Luisah Teish is a teacher and an author, most notably of Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals. She is an Oshun chief in the Yoruba Lucumi tradition. She is an African-American native of New Orleans, Louisiana and a resident of Oakland, California. Her original ancestry is Yoruba (West African). Teish began teaching in 1977.
In the late 1960s, Teish was a dancer in Katherine Dunham’s group, where she learned and performed traditional African and Caribbean dances.After leaving the dance company, she became a choreographer in St. Louis. She joined the Fahami Temple of Amun-Ra, and it was here that she took the name “Luisah Teish”, which means “adventuresome spirit”. It was only in the late 1970s that she became an initiate and priestess of the Lucumi religion. She has said in an interview “My tradition is very celebratory – there’s always music, dance, song, and food in our services – as well as a sense of reverence for the children. It’s joyful as well as meditative.”