Any man or woman can learn Obeah. However, Obeah cannot be self-taught. There is no self-initiation in Obeah. A key component of Obeah is initiation. This is what connects us with the spirits that we work with and with our own ancestors. You may already have many connections built with spirits and your ancestors – so this is certainly not to say that you cannot work with spirits or your own ancestors without Obeah! But you cannot work with the energy, currents and rituals of Obeah without the proper initiation and instruction. To attempt to do so will either result in failure or disaster.
Obeah is for solitary practitioners. It is for people who prefer to work and develop their spirituality mostly alone. Obeah men and women almost always work alone, or in some cases in partners of two, or in agreements between masters and apprentices. There are no Obeah covens. Traditionally Obeah has been hereditary, with parents teaching children. There are, in fact, Obeah services where many people participate. In Trinidad we see many elements of African Obeah and Myal ceremonies in modern Carnival. But the vast majority of work done in Obeah is performed by a single man or woman. Many of the things you will do on a day to day basis in Obeah will be done by yourself. For this reason you must know how to self-motivate and stay on top of things.
Obeah is not limited to any ethnicity. Nor is it limited to any nationality. You can be from Ethiopia to Arkansas to Indonesia. Religion also does not exclude the practice of Obeah. In fact, many of the most famous Obi men and women have come from various religious backgrounds. You can be an Evangelical Christian, a Roman Catholic, a Hindu or even a Satanist. The only religious belief that precludes a person from Obeah is a lack of belief. If you do not have true faith then you will never become proficient in Obeah.
To learn Obeah there are other prerequisites similar to learning any skill. You must practice – just like an athlete. If you play basketball every other Saturday with your friends then you will never become Michael Jordan. Similarly, if you only do your exercises and practice Obeah rituals once in a while then you will never become Pa' Nezer (my deceased relative of similar namesake). You must dedicate yourself and you must practice regularly. This means every day. If you miss one day soon you find that you miss two days, then a week and before you know it you have fallen far behind in developing your spiritual ability. Learning and practicing Obeah is magic – but it is not Disney magic. It does not happen with the wave of a wand or the twitch of a nose. But it is real, it is extremely powerful and you can do anything if you truly devote yourself to the art.
In Obeah there are times when you will be afraid. In Obeah we do work with spirits are described as “demons.” We work with traditional African spirits who are benevolent and we work with spirits who are malicious. We also work with the same spirits that are found in European or Kabbalistic grimoires, although their true origins are of course the cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It is normal to be afraid and those who never feel fear are putting themselves at risk. But if this is too intense or too much for you to handle then Obeah may not be for you.
In Obeah we do recognize that Good and Evil exist. But we do not subscribe to the Law of Three or any other New Age notions of Karma. A type of Karma exists – but this can be controlled and manipulated by the power of Obeah. In Obeah we control Karma. For this reason we do practice hexes, curses and other forms of “Evil” spells in Obeah. We both request and force spirits to do our will. We develop the Dark powers as well as the Light powers. In fact, you will come to learn that every spirit has both Good and Evil, Dark and Light, aspects: Papa Legba is also Kalfou, the Sephiroth also have their corresponding Qliphoth.
As an Obi man or woman you will be the complete master of your destiny and what you decide to do with your power. You can use it for Good or for Evil. If you decide to walk this path you will learn over time that, in actuality, most things in life fall someplace in between.
It is said that no man chooses Obeah – you are born an Obi man or woman. You simply are not yet aware of it. There are three steps to entering the doorway of Obeah: