Follow the Money…Kioni vs Yronwode, the Conspiracy Theory

Before I begin, let me say that much of this is hypothetical…completely hypothetical.

Flying Poppet posted an interesting piece about a bit of a brouhaha going on in the African Tradition circles. I was blissfully unaware of these shenanigans until I read this…

Which I reblogged yesterday. There’s been a bit of dialog and some interesting fact finding on the part of both Poppet and LJWitch, which you can find in the comments on the above post.

Ok, so now that everyone’s caught up…

Let’s step into alternative possibilities here. Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that this little ritual of Dr. Kioni never took place. After all, none of us were there, right? All we have is the photographic evidence which was apparently well-publicized across both Facebook and major newspapers like USA Today.

What if Dr. Kioni had never performed any ritual or spellwork? What if…and it’s possible…he knows just enough to fake the aftermath. Mambo Racine has stated that there are Haitian Voudou rituals that do involve the live burning of a chicken. They’re not pretty, they’re not nice, but they do exist.

Having some (although not full) education in these worlds, I know I know enough right this minute to fake some pretty impressive things. Granted, the audience or clients would have to be fairly ignorant, but I’m pretty sure I could pull off…well being a Santera, for instance.

The police stated that they could not say with certainty if the chicken was alive or dead when it was burned. There are no witnesses, and the client that Dr. Kioni did this work for is anonymous. I would be to, if I were that person, but that’s irrelevant. The person may or may not exist. I’m going conspiracy theory here.

So…if he faked the entire ritual, just barbecued a chicken and threw it on a grave with some rum and a cigar (and really, how many of us wouldn’t know about the rum and cigar?)…what would he get from that?

I can tell you what he’d get. Because humans love a train wreck. I saw it myself when Swamp Witch and I had that minor incident. Both of our hits went up astronomically. People just can’t get enough of that stuff. The meaner, the better. I had a decision after that, and so did she. We could have continued the battle, spewing venomous filth all over the internet, and would have had extremly popular blogs to show for it. But we both decided to take the high road.

You simply can’t buy this kind of publicity.

So Cat Yronwode has jumped into the fray, and her son as well. I wonder if her hits have gone up as well? Hmmm…yes, I’d imagine so. Just that USA Today article would have multiplied Dr. Kioni’s traffic ten-fold…maybe even hundred-fold. Since Cat’s drawn her line in the sand, her web traffic has soared as well.

The finger-pointing, the name calling, and the petition signing continue. And will do so, through the foreseeable future. And both of them will be raking in the cash while the battle lines are drawn.

A true conspiracy theorist might even suggest this was all orchestrated…planned for their mutual benefit. After all…the original argument seemed to revolve around money…

The question is then, who is the real victim? Is it Dr. Kioni? Cat Yronwode? Does it matter which one of them is right and which one is wrong? Either or both could be guilty or innocent.

No it doesn’t matter. Because we’re the real victims here. Because every single person who practices an African Tradition is now a suspect. Every Santera/Santero, every Voudouisant, every Hoodooist, every Palo practitioner is now guilty in the eyes of the Western world. Now we’re all capable of horrendous, violent torture of animals. It was bad enough that the average Joe Shmo American couldn’t grasp the necessity of animal sacrifice; now we’re abusing the animals before as well.

The contamination will spread, I guarantee it. There are woefully ignorant people in the world who would love to believe the worst about all Pagans. This is just fuel for their fire…and we know what happens when you mix witches and fire. *shudder*

To give benefit of the doubt, Dr. Kioni could have been doing what he believed was a legitimate ceremony. He might have seriously believed the soul of the deceased was willing to work with him. He may have believed the plight of his client was drastic enough to require this type of sacrifice. He may not have made the decision lightly. Do I believe it? No, not necessarily. He strikes me as something of a snake-oil salesman. But I have known good people, people who had religion in their hearts, go bad like this. To be tempted by the money because they didn’t feel their spirits were bringing it to them fast enough. It isn’t pretty when it happens, but I can feel some compassion if that is the case. That doesn’t mean I’m going to contract him for services or recommend him to anyone…but I can see that side.

Same thing with the Yronwodes. Maybe they didn’t start the petition. Often times, friends will jump in and “help,” when they only serve to make matters worse. It’s possible their followers are a bit out of their realm of control. It happens. They might also have the best for their community in their hearts, they may truly want to live the whole life as I desire to…not to have to separate my spiritual side from the business side. To be able to work and support myself…for my spirits to support me…through working with them. It could be. Or it might not. They have done a great deal of work in preserving the Hoodoo heritage and making information available to people who would otherwise have no access. I have my concerns as to whether that’s a good thing or not…but that doesn’t mean their hearts are necessarily in the wrong place, either.

However, I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is…and what we should be righteously outraged about…is what it has done to us. We’re not going to make a dime off of this. We’re likely to suffer for it, if only in little annoying ways. This entire episode has put all of our good PR to waste…we’ve been set back 20 years at least.

We are the victims here. I’m not going to waste any more pity on either of them.


About Camylleon

I don't need gurus, and sure don't want to be one. I'm not here to buy stuff or to sell it. I am just another spiritual wanderer, trying to figure it all out. My blend? A little Santeria, a little Polytheism, a little Spiritism and shake gently. Comments are closed...because I detest drama. I'm not completely anti-social though. If you've got questions, shoot me a email. Camylleon at hotmail dot com...
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7 Responses to Follow the Money…Kioni vs Yronwode, the Conspiracy Theory

  1. FlyingPoppet says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I have no idea if the theory is true, but who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? By their very names, they don’t *have* to be true.

    The main thrust of your post is spot on — we are all losing in various ways as high profile individuals in non-Judeo-Christian/non-mainstream belief systems openly feud. And we aren’t just losing little things. Some of us may be losing hard-won respect and trust that has taken years to build.

    • Camylleon says:

      Thank you, Poppet. I guess the problem is…we may never really know, definitively, who is right and who is wrong. The most likely conclusion is that they are both somewhat right and wrong. Don’t “they” always say (and who are “they” anyway?) That there are three sides to the truth? It’s fun to read about it…I admit I’m guilty!

      We do need to keep our eyes on the prize…because this could really bite us in the proverbials…

  2. Pingback: Kioni v Yronwode « Flying Doll

  3. ljwitch says:

    I think Dr. Kioni knew exactly what he was doing, regardless of whether or not the ceremony was real. I think he knew good and well that animal torture is illegal in the eyes of U.S. law, and I think what he did was purposely spit in those eyes. The casualty in all of this are religions where spellwork is an integral part. The aftermath will be witches and practitioners of spell systems again hiding in the shadows and burning their grimoires at the first sign of someone coming. I did a post on the “revival” of the American Council of Witches a few days ago. That too was a sham. Some idiot taking advantage of some famous names to try garner some fame for themselves, all at the expense of paganism in general. This stuff is happening more and more as people become more outspoken about their religions. This is why I shy away from being too public about what I do, and why I refuse to be represented by other pagans and witches.

    I feel badly for the ADR and ATR practioners who will now have to live this little display by Kioni down, and I don’t for one second think Cat Yronwode is the innocent party in this, either. She clearly has an axe to grind and went for the juggular like a lioness on a sick gazelle. She is an opportunist, same as he is. He just left her an exposed vein from which to drink.

    I hope we don’t see this whole thing start to blow up in the courts and more prejudice toward non mainstream religions. Sadly……I bet we will.

    Obviously, this is all my opinion. But, I can’t fathom for the life of me how a guy living in the U.S., a member of a non mainstream religion that deals with a major amount of discrimination, could NOT know that burning a live chicken in a graveyard on some stranger’s headstone was going to be not only illegal, but very frowned upon and controversial. He’s not that stupid. And if he is……good criminy I wouldn’t want him doing spellwork for me.

    • Camylleon says:

      I have to say I agree. In his credentials, Dr. Kioni claims to be a Ph.D. Now, I’m not saying you can’t get those in other countries…or that he really has one. However…one would think that with a given name like “Kenneth Fuller” and a Ph.D. he would be at least minimally aware of the legality. Let’s face it; he may have gotten a chicken that died of natural causes and burnt it to a crisp simply for effect. Truthfully, I find that possibility more heinous than someone that might have performed a truly traditional spell in ignorance of the laws. He got what he wanted…with the “leaking” of those photos and the trouble with the Yronwode clan. He got more web traffic, some amazing free publicity, and I’m sure a *lot* of idiots who think that the creepier the spellwork is, the more potent…and therefore a boatload of new suckers (oops…I mean business).

      Not only is Dr. Kioni living here in the states…he originally trained with the Assemblies of God church as a preacher. If that doesn’t say it all…I don’t know what does. He would know exactly what would piss off Bible thumpers, know exactly how to get attention, know exactly what buttons to push. And to me, it indicates that he went from one lucrative money-raising religion to another, at least in his own eyes.

      This is going to have repercussions for all of us, even if we may not realize it yet. Especially as the finger pointing and name calling continue and the entire alternative religion population sides up one way or the other.

      And to think there are people who wonder why anyone stays in the closet???

  4. Jessica says:

    “Humans love a train wreck.” That hits the nail on the head and pretty much covers everything!

  5. Hoodoo Girl says:

    Whoa, I can’t believe this story. I was a huge fan of the Hoodoo Rootwork program. I’ve listened to all of the episodes 10x each. I can’t believe that Cat and Dr. Kioni are no longer friends and colleagues. Thanks for posting this; I was wondering why the shows stopped.

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