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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