Dear Media People, a few things about Obeah that Trevor Sayers can’t tell you

1. Many spiritual systems across the world believe that plants, animals, stones, wood, trees, geographical locations etc have an energy frequency and that you can use these to move yourself or others closer to or further away from balance. This belief does not just exist in African spiritual systems.
2. Vodou is a Fon/Ewe word meaning spirit. It is a religious body of beliefs practiced in Benin and it exists in a syncretic form with Catholicism in Haiti. Voodoo is anti-Black propaganda made up by Hollywood to further separate African people from their spirituality. The specific fear around Haitian spirituality stems from the fact that Vodou was a central part of the success of the Haitian Revolution.
3. There are multiple considerations of the origin of the word ‘Obeah’ similar or root words exist in Twi, Efik, Akan…but what we know of Obeah is a sloppy colonialist lumping together of complex spiritual systems that they did not understand but that they feared would be used by enslaved people to emancipate themselves.
4. Obeah was criminalised in the Caribbean because it was a tool of resistance, the first Obeah laws appeared in 1760 after Tacky’s Rebellion in Jamaica. You should also know that in 2015 three Hindu men were arrested and deported from Antigua under the Obeah Act of 1904.
5. Obeah is not Ifa/Orisa. However Ifa/Orisa devotees believe that all natural elements have a vibrational force that can be harnessed to achieve certain outcomes for the person requesting the ritual, or the intended receiver of the effects of the ritual.
6. All systems can be used for both positive and negative, if you believe in these polarities. Political, educational, spiritual systems around the world have since the dawn of humanity been created and interpreted by those who have more information to manipulate those who have less information.
7. The only thing that can hurt us is fear of what we don’t understand. If people know that we are afraid of certain ways of being and seeing the world they have power over us. This has nothing to do with spiritual forces. The perception of power is created and can be distorted by those who stand to benefit from keeping people in a state of fear.
8. If you know your own obeah, nobody can use theirs against you.

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Discussions, Performances, Street Parade for 2018 Ogun Festival October 5-7

A new play written by Eintou Pearl Springer on the Orisa Ogun will be part of the programme for this year’s Ogun Festival, a three day festival celebration of the Yoruba deity Ogun at the Ile Isokan compound Niles Trace Febeau Village, Lower Santa Cruz from October 5-7, 2018.

The Festival, which has been running since 2006, explores ancient and contemporary meanings of the Orisa Ogun.
Originally revered as the warrior, hunter and blacksmith in Nigeria,  that understanding has expanded to include responsibility for roads, forms of transport and technology, while in Trinidad Ogun is also regarded as the patron Orisa of the steelpan.
‘The play tells the story of how Ogun was the only Orisa given the power to transform minerals in the earth into metal and connects also to the evolution of the steelpan from the discarded oil drum. Ogun’s warrior energy is embedded in this instrument of spirit and resistance,’ explained playwright Eintou Pearl Springer.
The Festival begins at 6 p.m. on Friday October 5 with a discussion on ‘Manifestation’ in Trinidad  Orisa practice and features local Ifa/Orisa priests and practitioners.
On Saturday, the play will be preceded by storytelling from 3.30 p.m. led by Eintou Springer and graduates of the Mentoring by the Masters programme, who will also perform the play at 6 p.m.
This will be followed by a discourse on Manifestation in Nigeria led by Araba Olatunji Somorin of Ketus Ifa Academy which is spearheading a more studied approach to the discussion of African spiritual practice with an Ifa/Orisa focus.
Known as ‘catching power’ or ‘manifestation’, possession trance is described as a temporary alteration of one’s normal identity by an ancestral spirit or deity. The experience of being “possessed” holds different meanings in different cultures – from Christianity to Sufism to Hinduism – but is most commonly locally associated with African spiritual practice. The discourse will reveal some of the deeper social meanings of energy manifestation and how this affects our emotions, work interests and creative impulses.
‘The Festival comes to a close on Sunday with a street procession which serves as a celebration of Ogun as owner of the road and also appeals for protection of the community.’ said Oloye Ogunrinola Ogunbowale, head of Ile Isokan. Sunday’s closing celebration will also include steelpan and drumming.