Oxum and International Women’s Day

by Iya Melissa Several years ago I taught a high school elective called Images of Women of Color in the Media.  It was an amazing class with a curriculum that had been developed… Continue reading

Who You Callin’ a Priest?

by Iya Melissa As Candomblé continues to spread in the United States, I’m coming across more and more people who have been taken for a ride by impostor priests.  In Brazil, priests often… Continue reading

Orixá Opens the Door,Will You Walk Through?

A tale… A child of Orixá asked his Orixá for a job and a woman who would love him very much.  The next day, he opened the newspaper and saw a job announcement.… Continue reading

What Does Candomblé Believe in, Anyway?

by Iya Melissa Most people who find their way to Candomblé are already at least slightly familiar with Orixá or Yoruba culture and religion.  As Candomblé grows in the United States, however, many people… Continue reading

Folhas Encantadas: a Documentary

Unfortunately, this documentary is in Portuguese and doesn’t have subtitles.  In it, Mãe Stella and other mães from Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá discuss the importance of herbs within Candomblé and share songs and… Continue reading

Basket of Ideas: Why not me?

Mae Stella reflects on suffering, 12.07.2012 Maria Stella de Azevedo Santos http://mundoafro.atarde.uol.com.br/balaio-de-ideias-por-que-nao-eu/ Translated by Melissa Oliver Suffering isn’t “my beach,” but it’s impossible to deny that this painful feeling plays a part of… Continue reading

Inside a Terreiro: Ilê Aganã Axé Laburè Candomblé Documentary with English Subtitles

I always get excited when I find videos that have subtitles.  This documentary takes viewers through a terreiro in Sao Paulo.  The terreiro itself looks elaborate, but is also in an urban setting.… Continue reading

Getting Involved in Candomblé VII: The Importance of Sacrifice 

by Iya Melissa It’s no secret that there is animal sacrifice in Candomblé. However, there are many types of sacrifices that we make when we decide to follow Candomblé (or any other religious… Continue reading

Getting Involved in Candomblé VI: Switching Orisha Traditions

by Iya Melissa Edited on June 29, 2017 to clarify points about switching traditions after having gone through full Orisa initiation in another tradition. As Candomblé grows in the United States, it’s becoming… Continue reading

Mãe Stella: Presence, yes! Presents, no! – a Translation

Maria Stella de Azevedo Santos | Iyalorixá do Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá opoafonja@gmail.com http://atarde.uol.com.br/opiniao/noticias/1734286-presenca-sim-presente-nao Translated by Melissa Oliver I’m ready to sleep, not so early as the elderly sleep.  I’m 90 years and… Continue reading

Afro-Brazilian Dance Class in NYC | January 2017

Cleonice Fonseca is back at Cumbé.  Check out her class on January 15, 2017 at 6 pm.

Candomblé & Christmas

  Often when people learn about African religions, their curiosity pushes them to answer questions that they have about the religions with which they’re already familiar.  Who is God? Where’s the holy book?… Continue reading

Sign the Petition Protecting Animal Sacrifice for Afro-Brazilian Religions

That religious intolerance is alive and well in Brazil is no news.  The latest development is that the Brazilian Government is making moves to remove language from the law that protects Afro-Brazilian religious… Continue reading