HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — One of the organizers of the group Black Lives Matter summoned the spirits of a number of deceased African American leaders—a practice of necromancy that is prohibited by Scripture—on Thursday during an event held by Justice LA at Hollywood United Methodist Church.
The event, which according to the group’s Facebook page, was meant to discuss opposition to the $3.5 million the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants to use for new jails. It featured representatives from White People for Black Lives, the ACLU of Southern California, and Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at California State University who was also one of the organizers of the national Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is not just a social justice, a racial justice, an economic justice struggle,” Abdullah stated. “This is also a spiritual struggle, so it’s appropriate that we’re here in this setting (a church). And it’s also important that we summon the right energy into this space no matter what faith you are. We have to understand what the struggle is about.”
During the event, Abdullah told those gathered that she was going to “pour libation” in the name of her African American ancestors, an act that is defined as “a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god or spirit, or in memory of those who have ‘passed on.'”
“We’re going to summon their energy into this space,” she stated, “and I’m going to ask you all to join me.”
Adbullah said that she wanted to first summon those who had been killed by law enforcement and then other deceased leaders who fought for the rights of African Americans. She instructed the crowd that as she named a person, and then poured the libation—using a bottle of water to pour into a plant—those gathered were to then declare “ashe.”
According to the website yagbeonilu.com, “ashe” or “ase” means “so be it,” and is an “African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and produce change.”
“Ashe among the Yoruba is associated with the very force which is life and brings them into being in the universe. … [I]t is also associated with the power of speech as can be seen in its meaning of command, ordain and law,” the site explains, stating that the Yoruba believe that men possess the power to “speak things into existence.”
During the event, Abdullah proceeded to summon spirits—claiming that their bodies may be dead, but their souls are still on the earth—pouring into the plant with each name, while the crowd declared “ashe” each time.
“We summon those spirits that are still with us. We summon those people whose bodies have been stolen, but whose souls are still here,” she said. “We call on Wakiesha Wilson. We call on George Jackson … Eric Garner …”
“And all of those whose bodies have been stolen: We ask that you be with us. We ask that you work through us. We ask that we do righteous work on your behalf,” Abdullah continued in speaking to the the dead.
She then began to summon deceased men and women who she called “warriors” in the struggle.
“We call on Martin Luther King into this space,” Abdullah said. “Brother Malcom [X], we call you into this space. Ashe. … Nat Turner, into this space. Ashe. Mother Harriet Tubman. Ashe.”
“We call you all into this space. We ask that you work through us. That you give us power; that the Creator give us power when we come together. This victory is assured. Ashe. Ashe. Ashe,” she concluded, pouring the rest of the water into the plant, and being joined with applause.
Scripture states speaking to the dead or summoning spirits is a violation of the law of God.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 reads, “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.”