Monticue • IFA Initiate, Shaman & Herbalist

Monticue, a true Denverite, has lived here all his life. He is a herbalist at Jiridon Apothecary, shaman, plant medium, spiritualist, singer, and father. Furthermore, Monticue is an herbalist rapper whose poetry consists of themes around medicinal plants. As a child, Monticue endured haunting experiences. He attributes his survival to these natural gifts and therefore honors them.

Additionally, Monticue is an IFA Initiate, which is a practitioner of the ancient, nature-based, tradition of divination and religion derived from the Yoruba nation in Africa.

The essence of Monticue is nature. He embodies the spirit of the Rocky Mountains and missions to reconnect people with their true heartbeat, which he believes is the earth’s heartbeat.

We shared an extensive conversation about his experiences while growing up Black in Denver. He expressed that he often felt misunderstood because of his unique sensitivities. When I asked Monticue to describe Denver in word, he replied, “Inspiring.” Here’s what it means to be Monticue in Denver:

Who are you?

I am a force full of creative healing potential with a heightened ability to both read and channel subtle energies. I have a natural empathy for all things living within my sphere of awareness and am fully aware of my role as a healer and harmonizer on this earth. I tapped into an aspect of my higher mind, a piece of me retains the knowledge of my past lives, and I realized at the age of sixteen that life is extremely short.

I’ve been studying extremely hard since then, always trying to be sure to maximize each moment through living in the present. I genuinely want to make the most spiritually productive choice in a given situation, although what that means has changed through the various stages in my life.

What does it mean to be Monticue?

It means to be constantly reminded that I have a mission. I didn’t incarnate to have fun. It also means to be the other. I am not the norm.

What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?

To me, to be Black in Denver is a multidimensional expression. It means to be discriminated against and pulled over for no reason, which has happened to me a lot here. To be Black in Denver means the freedom to explore and discover. It means to be supported by strong, open-minded Black people who uplift and promote you. To be Black in Denver is to be immersed in Black creativity and camaraderie. It means to have access to nature, the mountains, and beautiful landmarks.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

I love being close to the mountains where I can commune with the Rocky Mountain spirits of nature and gather their roots and leaves to create personal medicines and teas. I love the thin air of the high altitude and being close to my favorite plant, Osha, and the bears. I am also very grateful for Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center and all the merchants it has brought together. I’ve grown friendships and a tea business in that space. I’ve found that the cultural center has a flavor all its own, and the spirits of the people that come together every week create a feeling of home and African-American love.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

Denver has instilled a love for being close to and seeing the mountains in the West. Denver has also shown me the generosity of people as many of the people I’ve met have been very helpful. Denver has also given me access to excellent herbal and spiritual teachers that probably wouldn’t have been around in more conservative cities.