April 12, 2012

Rabbit's 5th Annual Oshun Party!

Rabbit’s 5th Annual Oshun Party

Friday, May 4

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Free Event!

Whether you’re a regular patron, or if this is your first visit to The Sacred Well, make a special effort to attend one of our most lively, fun, and sacred events this Spring!

Each year in May, in gratitude for the love, abundance, intuition, and joy that is present in her life, Rabbit offers an public devotional celebration in honor of Oshun. The Orisha of sweet waters, love, beauty, and wealth offers us so many blessings: fresh water to drink, the beauty of the natural world, the blood in our veins. All over the world, Oshun is worshipped in many different religious systems as “the sweetness that makes life worth living.” This annual event is a beautiful, elegant, and fun-filled celebration of Oshun: with singing, dancing, drumming, storytelling, free hors d’oeuvres, fancy water, wine & champagne, and store specials on select items to help draw love, wealth, beauty and healing.

Drop in between 5:00 and 7:00 pm to chat, nibble, sip and socialize. Bring your drum, rattle, or bell and join us from 7:00 to 9:00 pm as we sit beneath the Colonnades and offer our energies in song, dance, and drumming to Lake Merritt, the Oshun of Oakland. You'll want a jacket or wrap in case of chill, and a camp chair if you don't want to sit on the stone steps.

If you plan to attend, here are some ideas to make your experience even more fun. Bring an offering to Oshun if you’d like to ask Her to bless you with a favor in the coming year: honey, champagne, honey wine or ale, peacock feathers, fans, mirrors, costume jewelry, or sweets are good choices, 5 pennies, nickels, or any monetary amount in multiples of 5. Oshun is asked to bless Her adorants with love, prosperity, healing, joy, and greater beauty and grace in their lives. Your offerings will be gathered upon Her altar in the store.

If you’d like to dress up for the party, wear white, yellow, gold, green, orange, or peacock print. Wear lots of jewelry if you like, or adorn yourself festively in some way. Celebrate the beauty of who you already are and the joys of life, ever-growing into more, more, more goodness!

No RSVP necessary, just show up ready to have a great time!

November 10, 2010

Introducing our latest house reader: Iyanifa Fakayode

Recently The Sacred Well invited Iyanifa Fakayode of the Ile Orunmila Oshun to be our newest house reader. She is adept in several forms of Ifa Divination including Four Cowry divination, Sixteen Cowry divination (Merindinlogun), and Obi Obata.

But for those of us not in the know, what exactly is Ifa Divination?
To find out, we sat down with Fakayode and asked her the questions that we thought you might ask, and we learned a lot by doing so!

The Sacred Well:
Can you talk briefly about the tradition that this divination system comes from?

Fakayode: Ifa is said to be the esoteric words of the creator. The tradition, which is philosophy, cosmology, medicine, science, psychology, poetry, and spirituality heralds from the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria, The diasporic ritual traditions stemming from this are known as Candomble in Brazil, Santeria, Lucumi, Ifa, Shango in Trinidad. Many people know this tradition as the Orisha tradition. The Orisha are the forces in nature that bring certain energy patterns into existence.

In this tradition, we acknowledge that all existence is alive (has what we call ase, or power). Ancestor veneration is central to our tradition as well; the ancestors figure prominently in practice and ritual.

The Sacred Well: What is the role of divination in this tradition?

Fakayode: Divination is utilized to help keep or get our lives on track. It is both a diagnostic and a prescriptive tool used solve problems, remove obstacles, attend to our health and relationships. My elder, Luisah Teish, says that divination is a way for us to track our contract with creation. Divination reveals the hidden parts of our destinies so that we can take the actions to stay in alignment with our life purpose and unfold our collective destiny as humans to bring goodness to the world.

Ifa explains how multiple elements work together. We have our destinies, which are the gifts, medicines and talents that we have come to share; and our efforts, what we are willing to do based on our free will; and we have character, which is the moral or ethnical way in which we engage ourselves and the world. Through divination and other means we learn what is in our destiny and what efforts we can make to more likely fulfill that destiny, and to be in good character. There may be things that we are mean to fulfill, but if we don't put forth the effort those things may not come to pass. The oracle will tell you how to put yourself in the best position for your destiny to unfold, and point you to the actions that will support that.

In Ifa everything centers on process, how we do things, how we strive and how we put our skills and talents to work towards goodness. Acting, doing the assigned work, puts us in alignment, even if what we initially desire doesn't necessarily manifest in the end. It is important that we free ourselves from a black and white perception of the world, to understand that we are constantly unfolding, developing and growing. The medicine of Ifa is about the person and their growth. The oracle will reveal the energy around a particular situation and what a person can do to best achieve a positive outcome. We need to nurture a broader understanding of what good fortune or alignment means. Sometimes what it takes for us to be in alignment might be achieved through difficult lessons.

The Sacred Well: How long have you been a diviner?

Fakayode: I have been studying in this system for twenty-one years and I have been divining for other people as an initiate in this tradition for seventeen years. Prior to being initiated in this tradition, I had studied both Tarot and the I Ching

The Sacred Well: What if I am not a practitioner of this tradition, how can Ifa give me direction?

Fakayode: My elders say that Ifa doesn't belong to a culture, or a people. Now, the understanding of who we are and what we have come to do, this understanding may come through specific cultural lens, in this case through the Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria. But we live in this part of the world and we have to adapt our understanding of Ifa through our cultural lens. I may speak about a particular Orisha (force in nature) during a reading, for example, Oshun, the deity of the river. Oshun is the Yoruba cultural name for the river, yet the river is an elemental energy, a force in nature. Rivers exist all over the world. I can talk about this force in nature in a way that is understood by those living inside of any cultural context.

Part of our work as diviners is to translate the meanings from one cultural perspective to another so that the intelligence that is being spoken of, the intelligence that is the river, that is Oshun for example, resonates and is relevant to the person coming for divination. People who practice this tradition may have a certain body of knowledge of the concepts, the deities, or the sacred text, but this knowledge is not necessary to receive support from the oracle that can help you work with the issues in your life,

The Sacred Well: What divination systems or oracles do you use at the Sacred Well?

Fakayode: I use two divination systems at the store. Each system has different levels of information, stories, prayers, prescriptions and medicine. The first is called Obi Obata. A person can request either a 30-minute or 60-minute reading with this oracle.

With any of the oracles, the best way to frame questions is to ask about a potential action you want to take, not a particular outcome you want to manifest. For example, a person might ask, Will I get the job I am applying for? I would reframe the question to ask, Is it in my destiny to apply for this job? The systems are not fortune telling systems. The oracles can see into the future, but are meant to support you in taking actions that lead to outcomes that will align you with your destiny.

A 30-minute reading is designed for a single issue where you ask about taking a specific action, where you want to know the hidden energies around an action you are considering taking. For example you might ask, Will it bring me good fortune to pursue my singing career? Does it bring me good fortune to take a sabbatical this year? The oracle will reveal whether that action is in your best interest. However, because this reading is short, you have access to limited prescriptions and interpretations. These 30-minute readings are most appropriate and useful for those active in the tradition and for those who and have received more comprehensive readings in the past.

A 60-minute Obi Abata reading offers more depth and breadth to your issue. In general, either Obi Abata readings should be approached for situations that have lower levels of complexity.

The second level of divination is called Merindinlogun. This system takes an in-depth look at the current situations in a persons life. If you have questions about the big issues in your life, if you are considering taking actions that have the potential to profoundly change your life I strongly suggest a Merindinlogun. Also, if you just want to know, “Where am I right now and what do I need to be paying attention to?” Merindinlogun would be a better choice. Merindinlogun offers more information, interventions and prescriptions. This oracle has the means to read and respond to the complexity of an issue in a way that Obi Abata cannot.

The Sacred Well: So if I have a question about entering into a relationship, or relocating to the other side of the world, or changing my career path

Fakayode: You would get either a Merindinlogun or Ifa reading. A Merindinlogun reading is between one and a half or two hours. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, Ifa might be the better oracle. I don't offer Ifa readings at the store. For those readings, I will schedule a divination session with a person at my shrine.

The Ifa/Dafa divination system and corpus has even more stories, more prescriptions, more medicine, and more complexity. If you are going through something big in your life (major health issues, issues of safety, big transitions) an Ifa reading may be most appropriate.

The Sacred Well: What can I expect when I come for a reading?

Fakayode: Generally people come either wanting to know something specific about an issue in their lives (finances, relationship, health, career, etc.) or they are seeking information about a future transition. Sometimes people want a more general idea of what is happening in their lives.

The system of Ifa is a window into understanding what we have come here to do based on the understanding that we chose our destiny before we were born, and that we spend our lives recovering our memory of that choice. Divination will tell you whether you are in alignment with your destiny. The questions you put in front of the oracle will be considered in the context of your destiny, your individual big picture. Divination will tell you whether the change you desire is in alignment with your destiny; it will be both diagnostic (Are you in balance/alignment?) and also prescriptive. The prescribed medicine, and your efforts, can shift the energy or your situation to move you towards balance, or if you are already in alignment, will help to keep you in balance. With any of the oracles, you will receive information and spiritual homework.

When you come to divination, you are entering a sacred space. The process (prayers, songs, incantations and overall intent) opens up portals that have been closed until the time of the divination, portals in the universe and in the diviner, and in the person who comes for divination. Divination is revelatory. You want to approach your session willing to enter into that expansiveness, knowing that something that was hidden will be revealed. You will leave with more information, knowledge and awareness.

Also, when you come for divination the information you receive will be about you, The contract that we agree to is that you have given me permission to ask about you. The divining implements are attuned to your energy. As the diviner, I will ask questions about your consciousness, your contract, and your destiny. You will receive information about the elemental energies around you, about the actions you should take. The oracle will reveal whether you are in alignment with your destiny and will give you spiritual homework to either maintain or restore that alignment. It is inappropriate for me to ask questions about actions that a person outside of the reading will take in relationship to your issue.

Ideally, I like to talk with the person who wants a reading prior to the divination to determine the appropriate oracle for their given issue. Those interested should know also that they may come to divination with a particular issue but that once the oracle is opened, the divination will likely speak beyond that issue. Again, the understanding is that although you come asking about a specific issue, the divination will locate that issue in your larger life, inside of your destiny.

The Sacred Well: So I might approach a divination session wanting information about my job, but information may also emerge about some other area of my life?

Fakayode: This is particularly true with the higher oracles, Merindinlogun and Ifa. Remember that these oracles reveal the complexity of a given issue. What I do in my work life, for example, has implications for other areas of my life as well. My conscious and unconscious actions all take place inside the broader context of my destiny.

Given that, one must be willing to work with the information that comes. A person should be open to hear and consider the information and trust that the direction they receive will benefit them if they don't fully understand it right away; to trust that the oracle will bring their best interests forward.

The Sacred Well: What kinds of spiritual homework may people receive?

Fakayode: In this system, receiving information is not enough. Divination will identify where you are in balance, and where you are out of balance; then, you will be instructed to make the efforts (do work) that will either maintain your balance or to return you to balance if you have veered off course. Spiritual homework is medicine in of itself.

The spiritual homework and other medicines you receive will depend on what is revealed in the divination. Homework might include ending a bad habit, offering foods, giving things away, ingesting herbal medicine, or self-esteem work. You may be instructed to go the river and pray, to the ocean and cry, or to the mountain and dream. You may be told to let go of people who are no longer good for your life, or to seek forgiveness for some past wrong. All of this will be revealed in the divination process.

I pursue the work my destiny has assigned me. I follow the path down which Ifa directs me. I will not fail to drain the deepest waters in order to be prosperous. I will not fail to drain the deepest waters to achieve goodness. Odu Ogbe Ose (Maulana Karenga)

We are so thankful to have Fakayode as part of our team, and we can't wait for you to come in and meet her. She is available for her readings on Thursday evenings after 5pm, and it is highly recommended that you give us a call us at 510.444.9355 to make an appointment before coming in!

Hope to hear from you soon!

November 4, 2010

The First Annual Sacred Well Holiday Artisans Faire!

Have you ever noticed that locally produced, handmade goods are the best gifts? Those special items that your family and friends keep talking about for years? Join us as we welcome some of our favorite artisans for our first annual Sacred Well Holiday Artisans Faire! Three Saturdays in November from Noon until 6pm, you’ll have the chance to meet local artists and vendors as well as pick up some wonderfully unique holiday gifts! Each week we’ll host a new group of artisans, so be sure to stop in!

November 6:
The Sacred Hearth: Practical Magic for a Happy Home
Lady Maia Mermaid believes that our homes are our most sacred of spaces and her craft and herbal creations reflect that deeply held philosophy. She creates for both the magical and mundane, knowing that the line between the two doesn’t actually exist.

From the Fig Tree: Textiles and Clothing
Always addicted to fabric and fiber arts, Hummingbird creates clothing and accessories with magical intent and love of detail.

Ars Fabrica: Artisanal Goods and Fine Comestibles
Limited-edition batches of local and organic fruit preserves and lovingly hand-crafted toys, jewelry and other sundries are distinguished from the craft milieu by their curious nature. Created by artist Jenny Wilde, each item is one of a kind and a work of art in itself.

Barbara Cormack - Corven Design
Barbara Cormack has been making jewelry ever since she can remember. Her one-of-a-kind designs incorporate silver, gold, semi-precious stones, and unique magickal details. Adorn yourself with a special piece from Corven Design!

Drew Ward: Just Rewards
Operated by Drew Ward, a Heathen priest of Frey and member of Hammer of Thor Kindred, Just Rewards will be offering genuine Baltic amber jewelry and small gift items including birch bark boxes and other treasures at surprisingly comfortable prices.

November 13:
Divine Intentions with Constant Change
Artist Constant Change creates the custom tools that fit your magical needs. Using crystals, woods, bones and beads, he crafts wands, staffs and unique ritual tools with Divine Intentions.

Prudence Priest: Amber and Jet Jewelry
Prudence Priest is a witch, Elder in Covenant of the Goddess and the Troth. She has been selling amber and jet since the 1980’s and travels to the Baltics annually to buy amber.

Stars in Jars
Stars in Jars Essences are vibrational remedies co-created with nature from a combination of flower, gem, environmental and cosmic essences. Alison and Claudia bring many years of devotional spiritual practice and experience as healers to making their one of a kind formulas that are "magic in a bottle". Essences are created in sacred space with channeled blessings to benefit mind, body, and soul.

By Nieves Handmade Natural Body Care:
By Nieves is a natural handmade body care line produced with organic ingredients and served with a twist. Nieves delights in formulating unique and wonderful body care, developing products that she wants to use - and has found that other people are looking for the same! Voted "Best Local Skincare Line" by SF Weekly.

November 20:
Gray Lady
Gray Lady is a collection of artists, with a variety of talents to offer the San Francisco Bay Area. For this craft faire they will be presenting specialty prints of paintings and photography, handmade jewelry, collages, and hand made paper.

Balis Runa
Artist Leticia Andreas offers a colorful mixture of magical and could-be-magical items for the practitioner and practical collector alike. She will be showing jewelry from Peru as well as her own handmade jewelry and trinket boxes, belly dance belts, and altar candles.

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law : Shadowscapes
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law is the artist and author of the Shadowscapes Tarot. Her books, prints, and jewelry feature fantastical dream imagery. What Stephanie tries to convey with her art is not simply fantasy, but the fantastic, the sense of wonder, that which is sacred.

Bekah's Naturals Global Herbs & Essences: body/enviro sprays and oils
Body Butter, Anointing Oils and Sprays, Perfumes With Purpose and Smelling Salts all handcrafted from essential oils and herbs, using no synthetics. Single note essential oils will also be available for those who want to create on their own or may be blended to order.

October 29, 2010

Election Day is November 2nd

Two years ago, Rabbit and I brought you an Election Day spell, in hopes that we could affect real change in this country. Now, at the Midterms, it seems to me that the job isn't quite done. I could wax on about my disappointments in this national administration, but I believe we don't have time to complain, we have to keep moving forward.

Just like last time, I'm not going to tell you how to vote. I think it's interesting that most "values-voters" are thought to be "mainstream Christians." I think that everyone, regardless of faith, starts with their own values and goes from there. So, while I won't tell you what candidate I support for what office, or what measures I think are good for Oakland or San Fransisco, or California, I will urge you to think of your own values. Is the Environment important to you? Look into Props 21, 23 and 26 before Nov 2nd. Education and Libraries are an issue in Oakland's measure L.

If you want to educate yourself about California's statewide propositions and races, as well as where to vote, visit http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/. If you live in another state, search for your own Secretary of State's office.

Although you don't see it on the national news, I believe that state and local races are more important to our everyday life. Yes, it matters who the president is, but it's the Governor, the Mayor and the City Council who decide the specifics of zoning, business, education, parking, and housing - how we live every single day.

So here it is, my Midterm Elections Spell to create real change and hopefully, real relief for Oakland, California and everywhere.

-Sacred Well Transformation Candle (or tall yellow candle)
-Sacred Well Air oil (or clary sage oil)
-your sample Ballot (or a list of the measures and candidates you support)
-piece of citrine

put 3 drops of oil on to the top of your candle and light it, while saying aloud, three times:
We are ruled by the people
I am powerful
change is here.

in the light of your candle, fill out your Ballot and hold the crystal in your other hand. As you complete each arrow, say aloud, "So Mote It Be!"

Carry both the sample Ballot and the stone with you to the polls on Tuesday, and as you vote, repeat "So Mote It Be!"

Thank you for taking the time to vote.


October 15, 2010

What's happing at The Sacred Well this weekend? (October 16 & 17)

Come in on Saturday with your singing voice ready.

Not Your Momma’s Rounds - with DJ Hamouris
Saturday October 16

11:00 am - 1:00 pm


If you love to sing harmony, come join us for this exciting workshop exploring contemporary and traditional round songs that are jazzy, funny, seasonal and inspirational. Learn challenging but accessible rounds that will stick with you, rounds you’ll share with friends and family so you can enjoy the harmonies again.

Song leader DJ Hamouris brings four decades of vocal experience and training to her teaching. Leading the vocal group Women & Song since 2004, she mines old and new musical sources to find material that is fun and memorable both for singers and their audiences.

And then on Sunday, get inspired with Rabbit's Roundtable!

Rabbit’s Roundtable: The Witch’s Altar.
Sunday October 17

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

$35 - Please call 510-444-9355 to register

Building a powerful, interactive, beautiful altar is one of the greatest sources of power for a witch. A good altar serves as a focal point, a ritual station, a point of power, and a sort of “docking station” for your magic. Join Rabbit to create and venerate an altar to the Ancestors and the Waning year in this 2-hour workshop.

Rabbit’s Roundtable is a monthly workshop for the beginning to advanced student of herbalism, magic, and myth. Each month, Rabbit presents lore and information about a different topic, followed by an opportunity to make a potion or spell based on the days’ discussion.

Just a reminder, Not You're Momma's Rounds is an open drop-in event, but for Rabbit's Roundtable it is a good idea to call and register so all the chairs won't fill up before you get here! Call today and let us know you are coming - 510.444.9355

September 7, 2010

Introduction to the F(a)eri(e) Tradition with Storm Faerywolf

Introduction to the F(a)eri(e) Tradition
with Storm Faerywolf
Thursday Sept 9
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The F(a)eri(e) tradition is a mystical path of spiritual development unlike any other.

An initiatory mystery tradition of modern witchcraft passed down by Victor and Cora Anderson and those who have been initiated in a lineage tracing back to them, hallmarks of Feri include shamanic practices, as well as specific symbolic, meditational and inner exercises. A highly personal path, it has old and strange roots that include influences or similarities such as Huna, Afro-centered spirituality, Celtic symbolism, sexual mysticism, esoteric Christianity, Middle-Eastern mysticism, ecstatic practice, and others.

In this class we will learn how Feri differs from other paths of the Craft, and explore some of the core tools of self-development as well as sorcerous exploration.

Storm Faerywolf is a practicing warlock and priest in the Feri tradition of witchcraft where he holds the Black Wand of a Master Sorcerer. He has studied various forms of magic and spiritual practice for almost 25 years and has taught classes for over 17. He is a certified Reiki Master/Teacher as well as a practicing Pagan priest. He has been practicing Reiki for over 13 years and is the founder of BlueLotus, a school and lineage of Reiki with a neo-Pagan and magical perspective. Visit www.faerywolf.com for more information.

August 11, 2010

Magickal Herbs Talk and Booksigning with Jamie Martinez Wood

Herbs are our plant allies, come learn of the multitude of ways they can bring health and harmony to your life.

Join us in welcoming Jamie Martinez Wood, author of the The Wicca Cookbook, The Wicca Herbal and the recently published The Faerie’s Guide to Green Magick From the Garden on Sunday, August 15 from 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm.

We’ll have snacks featured in her latest book and a short talk about three plant allies: mint, lavender and damiana. Consider that herbs have a soul energy that has been tapped into by every society on every continent throughout all of time. She will delve into the mystery, practical, and medicinal applications and then lead a discussion on how discovering and appreciating herbal lore just may augment the herb’s healing potential and your connection to nature.

After the talk Jamie will be signing copies of her latest book.