Spirit Twerk and Black Queer, Trans, and Intersex Liberation
Exploring Ancestor Veneration and Liberated Spiritual Practices with Kris Henry
Kris Henry (they/them/theirs) is a radical Jamaican nonbinary creative, an Obeah enby, and an Aborisha in the Lukumì tradition. Kris creates art in many forms—centering their twerk as a spiritual safe space for Black queer, trans and intersex folx. They seek to create authentically empowering, ancestrally connected healing experiences that bring a sense of agency and sovereignty back to the historically marginalized from the inside out. Kris’ first published project is a collection of poetry titled “Love LETTERS”, and their second project, Warri(O)racle, is an online chapbook.
Their latest creative baby is The Spiritual Abolitionist Oracle Deck: a radical, Black and queer centered divination tool to affirm the spiritual safety and wellness of Black queer, trans and intersex folx. You can find their projects at www.thespiritualabolitionist.com and follow them on Instagram @kriswithakcreates and @thespiritualabolitionist to see what they’re up to next.
This episode we explore:
Connecting with your ancestors and trancestors
Honoring our queer ancestors with visibility
Gender in the spirit world
Protecting your spiritual energy
Hello. Welcome to another episode of body liberation for all. I'm your host, Dalia Kinsey your Black, queer, holistic registered dietitian and the author of Decolonizing Wellness A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation.
Like I've covered on the show before and like I covered the book, healing, growth, there's no end to it. If you are a curious person, if you are a person who's really interested in being as free as possible, you know there is no end point. As soon as you dig in deep and heal one area of your life, another layer appears. It's never over.
And something that I have been working on a lot lately is my relationship with spirituality and my reluctance to openly talk about the spiritual traditions that I feel most closely tied to and realizing that I have been socialized/ colonized to normalize Christian beliefs and to not think it's strange when someone believes wholeheartedly in the rapture or in the second coming of Christ, all of that seems perfectly normal. And all the time in the United States, you see people who are professionals, who are academics, blending their Christian belief system
and the work that they do all the time, you see therapists doing their work through a Christian lens. And I don't often find people criticizing that, but that may also be because I'm in Georgia.
That said I've been taking a closer look at my reluctance to dig in, to traditional African spirituality in a public way and questioning why do I think that people may see me as less professional if I openly share my spiritual beliefs?
What are the assumptions that I'm making? What are the assumptions that I have internalized that make it seem complex to me, to both be a person who believes in science and a person who believes in ancestor veneration? Why does it seem like those two things don't go together? Where does that come from? And what can I do to uproot those beliefs from my own consciousness?
So, this conversation is coming from a bit of a vulnerable place because it's something I'm still working through. And I know that at some point I'll face that challenge of not feeling compelled to defend my spiritual beliefs or to counter. Any ignorant statements that imply the ancestor veneration is somehow more primitive than Christianity or somehow less logical than Christianity.
Now for any of the atheist fam that's listening. I am sure that it all seems maybe about the same level of illogical. But I will say you were warned that my approach is holistic mind, body, spirit.
And this episode, we're leaning heavily into the spirit aspect of that. I do think it is very important for your wellness to have a view to have a belief system that supports who you are as a full person.
One of the things that is most nourishing about the traditions I've been exploring lately is that they don't have an element of proselytization. So, you are free to believe whatever affirms you and whatever feels good for you. And that doesn't affect me, and it doesn't have to affect my belief system.
That is an enormous departure from the form of Christianity that I practiced in my youth. But it is a deeply liberating approach to spirituality. So, there's room for everyone. And if you already know in your gut, this episode is not for you.
Then I'll see you on the 15th. Today am joined by Kris Henry.
Kris is a spiritualist and they identify as an Obeah enby and an Aborisha in the Lukumi tradition. So, a lot of the insights that Kris brings us today are coming through that lens. You have to check out their site, www.thespiritualabolitionist.com If you don't immediately fall in love when you see them using twerk in place of work throughout the branding of the site and centering Black queer trans and intersex folks, I don't understand you. They are a fascinating person their book of poetry, entitled love letters, I absolutely love, and I've gotten so much value out of there oracle deck. I love using oracle decks, tarot decks as journaling prompts so that I can really connect to my own will whenever I'm at a crossroads.
I've started working with Kris myself and the more I honor ancestral practices, the more empowered I feel in the present tense.
I deeply resonate with their goal to create authentically empowering ancestrally connected healing practices that bring a sense of agency and sovereignty back to the historically marginalized from the inside out. Doesn't that just hit you in the heart? Their work is beautiful. This conversation was lovely.
Let's get into it
Body Liberation for All Theme
Yeah. They might try to put you in a box, tell them that you don't accept when the world is tripping out tell them that you love yourself. Hey, Hey, smile on them live your life just like you like it is.
It’s your party negativity is not invited. For my queer folks, for my trans, people of color, let your voice be heard. Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You born to win. Head up high with confidence. This show is for everyone. So, I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.
Dalia: Thanks for coming on the show today, Kris.
Kris: Thank you for having me.
Dalia: I'm so excited.
I got my oracle card deck. So originally this is how we met. I saw you posted something on Facebook about your deck pre-sales being ready to go live and what really just grabbed my attention was that it's specifically from the perspective of a queer nonbinary Black person. And how many times is that even an option? Because I know even when I was just looking for a tarot deck or an oracle deck actually made by a Black person, I couldn't find, but a few. And there were others out there where they had Black characters depicted on the card, but it was clearly like exactly the same images from something else.
I don't know if you've ever tried to buy a Black Santa, but anybody who has knows the struggle. So sometimes you'll find a quote unquote, Black Santa, but it is the white Santa who's been painted. And sometimes it even has the audacity to chip before Christmas is over. So, it was the same thing. Some of these, I was like, all y'all did was paint these same characters, Black or even worse.
I saw a couple from non-Black artists. And it was their concept of Blackness, which we'll just say it was off. It wasn't, it wasn't accurate. So anyway,
Kris: Hashtag problematic
Dalia: Thank you! Then I actually saw you promoting your own art. I was just fascinated. So, I would love to hear about your journey into spiritualism and how you got to the point that you created this for the rest of us, who've been dying to have something exactly like this.
Kris: Oh my gosh, you don't even know how many back flips my heart just did that you said that because, I mean, I felt the same way to be totally honest with you.
I was looking for a deck that really resonated with me. And I was like, I don't want to feel like a part of me is left out. Like, this is very like cis- het in premise, even though it's Black or this is non-Black, but it's queer kind of thing. And yeah, so that really just warmed my heart. I just had to say, thank you.
Thank you for that. So, my journey into spiritualism, well, I was like a very devout Christian when I was in high school and nobody made me go to church or anything. I think like some part of me just knew I needed something spiritual in my life. And then in college I started having like a crisis of faith and just started really questioning a lot of things about the foundations of Christianity.
So I was in more of a place where I was like, I don't know what I believe. But in that time, my father's mother passed, and I started seeing and hearing her. And that was my introduction into ancestors, I would say. And that's probably the foundation of where like all my other connections with different spirits and energies and stuff really started.
Dalia: How did you feel when that first happened? Because I know me growing up in a, I was made to go to church, so difference there, and there was always a lot of fear around anything that had to do with the dead. At least what I was told was that if you think you heard a deceased, loved one, it's a demon pretending to be them.
So, I would have been alarmed, had that happen to me. But what was your experience?
Kris: I think what this really came down to is that I was blessed to have relationships with both of my grandmothers while they were alive. So, it was like, I knew their energies. Both of them, like when they passed, I knew it was, they knew it was me kind of thing.
And like right before my grandma passed a few months earlier, when we kind of found out that she wasn't going to make it and they were like, just take her home so she can be comfortable for however long she has left kind of thing. She started saying something very like random to me about like asking me what size shoe I wear.
And she was like, I just have a feeling you're going to have to wear my shoes. But she was like this hardcore prayer warrior. And there were so many things that she used to do that I didn't understand as a kid, or I thought like, she's just really, really into this and not quite as much as me kind of thing.
And, but it's like, they're really like some foundations for spiritual ism and that side of my family, despite being very devoutly, Christian, they're very superstitious about things that kind of let me know. There was other things that folks started hiding in Christianity on that side of my family. So, I think between those two things, I just knew it was her.
I literally felt it in the moment that she let go of her existence in this life. And I felt her come to me and then I just started feeling her. It'd be like, grab this while you're at the store. And I would need it like six months later and stuff like that. And then eventually she was like, I need you to make me, she didn't describe it as an altar.
Other people call them alters, but she described it as a landing pad. She was like, I need you to make me a landing pad. I need to introduce you some other ancestors. And so that was how she basically taught me how to make an altar. And so I'm spirit taught in a lot of the things that I do, like different spirits, just kind of introduce themselves to me cause they know that like I won't get freaked out and I kind of, you know how to communicate and learn them.
I think the foundation of that is that I knew her while she was alive. And so, it was like, I got to be in her energy while she was alive. And I knew it was her when she passed. Yeah.
Dalia: That really resonates the idea that even in families that have become very deeply interested in Christianity or that's the only religious practice they associate with that doesn't mean that all of the old spiritual practices are gone.
And it's something that I've seen pop up a lot of places, the accusation or the false idea that Black Americans who are descendants of enslaved people have no culture because slavery interrupted all of that. And somehow, we just magically became nothing but property. And there are even some Black Americans who believe that, like we have nothing, but it's not true.
It may be took different forms and our culture has evolved to be something that you don't find on the continent. It has become something else, but at no point, did we become culture free or spirituality free and only have the option of what, you know, your oppressor offered you. It always becomes some kind of hybrid version of what we were before and who we are now.
So, I've been reading more about hoodoo and how you can see a lot of practices you see, and who do come from specific indigenous practices that people might still practice a little bit in Africa, not as much because colonization also affected people's relationship with indigenous religions there, but you can see that people were brought here and then became like an amalgamation of all the different religious practices.
It wasn't coming from one specific area. So, it becomes a reflection of the diaspora and you find it everywhere. You just don't always recognize where it came from.
Kris: Exactly. And that was what I would actually go to say that that applies to Black people globally. Cause my family is actually Jamaican. And I like work with Christian spirits, but I also practice Obeah and those two things are treated like they're totally different.
And Obeah is still like illegal because it's associated with curses and hexes, but people don't know that a lot of those laws came from when Obeah men were giving slaves poison to poison their masters and were giving slaves or enslaved people, rather because I'm like reprogramming that one in my brain.
But we're giving them tokens for a courage to rebel and things like that. Because before that white people were still going to Obeah men in Jamaica too. So, it was just like, but it's different when you start using this stuff to mess with their systems. Right? So that's where a lot of like the witchcraft laws around
really began. It's like rooted in this tradition of rebellion. And I don't know, it just never felt mutually exclusive for me because both of my grandmas were Christians. And so, it's like, despite the fact that Obeah is really what connects me to my ancestors and through my ancestors connects me to a lot of other stuff.
It's like, I know that like a lot of Christian spirits have my back because my grandmother is prayed over me, like to them too
Dalia: So, some of these other spirits are not deceased blood relatives. They could be spirits who have been looking out for your family for a while.
Kris: Exactly. And that's the thing for a lot of Black people globally like that.
I really try to impart is that. You can be the one who is restoring some tradition from 600 years ago and developing a new way of relating to this spirit that could just recognize like, oh, hey, you know, you're a descendant of this like bloodline that I have like a pact with or whatever. So as a lot of people are really waking up to these things, you know, a lot of these spirits are like, oh, you might actually be open to be in the one I can talk to you now.
Dalia: Now when it comes to that, was there a recognizable alter in hindsight, in your grandma's house?
The one who said she needed a landing pad; did she have one?
Kris: So, both of my grandmothers had like these just different like display case things with everybody's funeral programs or like a wall wave and yeah, one time actually, when my mom on. On my mom's side, she basically says like, yeah, I like to keep everybody's programs.
Cause my mom used to do it. Like, and one time she saw my altar and she totally rearranged it somewhere else. She like brought me something and she didn't go, this was my author. She was just like, well, I just saw you had this right here. And I thought it made sense to do it like this. And she completely like perfectly made an altar and she knows nothing about that stuff just from seeing it so many times without a name though.
Dalia: That's so interesting because I never thought about that saving the programs. And that is so interesting. Yes, absolutely. I have a ton of relatives who do that, who feel very Christian and that's all they are, but like my mother is half Jamaican and half Cuban and I know just, they worked so hard to break people away from their traditional ways that feels like even in the family members, there is this fear around all things that aren't recognizable as part of Catholicism or part of another branch of Christianity. Even the family members that, you know, in Cuba, the mixing of Santeria and Catholicism,
but then some people are like, oh no. Even if their neighbors and the rest of the town says, this is normal, and this is what we do here. So have you had any tension like that with anybody in the family or you've been able to just stay focused on what you knew was right? And you were affirmed by your two grandmas?
Kris: Yeah, it's definitely more so the second one, I like. I don't know that I've really been like super close to a whole bunch of my family. Like, as I just got older, because I was just more so in community where I was, and my family didn't necessarily live near me, you know? So, I wouldn't necessarily be the person who was like traveling across the country for a bunch of family events.
So, in that way, it's like, I mean, if somebody does have a problem with me, they probably just keep their distance. And I don't know, but the family members that I'm close to are all really, really cool about it, but also just because they know me as a person. So, it's like, nobody's looking at me like, oh, Kris is just evil.
Dalia: That's a blessing in itself. You don't need that extra, heat from family.
Kris: Yeah. And so, I don't know. I feel like if I have a feeling like somebody does feel like that, I just kind of keep my distance from them. And I do think internally I had to work, lose some things like both with my queerness and with my spirituality on that front.
But over time, like my sister burns ancestor money now she'll hit me up. Like, what should I do to like, thank the ancestor because this money burns has just brought in some clients, like what's going on.
And I had a cousin hit me up one time was like, what's this aura cleanse business about?
Definitely some of like my family's minds have open or they felt led into just trying some stuff and seeing how they can work their realities and things based off seeing me. So that's been really good.
Dalia: I love that, like you said, other ancestors or other spirits in general might recognize that you are the entry point into helping the family reclaim old practices, but then it also seems like living family may recognize you are the entry point to reconnecting to something that they've lost.
Kris: Wow. I hadn't really thought about it like that, but yeah.
Dalia: With the queerness, when did that come into your awareness? So, you were voluntarily, actively experiencing spirituality in high school, through a Christian Church where you aware of your queerness then, or were you in a church where that wasn't a problem.
Kris: So, I don't think I was really aware of my queerness in high school, at least not like consciously. I think I became aware of my friend sometime in college around my junior year of college, I would say when I was just like dating more and hoeing more so, and senior year was my first queer relationship and we were together for a little while.
And so, when it became like, just kind of clear that that was serious, that I wasn't like experimenting, I was really embracing like, no, I can just, I'm like just queer, you know, I can, I can have really queer relationships. At that point, I was like, all right, well, I'm gonna have to tell my family.
They, cause I'm not like I'm obviously not going to like hide my relationships and stuff like that. Like that was just my mentality at that time was just, well, if like where there's going to be some problems, we might as well just find out now, you know? But I don't think anybody was really like actively homophobic or at least not like intentionally, because I do come from a Jamaican family.
Like my mom sometimes will say like really insensitive stuff and I'll be like, Ooh, that was like really hurtful. But in hindsight, I can see like, she's trying, you know, she was trying, but there's like a cultural learning curve and stuff. And she wouldn't like, when I learned how to just communicate, like this hurts me, she would adjust her behavior rather than being like super reactive.
So even looking back with that, like things where I would've been like, yeah, I was dealing with homophobia and stuff from my family, it was more like from a place of ignorance, it wasn't from a place of like malice or like anybody was going to disown me or anything like that, you know? And so, yeah. And then when I came out as non-binary, that was in 2019.
So that was more recently that I came out to myself and then like to my family and stuff. Oh, it was a lot harder with my pronouns.
Dalia: Oh my goodness. The struggle is real. How, what was that process like for you? Because I feel like in hindsight, so I was born in 81. I'm going to be 40 this year.
And so, we didn't have a lot of language that we have now in English. And its weird how language can kind of bind you. It's hard to conceive of a concept that doesn't exist in your language, but at the same time, this is the colonizer's language. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any of my ancestors’ indigenous languages, even though I speak Spanish because of my Cuban ancestry.
Again, that's another colonizers language. So, I'm sure there was more room and gender wasn't as binary and some of these languages, because I know culturally the binary was not a thing in a lot of the cultures that we are linked to by blood, but for me, even trying to express, I knew I was never hyper femme. I always hated hyper fem things, but then I also thought, well, what part of this is just how we're socialized to think about femininity?
And for a while, it was just like, well, I'm just a bunchy woman, but then in relationships with women, they were like, hmmm, you're absolutely not that. And then I'm like, oh, I'm an aggressive femme. Just trying to find the language and then trying to find which pronouns are mine, it's been such a journey.
I find sometimes I'll even mis-gender myself, but lately what's been feeling right is no pronouns at all. And my mother growing up, even though she, her are her pronouns, she was always told us you never use someone's pronouns while they're in the room. Like, if I would say her talking about my mother, she would pop me in the head, not like super hard, but like, I'm right here.
I'm your mother. I'm right here. Don't talk about me like I'm not here. And she said that it was a Jamaican thing, but I have not heard that consistently.
I'm like, is it, where does that come from? Have you heard that before? Like being a thing, that even cis people say don't use pronouns while I'm standing right here?
Kris: No, not in my family, but I'm so intrigued when I hear stuff like that, because it does sound like indigenous in nature.
Dalia: It's weird. And then I mentioned it just someone else trying to explain, I don't use any pronouns at all, but some people, mostly straight people have been reading no pronouns as hostile to LGBTQIA+ people, but I'd heard other people saying it too.
So I don't know I'm in like this weird place of like didn't we always know we were non-binary, but we just weren't using the word non-binary and isn't that just a big ass umbrella. And that's why so many of us are like, am I in the right place? Cause it's like such a big room.
Kris: Exactly. Yeah. I because I think if I had the language, I probably would've started going by.
Non-binary when I started going by Kris when I was 12, because I didn't have language for it, but I was like, it just sounds less like a girl's name, you know? Cause like my birth name was Kristen and so my family would call me Kristin, but everybody else in my life had called me Kris since that age, you know?
And so it was like, I was thinking about it. I was like, if I would've had the language back then that probably would have been the moment that I would have been like, yeah, no, this is it's because this is like who I am and just feeling very much outside of a lot of the language and almost feeling like I existed just outside of a lot of people's concepts of what masculine feminine are and like, and I think that's divine.
You know, and I think my connections with all these different spirits and all these different realms has just continued to affirm that. Like when you really start seeing the vast variety of realms that there are, it makes sense. How many of us are probably connected to all of these realms that are really just figuring out a new way to exist and new ways to express ourselves.
But you're also not the first person ever I've known who doesn't use any pronouns and is just like, I know two people who just use their first initials and they're like, my pronouns are K you know.
Dalia: That gives me an idea, that actually is really helpful. It can be hard for people to get used to it, not because they're trying to be difficult. It's just a bigger shift than them accepting your queerness and learning how to not be offensive to you, but asking people to use the correct pronouns when that's just not how the language has worked in their experience up until now. It's a struggle.
So then when you ask somebody don't use any pronouns at all, they feel like they're saying your name entirely too much in a sentence. It feels very strange to them.
Kris: Oh goodness. That's wild. Yeah. I think like, I'm just, I just know so many different queer people that I'm not programmed to just assume anything about anybody.
So I'm very much like when somebody tells me, like, if somebody was like refer to me as it, I'm like, okay, that's just, you, you know,
Dalia: It's not a problem with queer people because when people use Neo pronouns, I'm just like, okay, okay. I write it down. I put it next to their name in my phone and I get it. And I know to look at it again before we start talking so that I will use the correct ones.
It's not that hard.
Kris: Exactly. So, I think like being in community, you kind of learn to let people tell you who they are, rather than assuming anything about them. So it didn't like strike me as anything when I saw no pronouns. So I was just like, all right.
Dalia: You see this is why spending time in community is so crucial. I really want to know more about when you look back, even thinking about your ancestors and the gendered language around like, oh, that was your great, great grandma, but was it, we don't know. You didn't meet, like we don't really know. Have you had any epiphanies that specific people have brought to you or once people get out of their physical body, is there less attachment to things like that?
Because spirit never has a gender, right? At least that's what I thought that spirit is always gender free.
Kris: Because this is a freewill universe. They can take on like any like forms and fashions that they want. That's why, like, even with our Orisha, you'll have different paths, like there's different lifetimes of them that will look different and we're different.
And just because multidimensionality is a very real thing when it comes to spirits. And a lot of like, just the fact that energy does recycle in all these different ways. So you will have a lot of gender neutral entities that are like, I'm just like a universal energy. Like I don't, but then you will also have like goddesses or, you know, who are just like, no, I like really lean into what we would say is femininity now. But even within the, like, you've seen the deck, like I really break down how, like, these things are really formless energy concepts that can manifest in different ways. So there's no way to define it except to connect to it for yourself and decide what proportion of that you resonate with, you know?
Just like, there's all different types of like identities that humans are realizing that we have it's very similar for spirits.
Dalia: Interesting, because I had assumed that, especially when we're here in the west, a lot of times you're always dealing with some kind of male cis-gender God.
I started to think it was always a projection that humans are putting on spirit, this gendered thing. But I never thought about, you know, the spirit itself or himself or herself may decide. This is the energy that I want to put out there. And then people pick up on that energy and understand this is a goddess, or this is just spirit with no gender.
Kris: Right. And sometimes like, just depending on where your conception is, spirits won't necessarily have attachments to being seen a certain way. So if they have to take on a certain form to be comprehensible, then that's what they'll do. Like there's this one Veda where Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna shows somebody Krishna’s universal form and it freaked the person out.
Like the whole thing is like, I went through wonder, I went through total fear.... and then Krishna turned back into like a humanoid thing. So yeah that's like what I really look like. And you just aren't ready.
Dalia: I wonder if that's why, so a while ago I got a reading, an ancestor reading. I was under the impression maybe something broke down in communication, but I thought that my ancestors were going to be, making bold, visible moves within a certain timeframe and that it didn't happen.
But then when I went back for a follow-up reading, the person that had the reading, when they said, I think it's you, you are not ready and they know you're not ready and they're not here to freak anybody out. They know that if you really start hearing them and seeing them, you're going to have a little meltdown, even though you keep saying, show yourself, show yourself.
They're like, ummmm, but you're not ready. So that all makes sense.
Kris: Yeah, absolutely. Cause my spirits definitely know there's only certain times that I can deal with visuals. Other times it's like do not just pop up in the corner of my eye when I just woke up. Y'all like, don't do that. I don't have a problem with hearing anybody like that for some reason, that just never really freaked me out. So I'm like send a sound like before you send an image, if you see like I'm doing any meditation, I can look at you.
Dalia: I love the idea of being able to set boundaries even with non-human entities.,
Kris: You have to, or they'll run your life. Like they'll get away with as much as you let them get away with, but then you also have some, like, that's why I think ancestors, it's really important to connect with them before you start connecting with other entities because you are them.
So they really understand your human limits a lot more than other spirits. Like some of them, it's not that they don't care, but they don't exist in this body. So they don't understand that you're tired unless you just say like, Hey, not right now, like I'm tired. Or if you're like, they don't come at me like that, like this is not a productive way to communicate.
Like, okay, I understand that this is urgent, but you can't do this right now. This is hurting my ears. Like that kind of thing. You know?
Dalia: How do you make sure that you specifically stick to your ancestors? Is it just by asking that only they come through or are there tools you would stay away from.
Is that your experience? Are there certain tools we should save for later or save for never?
Kris: So tricksters will definitely like, especially if the spirit doesn't recognize you. So it's if you haven't been initiated into something and you're like, oh, I'm just going to light this candle and summon and so-and-so and tricksters there definitely will be like, well, shit, I'm just gonna answer cause like so-and-so's obviously not coming.
Cause you don't know what you're doing. And they will just come and talk to you, like give me attention, give me energy. I think, well, number one, like either starting with somebody that you knew in life or somebody that you just heard a lot of stories about when it comes to ancestors and letting them be your entryway into other ancestors.
And when it comes to branching out into other spirits, like, because when spirits realize you can hear them, a lot of different things, we'll just kind of like try to flood you sometimes. And so you do have to know how to say no . When I feel like somebody, I like haven't like consciously interacted with before it's coming.
The first thing that I do is like ask, do you mean me my highest good. And if the answer is at all shaky, cause like a trickster will try to lie, but you can kind of feel, it feels like when a person's lying a little bit, you know, like there's just something shaky. You didn't know how to answer that directly.
But then when I get a really direct response, the responses like, yes, like obviously like then it's like, okay, so now we can like talk.
Dalia: That's really helpful. Do you, in your experience, does everyone who passes, like if you're thinking of a close relative that died, but in life they were super, super Christian and all they ever envisioned was going straight to heaven no in-between is everybody available to be called out to, or are there some people that based on what they said when you knew them.
They probably have moved on and they can't hear you anymore.
Kris: It really depends. Some ancestors are earth bound. Like for some reason they just couldn't cross over. They can't let go. And some really didn't have something just deeply unhealed in them. That just still plagues them as a spirit.
So different situational things like that will affect even if you say like, let me speak with my honorable ancestors or my righteous ancestors, then like certain ancestors, aren't going to be able to answer that. And that is how you want to start. You don't want to start with like your unhealed ancestors giving you a bunch of discouraging advice. I think one thing when people talk about this separation though, is that eventually you can reach a point where you can do healing work with those ancestors, but you really have to have a solid foundation with the ones who mean you your highest good first, you know, so that like you can really see that distinction and know the kind of healing work that you're doing.
Because a lot of the things with your unhealed ancestors are also unhealed in you. So that's a very vulnerable thing.
Dalia: Can you help them do healing without directly interacting with them? If you do your own healing work does that go backwards, and forwards like with your other relatives?
Kris: Yeah. I think anytime anybody heals themselves, it heals around and backwards and forwards.
The present is in conversation with all things, whatever current present you're choosing is in conversation with alternate realities, it's in conversation with the future and it's in conversation with the past. And so, yeah, you can definitely do things to elevate ancestors who need elevating and help bring them peace, but you need to be in a solid place and have a solid, hold on those things within yourself first, you know?
Dalia: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me. I've been thinking a lot lately about, well, not lately, probably like forever about intergenerational trauma and how it physically is passed on to you through DNA. But then also wondering if sometimes if you feel like a high level of rage or just general being super, super high strung in a way that indicates you're a descendant of survivors of trauma, but also could be that you're still feeling their energy and all this unresolved rage that they died with because they were subjected to countless injustices and just all the disappointment you can even imagine.
If you get to a point where you're spending your time in silence and you feel like your nervous system is less agitated all the time, would that also be going out to them or does that not necessarily mean anything's happened beyond you?
Kris: Oh, it absolutely does. Like, your DNA is like a continuation of that, you know?
And so yeah, the intergenerational healing definitely does impact the experiences of intergenerational trauma, because it starts activating the things that the trauma deactivated within the bloodline too, you know, like these connections with all these other spirits. That's why sometimes when you move through something that does take up a whole lot of weight, because trauma is like a really heavy energy, wherever you experience it.
Right. And when you clear that it makes room for like a whole lot of subtle energy that was once there before, you know.
I think you said something earlier about like ancestors who conceptualize gender differently that I wanted to touch on because a lot of the people will say it was the great mothers were the original humans, but they like it when I say the great ancestors, because so many of them did not resonate with womanhood.
Like there were trans men, they were folks who in today's terms would identify as non-binary. And that's why like Black queer trans and intersex folks do have like a lot of unseen forces that are so in supportive us, like being visible and being out.
Dalia: That makes me wonder too, when you spoke about ancestors that are invested in the wellbeing of your family, not because you're blood relatives, but because they had a commitment with your blood line.
I immediately thought that this could also be like folks who never decided to have children of their own or couldn't for whatever reason also being part of our extended family. Family isn't just blood family in this life or in any other.
Kris: Yeah, absolutely. And that's where like the whole concept of trancestors comes from too.
Like a lot of
Dalia: Ohhh tell me about that I haven't heard that.
Kris: I feel like my first trancestors were Monte Carlo and Keywan they pass they were really like really integral in the Atlanta community. But they were two of the first, like people who had passed that my ancestors were like, okay, you have to help them transition.
You have to work with them and stuff like that. So I actually bonded with them, in depth and wound up really involved in doing a lot of like death doula work and helping community members like grieve and like sending messages from them and things like that. And it really has deeply connected me to a lot of trancestors who really their family and this life was community, you know?
And so they, they look over communities still.
Dalia: Oh, wow. That's beautiful. So the things that you offer to the community as a spiritualist, you do death doula work, and you also have created the Oracle deck for us. What are the other things that you do?
Kris: I'm also just a deeply creative person, so there's a lot of like just creative stuff that I do as well. I paint, I do poetry. I've been a career spoken word artists. And so I would say that while it's not necessarily my career, it is another deep, part of my calling is to be a creative soul.
But the spiritual abolitionist definitely is and the cosmic reparations fund and just making myself available as a universal, spiritual support system for Black queer trans and intersex people who sees them like for who they are, you know? And I think it's deeply meaningful to receive spiritual support and healing protection tools, prosperity tools.
Everything in my shop is really geared towards things to make our lives easier, given all the shit that goes on in this system. So when there was a lot going on with police action against Black people, I dropped the fuck around and find out protection blend was like, okay. So if a white person is trying to kill you with the cops clot then went this, you know, like, but then also like when I see people crowdfunding like, oh, Hey, here's some ancestor money burn this as you crowd fund and help manifest more funds for you.
You know? The higher love potion, which is like a roll-on oil is like, I see a lot of folks going through stuff emotionally. So this is going to help with calling in your spirits who can help with emotional support, you know so it's deeply rooted. Just everything that I do. I'm open for aura cleanses and for divinations this month as well.
The deck really came out of like, I was like, I can't really like divine for everybody all the time, but I think this is literally a way that I can, you know, and when I realized that like that Oracle deck did not exist, that was for like Black queer trans and intersex folks. I was like, all right, well, I need to create, it was basically what spirit was just like, it doesn't exist yet.
Cause you didn't make it like you paint, you write you've been a collective channel, what's stopping you they were just like, why haven't you made it already?
Dalia: I love that. I love that. And for anybody who doesn't know the difference between tarot and oracle cards, what is the difference to you as someone who actually has made it.
Kris: Yeah. So tarot is a regimented system. So even though you'll have them with different themes and using different things to express them, there's still basic things about numbers and the elements and stuff that just applies to tarot and the major Arcana also. And so it's more regimented in that way, you're going to have the same number of cards you're going to have the same archetypes. Oracle decks are a lot more open-ended even in how you can read with them.
with this one, they, it went through like several different editing processes kind of, because I was initially gonna like, have a lot more keys and they were just like, why? Just like, like you said, everything you need to say, like stop trying to like rub your nose against the grind stone.
Dalia: When you say it could be read different ways to, how do you recommend somebody use a deck?
Kris: So you can pretty much approach it anyway, that was one thing about the reason that I. Went to different primordial, just universal energies but I more so consulted the universal energies who were conscious of marginalization and of the spiritual warfare on the mental and emotional wellbeing of Black queer trans and intersex folks every day, because we're seeing it more.
And I started just seeing a lot of things that folks were going to have to be dealing with in the next 10 to 25 years. And it was like, yo, I need the guidance that's really going to help, folks to do the inner work, do the outer work or whatever to be prepared. And a lot of us who can really feel that new ways of existence need to, are going to need to be existing sometime soon.
You know, I was like a lot of these oracle decks are very frilly and love and lighty and don't necessarily acknowledge like, no, revolution is coming. It's really here in the spiritual realms, you know?
Dalia: Oh, yeah, that resonates so deeply. So much is missing in these mainstream spiritual practices that have hijacked some indigenous traditions and over simplified them.
And everything's about 'love and light love and light', and the insinuation is if you really are a spiritual person that you're only aware of positive things, and every time something negative, you know, starts to come toward you, you're just like positive vibes only. And then magically that negative force just poof disappears.
We know from living in these Black bodies, that's not a fucking thing. And that you could be bursting with positive energy and spiritual power and you will still have to deal with whatever the fuckery is of the day, whether that's somebody's homophobia fucking up your employment situation, or somebody's transphobia fucking you over, or somebody racism, it really is a thing.
So when you just now said it's spiritual warfare, can you talk about that? Because I would love to hear from a spiritual perspective, that's focused on abolition and liberation. What is really going on?
Kris: Oh, okay. I'm going to have to like talk about this kind of broadly and you're going to find this getting fucked.
So my, my word that I like to use is Babylon for the powers that used to be, I'm just going to say, cause they're really scrambling to hold onto power now. Because I think so many Black people are waking up and kind of realizing when you feel very drained because of a lot of these things, your energy is going somewhere.
It's powering things. And so a lot of the times, like when there's like these really subtle stories, these news stories, that these are the ones that everybody's seeing everywhere of, like, like I was telling somebody the other day, I've marched for a lot of people who did not make the news. And now all of a sudden it has to be a news story.
And the video footage has to be on your timeline and stuff like that. And just things that like will fundamentally make you feel unsafe and make your spirit feel unsafe in your body. That energy goes somewhere. So that stuff is very much intentional, just like in terms of trying to degrade our mental and emotional wellness to distract us from getting messages about what we need to be doing and ways that we can be prepared and things that we're meant to be doing on this earth right now to deal with this stuff, you know. For a while
I was just like going around doing healing, work with different places in the land where there are a lot of Black American earthbound ancestors who just died in such horrific ways that they're not at peace . And so I would just go out and do healing work. That was where, like the term, the spiritual abolitionist really came from, was it felt like helping free them and free these ancestors that were bound.
But those were ritual sacrifices. You see what I'm saying? Like the KKK is a ritualistic group. And so even when those things, like they're deeply embedded in a lot of the folks who are at the top of these corporations and stuff like there's ritual symbolism and things like that, that they're really trying to do to wage war on us all the time, and to keep us blind to our power, you know?
But the thing is a lot of us, we are we're master manifesters or we have spirits who are master manifesters like, we have spirits who will make ways for us and stuff like that. And spirits who will give us strength like High John the Conqueror is one that a lot of people will use because he's really big on emotional uplift and on helping you find ways to outwit them and outwit situations and stuff.
And so I like, as a shadow seer, I can see like certain like ritualistic things that are going on and are very background when certain things start circulating like that. And so I'll also see like, okay, this will be emotionally manipulating this kind of stuff. So then my channelings will be like, Hey, do this kind of inner healing work, focus on this in this time, you know?
To try to send messages from energies that are trying to balance and neutralize and not allow certain outcomes to happen to folks. And so that also definitely went into the creation of the deck was just teaching people how to protect themselves on a small scale when people are throwing crap at you or just evil eye and stuff, but also on a larger scale with the stuff that the state is just doing every day to try to fuck with us, you know?
Dalia: I've been hearing lately from almost everybody I know at this point in my life, everybody, they told you on a regular basis is involved in some kind of social justice work in some area, whether it's trying to get equal access to healthcare for fat people, whether it's trying to get people to stop murdering Asian people, everybody's in some kind of liberation work and everyone has been so demoralized lately that at the end of every conversation, it's just like, I guess my new objective is just to survive. Like repeatedly friends, keep saying, when I asked, well, how are you doing? And they know, I don't mean just give me some surface level. I mean, how are you really doing?
How are you doing? They're like, well, I'm still alive. And that's about it. Early 2020, it felt like momentum and there was new life into this second wave of the civil rights movement.
And then it started to feel like the constant news coverage, became an energy drain. And then you heard even well meaning folks of color saying you can't look away and don't forget their names. And basically if you don't have the strength to keep watching it, like who the fuck do you think you are? I mean, they died.
Kris: It's like guilting people into consuming. Especially I dislike it when people do that to Black people and like I'm Black every day, you know?
Dalia: Right, right. Do I really have to keep watching something that's going to make me feel like I don't have any energy left to do anything?
Kris: And to be honest, I was an organizer before I was a spiritualist. And I think that was one thing that I saw. I was like, I can't help, but feel like the way this is modeled currently, we're not modeled to model wellness and model wellness as an essential part of doing that kind of work, you know, like modeling, having inner peace as an essential part of going to war with things. Because you can't be out of balance and those energies either, or you'll just be popping off and giving your energy to everything and mental health matters.
You know, mental health is deeply connected to spiritual health. We had so many ancestral practices that were for mental, spiritual, and emotional health that I feel like are coming back in a lot of these ways. I am prioritizing, like, I've seen a lot of Hoodoo apothecaries with like, anti-anxiety herbs for Black folks, you know, and different stuff like that.
I mean, in my opinion, you should be in your liberation work out of love and not obligation. If you are doing what you're doing, because somebody is telling you to feel obligated to it. That's not really coming from your heart. That might not even necessarily be what you are meant to do. I do think they try to condition us to burn ourselves out so that we're not effective.
And so that is a large part of what spurred me into becoming a healer and doing aura cleanses and things like that. And helping people release those things at an energy level ,receive these visions from spirit at an energy level, you know, like cultivate that self love on an energy level so that you have like a level of psychic shielding.
And you know, when to use that when you're dealing with these things.
Dalia: That framing is extremely helpful. Doing the work out of love. From your posts online, you seem very intersectional, but your work is focused on the liberation of queer Black folks, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're elevating the people you're serving above other people, but that's what you were called to do.
Kris: Right, I center Black queer trans and intersex folks because there's just such a big question with spiritualists all the time. Is that a safe space for me personally, as a Black queer, trans and intersex person, like, am I going to have to deal with some kind of microaggressive bullshit while I'm coming to you for a healing service, you know, It's not that I don't also like do service with cis people. It's not that I don't also, you know, do service with white people. I do, I have a reparations fund and I asked that any white person who benefits from my work contribute to that consistently. Like, so if you are going to take benefit from me as a white person, I need you to be a benefit to my community by sponsoring community healing services and sponsoring products for community members.
But I do think it's important as a spiritualist that I do center myself that way to always make it like clear first and foremost to community members who need that heal at work the most like I'm in a safe space for you.
Dalia: Yeah. Oh, that makes so much sense to me. Oh my goodness. I'm sure there's like a million other questions I'm going to of later, but...
Kris: Do you want me to see if the deck has anything to say?
Dalia: Yessss, let's see!
Kris: Something just popped out.
Dalia: Is that the one that wants to be read?
Kris: Yes. So it is the birth key and for people who this is their first time seeing it, they're kind of like flashcards. So there's no books you have to sift through. When you pull a card, it's just going to tell you what it means.
The birth key unveils that you can either consciously sit down or get sat down by spirit because you have a new creation to labor into existence. The only thing blocking this creation from coming to you is the fact that you are not honoring your labor and prioritizing your creative baby. Only share your energy with those who can support you in your focus and allow the universe to remove anyone else from your life.
Allow spirit to use you in your co-creation process. Creation is spiritual labor surrender fully to this blessing. Focus on your focus and abundance will flow in what follows.
Dalia: That might've been specifically for me. I don't know if it's for the conversation.
Kris: It’s wild because it's a new moon. Yeah, it was yesterday. So that's manifestation time. So it felt like this feels kind of specific. I don't know. This might be like the perfect astrological time for you to.
Dalia: Yeah, sometimes it's ridiculous how many different ways spirit tries to tell me something. And I'm still like, what do I do?
I got that message a lot yesterday. And I was like, huh, I don't know. I'm still feeling lost. And now here it is.
Kris: Oh, I love that. And I've been loving that with the feedback specifically for Black queer and trans folks about the deck, just like, oh my gosh, it's so straight forward. And that was my goal. I was like, I don't want this to be a super confusing deck.
I want it to really just call out the energy so that you can see it like, oh yeah, like
Dalia: That's so interesting. There's something about the way that it's written too. And I always, I struggled with this because I felt very disconnected from Black American culture growing up because I was raised in a very white centered church.
I didn't get to engage with the music. And the church is such a big part of Black American culture. If you didn't at least get to go as a kid, I feel like you're missing out on a lot of references. There's all kinds of songs you don't know. And then so many of these songs also have messaging that bridges, spiritualism and Christianity.
And so I'm always concerned that I won't get it. That something specifically for Black people might just go right over my head. But what I do find is when somebody is more connected to the diaspora in general, and your worldview is expanded because of the queerness and the focus on the trans folks and the intersex folks, that's the language that I understand.
Like I maybe wouldn't have understood it if it was written by cis femme Black woman from the US who got to grow up in the church. That she might use language that I'd be like, I don't know the references, but when I've been going through the deck, I find myself asking, why do I feel like these were all written for me?
Kris: Yes. And I've heard that from several Black gender expansive folks too, just like this feels really affirming with like language that I can get behind. And that was so the goal I'm so glad.
Dalia: Yeah. Thank you so much for making and then modeling for everybody that there's just a lot of stuff that we're here to do, but sometimes you feel like you can't do it because you think there aren't enough people that need it.
Like, you know, you could have used it, but you're like, how many of me are there out there more than you think, because people's voices are constantly being suppressed and people are still finding their way to clearly identifying who they are for themselves. Like coming out to yourself first, like you said, as a non-binary person,
that is a step. You don't hear people talk about it a lot, but that's like the most important step.
Kris: Exactly. And it's a process.
Dalia: It doesn't happen just like that.
Kris: It's a decolonization process really.
Kris: Just decolonizing your concept of new.
Dalia: Wow. That really hits. Where do we go to hear more of this? Where did we go to hear more of what Kris is putting out into the world?
Kris: So I have a podcast where I do collective channelings. If it ever seems like shit is really going to like hit the fan. I dust out my old telepathic hotline with the universe and pull out messages.
And that's called The Liberation Station Podcast. you can find me at www.thespiritualabolitionist.com. There you'll find links to the podcast, to my shop, with all my products, including the deck and my art and all my different spiritual tools and the cosmic reparations fund for any white and non-Black folks who have heard this and would like to sponsor healing products and services and emergency funds for community members.
All of that can be found on my website. I'm also on Instagram @thespiritualabolitionist and @kriswithakcreates. That's more so like my personal, like splash, just like putting out different creative things that I'm working on. Just for fun for. Yeah, I think that's pretty much everywhere that you can find me dropping my little gems.
I try to put out different little like memes and stuff about the, how to handle the astrological weather on my Instagram.
Dalia: That's what I feel like is really missing for me. A lot of times they're like a practical approach. There's so much spiritual stuff out there and sometimes it just kind of feels like you're on the receiving end of a fire hose and you're like, well, what should I do right now?
Presenting it and in a meme form sounds very digestible.
Kris: Yeah, I did a really, I did a really fun one with a living single scene the other day. And I was like, Max equals how I'm going to be this mercury retrograde. And it was a scene where everybody was arguing in the kitchen and Max just walked in and got handed the cookie and got handed a glass of milk and tried to reach for another cookie and just walked out.
Dalia: Yeah, this is what we need. This is what we need. Understandable. Something you can internalize.
Yeah, we remember Max. I keep seeing all this stuff about the Friends anniversary or reunion or whatever, and
Kris: you mean white Living Single?
Dalia: Thank you. I'm like, oh, that thing that was a derivative form of a show that it just resonates so much more.
It's funny because at the time the environment I was in, all I ever saw was Friends. And then I get to watch Living Single, as a binge, as an adult. And I'm like, wow this clearly was first.
Kris: I literally can quote every single episode. I'm going to be writing an article at one day where I break down every Friend's episode.
That's can you link directly back to a Living Single episode. Stay tuned. Cause that's been in the back of my head cause I grew up in a Friends household too, and I started rewatching it, but I watched living single all the time.
Dalia: Yeah. That really says something for anybody who's thinking from an artistic standpoint.
Oh, I can't do ... because it's so derivative. But can't you though? Because how successful was Friends? But can't you though? It really depends on who's going to be consuming it in the end.
Kris: It's true. So, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Dalia: Thank you so much for coming on. Yeah, not that we want to encourage or validate the constant theft of Black culture.
Kris: I was like white folks that wasn't necessarily for you to go appropriating anything.
Dalia: If anything, all what I can say is it was on brand.
Kris: So true. So true
Dalia: Taking, taking, taking, taking, and what I've been seeing so much lately is how both straight Black American culture and white popular culture is just constantly stealing Black, queer cultural things like left, right and center.
A friend was telling me about a show that they're enjoying, but I had decided not to watch it because the news behind the scenes was basically like, hey, there were ancestors who put in a ton of time into ballroom that got passed over vs the person we selected, you know, while they're a person of color, they're very fair skinned and they have straight hair, they're not any of the things that the people who started ballroom are. And while they are queer and I'm definitely not invalidating their queerness. It's different to be queer and not engage with the culture. It's not the same.
Kris: With a lot of these celebrities that come out and it's like, okay, wait, you definitely aren't having the same experience as a lot of the rest of us.
And you're not in community with all these other queer people in the streets, which is where queerness really developed.
Dalia: If you were you’d have known to just sit your ass down. When this opportunity came up, if you actually were an active member of the community, it never would have crossed your mind to take this spot from a trans person with dark skin, who has been doing the damn thing since before you were fucking born. It never would have entered your consciousness.
Kris: We have that issue in academia too, with folks who develop those things in academia, who aren't actually in the streets. And don't actually have respect for a lot of the dark skinned, Black, queer, and trans folks who model these accountability, things that you're now making millions off of books about I'm side eyeing somebody with the initials AMB on that one, because your publishing team is really trying to crush it.
There even is a story on that with you not compensating, dark skinned, Black, queer, and trans folks whose essays are the basis for your books. And now you're the authority on transformative justice.
Dalia: Alright. Cute. It's amazing when you start to hear about the layers. You suspect there's more bullshit, but sometimes you don't know, cause it's not the area you function in.
That's really interesting to me and I am pan, bi/pan. Pan feels more right now, but bi is what people said a million years ago because I'm old. But I would never presume that I could lead the way in helping dark skinned trans femme folks, get liberation. If there was a show that was specifically for Black trans femmes, I would never think that that was my spot.
Or even if it was something that was supposed to be centered on cis gay Black men, because their lives and their experience of homophobia and transphobia is a million times higher than what I experience when it comes to homophobia because people keep assuming I'm straight.
I keep having to tell people I'm not straight and I don't have to worry about somebody throwing a brick at me if I'm holding hands with someone who, as people walk by, they think they see an opposite gender couple, it's not the same. So then why would I try and push myself to the front.
Kris: Centering yourself in an experience that you’re not living in the streets. Exactly. And you can so tell, but that's why I feel like it's so important that a lot of us just manifest our own shit at this point. That's so much of why I try to get people tapped into like getting that spiritual support to manifest in your own shit. I was a Black queer and trans person. You know,
Dalia: We’re going to leave it on that note to manifesting your own shit everybody.
Kris: That's pretty much what the birth key is all about.
Dalia: Oh my God. I love that.
Oh, isn't Kris, just a breath of fresh air. I would love to hear what your greatest takeaways are from this episode. Supporting members on Substack have access to group posts and that is an excellent place to share. I recently decided that social media was just taking so much more away from me than it was giving and because my energy is needed elsewhere.
I just decided to let it all go.
Now the best way to connect with me online is on Substack.
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Thank you so much for joining me. I'll see you next time.