Where did the spirit of Charity go?

Sarayeye or Spiritual Cleansing
The road to be a priest or priestess in Santeria, Yoruba, Haitian Vodou, Palo Mayombe, Ifa, Akan, is not an easy road. But, we should not let our personal trial and tribulation prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. That is not only to elevate our family and our lineage but to elevate people who come across our crossroad.

We meet people each day for a reason, each person that come across our path is a representation of a Loa, a Orisha, a egun, and/or a Nkisi.

I say this because if we keep this in mind then perhaps we would not always think about money when it comes to helping someone. I do not say that someone should not be paid for his/her knowledge. But, there are times were an individual just need a little boost to be where he/she need to be.

I remember when I first came into Santeria twenty years ago, spiritual mass (misa) was free everyone benefited from a message and/or cleansing. Now, I am hearing people charging to do a misa and with no guarantee results. Where did the spirit of charity go? Did we come into this religion so we can cash in on what we know? Or did we really come into this religion to help elevate people lives?

I remember many year’s ago I knew this drummer, who is a child of Ogún. For the sake of privacy I will alter his name and call him Ronald. Ronald’s god mother is a child of Oyá and one day his godmother had a very bad dream about her godchild Ronald. Instead of telling him about the dream, what she did is divine with her orisha to find out what she needed to do to remove what she saw in her dream that same day. She called Ronald’s best friend and told him to bring Ronald over to her house. When Ronald got to his madrina’s house, his best friend locked the door. Immediately his madrina proceeded to clean Ronald with two guinea hens, two duck eggs and broom of herbs. After that was done she than told him what the dream she had, what it meant and what she removed. How come there are not more godparents out here like this? Where did they go?

It is elder’s like this that maintain the tradition and made people proud to be involve with the religion.

Ginea Jacmel

13 Replies to “Where did the spirit of Charity go?”

  1. I have adopted charity into my own work. Often, people who seek the services of priest dont have the resources to afford our services. Instead of sending people with some sort of dis-ease and no money out of my house, i look for creative ways in which we can both benefit. We trade, or if they have an interest in learning something practical (that i can gain benefit or use from), they learn how to use a skill to trade – this person now has a resource to help themselves. This is how my Padrino has taught me to be. Rather than living with greed in ones heart, we must learn to be fearlessly compassionate and remember that these many of these religions at their very core are about elevation from a state of slavery and servitude. Although physical slavery is gone from (most of) the world, we still live in mental, chemical, political, social, and emotional slavery. I truly believe that our jobs as priests are to elevate others by any means. While we do have to eat and keep a roof over our heads, money has poisoned our communities so deeply. I say its time to fight back.

    1. Nsalem Malecum

      What you are saying Tata Nkisi Lucero is very true, we definitely must to be fearlessly compassionate. Too often I have seen so many talented Priest and Priestess sentence to his/her negative experience of abuse or being “taken advantage of.” We all posses a someone did us wrong song, but it is the ashe of the experience that will redirect us on to circumvent ourselves from users.
      There is a big difference between someone who need help and the atr groupies. Atr groupies jump from one spiritualist to the next crying for help. Crying he/she is broke while driving a lexus, or going on vacation. These are the type of people who will never understand and respect what it had taken us to get to the level we are at. What it had taken to achieve the knowledge we posses.

  2. the charity comes from spiritism and kardecs works not african traditions.wich is why those who only practice atrs without any “espiritismo” or christianity in their lives seem to not know of or care about the concept of charity. in atr’s especially non-latino paths,branches or incarnations everything has a derecho. yes there are ppl involed in atrs all over the world, even in cuba who do not pratice espiritismo or any sort of mediumship development outside of their chosen atr. Ifa is a great example. another thing is that charity has two edges because their are many who wish to be charitable but are turned off by those who have a greed for charity. like those who have money to pollute their body’s with toxins ranging from alcohol to nicotine and ever narcotic in between, but can not for the life of themselves find the money to set them selves straight. i have relatives who would constantly cry what ever happened to “la caridad” when in need or want of spiritual services but could manage to always find the money for the stupidest of things.

    1. You are correct on many things here. In many parts of Africa being a diviner or an herbalist is thought of as a profession just as much as it is religious in nature.

      I dont think that we as priests and workers should stop charging for services – however, we need to make money take a backseat to the treatment of the patient. Too many perfectly amazing priests have fallen because of the dollar. When we forget that our spirits are often the ones providing us with that dollar – and start only thinking of ourselves and of our spirits as tools – that is when priests fall over. We need money for to live, but money is not life.

  3. Ashe I would like to take the time to thank everyone for reading my post. I want to thank mystic cup for taking the time for putting my article up and translating it. No matter the ATR we practice, one thing I learn is faith, hope and charity. We as initiate posses the ashe to decipher who is need when they do not posses the monetary funds for the services. That does not mean that we position ourselves to take in the rear with no grease. This is not what I am advocating because that will only lead to bitterness, spiritual disintergration and chaos.

    In the ocha odu Irosun Ogbe 4-8, the proverb is “The one born for the head must not be left in the tail.” “The king dies and a king is born.”

    When this oddu open on the mat the iyalocha or babalocha is not to charge for the reading or for the ebbo. Elder’s have even told me when this oddu come out to determine your guardian angel, the godchild ocha is to be done for free. Even though this odu goes into deeper discussion. Just is an example how even the orisha’s guide us to exercise the spirit of charity.

    Yes, there are people who will be ungrateful, and I have been a victim by that type of experience. But, we can not let that one experience close the door to our spirit for blessing and evolution.

    Unfortunately our beautiful tradition posses an impure magnetism to greedy priest and priestess. It is not our job to criticize the greedy ones, but to out shine the shadow that posses their crown. Through being spiritual and exercising charity in decent measure.

  4. Hello to T. Nkisi, Tony and G. Jacmel,

    I am very glad to see this healthy conversation about charity and its role on ATRs. I think that althought the concept is one that seems to have been originated from the Kardecian side, it is one that should be universal.

    Perhaps we need to challenge people who can be better as awos, oloshas, iyaloshas and babaloshas to practice more charitable work. This does not mean to give away their ‘ashe’ it means to learn to find creative ways to exchange ‘ashe’ with people who need assistance in their lives. There is that belief that if they do stuff for free their ashe will evaporate…I think ashe is endless, the more you let it flow, the more it comes back to you.

    We also need to challenge those who can and will afford the very things that destroy them (rum, partying, vices, etc…) to be fair and remunerate those who help them. Those who cant do much should always remember that simple things like bringing flowers, candles, cigars, and other things for the spirits is always good. Sometimes having the courtesy to contribute to a potluck meal after a misa is a good way to foster community and to have the time to share with others their stories. Spiritual work does not finish when we close an act of prayer, it should start there…

    Luz para mis amigos

    Oní Yemayá Achagbá

    1. “This does not mean to give away their ‘ashe’ it means to learn to find creative ways to exchange ‘ashe’ with people who need assistance in their lives.”

      Here is an example – i need to feed my Prenda. Its been a rough month – my car broke down or i had to pay a bill. At the end, i have money to feed me, but not him. Someone comes along who wants a reading or something, and they have no money but they happen to be able to get a couple of roosters. I think that is a good trade. Everyone gets something done that they need done – i would have spent the money from the reading on the birds anyway.

      Lets say someone has an oscuro that is attacking them and has wrecked their life. They have no way to pay for it, but they know how to do something useful (like exquisite french food). I do the work, they make fancy food for me and my lady, and everyone wins again.

    2. Bendicion

      What you are saying is so true, I remember the ile I used to belong to we would contribute to bringing items that were vital for misa’s. Because at that time when my madrina than, was teaching us how to channel eggun and work misa. We would bring florida water, box of cigar and even fresh herbs.

      Exchange is very vital money can not buy everything. Sometime just sharing an ebbo that you have knowledge on, is ashe that i priceless.

      Thank you for allowing this discussion for taking place.

      AShe o

      1. Exchange of ideas is great ashe for all of us, that is the center of TMC. Give me another Cuppa!

        Omimelli 🙂
        Wicked Oní Yemayá Achagbá
        Enjoying fresh weather today

  5. What a wonderful article on an amazing topic! Exchange is more than an exchange of goods for services; it is a natural, necessary action that speaks of a deeper principle. This deeper principle of exchange is necessary for BOTH parties. I believe when we look at acts of charity we are examining the mysticism of exchange. I confess to feeling very confused when I took my first look at ATRs. In my traditions an exchange is necessary, but it can also be as simple as a feather or a fishhook—at the root, people who are spiritually elevated do work because of the deeper exchange. When we do work for someone else we also benefit because we hone our skills and stretch our spiritual being. When we do some forms of work great spiritual connection is formed between us and the supplicant/participant.

    Because I have a good teacher who gives of himself to help me understand, my perspective has broadened. I believe the work my teacher has put into me is a true act of charity because any true teacher with a sincere student imparts things that are beyond price. How would the world be if everything had a price tag? The ugly sense of entitlement would grow and scams would increase. Without acts of charity it would be a pathetic world. Spiritual work is much, much more than mere commerce. If we begin to treat spiritual work as a pure commercial exchange we will stop elevating ourselves no matter how much money we make! If we are spiritual people doing work, then we should acknowledge in our lives we are first spiritual people.

    Work does not turn on and off, it is something that flows in everything we do. I know a woman who walked over to a stranger in the grocery store to tell say she had seen the death of a loved one and needed to pass on some words. The stranger started sobbing and listened to the words. The exchange of power and connection was so strong that it was not until the woman returned home that she considered it might have looked strange to others in the store. That value of that kind of exchange does not come from counting pennies in our heads to try and figure out how much money we can get.

    I do not know much about ATRs I have only been looking three years. I am only speaking to one side of this discussion. But it seems to me that what we call charity is not bound to any culture or tradition. Everyone on the planet benefits from acts of compassion. And please consider, what is more wonderful—what destroys that nasty sense of entitlement more—than getting something beyond price we KNOW we do not deserve and never could earn. It is these particular actions, sometimes coming a loved teacher, sometimes from a stranger, that speak most deeply of the path of the mysteries. These rare actions not only show us who we are, but who we should become.


  6. laughter today from ur post has bless my vibration….i have tryed to comment on the lack of love in our tradtion…where did the carity go..u have hit a nail right on point…this is a great promblem among yourba….i was left to die unil lots of monies was paid for ebos ininations….ose meji lives to tell it all in …her new book…my exprience in the vouduss….we preist are healers frist constonians of the culture…then our light heals our family, comminitiess…awos babalawo priest this our ancient culture is not a get rich quick sheme…the ancestors are not sleeping…odue lives….evil wishes and doers has tried to kill shongo but umm we are carry now by ore ye ye osun…obara meji lives because of ose meji….lets keep the truth in our ancent culture if not a invasion is doom again…..love light progression for all children of light…
    but as it will be the forth comment egugunsss dont repeat we will contiue to build and in all repect to my god father oba waj adefunmi for we have miss a great diviner…cousel and who gave lots of carities inintations… as well…and we know that this is the market place…and to in respect to my godparents…there is no amout of monies that can pay for our recoonitions to the stars…to our ancestors…which is very vvibrate and contiuing today after all…we must get to the scaredness of orumilas odues for salvation and peace so joy may live in the house….long live kabesee…truth honest double sward is coming thru…on my note looking foward to the suport of those who are here for the protection of children….ye ye osun….healings is everlasting….my life my journey has been written…proceeds is to take care of ye ye osun children…ayo healing house has the absoult program to revitalize the damage soulsdamage cells revitalizing the connection the ancestors are our children

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