This page peeks into a snippet of Alwyn’s spiritual journey and how his gifts manifested early in life and led him on his current path today!
We imagine that you, our online community might see a bit of yourself in Alwyn’s story.
I was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in St. Thomas but grew up in NYC. All of my education since the age of 3 has been in NYC so I’m a New Yorker, really.
My grandmother was very religious. She didn’t go to church very often but she had a great connection with God, and she would start talking to God, especially to “save” me as I was growing up and to “heal” me of whatever! But my mother, my aunt, and my sisters were always very open-minded. There was no concern that I was the odd one; they would say, “Oh that’s just Alwyn, that’s just what he’s doing!”
As a kid of about 14, my friend and I used to do this thing where we would tell other kids in school, that “If you spit on the ground, I will tell you your fortune!” And we would charge them 50 cents. We would do 10 people so we could get 5 bucks to go have lunch. When I would do this, I remember that kids used to cry. I wasn’t trying to make them cry or sad, but they would come back to me later, one by one and tell me, “Oh my God, how did you know this about me?” During the time while I was doing that, I wasn’t thinking I was divining anybody—I was just trying to make 50 cents, but now I look back in hindsight and I have to acknowledge that I’ve been doing it for a very long time.
This gift that I’ve had since I was young has now moved into the aspect of divining and being a diviner. It’s interesting because I learned the “craft” of divination and divining through my work with Malidoma Patrice Somé, but the gift and the art of divination have always been in me. I find that my gift is really more so in the study and teaching of divination.
Whenever I have someone in front of me I am totally nervous because I think, “Oh my God, I’m not gonna see anything—there’s nothing here!” And then all of a sudden I start talking! I’ve come to understand that it’s not about how I feel or not feel, it’s totally about surrendering to Spirit and allowing it to flow. One of the things I try to do when I teach the divination process, is I really try to hone in on each individual because each individual has a unique expression of how they divine. Some people get connected to certain divination implements and tools, like stones, some are connected to water, others are connected to plants or to sticks. So there are different things by which each person is triggered. Even when we use Tarot; if you notice within the deck of Tarot, all the elements are represented within the deck, and those elements are there to trigger something within you, to call forth some information within you. So when I’m teaching students, I’m always looking at what is it that triggers them and then trying to get them to focus on that aspect of their gift and their connection to that thing.
When I travel and visit Burkina Faso and Ghana, I am regarded as an ordinary Westerner or foreigner at first. But then there’s always this situation that pops up: there will be in the midst of the community, one of the elders, a man or woman, and he or she will start pointing at me and the friend who brought me into the space says, “Oh, hold on a second!” And they go and talk to the elder. After a short while, I’ll hear my friend saying to the elder, “Oh no, no, no, no!” And I’m thinking, “Oh God, there’s some problem going on!” But then in a few minutes my friend will come over to me and say that grandma or grandpa said that I am a spiritual person and that I should come to these rituals and I should become part of this thing! And I’m like, “Oh yeah!”
The thing about this is that many of my friends don’t know this aspect of me; I don’t run around telling everybody that I’m a Spiritualist and that I do this work. When I go places I just really want to experience the vibe and the energy of where I am, and just be fully present to see what opens up. But once people began to realize this side of me, I then get joyously pulled into all of these experiences that are energetically healing and uplifting and eye-opening and it’s just wild and crazy encounters, like stepping into a room and then all of a sudden you think you’re walking into a room that you’ve been in before and then the room may be 5 X 5, but you walk into the space and then you’re in a field!! And I’m thinking to myself, “How did I get into this field when I just walked into a room?”
So having these experiences is really trippy. And I know I didn’t take anything before I stepped into the room, so there’s that experience. Being in America and doing ritual and ceremony, I will say this: I’ve never gone to the deeper levels here in the West, that I’ve gone to in Burkina Faso or Ghana. Most of the time here in the States, I am facilitating the ritual space, so I don’t have the opportunity to step into ritual for myself, just to surrender myself into the space. So I’m really grateful and thankful for my ritual experiences in Africa.