A look at Princess Nokia’s “Bruja” by Sparro Kennedey

“The Craft” is a really good movie. Like all good things, it is best left alone. Unfortunately, “life is like a box of chocolates”. “Bruja“, by Princess Nokia boasts sequences that give a un-subtle references to 90’s pop-culture, while dropping a sick flow that is ruined by random cameos from other singers/rappers. The whole thing reminds me of the time Iggy Azalea made that song “Fancy“.

Princess Nokia is back with a song named “Bruja”. She brought her coven, and they take you on a LSD trip that starts in a lake, travels through the ghetto, wooded pathways and slow walks onto an interstate.The song is as confusing as the video. With exception of the poor harmony at beginning, the random hook that calls women bitches, the rap skills undeniable.

Princess Nokia is mixed so viewers from combined racial identity will immediately grasp the syncretization that occurs when multiple heritages combine to create a new idea. Part Orisha, part Santeria, part Shamanistic, the strongest sequence in the music video was visualization of a water invocation.

American Tribal Dance is an art form that combines elements ballet, hip-hop and jazz to create a unique fusion of movement. The style is most commonly seen performed by belly dancers in concert with middle eastern movements that recategorize the spiritual elements of the dance something commercial. The water invocation exemplifies the personality of a cultural tradition that is in danger of being swallowed.

The concept for “Bruja” was amazing, the song has great moments. It’s the kind of track that can be dropped into a playlist and be an easy listen if the use of foul language is not a concern. Princess Nokia means well with her “anthem”, but I would have liked to see a more streamlined effort. The narrative is lost because of lack of focus.

An Aborisha from the outside in

Even before I knew what Lucumí or as it is most commonly referred to as Santeria was, I knew upon crossing the threshold of a Botanica one fall day, something steeped in deep and dark mystery was taking place behind the curtains of that back roo


m. 

My first visit to a Botanica, I walked through the doors seeking candles and incense and was instantly transported back in time to a quaint little Spanish village . The aroma of cinnamon and orange peels simmering in a pot wafted throughout the little storefront, bottles of oils and washes with a hooded skeleton figure intrigued me . My eyes taking in the varying crosses and candles of Patron Saints was reminded of The Catholic  Rectory that I spent many of my formative years attending church.

I was mesmerized by the rows and rows of jars filled with herbs and seeds while a soft music of drums and Spanish words I couldn’t make out played melodious beats in the background. I wondered around in a daze seeing but not knowing, and I came upon a back door with mysterious scents and sounds of chanting and I was drawn in. I had a paralyzing fear in the pit of my stomach, yet I was propelled forward by an incessant need to know. My hand reached out and as I grazed the lace curtain that blocked my view a small petite woman who called herself Maretza flowed out and took me by the hand inquiring what had brought me in.

I was snapped out of my trance by the appearance of this small woman who exuded so much energy and the fog that had entranced me lifted. I remember that I was looking for some incense and candles for healing for my grandma who was sick. She steered me down an aisle all the while asking me questions about my grandmas health, she picked out several candles, some oils and my incense, gave me detailed instructions and wished me a blessed day. I found myself sitting in my car holding my bag and change, and wondering in such confusion what had just taken place. 

It wasn’t until a few days had passed by and I  was sitting around talking with a friend of mine while burning my incense, that I began to recall the sheer strangeness of it all. I replayed to her how I had walked through the store hypnotized by this mysterious music with a call and answer response and drums beating in my head and discovered this back door. She sucked her teeth and drew in her breath and gasped theatrically that I was in a Voodoo shop.

She crossed herself and told me to stay my ass outta them type of places and away from those kindda people.  

I felt the sting of her words as she called into question my Christianity slap me across the face and I felt ashamed. Why had I even felt the need to seek out alternative prayers from the other realm to help heal my grandma; Wasn’t my prayers to Jesus enough? I did what she said and threw everything that I had bought at that store out, and prayed to be forgiven for tampering with the dark.

I tried to push the whole incident to the back of my mind, but that back room and those drums kept calling me. I found myself day dreaming about them at odd times of the day, I would unconsciously drive past the shop and hope to catch a glimpse of Maretza in the window. It was like I became obsessed. I spent hours on-line reading everything I could about Voodoo. Most of it contradicted itself, and what little knowledge I did find was shrouded in even more mystery.

I grew enough nerve one day to go to our local metaphysical shop. I nervously glanced around looking for signs of devil worship or voodoo sacrifices taking place. Seeing only the shop keepers, and a few people dressed in gothic attire, I relaxed some and began to enjoy my surroundings. This shop had a more commercial feel to it. They had books, and stones of all varieties, as well as candles,  herbs, and oils. I picked up a few books and some stones. I didn’t want to seem like a novice so I kept my conversation to a minimum while checking out. I hurriedly got my things and rushed to my car not wanting to be seen, that old feeling of shame returning. This time I pushed back adamant with myself that I had done nothing wrong. I went home and read my books in a frenzy for knowledge. I was floored with disbelief, every book I had read seemed to show proof that the very fiber of my being, my faith wasn’t what it appeared to be. I went back to the store for even more books, I also went to the library to try and find varying insights to balance my research. I needed as much proof as I could get before I could allow myself to recognize another faith system outside of my religion.

The realization that I wasn’t a Christian hit me like a ton of bricks a few months later.

My husband was the first person I whispered this newfound revelation to. I was so broken down and defeated. The months of seeking knowledge and searching for the truth had taken it’s toll on me. I was worn out from the spiritual battle my soul was waging against itself, and to be honest I was lost. I felt like 8 years of Parochial school and hours of prayers of thanks were all lies. How could the people who were supposed to protect me and teach me be so lost and confused themselves. This wasn’t our faith and religion, it didn’t belong to us and would never free us. The day I accepted that self truth was the saddest day of my life, it was the day I turned my back on Christianity.


Harvesting For Your Soul

Photo Credit: João Silas of Brazil.
Photo Credit: João Silas of Brazil.

As the Autumn Equinox has come and gone, we now have shifted from the seasons of mostly sowing and planting, to preparing for our major harvest seasons. This harvest is the one that will sustain our families and ourselves through the elongating chilly nights and the coming frigid days. There are pumpkins ( and Pumpkin Spice) everywhere, Trees are turning colors and beginning to shed, and the skies bear the familiar “V” formations of our feathered friends getting ready to head for warmer pastures.

Ah Harvest time!

While, that buzzword of the season usually conjures up mental images of tractor-combines, apple picking, hay bales, and canning, there is another part of the Harvest season few but farmers and homesteaders really remember and think about. See, the harvest season is not only a time for the final fruit and grain crops to be pulled in and stored, but it is a time for reaping, threshing, and culling.

Not only is it time to gather the grain; but it is time to thresh with our flails and tediously winnow the chaff from the grain. It is time to give our feathered and furred livestock that final fattening meal, sharpen our knives,  give thanks and cull our herds. Harvest, the actual process of harvesting, is unyielding, exhausting, and ardent work.

Harvest. It sounds a lot like nitty- gritty of Shadow Work doesn’t it?

When your Spirituality develops past the Puddle stage; when you begin to deal with the deeper levels of archetypes, your Ori( Yoruban term for One’s inner Human Consciousness),  Akashic records, Shadow Self and the like, when your practice becomes about more than personal gain and acquiring power. When the Art of Spellcraft , collecting books, and being part of the latest and greatest trend(s) in the Magickal community no longer do anything for you; then it is time to put in the work of Harvesting in your life.

It is time to take your life and throw it upon your threshing floor. It is time to take up your flail inwardly and beat the chaff aloose. Let the cleansing winds of change and the aeration of your Winnowing Fan remove the chaff and weevils from your inner growth. It is time to slaughter your fattened calves and goats of Shame, Self-pity, martyrdom, Unforgiveness, obnoxious pride ( because you do need some),arrogance, and self-neglect.

Get rid of those things that will tax you and make it hard to survive the lean season. Anything that will drain your energy or resources without a just recompense needs to die. Use what remains to fertilize yourself and prepare for the next sowing season. Record your triumphs, lessons and revelations. Celebrate your growth and accomplishments. Revel in the fact you have made it. Mourn those failures and losses, remember the lessons, acknowledge that pain; actually allow yourself the experience to feel it, then let the feeling go. Know and expect there will be those who don’t make it to your next planting season; it is all well. Those who can not help you sow good seeds, need not be there. Remember the Honored Ones who did help your Work, but have been called to Other Realms. Give them their just portions.

Harvest time is upon us. Enjoy the beauty, but remember and perform the Work.

Secrets of High Priestess Kathie

There are people who are magick users, who find their spell work only through the pages of a book, and they can be competent in one offs. There are those who study the traditions and spirits of magick who create a space in the fabric of reality that allows them to change and bend reality to their wills after a fashion. They are successful to varying degrees, and are worthy of respect. But today, we are going to talk with a woman whose very flesh, fire, and spiritual bloodline is magick. Today, we are going to interview the Priestess of Secrets of Conjure Coven.

High Priestess Kathie, used with Permission
High Priestess Kathie, used with Permission

For those of our readers who may not know you, who is High Priestess Kathie?

I would like people to know that I come from a long line of spiritualist and spiritual people in my family.
I have done readings, been a lending ear to family and friends since I can remember. Professionally, I started doing readings almost 15 years ago(time flies) and I started doing spells and hoodoo around that same time professionally as well. Before that it was just for myself or a friend.

Where does your spark, your passion for magick have as its source?

I would say that it comes from a sense of me knowing that magic has been practiced in my family. It’s in my bloodline, even though some of them may not call it magic, or called it that back then. I remember my grandmother would call it power but to me its the same thing.

Was there a pivotal experience in your life that led you to this path?

Well I was raised up in this path so I saw a lot growing up as a child. But I will say that I started working with the dark arts, or black magic, more when I was attacked by an aunt that was in the church and I had to protect myself from her.

How long have you studied?

I would say really all my life. My grandmother taught me how to protect myself and how to help heal people and my voice is a tool in aiding that.

I can remember being a teenager even and getting occult books, thirsty for knowledge because I knew there was so much more than what I was being taught, being raised up in the bible belt a lot of hidden from me as well.

 

Who would you say have been your most helpful influences?

My grandmother was the most helpful in my life hands down! Rest her memory. My mother and father were supportive of me, but my mother didn’t want me to do this. She wanted a different life for me.
What folks have been there along the way as you grew as a practitioner?

I would say now as an adult my partner he is very supportive of me, friends and a couple of family members
also my brother and sister witches in my coven. The Secrets of Conjure Coven, my spiritual family, is amazing!

Secrets of Conjure Coven
Secrets of Conjure Coven

How would you define your style of magick when compared to what many are publicly teaching today?

I would say my style of magic or practicing is “non conventional” for sure. Definitely unorthodox in many ways lol.  I am known to be very controversial in my practice.

Do you feel there is a disconnect with traditional teachings and skill development when compared to the older generations? Or do you feel that since times have changed, the magicks have changed as well?

I really do feel that there is, and that is because more people are starting to practice magic, hoodoo, voodoo, Santeria, witchcraft than ever before and because of that you have people that did not have the “traditional” teachings from family and certain traditions that was passed down. So you will find a lot of spiritualist and spiritual people combining practices or making it their own way.

You are known to be a leader, not a follower, why do you think that is?

I believe it’s a combination of things. For one, I believe my title has a lot to do with it. Being a High Priestess and also because of my age.

I am a “seasoned witch” and getting ready to get into my Crone years soon and with that comes a lot of experience in life and dealing with clients, other witches who are priests and priestesses, and people in general. I feel the younger people look up  to me because of the wisdom bestowed upon me from living life.

Do you feel that it is tied in with your identity as a spiritual person?

Yes, because all I have ever been around in my life are women and men who were leaders. Most of the women in my family always had their own business, I had a great-aunt that ran a homeless shelter, she had a radio show, and had a street named after her. Then of course my grandmother was a minister, healer, and reader in her community.

They wouldn’t call it readings back then but they would come to her to get a “word from God” which people came from everywhere around the world for her help. So with me being her grand-daughter and her taking me under her wing this is the only way I know how to be. My mother was also a dancer, musician and entrepreneur.

What are your thoughts about the Black Witch Convention happening in October?

I think it’s awesome to have and that Black witches can come together and do something positive. I am in full support of it. I believe it will be a success.

Do you think that gatherings such as that one might be something you might be hosting as your practice grows?

I think that is possible but it’s not anything I have on my agenda anytime soon. But I do fully support those that do it.

When it comes to community, do you feel that we are losing the ability to be supportive of each other without competition?

Yes, some things do need to change and go back to the old ways I suppose. I can say that it is extremely competitive and I have not had a lot of positive experiences with other spiritualist in the business. Insecurities and people just aren’t friendly like they once were and really want to help others and sadly I see this in the African-American spiritualist community. It’s more cut throat. A lot of men don’t have respect for the women and visa versa. It’s become more about business and getting money it seems like, instead of being civilized.

How do you teach and learn from your peers when it comes to dealing with common issues?

Well, for an example I handle social media like I do in real life. I ask questions and also allow people to voice their opinions or contribute. As long as there is no line drawn with being disrespectful. I am open to all sorts of feedback and teach that to others so that they can either improve or add to their own lives.

You are a studious and creative person, how does this come through in your works?

I truly believe that this motivates me to give it all I got and to pay attention to details. I have always been creative and strive to do the very best I can. I was taught to be that way and I believe it shows in my workings. Especially in my readings.

Has there ever been a time when you just relied on the book?

I would say there was a period where I just relied on book instructions for spellwork and beliefs, but it was only for a short time cause I love to think outside the box. That is why I practice more than just hoodoo.

What do you feel is the most important thing about walking the path you walk?

I would say it’s very important to be true to yourself. I listen to people and decide if I want to really apply what they say to my life and if it really would benefit me. For example, I had a few Haitian voodoo people that didn’t like the fact that I worked with Damballah and my offerings I gave. I knew the truth is that it was because I was not initiated. I don’t feel that its in me or in my path at the moment to be consecrated or initiated into a religion.

Is it for everyone?

No, this walk or path is not for everyone. Some people are just to afraid or they have been so brainwashed by western religions(especially Christianity) that they shouldn’t be practicing because they have to much fear, doubt and worried about it backfiring on them.

If you had to speak to a younger you about what to expect in this life, what would you say?

Don’t dwell off life’s rough stuff just know you will always have challenges but learn from your mistakes, don’t be so hard on yourself, and take care of you more. Your hard work will pay off over and over again.

What would you most like to see happen in your own life in the next 10 years in regards to your studies and business?

Oh, I am an information sponge! I love to read, study and share information even if its YouTube videos. I really want to take the time to get more into the Egyptian studies later on. I am just so busy that when I do that I want to devote time to seriously learning and taking some of the practices and adding it to my work.

I only see my business booming. I currently am getting ready to put out my own brand of oils. I have my graphic designer doing my labels as we speak. I will have available for the public, my own organically blended oils that can be used for spellwork, rootwork, spiritual baths and protection.

What kind of clientele would you say most represents your practice?

EVERY WALK OF LIFE. Every race, ethnicity, gender that you can think of. I do not discriminate against clients either. I welcome everyone.

And of these, are there any moments that you would like to share that stand out particularly strongly in your memory?

I remember when I first started doing readings professionally and there was a gentleman that came to me and he told me his name was “Vu Vo”, and of course I was like “Vu Vo who”? He kept telling me his name was Vi Vo not Vi Vo Who lolol. So anyway that let me know that this was my destiny cause I had people seeking me out from Vietnam and around the world on a regular basis.

Do you remember the first time you charged for services?

Yes! What was that like? I was excited the first time I got paid from someone that was not family or a friend was when I first started doing contract work with this online company called Kasamba. I think it’s still around. I just couldn’t believe that I actually got paid great money for doing a reading and giving advice
to someone I didn’t know. I just knew this was for me.

Looking back,would you have charged more?

First starting out, I wouldn’t have charged more, but I would say that I would have eventually started to do this for myself instead of contracting with different psychic companies like circle of stars, keen, bitwine etc. earlier and that would have allowed me to cut out the middle man and save money for me and my clients pockets.

Here we go, how do you feel about the misapplication of the Wiccan Rede to your craft ethics and beliefs?

I respect those who are Wiccan but that rede doesn’t apply to me of course. That is not my belief so when people tell me that it applies to me, I do not listen to that because people are going to want to believe what they want and this is my life to live.

There is a phrase going around, “get your Wicca out of my conjure”. How do you feel about that?

I can understand how the traditionalist feel about that. There are those that want to keep the old practices “strick” but if you really look at it, every house that practiced hoodoo back then did things differently. These days people practice more than one system of magic. I, myself, do hoodoo and witchcraft.  I actually also incorporate some of the voodoo elements into my workings. I find that works for me.  Does it resonate? No, I can honestly say that it doesn’t resonate with me.

What is the main thing that you think keeps people from growing as practitioners today?

Keeping an open mind, which is what I have been trying to do with my own self lately and really try to accept people as they practice. Everyone knows I am against Christianity in Hoodoo and when it comes to African religions but that is just my own opinion and it’s not to be forced on people. What works for one person may not work for the next and like I said, I don’t discriminate. Some of my clients are Christian, also Islamic.

If you could open a school tomorrow, what would be lesson number one?

Leave your fear behind you. If you are afraid of this path you do not need to get in it. You are not ready or it may not be for you.

How do people get in touch with you?

People can find me on Facebook. I would prefer it being through my fan page. Also they can message me at highpriestesskathie@yahoo.com or highpriestesskathie@gmail.com for now. I also will have a brand new website up and running by December of 2016.

Do you ever find that you also get clients through YouTube?

Yes! YouTube had opened another door for me. I do appreciate that. It still feels funny to me when people tell me that they are a fan of my videos or love to watch them. I appreciate that sooo much.

My YouTube channel is less that 3 months old right now and already have almost 600 subscribers. That may not mean a lot to some people but it means the world to me. I am so thankful for my people, supporters and my coven.

And what is the name of your channel, for those who do not know.

It is HighPriestess Kathie on YouTube.

If you were to choose a stone to represent you, what would it be and why?

Black Tourmaline and that is because I have a lot of them I have some on my altar. I use it for grounding me and protection from all enemies against me that are seen and unseen.

Is there anything that you would say that we may not have had an opportunity to talk about here?

Yes….

Something you would like folks to know about you?

I have heard that many people maybe intimidated by me or afraid to approach me because I do work with the dark arts. The thing is that I am approachable and will do the work that you hire me to do for you. I just ask for respect when you come to me and you will get it back in return.

I know I have somewhat of a controversial reputation online and that comes from having problems with people that are in the same business as me. I do not have issues with clients, it’s always someone from the spirituality business and we already talked about how we need to improve that as a community and believe it can be done.I made a video about it and bringing awareness to it will help for future readers, spellcasters, and rootworkers. Social media has a way of making people say things online that they would not dare say in person and that applies to everyone.