The #ChurchyMystic

This past year has taught me so much about my ancestors & the ways that the “magical spirituality in the African American experience”* has showed up throughout the years. Most know that I utilize the healing modalities of herbalism, reiki, tarot, prayers, and “a bit of this and of that”. Most ALSO know that they might catch me “quickening”, “shouting”, and / or speaking in tongues on any given day. When I say that I am a #churchymystic, I mean that I am ever-exploring how charismatic Black church-isms intersect with other POC-centered mystical traditions. I wanted to provide a space to write through this journey & experience – not just the practice of it – but where its root is located within my lineage.

One early ancestor, Elder Lewis Rice, was a Baptist preacher in West Virginia. He was the very same man that baptized Booker T Washington. Another ancestor, a beautiful woman who is not as well documented, worked in Florida as a reader of palms and cards. It is said that she converted to Catholicism & with that, the modalities were no longer openly practiced or discussed. My Grandmother (rest her soul), Deacon Mary S. Redd, was a prayer warrior and energy healer – by which I mean that those who knew her can attest that her loving touch, back rubs, and hugs promoted a DEEP sense of grounding and calm. It was a gift she used in her volunteer work, registered JUST to rock babies at the hospital & our local church daycare. The effect of her prayers still ring out.

Being a #churchymystic is a call that I am learning to live into through time, patience, optimism, and a HEAVY tolerance for critique 😂😂❤️. Indeed, it is a familial AND cultural birthright, as many healing artists / conjurers / spiritualists in African American religious traditions included the elements of Christianity in their work & life. We are not new to this.

And as I see a greater shift toward the mystic expansiveness of God, I think about my sociocultural background as well. The understanding that Black Americans have tradition(s) that are deeply synchretic is important! What we have made… we are still making! ❤️❤️❤️

Notes:

  • Segments cross-posted from personal InstaGram page (@terrynredd)
  • See the body of Yvonne Chireau’s work, specifically cited here is p3 of her book, “Black Magic…”
    • Don’t be spooked saints of God, it is an academic exploration of conjure in AfAm religious traditions (the saints be shooketh sometimes 😂❤️❤️❤️)

Photo Credit: Whitney Spencer