*If you want a formalized short “bio”, scroll to the end. I, however believe in the power of storytelling so here we go!
Southwest Philadelphia Born and Raised…
My birth name has the era and culture I was born in written all over it, Tameka Jones. Like so many other “Tamekas”, I grew up during the 80’s in the inner-city. I was raised in southwest Philadelphia, one of three children to a single mother. As a child I remember my friends and I collecting empty crack vials in our schoolyard. My own father struggled with drug addiction while my mother remained a steady force of financial support, minus the soft maternal nurturing.
I learned to feed myself books and spent much of my time either reading a story or writing one. The magic of my imagination was the tortoise shell I sunk into when the outside world seemed too sad and mean. When I looked around me I saw disparity and ignorance. My answer to this was to excel in every way I could so that I could escape the cycle of poverty, inertia and desperation.
From SuperNerd to SuperStar…
Excelling is what I did best. I was accepted as a creative writing major to the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in Philadelphia. For once in my life I felt very safe and comfortable at school, surrounded by fellow artists and passionate teachers who cared. I was consistently on the honor roll and competed in many local and national writing competitions throughout my education.
Practically every contest I entered I won. I was awarded an all expense paid trip to Miami to connect with fellow youth artists and mentors, said a speech at the White House on the importance of arts education, shook hands with President Bill Clinton as I won the highest award any high school student can achieve, Presidential Scholar. The biggest recognition came during my junior year when I posed for the now famous “Common Threads” mural. After spending most of my life feeling “unpretty”, I was chosen to feature boldly as the largest figure on one of Philadelphia’s most iconic murals. The shy, nerdy girl from the ghetto was now 80 feet high. I felt like a superstar!
Love, Marriage and Divorce…
My whole life had been about achieving, rising above negativity and following my dreams but something seemed to be left out. I never had a boyfriend. Not a high school sweetheart, nada. I was a virgin until I was 21. Now I loved boys, always had secret crushes and plenty of fantasies. As a matter of fact, I began self-pleasuring at an early age and had my first orgasm at 4 years old. But all my sexual energy was held tightly inside of me as I pursued “higher” goals.
My last year of college I entered my first relationship. I was happy to find someone who wasn’t “scared” of me and had most of his teeth. I was soon married and with child. While my then husband was a nice guy from a spiritual family from whom I learned a lot, I was soon wondering what I had done. I felt stuck. All the dreams and ambitions I once had seemed far away as I found myself alone with my son while my husband was either out working or partying. I decided this wasn’t what I had signed up for. I needed to discover not only what I truly wanted in a relationship, but who I was as a woman. So I left my marriage.
From Afrocentric Nun to Tantric Tigress!
During the painful breakup I found myself praying to Oshun, the Yoruba Goddess of love for healing. Advised by a babalawo—priest of the Ifa tradition from Nigeria, I went to Oshun to find joy and “the secrets of being a woman.” I believe those daily prayers to Oshun is what lead to my exploration of sacred sexuality. I found myself communing to the goddess through moving my hips in belly dancing classes, practicing sexual kung fu with my jade egg and reading books about tantric and taoist methods of sexual energy cultivation. I even took down the headwrap I used to wear, and let my afro flow in erotic and pole dancing classes. Who was this woman I was becoming? I found a deep reservoir of passion and orgasmic energy I had been keeping under the sheets since I was four years old! After having only slept with one man, I was taking lovers and exploring the beauty of lovemaking.
For the past six years I have been on a hardcore spiritual journey to discover who I am as a woman. I’ve studied various forms of meditation, qi gong, yoga, traditional African spiritual systems and sacred sexuality. After having gone through my own struggles, I began my company Let Go Let Goddess to help women who need to get free. I have created classes and workshops to share tools that I wish I had as I went through my divorce and reclamation of my inner goddess. I believe many of us are walking with fractured and injured feminine selves. As we tap into the goddess within us, we find the power to live an authentic life full of passion, pleasure and purpose.
Lady Shepsa Jones is a writer, teacher, life-coach, mother and “juju woman”—one who taps into her magical powers for healing and manifestation. A shy girl, she started writing at a very young age to express her emotions. Recognized for her talents early on, she won many awards including Presidential Scholar in the Arts, National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts Award and was a first place winner in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Contest. As she grew older, her love of the arts expanded into performance and acting. She holds a B.F.A. with honors in Drama from New York University where she also double majored in Africana Studies. As an adult she has spent over ten years studying the spiritual sciences of the African Diaspora, as well as Taoist and Tantric traditions. Through the study of sacred sexuality, Shepsa has reconnected to the goddess within her and aims to assist other women in experiencing the healing and freedom of their sensual selves. In 2012 she published poetry a book called The Goddess Pages: Honey, Full Moons and Daggers. She is also a certified i2Tantra practitioner with JujuMama LLC and currently completing a yoga teacher and healer certification. She was recently published in Corset’s Magazine’s Sacred Sex issue. Shepsa has also led workshops at Oceans and Rivers annual Relax, Relate, Release event, and was a featured presenter at Imani Dawson’s “Kinks Come Out At Night” event. Always evolving, Shepsa is now leading women in healing circles, sacred sexuality workshops, group coaching programs and retreats.