Our Ancestors Teach Us To Never Underestimate Our Power

We are more powerful than we can imagine. Our ancestors’ conjuring abilities were out of this world, and that same power lives on in us. Never underestimate that power. Our power is how we stay connected to our ancestral wisdom within our future building.

Our Ancestors Teach Us To Never Underestimate Our Power
Via Unsplash

When our enslaved ancestors were forcibly displaced, their enslavers banned many of their traditional practices. But our ancestors didn’t give up their most powerful form of spiritual resistance.  

Obeah is an Afro-Diasporic spirituality combining traditional African spiritualities, Caribbean Indigenous wisdom, and Christian teachings reimagined through a Black lens. 

As supernaturalists and herbalists, Obeah practitioners became powerful community leaders. Obeah became a form of spiritual resistance our ancestors wielded over their unsuspecting enslavers. 

To keep crops from growing, Obeah leaders hid roasted breadfruit stuffed with dried herrings in fields. Throwing a coin or handkerchief onto an enslaver’s yard was a subtle way of hexing them. 

Casting a spell on someone was known as “shadow catching.” If an Obeah caught someone’s shadow, it meant they had the power to bring about that person’s death. 

Eventually, as incurable ailments and deaths swept through their plantations, enslavers in the Caribbean realized they’d foolishly written off Obeah as harmless. Terrified, enslavers criminalized Obeah. But Obeah lives on today.

The spiritual practices anti-Blackness has historically criminalized are the very practices we must study and preserve to deepen our understanding of how our spirituality affects our liberation efforts.

Like our ancestors, when we do our spiritual work, our practices and prayers become powerful tools for resistance. 

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