An Ode To The Hard Slap

I have a cut ass for somebody. I mean a hard slap to end fucking hard slaps, oui? I have to tell this story, because I have only glanced at it before, kid gloves remained on, and I remembered my crown, rather than the pettiness of shit.

Except, I have what my grandmother used to called a fowl shit temper. I mean when you hit a fucking nerve with me, it goes right through me like a starter’s pistol, or the opening salvo in a battle and my blood scent comes up and I whip out my pistol and the shot is fired before I know it’s happened.

I tend to excoriate assholes in my life quick, quick. I don’t waste time. I don’t pussy foot about whether or not I want this person in my life. All you have to do, is reach out and impose some injustice, be unkind to me in some way, or take me for granted, or try to control me, and the wild woman in me comes out, and she, I have only a modicum of control over. She is the one with the pistol. Sometimes I say things that come off in another way, and people take it the wrong way, and I regret their hurt feelings, but I never say things just to be unkind, I’m just not that type of person. So when people try to hurt me and sometimes succeed, I realise more than ever, that people are people. Wherever you are, wherever you go, there is always some petty motherfucker who thinks they know better than you, know you better than you, and try to tell you your business.

You have to draw the line somewhere. Say what, some I dun tell wunna some things I taking, and some things I just ain’t.

:sigh: All I can say is, I am trying my best. I don’t cuss people often, but man, I cut loose and freeing my inner bitch, and I am irritated enough to discourse this in my blog so you have to know I vex no ass. I just have to get it off my chest. I naming no names, oui? I calling the German ass’s name.

Let me also apologise for the length of this discourse. But I wrote until what I had to say was done. So brace yourself, this is a 17,000 word ride and the ode to HARD SLAP!!!

When I came up to England, I began to search out Ifa practitioners of all flavours to interact with. I suppose I have been trying to find my place.

So I joined a networking group, and became the organiser of an Orisha group, as a way to facilitate me meeting people, and learning more about the wider tradition as it is practised in the Diaspora. After doing this, I joined and began an alliance with a local Santeria group and it’s organiser, a young, white, German, gay guy.

Now, he was very warm and very sweet in the initial stages, even kind if you will. He was worried first about my attitude towards gays, but I set him straight and told him I could care less about what other people do in the privacy of their homes, and as my gay peoples can attest, I am a bonadife fag hag of the second generation, so lets not quibble about sexuality. Although, I do believe this has a part to play in this little melodrama, but I am getting to that.

I wrote about pepper soup, and other times, when we had really great encounters. I also met a English woman of Trinidadian parentage, who was a good friend to me at points in my life when I needed a friend.

However, I quickly realised that this guy was no priest, and knew some stuff but not enough to really help me, not even enough to really intellectually discuss the differences in the tradition where it is found. Because of my unique spiritual makeup, a daughter of Orunmilla, I needed to get help from a qualified, initiated priest, in particular a bablawo (Ifa high priest), which this German guy is not by any stretch of the imagination (or subtle or blantant bending of rules.)

In any case, we decided to hold joint meetups as a way of consolidating our efforts, because at the time, both groups were very small, so pooling resources made sense. In any case, it’s a great way to meet people. This went on for about six months. This was both a mistake, and a blessing in disguise. Keep reading, the story unfolds.

In the course of the months that I was regularly meeting with this guy and talking as friends, I recognised a few things. Like his complete leaning towards Santeria (Cuban Ifa), which is understandable, because that was the tradition he has been growing in and obviously the group he is organising. However, on multiple levels, he’s promoting his Santeria meetup as a group where people can participate from all traditions, and that was what it was like to me at first. There were Candomble people, Trinidad Orisha/Shango people (although I was the only one for a long time), Umbandanistas, Lukumi and Santeria.

However, in our discussions of the religion, describing it as ‘his leaning towards Santeria’ is being diplomatic. I heard him say things, like ‘well we don’t do that in Santeria’, but rather than discuss the why’s, and the differences, he would kind of invalidate all other systems by playing down other people’s comments, or bursting in to prevent people from commenting before he could put on his version of Santeria spin. Because of my natural curiosity, I think he somehow got it into his head that I was abandoning my Ifa-centric roots, in favour of his flavour of Santeria, which I had no intention of doing. This was a subtle thing, not overt but there. The pressure towards Santeria was very strong.

It started to be this thing cropping up again, that I cannot ask questions, I cannot probe. When I do, it’s met with resistance. This is cult leader like behaviour. Discussion is met with attempts to divert, or it must be discussions on purely Santeria or it’s being better than everything else. Or how his God Father was so good, and his ile so wonderful. More to the point, the not being able to discuss issues, concepts and ideologies was much too much like the situation I left behind in Trinidad. So I was in no way going to willingly enter a situation like that again, something I pointedly told him on more than one occasion.

The other thing that grated me, was his complete inability to call me by my name. I told him my name, and I introduced myself at numerous meetings using MY name, but this man had complete difficulty with calling me by the short two syllables in my short name. So all of a sudden, I have to suffer the unnerving bastardising of my name. “Deli…”

Who is “Deli”? As in ‘deli sandwich’? As in ‘delicatessen’? What de ass? But I am getting to that as well.

Then it was my Pan-African upbringing. When I asked why Santeria still used images of white saints to venerate African spirits, all explanations failed to satisfy me. I have real problems with covering over the Orishas with white faces. Catholicism, which I was brought up in, did that enough with Christianity, turning all the biblical characters into white people, which is clearly historically wrong. Thanks to Catholicism, Mary Magdalene, Jesus, John the Baptist and others are now blond blue eyed white people, and that clashed seriously with my own knowledge of history, not to mention my political leanings.

As a woman of African descent, when I see these images, my mind does not connect them with the Orishas. In Trinidad, I went all over and I never went into a shrine for Sango and saw Santa Barbara. I never went into a shrine for Oshun and seen La Caridad. But that is me, that is what I came into when I came into the tradition. I KNOW why other images for the Orishas are not used in Trinidad. I understand! I have enough knowledge of our history as a kidnapped, enslaved people in the West to understand why we don’t do it.You are talking about Orisha in the first country in the world to honour ER
Emancipation Day for millions of my formerly enslaved Ancestors. But that I suppose is nothing and 25 year old, German, white gay man could identify with. That isn’t where he came from.

Yet, this same white German man, is trying to tell me that the Saints are Egun, and this is why they’re worthy of veneration as Orishas. That may be true, but that isn’t my culture. Those aren’t my ancestors, and some of these saints were really not very nice people historically, and many of them political saints, so you know I think I’ll just pass on that. First, I know that’s not the reason WHY the saints were syncretised with Orishas. For those of you that do not know, it was to protect Orisha veneration with a veneer of Catholicism so it could survive slavery. But his clumsy and over confident explanations clued me in, that he was not about Ifa as an African tradition and he was much more comfortable with a Eurocentric version of this ancient African tradition, which I really am not.

He also was steering me just a little too much towards his house, as in his ile, his group of practioners. Because I had frankly expressed my dismay over my treatment in my last house, an Ifa-centric, Nigerian based ile, he took it to mean I wanted to move towards Santeria, which I in no way suggested to him.

I understand that the difference between Santeria and Lukumi, at least for the purposes of this discourse, is that Santeria uses white Catholic saints to mask the Orishas, and Lukumi is moving more towards a tradition using more traditional Yoruba imagery. This at least is appealing to me. My problems literally with the masking of the Orishas in the Santeria way, have to do with my inability to connect these white faces with the Orishas I venerate and cling to for my empowerment and growth.

For me they have African faces, dark, beautiful faces that I adore and see in my mind’s eye. Those white Saints faces are cold to me, and because of my Catholic upbringing, it connects me to a visual lingua franca and religious system I utterly reject. I rejected it at an early age, and continue to do so. It is to the credit of my mother that I was raised in a pro-African, pro-Black Is Beautiful, pro-historical understanding environment.

This man seemed to be asking me to abandon thirty years of learning the history of the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and American history salted heavily with revolutionary ideology, and a conscious move towards an African spiritual system that appealed to me as a woman, and as a woman of African descent in particular.

I mean, this man’s conscious and subconscious attitude has been one of control in any case. The whole thing of ‘mispronouncing’ my name, was a subtle attempt at renaming me to suit himself, and in retrospect smacked far too much of ‘massa’ and the way kidnapped Africans were renamed with European names, and forced to live in European culture and shed their African heritage to the lasting detriment of ALL AFRICAN DESCENDANTS IN THE ‘NEW WORLD’ .

I mean really. Well and truly fuck off. But I coming to the fuck off part. Bear with my verbosity some more.

This German meglomanic actually said to me, that babalawos and Nigerian babalawos in general knew nothing worthwhile. This from an unintiated German, white, gay boy of 25 years.

Now, I can’t say the same about the Lady. She was good friend to me, and she has done nothing to date to make me think otherwise. I know she’s still involved with the other group, but I don’t study it. Because she was very kind to me at an extraordinarily difficult point in this exciting adventure that has been this transition to England. I appreciate that still, and do to the bottom of my heart.

However, it appears she has tossed in her lot with the German, but I getting to that too.

Those of you in the religion know that divisiveness and nastiness is a part of it. Even if people are genuine about the Orishas, there is a lot of nastiness among houses, sometimes even those that work together. Not that you like it, but if you are in this tradition, wherever it is found, you have to expect it and brace for it. There are also all kinds of parasites in this tradition. They exisist in Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba and Trinidad. This one don’t like this one, that one don’t like the other. It goes on and on ad infinitum.

The tradition is no more immune to charlatanry, parasites, the megalomaniacal, those whose egos need validation, and all other manner of idiots; all the other ills of the world exist. No more so that Christianity, Islam or Buddhism. Find a spiritual tradition that doesn’t have it, and I’ll show you it’s fake. But then, people think it’s all fake anyway, so you know, there’s no way to please everyone. I say do what works for you, but don’t lie to yourself about when it stops working.

Back biting in human Orisha communities, can be particularly virulent and unpleasant. I’ve experienced enough of it second hand, been at the receiving end of it, after three years, that I can tell you straight up and down, that everybody in this tradition is a chance you take with your spiritual well being. It’s just that it’s at a higher level of awareness, and at a higher power level that people who do not deal with mystic schools, and Ifa is a school of mysticism. This is the life I am preparing to enter. But they say no one gets to any point in this tradition, or I suppose any tradition, any business, any human activity without accumulating a enemy or two at least.

I reported my first experiences with this particular brand of shit last year, when I was going through all I was going through when still in Trinidad. I broke away, because that is not the life I want, not the kind of spirituality I practise, and want no part of that kind of silliness, as I don’t see it as benefiting me in the spiritual realm in any way.

All of this I told the German young man, who sympathised with me, telling tales of his own former ‘God Father’ in Lukumi; how terrible he was/is, how he did this and that to him. Not knowing any better, I assumed it was something akin to what I went through, and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Certainly I was in no way going to go against what he said, and had no frame of reference.

All this time, I was kind of learning more about Santeria, reading, crawling the Internet, talking of course to the German and asking questions. However, I found out early that while the German was warm and pleasant, friendly, and quite knowledgeable about a lot of the African Traditional Religions in the ‘New World’, he was very much closed off in terms of true intellectual discourse. I’m a bit of an intellectual snob, but my diplomacy prevented me from dismissing him all together, like I said he was pleasant enough.

But the ‘friendship’ went on, and well I kept noticing how he was down on this person or that person; how this person was this and that. Mention some respected elder, talk from him about how he doesn’t like how that person operates. Mention this book, talk from him about how the writer doesn’t know anything. Now everyone has opinions, has their own thoughts. However, I reserve my personal opinions about anything to do with Orisha to the people I actually encounter, rather than make sweeping statements. For the simple reason, that I am still learning, and while I’m still learning ALL of it is valuable to me.

Then it was differences in practises. Mention some way of doing things back home in Trini, is ‘Well…”, followed by a painful-looking nose wrinkling effect, then “we don’t do that in Santeria.” All I could say “Okay mate..” Leave it at that, and hold my peace and tongue as much as I could.

He also projected such an air of authority on what he spoke, and of course he spoke with authority on everything. He accused other people of being a know-it-all, but seemed unable to recognise that in his own speech and behaviour. I actually witnessed him interrupting people, and speaking for them as though they had no mind of their own, no thoughts of their own. Shucks he did it to me. Almost to the point where he pissed me off because on more than one occasion he’d speak to me as though I was a child. We went down to Brixton on a group shopping trip, and he’s telling me what to buy, who to buy from and while it grated, my diplomacy would not allow me to tell him to fuck off. And the ‘Deli’ corruption of my name, irritated the fuck out of me… I don’t care, is my blog oui? I can finally speak my mind on this.

By October, I was starting to get desparate. Allyuh longtimers will remember those days, and I posted to the Lukuminity.Org forums about some of my experiences. A Lady named OKD, gave me some solid advice and the makings of a White Bath. I did it, and from then until now, things have arduously improved, fluctuated no doubt, but improved none the less. Of course, subsequent events assisted, but I’m getting to that.

Around the same time, after posting in Lukuminity.Org about my experiences in London, I received a message from someone I didn’t know. He introduced himself as Pablo, and suggested that I ask the German some questions; especially since I was posting that I had questions. Pablo said he was in London, but didn’t really elaborate too much other than he was a priest of Ochosii.

At the time, I didn’t know who he was, so I mentioned it to the German in passing week or two later.

I wrote:

November 2, 2004 9:16:29 AM BST

By the way, there’s some dude called Pablo who is on the Santeria Meetup group who sent me an email… or rather a PM over at lukuminity.org (.com?) He says he knows you… and well.. Is he the guy that you were dealing with before?

At the time I thought he might have been the ‘terrible godfather’ from before. Note, I didn’t mention anything about him bad talking the German, because the message didn’t say anything like that, only that I should keep asking questions.

He wrote back:

November 2, 2004 12:19:49 PM BST

Pablo? Hmmm….I am not sure. I met a Paolo once who is from Brazil…but only met him once at a guy names M’s (former god father) house. If its Paolo then he is rather nice…and I hope he said nice things about me too…lol

I really hope you find a good job – even though I would rather keep you somewhere near me then up in Birmingham or Manchester 🙁

If you want, tell Paolo/Pablo to drop me an email. I would love to hear from him. I have also been speaking to Alison – from the MeetUp group. She is also from the West Indies. Very sweet lady but I think she was a bit nerveous.

At this point, there had been no meetups, and the German and I had only met once prior.

Also, note the comment about ‘keeping me close’ to him, he repeated that statement more than once and it always struck me.

The German and I talked on the phone that week, and I told him more about the message and about asking questions, and that I wasn’t really sure what ‘Pablo’ meant by that.

The German took that to mean that ‘Pablo’ was bad talking him, and sent this email to his former babalorisha (God Father), and ‘Pablo’ .

Because he needed validation, he sent me a copy of the email, and here it is:

November 5, 2004 3:16:14 PM BST

Dear M and C,

I haven’t been in touch for a long time and hope you two are well. I am doing fine but have received a message which was rather concerning.

Beginning of this year I travelled to the US to visit one of my friends who introduced me to a Babalorisha who has 29 years of initiation. I was very blessed to receive Elekes and Warriors and will travel to the US again beginning of next year to receive Olokun and Ibeji. I have also received BabaloAye’s eleke for health while I was in the US.

I have stayed out of the Orisha community here in Europe since my return but was still contacted by several people – who were apparently put in contact with me by members of my new Ile. My only involvement with Orisha in the UK is a place on the internet called “Santeria Meet-up London”. Other then that, I am not interested in any contact with the community in this country at present.

It now happened that SOMEONE contacted one of my friends to warn this person of getting “overly involved” with me. The underlining context of this email was that I am a “scanky” godchild of bad character who is only looking for fame and power and will not listen to elders in the religion.

I have nothing against you and have no reason to talk bad about either one of you. I would highly appreciate it if such emails and other gossip would stop.

I am not without a fault myself and I am also not interested in any kind of political involvement and mud throwing. I am grateful for all the blessings I have received from Martin and have no reason what so ever to disgrace his name. I sincerely hope that this feeling is mutual.

When I informed M that I feel it would be unsuitable to continue out godfather-godson relationship the response I received was “thats fine, don’t worry”.

I hope we all can continue to live our lives “without worries” and such defamations will stop. There is no need for a spiritual police in this country and no one needs to be warned of anything. I personally have no reason to warn people of either one of you as I have always held both of you in very high regards and have encountered both of you as priests of fine character.

With love,
Mario
(omo Obatala)

I disagree, I think spiritual police are required in this instance, but you know keep reading.

I didn’t pay attention then to the burgeoning shit, but here in this email lies the real truth of this situation.

Because, I personally don’t remember the message from Pablo telling me that the German, his name now revealed to be Mario (Menz), was a ‘skanky godchild’ or that he was looking for ‘fame and fortune’ or that he had a ‘bad character’. Yet, these things from his OWN MOUTH, are really the truth of this melodrama babies.

But further elaboration is coming, what I am writing now is just to provide a backdrop — a framework for the stupidity of all of this. For now, let me just point out the hypocrisy of his email. While he is telling me terrible things about both M & C (Pablo), and for that matter, commenting on M in particular during public outings, he’s writing them to wish them well, and telling them he means them no harm etc. etc. while sharpening a knife behind his back.

Here he says, “I have nothing against you and have no reason to talk bad about either one of you. I would highly appreciate it if such emails and other gossip would stop.” It’s alright for him to talk badly about other people, but when he even THINKS someone is talking about him (which they clearly were not) then off goes a fast ass email steeped in his superiority complex.

See, when I read this I remember thinking, ‘what does he mean’? But I ignored my instincts then to my own failing, and went ahead. I forgot about it.

I kept searching for solutions to my problems, began to pray more, work with my Ancestors. I posted again to Lukuminity.org, and OKD, who moderated the boards there at the time, gave me some solid advice and I heeded it with all attention.

After this, the two groups, London Orisha Meetup and the London Santeria Meetup, began to hold joint events. At the first or second official joint meetup, Pablo came, but I didn’t connect the real man with the message sent to me. Neither did I connect him with the situation Mario was describing with his ‘terrible godfather’.

Now, we were introduced, but we spent the whole night talking to other people and only had a few words between us. Later, in discussions with Mario, he connected the dots for me… Pablo was the guy who had messaged me, and the same man I met at the meetup, and that he and M, Mario’s former godfather, were godbrothers (as in initiated by the same babalorisha). I mean, if he’s so bad and he’s in league with M, the former God Father, what was he doing coming to the Meetups?

He also added that he had no beef with Pablo at all, and was glad to have him at the Meetups, because he was an initiated priest, and in Orisha groups, initiated priests are ALWAYS assets because they know their stuff, and they have AUTHORITY. He admitted Pablo knew his stuff, but said his house (Pablo’s house, that is) was very ‘proper’ and did things by the book. He also said to me, that although he had no beef with Pablo, he though Pablo was a know-it-all. (Listening to this, I thought to myself, ‘If that’s true, I can see why ya’ll don’t really get along, because two man rat cyan be in the same hole.’)

I told him at the time, I didn’t want to get involved in any cross-house bullshit. I distinctly remember me telling him that any beef he was in was his beef and not mine. I told him I had had enough crossfire in Trinidad to last me.

Now unbeknownst to me, OKD is friends with Pablo’. They have some common lineage. By about January, when things were starting to improve slowly because of OKD’s excellent advice, she made contact with Pablo and asked him to help me, because as she said, he’s a good brother and one of the only priests she knew in the London area. He, unlike Mario, is a santero, although he is young in the tradition.

So after OKD, buffed him a couple times, Pablo called me and offered himself as a friend. Three weeks later, he arranged for me to go see a reputable babalawo who was visiting London. Pablo is Lukumi, but he knew because I come from a Nigerian Ifa-centric background, he took me to a Nigerian babalawo from a somewhat exalted lineage who was visiting London.

Well when Mario heard dat, he was very hesitant. You could hear it in his voice. He had been arranging for a priest of Yemoja, living in the Netherlands and is from his lineage to come to London and give divinations and I had indicated I wanted to see him. After all, at the time, I hadn’t had a divination done for almost a year.

He didn’t come out and say, “You’re sleeping with my enemy,” but you could tell he didn’t like this. In retrospect, I think that because I was going to get a divination from someone else, he was concerned he was losing money, he was worried he was losing me to another ile, that it was Nigerian babalawo (a breed he openly disliked and distrusted) and because of the connection between Pablo and his former godfather, I think he was more than a little afraid of what I might find out about him, Mario, and what he is really about.

The rift between him and his former godfather, has something to do with flaws in his (Mario’s) character. That is all I know to this day, because things revealed in those relationships remain between Godparent and Godchild, not the whole community. So it remains, and I am not even in the slightest curious about it. Even now, when this pissant Mario is testing me.

Well it took a little while for things to get shitty. Fi real. But he start to gimme this talk about how when I start dealing with Pablo, I will change towards him (because I start to learn and see the real truth for myself?) and such. I assured him that I was not that shallow. And I had no intention of ‘turning’ on Mario. I considered him a friend up to that point. But I had no intention of cutting Pablo out of my life, because Mario said so.

I have almost three decades of managing friendships with people who have differences. It’s a theme in many my relationships. I’ve been good friends with women who couldn’t stand each other, and neither could say I spoke their business with the other, and in all ways I was as senstive as I could be to their feelings, but maintained my friendships without their differences effecting the dynamic of our individual friendships. And not just women, or two women; I have a number of friends who are like this. It’s a situation I’ve encountered in my professional life as well as my personal life. So for me, it’s not a question of whether I can handle myself, it’s whether the other people understand that all that shit ain’t have one ass to do with me.

There are things Mario revealed to me about his own practices and asked me to keep it under my hat, which I did. Like I said, I tend to keep my friendships separated when my friends are in discord.

I was still a little wary of Pablo at this point, but he was genuine about helping me… charged as he was by OKD to look out for me. My hesitation had nothing to do with anything Mario had said, because all he had said up to this point was that Pablo was a know-it-all and he (Mario) didn’t like him (Pablo).

Pablo wasn’t forcing Lukumi on me, which I appreciated. He recognised I was from an Ifa-centric background, and because I’d been dealing with babalawo’s up to that point, and because of the situation with my One Hand of Ifa, I needed to go and see a babalawo specifically to address that. So that was the kind of help he could give, to arrange a divination for me.

Mario only tended to call me if he wanted to see me, or if I was coming to HIS Meetup, although they were really OUR joint meetups.

Not only that, but because of who my Orisa is–Orunmilla also called Ifa, to who the HIGH PRIESTHOOD (babalawos and iyanifas) of all Orisa traditions is devoted–it made absolute sense for me to seek counsel from a babalawo as opposed to olorisa, who for those who do not know, are devoted to specific Orisas (e.g. Omo (children of) Osun when initiated are olorisa, Omo Yemoja are olorisa, Omo Ogun are olorisa.) I would go to an olorisa for less serious situations and for more general stuff. Which was what I intended to do. Go to the babalawo to specifically address my One Hand of Ifa, and go to Mario’s Netherlander priest for a more general reading, or more specifically if you like, an Ancestral reading.

I went to see the babalawo in February.

Afterwards, Mario called me and he asked me how the reading went. I tried to be circumspect, because one of the things that came up in the reading was not to talk too much about projects I was working on. For me, many of the things revealed in that divination, I considered to be personal projects. What I did mention was I had some ebbos to perform, but because of the tightness of my money at the time, I couldn’t do it. Also, the babalawo was returning to Nigeria within a week or two and it wasn’t enough time to put the money together. So I had to leave it until when the babalawo came back, and when I had more money.

He also asked a question pertinent to this discourse. He asked me if Pablo was my God Father. I was a little taken aback, because in truth that’s not really the kind of relationship in Orisha I am seeking at this juncture of my life, certainly not at the time I had this conversation with Mario. I had told him that more than once before, so the questions seemed a little prying as well as grounded in some kind of insecurity.

I was very clear in telling him that Pablo and I were friends, and that we enjoyed intellectually stimulating discussions, and that was it. Godparent/Godchild relationships didn’t even come into it. As far as I know, arranging a divination for someone is not taking on babalorisa duties.

It must have been so frustrating for him, because when he called, I got the distinct impression he was trying to pick my mouth. I still considered him a friend then, but I didn’t want to reveal too much… in any case, what comes on the mat, stays on the mat. So I remained tight lipped. At this time, I said nothing to indicate I wasn’t going to go and see the Netherlander priest when he came.

Two things to mention at this point, 1) I know it’s not good to have too many divinations done, 2) because I had gone more than a year without any divination at all and because I went to the babalawo about specifics regarding my One Hand of Ifa, and because the Netherlander was to offer Ancestor readings, I felt it would be a worthwhile expense to go and have that second type of divination.

A couple weeks later, Mario sent out an email to all the members of the Santeria Meetup telling them about the times regarding the divinations with the Netherlander. I called him up to ask him when my time was. He took on this supercilious air, with more than a note of false sympathy, “We’re all booked up sweetie.”

“What? But I thought you were booking me in,” I replied a little stunned.

“Well I thought since you went to the babalawo, you were sorted, and wouldn’t want to have another one,” he said.

“I never said I didn’t want to see (priest’s name). We talked four five times since January and not once did I say I didn’t want to come.”

He blustered a little, and then said, “Well you know, in Santeria, they say it’s not good to have too many divinations.”

“We say that where I come from too,” I replied, and went on to explain it had been a long time since I had had any kind of divination, and that the babalawo was for something specific.

Then he kind of mumbled, “I’ll look at the schedule and see if we can squeeze you in.”

I said thank you, although I was a little peeved. Also I was a little shocked at the price of the divinations. £55! That’s not small money in London, mates. The Nigerian babalawo said whatever I had was fine, and he accepted what I paid and it wasn’t half of £55. But I initially agreed to this price.

In any case, wouldn’t it have made more sense to call me and ask a question before cutting me out all together? Yet, me, always wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt, I racked it up to miscommunication and thought nothing more about it.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, but later revealed when this shit came to a head, was that Mario picked up the phone in a huff after talking to me, and called Pablo DEMANDING to be told if Pablo was my God Father.

First, who the fuck does he think he is? If I tell you not a week before that Pablo is NOT my God Father, what de ass are you doing going behind my back to ask Pablo that kind of question?

Second, who the fuck does he think he is? You can’t call up somebody and demand answers regarding a relationship of that sort, that doesn’t have anything to do with you.

Third, who the fuck does he think he is? The pope of Orisha? Everything done for Orisha in London must be vetted by him, and receive his stamp of approval and sanctioned to be authentic?

Again, I amazed at this 25 year old jackass. These aren’t children he’s are talking about, these are grown ass people working to support themselves and families. He’s not paying rent or mortgage for me or for Pablo. Neither Pablo and I go down to Red Hill and boil rice in his pot, so who de fucking ass you really think you are? And more to the point, what is his conceptualisation of the relationship between he and me, that he thinks he has the right to demand that kind of information?

Pablo, even at this point patient, explained to Mario that he is not taking on god children, and that his interest in me was because I was an immigrant, and because we have similar politics. That was it. In any case, Mario was out of place in the extreme, not to mention rude no ass.

However, this was when his real skanky character and shitty Ori (head, destiny) began to really reveal itself. So for that I am thankful, because it could have been worse, much, much worse.

There was one more joint meetup, at the end of March. Now, between February when Pablo took me to see the babalawo, and this meetup, Mario and I spoke only that once to schedule the divination for later in April. At the meetup, which was I think the biggest I’d ever been to (there were about twelve people) Mario sat across the table from me, and didn’t speak to me almost the whole time. In fact, he barely looked at me. I didn’t really notice until after, because a delightful handful of people were around me and we were deep in conversation. I didn’t study it then for that reason.

It wasn’t until a few weeks of further silence, that I had the ‘temerity’ to schedule a meetup for MY OWN group (which up to this point, he was scheduling meetups, and I scheduled my own group’s meetups to coincide at a location and time that allowed both groups to meet) which differed from the Mario’s. Now, all along he was posting notices about his meetups, as well as promoting divinations by the Netherlander priest all over the internet, including on the London Orisha Meetup discussion group.

I had no problem with this, because prior to all this rubbish, we were still presenting a united front (although he elbowed me out of the limelight more than once, but even that I could care less about. I shine enough on my own, so I need not hog or woo limelight) so cross pollinating the two groups was never an issue, at least for me. In fact, nothing had been said by either him or myself up to that point, to make me think there was a change in the situation. Except we never expressly agreed that ALL Meetups were going to be at the same time and place as the other.

So when I posted my own Meetup event to his Meetup group, unassuming and not thinking about anything more than the mutual group work we were both doing, I get this email:

Hey Deli,

I hope you are well!

I noticed you posted a message to the Santeria Meetup Group about your Orisha meetup event. I have deleted your message as the Santeria Meetup group is already doing 2 meetups in April – 10 of April and 16 of April. Last time we talked you said you would like to “merge” the meetups of both groups, which is perfectly fine with me but please don’t just organize anything close to your house and then expect me to back you up. I am also not sitting at home everyday waiting for things to happen…and I always have to travel far to go to the meetups the Santeria Groups is organizing. Don’t get me wrong…but I think it is VERY unfair to organize thing to YOUR convenientce and close to your house without considering other people…

Now, I was completely hurt by this as I wasn’t expecting it.

It was alright for him to post his Meetup events in my group, but clearly he was no longer extended a similar courtesy to me. Of course this has nothing to do with me having a meeting ‘close to my house’ as he put it and everything to do with my burgeoning friendship with Pablo.

I burst into tears afterwards. Totally upset I was. I mean, this was openly declaring that we aren’t working together anymore, and more, that he was trying to squelch my presence in his meetup group and more, supress the London Orisha Meetup. More than this, I discovered that he was deleting Pablo’s responses to questions on the Meetup group. Worse, declaring that the group is not for discussions and closing threads that delved into the more esoteric underlinings of the tradition. I was flabbergasted, because that was all I was involved for.

I made no response, but called my English Trinidadian friend and expressed shock and hurt over what he had done and said. She was awfully diplomatic, and understanding sympathising with my being upset, and ostensibly supporting the validity of my concerns.

I guess later they may have spoken, because I got this email later a few days later:

Hello Dela….

I know you are not very happy with me at the moment…I wanted to appologize for upsetting you…but I think this has gone both ways…as I am not to happy with what is going on at the moment either. Things have been built up for to long!

I think we should get together and talk in person instead of having a “screaming slience”…as we really need to sit down and talk openly and propperly.

Please, can you also let me know if you are still coming for the reading with (Netherlander priest’s name) next Saturday as I don’t think it fair towards him to drag him and his time into our pety fight.

I replied:

Well I wasn’t aware that we were having a fight. However, I am going to need to be very honest, since you have been very quick to share your feelings with me. Yes you upset me, upset me very much. You had me in tears yesterday, on a really, really bad day filled with stresses and difficulties that were completely independent of this thing between you and me.

I have no idea what you feel justified in being upset about, because I certainly have neither insulted your intelligence, made any attempt to silence you or bully you in any way. In terms of (Netherlander priest’s name), I do not think I can afford a reading so expensive, because I have been still having financial difficulties and will find it difficult to meet that expense, even when I get paid, because I must pay back money I owe. I simply can no longer afford it, and I am not going to do it to my
financial detriment.

In terms of sitting down and talking about this, Mario, I need some time. I need some time to not feel quite so offended, feel quite so alienated and so disappointed. I feel I must get a few things off my chest, and it is easier for me to say things in an email, because I do not handle confrontation well, especially when it really, really, really hurts like what you said to me in your email did. I cry to much, and I have a lot of difficulty in expressing myself and what I
feel.

So to start: you have no reason to feel upset or offended. In your email to me, you say that I was being inconsiderate for planning a meetup so close to me. However, as the organiser of that Meetup Group and others, it is my perogative to decide where I am going to have a Meetup. It is only in the first few meetings that you me and Allison discussed where we were going to meet, but the group was much smaller then.

In recent months, I do not remember you ever asking me my opinion about when and where you were planning to have a Meetup. You certainly didn’t complain that A (English Trinidadian Lady) suggested the restaurant in Elephant & Castle, and it’s far closer to her than to most of the people who come, and there were a number of people–including me–who needed to travel at least for forty minutes to get there.

Don’t get me wrong, I came from KENT and ESSEX to come to Meetups, and when it was just the three of us, I came as far as Red Hill… fed your Spirits, whatever was required to gain your company, so as far as I am concerned, your comment about having to travel ‘far’ is completely groundless. I have travelled very far, at great expense when I could least afford it, to see you and be your friend, so to tell me I am inconveniencing you is really, really unfair.

The point is, I wanted to be there. I wanted to meet other Orisha people, and it didn’t matter where we were meeting, I wanted to be there. Dates and times didn’t matter, I wanted to be there. So this is part of the reason why your email was so hurtful.

To point out that the Santeria group is having TWO meetings in April–and therefore forming the basis of your reason for deleting my posting about the Orisa group meetup is also unfair, because I specifically mentioned in the post that I was scheduling the meetup AFTER your events, and that there were probably people who wouldn’t be able to come to the Santeria Meetups, could come to the Orisha meetups.

I thought that the point of ‘merging’–and actually I thought of it more as ‘cross-pollination’ and called it that in the post I made about it on the London Orisha Meetup’s message board.

What is unfair about you deleting my post, is that you yourself have posted to the London Orisha Meetup group’s message board PROMOTING events for the Santeria meetup group and other events of interest, including one in your own home. So don’t now say that I am being inconsiderate because I chose a venu near to me.

Let me remind you:

Vodou and Santeria Workshops 2005 in London
igbale         0         4         Mar 18, 2005

Orisha Divination – Dillogun & Eggun Readings in the UK
igbale         0         10         Feb 16, 2005

Orisha Dance and Song Classes in London
igbale         1         18         Feb 8, 2005

I have noticed that you have deleted messages that C (Pablo) has made to the Santeria Meetup board, and that you are now doing it to me is very upsetting. I have run a number of online communities and forums, built up one that has almost 300 members, and is quite active: http://www.tribelife.com, and particpate in numerous others, and I can tell you that kind of over zealousness is something that drives away users.

I would never tell you how to run your group. It’s something you took on as a responsibility, and you relish it clearly, but then don’t tell me how to run mine. We agreed to collaborate, but it seems as long as I am doing something for my own group you have a problem with it. That is also unfair.

To me this has more to do with our last conversation and fears you expressed to me when I told you C had reached out to me, and was taking me to see the babalawo. My posting about the event was only a trigger for you to react to the way you were feeling, rather than me actually being inconsiderate, or inappropriate. It’s like you said to me from the first, you didn’t want ‘ME’ to change by being friends with C (Pablo); but in fact it’s never been me who changed, you are the one who has changed towards me, so what is all this really about?

Not because to come to the event I scheduled for the London Orisha Group, was out of your way. I’ve come further to see you, so it isn’t really about that is it Mario? Be honest with yourself, don’t worry about admitting anything to me.

C (Pablo) and the way you percieve him, and now clearly me as well, is like some threat to you and certainly your authority in terms of the Santeria Meetup group, in some way. You are turning your personal difficulties with C (Pablo) and his lineage, in particular his connection to M (former God Father), into a problem between you and me and the attitude in which you have suddenly acquired in dealing with me. That is also EXTREMELY unfair to me, as I would never ask you to choose, or put you in a position where to be friends with someone meant it would put our friendship at risk. I also, have never met M (former God Father) and you cannot just assume anything about my friendship with C (Pablo). I am not joining your ile, I’m not joining C’s (Pablo) ile, I’m not joining anyone’s ile right now.

As for sitting down with you Mario and talking this out, I need time. I need time to not be so upset, and to not feel so hurt by the way you have been dealing with me.

It would be very good and well if we sat down, and said we were sorry and then forgot about it. But I don’t think I have anything to apologise to you for. For me, all of this is coming out of the blue, and like I said before, is hurting me. Maybe there will be a time soon when I feel better about it, or at least willing to put my hurt feelings aside, but right now I don’t think I am ready.

All this brings up too many memories; too many memories of what happened to me in my last ile, and how this one don’t like that one and getting caught between two seperate individuals–something I told you about. I moved to get away from that, and I am not involved in a petty argument with you. That is something that is coming out of you, Mario not me. I think you owe me an apology, and maybe that is something you need to examine yourself to see if you can do it.

Now, YOU don’t get me wrong. I care about you, and want to be your friend, even now, but I just have too much I am dealing with now to add to this kind of stress to it.

I am afraid that if we sit down now, then I will not feel like my Spirit is in it. I just need time to subside. You may or may not accept the things I have said in this email, and as a man, as an Omorisa, you will respect me enough not to treat me like I am stupid, that I don’t care enough about you and am insensitive to your feelings about C (Pablo). I KNOW that that is what is at the bottom of this, and don’t insult my intelligence by thinking I am not aware of that.

Now as your friend, let me make a suggestion: to live is to learn. To learn is to grow. To grow is to become and to change from one state to the next.

I care for you Mario, and I hope you learn from this experience as I undoubtedly will. We will sit down, and I truly hope that we can move past this, but right now, I need time to learn my own lessons so that when you and I come to really test our friendship by sitting down and trying to work through this, I have the kind of mental, emotional and spiritual strength to deal with it in a way that Ifa and Osun will be proud of me for. I suggest you do the same.

Blessings and Good Things.

His response:

April 2, 2005 4:07:07 PM BDT

Hello Dela,

Thank you for your reply. I don’t really want to go into detail in replying to your email as I am not sure that I could really express myself in writing. But there are a few points which I would like to touch upon in this reply…so this email might sounds a bit jumpy…from point to point…

First and foremost, meeting in person instead of using email to corresponde does not have to be a confrontation. We are both adults and – I think – also able to have a civilised conversation. I am also dislexic and not very secure with written words…I rather speak from the heart without worrying about spelling correctly.

When you say that you had to travel from KENT and ESSEX to meetups you make it sound like a choar…and I hope you don’t forget that I live in SURREY…close to GATWICK which is already EAST SUSSEX….

Coming to my house was not related to meetups but to private meetings where I was trying to help you – either with white bath or in a consultatio with my spirits – which I can not do in a restaurant or pub in Central London. Please don’t forget that I also asked you if you would prefer to meet me in central London for a chat instead if coming down to Redhill…especially in “repaying” my spirits.

As to the meetup venues…I posted on the groups message board and asked EVERYBODY to suggest venues. The only person suggestion a venue was A (English Trinidadian Lady). I had a look at the restaurant and LOVED it…as did the Cubans who felt very much at home because of the Latin American feel… It was up to you to make a suggestion – which would not have been ignored! It was also further away from my place in Redhill as I had to go to London Bridge first and then down to Elephant…my travel time was also over 60 minutes from door to door.

As to the two meetups in April. When you asked me to “merge” the two groups you scheduled the meetup of the Orisha group for the same time as the Santeria group. You had two opportunities to do the same in April.

When it comes to deleting C’s (Pablo) messages. I asked him before not to go into detail with his oppinions as I KNOW that our houses differ in teaching and I don’t want to stand up and go into detail with what my padrino’s house does. I asked him several times and also said that I would delete his message if he goes into detail again – and I did!

Yes, I have to admit that I was worried when you started making friends with C (Pablo) – there is no doubt about that! I know the kind of things he says behind me back and it upsets me. I don’t have anything to hide about my dealings with him and M (former God Father) but I want to leave this chapter of my life far behind. I do not want to go into detail on what happened as there is no need to do so. It is nobodies business!

But what you should be aware of is that I do not trust C (Pablo). Don’t get me wrong! I don’t care who his godparents are, I don’t care what his lineage is, I don’ care who his friends are. He is a validly initiated pries of Ochosi and a Santero without any doubts! But he is slandering me and I will not put up with that!

How can you expect me tu give you the same amount of trust after you made friends with C (Pablo)? How would you feel if I travel to the West Indies and make friends with the people who hurt you and worked against you? Put yourself in my place for one moment and think about that!

As far as apologies go…I am sorry that I upset you. You try to be in a neutral point and this can be a place “between the seats”…which is not the best and most comfortable place to be! If you choose to be in this place then please feel free. I am not – and I think I should say this again and in capitals – I AM NOT asking you to choose between C’s (Pablo) house and my house!

My actions are not to make you choose but to protect myself. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to watch every word that I say, where I have to be on guard because everything I say or do might end up with C (Pablo). He does feed people little bits and pieces of information, he tells people that I am wrong and evil and that I lead people astray, that I don’t know what I am doing, that I am on a power trip, that I am somebody people have to be careful with…and lots of other things.

Again, put yourself in my situation for just a moment and think about that.

Speak soon,
Mario

My reply:

April 2, 2005 4:40:28 PM BDT

You say that sitting down doesn’t have to be a confrontation but I sense it is in a way. Not only your first email, but this one makes me feel that way as well.

I didn’t know about your difficulty with reading, but you must try in this case, because like I said before and like I must repeat now, I need some time before I can deal with this situation as I have really serious personal and financial issues that demand my attention and I need to focus al my efforts on that. So bear with my need to use this medium to communicate rather than a sit down at this present time.

Let me reiterate: I said that I wanted to be there. It didn’t matter to me where we were meeting, whether it was an official Meetup, or a just you and me or you me and A.

This is the point I made when I said I had come far to see you, or to be at a Meetup and many of those journeys were hideously expensive, and two hour trips. So for me this issue is not one of distance or travelling time, but of willingness.

You said in your original email that you weren’t going to back me up in selecting a venue that was inconvenient to others–meaning you. The reason why I think this is unfair is because in everything you have done with the Santeria Meetup group I have backed you up when I physically could.

Saying you weren’t going to support me or the London Orisha Meetup was unkind and definitely not as generous to me as I have been to you in your own efforts.

In terms of suggesting a venue, Mario, I have not had regular Internet access until this week. I cannot check these things at work, as I am very uncomfortable with using the Internet at work as I have been warned already about using it for non-work related things.

Also, because I have been getting up and ridiculous hours in the morning and travelling for as long as two hours to get to work and two hours to get home in the evenings, you will forgive me if suggesting a venue for the Santeria Meetup was low on my list of priorities.

(In any case, it was his group and his perogative to name dates and places, except OF COURSE, I wasn’t to be allowed any perogative of my own. But alas, this is repetition. )

However, suggesting I had ‘two opportunities’ to schedule meetups at the same time as his, is like no argument at all. So fucking what? Why does that justify deleting my post?

Plus the bitch about the location is irrational, because shit man, all of us have to come from somewhere. Some people lived in Bristol, or Leeds, or Essex or Kent, or right there in London. It’s easy for some and harder for others. Like ALL things, intent has a lot to do with results and actions. Shit man, yet again he thinks his faulty logic is supposed to sway me into understanding his position, but his argument is simply groundless and remains so.

And that was it. Supposedly.

I stopped going to the meetups, stopped calling, stopped emailing, ceased all contact with Mario all together.

My English Trinidadian friend and I talked every so often, but the subject of Mario never came up. And now, in light of all that’s happened recently, I’m thinking many of those calls or texts were fishing expeditions. I scheduled my own Meetups for London Orisha and pretty much did my thing. My English Trinidadian friend, although saying she was coming, never actually showed up to any of them.

I went on with my life and I must be truthful, thought on Mario very little. My spiritual life began to expand, I continued working with the babalawo when he returned to London, performed ibori (head feeding), ebbos, adimu and I started to meet more Orisha people, go to more events. I got around as one would say.

The babalawo I’ve been working with wrote a book and about three weeks ago the UK launch of the book. When I walked into the community centre where it was held, I was gobsmacked to see one of the young men who I met through the Meetup groups.

We hugged and kissed each other’s cheeks, and played the catch up game. When he asked me about Mario, I shied away from saying too much at first, only willing to say that I uncomfortable with Mario and that’s it. But he kept pressing me, so between myself and Pablo, I laid down what I thought were some of the core issues in this situation, and I’m sad to say, my anger came up to the surface.

Buried frustration and indignation came up and I couldn’t stop it. It was the first time since all this started that I gave voice to a lot of these feelings to anyone else but Pablo, and that one time I talked to the English Trinidadian lady about it. I spoke frankly about what Mario did, and why I wasn’t going to let some pissant, 25 year old, German, gay white boy tell me how to run my life. Ah well, gotta break eggs to bake bread.

The book launch was lovely, and significant for a couple of other reasons, but as they are not relevant to this discourse, I’ll just press on.

In any case, the Meetup member and I chatted about all kinds of things, and I thought we had made a connection, a personal one you know?

Two days later, I send out an email to my Meetup group, encouraging to use the RSS feeds associated with the group, and greeted them in traditional Yoruba, and the way I think a daughter of Orunmillla would “Alafia! Aboru, Aboye, Abosise”

Within a couple of hours, I get this email from Mario:

August 23, 2005 12:16:31 PM BDT

> Aboru, Aboye, Abosise!

Did anyone ever tell you that this is:

a) spelled COMPLETELLY wrong!
and
b) a ritual greating which should only be used to salute a babalawo!?

But who am I to know…I’m not even a priest and god knows if I ever will be one! Go make a fool of yourself woman!

Now, I laughed at first… still kinda laughing, but the thought that the Meetup guy I had met at the book launch a couple days previous, taking back my comments and reporting to Mario what I said kind of spooked me a little.

I had no intention of responding at first, because like I said, I am disinclined to enter direct confrontation with anyone. I know my temper well enough, and the wild woman bitch in side me with the pistola cocked and ready, isn’t trustworthy enough not to do damage that’s irreparable and cause me great distress later.

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I got pissed off. I mean, months and months of not talking, holding my peace and not getting involved. Panning questions about Mario when asked directly, and making sure nothing I said was mistaken for bad talking him. Then this motherfucker (and I mean that word both literally and figuratively) out of the blue, just upchucks his bullshit from earlier this year? Uhhhh… no mate, you must think I am soft.

So I let myself be pissed off, and I wrote back:

August 24, 2005 9:41:10 AM BDT

Did anyone ever tell you that you are an ass? A jackass at that?

Here are a couple of reasons:

1) Aboru, Aboye, Abosise, is spelt here in the NIGERIAN YOURUBA LANGUAGE, in which it is spelt correctly with the exception of the correct Yoruba fonts which are not available for my computer,

and

2) Aboru, Aboye, Abosise, is used in both Yorubaland and in Lukumi/Santeria as a general greeting, but granted it is only used by Ifa-leaning people. I have had three divinations, all of which confirm that Orunmilla is my Orisha. I have had three priests, most recently a babalawo and two olorisha that can confirm I am apetebii, and will become iyanifa. But we go into Lukumi/Ifa differences, because if I was a man, I’d be a made to Ifa and become a babalawo. I also know you don’t think much of babalawo’s so we won’t nit pick about that. But you will forgive me if my AFRICAN IFA leanings escape your very small mind, understanding and spirit.

In the end, I was correct in my terminology and my usage, and who is the one who is made to look a fool now? Certainly not me, as I don’t have that desperate need for validation that you have, and hence have no need to PROVE to you, how much I know about anything… or reach out across the Internet to insult you. I don’t give one ass what you do, although you seem to care very much about what I do and say, so you must think I’m important in your scheme (AND I DO MEAN SCHEME) of things.

Neither would I want to infer that you are NOT the self-aggrandising sole expert of all things Lukumi/Santeria, Ifa and Candomble in England. No that would never do. Since you know, better than anyone else, what is good for you, and by your own behaviour and words, what is best for me, and of course being this infallible repository for all knowledge about all things to do with Orisha worship in England… no, no, no… perish the thought. You are that! You are the ONLY and THE BEST expert in all things spiritual in the African Traditional Religions, in England. White, German, 25 year-old unintiated you… only you, dada, only you!

So in short, thank you for your words. They go a long way to reinforce in my mind that I made the right choices about my life at a critical point., and I am not in the least way sorry not to have anything more to do with you. If I had continued, you would have continued to try to control who I could be friends with, who I can see, who I could talk to and sucked me bone dry in the process. Or done something equally as nasty as you have turned out to do. Your credentials as an asshole are displayed everywhere, everyone knows about you… and those that don’t, will know soon enough if they have eyes to see. You can pass that along to whoever your spy is, for free.

We have a saying where I come from: Every skin teet is not a smile.

Where I come from, skin teet does earn hard slap, there’s even a song about it, quite a few.

But you are beneath me, so I would not deliver the hard slap you so richly deserve.

Mario, this does not aid your spiritual development. It only hinders you, fundamentally. For your own information here is what I really said: Your immaturity and your insecurities will prevent you from being a priest; prevent you from developing and growing. You’ve heard this from more than me… more than one person has told you this, but you do not listen. I doubt you will listen to me. Yet, I must add my voice to those with wisdom and eyes to see, and will to speak. Grow up Mario. All of this is the behaviour of a puling child who cannot get what he wants, and hence must lash out, petulant and unreasoning.

You think other people will not see through you? They do. So keep skinning your teet mate, the hard slap will come soon enough. But not from me. I want nothing more to do with you, as you are distasteful to me in the extreme, and your brand of spirituality only skin deep, and all the fine concepts pale against the virulence in your soul.

However, I don’t want to write a whole long discourse, as I know you don’t read that well, and would not want to overwhelm you with too much correct English, or for that matter, concepts beyond you. Now, be a good little boy, and go get the dictionary. Because I know you have some difficulty with the big words, and I’ve used words here unfamiliar to you. I know how you feel about fools, and your foolishness must be combatted, but by you Mario, not by me.

Okay, so I was condescending. I admit it. I can be a condescending bitch when I am ready. I am not making one excuse for what I said. Cannot and will not, in fact I stand behind what I said.

I had had enough. Had enough of this pissant little boy, who was home by his mother when I was out here minding myself and big man. I had had enough!

Fucking idiot that he is, he wrote back:

August 24, 2005 10:46:39 AM BDT

>But you are beneath me, so I would not deliver the hard slap you so richly deserve.

LOLOLOL

Mario, this does not aid your spiritual development. It only hinders you, fundamentally.

LOL! This makes me laugh even harder!!!! LOL Who are YOU to teach me about spiritual development! All YOU are is a selve-centered and egotistilac fat woman who thinks her life gets better is she just gets all the attention in the world and the next fuck that might just be around the corner….writing a blog, advertising for peple “where to find me”…come on! You are the last person who can teach ANYONE about ANY kind of spiritual development!

Your immaturity and your insecurities will prevent you from being a priest; prevent you from developing and growing.

LOL! Oh my god! It gets even better now! YOU are telling ME to grow up!!! LOL
I am not running around like a needy child, trying to get pittied here and pittied there! I am not going from one reading to the next just to get some attention and then not do any of the ebbos prescribed…but I guess THAT is real growth as the world can see on your blog!!!

You’ve heard this from more than me… more than one person has told you this, but you do not listen. I doubt you will listen to me. Yet, I must add my voice to those with wisdom and eyes to see, and will to speak.

LOL! I hope you are not talking about Pablo [sic] or any of these people! Wisdom is the last thing they have! I have heard them talking about you in not very flattering terms but I am sure they would never speak any of their “gems of wisdom” which they shared about you in your face! I guess that is the true wisdom…to be 2-faced and use people as you need them! UPS! I think I just found the common ground between you all! You use what you need and once you are done with it you move on!

But hey! Keep listening to your “sages” as they might able to help you – which I doubt! Just keep your dependence! Its good for you! Your little Ego needs those BIG egos to nurture itself!

Grow up Mario. All of this is the behaviour of a puling child who cannot get what he wants, and hence must lash out, petulant and unreasoning.

LOL! Oh Jesus! Again….if that is not the “pot calling the cattle black” at the English say!
I guess you are only able to see other peoples faults but again not your own! But I guess if your world would be good, then there would be noone to pitty you or even give you any kind of attention. Oh well…

However, I don’t want to write a whole long discourse, as I know you don’t read that well, and would not want to overwhelm you with too much correct English, or for that matter, concepts beyond you.

OH! Are you talking about dyslexia!? I guess I should tell you that there are different forms of dyslexia. The one I have is WRITING related…NOT reading related!

Now, be a good little boy, and go get the dictionary. Because I know you have some difficulty with the big words, and I’ve used words here unfamiliar to you.

Have you? I couldn’t find any that were unfamiliar! I would be greatful if you could point them out to me! Honestly though!

I know how you feel about fools, and your foolishness must be combatted, but by you Mario, not by me.

LOL! I guess that made you feel REALLY good now to try and exercise some superiority for once in your life! No worries…I will not take that feeling away from you! I know it will not last for very long. Your depression will kick in soon. Time will sort you out!

The point still stands…no matter if you THINK you are spelling your little jibberinsh “Aboru, Aboye, Abosise” the “Yoruba Way” it is still spelled wrong…but I guess that is yet another way of getting attention!

Have a good one, and don’t forget to take your pills.
Mario

FYI: I wasn’t spelt wrong… unless I chose to spell in the CUBAN way, which is undoubtedly a corruption of traditional Yoruba. I checked with five Yoruba speakers AND writers, and they confirmed the correctness of it’s spelling and usage. So he can put that in his pipe and smoke ’em.

Also, allyuh know Big Mami does blog! Allyuh know I does defend my blog rights like the bitch I am, so why should I feel ashamed? Is this blog-envy I am seeing? Shucks, don’t blame me if you can’t put your whole finger on the English language and no one would read your blog if you could.

And I don’t have a superiority complex. I am unique, and understand my individuality, but am I a superior bitch. Hmmm…. hard to answer. Don’t perceive I’ve done that in my life and feel no need to do so.

As for attention getting, lawd, lawd, would one chose the life of a writer if one didn’t want a little attention. But man, all of these accusations kind of smack of 1) projecting one’s behaviour onto someone else 2) falling into ‘doth protest’ much category.

My response:

August 24, 2005 11:10:32 AM BDT

Hard ears you will not hear, by and by you will feel.

For your information Mario, and for your information alone: All your emails are now being sent to the trash and will no longer be read, so do your worst in a vacum. I will not read them. Tell all of the people you are duping in the Santeria Meetup, how I am an evil, fat, egotistical bitch. Better yet, post them to the message board… that way EVERYONE can see your bile out in the open.

Oh, one more thing, pity is spelt with ONE t and ‘jibberinsh’ does not have a ‘n’; selve-centered does not have a ‘v’, egotistilac does not exist in English, neither does peple. Cattle is considered to be herds of cows or buffalo. ‘Greatful’ is spelt, grateful.

Fuckwit.

P.S. God doesn’t sleep, Mario. God sees your inner heart in a way no one else does.

Because let’s face it, this man cyan win no war of words with me, and I had had enough for real. And then I heard nothing more. Until last week.

Now, because of my money situation at the moment, I wasn’t able to make the subscription for Meetup.com, but one of the groups members stepped up and indicated they’d be happy to pay the fee and let me continue on as organiser.

However, they had to sign in as me and pay through my account in order for it to happen and instead they logged in as themselves and paid the fee, so of course, the subscription lapsed.

It only took us a few hours to figure out what had happened, but when we went to sort it out, Mario had already elbowed his way in and took over MY group!

So now I am no longer the organiser of the London Orisha Meetup group, and Mario is ruling the London roost (from Surrey).

So where am I now with all of this?

Still pissed off to start with. It’s not just the overall stupidity of the situation, it’s the sense of betrayal, although wunna already know I don’t cotton too much with stupidity. Puts me in a slapping mood, so it does! Betrayal, cuffing mood, so it does.

If you and I are friends, and you profess to care about me, it shouldn’t bother you that I make different choices than you. Your life is not my life.

It’s interesting to me, to look back over the email communications Mario and I have had since September last year, and see a real picture of him as an individual emerge.

His OWN WORDS show who he really is! When he thought Pablo was talking his name, erroneously might I add, he wrote that what was being said was that he was a ‘skanky godchild’ or that he was looking for ‘fame and fortune’.

Although to the best of my knowledge, no one said that, definitely not to me. Pablo assures me, that until all this shit started he didn’t give Mario much thought other than he was an Orisha practitioner and that he was interested in solidarity among all the Orisha people in London because the religion is marginalised in this country.

However, as more and more of the story emerged about what really (I repeat not all the details, but enough to get a picture, a sketch if you will) happened between Mario and his former godfather, ‘skanky godchild’ and his grasping, grabbing megalomania, his need for fame and fortune are quite apt descriptions for him. BUT IT CAME FROM HIS OWN MOUTH, so it’s marvellous to see how people sow the seeds of their own destruction.

I know enough now about what happened, to understand that Mario’s insecurities run deep. Now while I do not give a shit about him being gay, his being gay also plays a part in this.

I have enough gay friends, and circulated in gay communities in four countries to understand that there is an underlying self hatred that they live with, and more than a handful hate women as well, after all, all we are is ‘fish’ ennit? Certainly not all, but enough of them struggle with the weight of their homosexuality in a heterosexual society and all the inherent prejudices directed towards them, that it creates emotional imbalances and as my mother (who has numerous gay friends herself) puts it, twists their world view. I guess that is to be expected to a certain degree. Either they feel too much or too little, they agonise over the state of their lives, they are victimised by homophobes and it creates this rampant insecurity.

Add to this that many of them, most of them are rejected by their families of origin, which carries with it its own emotional difficulties. If you’ve hung out with gay men in particular, you will pick up on these things. The way they speak to each other, handle each other. They are often nasty, bad minded and spiteful. Not all, let me reiterate, but enough are like this for it to be symptomatic of their communities and relationships. Anyone who flies up and denies this is self delusional. It exists, virulent and distasteful as it is, it exists.

Many gay young men come to Orisha, like all kinds of people, gay or straight, to find healing and empowerment. Unfortunately, like I said before, backbiting is common in Orisha communities, more common than any of us would care to admit, also, homophobia exists like it does everywhere; in Orisha communities as well.

Gay men are often preyed upon by unscrupulous elders, and treated as subhuman, something I personally think reflects badly on the individuals involved. If I see that kind of shit go on in front of me, I will shame you, pure and simple. I will call you out and defend my gay brother or sister. It’s as simple as that. Yet, I am not self delusional to say it doesn’t exist. My rosy picture of Orisha communities has long since departed and I don’t tell lies.

However, when you get into victim mode, it can be more seductive. Also, if you seek out power, you make yourself prone to victimisation, because those with power rarely relinquish it, and seekers of power can be easily turned into slaves by people more clever and skilled than they are, all the while being convinced of their rising status and stature. I’ve seen it happen, and not just in sci fi or fantasy movies.

But this brings me to The Lord of The Rings, so let me use a few literary metaphors to illustrate my point.

Think of Saruman The White, once the leader of the Council of White, the ‘leader’ of the Istari (The Five Wizards) when they came out of Valar. Saruman was wise, wise in lore and knowledge. When the War of the RIngs began to heat up, Saruman researched the lore of the One Ring ceaselessly until he began to covet the thing. In his search to obtain it, he got caught by Sauron, who promised him greater power, and in Saruman’s lust he was enslaved and ended badly, (stabbed in the back by Grima Wormtongue, a man of Rohan that he corrupted and enslaved himself, although the movie’s spike in ya ass worked for me too!)

Remember too, that Saruman had a voice of silk. He used his voice to fool people into thinking he was benign, kindly, benevolent and magnanimous. Yet, some people he could not fool, but most he could, weak willed, weak minded or unsuspecting people.

Gimli Son of Gloin said it best, he was one of the hardy strong minded who pierced Saruman’s seeming magnanimity to say, “The words of this wizard stand on their heads… In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying…”

I liken Mario to Saruman. Although, Saruman was truly dangerous, while Mario could never be. Why? It’s a matter of authority. Mario actually has none. He is at the bottom of all of this, not a priest. To be truly dangerous, one would have to be very powerful. Mario is weak and what power he has is weak.

I saw through his smiles and seeming kindness, to see the grasping immature, insecure, self aggrandising, fucking nitwit that really exists underneath, and well, you know I’m a strong minded bitch, so if that’s all you can offer me by way of friendship I fucking pass, oui?

More than that, in all his actions, words and deeds in the last year of my acquaintance with him, he seems to lack certain LIFE LESSONS. These are lessons one learns regardless of spiritual or religious affiliations, intellectual development, whatever. These are the opportunities life gives you to grow as an individual that allow you to process difficult circumstances, situations etc. and still maintain your dignity, and not resort to unkindness, spitefulness or revenge to win over or crush someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, or doesn’t do what you want.

Because from what I see he lacks these very real and necessary building blocks for emotional and spiritual understanding, I realised early on that there was nothing much beyond basics (which I had already had from Trinidad) that I could learn from him. So instead I chose to see him as a friend and not anything remotely like a teacher. Except in retrospect, I see now he was trawling for constituents, and you know I’m a leader not a follower. More than that, I see he was whoring for his ile trying to bring in numbers so he could look real good to all the ‘nay sayers’. But chile, the nay sayers, real saying with that one. He couldn’t lead me to water on the banks of a lake.

Why else would a 25 year old, uninitiated ABORISHA (uninitiated devotee) feel he has the authority to speak for all of Orisha in London?

This unsufferable know-it-all, this 25 year old whose mother’s milk only just drain out of his face, and now start to smell himself, thinks his knowledge is the font from which all Orisha wisdom flows in England, yet he is deluding himself.

I am 31 years old and know enough to know that all I think I know I do not know. When I initiate I know that whatever I think I know about this religion and it’s ways will pale as to what is revealed to me. More, even after I initiate, I know it will take years and years and years of practical experience even for me to BEGIN to understand SOME of it. What human being can truly know God and his emissaries? None and no one. Anyone who claims to speak for God is false. All you do is find your way to serve, and serve.

Another thing that concerns me is Mario’s emphasis on money. He is hawking divinations by his ‘God brother’, holding these divinations in his house (which no doubt his God brother compensates him for), charging for workshops through Meetup (some of which he him self facilitate, and not in Orisha much, eh? Hoodoo…) and pushing people towards his OWN godfather (the new one mind you) and house for more indepth ritual work, and seems too focussed on adding to his own power to be legitimate.

I cannot complain about his being white, but you know there are a large number of white people in this religion who are in it for their own power and financial gain. Not that people of African descent don’t do this (I have my own stories of this told already) but it makes it WORSE to me that you are white. It like a further exploitation of my beautiful African heritage and culture for personal financial gain, and that, that my babies, is wrong. Wrong in more than five different ways.

Also, Mario’s being German, a people with deep, deep roots of hatred for all non-white people’s (although not all obviously so nobody don’t write me to tell me Germans are the soul of equality), also has a part to play in this as well. It’s as if he has not left behind certain attitudes inherent in the culture he comes from behind him.

Another point of concern is, that not only does he practise Santeria, he also dabbles in Hoodoo, Voodoo (there’s a difference) and Palo Mayombe. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but in terms of spiritual systems, it’s best to have one master rather than rushing from pillar to post. Because I question his authenticity, one can more than wonder if Mario’s dabbling in the ATR’s is real or because he is looking for power, fame and money. But he said it, oui? Not me, I just illustrating my point. He’s collecting Orishas because they go with his decor, and not really understanding that there’s more to this tradition than that, control, power, dominance.

Those that seek power do not deserve it. (Who said that?)

Then there are stories like this one (taken from the Santeria Meetup Group Discussion board, posted not two days ago:

Besides the technical breakdown….

At 11.30 the group was told 
that there Leah Gordon was’nt coming to host the workshop,
because she was called away for bussiness the day before.
This was very disappointing, since me and my partner 
travelled from Holland and came especially for Leah Gordon.
We decided to leave at this point, and were told that
one week before the workshop she already cancelled!
It’s very strange since we had e-mail contact with Mario
and we weren’t told this, so we came and spent a lot 
of money on travelling and staying in London.angry.gif We lost our trust;

Oxun

That is some scary shit. This man CHARGES for these workshops, oui? Takes people’s money and doesn’t deliver and do we know if they get a refund?

The man is dishonourable and dishonest.

The only reason he turned on me, all of this, Mario’s attitude towards me and his spiteful attempt to ‘wound me’, is because Pablo and I became friends. By Mario’s own admission, he never had much dealings with Pablo. By his own admission, his beef was with his former godfather, not Pablo. So why should it bother you that Pablo and I became friends? Are you so insecure in your position as ‘rightful ruler’ of all things Orisha and ATR’s in London, that your throne cannot sustain two people being completely uninvolved in your relationship with your former Godfather, decide to be friends?

For me, I know it is because he didn’t want me to find out anything that could slacken his grasp on the Santeria Meetup. Also, he wanted me right where he wanted me, and when I balked, the knife he sharpens behind his back came out.

Tell me, is all of this the behaviour of someone who is on the path of iwa pele? For those of you who do not know, iwa pele in Yoruba traditional spirituality, is ‘true and noble character’. It is one of the greater concepts in Ifa, because it is tied to your Ori (your destiny) and it is in part the choices you make that let you work with your Ori to fulfil your life’s work.

Mario’s behaviour to date, up to and including muscling in and taking over my group when my eye was off it for the euquivalent of a second or two, shows me that his character is neither good or noble and that his Ori is as bad as it comes.

Now it comes down to calling me ‘fat’ and that all I think about is ‘the next fuck around the corner’.

To that all I can say is this: Fuck you you monkey ass racist money grubbing mother fucker.

Who de ass you think you talking to? You must think I am soft, but I went to Combermere School and soft ain’t in we vocabulary. We don’t beat you with hand, we does beat you with chair and wood and I been fighting man bigger than me since I small, so I know what to do to win the fight.

I am a dangerous bitch when you fuck with me. More than once, people have made the mistake of thinking that because I am bubbly and sweet natured that they can say and do as they please with me, and when I rise up and fuck them up, they’re shocked and say in surprise, “Me ain’t know she so, oui?”

Mario is lucky I ain’t like him, and my mother and grandmother raised me. Not I would have already gotten on a train and went down to Red Hill and block stink as fuck outside his house. Monilove and I spent the whole day, when this last email exchange went down, talking one another out of going down there and fucking him up. Monilove is Ogun’s daughter, and more than a latent man beater. Plus she went to Colridge & Parry. So it ain’t like I by myself.

He ain’t know me. Don’t know one ass about my life. He don’t know where I sleep and who I fuck or don’t fuck. He don’t know how I make my money or what I have to do to get it, so he can kiss my whole fat fucking ass. If he can’t do it all in one go with his big ass fucking mouth, he can fax it or post it.

However, I know where he lives. I know who he fucks. I know how he makes his money and what he has to do to get it. So he is pulling a tiger’s tale (I am a Tiger in the Chinese astrological system) and he ain’t going to like what I got for his punk ass.

He done took it too far, and he better not come anywhere near me or make the mistake of opening his mouth to say one word to me, because I will fuck him up. I ain’t going looking for him, I ain’t spending one cent to go and fuck him up, no matter how much I think he deserves it. He will have to come into my space, or be somewhere where I am and make the mistake of open his mouth around me. Punk… probably don’t have the good damn sense to be frightened.

My mother’s brothers, who ill treated both me and my mother for years, have STOPPED fucking with me because they KNOW I am dangerous. They know if you piss me off to the point of no control, one of us likely to fucking die. It’s always me that backs out before I strike, and they KNOW it was me, so they’re frightened now. So much so these grown ass fuckups I have the misfortune of being related to, cross the street when they see me coming and do not meet my eyes if we’re in close quarters, and all three of them are a foot taller than me and outweigh me, but they DO NOT fuck with me. They are frightened like shit of me. This is nothing I am proud of, but it’s a fact so I can’t lie now and say not. I terrible, ya’ll. I not easy when ya get me vex.

Not because I am wrong, but because they KNOW they done me wrong and when I does cuss ya ass, I don’t lie on you. I does cuss ya ass with the truth which is infinitely more painful than a lie, and man does like to hit woman when the truth hurts, but ya cyan make that mistake with me. Do it and if I can’t beat you when you’re awake, and I will try, I will wait until you sleep and fuck you up, you understand me?

I have cut up men–with meat tenderisers, oui?–and broken man fingers for hitting me, and I will do it again if it happens again. The only way one Mario Menz can shut me up is to beat me, and if he beat me he better kill me, and then, well I got four very equally as dangerous brothers. And the four of them won’t want satifaction in court, or insurance money, is life they will take.

I not easy, my people not easy. Allyuh think when I say I am a bitch, I am making a joke. I am not. I am dead serious, and I will beat Mario’s ass if he keeps fucking with me. I ain’t frighten for his big German neanderthal ass. I close to the ground and if he test me he is going to lose a testicle or three.

Physical cut ass aside, he’s also pressing for a war of words with me? And confusing ‘cattle’ and ‘kettle’? He for real? He cannot be for real, but if is a fight he starting with me, he will understand why I does done man business, oui?

To paraphrase an Lukumi elder, “sometimes you cannot wait for karma to deal with some people. I does drop out of a tree on a motherfucker.”

Mario is one of those people. If he is smart, he will see me and don’t see me. He will not open his mouth to say one word more to me and cross the street when he sees me coming. He better give me as wide a berth as possible, because he cannot handle me, frightened of pussy power like he is.

I can legitimately say I have a few enemies, and Mario and I are now sworn enemies. I will not tolerate that bullshit. It’s fine to tell me all that shit, to try and tell me who my friends are and to try to control me. Mind you, these are things my mother has been trying to do to me since I was small and CANNOT get done in 31 years of mothering me. I’ve always fought all efforts to control me. I control me, nobody controls me. That will only make me break free and leave you behind choking in my dust.

But to call me fat? To intimate that I am a slut? Dem’s fighting fucking words and he going to get it from me one way or the other.

It’s like “Hard Slap” by Orange Sky, “Doh lemme buss a slap in ya ass / ‘Cause you come to fight me down / But I have my armour on now / Doh lemme buss a slap in ya ass / ‘Cause everytime we meet is a skinning teet you greet me wit.”

I dere. I am right there! And one German jackass is going to get a hard slap from me. There is nothing, NOTHING that I have done that has warranted his behaviour towards me. NOTHING. (Although if he ever reads this, he’s going to have a legitimate reason to hate my ass.) If I had done him something, I would feel bad and admit it. But I ain’t done nothing to him, the same way his former god father did him nothing, and Pablo did him nothing but he’s now going around villifying all our names and attempting to compete in a game none of us are playing with him. But this knuckles-grazing-the-ground pedantic dogmatic soplipsistic asshole with NO AUTHORITY and very little actual intelligence is a saint?

No. No. A thousand times no.

I can’t stop him from what he is doing. I can’t go to the members of the group I organised, or the members of the Santeria Meetup group and tell them, this man is a fraud, a user and an abuser. Those are lessons they’ll have to learn on their own. But woe betide them if they get in too deep with Mario, and then realise what is what and back out. He’ll turn on them just as quickly as he did with me.

I also do not wish him ill. Because I am angry and want to cut ass, I don’t neccesarily want him to suffer. I don’t hate him by a long shot. But that ain’t have nothing to do with cutting his ass. The Bible so many people love said ‘Spare the rod and spare the child,’ ent? Only children with bad behaviour and no manners behave like this. So since I am the only adult in the room, the rod for you baby. Does that mean you as parent do not love your child. I can’t go so far as to say I love Mario, unless it’s in the ‘love all humans’ category. But I truly do not wish him dead or suffering. A cut ass he can recover from is what I’m talking about.

Remember back in May or June when I had a dream about him. In the dream he was dead and I was devasted by it. I was sad that things ended between us on such a sour note, and now there was no chance to rectify it.

As always, my dreams clue me in to what is really going on. In my dreams when people die, or deformed in some way, it ALWAYS means I am about to experience a spiritual growth spurt. The person that is dead, is always the person I am freeing myself from. Death in my dreams always mean a new life of some kind. So I KNOW in myself that I am not the one coming off worse in the deal. I can only hope, as I said to Mario himself in my emails to him, that he grows from this experience. I can only hope he learns something, but I don’t expect it. He strikes me as the sort of person doomed to one level of the Tree of Life, sitting and lusting for higher branches and unable to get there.

Spiritually the repercussions of his behaviour will be far more devastating for him that it ever could be for me.

Shucks, like someone I saw once every six weeks over four or five months and spoke to on the telephone only a handful of times, could ever spiritually damage me, or damage me in any way other than physical (and we done talk about that) ent?

He just better stay out of my physical sphere or he going to get it. And believe me, the hard slap I have for him will end the debate. It might not even be me to do it. The Orisas have a funny way of dealing with things. Karma babies, karma. But believe me when I say if I see him anywhere and he test me, he’ll find out why my brother says, “Don’t fuck with Sweet Girl. Sweet girl got it pon lock.”

Me, I have already pulled ahead and he’s too dimwitted to understand. Let him think that he has won points in this little game he has been playing. Soon enough he’ll understand why slow and steady wins the race. Jackrabbit jackass, same difference; end result the same.

When the little world where he is king comes crashing down on him–and it inevitably will–he’ll look around and realise his mistakes. More, maybe he’ll realise I was his friend, and he threw me away over a stupid thing like control and domination. Me, I will be sympathetic, but I’ll sidestep that bile filled fuckwit and look back only long enough to watch the implosion.

Jumping Johosephat babies, this is the “Scouring of the Shire”.

UPDATE August 29 2009: Was told today Mario has a web site and goes under the name Mario Dos Ventos, and claims now to be an Umbandanista… whoooo… lawse.

AVOID THIS MAN.

UPDATE: Nov. 25th, 2009

Please see: http://www.ripoffreport.com/Consulting/Mario-Dos-Ventos/mario-dos-ventos-rip-of-spirtu-c8cfp.htm

Also: http://www.complaintsboard.com/suspicious-companies/page/151

A quick Google search will turn up many links to Mario’s books etc. My advice to the shocking numbers of people who STILL seem to find this post and comment and let me know their own experiences and thoughts, is to DIG DEEPER.

Mario’s brand of whatever he is selling now, lacks real power… there is nothing he can teach you other than a fool and his money are quickly separated. Be careful with this man always!

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thegoddessroom

The Vault

sungoddess

mermaid, dayo's mama, water priestess, writer, web developer, omo yemoja, dos aguas, obsessive reader, sci-fi fan, trini-bajan, combermerian, second life, music, music, music!