This December marks my seventh ocha birthday. It has been seven years since I was initiated in Yoruba Caribbean regla de ocha. The altars in the ilé will be dressed for a whole month with gifts and seashells of all the seas. The beauty of this spiritual journey is that I have found myself in great company. Last week, in Oregon — yes, Oregon — our home was packed by people dancing to Afro-Puerto Rican bomba y plena.
Afro-Latinas everywhere are calling upon our ancestors to figure out new ways to be in the world, heal ourselves, and be of service to others. We are everywhere on the internet connecting with each other in online groups, herbalist conferences, and ceremonial spaces.
We’ve become more thirsty to learn about Afro-descendant spiritual paths. I always tell my godchildren that the only way to truly learn is to commit to a daily practice at home, join the ceremonial life of the ilé, and listen to their elders. But I cannot lie. I did enter the tradition through books first and I keep reading and writing them.
Here are five books you may want to read this winter as you reclaim our spiritual inheritance!