Creating Change in Marginalized Communities: Meet Nandani, The Shakta Oracle
Written by: Tiara Chutkhan
At a time when the need for healing is stronger than ever, we are fortunate to have people like Nandani Bharrat a.k.a. The Shakta Oracle providing spiritual healing, representation and advocating for marginalized communities.
“As a marginalized person there’s so much about us that isn’t understood… We’re the occult magic, we’re the magicians, we’re the witches in mainstream society,” Nandani said.
Nandani is a Guyanese-American Spiritual-Technology Educator, Reiki Master, dancer, divine channel of Shakti and oracle/medium of Spirit. He is also proudly Bisexual and Trans/Genderqueer.
In 2013, after moving back to New York from Oakland, Nandani began his journey with reading tarot cards for friends. He first referred to his work as Triple Goddess Tarot, but it soon grew into a healing arts collective with other queer/trans folk. The love for magic and witchy things started years before. At the age of 13, Nandani was drawn to Power of Magic, a book about pagan practices around the world. He and his best friend were inspired by the book and decided they wanted to start their own religion.
“I think in 2000 something had sparked in terms of my interest in something more cosmically feminine and primordial, a part of my divine inheritance,” Nandani said.
Now, at 33, their practice has taken a new turn. Focusing on his own healing led Nandani to exploring intergenerational trauma. His work became very trauma informed and talked about ableism, mental health, and unpacking his roots. Through this connection Nandani was able to feel more connected to his ancestors— also realizing there is more work to do like getting colonization and anti-Blackness out of the body. They felt their guides were telling dem to merge ideas about politics and spirituality together.
This led to advocating for representation of marginalized communities with a strong focus on healing relationships between Indo + Afro diaspora as well as LGBTQIA+ justice and support. Nandani felt a calling to connect with Black folks to both honour and respect them. When they met their primary partner who is Afro- Panamanian, they were able to have continuous open dialogues about the relationships between people of the Indian and African diasporas.
“Because we’re in the Caribbean, the heritage there is basically South Asian, African and Indigenous, so there was this sort of melding of cultures,” they said, “We’re not really accepted by South Asians because of our proximity to Blackness.”
Nandani started Children of Kali, a forum that addresses anti-Blackness and creates representation for Indo-Caribbean culture. He started at home, speaking with his parents at first to see what would come up. The painful, unspoken narratives stemming from Guyana reinforced the need for representation and healing. Nandani stressed that separation between Indo and Afro Caribbeans formed because of colonization.
“People who are Indo-Caribbean that don’t vibe with the Afro diaspora aren’t really respecting our entire culture,” Nandani said, “To be Caribbean your culture is made up of the African diaspora, the South Asian diaspora, and the Indigenous people of that land.”
They shared that our culture is something we formed together, it is what we have and therefore should be respected. It’s what connects us.
Nandani continues to expand and master his practice all while spreading positive messages along the way. By doing little things like adjusting his pronouns— he uses “dem” instead of them— he is able to represent and connect the culture. It is through strong and passionate leaders like Nandani that we can continue to have important dialogues and see change in our communities.
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