First Anniversary of The Mystic Cup

The Mystic Cup Celebrates its 1st Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of the launching of the mystic cup. During this past year we have seen a steady and rapid growth in our readership. We have also experienced a growth in the number of contacts with both individuals and groups. We have been encouraged by the many instances of positive feedback from readers. Our aim has always been to write about spiritual experiences, and most of us who are on the Mystic Cups writing crew are in some manner involved with African Traditional Religions (ATRs). Thus, most of our articles reflect this involvement. We also work towards connecting with other members of the broader ATR community and to discuss our shared issues, opinions, gripes and things learned along the way. We have also striven to provide clear and truthful information about the ATR experience so that people outside that community can get a better understanding and a sense of the flavor of practicing an ATR.

We have been especially pleased to see an increase of readership from outside of North America and the Caribbean. We have noticed an increase of interest in ATR’s and Spiritism within Ceremonial Magick, Wiccan and Neo-Pagan circles. We hope that our articles have been informative, thought provoking and entertaining.

In the coming year we will tackle some topics that we initially envisioned writing about but have not yet addressed, some will be rather hot and volatile so be prepare for some healthy debates, after all…the unexamined life is not worth living and certainly spirituality deserves careful and constant examination.

We would also like to see more submissions of articles from others about their own spiritual traditions and experiences. In closing, our core team Janus, Omimelli and I, would like to say thank you for your support and readership. Stay tuned… there is more to come.

Olo Obatalá

P.S. Since Omimelli is our main writer, I want to post one of her favorite songs as a little present for all the long hard hours of gathering and preparing materials for The Mystic Cup.

Into the Mystic by Van Morrison

The Queen of Herbs

Ocimum sanctum, Holy Basil, Albahaca santa or Tulsi

One of my first memories of Spiritism comes from having visited an old lady who had a rather healthy reputation for her spiritual and herbal remedies. For me back then, to go visit her meant sitting for hours on end waiting to get spiritual advice, but it was also an opportunity to run my fingers over a literal forest of the medicinal plants that were planted in the little garden in front of her house. One in particular would awake my senses, its scent sweet and intoxicating, its color bright green and with happy little purple flowers. It was years later when I would learn about the true power of this herb as I started in earnest my path in Spiritism and Santería.

Some know it as the Queen of Herbs, in India they call it Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) and in the Caribbean and the Americas most know it as Albahaca Santa or Holy Basil. This brilliant creation from Olofi has so many uses spiritual, medicinal realms, and of course, in the kitchen, no wonder it is known as the Queen of Herbs. In India, Tulsi has been used for centuries to heal body, mind and spirit.

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Part 7: 10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should Not make

A Keeper of Traditions cultivates a Passion for Learning

#7 Everyone in the ATR communities is well read, stable and trustworthy.
There is not one religious group with a congregation that will homogeneously possess or manifest these 3 attributes: Education, stability and trustworthiness. Every religious congregation will be formed from people with different levels of education, and the African Traditional Religions (ATRs) are not the exception. African Traditional Religions base the core of their knowledge on oral tradition; therefore, anyone can claim expertise, stability and trustworthiness. After all, who is there to police them?

The availability of books on a myriad subjects on ATRs and the increasing reduction of the digital divide, has made increased exposure to knowledge that before was only transmitted from godparent to godchild, and only as newcomers were considered ready to learn. Does this make our religions any better and our leaders any more educated? We can make arguments on both sides of the fence. Quantity and availability of educational materials not necessarily imply their quality and not everyone can assimilate and analyze theology and theosophy at the same level, nonetheless apply it or for that matter, teach it.

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Part 6: 10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should not make

The World begins with one, therefore, lets choose carefuly those ones to lead our world
In 1573, Thomas Tusser wrote the following:

A foole & his money,
be soone at debate:
which after with sorow,
repents him to late.

In today’s world of shysters, scammers and Internet merchants of religions—all religions—it is easier than ever to feed the entitlement mentality of ‘the right to initiation.’ In the case of African Traditional Religions, we are observing an influx of people who come to collect titles and then set shop as soon as they ‘feel’ they are elders. What a joke! Some of them have not even bothered to have a good understanding of the cultural background, the language or the history behind their intended target religion. Some others have only a superficial Internet relationship with their godparents –to-be, perhaps aided by some Skype or a few telephone conversations…

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Part 5: 10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should not make

Many struggled to preserve spiritual traditions
Misconception Number 5. I am entitled to learn and be trained.

Let us analyze one of the definitions of the Merriam-Webster dictionary for the word entitlement, it is the “belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges”.

If you are new to the African Traditional Religions, in this case to Orisha or Santería, I want you to do yourself a favor. Repeat after me: “I am not entitled to learn anything; I have to earn the privilege to be taught and trained and to be accepted into the house by both my godparents as well as by the Orisha that rules the house.”

I am absolutely flabbergasted to see so many newcomers so big for their breeches and so full of this delusional and irreverent attitudes that makes them think that elders of the religion need to open up all their libretas (notebooks) and place them at their feet on top of a red carpet and absolutely commit to share every secret of the religion because they deserve it. Yes, I have had people tell me that there should be no secrets and that all knowledge should readily be made available to them because they are worthy. When lobsters sing, cows fly and snakes walk!

Continue reading “Part 5: 10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should not make”