Part 4: 10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should not make

Shango
Shangó an Orisha King, he embodies the concept of justice
“Unfairness is one of the things that bother me the most. However, I do recognize that life has always mysterious ways to impart lessons even to those who think themselves beyond and above teaching and reproach”.

Today has been a day in which I have thought long and hard about the concept of fairness and equality. When I think of fairness, the image of Shangó comes to mind. A king must always be fair to its people, and orisha followers should strive to follow in his steps. When I pledged my life to service of the Orisha, 12 years ago this winter, fundamental changes took place inside of me. Whereas in the past I could observe an unfair situation and remain simply an observer, after Kariosha I can’t remain impassive when I see situations that involve blatant unfairness.

Life is a continuous act of balance, the mere act of breathing brings balance to our internal environment. The life of an Orisha initiate is an act of balance between coolness and hotness. We strive to remain with orí tutu (cool heads) and to avoid acts that heat up our orí. But sometimes heat is necessary to achieve balance. Heat makes us go into motion, coolness helps us to direct the actions and make them purposeful.

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Part 3: 10 Assumptions New Comers to ATRs should not make

Homosexuality and ATRs a Quest for Balance
Assumption #3: The entire ATR community is gay friendly.

If you are a gay man or woman or a transgender this article will present some down to earth point of views on how you will be perceived by various African Traditional Religions, which paths are open without struggle and confrontation and which will certainly create heartache and strife.

It is not our place to judge spiritual callings, but as elders in at least one of the ATRs that exclude homosexual participants, traditional Palo Mayombe, we do have some points to make to contribute to this subject. It is our role to uphold traditions while trying to help gay brothers and sisters who have a simpatico for a particular path closed to them to find alternatives where to express their devotion.

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10 Assumptions that New Comers to ATRs should not make

The Orishas are coming to America
Here are 10 interesting stumbling blocks that have put a halt on many well-intended seekers of African Traditional Religions (ATRs).

1. The community is pagan and thus understands all schools of thought in modern and ancient magical systems
2. The community will accept me and understand me
3. The entire ATR community is gay friendly
4. I will be treated fairly and equally.
5. I am entitled to learn and be trained
6. I am entitled to initiation
7. Everyone in the ATR communities is well read, stable and trustworthy
8. There are no secrets to be kept, all knowledge is shared and readily available on books and online
9. Nothing really bad can happen to me when entering an ATR
10. I can get out as easily as I can go in

Two perspectives, Kal as a Westerner and mine as a Hispanic will tackle 10 common assumptions related to African Traditional Religions. Over the next few days Kal and I will share with you some of the lessons we have accumulated from the perspective of both seekers and initiates with a combined experience of over two decades into two of the most popular African Traditional Religions: Orisha and Palo Mayombe.

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Are Re-initiations Healthy?

Initiations: A Delicate Subject
In the past few weeks a troubling issue emerged in the Florida orisha community. Elders took matters at hand and gathered to create a treaty or agreement. This is how issues must be addressed, with respect, civility and with the support of elders at large.
The issue was re-initiations. Since The Mystic Cup is not a place to be dogmatic but to share experiences, as blog administrators we have decided to simply provide the information and let any users visit the link enclosed, read it and draw their own conclusions.
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Why are more Westerners drawn to African Traditional Religions?

The Lure of the African Traditional Religions
Orisha, Ifá, Voodoo, Umbanda, Candomble, Kimbisa, Kimbanda, 21 Divisions, Sanse, 7 Divisions, Kumina, Obeah, Hoodoo, Palo Mayombe and the list keeps growing. What is it that is making followers of Western magic and other traditional religions become the new practitioners of African Traditional religions (ATRs)?

It is certainly not because they are thrilled to have to learn in many cases a foreign language, or because the practitioners of these spiritual traditions are very open to accept people outside their communities and culture. No, as a matter of fact, there are many shifts that a newcomer to these religions would have to make to accommodate and understand fully any of these systems. So, if the path is not particularly rosy, what keeps making Jane and John Doe want to become an Houngan, a Tata, a Babalosha, an Hounsi, a Yaya, an Iyalosha and to claim in due legitimacy any of these hard earned and until rather recent times hard to get titles?

The answer is as complicated as the question itself.

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