Obeah is perhaps the oldest of all Afro-Creole religions in the Caribbean. Its name is derived from the Ashanti words Obay-ifo or Obeye, meaning wizard or witch. The practice of Obeah is confined to the British West Indies, with variations in Guadeloupe and Martinique. According to Margarite Fernandez-Omos and Lizbeth Paravisini-Gerbert, Obeah “is not a religion so much as a system of beliefs rooted in Creole notions of spirituality, which acknowledges the existence and power of the supernatural world” . Furthermore, Obeah incorporates two basic categories of practice: spells, both good and evil, and healing practices based on the use of elements in the natural world. Obeah often provided a comfort to displaced Africans in that they could rely on one of their own for healing and protection. However, British accounts of Obeah during the colonial period figure it as menacing to white plantation owners, and its practice was outlawed in many of the British colonies. Obeah, then, is mainly a client-practitioner relationship, with the afflicted subject seeking out the aid of the Obeah man or woman on an individual basis.
Myal is a variation of Obeah that is practiced in Jamaica. Its similarities include: skills in herbalism, healing aspects, preparation of fetishes, and other objects for influencing behaviors, assuring protection, and reaching one’s goals. However, Myal has a much more complex set of community rituals than Obeah, which often involve singing, drumming, calling to spirits, and possession.
Stephanie began her herbal journey by learning how to treat her own ailments, including chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression. She began to offer her medicine to friends and family who expressed concerns about similar ailments. Over time, she was encouraged to begin selling her products to the general public. She first started this journey as Obeah Outpost, but changed the name to Myal Medicinals to reflect the emphasis on herbal healing.