Stuart Myers / Ocha’ni Lele – Breaking the Molds   2 comments

Ochani Lele

Today is Wednesday, November 27th, 2019. This is the day (at about 7:30 am Pacific time) the world lost one of its most important occult figures – Stuart Myers, aka Ocha’ni Lele. He passed in hospital, with loved ones nearby and literally hundreds of fans and well-wishers praying that his life be extended. But, if you know Stu, you might not be surprised that he refused to endure a lengthy illness or make his friends care for him in his final days. No, when Stu was ready to go, Stu went. And that was that.

Stuart Myers was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1966. His mother was an unwed teenager, and he was raised by his mom, aunt, and grandparents. He attended Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA for four semesters, where he studied English Literature and Psychology. But make no mistake – Stu was a rebel, hanging out with all the wrong people and getting into trouble. Before long, he had abandoned the mundane path and set out on the much-less-traveled path of magick, occultism, and ancient mystery religions. It was a calling he could not resist – and he was destined to change the world.

Ochani Lele 2That is when I met him. By 1993, Stuart was living in Orlando, FL where I grew up. I had moved out to the west for a couple of years after graduating high school in order to (briefly) attend college. It was during this time my own path landed me in Denver, CO and my first encounters with a Neopagan community. Upon returning home, I naturally took steps to establish contact with the Pagans in and around Orlando – which led me to contact one of the few occult bookstores that existed there at the time. (Then called Dragonwood, but its name has changed several times since.) I spoke to the owner of the shop on the phone, and explained that I was a “Qabalistic Witch” (that is, a Neopagan who also studies the Qabalah – a rarity at the time). Her response was: “You need to talk to Stu!”

I forget now if she took my number or gave me his… but one way or another I quickly found myself on the phone with this “Stuart Myers” person. I was met with a boisterous, happy, and flamboyantly gay man. I introduced myself and, again, referred to myself as a “Qabalistic Witch.” He responded with an excited, “Ooooo! Let me get my cigarette!” From there we spent a fair amount of time discussing the Qabalah and how its principles apply to Wicca, and likely several other subjects as well. I learned that he was a third-degree initiate of British Traditional Wicca, and a published author (something I hoped to be myself someday). I don’t recall what all we talked about or how long we spent, but I do know a real friendship was born that day.

Between the WorldsStu had already published his first book – a gem that is very rare today called Between the Worlds, from Llewellyn Worldwide. He was initiated into a rogue Wiccan lineage that branched from the Lady Sheba lineage (which is itself a rogue lineage) – because of course Stu was from such a lineage! His education in the early forms of Wicca made him privy to the influences of such systems as Thelema and the Golden Dawn upon them. Thus, he had chosen to explore Hermeticism and the Qabalah as well – which was something most Neopagans in the 80s and 90s would have refused to do. His book was the result of these explorations and his own teachings on how to integrate further Qabalistic concepts, correspondences, and practices into Wicca. Hence the title “Between the Worlds.”

I finally got to meet him face-to-face at another occult bookstore in Orlando. We talked a bit about Wicca there, but Stu was quite excited about another subject he had recently discovered: Palo Mayombe. Palo is an African tradition of magick, and Stuart was exuberantly talking about it with me and others in the store. He said he found it to be so much like Wicca in its structure – with a Goddess figure and a God figure, etc – but it was truly ancient. He was especially taken with the figure of Elegua/Lucero – a being who opens the gates between the physical and spiritual worlds, carries prayers, and answers questions. Stuart said that, as a child, he had once made a little figure out of mud or clay and spent some months treating it as his friend and companion – like an invisible friend. The images of Lucero, it turns out, are nearly identical to the small figure he had made as a kid. Stu knew he had found something important, but he didn’t know he was about to impact history.

I only saw Stuart once or twice before he vanished for a couple of years. I say “vanished”, though I seem to recall I knew he had gone off to explore the Afro-Caribbean faiths like Palo and Santeria (more properly called Lucumi). I wouldn’t learn any details, however, until I discovered by accident he had returned. At the time, I worked overnights and often found myself returning home at anywhere from 4am to 6am. One day, I pulled into a Shell gas station and found none other but Stuart Myers working at the counter! Not only did I spend a few hours with him there that night, catching up on where he had gone and what he had learned, but I found myself stopping in there night after night (whenever our schedules lined up properly) to discuss magick, Palo, Santeria, the Solomonic grimoires, and no end of the day-to-day personal dramas taking place in our lives.

Stuart had, in fact, gone away to take initiation into the Lucumi Faith. At the time of his return, he was still learning and progressing, though he had not yet been Crowned. He quickly became my confidant, and my teacher – introducing me to occult concepts from his Afro-Caribbean standpoint and utterly changing my worldview. Up to that point, I (like many Westerners) had assumed magick was a form of psychology, with the angels and spirits serving as man-made images and names we apply to the aspects of our own minds. Stuart, on the other hand, worked in a world where such beings are real independent creatures who must be approached with proper protocols and convinced to aid us. We found such a similarity between the old grimoires (my calling) and what he had learned from both Satneria and Palo, it revolutionized my understanding of not just the grimoires, but the entire subject of magick itself.

For the record, Stuart never taught me the rituals and secrets of his tradition. But he was able to explain things in the grimoires that he recognized as similar to his own practices. I was lucky that I got to spend much time with him (not just at the gas station, but also his home and elsewhere) and thus see much of his outward practices first-hand. I was lucky that I spent time with him in the early morning hours, talking to him when he was exhausted and perhaps willing to share more than he should have. But, I was most lucky that I introduced him to my then-girlfriend Carrie Mikell (now my wife). The two of them became close friends, and Carrie felt some calling to what Stuart was practicing. She became his “god-sister” and began to explore the Palo path under his tutelage. Because of this, I witnessed and learned even more than I would have. Stuart became one of the greatest influences on both Carrie and I, all of which continue to this very day.

Secrets Afro Cuban DivinationDuring that exciting period in the late 1990s, when myself, Carrie, and Stu were constant companions, and I was penning my very first book, he was just finishing a new book on African-based divination (The Secrets of Afro-Caribbean Divination, Destiny Books, 2000). It would be his first in a long line of outstanding books on the Afro-Caribbean Traditions. They have been highly recommended now for almost 20 years, and I have no doubt they will continue to be for generations to come.

Sadly, Carrie and I moved away from Orlando in early 2001. We stayed in contact with Stuart, but only got to see him on rare visits. He eventually went on to be Crowned, of course – making him a Priest of his Tradition, and taking on the name EWI LADE OCHANI LELE. He began to build his own house and lineage of students, established a series of online classes, performed divination and counseling for his community, and even went on to establish “Lele’s Magickal Fragrances” (later changed to “Lele’s Lotions, Potions, and Magickal Things”) where he made absolutely beautiful one-of-a-kind magical fragrances and potions.

It would not be right to discuss Ochani without also mentioning his infamy as “the Godfather of Scandal.” Stu didn’t make friends with everyone he met – in fact he could be quite contentious if he believed you were being dishonest about your practice. Plus, I can admit, he was never one to feel constrained by “the rules.” He did a thing or two in his path that might shock or offend – sometimes obtaining information through back-door channels, taking pictures of things without permission, etc. Let’s face it, Stu was essentially a force of nature, and little could stand between him and his True Will. But, above and beyond that, he was simply a practical occultist who wanted to learn what worked, and had little time for those who hid behind oaths of secrecy, or grades, or initiatic titles. Stuart was out to learn the Mysteries, and nothing in heaven, earth, or hell was going to stop him!

What I find most amusing about our dear “Godfather of Scandal” is the way his detractors would spend time bashing Ochani Lele and the ways he had learned some of what he knew, but when asked if we should buy and read his books, the answer was always “Yes.” Say what you will of the man, but his work is true. You can trust every word he wrote – and that is a legacy few authors get to leave behind.

Stuart Myers, aka Ochani Lele, has had an incalculable impact on many communities. Perhaps his mark on British Traditional Wicca was small, but there can be no question he has forever changed the modern African Traditional Faiths through his books, his classes, and his hosts of students and clients. He has changed the Western Mysteries as well, because he was at the forefront of the modern grimoire revival and its incestuous relationship with African religion and witchcraft. Even the Golden Dawn has seen practices (such as offerings made to angels and spirits) performed in its Mother Temple that partially trace back to Ochani’s influence. The legacy of Ochani Lele is far-reaching and deep.

As for me – he will forever be one of my greatest teachers, and most beloved friends. The very first time I heard another person “vibrate” a Word of Power, it was his voice. My path into the grimoires – including my undertaking of the Rite of Abramelin – was thanks largely to him. My wife’s own spiritual path has been intimately connected to his. He was a major inspiration to me as an author. Without him the Leitches (as you know us) would simply not exist. He is a part of us – not just me and my wife, but each and every one of us. We owe him so much.

Ochani… Stu, we love you and miss you dearly. If you still want to perform an evocation with us, you are more than welcome to attend and participate. See you on the other side, old man!  Godspeed.

In LVX

Aaron (and Carrie) Leitch

 

Ochani Lele’s Bibliography

The Diloggun: The Orishas, Proverbs, Sacrifices, and Prohibitions of Cuban Santeria, Aug 2003

Teachings of the Santería Gods: The Spirit of the Odu, Jun 2010

The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination: How to Cast the Diloggún, the Oracle of the Orishas, Sep 2000

Obi: Oracle of Cuban Santeria, Jul 2001

Osogbo: Speaking to the Spirits of Misfortune, Mar 2014

Diloggún Tales of the Natural World: How the Moon Fooled the Sun and Other Santería Stories, Sep 2011

Sacrificial Ceremonies of Santería: A Complete Guide to the Rituals and Practices, Aug 2012

Teachings of the Santería Gods, Jan 2010

Between the Worlds: Witchcraft and the Tree of Life-A Program of Spiritual Development, 1995

If you would like to contribute to Ochani’s final arrangements, please visit this link to donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/1tjq31xtao?pc=fb_co_campmgmtbnr_w&rcid=r01-157449163729-06f9f0ef41c34950&utm

Posted November 27, 2019 by kheph777 in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Stuart Myers / Ocha’ni Lele – Breaking the Molds

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  1. Rest peacefully my brother. I will always cherish our childhood memories!! Give Mom, Nanny and Papse hugs for me!!

    Like

  2. Rest in peace, in a world open to possibilities.

    Like

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