Three Oakland Events Honor Black Goddesses and Psychedelics

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Chef Empress Xia Nei
A portrait of Chef Empress Xia Nei, showing only one eye as her hair covers her face and she rests her tattooed right hand on her chin. (Chef Empress Xia Nei)

"The dark goddesses don't typically get highlighted," says Empress Xia Nei during a recent interview. She says in many cultures and religions, Black deities, who often represent birth or change, are often overlooked. So Empress Xia Nei is working with a group of scholars to hold space and honor the powers of Black goddesses.

This Sunday, Feb. 20, the Psychedelic Supper Club kicks off an event series dedicated to holistic healing, reproductive health and further understanding psychedelics.

Empress Xia Nei, an ancestral chef and owner of the Third Eye Soul Kitchen, is collaborating with a third-generation metaphysical practitioner from Detroit, Baba Moudou Baqui. They'll be joined by England-based educator Darren Le Baron and Oakland's own reproductive health expert and CEO of Sumi's Touch, Sumayyah Monét Franklin.

Their first event is called The Dark Goddess Honoring the Black Womb. At Oakland's Humanist Hall, Freedom Community Clinic will offer acupuncture and Reiki. There will be nourishment in the form of food. And there will be workshops all afternoon, covering topics such as women and warfare and midwifery. The evening will conclude with a fire ceremony, which includes a fire dance.

On Tuesday, Feb. 22, the event series continues with The Art of Sacred Rites workshop at en event space at 3047 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. During this session, Moudou Baqui will lead folks through a lesson on the art of micro-, macro- and mega-dosing psychedelics.

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The final happening takes place on Wednesday the 23rd at the same event space, where Darren Le Baron is scheduled to lead the Shroomshop event, which is all about educating beginners on mushroom cultivationboth psychedelic mushrooms and the non-psychedelic type.

Darren Le Baron
Darren Le Baron smiles as he poses for a photo. (Via Darren Le Baron)

Empress Xia Nei says all of the workshops and events are open to all, and there is a sliding scale entry fee. "The goal is to make sure people are empowered," she says. "We want people to have an elevated mind, and a wealth of knowledge."