Funlayo E. Wood is a scholar-practitioner of African and Diasporic Religions, a writer, spiritual success coach, strategist, motivational speaker, and facilitator. A native New Yorker now residing in Philadelphia, Funlayo earned the PhD in African and African American Studies and Religion from Harvard University where her focus was Ifa-Orisa religion and Africana religious philosophy. Her work has been published in the Journal of Africana Religions, the Journal of Interreligious Studies, CrossCurrents, and Transition, among other venues, and her book in progress, Obi: Death, Divination, and the Divine Feminine, will produce the first scholarly manuscript dedicated entirely to the kola nut (Obi in Yoruba) and it’s conceptions and uses among Ifa-Orisa practitioners.
A strong believer in public scholarship, Funlayo is a frequent lecturer and was featured in the National Geographic Channel’s “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” (2017) and in PBS’s “Sacred Journeys: Osun-Osogbo” (2013). She has also served as a contributing scholar at State of Formation and as an expert witness in cases involving practitioners of Africana religions.
Funlayo is the founding director of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA), a scholarly association dedicated to advancing research in African and Diasporic religions. She is also the creator of Ase Ire (an inspirational webspace and resource center), “In to Win” (a spiritual success coaching system and online course) and curator of the forthcoming information portal at Ifa-Orisa.com.
An initiate of Obatala and Iyanifa, Funlayo relishes in contributing her voice as a scholar-practitioner and an advocate for indigenous religions. Her research on Africana and other indigenous religions has afforded her the opportunity travel extensively (a passion of hers) and to study with many gifted spiritual leaders and scholars in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.