Translational Research

Author, scholar/activist, researcher, teacher, ritual artist and social midwife, Dr. Love helps people give birth to new life stories.

A native South Carolinian, she grew up surrounded by stories.  Her favorite past time was listening to the Bible stories, fairy tales, animal stories and real life stories her parents and grandparents told.   She wove these stories into the tapestry of her being and her life’s work became focused on understanding how stories shape life and life shapes story.

Though she loved all kinds of stories, she found some stories disturbing and she yearned to change those stories, to create different endings.   Over the years she learned that the lens through which we view the world, not only shapes the story, but the life we live.


While pursuing doctoral studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Velma Love was introduced to the Odu, the sacred texts of the Ifa Orisha tradition of West African origin. When she met a priest who explained that the Odu was a divinatory text, accessed through ritual, to give a past/present/future glimpse of the story the client was living, she knew that she had just embarked on a new aspect of her life’s work.

After intense field research on the Odu in the lives of African Americans, she published her first book, Divining the Self: a Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness, (Penn State University Press, 2012).   In response to many who asked for guidance in applying these African wisdom teachings to everyday life, she developed the New Story Ritual/Workshop as a catalyst for self-understanding and personal transformation.