Onyi Love is a healing artist and priestess, and the founder of the company and brand ONYI LOVE. Her work involves grounding the divine, and reminding humanity of beauty, peace and joy. Onyi is a practitioner of Ifa and an artist who expresses her creativity through music, reflective writing/storytelling, imagery, and acting. In all she does, Onyi is dedicated to guiding people through their journey of awareness, self-love, and healing.
“ Everything is an expression of our spirituality.“
How are you able to see past the mask that people wear?
Onyi: It's not something that I realized that I could do until a few years back when I was in a ceremony ritual with a priestess who I have studied under. In that spiritual gathering, we were channeling different energies that were coming through. And one of the energies came through and was looking at me and said, “You see a lot, but you don't say a lot. Why is that?” I often reflected back on that and watched as I did my, either spiritual life coaching sessions or my sound healing sessions and I'm just really operating as a channel for the energy to flow through and just direct me where it needs to go for that group of people and each individual of that group. And I was able to tap into, and see specific energies, and give them messages. In a reading that I was doing, I was pulling some cards and there was something about the combination of the cards. I looked at her and said, “You know, you're always smiling, but really your eyes are sad. There's a sadness that you're not sharing with people or letting people see, you always hide behind this smile.” In other situations where I'll lay my hand on a part of someone's body with their consent, and then they just start weeping because they've just been holding onto trauma or any other type of negative beliefs or negative energy that they haven't let people into. And the fact that someone like me saw it and touched it. It gave that specific trauma a chance to be felt and seen and therefore released and expressed. My spirit, all my guides, and their guides are really giving me a little key. And as long as I turn it by listening, then it lets the mask crumble or peel away or breakaway, whatever it needs to do.
How did you become a practitioner of Ifa?
Onyi: Ifa comes from the Yoruba people of west Africa, primarily in south Western Nigeria. Also you have the diaspora in light of just travel, in light of the enslavement of Africans and so forth. That tradition is the indigenous system, the indigenous divinity system, philosophical system, and so forth. It's really about connecting with our ancestors, connecting with our own selves, our higher selves, first and foremost, connecting with nature, connecting with just life around us as it is and all of its forms, rituals, ceremony, sacrifice, and really being in balance. Being in balance, being in alignment. I grew up very Christian. I started to move away from Christianity because of some of these things that I found to be hypocritical and how people practice Christianity, and also just things that didn't make sense. I think the combination of that just caused me to take a step back and me taking that step actually opened the doors for me to just be more curious. Me detaching from a practice of Christianity that was more closed off, allowed me to be open to a lot of things that I was encountering through other things. So in college I actually took a two unit class. The intention that I had was I need to fill my schedule and I need two more units. And so, I signed up for Afro Latin percussion instruments. So for me, it was mainly music, dance, and singing. After college I started taking dance classes and then meeting other communities. And at some point I started going into ceremonies and rituals because I had access to them now. People and different energies would come to me and tell me things that spoke to me being in this tradition in a deeper way, and even going further back to traditional roots. After having worked with the priest and the priestess that I'm under, I went to Nigeria with them and with the sisters within my tradition and I initiated into the mysteries of specific deities, Oshun and Obatala in this tradition.
How did you feel the call to reconnect with your roots?
Onyi: One day in class, we were learning about one of the deities, Eshu. The name Eshu, which was associated with this deity that deals with the crossroads, choices, change, multiple dimensions, trickster energy as well, that energy is that expression there and seen in that way there. And then through the Christian lens, because of colonization, that name was associated with the devil. So that created this really interesting disconnect. But then as I delved into the philosophy, started learning about what this energy was, started getting deeper into the understanding of what colonization really did. It's like they took our traditions, they took our practices and from either, one, their own ignorance or misunderstanding or their own purposeful manipulation and their own capitalization, they flip that around and cause us to imagine that we were wrong. When I see all the good that my priests does for our community and other communities. When I hear the prayers, when I hear the songs, when I hear people do what they do, I think, “How could you think this is evil?” That's the thing that really trips me out. Your own fear is blinding you to the actual energy of this thing. And what you're actually afraid of is its power. But even what you're more afraid of is your own power. And rather than dealing with your fear or your resistance to your own power, you actually project that onto something else. Whatever the easiest target is for you to project that onto then you’ll do it.
Why do you think people are afraid of their own power and want to project it onto something else?
Onyi: One we've associated power with something else that's not power. Control, force, negativity, corruption, all these different things. So if you associate power with those things, then to be powerful is to be those things. Two, I think when you step into your own power and the recognition that on some level you have chosen something and or you have the ability to respond to something in a way that's different from other people. People fear that. I have moved away from this idea of having a belief. I choose a perspective and my perspective can shift all the time and I can use the perspectives very strategically. I choose a perspective, which again, speaks to my power that I attracted everything that is occurring in my life, no matter how negative it is, no matter how atrocious it seems. I choose that perspective because I am so powerful that I know that I can handle that and I'm going to get what I need out of it. You can choose to say these things happen to you. If it makes you feel powerful, then go about your business. If it doesn’t, consider the perspective that you chose this, because one, it's going to teach you a lesson. Two, it’s going to help you be more compassionate and three, it might help you help others who have gone through the same situation.
Why do you feel rituals are important and can you share your ritual?
Onyi: Ritual to me is such a beautiful way to connect with different aspects of ourselves that we either wouldn't connect with or connect with aspects of everything around us that we see in a certain light and we see as like other and separate from us, but then to ritualize something and then use those different elements. Like I can put on these earrings cause I just want to look cute. But I can say, I want to give gratitude and thanks to my ears for the fact that I have the ability to perceive energy through sound. And because I'm so grateful for my ears, I'm going to adorn them.
In the morning, wake up, touch your face, touch your head. Say thank you. Thank you to my higher self. Thank you to my head. Thank you to my Ori for waking up today for choosing to be in this life another day, another moment. Thank you that I chose this existence. Thank you. That I chose this body in all of its expression and all of it’s aesthetic: the color of my skin, the shape of my figure, the size of my bones, the size of my feet. Thank you for everything that you do for me, body. May I navigate this experience today and every single moment with gratitude, knowing that you're taking me where I need to go to learn what I need to learn. Thank you. Thank you face. Thank you to my eyes. Thank you to my cheeks. Thank you to my nose. Thank you for smelling. Thank you for the fact that I have bigger nostrils so I can smell more. Thank you for the fact that I have a little gap in my teeth so that it makes a sound when I talk. Thank you to the fact that I don't have hair, because I can feel my scalp in a different way.
Everything is an expression of our spirituality, our spirit. It may not be esoteric. It may not be metaphysical. It may not be XYZ, but it's all spiritual. And how we engage with everything is like we're in co-creation, coexistence, co reflection with each other. How are you helping me to be more of who I am? How am I helping you to be more of who you are? How do you reflect to me all the different things within this life? Then you start to look at everything from a different perspective no matter what it is.
Learn more about Onyi
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/onyi.love/
Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onyiloveone/
Her Website: https://www.onyi.love/
ONYI LOVE Self Love & Appreciation Ritual: https://www.onyi.love/work-sampling/self-love-appreciation-ritual-sample
Her Linktree page: ONYI LOVE | Linktree
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