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.