Jumbie: Episode 4
Jumbie: Episode 4
[00:00:00] Dev Ramsawakh: This is Jumbie. You’re going to want to hit that subscribe button.
[00:00:24] Clif Knight: With your hosts, myself, Clif Knight and Dev Ramsawakh.
[00:00:29] Dev Ramsawakh: On Jumbie, we’re going to hear dark and haunting stories from local storytellers that are inspired or about the spirits, monsters and other cryptids from colonized places.
[00:00:39] Clif Knight: These are stories that don’t often get to be told on larger stages.
Not everybody grows up with stories of vampires and werewolves, or at least like the ones you can buy books.
[00:00:49] Dev Ramsawakh: Then we’ll sit in conversation with our storyteller to explore their relationship with their story with horror and how colonization ties into any of that.
[00:00:57] Clif Knight: On this episode, we have Joan Rupram. Joan is a healer teacher and mentor.
They are the visionary founder of Satyagraha Healing House, a Spiritual Healing Lodge for Healers called to The Walk on The Healers Journey.
[00:01:11] Dev Ramsawakh: This is The Exorcism by Joan Rupram.
[00:01:28] Joan Rupram:
“Like jumbie catch she…”
The hot Caribbean sun had long set, but the fury of the dark night had just begun. The caravan door opens, I look around and all I see is blackness. we just pulled in the bottom house and she ah halla again. My heart is racing and pounding..
“What’s happening now?” I hear someone say. “Nah tun on dah light.”
They’re lifting her up and an hice am upstairs. She’s saying something, but meh cyant mek out what. Meh cyant see she face. I’m scared. What’s happening to her? Why is she like this?
They took her to the room. Her shirt’s missing. There’s candles all around the room and around the bed. I’m not allowed in there though.
What’s gonna happen to her?
I know she’s on the other side, I can hear them in there with her. Why can’t I see her? She’s sick.
The candles are suppose to help her. I’ll hear loud voices sometimes. I don’t know if that’s her. He’s in there with her. I’m scared she’ll coming through the door. What if she scares me? What if the candles doesn’t work and she get way and come inside?
I’m scared of her, they wont let me see her.
Are they looking at me? What are we doing here? How much longer do we have to come here? Where is she? She’s been gone long. I wanna go home. Look how much people ah wait.
“Come follow this lady.”
I followed her to the side of the house. The stairs are teal blue with a close line running across. Nuff people ah wait. Where did they take her?
“Now tek off yuh clothes and bade from head to toe with this, arite.”
She hands me some bush and an egg. I get undress and wash my body from head to toe. I hope this work, I don’t wanna come back here.
There’s that sound. what is it.. is it voices? Is it her? What’s happening? Howling? A whistle maybe. Maybe it’s him.
It’s so dark outside. I’m glad Nani is here.
“Nani, tell me a story.”
Is she making the noise? What does she look like? Is she going to come after me? Can
she come through the door?
Nani’s voice trails off in the distance. I lay quietly finding safety in the warm embrace of her voice. She radiated firm solid and steady. I could rest here for now, until I can see her again.
Why cant I see her?
[00:05:12] Clif Knight: Thank you. Thank you, Joan, for that reading of your story. Yeah. First of all, welcome. And thank you for being a part of this. We’re just going to kick it off a little bit here. And so this story is, is this from a personal experience of yours?
[00:05:28] Joan Rupram: Yes it is. So this was a experience I went through when I was five years old and it happened in Guyana when I was still there with my family.
[00:05:42] Clif Knight: What inspired you to like start writing this type of story? And I guess like start writing in general.
[00:05:48] Joan Rupram: I feel like writing has been a really important catalyst for me to process a lot of my experiences and to kind of make sense of a lot of the things that I’ve experienced and I’ve gone through. And it’s really important for me to write consistently all the time, because a lot of the times I feel like I’m crazy and I feel like I’m mad.
And so I am actually embraced that feeling of being crazy open-heartedly because sharing this experience was really inspired because I went through it and there are so many other experiences that I went through. And there was no one that I could speak to about these experiences when I was little. And so there was no one around me to really help me process what I was experiencing and not even this experience, but other experiences as well.
So I started just writing what I was going through, what I remember all the patches of memories that I have from my childhood that seemed strange and different, weird, a little abnormal, and I would write them just so that I could validate the truth of it for myself, because I had to, because most of the time I was feeling like I was crazy, there was no one around me to help me validate the truth of my experience.
So writing sort of became that catalyst for me to validate myself and everything that I was going through. So it’s a, it’s a very important practice. And it’s a very deeply spiritual practice for me as well.
[00:07:37] Clif Knight: makes sense as another personal of Guyanese background, like yeah. If you feel strange or, or crazy in a particular way, you not only other people can’t really help you, it’s just like, yeah, you’re not supposed to talk about it.
You’re not supposed to try and reach out to people from, you know, and next thing, you know, a dem gon catch you in Berbice madhouse, you know. Yeah, you catch yourself up the river, you goin’ Venezuela now. Uh, and, uh, so yeah, no, that makes sense. That I’m really glad you were able to like find an outlet to, uh, help you stabilize because a lot of people don’t necessarily get to that point, find something that is able to help them. So that’s a yeah, really, really good that you were able to find a way around it there. Can you like explain a little bit more about like your, your background, like even within Guyana and subsequently after it?
[00:08:30] Joan Rupram: Sure. Yeah. Well, I was born in Guyana and was there with my family in Berbice for about seven or eight years. So I left when I was about seven or eight and I lived with my father and my sister and my mom was still there and she migrated probably seven or eight months after I migrated with my father and my sister.
I think for me, my experiences in Guyana were some of the most profound experiences that I’ve had spiritually speaking. And also in connection to my relationship with the land and with nature and land itself. And so my relationship with the land in Guyana is very important to me. And I feel like the first seven years really having some of those interesting, maybe strange experiences really kind of opened me up to understanding myself in a deeper way as I got older. You know, some of the first experiences in Guyana that I had was seeing spirits, hearing spirits, feeling spirits, sensing them around me, feeling them following me, feeling them when they’re around me, when they’re around my family, feeling them as they’re passing through, you know, I could feel the spirit following other people.
And it was very strange for me because I didn’t know why I was feeling these things. And one of the things that I think was very, very pivotal in my experience was that because I was so young and so open, I thought that there was something wrong with me. And I thought that I was crazy. And so I was having these experiences, these very profound experiences with spirits, with the land.
And I would always say to myself, maybe I’m making this up. Maybe it’s in my head. And so these first seven years were really important because I had some of the most impactful experiences with spirit and the spirit world. And they have stayed with me for my entire life, but I kept thinking I was making them up and I kept thinking that it was in my head.
And I kept telling myself that for many, many years, but it was revisiting these memories, and actually now speaking with my mother about them and with my family about these experiences that I have went through that has sort of opened me up to a bigger understanding of who I am, what I’m here to do on this earth, the legacy of my ancestors, the legacy of the, I want to call it the Legion of Spiritual Guidance that is around me.
But I didn’t know all of these things when I was young. But those experiences as a child really kind of left a very lasting impression that I can’t avoid or ignore. And I had to go back and look at them and ask myself, what does this mean in terms of my life, in terms of my experiences, in terms of what I’m here to do, what does this all mean in terms of the bigger picture?
And so, like, I’m very grateful to be Guyanese. I’m very grateful to be Caribbean.
[00:12:25] Clif Knight: There’s a whole aspect of, uh, growing up and becoming an adult that people don’t mention that you’re going to have to spend time reflecting on your childhood and your adolescence and people kind of, uh, yeah, they leave that part out of the manual and it kind of like shocks you later on to find out, this is kind of necessary.
[00:12:44] Dev Ramsawakh: So, yeah, I wanted to, to go into a little bit about, yeah, you were talking about your, your purpose here, and I know you described yourself as a healer and you founded this healing lodge. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
[00:13:00] Joan Rupram: The vision for the healing lodge really is for folks who know that they were born with, I’m going to use the word extrasensory abilities, meaning folks who know they’re very intuitive, folks who know that they can pick up on subtle energy, folks who have had experiences, but haven’t found a place that firmly validates the experience, firmly validates how they walk through life. And so for me, the way that I experienced life is like the spirit world and the material world is just blended together all the time.
And this is what it’s like for me all the time. You know, it’s taken a lot of work for me to be able to navigate the crazy that I feel that I have to live every single day because my world is like this all the time. It’s it’s blended. And so the healing lodge is for folks who have this kind of experience and who live life experiencing the world in this blended way so that it affirms them as the healer within.
So it affirms their experience as being these beings who have these abilities to connect with the spirit world and to walk the spirit world as well as the material world. That’s what the spirit, that’s what the healing lodge is specifically for. People who walk both the spirit world and the material world.
It’s a place for them to seek refuge, to sort of validate the healer that they are by affirming their gifts by affirming their power by affirming the special, unique way that they are in the world and that it’s powerful. So it’s a new approach to healing. It’s a new approach to energetic healing. It’s one that actually affirms you as a master healer already because you are.
[00:15:17] Dev Ramsawakh: I want to get into that a little bit more, but first I wanted to ask: the first time I was introduced to the term healing lodge, it was in the context of Indigenous practices. Is there any inspiration drawn from those practices in your healing lodge or is it just like a bit of a coincidence that they’re named like that?
[00:15:40] Joan Rupram: That’s a great question. And I really appreciate you asking it. So it’s not a coincidence. I do draw a lot of my healing work from Indigenous practices or rather from Indigenous wisdom and teaching is more accurate. So for me, I suppose the way I should contextualize this is by saying that I understand myself as Indigenous. So let me just say that again.
As a Guyanese, as a Caribbean person, descendants of indentureship, I identify as Indigenous. So I draw from the Indigenous traditions and knowledge and wisdoms in all of the work, the healing work and the medicinal energetic, spiritual work that I do. Everything that I do is informed by the spirit world.
I don’t do anything unless spirit tells me this is how it needs to be done. And so when I say I walked the spirit world, I really do mean that my work in this world is guided by spirit. And so a lot of Indigenous wisdom, traditions knowledge are, I want to say guidance for how to walk the spirit world and how to be in union with spirits, the spirit guides, the medicine that’s coming through me through the spirit lodge, through the healing lodge.
[00:17:17] Dev Ramsawakh: Yeah. I, I wanted to dive into that idea of walking the spirit world. Can you share what you mean, how you feel like, you know, that you are walking that spirit world? Like how, how did you identify that for yourself?
[00:17:36] Joan Rupram: This goes back to my experiences in Guyana.
I’ve had this experience when there was this old lady who used to live very close by to our house in the village. And I was always scared of her because she reminded me of a witch. I was like five years old. So I was always scared of her. She was old lady. She walked with a cane. I was scared of her. And whenever she would walk past our house, my mom would send me to go fetch her to our house.
So I would just run up the street and I would go, and I would say, Hey, my mom wants you to come to her. You know, my mom would like feed her and send her off with food and whatever. And I remember one day we had her that she had passed away. She had transitioned and it had been a couple of days since she had transitioned. And no one knew no one found her body until a couple of days later. She lived alone. And so as I was walking the backyard of my house, it was dark outside. And I was sort of like, walking back to the, to the house.
I distinctly remember feeling her spirit moving through the trees and I stopped because I could see the hair from the back of my neck raising. And the trees were sort of moving a little differently. And as I was just listening, I could hear a sound as she was moving through the trees. And for whatever reason, I just knew it was her. I knew that was her spirit passing through.
And so I’m sharing this story because for me, these experiences that I had as a child are the evidence I go back to, to know that I have always been able to feel them, to walk with them, to see them, to hear them, to hear them when they’re speaking with me. I go back to these experiences to remind me that I had this experience. I’ve always been having the experience.
So for me, I know that now, when I’m, let’s say in nature, when I’m in the forest and when I’m doing a lot of nature healing, there’s a difference when I’m aware of when my mind is creating, let’s say fantasies and when I’m having a visceral experience in my body. So my body is like my barometer. It tells me when there’s a spirit around me, my body is the one that lets me know that there’s something here. There’s a spirit there. There’s a shadow there, whatever it’s, it’s my body. That’s sort of intuitively aware already.
And so I, I know that my body tells me these things, and I know when it’s my mind creating fantasies. That’s one way that I know that these experiences are real for me. And the other way that I sort of walk the spirit world is by actually having a very deep relationship with spirit. And so I have a spiritual practice and I have a routine and I have a very specific way that I conduct myself with nature and the way I conduct myself with the land, and a way I conduct myself with other sovereign beings.
Right? I honor the sacred spirit in all things around. This is a relationship that I cultivated with spirit. And so this is another way that I know that I have a very deep relationship with spirit is because I honor the relationship that I have as a spiritual being.
[00:21:34] Clif Knight: I guess this is kind of a follow-up to Dev, but like, yeah, as a person who, who has, you know, this, uh, you, you can sense these spirits. You can sense these, uh, you know, these extra reality, you know, uh, experiences. What sort of insight do you have to some of these other myths that people talk about things, people talking about the baccoo, the ole higue, you know, and then even here in Canada, they’re talking about, you know, all the, whatever ghosts, whatever spirits they have locally.
And so, uh, I’m just saying maybe you meet a lot of people, you know what I mean? Like.
[00:22:09] Joan Rupram: Yeah. I love this question. It’s great. I want to say that all the stories that we hear about these different beings for me, the way I understand it now is it’s, it’s kind of like an oral index of all the experiences our ancestors have had with these beings.
And now I’m just going to leave it up to like the audience to kind of do a little research, African spirituality. I’m just going to leave that, but I feel like our, you know, and I’ll be like a little biased here and see our diasporic Caribbean ancestors have done like a really great job orally documenting our experiences with these different beings.
And there is like a, it’s not a hierarchy, but there is an order in the spirit world, and there is an order that spirits have to kind of abide by and follow. And so some spirits work with lower dimensions. Some spirits is working in a higher dimension. But we’re all from the same one source, even if it’s a Lord, even if it’s like a fire rass, we’re still from the same source, right?
It’s just that these spirits have a very specific task that they’re supposed to do. Regardless of where they’re vibrating, right? They’re vibrating at a very high vibration of love. Or if they’re vibrating at a lower vibration, maybe let’s say greed, right? There is an order. And there is a, a task, an activity, a responsibility, a duty, every spirit has.
So some people work with, you know, different spirits that are, I want to say in like the astral realm and then some beings work with spirits that are quite of an angelic realm. Both of it is fine. It’s just that different spirits have different tasks, different spirits have different responsibilities, right?
There is an order. And so I feel like sometimes in the spiritual field, because. I suppose work with spirit folks don’t really understand that there is an order and there is spiritual cosmic laws, and there is a responsible way to walk the spirit world. And that you shouldn’t actually walk the spirit world irresponsibly, if you don’t know who the spirits are that you’re working with, what their tasks are and how to exchange with them.
[00:24:58] Clif Knight: What’s going to be important to know, to like, be respectful about them and to keep yourself in a, you know, proper attention as, uh, don’t, uh, don’t drink and divine is what you’re saying, right? Yeah.
[00:25:11] Joan Rupram: There is a conduct. And all spirits are sovereign beings. All spirits are intelligent sovereign beings, right? Regardless of where they are in the spirit world, what realm they’re working in the spirit world. So we have to be respectful of all spiritual beings when we’re walking the spirit.
[00:25:36] Clif Knight: That makes sense.
I think that’s all the questions for me.
[00:25:39] Dev Ramsawakh: Before we go. You mentioned prior, prior to this interview, while we were emailing that it took you until you were older to understand what was going on with. So the story is about your, your mother going through a possession. What, what did you learn from that experience?
[00:25:59] Joan Rupram: It’s a very like impactful, meaningful story for me because there’s multiple layers of meaning in that story. One of the, I guess the layer of that story is that I was kept away from her. And I didn’t know what was happening with her. I didn’t even know when it began. I just know that one day I was brought back to my home and then my mother was acting differently and I was, I didn’t know why. It was very hard to be away from her. It was very hard to be kept away from her.
And it was very hard to not know why, not know if she’ll be okay and not know if I’ll ever be able to be with her again. Not know if I’ll be able to see her again. And one of the things that always stood out about this memory for me is that I never, I don’t have a memory of her face.
I don’t know what her face looks like during that period. My family did that on purpose. They kept her away from me and they kept me away from her on purpose. No, I don’t know if that’s because of superstitious reasons or not, but I just know that they, they did do that on purpose. So that was a, that was a very challenging experience for me.
I was five years old, not really knowing what was happening. It wasn’t until in my thirties, when I started to really kind of understand my own experiences as being like extra sensory and really like affirming that this is a real thing for me. I’m not making it up. I wasn’t until I started really being brave enough to see myself in this way, that I started to having these conversations with my family, that I realized that in terms of my purpose and work in this world and that experience and its connection to my parents, I realized that I had to go through these experiences because first of all, my mother’s lineage, my maternal line is deeply connected to the spirit world, and the reason why my mother was going through this experience was because she’s a messenger of God.
She has a heart of goal. Her purpose is to help serve people and to serve people and my whole entire life she’s done that. And so what I’ve come to understand is that people who are messengers of God always have very difficult experiences because it serves the best interest of lower wayward spiritual entities that you don’t remember you’re a messenger of God. And it serves these beings for you to think that you’re making up your experiences in your head and think you’re crazy and to literally gaslight yourself so that you don’t remember you’re a messenger of God. So you don’t do God’s work. When I say God, I mean that in a very expansive way.
But that is what I learned, is that these experiences happened to me on purpose because it would have served lower beings for me to not remember my purpose and what I’m here to do. So, like I said, that story has so many layers for me in reflection, really like pulling it apart and really disseminating what did that mean for me in my entire life?
And I share it because I guess my message is that for folks who do experience a lot of challenges, who know that they have a heart that wants to serve, that to be a messenger of God, you must triumph all the obstacles that is in front of you. Because it serves for you to quit when there’s an obstacle in front of you.
If you are a messenger of God and you give up that serves the status quo. As a messenger of God, it is our responsibility to be dedicated to the work. And so I’ve always been looking at my life and my experiences to understand what is the purpose of my life? Why did I go through all of these things?
There has to be a reason. So I’m sharing my story because of all of this, it’s a, I dunno, multi dynamic experience and an expression that I want to share with folks to kind of validate experiences like this.
[00:30:36] Dev Ramsawakh: Totally. And I guess I have one more question. I just don’t know if we have the time for it is. I just wanted to ask if you felt like colonization was a part of that disconnect and in spirit, like spirituality and that internal gaslighting around it.
[00:30:51] Joan Rupram: Yeah. That’s such a loaded question. But my answer, like my short answer is yes. And one of the things that I’ve realized is that what I really would have benefited from was having a matrilineal village around me that could see me and see my gifts when I was born and to nurture and nurse me as this being with gifts, from birth and sort of guide me, train me, mentor me to be the master as I was growing up.
That’s sort of the experience I wish that I had, but you know, and part of the healing is actually accepting the journey as it is. And so for me, I know that yes, colonization did add a level of complication to the way I have to do my spiritual work in this world for my descendants. Right? Because the way I do this work now is going to make my descendents have a very different experience of themselves as a spiritual being.
My maternal line is very powerful. My children will be very powerful because I have this awareness of the harm not having that matrilineal village. Now I can create that for my descendants, so that my line in the future has that support that it needs.
[00:32:27] Clif Knight: Sounds, yes, complex and like, you definitely spend a lot of time talking and thinking about it.
Yeah. Is there any upcoming projects that you want to plug? Any pages you’d like to let people know where they can find you?
[00:32:40] Joan Rupram: Yeah. So Instagram is the best way to just kind of stay connected with me right now. I’m sure folks will be able to connect with the Instagram handle in the show notes and the other thing that I would love to encourage folks to do is just to sign up on my newsletter to receive sometimes they’re messages from the goddess from the matrilineal universe, from the spirit world. And they’re very private messages sometimes. They’re not for the public. They’re only for folks that are on my newsletter, who are serious about doing spirit work. So if folks feel called, please do sign up to the newsletter and stay connected with maybe because that’s really where you’ll find all the juicy stuff. Cause it’s not meant for social media.
[00:33:31] Clif Knight: As always, this has been Jumbie. My name is Clif Knight and got my co-host here at Dev Ramsawakh. You can follow me on Instagram, Clif with one Knight, Knight like roundtable. Dev you’re merkyy with two Ys waters, uh, on Instagram and Twitter, I believe.
[00:33:50] Joan Rupram: Thanks for having me both.
[00:33:54] Dev Ramsawakh: You are listening to Jumbie. Produced by Dev Ramsawakh, hosted by Clif Knight. Music by Z Thompson sound effects are creative common sounds from freesound.org. Make sure you’re subscribed so you can catch our next episode. We’ll be featuring Miss Tania Lou.
We can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and a bunch of other different directories. Thanks for joining us. And don’t forget to check those dark shadowy corners.