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

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A Night of Ghost Hunting at the Skirrid Mountain Inn

Ready for a night of ghost hunting?

Last fall, to celebrate my 43rd birthday on October 14th and All Hollows Eve I decided to treat myself to a trip to Merry Ol’ England. The highlight of my travels was to visit a place en Wales reputed for being a hot bed of spiritual activity or haunted place. My illustrious blog co-writer Janus, treated me to this wonderful birthday gift.

But this is not a Frommer’s Travel Guide summary of my ghostly encounters at the Skirrid Inn, it is more my impressions on how there is such a hunger to prove the existence of the afterlife and how some are a touch too naïve in the process.

We got there before sunset to have time to see a bit of the country side. As the sun died over the mountains we got to the Skirrid Inn and my eagle eyes spotted a lovely graveyard within walking distance of the Inn, so I said, let us pay respects to Oyá, queen of the cemeteries, and commune with local spirits that no doubt where buried there after they met their destiny at the hands of the infamous Judge Jefferies at the Inn. Curiously I felt drawn to a particular area of the graveyard and I walked there as if pulled by a friendly current, but it was getting dark and it was hard to read the gravestones so I decided to head on to the Inn and start our ghost hunting adventure.

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Spiritual Masses: Are they a Necessity before Kariosha?

Is a Spiritual Crowning a Necessity before Kariosha?

First things first, Spiritism is not a part of the Orisha practices in West Africa. However, in the great melting pot from which the practices of Santería emerge in Cuba and the Americas, Spiritism has come to fill out a void that emerged from the lost of the traditional practices of Egungun practices. The integration of Spiritual masses prior to kariosha also serves other functions that Spiritism fills in for those who follow it. Spiritism in many communities goes beyond its natural spiritual development functions and extends its reach to serve non affluent communities with alternative medicine and psychological functions. Yes, there are many who come to Spiritists to seek healing from physical maladies and emotional wounds.

There are several functions that spiritual masses accomplish depending on the skill level of its practitioners: (1) Research (2) Development (3) Crowning.

Research: The ideal research mass should have at least a talented clairaudient, a clairvoyants and at least a physical medium in addition to the person presiding the mass. This Spiritual Mass is meant to investigate the spiritual framework or cuadro espiritual of a person, be it an iyawó-to-be or not.

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An Extreme Threat to Your Boveda Practice

Spirits, spirits everywhere...

There are many mysterious forces at work in the world of which we are unaware. Some seem to take special delight in throwing up obstacles, setbacks and creating general mayhem. The objective appears oriented towards obstructing progress in both our spiritual and mundane lives.

On the face of evidence, it would appear that there are classes of entities such as gremlins, fairies- call them what you will, which are malicious trickster spirits that bedevil our existence. I have long been convinced that there is indeed a specific instance of where these spirits take on material form so as to carry out acts of wickedness more effectively on the material plane. I am speaking here of the dreaded Felis Domesticus: The common house cat.

This entity perhaps offers the greatest threat both to your sanity and the sanctified spiritual space known as the Boveda. Inexplicably, these creatures are drawn to your shrine, at first simply to investigate, later to return and wreck havoc.
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Spirits—Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife

Afterlife or a To Be Continued story...?

I was getting ready for bed, winding down and finishing responding to a few e-mails when Dom, a buddy from all the way on the other side of the world sends me a message on Facebook.

Dom: Misty?

Misty: Yes?

Dom: I am still thinking about the whole afterlife thing, on whether it’s just Heaven or purgatory

Misty: Honestly, I don’t believe in Hell. I think the afterlife is a composite of your beliefs while on earth. So in other words, the same way you have the power to shape your reality with your mind (thoughts) while you are alive, you shape it thusly while still in this form for the so called ‘afterlife.’ And why can we not see it simply as a continuation of life? We are just in non-corporeal form, changed from one dimension to another, but that does not mean they can’t coexist.

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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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Spiritism is Spiritism and Money is Money and the Twain Should Never Meet

Faith, Hope & Charity

Long time ago, in a country far away, there was a writer named Ruyard Kipling who lamented the lack of understanding between the English and the inhabitants of India. He coined the phrase “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” This phrase came to me as I pondered why is it that money and Spiritism have an unbridgeable gap between them: Because there is no coin that the living posses that can buy out the dead.

Of course, there will be the intrepid who think they can buy the dead with cigars, rum, candles and promises. But one fact remains the same; both the living and the dead are equally fond of their autonomy. Bargains may be stricken for a time, but eventually all bonds will dissolve, it is as sure as the fact that all matters tend to go from order to disorder.

However, there are those who are gifted with the spirits, so gifted in fact that they consider righteous to charge in coin for favors from the spirit world, as if they could control their manifestations, prophesies and guarantee the removal of obstacles, the evolution of spiritual paths and any other thing for which the queering party is willing to pay.

Spiritism, as practiced by Kardecians, is founded on three concepts Faith, Hope and Charity. These three sisters are equally important for the evolution of the human soul, its advancement and enlightenment. Here comes the punch though, how can one practice Spiritism when one is compromising one of those principles? If moneys are charged for example for a Spiritual Mass, would that not go against the concept of humility that Spiritists should espouse? To charge for the work of a Medium is like boasting, and the later should not be done on Spiritual circles, after all, the work done in the company of kindred spirits is supposed to uplift all, not to glorify the talents of one or a few preceding the gathering.

I do understand the fact that some people consider that their time has value and they feel entitled for charging for their knowledge and time. But, does not that endanger the work of the Spiritist? After all, when a Spiritist is paid, a performance according to the desires of the queering party is not only expected, it is demanded. And oh boy do we see fur fly when matters are not to the satisfaction of the party shelling out the cash!

I can’t but to look back at the many nights when I have opened the doors of my house to at least 30 people, when we have sat together in prayer and when mediums have come without interest, at least not monetary. Yes, the gatherings have a cost, materials are needed, but I have been glad to share with those coming what I could afford for refreshments after the gathering, and they in turn, have been generous to not come empty handed for the most part and contribute flowers, cigars, candles, rum and even the occasional snack.

It seem as though those days are further and fewer, materialism has a way of eroding and polluting the purity of spiritual development.

Will this go on? Will more mediums charge for development circles? For spiritual masses meant to tease out the spiritual framework of a particular person? For what should be workings of faith, hope and charity? I can tell you one thing, as long as I live, I will never charge for a mass. That is my promise to my spirits, they shan’t be prostituted. How do you feel about it? What will you do to preserve the integrity of Spiritism? I got five words for you: It is in your hands.

Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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New Year’s Goals: Developing Mediumship

The bóveda is a place for communication with spirits.

Here are a few general helpful tidbits on group mediumship development for those of you that like to have a list of things to start accomplishing in the New Year.

Notice that I say ‘start accomplishing’ this is because mediumship is not a fast process. It may take you a year of intense work, it may take you much longer than that depending on your skills and on how often you work with your group.

1. Mediumship is best developed in groups. If you follow the precepts of Faith, Hope and Charity, then you surely would realize than anything you do solely to develop yourself individually should be accomplished in the company of likeminded people because in a group you have the opportunity to put those three precepts in motion and to see their immediate impact.

2. A Leader. It is crucial to have someone who is well studied in matters of mediumship and the prayers and order of the Spiritual Mass. This person should understand the types of mediums, the main types of spirits that work with mediums and how to manage the circle.

3. Preparation. Each member should have tasks assigned. Setting up a Spiritual Mass takes some planning , thus each member should have the opportunity to learn to set up the table, contribute by bringing materials (cigars, Florida water, flowers, prayer books, notebooks, pencils, rum, candles, incense, snacks and refreshments for after the sitting, etc.)

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An Ebbó to Start 2011

Ready for the New Year?

Today I was asked while updating the Facebook page if I had a particular ebbó to start the New Year. Here was my brief answer. Can it help you as well? Only you can decide.

Friend: Do you have an ebbó you could recommend for the New Year?

Misty Seas: Well, ebbós are particular creatures, they need to have a purpose and work best when supported by oddú, meaning they should come from a reading. However, it is always advisable to start the New Year with a clean home, no clutter under the bed or closets. It is also good to do a series of cooling baths, have your Egún service in place, your Bóveda nice and clean and your orisha well attended. Neatness is the best on-going ebbó.

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The Dream World: A Common Ground for the Orisha and Spirit Guides

Dreams, a door to the Orisha?

Over the years I have come to appreciate the value of dreams as a common place for the energies of the Orisha and Spirit Guides to manifest and convey messages to initiates and non-initiates alike. However, in my experience, it seems that the aleyos and aborishas seem to derive special benefit out of the oneiric realm.

I remember that when I was still an aleyo, I had the most vivid dream and upon waking up, I took notes and called my godfather José B. excitedly to tell him all about it. To my surprise, he completely dismissed my dream saying that I read too much about the Orisha and I needed to cut back on my learning.

My dream was pretty detailed, it described the Olokun ceremony nearly step by step, even parts that I had no way of knowing about. It would be some years later when John Mason would write “Olookun: Owner of Rivers and Seas,” a wonderful book on the subject that has plenty of information on Olokún.

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