Given my ancestry and personal beliefs, I practice several different religions and spiritual traditions. I often see harmony and complimentary overlaps between these paths, but I also respect them as distinct traditions and do not consider myself a universalist or an eclectic practitioner.
I am also very careful to stay within the bounds of what I am allowed to practice within my traditions given my respective levels of training and/or initiation. If anything I do ever cross the bounds of cultural appropriation, I really appreciate constructive feedback as that’s something I always try to avoid.
HOODOO / ROOTWORK
Rootwork and hoodoo are the names of an African-American spiritual tradition that evolved out of many African religions (especially traditional practices from the Congo) during slavery in the United States. This is the primary tradition that I use to cleanse, heal, divine, bless, protect, and enrich my life, my home, and my family every day. To do this, I work closely with my ancestors and forces of nature.
I have Geechee heritage, which means it’s very possible some of my family were rootworkers in the past, but any knowledge of that wasn’t passed down after they moved up north so I’ve mostly had to learn on my own through ancestor work, research, and corresponding with other practitioners. I’ve been studying and practicing since 2016.
I converted to Buddhism in 2016 after awakening to the buddha dharma as a very important set of teachings and practices for my life. I began that journey by studying with a community led by the Buddhist chaplain at my university. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to visit Buddhist temples and monasteries across the world in the US, China, and New Zealand.
I mostly practice Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism, specifically Nyingmapa with influences from Chöd. I have not received any empowerments in this tradition, so I tread carefully with which practices I can respectfully practice on my own.
Since I have no Asian ancestry, the more I delved into Buddhism, the more I felt a need to find a complementary spiritual tradition that would allow me to tap into my own cultural heritage. While studying hoodoo and practicing ancestor work, I felt a very strong calling to the Orishas and the traditional religion of the Yoruba people from West Africa, whose beliefs have spread around the world through the slave trade and become diasporic systems such as Lucumí (aka “Santería”) and Candomblé.
After I moved to NYC in the summer of 2018, I was incredibly blessed to find to my godmother and her community of Lucumí and Palo Kimbisa priests, priestesses, and practitioners. It is both an ilé (Lucumi house) and munaso (Palo house) where both Afro-diasporic religions are practiced. I am primarily studying Lucumi, but also practice and engage with Palo Kimbisa.
Espiritismo is an umbrella term for many different Afro-Latine traditions that center around working with spirits – especially ancestors and spirits of the dead – using a blend of African-based practices.
I am learning epiristimo from my Afrodiasporic religious community and also within my own hoodoo studies. The tradition of espiritismo that I practice focuses on working individually and as a community with Egun (ancestors) to receive guidance, wisdom, cleansing, and healing from them.
I’m Jewish through my mom’s side and was raised in a mixed Christian/Jewish family. I honor my Jewish heritage with friends and family on the holidays and Shabbat. I also connect a lot with Judaism through when I pray the Psalms to work the roots.