Embrace of the Earth 2016

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Audio File

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African Traditional Religions are experiencing a renaissance in the Diaspora. Millions of persons around the world of diverse ethnicities are being called to the healing power of the Oricha, who are deities of nature. From Brazil, Trinidad, Cuba, to New York, Houston and Oakland California many African American descendants of Slaves have been practicing the diverse lineages of the Oricha tradition for over 60 years on U.S. soil. Oricha devotees have practiced resistance to White Supremacy for hundreds of years and through this devotion have created pathways for healing, restoration, and resiliency. Phoenix will share the Earth principles of the Oricha she uses in her work as a leading Ecotherapist and initiated Priest of Aganyu the Oricha known as the spirit of the wilderness, to work with local social justice communities and communities of color here in Oakland through teaching, ceremony, and mentorship, including leading 2 years of water ceremonies around the Bay.


J. Phoenix Smith is passionate about making ecotherapy, mindfulness, & earth based healing practices accessible & meaningful for diverse communities to cultivate peace and wellness. As a Queer Ecofeminist, Ecotherapist, Spiritual teacher and mentor her life and work is grounded in Liberation Ecotherapy as a form of healing rooted in intersectionality as a way of knowing, a term first coined by the Black legal scholar and feminist Dr. Kimberle' Crenshaw. This means that Liberation ecotherapy understands that the destruction of the earth is deeply intertwined with multiple systems of oppression and domination that has led to destruction of indigenous peoples, women, people of color and the poor. Her purpose in life is to use her unique creativity and passion in service of the Divine to teach, inspire, and empower everyone to experience peace and love in connecting with the natural world. Through her service as a guide she works to bring forth and facilitate a process that allows individuals to become aware of their gifts through earth honoring practices and therapies. I am an ordained and initiated Elder in the Afro-Cuban Lucumi Oricha spiritual tradition and has been taught and trained by knowledgeable Elders with her primary teacher being Dr. Michael Atwood Mason, who currently serves as the Director of the Folklife Institute at the Smithsonian. Phoenix has designed and implemented public health programs addressing chronic health diseases and has successfully written grants totaling over $1 million dollars for community health clinics and community based organizations.