Omitola Yejide Ogunsina is the founder of Dawtas of the Moon, a convention for Black witches to meet and share their knowledge with each other. We sat down and chatted with Ogunsina to find out more about the convention and her beliefs.
Donyae Coles: Tell us about yourself for our readers. We’re especially interested in how you started your journey and found your path.
Omitola Ogunsina: Well, my name is Omitola Yejide Ogunsina, affectionately known as Mama Omi. I own and operate Divine Waters, LLC1 and Ubuntu Wellness Academy and I am the founder of Dawtas of the Moon.
I am a doula and midwife apprentice as well as some other things. My personal journey began in 2007, while working to get my own personal health together which included my spiritual journey. I began in the Kemetic2 tradition even though my calling was to Ifa.3 However, I feel like I was where I was supposed to be for my own healing purposes. When the ancestors finally led me to my godmother, that’s when I knew I was home.
During my divinations with my godmother, I was able to find out some answers and get confirmation. It came up a few times in my reading that I was a Divine Witch and I needed to be initiated to Yemonja.4
What sort of divinations did your practice with your godmother? I know you’re a tarot reader, but do you work with any other forms of divination?
She does the merindilogun.5 I do tarot and bones.
Can you tell us a bit about that, and merindilogun?
My godmother is initiated to Oya and Sango, as well as to the Egunegun society. I can tell you that the merindilogun works with 16 cowrie shells. It’s something that I am still learning, so that when I get initiated I will be sanctioned to use it. I can’t tell you too much more than that. However, the bones I can talk about all day.
As far as the bones are concerned, we cast bones and curios. We read them based on how they land and they can be used with the tarot.
When you are working with the bones, do you collect your own bones and curios or do you buy them in a pack in the manner one would buy cards or runes?
You can start of by buying them in a pack, however the more you become connected you will find yourself adding items or removing items until it becomes customized to you and your reading style. For mine, I added more cowrie shells and even a small military pendant that was awarded to my father while he was in the military.
Certain things will speak to you to let you know if they should be added.
Do you have suggestions for beginning packs or materials, if a new reader who wanted start in that practice?
For those interested in working bones, I suggest they learn from Wild Women Do As They Please.6 Ifasayo Egunjobi was my teacher. She is most excellent and takes her time to make sure you comfortable and understand.
I wanted to ask you a little more about your practice. I know you focus on female energy and the womb. Can you tell us what that means, for you?
I began to study and understand the spiritual roots of disease and I want to educate women so that they can become empowered through understanding their body and their options. Hysterectomies and other womb issues are often generational or karmic issues that need to be resolved.
Women, especially Black women, often given their power away for the sake of not being alone or for what they think is happiness. We are taught that being a strong woman is being masculine, and the reason why we are not married because we are too strong. In the meantime, Black women have the highest rate of depression and dissatisfaction with their life, because they are not living their truth.
Helping women heal their womb means that they often go on a journey from childhood to current and we discover a lot of issues they have not truly dealt with.
What are some of the physical practices and meditations that you feel support these beliefs?
Meditation is a key thing for me. We often think we must meditate and levitate in order for it to be right. Truth be told, it’s about being still, learning to calm your thoughts and allowing it to naturally evolve. Meditation allows you to connect to your spirit, your intuition and teachings you how to listen and trust yourself.
Prayer is also important. Once a woman finds a spiritual system that resonates with them, prayer is vital. Even it if means being out and talking to nature since that is very much God too. Some find yoga beneficial, I am not a yoga person. [Laughs.] Creating a sister circle is also very important and I must say that my sisters are very much a part of my healing process.
While I work with everyone, Black women are my focus, because I do believe that we need to find our voices. We are being hit from both sides having to deal with folks in and out of our community who want to degrade us.
Yes, it is rough out there for us. With more “non-traditional” (non-Christian) practices being embraced by Black women (and men as well), do you see a positive change in the people that you have met and interacted with that have made that transition? Do you think that revival of these other belief systems, whether you’re talking about Ifa, hoodoo, or some other spirituality, is something that is good for our communities?
I think embracing the “non-traditional” belief systems is not only important but necessary. I now have a hard time understanding a Black person following Christianity. After reading the history of it, I made the choice to run (not walk) away. It is a system that has always been used to subdue all indigenous people and teach them that their indigenous traditions are wrong and evil. I have made my decision that I bend no knee to a white deity.
However, we do have to be careful because even within our own systems we have those who are manipulative and are doing hard to the community also. It’s important that a person take their time and do the research before jumping out and following a tradition before really studying it.
Yes, there’s a lot of discussion of people taking advantage of people who are new.7 So, that is something to be wary of. Is that part of what prompted you to make the Dawtas of the Moon Convention?
Absolutely. I had a dream actually where I was surrounded by women. Some of them I recognized and others I didn’t but felt connected to them. These women told me, in my dream, that it was time. I get a lot of messages through my dreams. They basically told me to call the witches.
I want to create a space for Black women to come together. I want a space where women can see their reflection and see that they are not alone. This is not new age. We are tapping into our ancestral right.
Now that these traditions are coming more into mainstream knowledge, and you have said you’ll work with anyone who wants to learn, do you worry that these traditions will be appropriated?
Now to make it clear, there are things I will share. Reiki, meditation, and so on. There is a lot to be learned and a lot we can learn from each other. However, there are certain things that I just want for myself. Some things I believe belong to me and mine and I just don’t want to share.
For new people who are coming into the craft, women especially, what suggestions or advice would you have for them?
Take your time, this path is not about learning spells and mixing potions. It’s not what you see in the TV shows. First and foremost, it’s about learning more about yourself and self-healing. When you work with that, then you will be able to discover your gifts and purpose. Find a teacher that resonates with your spirit, read and research. But most of all, enjoy your journey!
- Divine Waters LLC, divinewaters.net/#healing-ministries. [↩]
- Kemetic Orthodoxy, “What Is Kemetic Orthodoxy?,” 1993. [↩]
- B.A. Robinson, “Ifa: The Religion of the Yoruba Peoples,” Religious Tolerance, 2007. [↩]
- Daughter RavynStar,
“Goddess Yemaja,” 10 February 2012 [↩]
- Awoyemiibareeoo, “Merindilogun,” Awoyemiibareeoo, April 2012. This is a secret tradition. The provided link is to give readers a better idea of the practice, however, specifics of this tradition are for initiates only. [↩]
- Coaching, Oracle Reading, & Classes, Wild Women Do As They Please. Note: bone reading classes are only available to females of African descent. [↩]
- In many traditional systems, practitioners must be initiated. There is often a financial cost but some charlatans take advantage of newcomers and overcharge. [↩]