Osho Zenju Earthlyn Marselean Manuel, poet, author, ordained Zen priest, and medicine woman of the drum, was born in Los Angeles, California. She is the middle daughter of Lawrence Manuel Jr. and Alvesta Pierre Manuel, who both migrated from rural Louisiana.
Zenju’s practice is influenced by Native American and African indigenous traditions. She participated in ceremony with Ifá diviners from Dahomey, Africa and briefly studied Yoruba. She was raised in the Church of Christ where she was an avid reader of the Bible and adored the true mystic teachings on Christ’s path well into adulthood. She holds a Ph.D. and formally worked for decades as a social science researcher, development director for non-profit organizations and those serving women and girls, cultural arts, and mental health.