The Prophetess Witch
Chapter 1 Excerpt
It was hard being home because I was constantly reminded of Charisse and how she never received any justice in life. My heart ached every time I passed her house for nostalgia’s sake, and I had a secret hope that I would catch Charisse’s father or one of her siblings outside. I would unleash all the rage I had over him killing her; not physically but mentally and emotionally. He denied her the right to be a protected daughter. He denied her the love a child should receive from a parent. He let Charisse’s siblings gang up on her to the point where she felt she had no advocate in her own home. She spent all of her life feeling rejected and misunderstood, and no one bothered to hear her. At the time I was too immature to fully understand the gravity of any good I could add to her life, and there were moments where I felt I could have saved her. But then I’d remember that Charisse always had a death wish and all she went through was beyond my scope of understanding. I learned that premature death was often inevitable for people who longed for it.
What helped my intermittent grief was attending church often. My mother joined a ministry in Jamaica, Queens, which was not far from her house on Long Island. She said all of the best churches were in New York City because they had a lot of island people who seemed to have a more acute awareness of the underbelly of the spirit world. As a result, they seemed to be more equipped when dealing with deliverance. I told her not to forget the ones with roots in the South who knew what to do with people who had something happen to them “down by the water”. She could not forget the older generation of church mothers who suffered racial indignities and still prayed to God, despite the constant terror they lived in wondering when their male child, husband, uncle, or brother would be snatched from their home and lynched.
While giving my mother that history lesson, she clutched her chest and sat down. She had a far off look on her face that immediately let me know I triggered something from her past. I then remembered the story she was told by my grandmother involving my mother’s twin albino uncles who everyone collectively called “Didymus”, which meant “Twin”. If someone said Didymus in a high voice, they were looking for the one that was older by six minutes. If they said Didymus in a low voice, they were looking for the younger twin. The ironic thing was the two developed proclivities that reflected the tone of voice in which their nickname was called. While both brothers were hell-raisers, the brother who was called on in a low voice had a darker countenance that showed itself one day while they were out earning their keep. The inseparable pair would go into town to shine shoes and do little odd jobs to make money. They couldn’t help with sharecropping because their fair skin could not compete with the blazing Louisiana sun. Whenever they remained in town after sundown, my great grandmother, with shotgun in hand, would go search for her sons along with my then 15 year old grandmother and her cousin, Beatrice. They’d traverse through the dense swamp area hoping they would not stumble upon two, pale, dead bodies. If after an hour of searching they did not smell smoke or hear the sound of something heavy swaying in the trees, they would return home.
My grandmother, who had the gift of foresight, said the dark swamps lit up like the sky was on fire. She saw an angel standing with a flaming sword and two pale figures with rope burns on their hands, feet, and neck disappear behind it. She didn’t tell my great-grandmother what she saw because had she done so, Great Grandma Fancine would have searched until she bumped into the corpses. Instead, Grandma Augustine decided to let the people who walked in the swamps by day discover Didymus’ crooked and castrated bodies. It was soon learned that they were lynched because Low Didymus talked back to an important white man in town, thinking because his skin was just as fair he had the right to speak his mind. High Didymus committed no crime, but their deaths were seen as a two-for-one that would remind the Creoles, quadroons, mulattos, grifs, et al., that there were no laws that favored their aesthetic differences from pure Indians and Africans, and there was more than enough trees to accommodate them all. It was rumored that my great-grandmother howled so bad at the news that the superstitious folks said the wind recorded her voice that night so that it could howl in her stead after her death.
My mother had become so acquainted with hardship, directly and indirectly, that when she joined Christ is King Apostolic Church she was impervious to the things she often heard said about her. It was mainly done at the hands of high ranking church members who did not feel comfortable with the pastor’s, Bishop Terrell, trust in her. My mother was not ordained but she was allowed to lead morning prayer at times, as well as be called to work the altar when people needed prayer. Despite her past practicing voodoo, the congregation did not charge her for it as she prophesied to many people and was able to see their lives change for the better. There were people who were in that congregation for years and years, yet did not experience a great change until my mother revealed the forces at work in their lives. She saw that demonic forces were gainfully employed within the walls of the church, and she said the highest and most subtle demonic happenings occurred among the choir, musicians, and ordained leadership. Thinking about that conversation made me ask her to expound on the things she saw.
“Well, I try not to say too much because, you know, it can be a little overwhelming at times. That’s why people with prophetic gifts tend to be a little more no nonsense and stay to themselves. You see so much that you need to spend more time in the Word and prayer to keep yourself sane,” my mother explained although she had always been somewhat reclusive and stern by nature. That simple fact also shed light on the idea that God made everyone a specific way in order for them to optimally function in whatever their calling was.
My mother continued her story by sharing some of the things she saw that defied what people traditionally believed. For example, she said sometimes when some members of the choir sang, she would see forked tongues shooting out of their mouths. Sometimes the tongues would be so long that they reached people in the congregation who had the same spirit on them. They would jump up and dance, assuming it was the Holy Spirit moving them when in fact it was the tongues tickling them with their forked and venemous tips. My mother explained it usually happened when the leadership in the choir was not in the right place, and as a result did not stop the devil at the door. At times when the organist or drummer played, she’d see clouds of dust coming out of the instruments that the Lord told her compared to nitrous oxide. It would lull people into a spiritual slumber where they became addicted to feeling good rather than doing good.
“There’s a whole lot of stuff I can tell you. I don’t see that much in our church because we have prayer warriors whose job it is to cut that type of activity off at the pass. I mainly see it in churches that emphasize quantity versus quality, and where the leadership is passive in dealing with sin,” Esther continued.
“So what do you see at your church?”
“I see a lot of glass walls in the leadership. It looks likes you are getting through but you’re really not. I don’t fully understand yet, but I notice whenever I go to Bishop Terrell and tell him something is off in the ministerial staff, I see that glass wall go up in between us. He doesn’t like to rock the boat, but he doesn’t realize that makes him indirectly a party to all the wrongdoing.”
“Maybe he’s not complicit but rather God already dealt with him about who’s who and is required to let God handle it in his time.”
“Well, I hope that’s the case and that he doesn’t fall back and break his neck like Eli the high priest. When he didn’t deal with the evil his sons were going off and doing, God took Eli and his priestly garments to task.”
Although my mother enjoyed being a part of Christ is King, I knew that it was only when she had very little interaction with a certain set in the ministerial staff. They would speak to my mother in a patronizing manner that communicated they acknowledged she was with them but not of them. My mother saw it as partly fear due to her past, and the fact that she was so trusted by the bishop. She had one particular nemesis in the church, Prophetess Adina, who seemed to go out of her way to make my mother out to be a ruse. Adina undermined my mother every chance she got because she felt my mother was too young in the Lord to be used in ministry. People used to go to Adina for prayer or a word from the Lord, but they began to gravitate towards my mother who was far more accurate. It resulted in an informal competition with only one person, Prophetess Adina, as a willing competitor. I was surprised that my mother was able to manage without resorting to her old ways. She explained that although the temptation was great, the Lord made it clear that if she so much as seriously pondered the idea of using Satan to cast out Satan, he would end her life on the spot to save her from committing blasphemy. Little did my mother know that she would eventually go toe to toe with one of the fiercest spirits in the church; the spirit of Jezebel, and that spirit was operating in Prophetess Adina. Had I not been home that summer to have her back, the events that took place in Christ is King Apostolic Church may have cost my mother her soul.