in the past, as opposed to we'll just turn it all into a respectability thing and we will use it to force people to act in a certain way. And from a strictly diasporic African perspective, we have to always remember, and a witchy perspective, that time is a cycle.
Time is not linear. So whatever point in the circle was important to you, you can always come back to it. If you do the ritual right, you can come back to when your mother was alive. When I need to talk to my mother, I do the right ritual and I go back to that point in the circle. And say, okay, I got to talk to you about this because we know that linear time is something else that's just used to keep us tied to capitalism.
Clocks were created for capitalism. So the way we look, yeah, the way we look at time is strictly so that people can treat us like news. So be. Honest about the past. Nobody was, nobody that helped us to get to where we are now was a good girl. All those people were bad girls. All those people were acting outside of the realms of what was acceptable on purpose.
So that, first and foremost, and then second of all, stop treating time as if it's linear and therefore feeling as if you've run out of time, or therefore feeling as if you don't have enough time, or feeling as if you're too old to do this, that, or the other. You're too far in the, in some linear cycle to do this, that, or the other.
Treat time as the circle that it is, and go back to whatever point in the circle you need to go back to, to fix some shit. A lot of time that helps us to heal trauma. Go back to that point in the circle and fix it.
Sherry: I I want to continue that discussion. So I had a dream last night that I was driving and my car's right hand mirror was a skew. It was just flat up. Just wonky. Y'all just it was the only rear view, right? Only the rear view mirror and whoever's listening or however you're interpreting that for me, I took it as, When I have moments of anxiety or fear or wonder and I feel like I want to go back, I have to be careful because there, there are times when spirit doesn't want me to go back because I'm supposed to be going forward.
But then I love what you were saying. There are absolutely times when you need to go back and heal. And I believe that currently with many mental health professionals and currently with different religious institutions, they try to hold the past as if it was so beautiful and so wonderful and all of us should go back to that point that it does prevent you from looking to the future and looking ahead and going, that wasn't me.
That's not me. I'm not even claiming that anymore. Because I could. And as if I am meant to keep my rear view mirror askew, then I'm not going to look back there yet. I'm going to keep just moving forward and driving ahead and going, y'all got this, whoever it is that y'all for me. That's who has this.
And then that takes away that need or that fear to go about a clock, which I believe if I'm right. If I'm correct me all but I believe that clocks were first figured out so that they could have at least the clock system we have now where we have timetables is really just for trains to get materials to and from East and West Coast in a matter of time so that you didn't have car so that you have train crashes.
That was it. They were like we needed to have a time to make sure that when this train leaves. This one comes through and we get all of our chattel and everything, which unfortunately included some of us. Back and forth. So that in itself makes me think time is irrational. But then also, if I look at, because I'm gonna throw a few Bible verses in here.
If you look at Galatians 328, it says there is neither Jewish nor Greek. There's neither slave nor free. There's neither male or female. You are all one. And so now I'm going to go, Oh, then, hell, that means if you're going to come after me from my naughty bits, And try to tell me that I have naughty bits.
I'm going to say all these bits are beautiful. You want to see them? Hold on.
Nadra: I just wanted to touch on respectability politics in the church. And you had mentioned Jesus earlier, and I was thinking about, I don't know how many of you know about a couple of weeks ago, president Biden spoke at mother Emanuel church, the church.
That several years ago had the mass shooting of black parishioners by a white supremacist while when Joe Biden was speaking there recently, there were protesters who stood up and, accused him of genocide and they were shamed and told that they shouldn't have done that. This wasn't, church is not the place, to take political action despite having a political figure there.
But. People brought up the example of, Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers in the temple as an example of Jesus. Was willing to take political action in the church. And so I was thinking about that. When someone earlier was talking about how we try to impose respectability politics, even on historical figures, and I also in a very different example of thinking about Jonathan majors, who, and his domestic violence trial, supposedly kept telling.
His ex girlfriend that she needed to be a Coretta, like a Coretta Scott King. And I just thought, those are two examples of respectability politics being applied in very screwed up ways, in my opinion.
Thea: And what did Coretta's daughter say? Keep my mom's name out of your mouth.
Nadra: Yes, and that her mother was not a prop.
Her mother was an activist. Her mother basically was someone said earlier, a bad girl,
Zoe: this is Zoe, by the way, and didn't one of the other. Someone from the King family also came forward and said, stop trying to whitewash Martin Luther King as well recently. And I feel like this was the first time that we're hearing that.
As well. I've been thinking about as far as the past, this sort of the censorship that's happening, the active censorship. Is it Olaomi? Is that correct? So you were talking about your work in Florida, right? So you being censored and then also people self censoring themselves with everything that's happening.
And so as an art, as a writer myself, I started actually going back and looking at different artists who were, who spoke up during McCarthyism, like I know some of the stories, but I don't know really about visual artists like Romare Bearden and things like that. And because I have been struck by how silent some of our more popular people in the world, I'll just leave it at that, have been.
With the genocide happening globally, and I understand that that's not a new thing, right? You're talking about Harry Tubman, you're talking about Sojourner Truth, it was always a few folks, moving people forward, and the masses just doing whatever the masses do. So I was just, I've been compelled to go back and look at who were the artists.
Who spoke up during McCarthyism or during the civil rights movement, just so that I could try to get some context for what is happening now. Because I'm like, is it my imagination? Did I just imagine when people were active during the 60s because that was the story that we were told? Or, what's really happening here?
So that's the journey that I've been on and I've been actively I haven't been on Facebook for a while, but I've been actually posting Black artists in particular who have been speaking up, in the past at various times in history for social justice and things like that.
Thea: of what's, this is Thea, a lot of what's being said to just to pin it to the current astrological timeframe. And we're talking about respectability politics and how that's not, that has to go, has to be garbage. And it's just bringing up the fact that the South node right now is in Libra. Which is that sort of the shadow side of Libra can be very people pleasing, right?
That might be the part that has to be disposed of. And the North Node what we're hungry for right now is that sort of buck the system. The call for What are we going to fight for? What do we need to do? It doesn't care about making friends. And so I think about the fact that we're in that timeline right now, and that we have eclipses coming up in the spring.
And it's interesting to see how we get there from here. I've also been thinking a lot about censorship as well. I think that's one of the things that I didn't foresee with maybe a year ago looking at this timeline, but as you get closer, you can see how Pluto, the planet of power, into Aquarius, the collective, is both an opportunity for us to, to to Strengthen our collective power, our grassroots power, but it's not a given because the other side of that I think is what I see is like the censorships or turning school libraries into detention centers, banning books all these kinds of things that are happening.
Also, just the fact that are that there really is no social media. There's like ads, so like we were promised these things that we would be able to, communicate and have power and be able to connect. And I don't, I feel like we have to, we can't take it as a given one of the messages that keeps coming up for me this year in 2024 is that we have to take it.
We have to claim it and. We have to be willing to fight for it. And I just really like this idea we were saying just now, Zoe. People who have done this in the past and where can we go to that for just anything real? Cause it's not in the media. It's not in the news. People it's not mainstream unless it's like individuals.
It's in a. That
OlaOmi: frees me in a particular type of way, Thea. So thank you for that. My mother was a hippie. I was born in 1969, so my mother was a hippie during those times, and I grew up feeling the age of Aquarius was something that I was promised. And I did take it all as a given. By the time I came into womanhood, abortion was legal.
My mother was so proud. My mother had five daughters and she was so happy that we would never have to have children that we didn't want to have. Like she would just, she would just be so gloriously happy for how our lives were going to be. And I was the first person in my family line to go to an integrated school.
So it was so many things that. Our mom, the mothers of my generation felt like they had put in place for it. And my mother, because she was a hippie, literally did call it the age of Aquarius and she was like, it's fine. You guys are going to have it so much better than us. And so much like what you just said I took all of this for granted and I did not think I knew that, I was going to have to fight for something.
It's the world we're here. We're playing the game of life. There's going to be things you have to fight for, but this stuff. They, last, the week before last, they banned dictionaries in Florida schools. So that, I literally didn't think I was going to have to fight for that. That wasn't what I thought.
I'd never expected abortion to not be legal again. My mother fixed that, so you saying we have to fight for it, it's not a given, that clicks something on in my mind. So thank you so much for that because I literally was feeling like my mother passed that down with her good genes.
That's good. I'm good on that. But you're right. You're right. Yeah.
Amy: Y'all are reminding me of that quote. Behaved women seldom make history. And so maybe that's a way that we can make the work, the past work for the present and the future is to like, learn from the people who made history and recognize that they were not well behaved, that they did not succumb to these Respectability, politics.
So he said that you used to have a bumper sticker. How has that influenced your life? How have you misbehaved in a way that made your world better? Me? Christina, I think has something to say. Oh, good.
Christena: Yeah. I was, I'm happy to chime in. This is Christina. Yeah. I love everything I'm hearing. It resonates so deeply and also.
I'm thinking theologically, and I'm wondering if giving it a new name, so these women in history weren't misbehaving, they were saints, they were holy women, they were sacred sisters. And what it means to be holy is to move in their lineage. And as we do that, we heal too. We heal from respectability.
It was Maria who I could relate to. I grew up in the suburbs in California. So much of white supremacy I'm healing from myself. And so it's yeah I need more cleansing and even just reframing that I think might be. It's helpful. It's almost like we're rewriting scripture when we do that.
And we can, and yes, I hear you the hoodoo lady, that hoodoo lady. I hear you nodding. Because there are Rahabs. And Jezebel and Mary of Magdalene and a bunch of other people. It was Lilith, right? And Lilith, who are holy women. And we And their witness and their strength is like just such an honor to be part of that lineage.
So that's one thing I've been thinking about as I've been listening to this conversation. Who are our saints and how can we name them and prop them up? I, when I was faculty at Duke Divinity School inside this huge chapel that basically is just like one big phallic symbol, like it's just a huge tower on campus.
And if you walk inside. Next to all the actual Judeo Christian saints, there's like Robert E. Lee and like a bunch of other people, too. Life size statues. Next to like Moses in the church, like in the Duke Chapel. Yeah. It's you're walking in and you're like, Hey, Robert E. Lee, Hey, Moses, Hey, John the Baptist.
And they're all lined up together and it's what is, what would it look like for us to do that with some of these poorly behaved women? How do we create monuments for them in our lives and in our communities? Yeah. That's one thing. And then for whatever reason, so much of mother, motherhood, birthing, abortion has come up in this conversation.
And I was most recently in France in November and December, just listening to black women's stories about the black Madonna. And I heard some from history that I'd never heard before. And I also just heard some from contemporary black women. And there's one black woman who was content warning was sexually assaulted as a teenager and ended up getting pregnant through the assault and she decided to to abort the baby, but the way she talked about it, she said, I decided to put the baby back in the black Madonna's hands and I've never heard anyone talk about abortion that way.
I'm so American, and she's not, so maybe she's coming from a different spiritual perspective. But I've never heard of anyone saying, I'm gonna put the baby back in God's hands, however I define God but I was just thinking about how she, the Black Madonna is this figure, this misbehaving figure, who we can give.
Babies back to you in this, in the context of abortion. But then I heard this other historical story from a black woman. And this is like during the Spanish Inquisition, this this Abbess in a, in an Abbey, like a nun got pregnant as nuns do. And That the actual like Spanish Inquisition were coming for her.
I think it was in Spain. She was in an Abbey in Spain. And like the inquisitors were like, we're coming to kill you. You're a nun and you got pregnant, we're coming to have a trial in scare quotes, but they're gonna be coming to kill her. According to the legend, the Black Madonna came in the night, she was due in 2 months, the Black Madonna delivered her baby early, sewed her up, and took the baby to a community that would care for it, and when the Spanish Inquisition came for her, they medically examined her and determined her to be a virgin.
And so I'm thinking of these community based ways that we can embody the Black Madonna to defend people, to defend their choices, defend their rights, defend their body, to stand in the gap, to, to get GoFundMe's going so that someone can get across state lines and take care of what they need to take care of with their own body.
Like when I think of these stories about the Black Madonna, I think of us. And it makes me think as, someone who studied the American civil rights movement a lot, like there was a national game that, that gets a lot of play, like all of the the legislation that was passed, all the conversations with RFK, all of the, all of the big speeches that people gave, but then there was a ground game too, where it was just people making sure that the families who were boycotting got fed.
And nobody, there's no tales about that. Nobody is look at this incredible resistance work. And when I think about the black Madonna and that type of work that she often does, it usually is in these small communities where we're just taking care of each other or just making sure that.
Mouths are fed, people have roofs over their heads, that their physical needs are cared for as we do this work together. And it's just chastened me because in the social media or like social ad age, it is easy to get caught up in like I need a bigger platform or I need a bigger, significance equals prominence.
And that's not the message. The message is mustard seed. The message is we just need a remnant. We just need three gangsters. three holy women to shake things up. So yeah, I don't know. Those are just some of my thoughts.
Maria: Yeah I love that as well. And this is Maria. I've been super quiet. Usually I am a motor mouth.
But I have just been so enthralled by all of these people here today and I am feeling so inspired and reminded of how I choose to stand in my wholeness. And going back to the respectability politics thing, I, for tarot folks, I think about how I talk about the temperance card. And for some people that card is about balance and temperance around drugs or food or alcohol, so on and so forth, but for me, if I were to name that card, I would call it life art, and so many decks call it the art card, because I won't go too deeply into it because I will totally nerd out, but I'm thinking about this sort of topic.
Holiness. And it's connection to a sense of fullness and that connects us to the interconnectedness of all things. But holiness and fullness, I think. For us starts with within and I'm thinking about how I feel my own holiness, and I think that shows up in the remembering of all my parts like re remembering and refusing to compartmentalize my wholeness like one part about me is one thing about me is that if You are subscribed to my newsletter.
Follow me on Instagram. Know me anywhere. I'm very open about my life. I'm very, I share the good, I share the bad, and that's just a part of my processing and healing and I don't recommend that for everyone. It's not obligatory. That's just something I choose to do. And One way that I feel whole that I think has been that some people have tried to quell is that I share very openly that I am a very sexual person.
I, I met my partner at sex camp, I, That is an integral part of me, and yet so many people have said, you have multiple degrees, you're successful, you talk about anti racism, this and that, and it's I am a whole freaking human being, and if you don't like that's okay, but I'm standing in my wholeness, which makes me feel holy, which makes me feel interconnected interconnected.
With all that is holy and that's what I live for. That's what I fight for. And so the sort of respectability politics, I think, is just, one of the many strategies that the dominant quote unquote dominant. I prefer to say dominating members of our society. Try to try to distance ourselves from our wholeness and try to.
Feed into this idea that everything you need is external. You don't feel whole here, go buy this product, go take this class, go do this, go do that. And it's no I've been whole this whole time. I am my mother's daughter, and nobody can tell me different. And I stand tall in that. And I think my relationship with respectability politics has come at a little bit of a cost, I've lost people who once supported my work, who are like, tired of me just being like, this is what I did today and it was really erotic and lovely.
And it's they just want to put you into a little hole. And it's the more fragmented we are, the more power we give to the Forces that want us to be fragmented. It's like it's how much we are expected to work. It's like they want us tired so we can't fight back. They want us to feel like we're in so many different places and so many times different times that we don't have enough that we tell ourselves that we don't have enough to offer.
We who are we to do this? I'm just this. I'm just that. When you take away that compartmentalization and be like, okay, I'm a full ass human being, there is something so powerful in that. And no amount of respectability politics can tell me that I'm wrong for that. That's my truth. I'm speaking for it. I'm not for everyone and that's okay, but I know for myself.
I am whole and I am holy and I'm so grateful for that
Marcelitte: real quick when I think about, Respectability politics. I think of black witches. I think of Zoe flowers and your poem and praise of the witch. And I always come back to that. I love it so much. That's all I wanted to say.
Amy: So maybe you could call up the poem and read it for us when we get to the end, so that our listeners can have the same experience that Marcelette is having thinking about it.
OlaOmi maybe I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall there being in your book Onagbani, there's A discussion of this holy H O L Y and holy W H O, et cetera, et cetera. Do you want to expand on this notion of holiness and wholeness for us?
OlaOmi: That's literally what I was thinking about when Maria was just speaking, and I completely agree that, from a witch perspective.
That is, that's our redefinition of that term. And in, in my book and on Agbani, I really took liberties to redefine because I find that the English language and the way we've been taught to speak it is so lacking especially in explaining spiritual nuances. And so when we think about holiness and not only that, but those words have connotations that then have become harmful to us.
If people say a righteous woman, if people say a virtuous woman, there's connotations that have hurt us. So I felt that way about that word, holy, it has a connotation that has been harmful. Using holy with the two L's, fully with the W and then with the two L's being full and fully present and fully here in your body and unapologetically existing.
That's the actual holy like Maria was saying that's the actual holy. That is the full thing. And that is how you're able to access your magic. And that is how you are able to share it with others and heal and help and protect. You have those moments that you always hear people talk about where somebody's mom lifted a car off of them.
That's a holy moment. You're holy in your body, and suddenly you're able to do this thing that you need to do. For me, that's the magic. So yeah, that's why I did it that way. In the book, to show, be holy here. Don't worry about this other term that makes us feel small, and makes us feel not enough, and makes us feel, unclean and unworthy.
Don't worry about this other term. Actually think of it as being wholly yourself, fully yourself, and then you'll be comfortable being as wholly as you possibly can. So yeah, I was literally thinking about that. Yeah.
Amy: It's a great book listeners I've recommended it 100 times but here's 101 Ona agbani by I believe your author name for this particular work was Iyalosa AKalutunde.
OlaOmi: Yeah, it's my my priestly, my title, so Iyalosa Oshunyemi Akalatunde, yeah.
Amy: Sherry, do you want to drop in on this non synonymous relationship between sweetness and holiness? My
Sherry: goodness, there's so much in my head right now. Y'all, y'all are getting me. And then, of course, then my male dog had to try to attack my female dog and I had to go help her.
And I was like, that's just acting out and what we're already talking about. When we're thinking about this holiness, y'all and my tradition, holiness was. This epitome of the church mother or something like that, where they were always quaffed to the tea and they were always, whatever.
Christena: And they had the fruit of the spirit for them with meanness.
Sherry: Yes. How can I yell at you in the back? Can I
Sherry: yell at you. How can I control you? Especially to the women. If you're going to be a mother of the church, you are going to dominate, just like my dog tried to with my little dog. You're going to dominate all the other women in the church to Protect this phallic man that is the minister so that he can be the lion amongst all of the what.
Okay, so there's that image. And then I just put in the chat about and this is just Sherry and then that then the other part was the moon symbol in Tarot where she's, to me, identified as female walking around naked with all of her animals and crustaceans that are everything at her feet. drawing water to me for herself, not for anyone else.
And to me, that's a holy experience. That's the perfect time that you are creating sacred self and the sacred space for self, where you are in that moment with you and whoever you define as deity. And you all are cleansing, banishing, you're coming after somebody, whatever you need to do. And to me, that's holy work.
What I have not had a lot of. experiences with is biblically or otherwise. Saints, like many of us were saying that we're brown and black. When I first read about the black Madonna, when I was in Italy, everyone was saying, Oh no, that's just ash. That's just the ashes from the, okay, we know what that is.
And I'd love to have one. I'd love to have one because other than ancestors. When I think of our own sacred texts, they rarely have any black and brown women that are saints.
And then growing up as a black woman of faith, what does that mean? Does that mean that I'm never going to be holy enough? That I'm never going to stand up enough to sainthood? What does that mean? And if I want to be a saint, that means that I have to prescribe to the same thing that everyone else has.
And I can't step out on my own. That's ridiculous to me. That's not of spirit. Because my spirit tells me every day to do stuff all the time that I go I'm trusting you. This may not be cool. You may not want to submit this book for and it's No, but I will. And I think that's one thing that all of us are doing as we are showing that we are holy and we don't have to cross over yet.
We are showing that we are absolutely the person to be without having anyone else tell us what that looks like in our own pride. And walking out on our own faith. Yeah, that's what I got.
Christena: I wonder too I don't know if you all have this experience, because I don't know your age, because you're Black women, so you could be 20 or 80. I literally have no idea. But I'm 43 now, my grades coming in, and I live in Minneapolis, where there are a lot of like young Gen Z ers who are Black. And so I'm like a Black auntie now, I didn't know, but like at events, they come speak to me out of respect and stuff, and I'm like, oh, we need that too now.
Which is powerful because I wish I'd had a black auntie who was in conversations on respectability and black witchcraft and grappling with history and rewriting history. And so I wonder if there's a way that we can be intentional as we move through the world and be that. Be that figure in the community who's showing up to these events that are not respectable.
Supporting them telling them you're doing a great job, financially supporting them if we can. Just because I think so many young people are waiting for the elders to say you're on the right track. Maybe the establishment doesn't support you, whether the establishment is the church or the academy or whatever.
But we do because it's amazing. It's just amazing to notice that I'm no longer in the upstart generation. Now I'm older and I'm not. I'm not just an elder, but I also have some status in the community and if I say, this is awesome and legit, that matters to the young people and to my peers.
And I wish I'd had people cheering me on when I was taking my steps towards liberation and doing things that were illegible to Black respectability, which I think a lot of it is now, especially around gender.
And there's so much work for us to do within the Black community around gender, particularly trans and non binary Black folks. And how can we be the ones who are those elders saying, Yeah, that comment was not okay, we need to talk, we need to unpack that. Because this is a human being. And this tradition doesn't matter.
Also trans people have been here, how black people try to save and nobody was trans. And I'm like, no, they just didn't come around because y'all are the worst. But anyways, I grew up in a Kojic family. Yeah,
OlaOmi: that always makes me so angry because I grew up in Columbia, Tennessee. We had one street light.
One McDonald's. And I grew up around trans people, right? I remember my mother saying, call these people her, she, if that's what they're asking you to call her. I have this whole experience in my little Chinese, and black! There was black too! In this little Chinese southern town. So I, and I'm, I'll be 55 this year. So I hate hearing people of my generation saying, this is something new. I did a YouTube video about it years ago because they were swearing up. And I think Umar Johnson may have spoke on it. That Marceline mentioned earlier. That's when I was living in Atlanta and I think he came to speak on it.
And he was saying, it's being called. By the amounts of chicken that we eating and the hormones in the chicken and so I had to do a youtube video I was like, yeah, these people have always been around. I don't know what you're talking about This is a normal part of life. It has always happened.
I'm from the country of the country And if it was a norm in my town, then I know it wasn't the normal way everybody else grew up. So yeah, I completely agree with that. We, as the older people, I'm an actual elder in my community, have to definitely always be standing up for that. And speaking of And making sure that people are not being othered for things that are life.
Zoe: Yeah. This is Zoe. We're in the same age group. I'm a Gen X er. We're in the same age group and I do have lots of young witches around me. So much so that I'd be looking for witches my age. Although they call me big sis, they don't call me auntie but I love it. I love having conversations with them and it's like the world had to catch up to us and, but along this lines of people's platforms and people continuing to platform people like Mr.
Johnson, it does make me wonder. About what we can do more collectively to platform to have, because he stay going on the breadth of, they stay giving these folks platforms that are so harmful and we hardly ever hear from folks like us. We do our YouTube, we do all those things and those are relevant, but it's just, I'm just wondering like what we can do to have this other conversation be elevated.
Marcelitte: I think, I really, I really think that y'all are changing things,
Especially Elosha, Zoe, I think, I'm I'm just so excited about this next generation, it's like Gen Z right now. I'm really they're adopting, okay let me back up, like 1985.
Louise Satish writes Jambalaya and it comes out and it's a big hurrah because she's talking about spiritual practices that are in some cases closed and and she's making it accessible and open to this broader public and she spurs like this broader interest in African heritage religions And then Beyonce in 2017 comes out with the Lemonade album, and she has a growing interest in Oshun.
And I think and then all the this concentration of people online talking about Hoodoo, especially Hoodoo African heritage religions broadly, but really, what I'm most excited about right now is Hoodoo, because because of its accessibility and because it's just this broadly open practice for people of African descent, and because of its practical application.
And I think how I've seen, I had a mentee last semester the sweetest thing, she was probably 19, and she was saying how, and she was just like, she just ate it up, she just ate it up, I introduced her to Jujube I I introduced her, we watched Daughters of the Dust, we went to the Shun Festival she just ate it up, and she, and then she started realizing that, you Actually, there are people in her family who have been practicing these traditions for a long time and very secret or maybe they talk to spirits, or maybe they feel things, but they have this within them, I think.
And actually, she was on a medical track and then she switched her major to African, African American Studies too. So she'll be doing the work that we're doing too. But I don't know, I think I'm just not to put it all on them, but I think there is a cultural shift happening and I think it's happening with spirit and in conjunction in conversation with spirituality, particularly as we think of this kind of who do.
Cultural, spiritual, broad, open, change making, liberation, inspiring, producing, tradition, I'm just thrilled.
Amy: I'm just thrilled. I'm so happy that the sort of, some of the conclusions that we've come to for the prompt how do we make the past useful for the present and the future, are both to be.
honest about history, and also to rewrite it. And I love talking with witches because we always are like this, and also the opposite of what I just said at the same time. And that makes me so happy because, we say all the time Light is a wave and a particle. It shouldn't be the case, but this is the universe.
This is the paradoxical universe that we live in, where light is both particle and wave. And this can also be our treatment of history as both a particle and a wave of something that we need to be honest about, but also something that we can rewrite and translate. For ourselves I hate to be the timekeeper but I really want to be respectful of the time frame that we put on this.
If you all have a few more minutes, I would love to quickly go around the circle so that our listeners. You can tell our listeners how to support you in your future making, in your future making of Black history. And then, Zoe, if you would take us out within Praise of the Witch. Are you cool with that?
Good. Let's start with Olomi. What's the best way for our listeners to support you and your work and your creation of future history? All
OlaOmi: right. I teach classes all the time. Currently, I created a 12 essential lessons for Black Witchcraft, so you can purchase that. You can find me at Got2bOshun, G O T, the letter, the number two.
Sorry, the letter B O S H U N. org. And I'm also got to be shown on all platforms so you can get the 12 essential lessons. And I'm also offering now a witchy mentorship because so many young people like Marceline was saying so many young people want that mentorship and learning how to center this in their lives.
So you can reach me there. I'm always somewhere, being irreverent, pooping and hollering as my mother would say. So those are the places where you can find me got to be ocean. org and got to be ocean across all platforms.
Amy: Thank you.
Yes, you can find me. It's marli to thei.com. Is my website. It's M-A-R-C-E-L-I-T-T-E, the third. I am a third . My mom's name is Marlee and I have a great-grandmother. It's Marley too. Marcythe3rd. com. So my writing is on there. So my articles are accessible. And yeah, reach out. I'm around and I love to talk to people.
Amy: Thank you so much for being here and for being
Marcelitte: period. And thank you for having
Zoe: me. Thea. So my
Thea: website is TheaNichelle. Dot com. Nichelle Nichelle Nichols, that's what it's named after. My Instagram handle is Thea Astrology. All together, no underscores or anything like that. And I on both of those, I try to post if something, one of my article comes out, or if I have anything to share.
You can also go to TheaNichelle. com for any if you want to book a reading with me. I tend to keep a space open for a month. And I'm also part of the new trio of a podcast called Down to Astro. With two other Asher Witches, Chani Nicholas and Eliza Robertson. So that's fun. Yeah, and that's what I got.
Amy: Thank you so much. Christina!
Christena: Hi, I'm Christina Cleveland. com. With any, but I'm sure you'll put this in the liner notes because I don't spell my name like all the other Christina's. Let's see what's going on with me. If you are black or know someone black, I'm taking 23 black women to the black Madonna's of Paris in May, and we only have two spots left.
So anybody who wants to sign up is welcome to join us. That's for the Sacred Black Women Retreat. You can find information on my website. And I write a lot for my Patreon community. I actually wrote something today on how one particular Black Madonna speaks to late stage capitalism and liberates us.
So you can join my Patreon community and get access to some of that content. And yeah, I'm on the socials and whatnot, and around
Nadra: You can find me at NADRA N A D R
A NITTLE N I T T L E. com. You can support me by buying a copy of bell hooks, spiritual vision, which is available pretty much.
Anywhere books are sold, and if you like it, please leave a review. And also, I am a reporter for the19thnews. org, so that's the website, 19thnews. org, and it's named after The 19th Amendment when some women in the US got the right to vote. So there's actually an asterisk next to the 19th to point that out.
Thank you for having me. It was so nice meeting all of you.
Amy: Thank you, and definitely, please, listeners, go and buy Nadra's books immediately. Immediately. And Maria's too, Maria's book just came out just a couple weeks ago, so you probably, if you haven't had a chance yet, Maria, tell us about how our listeners can support you and immediately buy your book.
Maria: Absolutely. So you can join me in my latest spell by purchasing or renting tarot for the hard work online or in a store near you within a store or a library near you. It's also available as an audio book. I'm not afraid to say that it is being quite highly acclaimed and you might think I'm boasting but That's the truth, and I refuse to obscure my confidence and my wins to make other people comfortable.
You can find me on Instagram, at Feminist, F E M I N I S. You can also find me at mariamedes. com. You can sign up for my Naked Tarot newsletter. Forewarning, it can be pretty NSFW at times. It's where I get raw and vulnerable and show how, and really illustrate how Tarot shows up in my real life because I think that Tarot is a tool that reflects life.
And it's not just the descriptions in the little white book that comes with your deck. It's real life. And I choose to share my life openly in order to illustrate how tarot shows up in the real world. I'm starting to open up to doing readings again, so you can find information about that on my website.
And I'm returning to teaching workshops. In the coming months in the US, Europe, and Central America, as well as online. So follow me for more information about that. And thank you all. This is I'm so in complete adoration of everyone here today.
Amy: Hard say, Maria. I also want to underscore what Nadra said, that if you love an author, give them a good review.
Go online, go on Goodreads, go wherever. It really helps more than you might think. Not just a little ego boost that the author gets when they see a five star rating, but it really affects algorithms and book deals and all that shit. So if you love an author, Go put a good review on whatever website you use to get your books.
Thank you for mentioning
Maria: that. I am so excited to, about my next book idea. So if you are into it, if you enjoy my book, please do give a review. Just want to emphasize what Nadra said. Reviews really do go a long way.
Amy: Yes. And we're manifesting that second book right now. That's not even a question. We know.
We're eagerly awaiting your second book, Maria. No doubt. It's gonna happen one way or another.
Amy: Oh, all the ways. It's gonna happen every single way that it can. Sherry Shone, that hoodoo lady, my friend, I love you. How can those who also love you support you?
Sherry: So good. In addition to helping all of these other beautiful, Women, Black authors, historians, teachers, y'all, for Black History Month, please buy at least one thing from a Black person.
Please support one Black author. Please retell through their words. Share their information to your audience, right? If you could do that'll help so many of us so much because we don't have access to your audience. But you do so don't try to retell our stories for us, share your share our stories with them, so that they can now learn that so that's the message from that I'm off the pulpit for a second.
Lady I'm on all the platforms at if you need to email me, sherry shown at gmail. com, I don't have my domain anymore. It was getting way too ridiculous. On every third Wednesday of the month from four to six Pacific time, seven to nine Eastern time. You can find me on wine, cheese and wisdom where myself.
Joy Vernon, beautiful astrologer, and also ceremonial magic worker and witch, and also granddaughter Crow Native, Indigenous, shaman woman, all of that, we all get to hang out and do some wine, some cheese, and some wisdom this February for Black History Month, it's all about sacred spaces. And how do we create sacred spaces?
But every single Wednesday, we come every single third Wednesday, we come up with a new thing. It's only 33 bucks. But I am just excited to be part of this. And thank you as always for letting me be on this show. But Love y'all. They're
Amy: letting you. Come on, you know it's my honor and privilege to be in this space right now, and I'm just so grateful that you all said yes.
That's a big thing for me, it's they can't say yes if you don't ask, so thank you all for saying yes. Zoe, can you tell us how our listeners can support you, and then give us a reading?
Zoe: Yeah, thank you. Thank you again. And somebody has said we need circles. So maybe we could keep this conversation going in some way.
I would love that. So how to get in touch with me on my YouTube channel is the magic hours and so it's H. E. M. A. G. I. C. K. hours. H. O. U. R. Z. And on Instagram, it's Gemini moon, Tarot underscore one Oh one, one. And what else? Oh, my website is I am Zoe flowers. com. So on my website, I'm going to be starting principles of ritual classes in the spring and Tarot one on one classes.
So lots of classes that you can sign up for. On my website and by my candles, I'm making Reiki and magic infused goddess candles. They're fabulous by one or five.
And that's, Oh shoot. And I have two books. So this one, which I'm going to read in praise of the witch. So it's actually called in praise of the witch. And then my other book is called from ashes to angels, dust a journey through womanhood. So I think, yeah, that's all the things. All right, in praise of the witch, Earth, we are the elements.
Stay close to the ground, omnipresent, six feet under our mother's blood, courses through our veins, out our wombs, down our legs, feeding soil hungry. We are dirty with your sadness, different from anyone you know, omnipotent. We lick wounds and swallow sorrows, name ourselves goddess, are not afraid of the dark, call on gods, angels, and ancestors when shit gets tight.
We are round. Full figured, full of ourselves. Water. We bathe in basil and sea salt. We're shackled but jump ship anyway. Sharks fed on our flesh, we are ocean now. You eat us unknowingly, drink us in, believing you can suck us dry and quiet our storms, but we are Oya. Settling accounts, we are ma'at shifting.
You can't box us in, pin us down, or tell our story. Fire. We eat men whole when given the chance, burn sage, incense, candles, tools of the trade, dance under moons full, we are allowed, alive, stretch things out to fit our shape, you itch to see us put in our place, we are witch, wise woman and crone, burned at the stake.
But we are immortal reincarnated in the poems of our daughters. We are Phoenix eyes in the back of our head. We are saying Kofa bird live betwixt worlds float through walls. You build around us blowing cigar smoke in your face. We are juke joint speak out both sides of our mouths. Seeing your future in eggshells, it's not looking good for you.
Familiars at our side, we tag Miami, Haiti, and New Orleans with chalk circles. Drink with Legba at the crossroads, walk on water masquerading as poet, artist, mama. We eat too many carbs, fall in love with men who are afraid to love us back, and turn our crooked noses up at your traditions. Jazz, poetry, and Sade are our religions.
We are black cat crossing your path, that poem you wish you were smart enough to write, that rhyme you were too afraid to spit, fucking up the mood, we are the ejaculation that comes too quickly, gas on a crowded elevator, the uninvited party guests flirting with your boyfriend and eating all your food, an inconvenient truth, we are those shoes you can't afford to buy.
That thing you hate but can't let go. Those pants that are too tight around your waist now. That song that keeps playing in your head. That chick you know you're not good enough to bang. The one your mama warned you about. We are trouble. Urban sprawl haunting your daydreams. We are muse. Inspiring you to get your game up.
Teaching by example. We are Root Worker, Ovia Lady, and Conjure Woman. That scary broad living at the end of the road alone. Glamoring you through forked tongues. We make miracles and yes, motherfucker, we do ride on brooms. You should be afraid of women like us. Chastity belted, we fuck anyway. Do what we want to do.
Walk butt naked in the daytime and coming to you at night. Carrying blessings and justice in your left hand. Machetes and curses in our right. Thank you.
Amy: Yeah, thank you, Zoe. Thank you, Zoe. Thank you, Olomi. Thank you, Marcelette. Thank you, Thea. Thank you, Christina. Thank you, Nadra. Thank you, Maria. Thank you, Sherry.
As always, I am thrilled and inspired to be with you, and thank you for creating the future histories of Black magic right here, right now, in this present moment. Thank you all so much, and blessed fucking be.