Obeah is a word synonymous to Jamaica and Jamaicans. Most attribute its power to the infamous L. W de laurence, but I say it is not so. Obeah has been around for a long time and came to the Jamaica with the slaves from Africa who were brought there through the Trans Atlantic slave trade, the African Holocaust. They came from their many different homes, already armed with knowledge they learned before captured and brought to a foreign land.
There are many explanations of how the word Obeah came to be, but that to me is irrelevant. Many practitioners of the Obeah phenomena in Jamaica are set apart from their communities. They are feared, yet talked about as wicked and evil people, often vilified because of their craft. They themselves (some of them) are not concerned with what people have to say about their work or them for that matter, and there are some who go about enjoying the name and the stigma which comes with it, enjoying the fear people have of them, using the fear as their power. This attitude helps to heap the good and bad practitioners into the same basket in the eyes of people, all are seen as evil.
There are many stories of how these people got their gifts or knowledge, and most often the stories of these gifted people are very remarkable. Each individual having their own experience. There are some, to whom knowledge were handed down to them through their familes, others who received their gift while at church and ‘tek grung”. This is falling to the ground of a spiritual church, and being there for days and months while being taught by unseen beings, and there are those who are taken away by spirit beings, lost for days , months or years, only to return a much talented diviner, healer , spiritual worker.
There was a man in St. Elizabeth Jamaica, he has since made his transition to the realm of spirit. I had never met him, but one of my mentors had told me about him. His name escapes me at present, but he had gone to prison for robbery when he was nineteen years old, according to Mr Mitchel my mentor (Iba Mr Mitchel!). I have no idea of how long he spent there, but upon his release he began to work. He lived a quiet life, not wanting anything to do with his previous occupation and so gradually he earned the respect of his community. One day he went to the river, perhaps to fetch water, as people did and still do in the countryside of Jamaica, he never returned.
He went missing for five years. The whole community, including his family thought he was dead. They mourned him. No one knew what really happened to him. At the riverside there was no evidence that the river had come down and washed him away, as is often times done in Jamaica. All were puzzled at his disappearance, whatever happened to him? No one knew. One day, five years after he had gone missing, he returned. He came stumbling home, dazed and confused and almost dead. His family shouted when they saw him coming up the hill, they all ran inside and locked the doors. They thought he was a ghost. He collapsed in front of the house as they peeped through the window at him for a while before bravely going out and attending to him, who was very much alive.
After two weeks of caring for him, he was exhausted beyond belief, almost completely drained of energy. He told a remarkable story. I must say that when I first heard it, I was skeptic of its authenticity, I thought surely nutten nuh go so (nothing went like that), but I was to, some years later hear a similar story ,a quite fascinating one in Africa while I initiated there on receiving my Osun.
He told of him going to the river to fetch water. Upon reaching the river, the water was calm and soothing and so he sat for a while not wanting to tackle the days heat up hill with the bucket of water on his head so quickly. As he leaned back against a rock, he quickly fell asleep according to him. He woke up in a village which he did not recognize. People milled all around and the earth was red, there was no river before him. There were people,animals and children bustling about. The atmosphere was dry but not uncomfortable. He immediately thought that he was dreaming, and willed himself to wake up. He was still there, he tried to stand up on wobbly legs, and found that instead of leaning against a rock, he had been leaning against a tree, one he did not recognize.
He thought again that he must be asleep, (bloggers I just remembered his name, it was Zion) and he willed himself to wake up, while doing so he realized how busy this place was, and he was bemused by its activities, while wondering what the hell was this! He immediately began to pray to God to wake up and he found himself transported into a strange room filled with women. The room was sparse of anything other than some silver looking drawers which seemed built into the walls, and the women all spoke to him through their thoughts. They told him that he was there to learn, and should he wish to stay after his lessons, then he could, but should he choose to return home, he would go and help a magnitude of people, the choice was his. He was there for three days.
He was shocked when told he had been missing for five years. It was not long after that, he began to do his work. He became a great healer/diviner and spiritual worker. He wore only Khaki colored clothes and would go out at nights and communicate with the herbs, plants and spirits there. People who knew him said there was not any court case he could not release a person from, and when it came to making people lives and business successful, he was a master of that. He worked closely with the river and would often sleep at her banks. He was a talented man, he was an Obeah man. Oore YEYE Osun!
He became well known and so other people of the same craft became jealous of him and there began a spiritual war. Some say he began to mix and dabble into wicked Obeah. In other words, for a price he would use his talents to remove an enemy from this world. Mr. Mitchel said he died because of this, using his talent for bad. Some one sent a “blow” for him one day, but they sent it in the form of what is known as “trick”. Zion sat eating breakfast one morning, and a fly came in and buzzed around him for a while, he tried to swat the fly with his morning paper, but was outsmarted. He finally cornered the fly and killed him with a hard sawt!!. As the fly dropped to the ground, dead, Zion cried out in pain and also dropped dead. It is said that a rival, to whom he Zion had sent a “blow” to, had returned it in full force and Zion had suffered the consequences of his own actions.
Then there was Bishop Anderson, a revival man with unbelievable talent as an Obeah man, or preferably called an healer, as the word Obeah suggests to most, that of an evil person, which is false. Most said the Anderson was a high plane member of the very strong and powerful Order of The Rose or Rosicrucian, an Order which has my much respect.
Its teachings are outstanding to all who can keep up with it. It is said that one day some police officers were sent to arrest Bishop Anderson upon learning that he was the Obeah man in the area. This is Jamaica, I am not sure where. When the police men came, Anderson was in his reading room attending to his clients. He also had clients waiting for him in his yard. In his yard he had a huge seal, I have no idea how his looked, but for your better understanding I will explain what a seal yard is and give you a verbal pictorial idea of how one would look in the yard of one such as Bishop Anderson who was a revivalist.
A seal or rather a spiritual seal is a signature of a particular spirit or family of spirits. In Haitian Voodoo it is called Veve, and whenever a spirit is to be invoked,in order for the practitioner to have proper control of the entity being called, he or she must have the correct seal drawn on the ground circled off with chalk or sand. Most often a pole called the center man in revival is in the middle of the seal, this is to allow easy access for the spirits to climb down into our world. In Jamaica,Bamboo pole is usually used for this.
I imagine someone like the Bishop, would have fixed his ground, away from the eyes and witness of people, and this is done with many sacrifices, many things are buried in the ground for protection of his compound, him and his family. The ground is then cemented over with just a small circle cut out of dirt in the middle to hoist the center man, which a flag will be placed at the very top. So I imagine his seal to be encircled by white chalk or white paint with the six point star of David drawn in the center. Remember the power is under the earth.
The day the police men came to arrest the Bishop, it is said that he came out to them asking them what was their purpose in his yard. They informed him that he was needed down at the station, as it was reported that he was doing Obeah business. The Bishop, according to eye witnesses, then spoke some language and with that he commanded the men to kneel around the seal and rest their guns on the ground beside them. They were commanded not to move. They did as commanded, and in the hot Jamaican sun the officers knelt for hours until released by said Bishop hours later. They took to their heels when let up, and he never had any trouble with them again.
Then also Madda Myrie (Mother Myrie), In Clarendon, whose cow was stolen by a young man, and when she found out she went to him with the warning to bring back her cow. He denied stealing the cow, which according to her was the only source of income for her and her children back then. She made up her mind to teach him a lesson, and so she did. To this day, that young man Moos like a cow ever so often. While she recounted the story to me, she asked me, if she was to be blamed for her actions. She justified her actions by saying she warned him and he did not listen.
She was a woman in her sixties when I first met her. I had made a trip to Jamaica with my then Pastor and his wife. The same Pastor who had helped me with the stomach problem I had when he gave me medicine from his spiritual pool, read here. They had went to see her and I had gone along. I never took a reading from her, as I was not there for that but she did give me medicine for my stomach of which I did not ask for nor did I complain of any problem. I am very brave and a little adventurous and I trusted my head so I drank it. It was made up of red wine among other things mixed in. It stunk like holy hell, but she said it was a good medicine for the stomach and so she told me all its ingredient, a secret she said, but she was led to tell it to me. I still use it to this day.
She took a liking to me, heavens knows why, I am a nice person I know,but It was more than that I suspect, I believe her messengers with whom she worked with liked me more and sent her my way. She was very interesting and her stories were charming to say the least.
She came to America on a visit soon after I had left Jamaica where I had met her and she had called me to ask if she could spend sometime at my house, I agreed and went and picked her up. I was excited, I had just gone through my own initiation and was eager to talk to her of her own experience and teachings.
She was an impressive looking woman. She was dark in complexion and with jheri curled hair, her eyes had cataracts which were visible and she wore a disgruntled look, even when she was supposedly happy, she was sturdy in her built. She practiced Christianity, although she admittedly was not a regular church attendee.
We had many conversations about her work and it was she who told me of going through a spiritual war with other Obeah workers in and around her community in Jamaica and what she had shockingly done to assist her against them. According to her it (the spiritual fight) had gotten so bad that she had to go to her husbands grave, he was buried in her back yard, as commonly done in Jamaica. She took a piece of his bone, grated it and made medicine of it as protection for her against relentless enemies who wanted to kill her with wicked Obeah.
She told me, that in the mornings she had to contend with something she called Grundy doves (I took it to mean Ground doves), which were some kind of birds sent to her home by enemies to disturb her.
I asked her what would the doves do, and she said they would come into her yard and stand at her gate for hours making all kinds of sounds, when she would try to chase them away the would just walk to the side and not leave. She had to use salt o dive them away.
She told me of the fight she underwent from others workers of the same craft because she had so many customers and most were from abroad. On top of that she became famous for making the young boy moo, everyone in the community feared her especially for that
I asked her how did she get her gift. She told me that she was taught by L. W. de Laurence. I was shocked and fascinated at the same time. A spiritual high to say the least was how I felt at this disclosure. de Laurence?, I secretly asked in my mind while smiling, incredulous at hearing this. I knew of de Laurence, which Jamaican didn’t? I remembered all the stories I had heard of this phenomenon, and my memory sharpened with delight.
I asked her how is it she was taught by him, and to my surprise she told me, I was surprised,because Jamaican spiritual people tends to be very secretive. I listened keenly, having never heard these things from anyone before. She told me that for years while she did her work, spiritual work handed down to her by her mother and grandmother, she knew she had to sharpen her skills as her business grew. Enemies multiplied daily like Gremlins in a pool of water, and she knew that if she wanted to live and survive among the team of Obeah workers who were after her she had to reach out to daddy de Laurence (her words, not my own).
She had been dealing with him for awhile she said, and she wrote to him and asked if she could become his student. He replied with yes and sent her instructions on when he would send spirits to her house for her lessons. She had to wear certain clothing, and her bed had to be turned to a certain direction. She was told of the nights when they would come and also the hour of their arrival she would know, she did as instructed. For two years she was taught by beings she had never seen. She could only tell of of hearing them land on her zinc roof at the hour expected with a loud thump as she laid in the dark expecting them. She was taught many things. I cannot go into the details of what she made privy to me, except to tell you that it would make quite an interesting movie or a fascinating book!
She told me that unfortunately as a result of receiving her gift that way, she was becoming blind. I was shocked at this revelation and asked why, she told me that she needed to renew her course, to finish her lessons and she did not, and she knew that it was based upon that fact, why she was loosing her sight, I thought it was the cataracts, and I said as much to her, but she shook her head and smiled sadly .She was using the Penny Royal herb to help her remove the cataracts as oppose to going to a doctor.
I asked her if she had trained any of her children to do the work. She said that she taught them what she knew, not to do the work but to help themselves, as the world and it inhabitants were wicked and she knew that this was the best tool in which to assist them and their families
She said life as an Obeah woman was rewarding for her in Jamaica, not just money, but the love and respect she got from satisfied customers, but she had to stay alert because the enemies did not stop. She admitted that she have gotten her hands dirty before on some occasions, and she knows the repercussions, but she will answer to God when she crosses over.
I will write more on this woman and others in future posts to come.I too have my own experience with the river and the community there, I will tell my story one day
Àṣesílẹ̀ làbọ̀wábá; ẹni ṣu sílẹ̀ á padà wá bá eṣinṣin. /
Actions result in consequences; whoever defecates on the floor will cope with flies….Yoruba Proverb!
[We reap whatever we sow, ultimately.
All religion are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…. Obara Meji!
There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned!….Obara Meji
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.