Haitian Vodou Ritual to Papa Legba and Ancestors

Taken from my now defunct LJ. 

I wanted to repost here to ensure I kept a copy for my own records and future reference.

This was the first Fet I ever attended in 2011/12.

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Mambo P was in Melbourne and held an invite only workshop/ritual  which I attended due to being on S’s FB group where it was advertised.

The ritual started an hour late due to us waiting for stragglers (H who is notoriously late was picking up a voodoo initiate from NZ who has recently moved to Melbourne) and it was held at Ceres which I finally got to see after hearing about it for so long.

Since I got there on time, I helped Mambo P set up and I also purchased her two books and cd for my own studies/information which she signed for me.

After everyone finally arrived Mambo P briefly spoke about what we were going to do and how Haitian Vodou works from her training, experience and perspective and then we got started.

We learned a song for Papa Legba, the Keeper of the Cross-Roads and two chants for our Ancestors as well as the Rada salute to greet our Ancestors and greet our Peristyle.

A pe was created for everyone’s Ancestors and Papa Legba beforehand and each person put something from their Ancestor upon it as well as offerings to Papa Legba.  For my ancestors I had my father’s pipe and a picture of my mother and for Papa Legba I offered rum (which was consumed during the rite) and pasta and canned food was offered for the homeless.

We ended our Service with a farewell and goodbye to the Spirits.

I did become tipsy during several occasions in the ritual (and I only had two small shots of rum earlier in the evening) and I feel I would of been tipsy moreso or even attained possession if I hadn’t been so self conscious of the fact my partner was having an awkward time of it.

Unfortunately my partner didn’t have a good time due to H being there (he was throwing death stares towards us throughout the workshop, most probably because he doesn’t like us due to calling him out on his lack of duty of care 10 years ago when he was running a yearly specific weekend workshop and he still hasn’t got over it).  Predominately it was due to my partner’s own words that the Mambo was being rather blunt and tactless when it came to instructing those of us who had never attended a vodou group ritual before and he felt that he was constantly being picked on and embarrassed and therefore couldn’t let go and connect (she did the same thing to a few of us as, myself included and the vodou initiate who was there mentioned to us that Mambo P was prone to behave like this in ritual and not to take it personally). My partner was upset that he wasn’t warned beforehand since we had already paid for the gathering and being a teacher himself he found a lot of her teaching style lacking due to its scattered and abrupt/calling out nature.

I have to say for me it was a double edged sword and has been very hard for me to talk about this publicly so have only confided in a few people in a safe and private environment.  Personally I did get something out of it and at first I was glad I went.  Its true what Mambo T Chita Tann told me about learning by participating in ritual – it does enrich your practice and the only way to learn other than learning the basics from her book.  I learned things which I had only read about before and I was shown how to sing and/or execute properly.  I have to add however that I did completely agree what my partner said about the style of teaching so I wont be attending any of Mambo P’s events in the future.  I found that afterwards I was dissecting what happened (her behavior towards other attendees and myself) and I found she was rather rude and tactless towards myself and others and not the style of teaching I align with.  Yet her contacts and friends who attended didn’t receive the same brash treatment and actually had more preferential treatment.  At the end of the Fet, Mambo P asked if we had any questions and when I did ask one, I was quite aggressively dismissed that H picked up on it and came over to diffuse the situation and comfort me. This was when I had enough and decided to leave with my partner instead of staying on for the social aspect.  Unfortunately I have come to find out many contacts and long time friends both here and OS have had quite terrible experiences with Mambo P and it confirmed for me that her manner of treating people is something I’d rather avoid in the future.  I don’t know why this is VERY common here in Australia  but many teachers and facilitators tend to have that priestessitis vibe and come from a place of ego.  

 

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Spirit of Place: Bali

I’ve been to Bali quite a few times in my life due to the beauty I’ve witnessed. Most times there I havent taken images but others have and here are some of my favorite memories.

The stunning sunset view from the Potato Head beach:

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The lush rice fields seen all through rural Bali:

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The active volcano Mount Batur:

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Temple of Death in Monkey Forest:

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This temple was dedicated to Rangda – the witch in Balinese Hinduism  who is the one whom presides over the temple of death which is also known as the destruction temple.  She is shown in the pillars above with big curves, long hair and petruding tongue. Apparently she is a very beautiful woman when she is in a good mood and turns into an ugly bitch when pissed off. This temple was near the end of the complex and was fairly deserted but it resonated with so much power and I felt Hekate there too.

Sari Restaurant Temple overlooking active volcano:

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The shrine above was attached to a restaurant that sat on one of the edges/tops of another volcano across from the active one.  We were so high up the views were spectacular.  There was nothing much else to see this high up except for the farm land on the way up and down the volcano but you could definitely feel the power of the place.

Local village temple:

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This is the first temple we visited in a local village not frequented by tourists at all.  Its their creation temple and in the Balinese Hindu traditions each village has 3 temples.  A creation temple (birth presided over by Brahma) and a protection temple ( to preserve existance/life presided over by Vishnu) which are localed on the NE corner of the village and then a death temple (destruction presided over by Shiva or Rangda) which is located outside the village and also serves as a cemetary as villages have a cremation ceremony once every 15 years due to cost.

Coolman (our driver and guide) was a practising Hindu so he told us in depth about his practice and what the symbolism of certain things meant and answered all my questions.  He was surprised about how much I knew about his faith but I explained that I’d grown up with a Hindu friend  and I’d been to Bali several times before as well as researching the Hindu faith out of curiosity.

The minute we crossed over the thresshold to the temple above Coolman said that we were in a place of power and said that he knew that as his hair stood on his arms and he had goosebumps (its his sign that he is in a liminal place).  My finace and I both felt it as well and it was quite magickal.

After that we ended up having a quite interesting coversation on Kharma and the rest of the day which followed was probably the best tour I’ve done in Bali 😀

All images (C) S. Altman 2011

 

Announcing the Call for Submissions for the Spring Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

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I hope the Lunar New Year of the Fire Monkey has gotten off to a very good start for everyone! This solar transit in Aquarius has kept me very busy (both my Ascendant and Moon in my natal chart are in Aquarius), very socially engaged in Chicago’s broader Pagan and occult/magical communities, and eager to implement projects both spiritual and artistic sprung from felicitous, unanticipated idea exchanges with like-minded souls met through networking. (My mentors in the business world have always been 100% accurate about networking: It happens everywhere, not just behind office doors at planned events–so yes, always have your business cards on hand whenever you leave the house!)

I was very pleased with how the Winter issue of Isis-Seshat journal turned out; it went into production and was delivered to contributors and subscribers three days early, despite a Mercury Retrograde! And all surplus printed copies, for the first time…

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Orphic Hymn to Hekate in Greek

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Αρχαία Ελληνική Ορφικό Ύμνο Εκάτη

Εἰνοδίην Ἑκάτην κλῄζω, τριοδῖτιν, ἐραννήν,

οὐρανίην χθονίην τε καὶ εἰναλίην, κροκόπεπλον,

τυμβιδίην, ψυχαῖς νεκύων μέτα βακχεύουσαν,

Περσείαν, φιλέρημον, ἀγαλλομένην ἐλάφοισιν,

νυκτερίην, σκυλακῖτιν, ἀμαιμάκετον βασίλειαν,

θηρόβρομον, ἄζωστον, ἀπρόσμαχον εἶδος ἔχουσαν,

ταυροπόλον, παντὸς κόσμου κληιδοῦχον ἄνασσαν,

ἡγεμόνην, νύμφην, κουροτρόφον, οὐρεσιφοῖτιν,

λισσομένοις κούρην τελεταῖς ὁσίῃσι παρεῖναι

βουκόλῳ εὐμενέουσαν ἀεὶ κεχαρηότι θυμῷ.

The Winter Issue of Isis-Seshat Magazine Is Now Available!

Cant wait for my copy of this divination issue – this Winter issue I wrote an article on the Limpia and Oracle of the Egg:

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(Photo Credit: Anna Applegate FB 2016)

 

The Land Of The Long White Cloud: Doubtful Sound Highlights

 

 

The landscape of the Doubtful Sound is that of the Jurassic Era:

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Some interesting waterfalls carve themselves through the mountains:

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Some of the small islands found within the sound are quite isolated yet full of natural beauty:

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Amazing rock formations jutting out of the Doubtful Sound looks spectacular:

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Then you have the amazing ecosystem created when the freshwater lakes meet the Tasman Sea – this is a pod of wild seals:

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All photos taken by a canon powershot-  end of 2015 beginning of 2016 (C) T. Georgitsis.

Honouring My Ancestral Connection To The Sea

Someone asked me what people did to honour their connection to the sea and sea deities etc.

It reminded me that my father who was a deep sea diver and traveled all over the world (before he immigrated to Australia) used to offer to Poseidon or The Kaviria (Twin Sea Gods) to ensure a safe voyage and that he was not taken into the watery depths for eternity. The offerings were what they had on hand and were usually left overs like bread, olive oil, wine etc.

Some of my ancestors/akhu come from the island of Lemnos in Greece and had effigies of the Siren buried under their homes for protection and would throw offerings to them in the ocean as they were believed to be dark muses as well as the guides for Persephone (it was essential that she return to the land to ensure good prosperous crops so they left offerings to the muses as guides).

Many old homesteads which have been renovated or excavated in the last few decades on Lemnos have found Siren statues buried deep beneath their foundations. This was a way to show devotion to the Siren inland centuries ago.

I’ve continued working with the Siren in the same way (offerings into the ocean) and have a copy of the ancient ceramic icon of the Siren buried on my property. I also have a pendant of the Siren from a local jeweler in Mirina (capital city of Lemnos) which I got on my last visit to Greece and has been calling to me in recent weeks so I will start to wear it again as I am feeling the call of the Siren.

I also finding it quite interesting that Hekate as well as the Siren are known as guides to Persephone…there’s something in that for me personally…