Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Ayodeji Ifasetutu Karade, is an Intuitive Reader and Ifa Diviner. Listen to our favorite soundbites from the interview here.
Q. Can you please introduce yourself, and what do you?
A. My name is Leslie Scott Jones, My Ifa name is Ayodeji Ifasetutu Karade, it means, Ifa brings coolness. I work with a couple of modalities. I'm currently working my way to becoming a full Ifa Priestess. I'm also a medium and tarot reader.
Q. Do you prefer to go by Leslie or Ayodeji Ifasetutu Karade?
A. My Ifa name.
Q. Can you expand more on what Ifa is?
Ayodeji Ifasetutu Karade: It's the oldest religion in the world with origins in Africa. It's a multi-theistic religion from primarily Western Africa that prays to different Orisas (gods of Yoruba's pantheon, spirits). There are somewhere among 80 different Orisas. It's just like any other religion; there are prayers and practices, but as I said, the religion that every other religion has been derived from.
Q. Cool, and you're working your way on becoming a Priestess?
A. Yes, right now, I'm a Diviner.
Q. Is there a place of worship?
A. There are houses, and everyone in the house worships together. Once you become a full Priestess, you can then start the journey to become an Ayalawo (Mother of Mysteries) and have your own house. I can't see that far yet for me. I'm not even trying to look that far yet. The house that I belong to and my Babaaláwo are located in New Jersey
Q. What is a Babaaláwo?
A. A priest, Babaaláwo, often referred to as Baba, means father of mysteries.
Q. What services do you provide?
A. I have offered a tarot class, which I will be starting again soon. I also offer readings - general readings, relationship spreads. I have an ascension spread that I created and a divine masculine, divine feminine mirror spread. I also do mediumship appointments. I also do twin flame readings and create natal charts.
Q. What would be a reason somebody would seek your services or want to come to you as a Priestess?
A. People generally come with a specific problem that they need help deciphering. Whether it's a relationship, job, or other situation, they just feel kind of lost and need some sort of direction. I use my gifts to help people find their way, to help them figure out the best path for them and how they should go about walking it. As far as my mediumship, that is always a toss-up, because you could come to me wanting to speak to your paternal great grandmother, but the cousin that died a year ago is the one that shows up that has something to say to you. Most of the time, I have no control over who comes up who comes to speak to you.
Q. That's crazy.
A. Yeah, I've had experiences where someone's given me a name or an object that belonged to someone that's passed, and I've been able to talk with them. Sometimes it's just a barrage of people coming at you. I have to ask who has something to say because there can be like 12 spirits coming in, and I can't differentiate. I have to tell them, choose a spokesperson.
Q. Were you always seeing spirits, or did this evolve?
A. I have always seen them. Like a lot of us, it starts with your family. One of my paternal great grandmothers designated herself, my guardian angel. Whenever something was about to happen in my life at a major change, or something that was going to be upsetting to me, she would always send me a dream. She would send me just like a little minute and a half to the minute snapshot of what I was going to be doing on the other side of this change. She was basically saying to me, - don't worry, this is where you're going to end up, and it's okay. And she's been doing that my entire life. When I was nine, I had a dream of a girl's face, just her face, nothing else. I knew that when I met her, she would be my best friend. Almost three years later, we moved from here to Northern Virginia, and that was the first girl I met, and we're best friends to this day.
Q. Are you a seeress?
A. It depends on how spirit comes to me. I kind of leave it to them how they choose to present themselves. Sometimes I can see the person in front of me, and sometimes I can only hear them. Sometimes they gravitate to my artistic and theatrical side, and they'll send me snapshots of things like movies or tv shows to get their point across.
I was doing a reading for a friend and doing cards, and all of a sudden, something caught my eye. I looked up, and his father was standing there, and then it kind of morphed, and it's his father sitting in the living room that was in the movie Nothing in Common with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason. He was the Jackie Gleason character. And you know, like boxers and a wife-beater, bourbon in one hand and a cigar in the other, and I thought, "I think your dad's here." Spirit figures out how to communicate with you, depending on your own life experience. They show you what they need to show you to get the point across.
Q. What about becoming an Ifa priestess? How did that journey transpire?
A. That's also a part of my heritage. I've been going to the same Reiki Master for about three years now. The first time I went to her, she told me that there were guides around me, and one of them was very obviously some sort of African shaman. He had three priestesses with him in white. That night I went home, and I was getting ready to go to bed. I've never really had much luck sleeping. I sleep for three hours and wake up for two hours. I'd started using lavender incense to try and slow my body down so I could rest. When you find out you have a guide that hasn't come forward to communicate with you yet, one of the things you can do before you go to sleep is ask them to come to you and talk, which is what I did. I wanted to know his name. So I just said, I want to know your name. As I started to fall asleep, I saw this really intricate, beautiful African mask in front of me. It just kind of slowly came towards me, and then it rushed towards me. I heard something, but his voice was so loud and so scary. I could not discern what his name was, so I just called him father as they've started to communicate with me, they've been telling me that this was my path. This was the way I was supposed to go. And then one of my maternal grandmothers came to me and let me know that she was a Shaman.
Q. How did you know Father was benevolent? I feel like most people would have been afraid or intimidated by the sound and speed.
A. I just knew. I can't explain how. It also helped that he has been with me since then, speaking with me. Helping me. He's my guardian, and very powerful. So I just call him father.
Q. Your Maternal Grandmother was a Shaman?
A. Father revealed to me that he was the one who guided her. And he's been waiting for me to pick that up. It's a journey. It took me about two years to accept this path. Once I made the decision, it was full steam. I've made that decision, and then all of a sudden, guides started coming to me, and there's been just so much that's opened up since making that decision.
Q. What about Tarot, how did you discover that?
A. I started doing Tarot first for myself. I had always been interested in it, and my grandmother, Alice (who is one of my guides), told me to go to the store in Richmond. I went to the store, and I was walking through, and at first, I was like, oh great, I like this place because they had this huge wall of incense. I'm getting my incense, and I'm walking around and seeing some stones and all that stuff, and then I'm walking by this table of cards. My grandmother says that one, that one down there. I turned around, and on the bottom shelf were two different Tarot decks. When I reached towards them, she told me which specific one to pick.
Q. Which deck was it?
A. It was the Dreams of Gaia deck.
Q. I feel like Tarot is very popular now. What are your thoughts on the cultural shift towards embracing complementary and alternative therapies?
A. For me, my main practice is Ifa. I got permission from my Babaaláwo to continue working with tarot cards. For me, Ifa is the basis for everything. Whatever else I'm using is an accentuation to that. Someone once asked me if I was a Wiccan. I'm not. That's a completely different reality. That is not my path. I've specifically been told that it cannot be my path, and you can't walk those two together. Different modalities can work with each other because Ifa is the oldest religion, one of the things that you do on your path to become a priest or priestess is that you have to study another religion. You have to study a derivative. Before I had my first initiation, I had been speaking with a Muslim friend of mine for a few months. Talking about Islam and the tenants of it and how it worked and I had been doing my own research. When I decided to start my journey to be a priestess, I mentioned that the other religion I was considering would be Islam. My Babaaláwo agreed that it's a perfect marriage because a lot of our feasts are at the same time, and a lot of our holidays are at the same time. Often, the two communities will practice those together. I literally left Baba's house in New Jersey and came back here, and the next morning said Shahada.
Q. What do you feel are some common misconceptions or misunderstandings about your modality or your practice?
A. That it's magic. That someone can ask me a question and give you the perfect answer or the answer that won't require you to do any work. I was talking with one of my Tarot students on Wednesday. She said she always gets these obtuse messages like there's never anything cut and dry. I told her that it was because there are some things that you're not supposed to know. There are some things that you're not going to know until it's time for you to know it. And certain things should be hidden from you until that time. So yes, it's going to be obtuse. It's going to be maddening at some juncture. But that's just how it is because we're here to do our work of ascension so that we can get to the next plane. Right? If we don't do that, when they give us all the answers, we can't do that work, and we can't ascend. They're not doing it to be mean. They're doing it so that we progress in the way we should.
Q. As June is Pride month, would you like to expand on your experience of being queer in the world of mysticism or any advice that you'd like to give to someone reading?
A. For the most part, the people that I've met, the people that I've learned from and interacted with have been some of the most accepting beautiful people I've ever met in my life. They don't care what your present presentation is. They don't care who you get naked with or what body parts you have. What they care about is how you are navigating your ascension, how you are navigating your own energies, how you are positioning yourself to be a lightworker, and help all of us help the human race ascend. That is the only consideration, and if you meet someone that claims to be a lightworker and they do care about that, run. Anyone who is a lightworker who doesn't like you because you're femme presenting - all of that is surface and has absolutely nothing to do with what being a lightworker, spiritualist, priestess, or initiate is all about. This work is about helping the human race ascend, period. And as long as you're about that, you're good.
Q. Period. Do you have any personal self-care rituals or healers that you go to?
A. Yes, I do. I go to my Reiki Master once a month. She's amazing - whenever she feels that I might need it, she will send me a text and tell me that she's getting a feeling that I need to come in for a session. I do Reiki once a month. I have monthly rituals that I do for Islam, and Ifa together, there's a lot of time spent on a prayer mat, which is probably the best time of my day. It's a time where I can shut everything else out and freeze and concentrate, and it's a beautiful moment.
Q. How did you discover Reiki?
A. We've been friends for about seven years. I had no idea she was a Reiki Master. We had a conversation one day, and I said something, I don't even remember what I said, but it triggered to her that we were the same secret society. Then she was like, "Oh my god, really? You're into that? You should try getting this stone if you're having problems with that." It just opened a whole new facet to our relationship. She's amazing. She said I'll give you your first Reiki treatment. You really should get them regularly to make sure your energies are balanced. Because you're an empath, you really should regularly make sure that your energy is clear and everything's flowing." Being an empath, it's hard not to have things attached to you and bring them home. I had that first treatment with her, and I was like, holy crap, I feel supercharged.
Q. That's awesome. Do you have any messages for me or for the collective?
A. The biggest message that I've been getting lately is for lightworkers just to be still. There's a whole lot that has happened and there's a whole lot more that's going to happen. It's not our time to step in yet. There's a saying that if you don't move, the universe will move you. The human race, as a collective, did not move. So the universe is in the process of moving all of us and making all of us do the work that we've been ignoring. So we need to take this time to make sure we are grounded, make sure our energies are clear. Make sure we are working our practice because, at the end of this, we are then going to be the ones leading the charge. We need to be ready for that. Pace yourself and rest, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
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