Everybody Wants To Be A Bruja But They Ain’t Really Bout That Life


*EDIT 5/18/2017*

As much as I appreciate the tons of emails from everyone, I’m not here to determine or tell anyone what THEIR spiritual path is. This was personal for me.

I don’t give readings to people with no direct attachment to me. It’s how I keep my family safe and my own well-being protected. Thank you in advance for respecting my wishes.

So listen. I’m ecstatic Beyonce has everybody wanting to get in touch with their “inner bruja” and shit. That’s spectacular! No. REALLY, it is!

“And I’ma let y’all finish” but REAL TALK- there’s a certain amount of accountability and responsibility that comes with being a “witch” and I can assure you that it isn’t always pretty. Typically, witches were the first to be killed when Europeans invaded Africa.

 For the past year or so, we have been immersed in what is known as “Yoruba mythology”. I hate that term. Understand that this is coming from a purely tendentious point of view as I am a devoted Lucumisa.

In laymen’s terms. IT’S REAL AS FUCK. These faiths were originally practiced in secret because the Spanish, French and the British forbade them due to their powerful nature. The best way to suppress a group is to remove their strength. Our ancestors and Orishas were just that.

Yemaya Bruja


This awakening has offered the masses a pulchritudinous view of traditions which were practiced in secret for centuries. I am here for the learning aspect of it but there is a flagrant disregard to the years of work, knowledge, learning and understanding that goes into these faiths. This isn’t something that you can learn from the internet. There are ceremonies, consecrations, and processes involved which can’t be done by any charlatan on the block. You don’t choose which Orisha you want to represent. THEY CHOOSE YOU. Typically, there’s no handbook and most of the traditions and rezos (prayers) are passed down orally. Although in the digital age, you can find written versions and videos if you wanted to learn them. 

You just don’t decide to be a bruja by changing your name to a moniker you found on Youtube or Google. That’s not how this works. Everybody isn’t magical no matter how many articles you read or times you chant. It’s also not that simple in most cases. Let’s just be honest. I know that it sounds sexy as fuck. There’s an air of mystery when it comes to astroplaning (dimension jumping), being an oracle, a clairvoyant, a spellmaster, an empath or a person who sees spirits. Even the potential of being possessed by the Orishas will make the biggest skeptic curious. All that said- this shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

I get it. Rest assured that’s the only sexy thing about this. Nobody ever discusses the downside to this life. I am sure you all are thinking, “Where the hell is all of this going, chile?”

This may  freak some of you out. Others may be complete skeptics while some will be perfectly comfortable hearing this. It’s all good. 

I am an Oni Yemaya (Yemayá’s daughter). Yemaya’s children are known to be extremely intuitive and aside from that I am what they call a bruja de nacimiento” (natural witch or born witch).The two are mutually exclusive and the combination of being both is remarkably puissant. The short version of this is I’m not the only bruja in my family. Some were/are stronger than others and our gifts varied/vary. As the elders would say, I was a “born with a veil”.  I was born ALL SIX of the gifts I mentioned above. It’s a blessing and a curse. Real shit. My mami, sister and close friends and family can vouch for me. 

Yemaya haciendo olas.

True brujas will tell you. AS A BRUJA, I WILL TELL YOU. It can be a burden and pop culture will make you believe that you can click your heels 3 times and all will be right with the world. Hate to break it to you, homie. I wish it was that easy. 

I am going to share some details of my life that few people know about.

I’ve always had visions ever since I can remember. I didn’t think they were odd as a youngster. In fact, I thought everybody could do it. Some were frightening and others were joyous. I found that my silence wasn’t protecting the people whom I loved so I made a conscious decision in my teens to say what I saw. NO MATTER WHAT.

In  2003, I taught a hip hop class at CMI Health and Swim Club in Southfield, Michigan. I had a pretty good following and a girl named Lauren started to take my class. She was a pretty, caramel girl with bright eyes and a super sweet disposition. She was a sophomore at Oak Park High School and worked at Dunkin Donuts on some evenings. One night after class, I saw her walking towards Southfield Road and upon looking at her, I felt a sense of impending doom. It was so heavy that I felt my eyes well up with tears. My sister watched my daughter while I taught classes so I asked her permission to pick Negrita With Tumbao up a little late. I explained to my feelings to her. She said, “Yes. Of course.”

My heart raced as I pulled up to her and asked if she needed a ride. Lauren smiled and hopped in my truck. As I was talking to her, I mentioned that it was dark and she shouldn’t walk alone. I, also, told her that I would take her home after EVERY class because she needed to be careful and I worried about her. She was grateful. I felt a slight sense of relief. JUST A SLIGHT SENSE. 

About a month later, I go to my Daddy’s house to visit (Ibae Tonu) and he is watching the midday news on Channel 7. The volume was low but I see her picture with the caption- “Oak Park teen raped and strangled in Shepherd Park”. (I am trembling as I write this.) I was hysterical.

I just screamed, “I saw it, Daddy! And I couldn’t stop it!”

was shaken. He was speechless. I called my sister and told her they found Lauren in the park. Apparently, she had worked the night before and walked home about 9:30 pm cutting through Shepherd Park. A neighbor had been watching and stalking her. He killed her because she recognized him. I felt her suffering and I heard her screams. She thanked me for attempting to care for her. And I still carry the guilt of not being able to do more. 

Living in this skin has made me overprotective and guarded. Being a bruja makes you privy to the evils of the world. We see shit you don’t necessarily want to see and it can’t be erased. There are spirits who invade your space day and night and you may or may not be able to turn them off. I’ve had to barter with spirits to give me a break because mentally and physically- they were draining me. Let’s not mention the headaches. We carry EVERYBODY’S weight, energies and emotions. It’s a thankless job. However if we don’t do it, we run the risk of going mentally insane.

This is a matter of life or death for us.

Black girl magic is real but be careful what you ask for.

*In my Jigga voice* “It ain’t for everybody!”

K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao” and a Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist”. Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.

  • Lex

    This is so intriguing to me. How did you become a bruja? Is this your family’s religion? (sorry if religion isn’t the correct term to use)

    • Hey mami! So the “religion ” is separate but it is an incredible conduit for it. I didn’t “become”.. I just am. Like it’s enlaced in my DNA. I am not me if I’m not a bruja… You get it?

  • Furious Styles

    Thanks for sharing this. You answered questions I never got to ask anybody.

    As with most phenomena that become hot overnight, whether it’s spirituality or social activism, when more than 50 new people come at once that’s when you get folks who are choosing it for less than “noble” reasons.

  • Ngo Batalla

    Nsala Malaeko, You Got That Shit Right.It’s Not For Everybody.In Mayombe We Say,No One Comes Knocking At The Munanso Door Unless Sent By Their Bakulu/Ancestors. Being Of African Descent Doesn’t Automatically Make You A Santera/Santero ,Vodunsi, Or Tata/Yaya.Those Titles Are Given By Your Ancestral Calling.And It Definitly Is Way More Complex Than “LEMONADE”.

    • Bad Barbie

      Yes! I was heated and still am.

      • Ngo Batalla

        I Overstand Trust Me.

      • Paula Loyd-Brooks

        Me too!

    • Malekun Nsala… well I don’t want to even get into Mayombe on this post. 🙂 But yeah! You hit the nail on the head.

      • Ngo Batalla

        Understood Loud And Clear!

  • Kasheena B-u

    Thank you so much for sharing this! This is exactly what people need to hear/read!

  • Octavia Tai

    I have had what you described happen to me when a lil girl went missing in detroit. And many other times…im adopted so i plan on doing more research to learn where i come from…thank you for this 👏

  • Natasha Pierre-Louis

    Thank you for sharing this. Your story about Lauren brought tears to my eyes and a flood of memories from my youth. My mother practiced voudon when I was a child and I saw the effects it can have when one isn’t fully ready for all that comes with that life. I also was highly intuitive and sensitive as a child and was able to sense impending doom or when things weren’t right. I know the heart break it can cause when you sense something coming and arent able to stop it.

    I turned away from all of it for almost 10 years when I become a born again Christian. I’ve since gotten kicked out of the church and now identify with the Buddhist philosophy. Lately I’ve been getting that calling back to my intuitive self, so your post was very timely. The entire time I was reading it, I just kept nodding in agreement. Thanks again.

    • You are very welcome! Whenever you are ready to come home, just walk through the door. 🙂

    • Bad Barbie

      It will always lead you back to your true path. You were out here to find a purpose and you suffer when you avoid it more than if you embrace it. Ashe!

      • Natasha Pierre-Louis

        I agree. This is a lesson I’m learning now.

  • Thank you for telling that Truth. It isn’t fun and games. The pain, the losses, and the personal cost, and even then we aren’t powerful enough, fast enough, to save others. Then again, there are those times where it is all worth it. May Yemaya always hold you gentle, Elegua keep the roads right for you, may Agwe be loyal,

    • Nobody EVER speaks on the pain, losses or personal costs…I lost my father on January 22nd and with everything that I am… I couldn’t keep him here with me.

      • Bad Barbie

        How about when you receive your mano de kofa and your whole life makes sense? People think this is like a ouija that you buy at toys r us.

      • AjaChristina

        lost my mom on Christmas Day. but when i woke up i knew to get up and go to her. ive seen spirts my whole life, i hear voices, i feel people after death. my family has 302ed me. i thought i might be crazy. its a lot. i feel wrong seeking advice because i “hear” you know this, or listen.. ahhhhhh its all day..

    • Bad Barbie

      For real! People have no idea of our sacrifices.

  • Ebony Rose

    So what do you do to help you find your place in all this? I was adopted. No connection to my “creole” roots. No ancestors to teach me. Just these inate feelings. This pull. Constantly being told I’m not normal. It’s mental illness. 😞. I know that it’s more. I’ve experienced MORE.

    • We should probably talk offline.. email me.

      • Tee marie

        Can I email you as well? I’m in this exact predicament but I was afraid to post it until I saw her commment

        • Sure.

          • Lanae

            Please email me, I too have been struggling and have been dealing with it as a small child. I recently opened up to much family about it only to find out that other people in my family deal with the same it’s just everyone is quiet about it.

      • Ashley Haley

        How can i learn more. I feel like something is tryin to awaken in me. And after reading this it makes sense

      • Paula Loyd-Brooks

        I tried to email you but this didn’t work for me. I cannot get in.

        • Paula Loyd-Brooks

          I don’t know or can I figure out how to email you. I joined disgus, now I cannot get in to talk in private.

        • There’s no chat… my email is on my Instagram and the blog page, mama.

    • Andrea Hansen

      I share this with you (though I am not adopted) My mother was rejected/neglected by “family” and she never grew up speaking our language (Kreyol) I had to learn from others…it makes me feel disconnected…I however know that I have some gift and I haven’t tapped into how why and where.

    • RD777

      I’m an adoptee too so I understand where you are coming from. I’m also daughter of Yemaya. Every one has Egun(Ancestors) period. You may not know their names but they know you because if nothing else, their blood runs the your veins and they have a vested interest in the survival and success of the descendants.I recommend that you read “Finding Soul on the path of Orisha” if you haven’t already. The author’s writing about Ancestor relationship may be helpful to you.

    • Danielle Quaranta

      I’m right there with you. My grandmother was a Taino I was told, but I have no connection to that family. My sisters have been “read” and they were told we have it in our female line- I don’t know the weight of truth behind it. I’ve never been there. I have been through some atrocities. My biological mother doesn’t know much, and my biological father and grandparents wouldn’t allow me to explore any of it. I have always had this draw, and feelings. I swear I get a heaviness in the air. Can someone please guide me? I live ina cultural wasteland. It’s not like I can walk into a botanica and be like hey touch me and tell me if I have a gift.

  • SW

    Thank you for this. Just… thank you 💜

  • NonyaB🎯

    *Polishes entry for NWT on my Illuminatti Fresh list*

    I’m atheist but aware of how mainstream Abrahamic religions colonized souls and killed or marginalized indigenous religions (and related traditions) worldwide.

  • Kinda Sorta

    I was taught that we can ASK or pray and our gifts could be lessened. It has yet to work!

  • Tyrannnosaurus

    Please, can we talk? How can I email you?

  • Lina Joes

    Hi, mine mom was born with a veil over her head too. She can dream about certain things and knows when some things happens to us or otherd. She is gifted in some way . But a couple of people out of jealousy had done voudou on her. They even tried to kill me when i was a child. When she goes to other gifted people they notice her. And tell her she has something beautiful inside. Sometimes i tell her why would you always try to help people. When she is always hated. Most of the times i think it is more a curse than a gift. How do you cope with all the negative impact? If you have any ? Mangu akubariki 🙏

    • I’m very selective of who I allow near me. I say, “NO.”

      and if a person crosses me once…they won’t get a chance to cross me again.

      • dorah lamarre

        I so relate to what she said. my mom is the same, and it has gotten to a point where she is physically harmed and that’s more than I can take. Recently she has fallen and cut her head open, shes now recovering. I wish I could understand her more and help her but most of the time I find mself annoyed or mad at all of this. If only she could find like minded people who aren’t just there to take advantage of her or people who could help her understand and accept who she is or who would help her canalize her energy…. im praying for that. because this is more of a burden on all of us…

  • Dominique Weeks

    I have been led towards the Yoruba direction since 2015. I’ve always been an open being and after hearing about it I would tell myself to look into but would always forget. Last year I was led to it again. This time I bought a book about the Orishas. I did not read it yet. Something tells me that I’m not read. I have been dealing with depression. I can’t watch the news and can feel everyone’s energy around me. I practice yoga right now and feel like I opened something up to allow low energies into my sacred space. So right now I’m trying to get rid of them. Sometimes these dark energies comes in my dreams. Some try to attack me. Some just watches me. I feel like I need to know my ancestors. I feel like I need to learn the power for protection and guidance. But I’m scared. I need to be spiritually prepared. How would I know if its even for me to begin with?

    • Blah

      Thanks for sharing. I struggle with the same issues.

    • You’ve said you were led….that’s your answer right there. 😉

      • Dominique Weeks

        Lol. Simple and true xoxo

      • Dominique Weeks

        Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Blah

    Wow. I always prayed for God to make me less “intuitive” to make me less sensitive to spirits and energy. I have premonitions and lucid dreams, astral project, all by accident and I am afraid of it. Ive had dreams about 3 females presences one wearing yellow, another blue, another red. They keep coming to me in different settings and different forms. And Everytime, it’s as if they have been looking for me and I have been chosen for something me and they want to take me with them. I don’t know if I should embrace it or just continue to ignore it. Am I wrong for wanting to just attempt to be blind to it all?

    • I can’t tell you if you’re wrong… everybody’s spiritual journey is different. You have to figure out what works for you.

    • Bad Barbie

      Yemaya (blue), Oshun (yellow) and Oya (red). The 3 main female orisha deities. They have a message for you. Try to find out.

  • i am mi

    How do I find help to validate weather my feelings and visions are real and not just my mind being overactive? My mom doesn’t speak on her Louisiana roots and my grandmother has lost some of her memory.

    • Only you know if what you saw happened or not.. that would be a good indicator.. 😆

      • i am mi

        I’m not sure how to explain it. Like I’ve never denied that I could feel and sometimes see things before they happened. The parts I questioned was what felt like seeing ghosts or spirits. Like I could see them briefly and I’d still be able to feel them but I could never communicate or know if I’m even supposed to

        • Well technically you can communicate with anything if it’s present…if they are in your space, you have the right.

          • i am mi

            Do I just verbally speak? Or do I think it? How do I find out why that presence is there? How do I know if I’m supposed to be helping or not? It what my purpose is?

  • Goddesschee Goddesschee

    I want to know more. For some reason I feel like I relate more to this than being atheist or a Christian

  • Nicole Minzie

    All my life i felt different from my family and i never fit in with anyone, i am very spiritual and lately ive been seeing spirits, hearing them, and they sometimes say rude mean things and i really went insane and i went to the ER and they told me i had psychosis but i know its more than that.. im jamaican with native american and ghana roots and im an empath and i can feel others energies and i am very in tune with the sun and the moon and people tell me i need a spiritual guide because theres alot i know i can do and the lower spirits are draining me and i have been having the very painful headaches and ive been having really vivid dreams of the future and i can feel and hear people thoughts in my dreams. I really need help and guidance so i dont end up blowing my gifts out of proportion or lose them and end up in the hospital again. The hosptial psychiatrist tried to send me away against me away to anothe mental institution that i jnew nothing about and tried to persuade my to take medicine i felt like a guinea pig but with my intelligence i outsmarted them and got away luckily but now i need to be more careful.. but i know this is is it and i can never go back to the docter… ive been doing yoga and trying to eat healthy and my crown chakra is very open ive been feeling love and compassion for people who dont love me but sometimes i still feel hatred and anger and i am contradicting myself i am just so confused and ive been having really bad fatigue with all of this i wake up with a strained headache from all the different visions i go through at night. Please help, i need to learn more about myself and my roots but i do not know where to start as my family are christians and think im crazy.

    • Here’s the thing.. your journey is yours… I would suggest however getting a spiritual reading whether it’s tarot or at a Botanica.

  • Phoenix Indigo Child

    My great grandmother had gifts & everyone else in my family is scared of things of this nature, so I am alienated from it but everyone says my instincts are spot on. The night before my ex boyfriend died a great sadness came over me that I couldn’t shake, it was my nephews birthday party & I refused to go. Nothing could make me go, he was there at the party & my sister said he’d come for me & I still refused. I was fully dressed to go but refused & my mother was curious to know what came over me & I just couldn’t explain. On 03/2/05 I was almost hit by a car, on 03/03/05 (my nephews actual birthday) my sister, my two month old son & I was struck by a car (no real injury). Thing is me & my sister were just exchanging stories about how on the 2nd we both almost got hit by a car. On the 10th my step-brother totaled his car ( left without a scratch). On 03/17/05 my ex boyfriend died after he left my nephews bday party the next morning. I feel guilty because the type of person he was is that if a person was in need he’d be there. He fell asleep behind the wheel trying to reach a friend & I feel guilty 12 yrs later because I feel if I went to my nephews party he would be alive. My instincts/knowing saved me & my friends lives before too. I just see know things & isolate myself from people because I feel too much & it burdens me. I always been scared of myself but now want to know because I know my daughter feels & sees things & I don’t know how to help her.

  • Gem Tucker

    I cried as I read your story. I know the feeling of knowing. Of clarity. It’s sad and drives me crazy. It makes me feel alone. I’ll go to meet ups, new moon festivals and it makes me so sad how many women believe they are empaths or claim to be psychic and I know they aren’t. But I want them to be. I don’t want to perform rituals alone. I don’t want to write spells alone. My partner shares my intuition but not my desire to influence the future. It’s not even a desire, when I need to do a spell I can’t not.

    Spirits are powerful as they are deceitful. I don’t want to go to the women in my family because their powers are incredibly tied and expressed through their Christian faith, which I share, but I express my powers differently. To be an empath and psychic causes me a lot of grief. I want to talk about myself all the time, to express MY feelings, but I find it my duty to speak into others’ lives or to say nothing at all.

    Anyway, just thank you for reminding me I’m not alone in this struggle. To feel the pain of others is devastating. So, thank you for understanding.

  • Jodi

    my mom knows things. One time she heard a little girl scream a heart stopping scream but no one else heard it, later that day we see on the news that a tv fell and crushed a little girl. Ppl that pass also come visit her in her dreams amungst other things. I myself am highly affected by others energies. I can feel when someone is going to come around, like i think them up. idk, its probably just synchronization. Im just a very feeling, emotional person…sorry to just talk talk talk on your article. i love it. it makes me know my mom isnt weird or lying.

  • Tip

    I have so many questions! I have seen so much. My father practiced Santeria and my mother has dreams/visions. This fad that is going on is really making me fight my natural state, but we know what happens when you do this. I want to go to a Botanica and ask questions, but how do I know I can trust them? After stifling all my feelings can I strengthen them again?

    • I can’t tell you who you can trust… that something you have to know. But the Botanica is your best bet.

  • Mu’Mu Mami

    This came to me in perfect timing. I been feeling a lot of anger that our culture as bruja magick wombman or whatever people want to label is being exploited due to pop culture. It made me feel very warm that others who share gifts like me feel this way. I have spoken to sistas who do not share this viewpoint because I do not think they fully INNERstand the weight this crown bares. Thank you sis.

  • Lauren L.

    Hello! I just wanted to ask a question. How do you find out if you have been gifted in these ways? Women on my mother’s side have been able to see/ hear spirits (even I have)for at least 2 or 3 generations that I know have. My mother has had dreams and visions before events and her heeding their warning has saved her life. I would like to find out if I have these gifts as well.

    Thank you for your time!

    • You either have it or you don’t , mama.. not really any guesswork.

      • Lauren L

        Thank you for replying back. I just don’t know because I know nothing about my heritage and none of these things we are capable of have ever been called magic in my household. Only very strong intuition, visions in dreams, and mental illness (especially constant anxiety).

    • Bad Barbie

      I mean you would know if you did. Nobody else can’t really answer that. By now, you would know.

  • Celestina Kc

    Thank you so much for writing. I know any sense of the occult can be fascinating to many but actually doing the work of many occult paths is as simple and hard as that “its work folks.” It was refreshing to see this article, esp after all the “Lemonade” attention. Although, my pull has been more eclectic shamanic and empath work, I can relate to the “over stimulation” of energies at times and having to ask the spirit world to take a step back by claiming my own space and power. Thank you again, beautifully written.

    • Thank you! Sooo, I do have one request…occult is a word that isn’t applicable… this isn’t a European practice which is occult is the word for Euro”magic” etc. I wouldn’t use it.

      • Celestina Kc

        Ahh, thank you for pointing that out. I’m obviously not well versed in the linguistics. I guess the point i was trying to make is that so many people jump into something new and assume they can just automatically become experts. These traditions have acquired knowledge, skill and ritual over many years and generations as you stated in your article. I’ve had many come to me asking, how do you become this or that… there is real work involved and it should be respected. Thank you for pointing out my error, well appreciated!

  • Bad Barbie

    Maferefun yemaya everyday on this earth. Mi madre! I was infuriated to see Beyoncé glamorize our struggle like this is a fab. All the “fake deep” bitches now want to rep colors…

    We have been suppressed for centuries. 🙄
    And the sacrifices that we make are not “fashionista” ones. Making it “trendy” is not who we are.
    This is our life, beliefs and traditions.

    • I think Beyoncé adores Oshún and is REPPING how she sees..if I had her coins, Yemayá would be on deck DAILY!¡ 😂

  • Michelle J Bitunjac

    Attuned AND with a twist of Millie Jackson? Bless you 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  • Jamie L

    HOLY SHIT, THIS WAS ME. Thank you so much for sharing this. I don’t see the future, but I seem to be a damn magnet for spirits. It would already be annoying if I weren’t introverted, but I’m introverted as fuck and SPIRITS TALK ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

    I’ve been pagan for a very long time, but since paganism in the United States is so white-dominated, I run into SO MANY PROBLEMS. A few years back, I joined a pagan forum and coincidentally started getting contacted by ancestors, and then a crapton of spirits started crowding my head. When I freaked out and asked someone how to turn it off or at least make the spirits shut up for a while, the other forum people kept going “honey, you sound like a special snowflake–nobody can get THAT much attention from spirits.”

    I kept repeating to them that THIS SHIT AIN’T FUN, I KEEP POSTING ABOUT IT BECAUSE WEIRD SHIT HAPPENS AND I FREAK OUT. It finally sunk in that I was asking for help instead of going “look at all these friendly spirits/gods who want to be my friends!” but THEN they thought I must be unknowingly developing a mental illness because I couldn’t keep my stories straight (because I was freaking out), but was clearly distressed about all the spirit-happenings (Re: freaking out). Clearly, this means THERAPY.

    Luckily I found a black/Native American medicine woman to help me through the worst parts, and she is a really close friend now. I also found out from other pagans that the forum is known for not doing well with spirituality and spirit-matters. One of my Facebook friends said something like, “yeah, that forum doesn’t know how to deal with people who actually go through shit, like you did. If it’s too messy and weird for them, they get uncomfortable.”

    It’s a wonder that the only problems I got were nagging self-doubt and constantly wondering “do I sound crazy?” or “should I see a therapist?” When Dionysus, the GOD of insanity, comes up and builds a damn relationship on “don’t worry, babe, you aren’t crazy,” you’re dealing with heavy shit.

    I’m trying to get in touch with my Filipino roots, but I’m in America, so half of the online sources I can find are translations from the Spaniards’ writing, and they call us stupid and superstitious. Then most of the present-day Philippines is Catholic and they actively marginalize the indigenous people. Not cool, man. 🙁

    Again, thank you so much for posting this.

  • Golden Child

    I am grateful to your for writing this and sharing, as well as the fact that being a bruja is now considered cool. If it weren’t for the movement, I believe I would still be experiencing the mental illness you speak of…I had been facing it my whole life not knowing I am an empath. Doing moon ceremonies by myself, yoni steams, meditating with crystals, and reading books like The Big Book of Soul, have all been saving me from myself and I finally feel more like a whole person and like someone who can heal and heal others. No, it’s not easy, but without spirituality that resonates deep within you, life is incomplete. If Black Womyn Magick got us through enslavement, it will get us through (and IS getting us through) the current mess. I am thankful more people are embracing their roots with this sacred spirituality. I know there’s gonna be posers, but maybe there’s also more folks like me who really needed it to reach their potential and plan to help others. Ase.

  • Salvatrice Messina

    I was mixed up in santaria many years ago. I left because there was so much negativity, backstabbing and the people that I was involved just did not feel right.. later on I met a babalao that just passed through my life..The original people ” my madrona and padrino” seemed to always be working someone…I feel they worked my two children because I left..I still have the saints in my house, want to take care if them but don’t want a charlatan..Also where I live there isn’t a big santero community..All I want is to help my two children, if they have been worked take that away..

    • Well, you definitely have to be able to trust the people in your Ilé! I would probably get checked.

  • Lisa Salazar

    My GodMother told my Mother I needed to be baptize in to Santeria before my fifteenth birthday and so Ohgun choose me. A lot of strange things through my life have happened since that moment. Why was it so crucial that I be baptize before bringing fifteen? I never stayed with it because I was never asked what I wanted, but now I feel like I’m being punished for not staying with it.

    • I’m not giving readings, my dear. You should consult someone who can read diloggun for you.

      • Lisa Salazar

        I’m not asking for a reading. I’m asking if it’s possible to walk away from it with out being punished.

  • Hazel Dejean

    Every since I was a young child I have always heard my name being call by someone and when I would run to my grandmother she would tell me that God is talking to me and to listen when he speak…. when I am left alone especially when I sleep I feel like there is something in the darkness that what me to notice them and even when I’m sleep I feel like I’m being surrounded. I once had a fighting experience I had someone yell my name in ear when I was sleeping and it was just me in the house…. idk what it could mean

  • Margo Stebbing

    What does it mean when people who have passed keep coming in your dreams? I’ve been having that a lot lately, and especially with one friend, with whom I had a problematic relationship when she was alive. I dream of her often. I am an empath, though without visions or seeing spirits, except in dreams.

    • Julie Mango TheGladiator Staff

      It sounds like the friend may need some prayers and light to uplift their spirit. They could be asking forgiveness or even want you to pass a message to someone close to them

      When you dream of her again ask her what is the purpose of her visit

  • AfroLatinaQueen

    I’m not mad at Beyonce, I’m actually grateful for the way Lemonade delivered the messages I needed to recieve. I don’t see it as trendy or a fad, I don’t even care if she’s on this path honestly or not because I see her as a tool to deliver a message to those who need to recieve it. She’s like a newspaper or a billboard, she herself isn’t what matters, it’s the message we read. At the time I didn’t know what the imagery eluded to but it spoke to me and I understood on deeper levels and began to stop ignoring my intuition and stop burying and feeing guilty for my natural abilities. Lemonade got me through many hard nights, I’d play it on my phone, earbuds in, loud af to drown out the angry shouts and abusive behavior of my husband. I couldn’t figure out why I loved this album, I never liked her before but I cousins stop listening to it, It made me not afraid. Had it not been for the empowerment that her album translated to me, for the imagery that spoke to me and whispered “seek your truth, believe what’s within”… I never would’ve had the strength to leave my abusive husband. I didn’t immediately see Lemonade and think ok now I’m a bruja (oddly enough, brujita was my childhood nickname because of the way things would just happen or I’d randomly know things and it wasn’t a loving term, I was very ashamed of it). Signs started appearing in my life, sunflowers everywhere, people started to randomly gift me honey, I became drawn to colors I’d never liked before, for he first time in my life I could not only keep plants alive but they started thriving, I became comfortable and not afraid with the energies around me, I grew a backbone and felt protected. I didn’t do anything purposefully, everything sort of just made itself known in my life. Slowly I understood the signs in my life, articles such as this one would find their way to me organically and I started to feel more awake.

    Now I do have a family history of powerful women with strong unspoken connections however most are so deeply immersed in their Christinan religions that they see any and all natural gifts as shameful and dangerous and it is all ignored and pushed deep inside and away, that of course has led to a lot of inner turmoil and very depressed hard lives. As a child I never understood why the things I felt, saw, knew, were “bad” and spoke of them which led to a hard life as a little one. My grandfather was a “brujo” they said and it was “evil”, nothing more than that was ever really spoken of him. I grew up thinking I had something evil inside me. All my life I was drawn to spirituality and not religion, I always just knew my roots were calling, I just didn’t know who to call back.

    Fast forward to adulthood and after going through a lot of whitewashing and cultural shame from my husband and his family, I find myself awakening happily and embracing my natural self but it’s bittersweet as I’m in the middle of a very rural white area with no true way to learn the ways of my roots or answer the calling within. What does one do when you finally reach the joyous moment of finding your path only to realize you have no way to get there? I’m grateful for the awakening but lost as to how to proceed.

  • Val

    Thanks for the edification, NWT. I’m sad to hear what happened to Lauren. May she rest in peace.


  • Honey Louboutin

    Hello, I’m 24 and I’ve been learning about the spiritual cultural for less than 2 years now. My grandmother who just passed used to practice it also and I’ve Been raised by her most of my younger life (she’s Jamaican) I’ve been Apart of ceremonies and I also was “scratched” the term my guider uses not sure if it’s right. But yes, I was told that I am a daughter of Oshún. I find that most of the time I think things in my head or get some Kind of gut feeling about things and less than a week things that I thought of becomes reality or even instantly or next few hours. I talk to my close aunt a lot. And or conversations always comes back to the theory of what you think and put out into the yuniverse its comes back. . . So I’m asking you is it a gift that I may have being that’s what my readings has told me I’m spiritual in many ways or is it just coincidental? 🤷🏾‍♀️ I would like a second opinion– I can give more details in private. Thanks in advance.

    • Hey.. Thank you for writing. I would consult your spiritual elders or go to a botanica.. I don’t do readings for the public, mama.

      • Honey Louboutin

        Okay that’s understandable. Thanks.

  • Isaac Daniel

    I have to agree. Had a few dreams with eleggua…intense.

  • Fe

    Glad I came across this. I (spirit) was floating and hit my ceiling earlier this week. That or someone was trying to get my attention. Lol!

    Then I remembered how I’ve been avoiding learning more about spirituality. I’ve had some negative spiritual experiences that have made me fearful, but I’ve been told that once you’re “in”, you’re “in” and I need to stop shying away from it.
    Definitely isn’t a game or something to be taken lightly.

  • Ase! I practice Eggun. I enjoyed reading this.

  • Eternanda Fudge

    Soooo, im very similar to the àuthor! How exactly do I know who and what I am? I’ve kinda gotten pushed aside by churches and I don’t fit there….This article is too true!

  • Nieca

    Ever since I was little spirits talked to me. I would smell certain things and have glimpses of memories that weren’t mine. A few years ago I had a lady(a complete stranger) tell me I had a gift and I needed to open myself up to it. Im 35 now and still don’t know what all is around me.

  • kimmy

    Thank you thank you thank you! This is not for play!This is my life since I can remember life. Thank you sister for this.I was meant to find this post today.

  • Nia Ali

    Traditional IFA from Yoruba land . NIGERIA should be mentioned and everything else breaks down from there. Interesting article & SO true.

  • Inimitable

    Thank you for sharing this. Although we have different backgrounds and follow different paths, I needed to see this article today.

  • disqus_O8jRrzenlH

    I wish I could share this with my cousin, but it is too raw right now. She saw her own father’s death and could not prevent it, tried to give warnings, etc. She also is clairvoyant and sees spirits. She is being treated for depression, but honestly I think she is mostly suffering from trauma and the fact that she is spiritually gifted but does not yet know all of the proper tools to help her process everything that she knows. I pray there is a point where I can share your story with her so she knows she isn’t crazy.

  • OMG!! Congratulations Iyawocita! I’m making mine later in the year.. They are so good. I absolutely love it!

  • Andrea Hansen


  • Telly Marie Telly

    Omg!!! I know exactly what you are talking about. Just recently i decided to stop running and accept Ifa/ Vodun. Since I was a kid things were shown to me in my dreams, or i have visions, or get overwhelmed by emotions when around people and I will feel a need to converse with them and tell them to be safe. One of the things that get to me is when I dream of ones death or a voice and inner sense of emotions rises up in me and tells me death is near for a person that i see in public. The one that i still am emotional about is my cousin. I dreamed of his death. He was the only one I told about what i dreamed and i tried to save him. The night he passed i was in a dream going down a long tunnel that had a bright white light. I felt a presence behind me and when i turned around he was there. I told him to go back that he shouldnt be here. He told me he couldnt go back, that it was to late and that when i wake up i would find out why. I was awoken by a phone call from my mom telling me he was shot in the head and was brain dead. I tried to save him. I told him to stay out of our hometown cause it will be the death of him. I told him his socalled friends in our homtown were not his friends. My family didnt understand why i called checking on him and asking about his wearabouts. If I told them they would of thought i was lying, but i told my cousin. Sometimes i think to myself do i dream and have visions to change the outcome or do i dream and have visions to prepare people for the outcome. Its hard trying to save people especially when many people are not use to these types of gifts.

  • Damiana

    Orisha traditions are not polytheistic, they’re not all called Lucumi, nor is Lucumi the original tradition. Orisha is also both a singular and a plural term. The “trend” of referring to the practices as brujeria is ridiculous. I can’t believe you have to tell people that they don’t get to choose Orisha, but that Orisha chooses them. When did this ignorance become so pervasive?

  • Stacia Mendez

    I enjoyed this article and the style that it is written. Well,done. However, I completely, disagree when the the writer states; “Everybody isn’t magical no matter how many articles you read or times you chant. ” True enough reading article`s, studying You Tube and so on will not mean you are more spiritual. Or make you more “magical”. We are all born with certain gifts. Some more than others. But, we are capable of magic. You are either able to let able to recondition the mind and spirit of all the garbage so many are taught and tap in. Or you loose it forever. I`m of the opinion each person has this potential from birth. We live in a society and culture that not only, does not honor gifts, such as intuition. Its not nurtured either. The writer come across as very knowledgeable yet, positioned with a spiritual superiority. Those who may not have been born of a witch, a family that nurtures these gifts was a turn off for me.
    There is a fine line between owning your shit, mastering your craft and being egotistical. And, when you have been brought into such a wonderful family situation that nurtures your gifts, I imagine that it would be easy to believe you are like the “all powerful OZ”. I don`t doubt her abilities. Not in the least. But, to allow yourself to buy into “everybody isn’t magical ” Is bullshit. Firstly, its not a competition. Secondly, there is a witch some where ( possibly many ) that did not have the great good fortune to be born into a family like her. That is a late bloomer ,clearing the cob webs on her subconscious and powering up her magic. That would be just as connected and fully capable of magic as yourself. We are born with magic, all of us. It is the culture and society we live in that puts it to sleep and rapes it from us. Better to focus on empowering, than discouraging your readers that no matter how much they study , they are not made up of the same gifts and stars as you.

    • Stacia, I’m not here to coddle grown ass people. EVERYBODY IS NOT MAGICAL…EVERYBODY CANNOT MANIFEST MAGIC…There are people who will never be clairvoyant, mediums, cast spells…etc… There would have been no need for shamans or “witch doctors” in Africa if magic came out of your ass….

      I see your last name is Mendez and I also see that you’re white…. I suggest YOU stay in YOUR LANE and NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

  • Martique

    I’m just now studying these things growing up in a christian home.But my mother was born in Liberia and come from a line of great people. She was born with a veil and could see things. I’m a empath with other gifts,now controlling them better. Her gifts were stonger when she was younger,but now I don’t know( a christian). But I know spiritually I know it did not come from Christianity. Our bloodline actually comes from Mali and all I know of them is the dogon tribe. Ugh the life of tracing your true spiritually.

  • disqus_1mGuXJuJbw

    This was very refreshing to read! I can crack a joke hear n there with coworkers, but at night when They come a’knockin …it’s very…VERY few that understand! Since I was a child I was confused and almost tormented for not understanding and not listening to my mom. Now I See…now I Know😉😊

  • Thank you for writing this. In a similar vein of Korean shamanism (Mugyo), the spirits chose me. I had no choice in the matter. The premonition dreams were a hint of what was to come, but nothing to this point that I could have expected. With all the suffering and pain I’ve endured and will continue to endure, I am always aghast and offended when someone says they’d love to be a shaman, or bruja and so on. They don’t know what the hell they’re asking for.

  • Kendra Tomiah Perry

    I loved your article in believe it is very well needed at this time however I feel like people (as already shown in the comments ) are going to take this one or two ways first claim that Beyoncé is exploiting and two now African Americans are cultural appropriating which both aren’t true. I’m low key sick of everyone thinking we don’t have our own culture or that we don’t have a right to practice what our ancestors did for a very long time and Beyoncé has a right too also because she is of African descent so I don’t understand why others choose to make her an exception plus she is an extremely private person so no telling how long she has been exposed to this culture so for one to say appropriating is wrong because that literally means an oppressor not being from that culture, taking it for their own benefits but during the African diaspora many slaves carried our culture into the Americas and as you mentioned with Haitian revolution it helped win a war. I am happy our people are connecting to our roots and we may be misguided at first but that’s why we have articles like this to point us towards the right direction so no hate here from this bruja

  • Jamie L

    Oh snap, I love Pinoy-Culture. One of my angsty Filipinx colonization poems literally just got reposted there. <3

  • Chérie Louise

    “Living in this skin has made me overprotective and guarded. Being a bruja makes you privy to the evils of the world. We see shit you don’t necessarily want to see and it can’t be erased. There are spirits who invade your space day and night and you may or may not be able to turn them off. I’ve had to barter with spirits to give me a break because mentally and physically- they were draining me. Let’s not mention the headaches. We carry EVERYBODY’S weight, energies and emotions. It’s a thankless job. However if we don’t do it, we run the risk of going mentally insane.”

    What kind of bruja plays the victim like this? You don’t have to be a bruja to be privy of the evils of the world, but being a bruja SHOULD make you more privy to the magic in the world. If every day isn’t overflowing with light and blessings you are missing out on something. If you’re really a bruja, it’s not that hard to build a shield of protection around yourself so that spirits don’t invade your space, and it’s very possible to turn them off. I used to have migraines every single day of my life, until I learned to balance my energy and raise my vibrations to stay in good health. And I choose NOT to carry anyone else’s emotions. I’m not an altruist. I don’t care about other people unless I choose to. I’m not going insane. I have been blessed with magic, intuition, insight and power, and I spend time thanking the Universe and my ancestors for it, not playing the victim. But to each her own.

    • Girl… you went out your long-winded ass way to tell me how I should feel? Here’s what you aren’t going to do… tell me what I am or what I thought. Every day isn’t light and blessings flowing so kick rocks with that shit. Stop acting like you aren’t privy to death, sadness, grief or devastation.. WE GET IT ALL. Which was the ENTIRE point of the post.

      Bye Cherie.

  • Pk Astengo

    I wish I can talk to you all day. ❤ ashe` ♡Yemaya♡

  • Kay Robinson

    This read gave me life, and even though i’ve been like this since I can remember…I still wonder a lot. So many things I have saw and they had come, from the past lives to the present and future…it is just crazy snd amazing at the same time. I see and feel so deeply. I’m the only one in my family that I know of, besides my late great granny…whom was into various spiritual practices. My family thinks she has personally instilled it in me…idk…but I’ve always known I was different. I remember things from the age of 2. My dreams are much like premonitions…but they are never good, and they happen. So yes, this is a gift and a beautiful curse. I attract so many folk who are damaged in some way…it is very draining, being the one everyone comes to…so I often become The Hermit and get lost. Recharging is so very necessary…these entities and folk can quickly become you. The energy is real. Thanks for the read…it’s always refreshing…connecting to the tribe.