Eṣu: Meditating on Spirit at the Crossroads

Eṣu is one of the most important spiritual forces in the Yoruba pantheon. When we each appeared before Olodumare (God) to commit to our sacred contract before incarnating in the earthly plane, there were only two other spirits present: Orunmila, the Prophet of the IFA / Yoruba religious tradition, who recorded all that we need to know to live our lives in this world; and the silent witness, Eṣu.

With knowledge of our destiny in this earthly realm, Eṣu appears at every crossroads, every choice point, to remind us of the sacred contract we took on. Sometimes, his reminders come in the form of what might appear to us as tricks, trials and challenges; but these difficulties ultimately are intended to guide us back to Balance if we let them.

June 13th is the feast day of Eṣu in the Lucumi / Santeria expression of the IFA / Orisha / Yoruba religion. I wrote this meditation packet to reflect on the Yoruba Spirit of the Crossroads and the power of choice in staying aligned with our path of destiny.

May Eṣu open your doors and roads, and may he remove from your path anything that stands in the way of your highest and greatest good! Aṣe!

Photo Credit:  Science Museum Groups

Photo Credit: Science Museum Groups

Clarity of Vision

Obatala priestess and Oprah-endorsed life coach, Iyanla Vanzant, made me aware years ago of the adage that Life puts curves on the road, because if we were to see what was coming down the road, we would run screaming the other way.

And yet, in my morning meditation with Obatala this morning, I got in touch with a different truth. When we work with the King of the Mountain to gain elevation and to rise above the circumstances of our lives, we are able to see more of the road before us than we can see when we are in it.

When we gain an elevated perspective, … when we allow our consciousness to shed the weight of everyday life and to rise above it all, e.g., enlightenment, … when we see the mystical vision for our lives, we gain not only a glimpse of the path of destiny before us. We also gain Faith, because we know in a deep way what is meant for us. We also gain Confidence and Courage, because we are able to discern and embrace what works for the way forward and to more easily say “no” to that which is not in alignment with our path.

So as we look to the new year, let us pray for Clarity of Vision!

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16 Days of Tawede

As a social impact strategist, possibility coach and healing justice advocate, my mission is to help people connect with their purpose and what they need to pursue it.

Inspired by Iyanifa Ifalade TaShia Asanti, founding priestess of my spiritual community, Ile Ori Ogbe Egun, and by Dr. Rick Hanson, with whom I study the science of the brain, I wanted to offer a list of 16 of my some favorite causes, projects and resources you should know about.

Why 16? Because 16 is the number of the core scriptures in the West African wisdom tradition of Ifa, in which I am an initiated priest being trained.

Please consider supporting at least the first (if not, more!) in this season of giving:

  1. Kids With Special Needs: My sister from another mother has two special needs kids: her oldest (my godson) has autism and Tourette's; her youngest has limited mobility now that his Muscular Dystrophy is progressing. Consider a donation of $25 or more to make their holiday bright!

  2. Water Has No Enemy: I'm part of a newly formed collective of healers, teachers and culture-makers in the Bay Area committed to using indigenous wisdom, like Ifa, to achieve social transformation. Upcoming events in 2019 include a Healing Justice Summit and a Sacred Waters Festival in honor of the Divine Feminine. Find out more here.

  3. I-TEACH Love Institute: This innovative organization provides Ifa-centered programs and offerings focused in community health, spiritual inclusivity and deepening our relationship to the natural world. A directory of services and programs here.

  4. Lou Florez: My spiritual mentor and godfather is a master diviner, teacher and herbalist. Schedule a cowrie shell or tarot card reading with him for the new year.

  5. Ifalade TaShia Asanti: My godmother is an award-winning author, intuitive, teacher and healer. Book a divination session ASAP to get your life blueprint.

  6. Asian Pacific Fund: My organization is working to address the hidden and emerging needs of the most vulnerable Asians and Pacific Islanders. Donate by December 31st, and gifts $250+ are tripled because of a donor match.

  7. Kween Culture Initiative: Our trans sisters and brothers need our support and allyship now more than ever. Help this initiative in bringing visibility and celebrating the dignity of trans women of color.

  8. Empowering Women of Color: Fempreneur, healer and artist, Pinky Dewberry Kennedy, is building a team of entrepreneurs who share her vision for lifting up and economically empowering women of color. Find out how you can move towards economic freedom while focusing on beauty.

  9. CSU Basic Needs Initiative: My dearest friend and Cal State Long Beach professor, Dr. Rashida Crutchfield, has been leading the charge in transforming how the world's largest public university system helps the 1 in 4 students experiencing food insecurity and the 1 in 10 experiencing housing instability / homelessness. Help the university address basic needs for college students.

  10. Swing Brazil: Every Sunday morning in West L.A., my teachers, Vida Vierra and Dani Lunn, use Afro-Brazilian dance to promote healing, build community and advocate for change. Check out their class every Sunday at 10:30am at the Electric Lodge in the Abbot Kinney neighborhood!

  11. Greater Good Science Center: This institute at UC Berkeley provides evidence-based research in empathy, gratitude and other critical skills. Check out their engaging educational programs.

  12. Holden Qigong: My Santa Cruz-based Qigong teacher is committed to providing training that supports less stress and more energy for life. His online learning platform allows you to practice Qigong from the comfort of your own home.

  13. Doctors Without Borders: The first charity I ever donated to, DWB continues to be on the front lines of some of the world's most heartbreaking human tragedies. Almost all of your gift goes to their work to respond to humanitarian crises.

  14. Travis Eliot: My yoga teacher has launched a new platform to bring his award-winning yoga classes worldwide. Check out his new Power Yoga GOLD program.

  15. Chani Nicholas: This astrologist and gender equity advocate provides thoughtful guidance and meditations to make the most of the astro weather. Get the 2019 reading for your rising sign.

  16. Latino Community Foundation: The sister foundation to my own is doing statewide work to build power for California's Latinx community. Read about their Nonprofit Accelerator Program.

Blessings of Purpose, Possibility and Power in 2019!