The placement of fallen fragments of coconut helped William Jones decide on whether or not to go to graduate school.
The Yoruba priest that Jones had invited into his Brooklyn apartment had examined the four coconut pieces he had strewn on the floor before telling Jones that it would be OK for him to further his studies.
That was more than a decade ago and today, Jones, 42, is still a practitioner of the Yoruba spiritual tradition. He said that consultations with Yoruba priests leave him with a sense of inner peace.
“I go to see a priest or a ‘babalawo’ when I need clarity on something,” said Jones, a well-known digital artist.
It’s the customized advice from babalawos (masters and diviners in the Ifa Yoruba tradition) and Yoruba priests (practitioners of the Yoruba spiritual tradition that have undergone the rites of initiation) that attracted Jones to what is believed to be the indigenous spiritual practice of the Yoruba ethnic group after realizing his dissatisfaction with the generalized sermons offered at Christian churches.
Jones had attended predominantly African-American churches throughout the earlier part of his life and had considered himself to be a spiritual person. The Christian church just did not give him the personal attention he wanted.
Another African-American, Ozahu Belagun, 37, could not accept the Christian teaching of the metaphysical space for torture and condemnation, known as ‘hell.’
“How can you tell me I’m going to a place [hell] that you’ve never been?” Belagun asked.
“And how do you know that you’re not going there?”
Belagun, known as Pompey Blocker before he acquired an indigenous African name, has explored a variety of spiritual orientations. His mother was a Jehovah’s Witness. He practiced Islam for three years and was inducted as a Freemason in 2005.
Now he practices voodoo and asserts that it’s nothing like the hocus-pocus sorcery depicted in Hollywood films.
“I’ve always been connected to things that other people would shun and say is evil,” Belagun said, referring to the tradition of voodoo.
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SOURCE: The Grio