I have decided to re-blog this post today because I read it again due to Empress Faith’s comment. I saw that it was good and the comments there were not much, so I wondered to myself if many people read it, perhaps not. This was among the first set of posts I did when I started to blog again this year. So to give you who may have read it before an opportunity to read it again, and others who have not read it to will read it today, I have decided to run it again as a re-post.
My mother is a very spiritual woman, but all her life she hid her spirituality because of fear of being called an Obeah woman in a very judgmental Jamaican Hypocritical Christian Society. Obeah woman is a name that I Obara Meji have come to love, go figure, lol.
I had a brother I did not know, his name was Neville, a wonderful name I think. He died when he was eleven months old. According to my mother, Neville was a beautiful child, good looking and plump and just a cheerful fun little boy. The father had another woman on the side. After my mother had the baby and the family was happy, my mom, the father and the child, the evil woman went “Out” (out as in Obeah/Juju yard) and threw wicked Obeah and so Neville the baby developed a huge boil. I cannot remember where on his body she said it was. The boil eventually burst and my mother said the stench from it was awful. She told us, after it burst Neville, my sweet brother, that I never knew died.
Mama said she was devastated and so was the father. They eventually split up, but the whole parish knew that it was a blow (Obeah) sent by the woman that killed the sweet innocent brother Neville.
We heard this story from my otherwise secretive mother because she had a picture of him on her center table, and as we grew we asked questions and so she told us. I would suck my favorite thumb and listen to her as she sadly told the story of losing her baby. I watched her eyes mist as she spoke about him, I knew that she never forgot him, and his picture on the table kept him alive to her somehow.
Iba Neville (Iba is to pay homage) I also will never forget you and so I call your name whenever I honor my ancestors of which you are one.
Also on the center table of my mothers living room was a hair brush belonging to my Aunty B. My mother’s younger sister, She died at a very young age. My mother said she stopped having her period in her early twenties, and from there she withered away. My mother described her as a very thin girl with long beautiful hair and a very quiet demeanor. She had the most gentle spirit, and she made no trouble to anyone. Her death was a mystery according to my mother who said they took her to the hospital but the doctors could not figure out the cause of her illness, and so sweet Aunty B died. My grandmother never got over her.
Once when we made a visit to the country where my grandmother lived, my aunt from America was coming to Jamaica. So we all met up at my granny;s house, as we gathered in the room (I forget which one, I was very young then) a dove appeared and perched on the window sill.My grand mother went over to the dove who did not fly away or even flinch as they normally would, and she began to cry as she picked it up.
She said “B, you come? you come to see your sisters as they are all together in one place with their children. My grandmother hugged the dove and cried, saying that i was my Aunt B. It was believable however (I know I may sound foolish to those who do not understand that a spirit can enter the body of the living, be it animal or human, but I pray for all the doubters that you awake one day), because it was remarkable how the dove, a bird who normally fly away at the approach of anybody, laid there and was comforted by my grandmother. It was an awesome sight to behold, and all who were there cried that day along with my grandmother. The dove stayed around for the time we were there, perched on the window sill!
The hair brush on the center tale in our house along with Neville’s picture were items dedicated to the memory of my mother beloved. I honor them as my mother did in her subtle way. Iba Aunty B! I call her name daily when I honor my ancestors, and she is around me, although I had never met her.
My mother, who knew the importance of honoring her people who had made their transition into the world of spirits, did so on the down low because of the stigma of dedicating a personal space (an Altar) for them would have had on her in an Christian minded, bible beating, ah pleas de blood ah Jesus Jamaica.
Yet Jesus is dead and there are Altars and shrines with iconography and all sorts of symbols dedicated to him all over Jamaica and across the world! How hypocritical, How very hypocritical!.
A spiritual Altar is a must for everyone. I lift my hats off to Chinese and to all Asian people who are open about their veneration to their ancestors, they do not hide their worship and they have altars all around them, and they prosper very well. Even in America when they dedicate a day (holiday) in memory of someone, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King day, Veterans day and so on, they are honoring the dead. Not to mention the Catholic Church with their blatant Altars and statues with candles, flowers, perfumes and thensome!
“CHRISTIANS, I LIKE YOUR CHRIST BUT I DO NOT LIKE YOU CHRISTIANS! Ghandi they said you were racist, and for that I cannot like you (if indeed it is true), but I will side with you on this quote.
I have a wonderful altar, which was taught to me on how to set it up by my wonderful Padrino, Iba Padrino!
He had instructed me, way back when to get a table with four legs pointing different directions as in East, West, North and South. I did not understand it at the time, but wisdom has since become my friend and has taught me much. He told me of certain plants to get and the most wonderful thing I know upon this earth, a thing I never travel without and that is Florida water. This thing call the most beautiful spirits. They respond quickly when it is sprinkled or even displayed. The Jamaican White rum is also excellent, however it can call down warrior spirits from the realms to assist us, so we have to know how and when to use it, and Kananga water, which we use in Jamaica a lot must not be used after 12 midnight. I will explain this in personal emails to all who want to know the reason.
The instructions below of how to set up your Altar is a true one, I did not hide anything from any of you, however you can personalize your altar as you grow. Ty is a perfect example of this, her and her husbands altar are spectacular. I once spoke to Ty and Yw and while the conversation was going on, the spirits at their altar began to speak to me, giving me messages to give to them, so cool! This showed me that they have connected with their spiritual families. I am proud, since Ty makes it known that she mad her Altar according to the inspiration she got here on this blog and on this particular post. Please read and ask questions today if you have any.
Must haves for Altars are in bold letters;
A personal space be it table or ground (ground is better) in an email to all who ask I will explain why.
Water, one glass is fine, but I would prefer, Three, five or seven…do not do nine (there is reason for this which I will not explain, here or through email. You will learn it at the school)
Coffee or tea, no milk…none!
White cloth to set all items upon, no other color than white (again there is reason for this)
Rum or any clear color liquid
Flowers or long lasting plants like creepers
Food (This does not have to be everyday, it would be nice of you can do so, but not necessary) the first food from the pot, no one must eat or taste until the ancestors are served first!
Candies in a dish or strew around
Cakes (perishable items ought not to stay for more than three days
Pictures of dead loved ones, or article of clothing for them (even a pet) you can include your pet who have passed away on you altar. Pictures or statues or images of any religious figure you like, NEVER PUT A PICTURE OF ANY LIVING PERSON THERE.
Stones or sticks that appeal to you.
Do not give them any food that you would not eat yourself.
Place a knife, cutlass, or a Slingshot (Bingy) on your altar, give them tools to fight for you if and when necessary! (lawd God ah Obeah mi ah teach oonuh nung ei nuh!
Crystals in a dish
Perfume…there is very good reason for this
a bottle of beer, unopened
any religious books or your journal
incense and burner which you do once or twice per week
Daily candles (be careful with these) White preferably, tea candle can be used, put them out if you leave the house
You must greet your Altar upon rising in the mornings, and have devotion there, and also when you are out and come in safely, remove your shoes and go there and thank them for seeing you safely back home, never stand at your altar with shoes on. It is disrespectful!
If you have problems and are stressed, go there and pray, talk to them, they will never spill your secrets to anyone, remember to screen it off from prying eyes if space allows you to do so!
YOUR SPIRITUAL ALTAR
Recently someone emailed me asking me to inform them on how to create a space/spiritual altar for their ancestors, and so I emailed her with the answer which I will share with you today.
Have you ever prepared a meal and as you sit to eat or perhaps while you are sharing your food it falls to the ground or even your drink?….has this happen to you often or even once in a while?….have you ever perceived the smell of food, something identifiable, maybe your favorite meal, or possibly the smell reminds you of what your grand mother/father or whom ever in your family or a friend who have made their transition use to love while they were alive? Or you offer someone food or drink and it falls? thinking that you maybe clumsy you refresh what fell possibly feeling slightly embarrassed.
While growing up this happened all the time to me, and people would laugh at me and said that I was very clumsy, which as a child it made me sad, being called clumsy that is. I knew not THEN what I know now. There are so many ways our ancestors along with our astral mates show themselves to us, telling us in their intelligent way that we are not alone, THEY are here with us. Now you may ask, but if these spirits, ancestors and astral mates who do not have bodies and no longer need food to survive here on earth why would they allow these things to happen, what is the point, are they hungry, how can they eat the food or drink what is provided?
Fist let me separate the ancestors from our Astral Mates because they operate from two different realm although what is given to them may be the same at times. Our Astral Mates, what we call EGBE, (egg-bay) in our Traditional practice influences our lives on a daily basis, from our children to our marriage or who we partner with in our lives. I will do a separate post on them, as I have a tendency of wanting to clump all information together, mi haffi fi mind miself, or restrain miself rather.
Our Ancestors, wedda dem did good or wicked, caws some people would say to me Obara my mother was a wicked woman, I do not want to entertain her, RELAX!….There are many realms in the universe, and when someone crosses over, regardless of who they were when they had a physical body, the minute they transition they see and understand things differently. Now many people often say to me, “no Obara, my aunt crossed over and when she was here she was akin to Hitler, and since she left she has been haunting the family”. Let me explain, regardless if the spirit of the person who has crossed over went to the light or not, they have changed, trust me, they (while not having a body) are still very conscious and have realized the terror of who they were when they had bodies. Often times they came to this realm just for that very reason, read my post Tormentors.
What continues to plague humans after wicked Aunty Mildred has crossed over is the essence of her spirit. Mek mi bruk it dung..imagine somebody sit down on a cushion and when they get up, the imprint of them is left on the cushion, or there is a great bubble floating around but as it floats it leaves smaller bubbles in its wake, and they also break away and make even smaller bubbles. When wicked Aunty Mildred made her transition, SHE LEFT, but the essence of her spirit, like the imprint on the cushion often times lingers behind, this is due to how people remembered her and even spoke about her, as wicked, evil and spiteful, and so that essence is pulled, it gravitates toward all or most of whom she hurt and destroyed when she lived, it feeds off the negatives and what is perceived to be Mildred continues to wreak havoc, Jamaican people would say MILDRED NUH GONE NO WHEY!
Then some one may say, but she, her spirit went to terrorize the neighbor next door and she didn’t even know him when she was alive but he described her perfectly to us, explain that!, It is because that essence. the residual bubbles, have been given life and have been fed by the fear and hatred which still lingers in the minds and on the tongues of all Aunt Mildred had hurt when she was here. Here essence is kept HERE, in this realm while SHE, MILDRED, has gone and settled in her realm. This is why forgiveness is important, preferably when she is alive, and most importantly after she has passed. Release her, let her go.
As usual I have strayed tremendously from the main topic, choo mi love explain, but alas, here goes the Altar and how to set it up.
Find a space in your home, preferably not in your bedroom, if you only have one room then do it in a corner and try to screen it off, as a matter of fact all altars should be screened off, because you are creating a space for your loved ones, or honorary loved ones to visit or be entertained. Altars can be on a table or on the ground, it is best placed on the ground, but if the table is best for you go ahead. Spread white cloth on the ground or table, (use white, never another color, you do not want to pull what you cannot manage) you should have a bottle of White rum or gin, clear liquid meaning the rum or gin should be white not brown or if you can get florida water please try, sprinkle some of the rum/gin/or florida water on the white cloth and leave it there for about fifteen minutes, place at least three clear glass of water there, the glasses must be clear no designs on them, and if you cannot place three glass one will suffice, if you have any items of your loved ones like pictures or jewelry or anything small, a piece of cloth cut from their clothes place it on he Altar, NEVER PLACE A PICTURE OF A LIVING PERSON THERE!, NEVER!. You can add coffee, black never with milk, and even if they did not like coffee when they were alive still put it there or tea, often times when they come they are with other people with whom these items may entertain, remember they cannot eat or drink like us but like Wicked Aunty Mildred the essence of these items are what pulls them to the Altar, coupled with the fact that you still remember them enough to dedicate a space in your life for them. Flowers may be added a bible if you’re Christian or the Koran or any thing that YOU feel you want to put there, have a white candle there, be careful of fire, make sure to put the candle out when you have finished your prayers, fruits, candy, a glass of sweet honey, a plate of food when you cook can be placed there, make sure to place the food there before YOU OR ANYONE else eats, what ever comes to your mind you can place there. Keep it clean (good spirits dwells where it is clean) and change the water often and replace the food, fruits flowers and coffee as necessary try to visit that space daily. You will be surprised how connected you feel to that space after a while and how much you grow spiritually…..