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.
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.