Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Carrying Out Orders

So, I was contacted by the owner of a website called which heads an organization called SAFE (Santeros Against Fraudulence and Exploitation). I will not give his name because I do not want him harassed like I was. I have never met him, or heard of him, his church, or organizations.

He wrote to me via my shop's Facebook page claiming he had been contacted by someone wishing to report me as potentially fraudulent. This person stated that I am not a legitimate Santeria practitioner...

Which is absolutely true. I have NEVER claimed to be at ANY time or on ANY of my sites. I don't want or need to be initiated into Santeria and do not even use the word "Santeria" except to tag some of my items in my shop that can be used my those who practice Santeria.

I was then told by the head of this website was reaching out to me "to prevent any problems for you or others."

A threat, in my opinion.

He then broke down my practice by describing it as "Neo-Pagan" and "Basically rootwork/hoodoo with elements of spiritualism". Love the "basically". As in it's "basically" crap.

It's SO nice to have others simplify your beliefs without knowing you.

He then interrogated me about the play-doh Ellegua which I had photos of on my blog. I explained that was my 3 year old daughter's unprompted creation. Apparently children cannot make play-dough Ellegua's because children are not initiated Santeros.

He then asked if I was a crowned Priestess of Oya and if not, demanded I state on my site that I am not.

 I have NEVER stated I was a Priestess of Oya-ONLY that she is my Mother. And she is.

I was then told that if I did not clarify my items and my own practices and path "that this could get you in trouble."

Threat number 2, in my opinion.

He then suggested I make these changes (changes to WHAT I don't know because I never claimed any of these things!) so that I did not have "people coming after me for fraud". A perfect stranger telling me what my blog can and can not contain! Unbelievable.

I was absolutely horrified, appalled, and insulted. I did not want to respond because of the absolute ridiculousness of the situation. I felt I should not have to respond because of the idiocy of the accusations and pompous attitude. To acknowledge it was hardly worth my breath and I answer to NO ONE but my gods. However, there was a need to defend my name, my career, and defend all of you practice similar paths as I do. This is my response;

thanks for writing:) Um, the Ellegua heads were made by my 3 year old daughter! My daughter's craft projects are no concern of any one's and I will not limit what she does because someone on the internet doesn't like it. I claim no where on my site to be initiated into Santeria. I am not a neo-pagan. I have been initiated for 14 years, ordained for 11, taught for 14, owned a supply shop for 3 and done workshops around the country for 10. I am no fraud sir. I do not state that I am a priestess of Oya anywhere on my site only that she is my mother, so there is no issue there either. I make none of these claims and I should not have to justify why or how I practice to anyone as I would never judge another in this way.What a person feels spirituality should not need to be justified to another and then approved as correct or incorrect; judging is best left to the gods. I run a spiritual supply shop like many out there and carry items my clients request of me. My clients needs may have nothing to do with my own practices.We are teachers providing tools and instructions on how to use them. I am here for my clients and I make no "claims" as to what I practice in my own life other. I am offended that I must defend my own practices to a complete stranger. Blogs are personal and the author can write about whatever subject matter they choose.That is free speech. My blog simply records my practices and information I have learned along with the importance of donating and volunteering. I share information about deities and spirits. Something not called for reprimanding at all! The majority of it records my foraging trips into the woods and rituals held-hardly anything to be reported to anyone about. If I should be punished for writing about such things then god helps us all. I have NEVER claimed to be initiated into any religion other than my hereditary tradition. It is not right that I am being persecuted for what I practice just because someone doesn't like me or my path. I have never been so insulted in my life as to be accused that I am making false claims and then have to justify my spiritual calling to a complete stranger.You will find NO where on my blog or shop where I claim to be any path other than what I clearly state. My dedication and servitude to my community shows my character. It is a sad day when we will revert back to the times when we are reported to the authorities and threatened for what our gods have called us to do or practice."

He then suggested I "take a deep breath".


He again asked me what I was initiated in saying "You still didn't answer what path that is and what you are ordained in".

WHY on earth should I have to justify or explain my path to ANYONE?!
But I did because it's a matter of principle, a matter of standing up to bullies, and a matter of ceasing his harassment.

This was my reply;
"lol! I still don't understand why I need to tell a complete stranger what I practice (?) but in order to stop you from contacting me any further, and to prove I have done nothing wrong; I am an ordained, initiated, and a hereditary Chalcedonian (from Chalcedony/Hungary). I practice traditional and cultural folk-magic of my families country, Hungary. My family immigrated here to New Orleans where our practices were then merged with New Orleans Catholicism and hoodoo. I am an ordained reverend with the People's Church here. Perhaps you'd like my mother's phone number so you can check?
You can not tell me, sir, that I can not practice the path of my own ancestors from Hungary and Africa. Not you, or anyone else, can stop my country's or people's blood from flowing through my own veins. I find this insulting and ridiculous that someone out there is claiming to be an expert on spiritual sects but when they come across something new they must put it on trial. I owe you no further information on my personal life, my family, my culture, or my path."

What this comes down to is that NO ONE on this earth can be an expert on every religion, every denomination, sect, path, or spirituality, because we are all amalgamations of genetics, cultures, environments, and our own psyches. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU HOW TO WORSHIP GOD and don't EVER let anyone tell you you are wrong for following the divine in your own heart.

(NOTE; on (9/18 I was made aware by a former student of his, that this man is indeed of Cuban decent. I am not changing my original post, only noting it here, because that would be deceitful in my opinion and my remark makes a point about ancestor worship.)
Now, let's get personal about this only because he has taken it there. This man appeared to be Caucasian to me, though I can say that I do not know for certain. From what he is insinuating, I do not not have the right to worship my own ancestors but he does because he is a Santero. Hmmm. I would never say to someone they can not worship the divine in what form it appears to them or what aspect calls to and comforts them. That is no one's job in this world. 

He thanked me for my response and said that he was "trying to get this other person to back down". 

Personally, I could not live with myself carrying out orders that persecute, threaten, control and reprimand another's religion or speech simply because I was asked to do it. That is a matter of morality not a matter of finding an answer because someone told you to. The answer is not harmful, the method in which it was sought, was.  It is clear from my blog and shop that I am NOT fraudulent and that the information I present is not harmful or misrepresenting to myself or anyone else.

My people were persecuted as Africans, as Jews, and now as Pagans and I do not take this type of contact lightly. Nazi's and slave drivers were simply carrying out orders as well. 

I am sure I will be threatened again for recording this and making it public. I am writing because it is wrong and you all must know about it. I am willing to suffer the consequences to have the truth exposed and to warn you that this type of persecution still exists for us-even among those who also call themselves spiritual or Pagan. 

A person of god, a person who calls them self a teacher, an initiate, one on a spiritual path or journey, does not make another justify their path because it differs from theirs. They do not judge and ask for proof and explanations of the divine in another's life. They do not threaten, berate, or control what another can write about their own path, culture, and practices. They do not pass blame for their own actions.

From the website: Ethical Psychic Readers and Hoodoo Rootworkers do not harass or abuse clients or other rootworkers. No matter what differences of opinion may arise, they do not engage in disrespectful, aggressive, mean-spirited, unwantedly sexual, revengeful, or malevolent behaviour.

I can tell you that in my gods' eyes- I am not the fraud.

Don't let them scare you. 


  1. That is some of the most disgusting behavior I have seen. I understand the need for trying to eliminate charlatans in our community (Big booty spells and the like), but do your research first! It's shameful that people and organizations like that feel so threatened and defensive for no reason. I'm saddened that you were a target of this, it's disheartening. I suppose trolls will be trolls, no matter what size, color, race, or religion. Blessings, Sarah.

  2. Just want to show my support. Good for you for standing your ground and refusing to give into passive aggressive attacks.

  3. thank you:) i'm glad it happened to me and not another who could not defend themselves, but i agree; there are real hacks out there to be exposed.

  4. Okay you know me well enough by now to know that i have to inject my own two cents. Just reading this just brings tears of anger to my eyes for the frustrating arrogance he chose to confront the situation. There is ample information he could have collected, analyzed and discerned before he stormed in with his interrogation as though you were a criminal. You have a blog with plenty of sharing, an open facebook page as well as an Etsy shop in which you provide a brief bio and which also contains over 15,000 feedback where many of your clients attest to the validity of you products. I know somewhere i had read in the past where you had stated that you did not practice Santeria. i can't remember if it was in response to a question someone had asked you or if it was in one of your listings but either way in no way have i ever witnessed you ever having been anything less than upfront and open about your life in the last three years that iv'e been ordering from you and interacting with you on fb. You are right when you say 'No one can tell you how to worship God and don't ever let anyone tell you you are wrong for following the divine in your heart.' And this constant persecution its just infuriating and i don't just mean with this specific man who contacted you as well as the souls of yours/mine/our ancestors but also whats carried out in present day. i see it all the time on fb and the few times i give going back to church a try, in politics, and i live in Indian Country where you'd have to be completely deaf, dumb and blind to not see some in plain sight atrocities. its disgusting how people continuously are determined to convert the spirit into this controlling, confining container of politics. I'm sorry that you were approached the way you were and i wish a resolution could have been made where both parties could have had a deep enriching and reciprocating conversation. But how could such a scenario have played out when you have a third party orchestrating the whole fiasco behind a curtain in the background somewhere? How come that person couldn't have first asked you those questions before they dragged a third party in?? It would have eliminated a bunch of unnecessary drama unless they weren't looking to find any validation in you whatsoever. Its unwise to undermine a person's true connections with the ancestors and gods they serve. Blessings to you Moma Sarah! I am grateful everyday that i met you and and thankful that you stood up for yourself and it really makes me feel as though you were standing up for me as well. Thank you, with much appreciation and much respect from the heart

  5. i know the rootworker in question who emailed you. i support you 100%. you are a beautiful gift to this world. don't let him upset you.

  6. thank you very much everyone! amy and sarah i truly appreciate your new comments here. thank you for reading and taking the time to comment as so many others have here and via FB. There has been a conclusion among everyone who has commented (about 30 people) that there was no "second party" at all and this was all a ploy by the "third party" to get information without incriminating himself. now this is just speculation but it would not surprise me and makes sense to me. i have done all i can do, which is standing up for all of us who have mixed cultures and paths by making this public. thanks again to all of you; i am truly blessed to have your support in so many many ways:) ashe'

  7. Shame on him. Whether there was a third person or not (and I agree it's very possible that there wasn't), someone who is supposed to be a leader in any spiritual tradition should have better judgement than to make these kinds of attacks. He should have had the intelligence to look at your blog and your shop and your FB page and figure out for himself that you aren't any kind of fraud. And he should have had the manners that most people's parents teach them to not approach a total stranger and speak to her as though she were a naughty child.

    And for what it's worth, I will only buy spiritual supplies (oils, powders, incenses, etc.) from very few people, all of whom I have communicated with either by email or in person, and you are one of them. Like most people, I'm very careful about what I will put on my altar. If I hadn't been confident that you are the real deal and that your work comes from a good place, I wouldn't be a loyal customer.

  8. You know, I think the guy is illiterate -- or just oblivious. As soon as I started reading his harassing message, I thought to myself, "She's hereditary. Duh!! Says so right up front!" What an idiot he is. He's clearly threatened. We fear what we don't understand, right? He senses your strength and your knowledge, and he doesn't understand how you came by it, if it isn't the same way he did. Illegitimi non carborundum. (And I know you won't.)

  9. Thank you Laurelei for your comment. I appreciate your support and thanks so much for reading. I think we all agree that his approach was insulting, mostly because it is insulting to be approached and made to justify your beliefs at all.
    blessings to you!

  10. Sarah, I was initiated as a Palo Mayombe Yayi almost twenty years ago, fourteen years ago I was initiated as a Yemaya Priestess and have since received Pinaldo. As both a Santera and Palera, I find that my brothers and sisters (if you will) are sometimes difficult to maneuver around. I understand why you have this dilemma. Having said that, there are people out there that are deceitful in indicating that they are initiated when they are not. These same people perform ceremonies and purposely mislead the public. For that reason, I believe in what SAFE is trying to accomplish.

    I have followed your blog for several months. I find it educational, touching and at times funny, but not religiously offensive. The daughter of Oya blog was the first of your blogs that I read. In your defense, I have not read anywhere in your blogs that you pass yourself off as a Santera, Palera or Medium. I do readings for people on a regular basis that indicate they are sons and daughters of this or that Saint. They comment based on a preference or belief. My only hope for them is that they are not disappointed when they find who their true Guardian Angel is. I certainly would not condemn them for their comments. I understand when you say you are Oya's daughter. Whether you are or not has nothing to do with you being her loyal follower and beneficiary of her amazing blessings.

    I do see a blend where you utilize some of the items a Santero/a might use. There is no doubt in my mind that we did not corner the market in those items. They are available to the public.

    BUT.....I would love to ask the Santero/a that complained, if their muerto(spirit) advised them to do something that was "unusual," "unscripted," and not taught by their elders of Santeria, would they follow their spirit's instruction? The answer is a definite YES. In that sense you are both the same. You are seeking guidance from a divine source and you follow your guides/instinct. If it works, good for you and great for your clientele. Guaranteed, the Santero/a lives by that same philosophy. Ultimately, it should only be about helping others.

    1. thank you for this ruby, you have shed a great light on this subject and appreciate your words, support, and time. i don't mind answering questions about any part of my life. i am private but i am open. if he would have just asked me nicely and without threats, i would have been happy to respond to him. i am glad it is over and my answers were apparently sufficient for him.

  11. Just wanted to show my support,thank you for your clear and clean connection to the spirits! Best Blessings. :)

    1. thank you joel:) and thank you for reading and taking the time to be supportive here:) bless!

  12. Ok, I havent even commented on the "I love your products " section.. but after reading this, I was PISSED! You handled it far more graciously than I would have. What the hell is that persons problem with hyper focusing on you ?? I kind of wish you would keep her posts up ( my inner dark dakini is snarling).. one has a right to harass you like that. I hope her 'teaching' by your protectors is gentle but to the point.

  13. thanks hilary:) thank goodness it is just all over with and hopefully by making this public this person will think twice about harassing other. thanks for your support and kind words:) bless!

  14. There is a lot of online bullying in the online voodoo market. Dr. E is not Cuban. I cannot tell his ethnicity by looking at his picture because there are many who may look Caucasian and are not. On his blog, he makes no mention of having black or any ethnic ancestry, thus, it is fair to assume that he does not. passing himself off as an expert in African Diaspora religions. Dr. E like many practitioners who identify as white, bought their initiation into these religions and spiritual practices. I have never heard of anyone buying initiation until I came online. You cannot sell a religion or spirituality. In the Caribbean, this time of spirituality comes to us through our families. You don't go to a school to learn how to voodoo. Strange enough that the many identifiable whites are claiming these practices that are clearly not European as their own and claiming that they were taught from their white grandmothers. I wonder where were they when black people were being murdered for practicing their spirituality.

    1. Thank you very much for this reply. I find the charging of $1000's of dollars for tools and initiation to be something against the divine, not in line with it. Your words, time and support is greatly appreciated! Blessings to you.

  15. It amazes me that when someone is threatened by your knowledge and your "light" that they become confrontational. The "mistakes" if any, are between you and your Divine, no one else!!! Sounds like "they" or should I say he, was threatened by you...So sad for them...Ashe sweet sister!

    1. Thank you very much for your words and support! My only point with writing this was so others (of which many have come forward to me) know they are not alone in this harrassment and to stand up for your culture and beliefs. Blessings to you!