+++ Prophecies & Revelations +++
NEW YEAR 2021 - WHAT THE SPIRITS TOLD ME
The New Year came with a spate of lovely dreams. For instance as I was preparing for the last day of Queen Marie and Yemaya's celebrations (Dec 31 - Jan 3) I had a dream of a few of my clients coming to the ritual, each carrying a brief case or attache case of some kind (they looked like the vintage kind, brown leather, worn but beautiful, some had stickers on from places they had visited: Venice, Majorca). When they opened them up, I realized they were each a portable mini-altar, with offerings, small statues, mini-jars of Mysteres. Opened, they were stacked here and there upon my altar table to make a multi-faceted multi-dimensional altar at which we would offer our prayers. I woke up.
I was not surprised because twice a year I make a point of 'remembering' the many clients who have sent in prayers during the year. One of these group ritual is St John's Eve and the other one is New Year's Eve. I often feel on those days the great gratitude that my altars indeed exist upon the goodwill and prayers of my clients, many of which are now also friends of many years.
I went to the beach to end the New Year ritual - the cold winter beach is always beautiful to me, the light is crisp, the sky pale, the water clear..I ask, 'why this happened and that, and also why such and such didn't?" One always wonders why certain things happened and not others. Certainly last year was trying on so many levels but I gave thanks for my continuing wellbeing, and although I am now dealing with increasing health issues (teeth, vision, neuralgia etc..) I am still able to enjoy my gardens, my many animals and my work. I am still a doer and I like that. I can't imagine of life without doing, and doing for others is what counts.
The highlights of last year all involved successes in helping clients, successes in the gardens and celebrating the beauty and wealth of life. Now I was saying good-bye to the Old Year and welcoming the New Year, born of Yemaya.
Typically there is a certain amount of good-byes to say, people who have been lost or projects abandoned or some small regrets. I often make cleansing/blessing spiritual baths at this time. On the 6th of January, the Feast of the Epiphany another dream came. I was looking at M'man Brigitte who was saying, 'Everyone fears Her (Death) but Her path is lined with such beautiful flowers". Then I was looking along the small path and it was all lined with velvety impatiens and Afrian violets in shades of blue, lavender and purple. I woke up.
What a beautiful dream. My first thought was, 'oh dreaming of Death which is approaching' but then I thought She was telling me to not look so forward, to enjoy the path, to take the time to 'smell the roses" along the way and not get pushed so fast by the vicissitudes of life. I determined come spring to plant some impatiens in the flower border. In the meantime I contacted my gardener and had him begin the long and very messy process of excavating M'man B's waterhole, expand it and re-build it with an adjacent waterfall. Several years ago someone gave me some cemetery tiles (lavender glass) which I have kept all these year for Her, they will go to shore up the upper pond from which the water will cascade down. That should please Her. Of course there's a deadline February 2nd, Her feast day and I'm already stressing out that it will not be done on time..Then I will put some potted impatiens around Her pile of stones. Maybe a gazebo, certainly a new bench will overlook the finished altar so it's quite a project in a very short time...
January begins with the Feast of Ogun (17th) and it is right since in winter we both should cleanse our tools (mend fences, oil our metal tools agricultural and others, cleanse our pots & pans, etc..). We are a society of workers, providers and tool-makers. Without our tools we have no more ability than the wild beasts in the forest, the tools are what make us human and allow us to both build societies and civilizations. So it is absolutely right that Ogun should open the year. Then we will follow the calendar of the year's rituals (see Voodoo Temple page).
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2021 - NEW YEAR OF THE METAL OX - PREDICTIONS
Making predictions is a tricky business at the best of times, but especially so after a year of upheaval. However one could say that the uncertainty creates a stronger temptation for us to try to forecast the year ahead as most people finds themselves dreading another year of upheavals and wishing for good things to come. Well this seems to be true for China. In the year of the Metal Ox, China, the most populous nation on Earth, has managed the Coronavirus very well and is back on top form of commerce and business.
Following this year of buying online and (most likely) buying too much, people are going to exercise more discrimination or at least one can only hope so. This should make real value what counts in people's minds. And real necessity. Do I really need this one more item? Do I really want this brand and is this worth the money I'm paying for it. I see people becoming more value-conscious which is a good thing. On a parallel track we'll see more efforts for diversity and inclusion at all levels of society and this will be a positive move forward as diversity of thought, language and action makes for wealth. This will be amplified by the fact that a great shift in the work force and work place is taking hold. A lot of people who were forced to work at homeduring this past year will find that their office space has become redundant to the company and so continue to work from home. A redefining of productivity will ensue as people adjust their home time with their work time while being at home. We will have to become more flexible, with our time, with each other, with ourselves and at the same time more focused on each task at hand.
Many small businesses (and some bigger ones too) will not come back or will have been absorbed by larger companies. Of course this is not good. But in time we'll hope that new small businesses will find their niches and create anew. What has happened this past year reminds me a lot of the aftermath of a major hurricane: the devastation is there but also the seeds of rebirth.
The year of the METAL OX brings career advancement, success in business, prosperity, and wellness for all zodiac signs. The Ox year of 2021 is under the influence of the metal element, just like the Year of the Rat 2020. This year predicts new career opportunities, so don't let anxiety or negative thinking affect you. Professionals will be rewarded financially for their diligence and skills. The family will play a significant role in our life. Single persons will marry, while the married can welcome a new member to the family.
The Ox is a solid, patient and productive animal. It helps plow our feeds and draw our wagons for the harvest. Similarly this will be an excellent year to pursue and complete projects that are well thought-out, not too complex and can be finished to excellence. One should be patient, encounter difficulties and obstacles with both courage, tenacity and intelligence and be patient with oneself. It will be a good year to plan carefully ahead, to not take on too many simultaneous tasks and to forgo too complicated missions. Solidity and harmony should be the basis of our actions. Like the Ox. The trained OX is a gentle animal - let us be gentle with ourselves. Not demanding too much and nurturing ourselves back into the successful productive beings we wish to be.
Before beginning any new project this will be a good year to consult the Tarot with a comprehensive reading as the right foundation can bring good rewards in the year. Plowing the field of possibilities and influences can be done with the Tarot for best results in the foreseeable future.
The past year was not good for our collective and individual mental health. People have had to forego much of their usual social lives, even family reunions and holidays. Many weddings were curtailed, postponed or cancelled. Most people have been living with the ever-present stress, "What happens if I get very sick?". Death has been a present if not so friendly neighbor to all of us this past year.
As the vaccinations are rolled out, I would strongly recommend doing some "rebirthing" rituals, such as a thorough cleansing of house and self. Offering of myrrh and frankincense signifies the burial of old self/fears (myrrh) and making sacred/blessing what is to come (frankincense). Adding a Queen Marie Laveau Flower Essence Spiritual Bath can do wonders. It is both a cleansing and a blessing bath with calming and purifying herbs and some of Her favorite Flowers to bless oneself.
It remains to be seen whether COVID-19 will dominate 2021 but I bet it will be a major element throughout at least the first half of the year. We will have a new administration and more/better social programs and help for the poor & working class but difficulties will remain. These few months should be used for continued reflections on what is truly important and where to go from here.
LOOK HOW MUCH OF THE WORLD I DEVOURED
So I was watching a documentary on the homeless, poverty, slums and transient settlements all over the world and one of the speakers mentioned that there are not "developing countries and developed countries", that we are all changing even if we live in the so-called 1st world, we are still striving to improve our standard of living, to acquire and have more. I am guilty of this myself: even as I had a marvelous fall with a great fruit harvest and friends coming over to share and writing about my Homesteading experience, my gardens and animal husbandry, I find myself thinking, 'how much more I could do with
double the land, or 10 acres or.." and it leads me astray. Because then as I get older I would have to have a gardener twice a week instead of twice a month, which would cause me to have to work twice as much, meaning more driving, more purchasing, more room for the office & craft studio, so a bigger house and a bigger car and then I would leave this world - possibly sooner - and all that would remain is "look how much of the world I devoured".
Whoa, how SAD!! So think of this when you find yourself wanting for more, how much of the world do you need to devour? It's a powerful image. When in doubt I remind myself of Woody Guthrie saying 'Each year I try to live a little simpler". Truly the simple life is a beautiful life.
THE LETTER OF THE YEAR - PREDICTIONS & SUGGESTIONS FROM THE ORISHA FOR THE YEAR 2021
(Each First of the Year an Ifa Reading is done in Cuba by the priest of the religion. This is their collective admonitions and predictions for the New Year).
Pay close attention to your health and hygiene and have respect within the family and for the law.
The main prophecy of the Reading of the Year for 2021 is "A blessing of sound health and safety on Earth from Orula." This year, Olokun will be the ruling orisha (deity), who is considered to be one of the most respected deities in the Yoruba Pantheon, accompanied by Ochun, queen of love and fertility, which is syncretized in Cuba with Our Lady of Charity, Cuba’s Patron Saint. In terms of signs, Ika fun is the ruling oddun. Meanwhile, Odi leke and Irete ogbe are its witnesses.
INSIDE THE READING
Predictions for Cuba and the world include warnings about diseases that may increase in infections, events of social interest and recommendations for society and individuals:
- Contagious diseases, gastrointestinal and nervous system disorders.
- From the list of social events, those of political, social and religious tension particularly stand out, which could lead to conflict.
- Some events related to the law and crime, from an increase in contempt for authority; regional, legal and sexual violations; scams, theft, attacks and criminal acts, as well as greater alcohol consumption.
- Other warnings are linked to an increase in natural disasters, with material losses and the loss of human lives, an increase in mother and infant mortality rates due to malpractice and food poisoning, which is the result of tampering with food and drinks.
- The forecast is also interesting in what it says about a greater stream of emigrants and the loss of human lives resulting from illegal immigration.
- A group is related to agreements that haven’t been kept, an increase in moral distortion, fake consecrations and religious profanities.
RECOMMENDATIONS & SUGGESTIONS
Recommendations in the Reading, which were read by the youngest priest (which is a tradition) were also grouped by issue, for example, respecting health and hygiene regulations that have been established, regular health check-ups, more careful personal hygiene and washing hands. Within the family: respect in a marriage to prevent a breakdown, fighting off promiscuity in the home; instilling respect, education and a love for work, boosting family planning efforts to prevent losing money and racking up debt. In Society: a call was made to the global community to investigate the high level of corruption in every sphere; to abide by and respect laws in every country to prevent legal problems, as well as others linked to religious practices and their relationship with the Saint’s godfathers.
2021 - COLORS OF THE YEAR
The colors of the year 2021 will be Ultimate Grey (a luminous light grey) and Lemon Yellow (a bright light yellow).
The grey in my view denotes the cautiousness we must still exercise in our activities, the aloneness we must endure and our focus on both ourmental and physical path. It can be monotonous but it's also a foundation. It reminds us of the grey of the metal in the metal OX, the metal of our tools, or our resolve and tenacity. Grey can be a foundation color and it does not need to be sad or dark, it can also reflect the hopes and dreams of our future.
Lemon Yellow is light and bright. It speaks of these very hopes for a brighter lighter future, the return of sunlight with spring and summer and going outside and living free in nature. It is the color of a fruit rich in vitamins and nutrients and gives us impetus for a very rich life just around the corner. In winter yellow can be worn with winter white or indeed grey for just a touch of happiness! In spring and summer the same is reversed with yellow worn on its own or accented with grey accessories (purse, shoes, sunglasses, hat etc..). I like it.
SAINT JOHN'S EVE 2020 - WHAT THE SPIRITS GAVE ME
So there are these great ritual moments in the year, special feast days when we pause and assess where we are and where we are going. New Year's Eve ritual is one of them and Saint John's Eve is another. New Year's Eve we celebrate Yemaya and the birth of a new year and we pray to Her and to Queen Marie Laveau to give us a safe, prosperous and happy new year.
Saint John's eve is associated with the summer solstice when the sun is highest above the northern hemisphere and is dedicated to the Warriors. We also celebrate Queen Marie Laveau since this was Her most well-known tradition, to celebrate this holy day with yearly rituals held at Congo Square. Thousands of people would have attended and participated then. For my part, my life and my rituals are often solitary since I live much like a recluse. But I am aware that this is a temporary condition - everything in life is temporary, in fact life itself passes us in a very short time. My time seems to run faster every single year and I could hardly believe it when I found myself preparing for St John's Eve when it seemed that I had just a moment ago welcomed the new year. Suddenly we are half-way through.
The ebb and flow of Voodoo rituals is nothing if not rhythmic. It should not be surprising that the year is halved by two powerful feast days. We begin with Yemaya birthing the New Year, we arrive midway and pause to celebrate, give thanks and harness the strength of the summer sunlight and heat. We rejoice at the prospect of the future harvest. We had a lot of storms and rains this last part of June, a very subtropical feel to the atmosphere and I felt completely immersed and awed by the power of nature, its abundance, strength, fecundity and ability to abruptly stop, annihilate and then rebirth and renew all. The grass which had been having a hard time growing through a rather dry spring suddenly sprang up lush and thick. The small lime tree which we had just planted across the driveway from the big satsuma burst into flowers which soon transformed into tiny baby limes. Oh how sweet! Nature reminds me always that miracles are possible: just opening our eyes and we see them all around us all of the time.
And my Spirits told me They want a change yet again. "You have to change the Temple room" They said. Again!! They mean change as in renew. Yes, I know, They say this but never give a clue as to what They want. Or maybe They give a clue but no real practical advice, that is for me to figure out and to execute. In other words They once again give me work to do. Life of projects, projects of life, wrote my Rastafarian friend. How right he was, how this resonates with me again and again. How blessed and happy I am of it.
The clues were two words, bubbling up from the subconscious: Caribbean and Umbenda. I heard the Old Black, Legba who stands there in front of the Bayou Lacombe lithograph with its dark moss draped cypresses and you know it, big alligators lurking in the mud. The alligator IS the danger to the Fool. It may not kill you but it will inflict pain. So there is danger all around us, all the time, says the Old Black. Take your time, think before you act and surely do not react to that which comes with meanness of spirit. So I thanked them and promised to do my best.
Memories of my Madrina came to mind - she had spoken to me of Umbenda, of staying faithful to the line of Spirits who were brought to me. Others have told me my practice reminds them of Umbenda. Yes, thank you, I say, I love the Orisha! I remembered my marina installing my Eleggua in His first house/altar, a basket sitting on its side. What They want of me now is not completely unfamiliar to me, it warms my heart since it reminds me of kindness, inclusivity and healing. They are saying, We want change, but also, "Stay rooted into what you know is true, what was given to you". So it is more like renewal in going full circle. Like going back to my nine months walk-about through thirteen Caribbean islands.
They also gave me a dead-line (They would), the feasts of Yemaya, Oshun and Obatala in September. So between now and then I have to find the fabrics, re-arrange the space or spaces since nowadays our Temple is both indoors and outdoors and listen, listen, listen...I'll know it when it's just right. Then I will pick up the drums, the Dragon drum and the others too, the shakere and the tamborine and drum from the heart. Somehow I am excited and happy because when They want change and new beautiful fabrics and renewed altars it also means that our lives will have change and renewal and beautiful happenings.
Since the beginning of the year, we have had to struggle with the prevalent threat of coronavirus and enforced isolation. There has been fear among the people, frustrations and oh, so much anger. As if anger was ever the solution. Isolation yes, but remaining at peace is the most important. Anger diminishes your immune system. It is simply not good.
I have discontinued reading and rituals in person for the duration of this unwelcome virus guest. Thinking and borrowing strength and faith from Saint Roch in the forests, Babalu Aye in exile. The feast of Saint Roch will be august 16th so I will definitely speak with Him and Babalu-Aye about our own safety. My Spirits say to expect the worst to come in the fall, and winter when flu season comes. It may very well be a perfect storm. So now is the time to prepare ourselves, physically,
mentally and especially spiritually.
Nevertheless what my Spirits brought me is hope of change, of a new beginning, and doing both readings and rituals for guests from near and far. The gardens are lush and inviting..yes, people should come and spend a little time and gather new blessings.
Now that will be awesome - yes, I think this will happen, this will come and I believe this is what the Spirits gave me, a new and bright outlook on the future. One that is not for me alone but with visitors from near and far. As Oshun says, "Abundance is in the sharing"..
PAST YEAR & NEW YEAR 2020 - RECOLLECTIONS & PREDICTIONS
WHAT 2019 GAVE ME
Well it was a year full of movement, frustrations and successes. My Spirits wanted to be outdoors, that was a surprise to say the least. Having a lovely breezeway with sculptures, plants, turquoise benches, wind chimes and Tibetan flags I set up outdoor altars knowing full well THEY were planning on taking it over AS WELL AS remaining in the Temple room - twice the space meaning twice the work for me. But one only follows Their wishes and finds the best ways since They are infinitely greater than us and always return every effort with so many blessings.
So I set up altars outdoors and immediately realized why the Warriors were pleased: Placing my Warriors by the door gave them a direct gaze to the Ogu Shrine in the backyard which houses several other Warriors, mostly adopted from friends who no longer could care for Them. There they are under the protection of Obatala and quietly rule over the gardens, sometimes watching little children play or dogs romp and bark or wild animals coming to visit in the dark of night. Now my own personal Warriors can also benefit from this natural environment while guarding the house and presiding over the entry door. Perfect. Why didn't I think of it before, was all I could wonder.
Some small changes were made: a very large Swiss cowbell type gong has been hung up above them (the green metal of Ogun) and some large potted plants shield them from the too-curious gaze of visitors. Warriors always like to see but to be seen, not so much! Other altars were not so successful - the Goddesses preferred to return indoors as soon as there was a real cold spell and I had to purchase a new altar table for them. Olokun and Aye hold the bottom shelf of course with Oshun above. Of course Obatala presides over all from an elevated platform. The fabric store had some lovely ocean-y fabric with turquoise and coral colors and a print of starfish and other aquatic beings. As always everything appears just in the nick of time.
The Ancestors are now behind the door, a small shelf with my voodoo, herbal and other practical books next to the African chair and across from the drum. Old Legba also remained indoors (one must be kind to the elders) and hangs out right by the drum, his painting overhead. Queen Marie has her own altar of course (as well as Her outdoor shrine), with my painting of Her tomb, her portrait and my painting of Her drummer. She's quite happy, at the middle of the room, presiding over the Temple and my desk both. Here no mistakes are made! So She says, I acquiesce doing my very best.
The Temple room is always in flux, as indeed it should be since this is not a static practice. The stuff of life is to create, reflect, re-create and advance with the Spirits for guidance and protection.
SIMPLICITY AND BLESSINGS
These two go hand-in-hand. I am always reminded of Woody Guthrie's words that he wanted each year to bring him more simplicity in his daily life. This has become my inspiration. Another way to put it is with Srila Prabhupada's promise of "simple living, high thinking". Once we accumulate much, we are owned by much. Too much spending, too much attachment, too many responsibilities. The more you own, the more you owe, the more you have to take care of. By simplifying one's life, one is able to have more time for meditation and communion with the Divine which is really the purpose of a precious human life.
Let us not squander this unique gift in working so hard only to accumulate goods which can only give us ephemeral pleasure but little contentment. We shall not take them with us when we move onto our next life. I like to write "we pray for good journey & safe passage". A simple journey is easier to keep, less turns on the road, more time to look at the beautiful vistas as they open to the front and sides of us, less jams, obstacles and difficulties. While we are on the simple journey we
can lift our Spirits and thus ensure ourselves of a safer passage towards a purposeful and blessed next life.
I spent part of last year simplifying and ridding myself of much unnecessary baggage: books read and no longer needed, old papers, pictures, tapes and what-knots.. the stuff we accumulate is amazing. If you have not looked at it, used it or worn it in a year, you need it no longer. Thrift shops are supporting worthwhile causes and are glad to receive the donations of no longer needed items. Let old treasures be someone else's beloved finds. And as I have noticed absolutely throughout life, giving engenders receiving and every time I let go of accumulated 'stuff' if find many blessings waiting for me right around the corner.
One frustration last year was our inability to find another abode nearer the Gulf of Mexico, its sandy beaches, and moving our Temple/House there. So be it. We tried and it was not meant to be. So as we re-did the Temple room, we also simplified the house towards a more airy, sunny, 'beachy' look - we are after all only 30 minutes away from the actual beach - and likewise simplified the gardens to reflect the whole mood. Several old dead trees were felled and others were pruned for health and comfort. Happily the veggie gardens have given us quite a bit over the summer and now the winter veggies are growing as well. There was a small but delicious crop of figs in the summer and satsumas in the fall. Oshun was pleased.
So for the coming year 2020 we are anticipating to continue very much in the same vein: simplify our daily material life while enriching our Spirit as much as possible. Chanting daily is the key, as well as a simple, clean and non-harmful diet and herbal medicines. Rituals in the Temple room, the outdoor shrines and yes, at the beach where Yemaya reigns supreme. The craft studio has been improved for simplicity of use and the dogs enjoy lying at our feet while we work on this or that product. Spiritual tools & services is what I aim to continue making to enrich others' lives while keeping my own as peaceful and simple as possible. And as always we are hugely thankful to our lovely clients, old and new, who appreciate our work and always always support us and bring us so much encouragement and friendship. Even though most of you may not be able to visit from far away, this place is FOR you!
THE NEW YEAR 2020: THE YEAR OF OSHUN & OBATALA
The ruling Orisha for 2020 are Obatala & Oshun. There is so much that can be said about the two that it cannot possibly be included in this text.
Obatala reminds us to strive for Peace. Peace in our heart, our home, our family & community and in the world. With everything we do,say or create we can ask ourselves if this is done in a peaceful manner, with a peaceful heart and to promote peace. Thus we put ourselves under the guidance and protection of Obatala. Talk about receiving great blessings! Obatala is the Chieftain of All Abundance.
Oshun, the most beautiful and loving of the Orisha is also the mother of Charity. She will put Her very life on the line for others so they may have what they need to survive. There are so many lovely lovely stories about Oshun-Orisha and reading them can really inspire us. Oshun is of course the deity of love, passion, romance and sexuality - but She is also Beauty, Charity, Creativity (Arts & Music, Poetry & Dance), Wealth, and Healing. So many representations of the Lady as Oshun. Let us pray that She helps me to be able to complete Her painting I started at least 2 years ago!! That is my prayer to Her now. Everything else I already feel She has blessed me with a-plenty.
The combination of Obatala and Oshun is particularly powerful. Their alliance is always for the benefit of community and humanity. In these times we can readily turn to Them for guidance, inspiration and protection.
Where sickness threatens, we should turn to Oshun as healer (Our Lady of the Yellow Leaves), inspiring us with proper diet and herbal remedies. Where poverty and want worry us we should turn to Obatala as omnipresent and munificent provider as well as Oshun the recipient of all of Aye's wealth! Where loneliness or adversaries anger us we can turn to Obatala for peace in our heart, courage and protection while Oshun's grace and happiness can help us win the pleasures of Obatala-Ochosi and His justice. These two offer us one of the most powerful Alliance of Orisha - let us make good with such blessings in our own daily lives.
Everyone can have an Ancestors' altar and Everyone can have an Obatala's altar. Oshun can be found wherever there run the healing and nourishing waters of life.
NEW YEAR 2020 - YEAR OF THE WHITE RAT
The Rat is an independent and successful animal that gets his way no matter what and yet is very conscious of his community. Have one rat in your house and you have a hundred. Rat families have been known to look after older members of their tribe.
The rat succeeds by balancing cunning charm and aggressive knowledge. The rat is both sweet and smart. Rat people are go-getters but they are also friendly and know how to build networks for the benefit of all. They are cunning and smart but they area also very loyal to their friends and families. They will not abandon one who has been their friend in the past or has given them help. This is true of past lovers as well - they can remain friends for life.
Yet they follow their own tried and true paths, often abide only by their own rules and do best working independently in their own chosen field. This can make them appear stubborn and self-centered. If the rat is too self absorbed and not centered and conscious of the community, his selfishness can make him cold, distant and unhappy. He can age prematurely and find himself quite isolated.
It is a good thing for the rat person to try new things, to keep active in the community or as part of a family and/or social network even if it is small. No need to invite the whole world to your party but stay magnanimous and share with others, try new paths and do not begrudge others or yourself for small losses. Not everything can be wildly successful, but all journeys can be enjoyable.
The Year of the White Rat can bring success to those who have their own ideas, their own paths, their own businesses and who are both creative and self-sustaining. This is a year where abundance may come easily to those who can follow tried and true formulas for success as well as forge onto newly discovered paths. Yet it will be important not to gloat in front of others about success but rather to help out and share in the abundance. Oshun's favorite saying is: Abundance is in the Sharing!!
The Year of the white Rat may not be so good for romance and new romantic beginning, unless they are also based on strong alliances and friendship. Make sure your mate is truly on board and you share common ideas and goals for the future.
The Rat is a survivor and so you can survive all the perils and make your paths safe and profitable. This is a year to be resourceful, for oneself and for one's community but it can only happen if one is at PEACE with oneself and the world.
This is the year to trust in yourself and trust in those who have earned your trust. Not a year to be idle but a year to work diligently and with openness and a charitable spirit.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR 2020
Wear the colors of Obatala and Oshun: White, light blue, gold, yellows, shades of green, orange, coral and cream. Wear jewelry of those same colors as well as those made of shells, abalone and pearls. Also (fake) ivory and alabaster.
Decor and colors that are reminiscent of the purity of the open sky and the beauty of the shores of rivers and ponds are preferred. Music should be playing in the house and/or spiritual sounds, chants, Tibetan bells and signing bowls. Let the air in whenever possible and engage in creative thinking/doing as often as possible also.
A good year to start or work on your own business. Choose your own paths and make them work for you! Improve your income with money drawing visualizations, spiritual baths and more.. Develop and solidify friendships and networks within your circle and community. Renew your loyalty to those who have been allies and helpers throughout.
Be Generous and Charitable throughout the year.
SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL TOOLS for the NEW YEAR 2020
A myth is not a falsehood or a fairy story, as people often think, it’s a narrative that offers, however obscurely, an explanation of the relationship among God, oneself, and the world. - unknown
FEAST OF SAINT ROCH: (August 16th) - A POEM/AN OFFERING
Saint Roch, I bake bread for you tonight,
And fast, waiting
How hungry you must have been in the forest,
Shunned by all
Silent in your faith
I wait for the bread to be done
Pangs of hunger rise in me
I see you Saint Roch in the darkness of foliage
Waiting hopeful for your companion
To bring you the bread he has stolen
To keep you alive a while longer
And healing your wounds
Bartering his devotion and love
For some of your faith.
OSHUN IN THE GARDEN - A POEM/AN OFFERING
She walks as if pulled from her heart
Carrying white flowers in folded arms
She bends, she stretches, her arms open
She cleanses herself, around and up and down
She cleanses the air, the earth, the sky,
And the four directions.
She unfolds her veils, the river becomes
She stretches out her flows, whirls and ripples,
She cascades upon the landscape
Unfolding from music, she stirs up then appeases
Finally she lies claiming her path
Releasing her bird soul
She allows the serpent.
Ah Oshun knows no sin,
No shame, no guilt, no regret, no expectation
She is indeed never separate from her divine self
She flies, one with the serpent
Her feet barely touch the ground
Yet never is she not of the earth itself
Open and fecund and female
Her loins she cools at the river
She refreshes herself
And heals those who dare to lose themselves
Into her heart.
ARBORIGINE WISDOM - THE DREAM TIME
At the beginning there was a void
Before the time
Time came to be
Then it became memory
And the memory became the sound
The sound became form
So everything is created from the sound
The sound connects us all
And all that exists
This we have known for fifty thousand years
we know this connection as the Dream Time.
ON THE SHAMAN'S VIEW AND USE OF PLANTS
Sacha Huermi is the Green Woman and She takes care of wild animals. She
often is seen sitting by or on her pet anaconda.
It is the domestication of grains that made possible the living in
cities and made possible imperialism, policing and slavery. In turn that
has led to our present near catastrophic situation with our Earth
All 'poisoners" (herbalists) are Her children. We still carry the Serpent.
REFLECTION ON LONELINESS
Loneliness is almost always due to some internal disaster. Some disaster
that came unwanted and unheeded and which now has caused this
catastrophic landscape of loneliness.
And yet loneliness can cause introspection, or a dialogue of the self so
that the prize becomes better knowledge of oneself and one's
relationship to God/Goddess.
And maybe some happiness is encountered: some happiness with the person
one is. The person one simply is, in the eyes of God/Goddess.
Bush and Herbs Drying in my Craft Studio June 2019
SAINT JOHN'S EVE 2019 - WHAT MY SPIRITS GAVE ME
There are these dates in the Voodoo calendar which are big important markers along the road. When working with Nature Spirits it stands to reason that spring is a very busy season. Not only there are several rituals in March (Damballah-Aida, Oshun, Obatala) but it is the time to cleanse (the house, the altars, the gardens etc..) and time to plant. The botanical beds need to be spruced up, mulched, weeded if need be. What herbs will come back of their own, which will need replanted?
I set myself Osanyin's Feast day - March 19th as a main day of planting. Then I set myself Earth Day, April 22nd as the finishing day, when I should be able to look back and see the gardens as I want them to look. Are all the beds mulched, are the bushes trimmed, pruned, whatever maybe the need? Are the flowering bushes and fruit trees fertilized? The roses pruned? All those things matter and must be done. Earth Day should be a celebration of the month long efforts! Then the gardens seem to explode with vitality, flowers bloom, botanicals sprout and grow into all directions, basil, bears' foot, mints, verbenas, vetiver, lemongrass, lemon balm, catnip, jasmine, skullcap, turmeric, it's all there, pushing forth towards the sun. As the March rituals progress through, the altars are also cleansed, prepare and dressed with new spring or summer cloth.
The Summer Solstice is the first day of Summer. The longest day in the year and all the plants, flowers, bushes and vegetable plants turn to
the sun! So we also celebrate. Then it's the 22nd, time to remember and honor Attach a fileour Ancestors. Queen Marie Laveau is the Queen of the Ancestors. We celebrate Her and Her union of all traditions into the tradition of New Orleans Voodoo, a tradition of inclusion and respect for all people.
And then St John's Eve the 23rd! All the Orisha altars have been redone for this day and are looking bright and beautiful. On this day I always do a long private ritual and remember all my clients and friends who have had prayers given and answered throughout the first half of the year. The Orisha are feasted beginning with the Warriors (Eleggua, Ogun & Ochosi) continuing on monday which is Their day proper.
This year St John's eve saw me reflecting on accepting change and the ebb and flow of things. I have had several mottos recurring in my life and spiritual practice throughout the years. One is "We Pray for Good Journey and Safe Passage", meaning we try to live a good life and ease into a good death. Another is "Abundance is in the Sharing". This is one of my favorites sayings and is referring to Oshun, the Orisha of charity. The more we give and share, the more we feel blessed. The well is never truly empty or dry, it naturally refills with life's goodness. Then there is, "Let your Faith be Greater than your Fears". This is a great motto for this age, when we can be so fearful of the pace of change in our lives. Maintaining faith in what is immutable and real (a personal God) is paramount in navigating the ups and downs of 21st century life.
So the Orisha guided me again this St John's Eve and gave me two more thoughts for meditation. One is, "Accepting this moment fully, I embrace it as a friend". This is often more difficult to put into practice, because we may be having a 'bad day' and accepting that there is a cause, a reason and even possibly a positive effect or outcome is often not our natural reaction. Our natural reaction is negative towards what ails us, that which is difficult, painful or contrary. We may get angry or sad or even depressed. Instead let us make a point of thinking and saying to ourselves, "Isn't it wonderful this sudden change, this sudden happening, this very moment? I am alive to witness it and accept it and see what comes".
This in turn will bring to the second affirmation: "Step into the future with Faith". I had been reflecting on old age and the trials and difficulties it is sure to bring. The declining strength and health, losing one's friends and family. I often say to my friends, "Do you remember when everyone was old and now everyone is young?" Hearing of someone's death we would say, "Oh he was so old, at least 50 or 60" whereas now we say "Oh so-and-so has passed and he was so young, only 72!" Similarly the things we desired so much then, the excitement of new discoveries, travel, romance, new opportunities, are now seen as impediments to our calm days. "Oh do I have to go?".
My favorite humorous story these days is called the Geography of Woman which describes Woman as she ages by comparing her to various countries. After 70 the story goes, woman is like Tibet: Unreachable, impenetrable, wildly beautiful and possessed with an unquenchable thirst for spiritual knowledge! Ah, I said, how true! Whereas I would have wanted to GO to Tibet, a day of quiet meditation in the gardens or a Butoh dance on my deck listening to the music of the trees is now the most profound adventure.
So my Spirits gave me once again an awakening for St John's Eve. But first right after the Ancestors' ritual I heard from long-lost relatives. Totally unexpectedly. How uncanny. Bitter sweet memories. So the past came to nudge but then my Spirits moved me resolutely into the present and the future:
Accept the Moment Fully and Embrace it as your Friend!
Step into the Future with Faith!
Well I do and I will. Please join me with these wonderful affirmations.
2019- HAPPY NEW YEAR - OF THE PASSING OF TIME AND THE TURNING OF THE WHEEL, OF HEALING WITH PEACE AND FOR PEACE.
So in 2018 I did not enter my yearly predictions. I skipped. Sorry about that but it was a year of contrariness. Projects and plans going awry, obstacles a-plenty and often times one's road taking too many turns to count. Still we have made it to the end of year unscathed and many things came out successfully for which we are very grateful.
We had many clients which were helped and blessed by the Spirits and that is always so gratifying and a source of great joy. In particular it was a year when I found myself able to direct blessing and healing energy to several new and old clients alike, for the benefit of all. Spiritual Energy is not miserly. Even if it is narrowly directed towards one soul, one heart, one ailing body, it is endless and eternal. It is divine and full of peace, therefore it will benefit the entire universe. This I believe wholeheartedly, it is at the root of my spiritual work.
HEALING & REIKI:
So indeed this past year I was able to put renewed focus on my Reiki and other healing practices. During difficult years, times of obstacles which are usually also times of changes, it is often the body which first warns us that we are being stressed and taxed. Symptoms appear and although modern medicine is often enough at treating the symptoms it is usually not addressing the underlying causes of the dis-ease, whether they be emotional, mental or spiritual. One lovely client of mine exclaimed to me a few months ago, "oh Reiki has reached a whole other level". Indeed. I had been striving for this and I was so gratified to hear it had been received so well.
So in 2019 which I see as a year of COMPLETION rather than a year of jumps, starts and stops and pull backs (such as we just went through), I am expecting to refine and strengthen my healing practice even more narrowly which in the world of Spiritual Energy means it will be even greater, wider, broader and forever.
I am also offering SPIRITUAL HEALING SESSIONS, which are a powerful channeling of Healing Energy (apart from the Reiki conduit) through various forms, and I am including the use of stones, crystals, herbs and bush. For this I am directly reaching to the ally in all vegetation,
Sahsha Huermi and the Voodoo Orisha of all plants Osainin. With each session the client will also receive positive suggestions: of possible dietary changes or supplements (such as herbal teas, tinctures, etc.) and life changes.
I truly feel that my work now is moving into the direction of blessing and healing, indeed blessing FOR healing. As our world becomes more divided, more stressful, more polluted, more difficult, I am pulled to unify, soothe, bless and heal.
It is never one article or activity against the other, they all work together. REIKI is beautiful, deep and graceful - SPIRITUAL HEALING is awesome and mysterious - SPIRITUAL BATHS are practical, easy, comforting and healing - RITUALS are magical and powerful - but all work together and for the benefit of all sentient beings and the planet.
Let me just add that I have been a Reiki Master since 1981, I have treated my children (and oftentimes friends too) with herbal remedies and spiritual baths since the early 70s and I have conducted awesome healing rituals since 1985-86. Yes, the passing of time measured in years reminds me I am old but oftentimes I feel younger than ever, as I am guided from one
blessing-healing activity to the other, whether it be a peaceful Reiki session to a mystical & powerful Ritual of offerings to a free and graceful Butoh Dance on the sands in honor of Mami Watta or on my own deck with Gran'Bois clapping nearby. Life itself is the Dance of Spirit and Spirit is everywhere and eternal.
MADRE DE AGUA SPIRITUAL TEMPLE:
My Spirits were telling me all last year to go to the beach, to do ritual at the beach, to dance on the sands, to commune with them at the ocean. And so I did. The more I did it, the more I was attracted to doing it. Indeed as I get older I feel more and more pulled towards the source of all Life, the ocean waves and currents, their dances of life, their breath
in the bubbles of water and the rhythms and songs of the waves. The great Birth which comes from the Sea.
The marsh, the swamp, the bayous, the Pearl River, they all have nourished me and taught me and shared secrets and songs with me. Now the ocean itself speaks and sings to me.
The Temple received Aye a couple of years ago which completed the Oshun altars and then Olokun was received and He was installed in due course so it makes perfect sense now.. Since the Temple is at my home, I also added some oceanic flair to some of the rooms including painting my bedroom out of the French blue and into Tahitien aqua. Lovely. (the other bedroom is coral). I am wearing a lot of turquoise and coral these days. SO I was speaking to my Spirits one day during the course of cleansing and re-arranging things, I murmured "oh how I wish I could be there full time and live closer to She who calls me so strongly". To which They replied, "well you're keeping us cooped up in here". Ha!
Within a short while I had arranged an outdoor Temple Room, with great trepidations since one never knows what exactly, really, to expect when dealing with Spirits, but to my great relief and delight, They loved it and I believe are happy with the new space. It is a covered space, it has now a curtain partition to keep passers-by and onlookers from seeing what is not for them to see (we are also quite a distance from the road). But from where They are now, my Spirits can face the marsh and beyond that the Seas. You know They can smell the brine and the salt! Closer by They can glance to the outdoors spaces and groves which shelter the Loa. There is a spiritual community, alive, breathing. They are after all Nature Spirits.
How will this complete itself in 2019 - well I am not entirely sure of course but the road is laid out front and it's open and I am ready to travel upon it. Success will come from taking the first step and then another and then another, Spirits willing.
2019 - YEAR OF THE PIG -
The Chinese New Year - Year of the Pig - starts on February 5th and will be more auspicious for all zodiac signs than the past year was. (Yes, just what I was thinking).
A year of COMPLETION.
The pig is not a skinny animal, it likes its comfort, to eat and is a rotund, highly intelligent, social and versatile being. The Pig has a highly developed sense of smell and it can be both peaceful yet defend itself with frightful attacks.
Bright colors will be favorable (to wear for instance or to add to your decor) such as yellow-gold, pink, red, shades of blue and green that have aquatic overtones.
The year of the Pig will be a good year to attract Money, for instance by placing a Money Drawing Talisman in your home. (see Wonderful Wanga Dolls - Money Maker) Also by bring about good luck and completion of goals and projects.
Blessing talismans and baths will be helpful (Wonderful Wanga Dolls, Blessing Spiritual Baths, Gypsy Blessing Bath)
The Year of the PIG is a year when all can be realized and attained if approached and worked for correctly: good fortune, success, romance and happiness. In particular bringing together the powers of Sky and Water will result in good luck - this is an excellent year to formulate your goals for the New Year and take a Lunar Bath to bless them at the start, followed later with a 9-day Bath Kit (Success, Love & Passion, Health & Wealth).
I would also recommend the Gypsy Spiritual Baths this coming year, as they contain Himalayan salts, the use of which will be particularly auspicious. AND Ancient Gypsy Spells conducted at the Fire Circle may be particularly helpful.
So as we closed a cycle with a spectacular Lunar Eclipse this January (Wolf Full Moon/Vulcan Moon), we open the New Year with the gregarious Pig and our will to succeed fully open.
RULING ORISHA - 2019
The Ruling Orisha for 2019 are Oshun and Ogun.
Oshun, La Caridad Del Cobre, Our Lady of Charity is the most merciful, charitable, loving & compassionate Orisha. She brings great prosperity, abundance, love and passion. She can sacrifice of Herself for the sake of humanity if necessary. She resides everywhere there is sweet water, springs, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes and she both filters, quenches, nourishes and cleanse the environment with her sweet waters. She dances and sings continually. She is Beauty and Sexuality incarnate.
Ogun is forever in love with Oshun and will follow Her, bound to help and assist Her in everyday. Thwarted He may withdraw to His abode (his metal forge) and shun others which will cause humanity to suffer greatly but under the loving influence of Oshun He returns and helps us achieve our goals by providing us with strength, tools and protection. He will help
defeat our enemies and steel our resolve and will. Oshun and Ogun are indeed a formidable pair. But life is a give and take, not all should be expected to be as smooth as silk or we would not be on this material plane. We do not reside in the Spiritual Sky so we have to labor and travail and struggle.
The advice & cautionary word for the year is: Do not go back to pick up what you have left behind. That which is dead is dead. Well in view of the difficulties of 2018, then it is indeed best to leave behind what has fallen. The advice can be summarized in the word for death.
This immediately brought back to me the memory of being at the marsh with offerings for Oshun and feeling something brush my feet in the water. It was a fat dead duck, pretty well decayed and I thought 'oh here You are"! Let go of that which is dead and must be cleansed off, use the power of Oshun's cleansing waters. Negative influences around a year presided by Oshun and Ogun may include an increase in sexual infections and diseases, gastro-intestinal infections and problems. Droughts and floods could also affect people and impact the production of foodstuff and the wellbeing of people. Wars, conflicts and quarrels could mar relations between people instead of love and cooperation. Particularly if the effects of droughts and/or floods bring about a scarcity of resources.
As always a moral path of peaceful cooperation, frugality and moderation is best for all and will ensure the many blessings and assistance of Oshun and Ogun.
The Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple celebrates Ogun's Feast day on January 17th and Oshun's Feast day twice: on March 25th and on September 8th. These are the most auspicious times of the year to ask for blessings and add your offerings to the Temple rituals.
THE YEAR 2017 - A GUIDE FOR SURVIVAL & LOOKING FORWARD TO ST JOHN'S EVE
This past New Year, I did not write up predictions for the Year of the Red Rooster (as I usually do). Look at the Rooster, he is the "cock of the Wall", He crows "look at me, look at me, I am the best, I am tops". He rules the roost with all his might and grandiosity. He flashes his feathers and will get into vicious scraps with all others who would usurp his place of power. What else could I predict?
We are living in dangerous times. I am not taking sides with parties, candidates or governments. The whole world has become exceedingly dangerous, intolerant and brimming with war sentiments on all sides. Most of these international situations have their roots very far in the last century and have become so complicated as to remain unsolvable and impervious to the best diplomatic efforts.
Yet each of us can make a difference by raising ourselves above the fray, then helping to raise our neighborhoods, communities and so on. We do not need to join political parties or factions or go to noisy gathering and demonstration. We need to each one live well and peacefully and most of all set a positive example.
A strong spiritual life is what is needed.
Right now, our leaders point fingers at each other and engage in much saber rattling. The media is loving it and fueling people's passion through what is called the "social media". If you ask me there's nothing 'social' about it. Look at who's been elected and see the reflection of your own society in this person. If he/she is brash and arrogant and flashes his/her wealth around, then isn't it what we all clamor and hunger for in our daily aspirations. Do we not all want a bigger house, a bigger car, flashier clothes and more and still more.
Our leaders are in power because we have chosen them and people vote not their conscience or their reason but their aspirations!
So let's check our material aspirations and begin to look within for the true meaning of our lives. Each one of us is here only for a very short time - the blink of an eye. Let us welcome and help our neighbor, our friend. Let us be kind and helpful in every way we can.
Woody Guthrie said he wished that each year he could live a little simpler than the year before. So do I.
So I do have a gift for all: A method of survival for the coming years, since personal survival, mentally, emotionally and certainly spiritually will be of the utmost importance.
My gifts are my own mottos which have directed me these last few months and give me strength and renewed determination to exercise kindness and good judgement whenever I need it.
These mottos came to me, from the heart, channeled just in time to help me keep my focus on what is important: helping others with compassion, truth, love and care.
The first motto that came to me is:
LET YOUR FAITH BE STRONGER THAN YOUR FEARS.
Keep this in your heart and mind as you navigate each day through the scary stuff of life in the 21st century. Fear nourishes anger, envy and lust. We begin to look at others with suspicion, greed and anger because we are fearful of our own uncertain position or future. Understanding one's place in life and focusing on being thankful, grateful for one's own situation and goodness whatever it maybe, as well as learning to trust in the Divine banishes these negative thoughts. A strong faith can see us through the worst of times and help us make the right choices for ourselves. We can act wisely and not be pushed to reacting out of fear.
Then more recently I had been praying on how to improve my own spiritual work, my chanting most specifically ( I chant every day) and my prayers.
What came is:
JOYFULLY, SERIOUSLY AND WITH DEVOTION
So in all spiritual work, in taking care of your loved ones or those who seek help from you, remember to act Joyfully, with great Seriousness and with Devotion to God. Then the results will be good. This is an absolute no-fail. Whether you garden, cook, minister, heal, sew, build, or tend to your job, and particularly in prayer, remember to do it with joy yet with great attention and focus (seriousness) and remembrance of God in your heart. Then the results will be good. For you and for others.
LOOKING FORWARD TO ST JOHN'S EVE 2017 - AN ELEMENTAL APPROACH
As we near St John's Eve (June 23rd) I am preparing myself, the garden groves and the Temple room for the biggest Voodoo holiday of the year, when we celebrate Queen Marie Laveau, the Ancestors, the Orisha and Loa. I usually have a full three days of rituals, one day when I invite friends to remember and celebrate the Ancestors (we all have and share stories of those who have left the body) and two days to myself, one of personal retreat and meditation and one to celebrate and feast my Spirits.
This year, I want to pay particular attention to the roles of the Elements in the appearance and manifestation of the Orisha and Loa through them. Each Orisha and Loa is associated with an element, sometimes more than one (Logun Ade, the child of Oshun and Ochosi spends half of his life in the water and half in the sky).
When I make my fabulous 9day Voodoo Bath kit, I am working with the four elements which in turn will be used to help cleanse, nurture and invigorate the client while they choose their new goal and focus. I have been making this La Sirena 9-day Voodoo Bath kit since 1986 and it is my most trusted tool for all who seek help. I have yet through all these years have had to receive a single negative comment from a client who has faithfully used the kit with the right positive and prayerful attitude. When doing Reiki on behalf of a client, the elements also come into play through visualizations, the healing itself being transmitted through the
Ether, the fifth element. I visualize water, earth, fire and air independently or in conjunction with each other as I address the client's dis-ease or imbalances and the areas of the body the healing energy directs me towards.
We are made of these very elements, our bodies are. We are water, earth, fire and air. Our emotions, thoughts and actions strongly influence the balance of these elements so that we can often become unbalanced through too strong emotions (grief, anger, etc..), negative thoughts ( doubts, fears etc.) These same emotions and thoughts reach out through the ether to affect those around us and our very environment.
So all spiritual work, whether it is the preparing of spiritual baths, performing a Reiki healing, a Spiritual Reading or a ritual is in essence both a subtle manipulation of the elements and a quest for elemental balance within and without.
One never works with simply one element. There is always a play of all the elements. The Elemental Dance.
I have often spoken of the elegance of the Gypsy Spells which are done at a fire. The fire element is first and foremost, but offerings are also put into the fire, offerings that are made or come from the Earth element. Some contain water of course and often liquid offerings are also added and those create the smoke, the air element that will carry the prayers to the Devas.
The elegance comes in the direct participation and how the elements react with each other - they become the inspiration for the drumming and dancing which is also become part of the offerings, the moving chanting prayer. The sound vibrations are of the air, the dance steps and sounds are of earth and air.
So here are some thought about the qualities of the Elements and how they best compliment each other:
All living herbs, plants, trees, have their roots deep in the Earth, and as we eat them, infuse them into oils (perfumes) or alcohol (tinctures), we strengthen and nourish our Earth element. Knowledge and respect for nature are the essential tools: one must know the place and role of all the plants, herbs, trees, weeds, bush, while also listening to nature. Medicine making requires being grounded in care for all life on Earth. The success in healing of such medicine will also depend on the respect and love of the recipient for Earth. THe Earth element is grounding, protecting and strengthening.
Everywhere water flows, there is life! When scientists look for the possibility of life on other planters, they search for evidence of water. The water element is about the flow. Our blood and lymph flows, our energy flows, our thoughts flow, our emotions flow, our intuition flows. When all flows freely within us, we are agile, resilient, sharp yet balanced. We find ourselves at the right place at the right time.
The Water element is used in drinking - pure spring water, teas and infusions, tinctures, juices from fruits, plants and vegetables. Also we can cleanse our bodies, our heart and spirit with herbal and bush baths. THe water element helps intuition, creativity, inspiration, and goodness flow into us while allowing our thoughts and actions to flow out to others and the world. The Water element is cooling, cleansing, healing and balancing.
The Fire element is the spark of creativity, of movement, of knowledge and understanding. We say the neurons 'fire' in our brains. We have sparks of understanding. Fire ignites our passions. We say we are 'fired up" about a new project, idea or situation. Fire is also the great annihilator that can cleanse all its path. The fire element can abolish obstacles and confusion by burning away the clutter of mind and spirit and revealing the essential self. Fire is used for cooking our foodstuff, it is nourishing, for lighting our environment, warming our bodies and homes. Fire creates heats the stones that will be used in the sweat lodge. Fire cremates the bodies of the ancestors. Fire is absolutely essential to civilization yet it is one of the most awesome primordial uncontrollable and untamed forces of Nature. It comes readily from the bowels of the Earth.
Fire is for vitality, creativity, intuition, intelligence, passion. Fire is for cleaning and revealing the essential truth.
The Air element is the one we take for granted the most. We notice water such as a river in our path or strong waves on the beach. We are cautious around fire and fear its unpredictable all consuming nature. We stomp on the earth, noticing its hardness or softness, the obstacles it raises in our paths. But all through our days and nights, even when we are soundly asleep, we breathe the air element in and out, effortlessly, unknowingly. Air is ever present in our lives. Air carries the smells we recognize, often subconsciously but which gives us strong signals; we know to avoid certain areas or are attracted to others from their subtle smells. Air flows like water but does not usually upturns our lives (Only the strongest winds or tornadoes do that). Air is usually gentle, subtle, helpful, unnoticed but ever present. We love a cool breeze, a gentle wind, a fresh sea side wind, a crisp mountain air. The Air element is described in the prettiest terms but we go day in away out without thinning about it at all. Air is everywhere.
Air carries our energies to others, and can bring in other's energies as well, to ourselves, our dwellings, The Air element brings glad tidings and negative nergies alike, and those can linger in corners and under furnitures for a long long time. Air circulates and can be cleansed or charged, made more appropriate for our physical, emotional and spiritual balance.
Air is for classing, healing, soothing, strengthening, activating, enlivening, enveloping and developing.
The Ether is the fifth element, unseen, untouched, unheard. This is the element the souls travel through, the media of intuition, emotions, mental faculties and spiritual communications. The Loa and Orisha communicate with us through the Ether although we may 'see' Them or 'hear" them through clairvoyance or clairaudience. Time is malleable in Ether and gives rise to premonitions, dreams of the past and future, deja vu moments etc. THe Ether is colorless, odorless and invisible. Ether is all pervasive and exists between the very atoms of our bodes and everything else. Ether is the vehicle for magical transformations and spiritual healing.
A Voodoo Priest/ Priestess is an alchemist, manipulating the elements, transforming and transmuting them in a quest for the perfect balance. The Voodoo Doctor, like the Medicine Man/ Woman is strongly grounded, fluid in practice and knowledge, fired up in their passion to care and heal, gentle and penetrating like a breeze and frequently steps outside of ordinary time.
He/ She engages in the Cosmic Dance with great Joy, Seriousness and Devotion.
2016 - YEAR OF THE MONKEY
The Year of the Red Fire Monkey will officially begin on February 8. In case you're wondering, the date is always set according to the lunar calendar, beginning on the 2nd new moon after the winter solstice. We are leaving behind the year of the Goat, an animal often known for its stoic and calm attitudes, although goats can also be very stubborn and willful. Still such a difference with the monkey who is inventive and
quick and prone to every day, all-day antics! They do have elements in common: the goat has amazing balance and is agile. The monkey is a born acrobat. The monkey though is a tricky and inventive animal and therefore we may expect quick developments and abrupt changes throughout the year. Hold on for the wild ride!
Monkeys are very intelligent and fun loving. They can solve difficulties and can fashion tools for themselves. They are highly social animals who work as a group, enjoy and often help each other. Monkeys are always the favorite attraction for children visiting a zoo because they are playful and delight us with their antics and acrobatics. They represent the joy of living free and having fun, climbing around, swinging and chattering away. Monkeys, like children are incredibly curious and love to figure out new things. They are very quick learners.
On the darker side they can represent (for adults) the treachery and ability to trick others. Like the fox of European tales, the monkey can be the foe that lures others to fall into a trap.
Or, like in the Lion King, he can be the wise seer who speaks in riddles. One could be speaking of Eleggua using these very same words. Youthful, inventive, playful, agile of body and mind..and treacherous at times. And the master of riddles.
THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY - PREDICTIONS
The year of the Monkey is such that we should expect anything and everything to be possible, to happen. And there surely will be sudden and unexpected changes, turns and double-backs. So for the wise person, this will be a year of taking things in stride, remaining particularly flexible and looking wisely at all before drawing conclusions. We will need to remain positive, inventive and clever in our solutions. We will need to harness our intelligence to the task and to work in cooperation with others for the good of the whole group or community.
We may have to think fast yet clearly. Communications with others should be easier and yet we should be weary and cautious of those in the group who would lead us astray or are overly self-obsessed. Not everyone will be looking out for everyone else since some will remain completely self centered and just looking out for #1. Our patience may be tested by the jokers and the loud ones in the crowd. Big egos will be prancing around and demanding attention. But the year may also be full of entertainment and fun if we remain flexible and do not compromise our own sense of humor. It will be very much up to us individually to choose how much we involve ourselves, where we put our efforts forth and how much wisdom we use in our decisions.
Our intelligence and problem solving abilities may be put to the test. Our social abilities may be tried. We'll have fun. Ok, doesn't sound too bad, does it?
For those among us who can meet these criteria, this can be a very good year for new opportunities, for going beyond old obstacles and finding new solutions, for success in all our enterprises. And we could have loads of fun doing it.
In the areas of politics, finances, business, investments and real estate, this could be a very good year. Navigating through difficulties and pitfalls though will depend on our real abilities - not what we think we know, but how well we can really solve problems and sort the wheat from the chaff. This will not be a year to rely on appearances alone or on what others tell us. We'll have to be clear-headed and inventive both.
If you've ever looked at a group of monkeys, you may only see chaos, so we may indeed see confusion and chaos around us, but individually we can find the cohesion and the solidarity in the group, the strength of the community beneath the appearances.
This year should be a year of action - a year to think clearly, to be flexible, kind, charitable, discerning, wise, inventive and to be ready to act quickly and decisively just the same.
As far as the global economy is concerned we may see the exact same pattern: those nations who have inventive leaders, leaders that are truly concerned with the whole of their people and not just their own
aggrandizement, may make great strides. There will be a good market for new inventions and gadgets. Opportunities will arise and just as quickly disappear for those who have not made the correct move. Stagnating established orders that cannot adapt or make the necessary changes because their leaders refuse to act except in their own self-interest, may falter and see chaotic revolutions or uprisings.
YEAR OF THE MONKEY / 2016 - FENG SHUI
As we said earlier, the Year of the Fire Monkey will open many if not all possibilities for us. But we may also face obstacles and challenges which we'll have to meet and overcome with inventive solutions. Plus we'll have to watch out for self-centered and conniving people who may steer us wrong, either to take advantage or just to have fun at our expense. Beware of the tricksters of the world.
First suggestion is to make large offerings of flowers on February 8th to bring happiness, liveliness, color and good energy into your house on the beginning of the year. Display flowers on your altars and for the
Ancestors. Chose light harmonious colors such as pink, cream-white, light yellows, lavender and such. Flowers should not be left to die on the altar but changed or discarded as soon as they falter. Keep it lively and beautiful. I would strongly suggest keeping flowers up (changing them as necessary) for a moon, so 28 days.
Those born in the year of the Monkey or the Sheep may enjoy good financial gains. Also those born in the year of the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse and the Rooster may enjoy positive results for their efforts throughout the year.
Unfortunately people born in the years of the Dog and Boar may find themselves less able to avoid conflicts and unpleasantness. People born in the year of the Rat, Ox and Tiger may also find themselves experiencing difficulties and let-downs.
All may face health issues and this would be an excellent year to work on balance in diet, and to embark on a balanced and harmonious regime of good healthy exercise (nothing too strenuous or too serious, but regular, playful activities) and diet - again, nothing too drastic but establishing a happy, pleasing variety of wholesome and nutritious foods. Take your cue from the monkey: play, stay active, rest when tired, resume activity and eat plenty of fruit and light wholesome fare. Go swimming, kayaking, bicycling, jump rope, play group sports that are fun such as tennis, badminton, soccer, volleyball (beach volleyball too), or just take good long walks around your neighborhood. There are many many easy ways to exercise that will also encourage you to share with others and to improve your social skills.
It may be of great benefits to guard one's health and wealth throughout the year by displaying a calabash at or near the center of the house. You may prefer to choose a similarly shaped Wanga Doll for Health & Wealth instead of a simple calabash (gourd). Again place near or at the center of your home.
One should seek to establish and maintain tranquility and balance in the southwest area of one's home or garden since this will be the auspicious direction for the year. Do not play loud music near or in the southwest corner of your house. Do not engage in loud arguments, use power tools or make any disruptions to that particular area and direction, inside or outside.
On the other hand, the northeast corner and direction will be less auspicious and protective elements should be used there. I prefer a good reflecting Juju placed on the outside, maybe hanging from the eave or the house or a nearby tree, so it can reflect any arrows coming towards the home.
Another factor this year will be the absence of the water element so it would be good to add water to your landscape or decor. A pond or waterfall can be both soothing and enlivening. If you are re-decorating or re-painting, think in terms of light, pleasing and harmonious colors such as light blues, shell pink and pearl grey. Blurred lines similar to watercolors will be more pleasing and soothing then harsh color-blocking and sharp angles.
In general the year will be favorable to women but more difficult and trying for men, particularly men in positions of authority who find themselves unable or unwilling to compromise, change their hard-set
attitudes and be more innovative.
THE LETTER OF THE YEAR: RULING ORISHA
This coming year belongs to Ogun, the Divine Iron Worker, the owner and maker of all tools, minerals and materials. His strength of body and will is accompanied and tempered by Oshun, all sweetness, charm and charity. The undisputed queen of beauty and abundance.
In the face of the chaos that will surely be the norm during the year of the monkey, the determination, unwavering focus and single-mindedness of Ogun may help us bring our goals to fruition. We may need to choose our tools wisely and make good use of our resources without squandering any. Whereas the monkey is forever playful and exuberant, Ogun is serious and wholly absorbed in his task.
Yet Eleggua, the trickster and Ogun are always praised and called upon together. For this very reason. The quickness of our ideas would never arrive to any concrete establishment if we were not able to harness our will to the task, remain determined to achieve our goals and choose the right tools to make it so. Ogun may be quite the perfect Orisha to help keep us on track through the topsy turvy days of the coming year. Oshun is associated with the water element that is so needed this year. She will temper and soothe both the chaotic energies of the Monkey and the sharpness and stubbornness of Ogun.
In the African mythology there are many wonderful tales that speak of the relationship between Ogun and Oshun. She is the charitable one. Hersweetness is always at work for the benefit of the community. She is able to share the products of Ogun's work among the people while soothing him so he is able to let go of them. She makes sense of seemingly contradictory signs and brings compassion and mercy wherever she walks. She also loves to dance, thereby bringing playfulness and joyfulness to the people. Like her element, water, she is constantly on the move, always changing, dancing and chattering. Her joyous spirit is contagious. Her good physique and active grace speak of and bring vitality and health to all.
A year of chaos which can be joyous and successful if we are up to the challenges. It will depend on many things which can be found within ourselves: flexibility of spirit but a willingness to work hard and keep our goals steady; making wise decisions in the choosing of our goals and the tools we will need to achieve those goals; communicating well with our communities; not taking ourselves too seriously but knowing who we are and why we are doing that which we are doing; being weary of tricksters and flatterers who will try to lead us astray; healing ourselves through joyful activity, playfulness and gladness of spirit.
This year we should strive to be Strong, Healthy, Playful, Charitable, Determined, Wise and Joyful. Abundance and Success can be obtained along the way.
2016 - COLORS OF THE YEAR
ROSE QUARTZ & SERENITY BLUE
Two colors were chosen this year as the colors of the year. Both bring a lightness, peacefulness and soothing quality to our environment and ourselves.
Rose Quartz is a translucent pale pink which reminds us of early dawn, pink crystal and rhodochrosite. Rhodochrosite is particularly soothing to the heart and can be use to alleviate grief and acute heartaches. Pink turquoise has a calming effect on the throat chakra and links the throat to the heart chakra.
Rose Quarts is persuasive, soothing and pulls us in and warms us a bit. It cajoles us and fills us with compassion and gentleness of heart. Serenity Blue is a light blue reminiscent of big empty sky, the
luminescence of the clear mind. It is a color associated with Obatala and with harmony, tranquility and peace. It promotes openness of mind and spirit. It cancels the walls of authority and selfishness we are often compelled to keep around ourselves.
Both colors act as yin and yang but without a stark defining line or sharp contrast; indeed they could flow into each other and back again. The water element permeates both of these colors as a pool of water can reflect the rays of the rising sun or the expanse of blue sky or both. These colors can be blended together in a decor or worn together in clothing and accessories, particularly in fluid compositions devoid of sharp angles or lines.
The two colors together bring us a sense of reassurance that harmony and peace will prevail and all will fall back into a place of divine harmony.
A third color, Alabaster is a very pale dove grey which contributes the earthiness, the stability and the foundation to the other two. It is the neutral stable color against which the pink and the blue ebb and flow
together or not.
This is a beautiful palette that can greatly enhance our life, promote spiritual exercises and help us weather the chaotic elements that are sure to come in 2016 with a calmer and gentler mind. The harmony in those colors will help us make our words and actions more measured, more tempered and more kind.
Doesn't the world deserve a little kindness just about now? Think pink and blue and the palest of grey.. Try them on, you'll be glad you did.
STONES & GEMS TO WEAR IN 2016
ALABASTER is sacred to Obatala. Wear for peace in heart and mind. To attract peace, justice and abundance. Also PERUVIAN OPALS which can look like pale grey clouds in an off white background - brings a subtle stability and protection.
ROSE QUARTZ, RHODOCHROSITE, Pale PINK TURQUOISE, PINK TOURMALINE: for the heart chakra, to remedy and heal grief and grievous situations. Soothing and healing. (pink turquoise helps promote clarity and kindness in speech, pink tourmaline helps promote compassionate visions and soothes our dreams)
LARIMAR, BLUE TURQUOISE, KAYANITE; For lifting up one's thoughts, promoting clarity of mind and speech. Kayanite is a protection stone and is a lovely grayish blue that also helps with clarity and surrounds one with peaceful and stable energies. Larimar is a light sky blue stone found in the Bahamas and considered to have come from the lost continent of Atlantis.
FABRICS AND FASHIONS
For the protection of Ogun, natural fabrics are in order: Rayons (from wood products), wool and linen, flax and ramie/cotton blends which are extremely durable. These plant derived fabrics speak of the earth and
come in natural earthy colors. Also hemp can be knitted with a cotton blend or by itself (rasta tams crocheted in hemp keep your hair covered for ritual work and are cool enough for summer wear). Think Natural Fabrics!
In honor of Oshun, wear your best silks! Silk, silk and more silk! Create watery landscapes in your clothing with pale pink and light sky blue silks!
Fluid silks in flowy designs is what I envision...lots and lots. Dancing skirts and long wavy dresses, caftans and slips. Oshun loves them all! Happy and playful clothes should pair with fun, whimsy accessories.
When retreating home, for meditation practice or your exercising clothing, wear alabaster (off white) or pale dove grey cotton, which will help you keep grounded and focused. The quietness of the palest grey and the peace of Obatala will counteract the mind's agility and its trickster's ability to distract. Thus you will get better results for your efforts.
HANUMAN - THE MONKEY GOD
HANUMAN is a Hindu god, a loving devotee of the god Rama. He is known to have pulled his own heart open to reveal Rama and Sita living within! Hanuman is a principal character in the Hindu epic the Ramayana. He is also mentioned in several other great Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata, various Puranas as well as in some Jain texts. Hanuman, the Monkey God, is the main combatant in Rama's war against the demon Ravana and helps liberate Sita, Rama's wife who had been kidnapped by Ravana and taken to the island of Sri Lanka. Whereas the monkey troops lament upon being unable to cross the sea to the island, Hanuman although already very old is reminded of his unique strength and power and thus he leaps and flies across to the island of Sri Lanka to find Sita.
Hanuman is often seen changing the size of his body and becoming minuscule or as large as a mountain as challenges arise on his quest to liberate Sita and fight the demons on Lanka. He is also able to shape-shift and disguise himself as becomes necessary to vanquish the various entities who threaten him.
Hanuman is one of four people to have heard the Bhagwad Gita directly from Lord Krishna.
This year 2016 would be an awesome year to read, re-read or re-re-read the Bhagavad Gita (the Song of God) and to celebrate Krishna, Rama, and Hanuman.
Hanuman has several very powerful mantra to bring abundance to to defeat one's enemies.
Lord Hanuman is worshipped for power and protection. Hanuman is described to be one for whom nothing is impossible and who is the embodiment of faith, devotion, fearlessness, self confidence and loyalty. We should call upon Hanuman for willpower, courage and inspiration for success in all of our future projects and goals.
We should pray to Hanuman to grown in loving devotion so that we meet any and all obstacles with absolute faith.
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE PRACTICE OF VOODOO / ON TRAVELING THE PATHS OF THE
ORISHA AND LWA
There are many paths that may lead a person to the beliefs and practice of Voodoo.
One may be attracted to the spiritual work due to interest in the history and culture of a place, such as New Orleans. The music, food and art of New Orleans are totally imbued with Voodoo and it is nearly impossible not to become cognizant of this if you live in Louisiana.
Or one may be attracted due to one's spiritual background. Most Voodooiens are raised and practicing Catholics. One may be fond of specific Saints and may be attracted to their parallel Spirits in Voodoo. In the deep South of the U.S. we also find Voodoo practitioners among the Spiritualist churches. The migrations of populations, of ethnic groups, the mingling of their spiritual beliefs and traditions are at the root of New Orleans Voodoo.
Then again one may feel a strong need or connection to one's Ancestors and may want to keep those bonds alive by setting up an altar for them. Ancestral altars are the first and most essential part of the Voodoo practice and for many, the only step necessary to becoming healthier and happier, more cognizant of one's personal destiny.
Finally one may simply be desirous of benefits which they feel they may acquire by using some of the methods and knowledge of Voodoo. As I am fond to say, aromatherapy, color therapy, numerology, movement therapy, music therapy, all those are new names for what Voodooiens have been practicing
for hundreds of years.
All paths are equally valid and more often than not, one path will lead to another or several paths will cross, merge and help the individual define their own individual practice. Here there are no wrongs! And yet, one may take many 'wrong turns' while beginning or expanding one's Voodoo practice.
As a spiritual helper, I put equal attention and focus on the spiritual work I do for a client who seeks to further their spiritual path, as on the work done for a client who wants to land a job or get a promotion. I
must be ready to help, with practical advice such as the Spirits reveal through a reading, with empathy, compassion and with truth. Truth is the most important. It is for this purpose that each and every reading begins with a prayer.
This being said, and emphasizing that there are no wrong beginning, there are however many ways to practice Voodoo in wrong ways! Here are a few examples:
- More must be better! A client may have had spiritual work done by someone, only to hire a second person to do more. First off, all spiritual work is not equal! Secondly Spiritual Houses do not all work
with the same Lwa or Orisha and working with several Temples at once may bring great conflict to a situation. It's a little bit like cooking: If you start to cook an Italian dinner, you may not half-way through decide to have Chinese and just add those ingredients into the pot or you'll certainly end up with something you can't eat at all! I've also seen beginner practitioners with giant altars, all piled up with
items, willy-nilly, in every which way and order. Definite chaos in one's life here. Working with ALL the Spirits you've ever heard of is a sure way to confusion.
- Lack of faith or staying power: Here I can only repeat what Blessed Mother Theresa said, "We have to do the utmost, try to do everything we can, but remember that all is in His Hands". When doubts enter the mind, they soon travel to the heart and they are the chief reason why spiritual work may not yield the intended results. Staying power is keeping up with the necessary faith, not giving it 3 days or a week but
understanding that the Lwa and Orisha are not bound by our earthly time constraints. Some results may indeed be lightning fast but some may come more slowly or through process and in tiny steps We must stay focused and full of faith. Miracles do happen and it is for us to believe in miracles. I have been blessed to see many miracles in my life. Some we only see in retrospect, in hindsight. It is good to be grateful for our blessings, past, present and future.
- It's all made up stuff and we can make it up as we go along. Or mix up all sorts of traditions (witchcraft, Egyptian magic..) and call it voodoo. Not exactly - this will surely results in loads of confusion and chaotic energy. Voodoo is a very old established tradition (thousands of years old) that was later (the last 4 centuries) infused with Catholicism. It is not a heathen practice neither does it have to do with demons, sorcery or hermetic magic of various sorts. Some may be valid traditions in their own right but a hodgepodge of things does not make voodoo. The practice and the rituals can be very exacting and require a lot of time to learn, a lot of practice and experience.
Let me explain further about what it actually is, this practice! Well it is many things, but not a mishmash!
There are various traditions of Voodoo, such as Haitien Voodoo, New Orleans Voodoo, Santeria, Candomble, Yoruba, Palo Mayombe, Obeah.. each practice is associated with specific country or locale, and has a history of its own, how it developed, where it originated, how it has been changed, influenced and modified.
I lived in New Orleans for over 30 years, I still live nearby, so the Spirits of the tradition of New Orleans Voodoo were both the most accessible to me and the most logical to communicate with. They live here, they inhabit the land, the waters, the forests and swamps, they are all around. Very close. They speak very loudly.
When one is apprenticing, they practice with the Spirits of the mother house, the spiritual house or temple they are attached to. When they are initiated, they receive sanctified objects who hold Spiritual Entities within. These objects are created just for that person, with a unique name, song, attributes, offerings..
I have made several such Spirits for apprentices over the years, they are children of my own Spiritual House and its Spirits - they are generally kind and generous. I am a kind and generous person, generally. There is a parallel here, yet they are also part and parcel of all the complexities of the greater Voodoo Spirits. I only wish for the person who receive to learn and practice and develop the unique bond they seek so their doors may open, onto what? I do not know, it is of their own choosing, of their own karma and of their unique destiny.
Another aspect of the practice of Voodoo where I encounter a lot of difficulties and misunderstandings is that the Spirits have relationships with each other (and those relationships differ within each own
traditions). This is often grossly overlooked. And one must learn, study and come to understand those relationships to proceed. The understanding of the relationships between them is what determines the various rules of Voodoo These rules are not arbitrarily made up by some exacting priest or priestess, they are entirely derived from knowing the relationships between the various Spirits, the contents of the mythology and the commentaries or purports one may derive from those. So much so that some rules may be observed differently from one temple to another. Yet always within the boundaries of more general rules of conduct that have been determined by the known relationships between the Spirits.
This is what allows different priests and priestesses to come together if necessary and all participate in a ritual and understand and follow what each is doing although they may in fact be individually acting slightly differently.
So the practice of Voodoo is not a hodgepodge, an everything-goes willy-nilly and hope for the best. We are working with entities who are far greater than ourselves, are immensely, infinitely diverse and inhabit a parallel universe. With them, we build trust and within we build confidence.
We must have knowledge, understanding, intuition and experience. It's difficult, it's exacting and yet it's somewhat unpredictable too.. we are dealing with spiritual beings in a separate universe to ours, one that is often tangent to ours, that is 'here' too but not accessible by our five limited senses only. There must be some heart and soul added in there.
The drums and the dance are the language that best speaks and hears the Orisha. The work at the altar is another bridge, another power of translation.
I have some of my own rules too, which apply to my Spiritual House and which I believe should be equally followed by others if they want to maintain authenticity in their practice, and work through my Temple and its Spirits.
- I always require a reading before any spiritual work is undertaken. Period. I will not take on any ritual work without a prior reading with the client (in person, by phone or mail). I must see through the reading
what the Spirits point towards and what is allowable and what is not.
- Every reading begins with a prayer.
- Initiations (receiving a Spirit of your own) do not happen without an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship entails several readings, learning a form of divination, learning about plants/herbs and undergoing several
ceremonies. Apprenticeship may take up to 3 years. You simply do not come in and say "I want to receive so and so..." and if you tell me "I know all about such and such Spirit," then I know you know nothing, not the first beginning of the first order. Because one of the determining factor in Voodoo is that after many many years of experience, it begins to dawn on you that you are just at the beginning..
I spend a lot of time in meditation, withdrawn or quasi withdrawn from the world, either in the temple room or in the gardens, at the outdoor shrines, altars and groves. I chant every day. I spend a lot of time
reflecting on the relationship between the Orisha and even now, after 40 years I still have revelations, epiphanies and discoveries. I am grateful for those, they often coincide with some movement forward I must make either in my own practice, with some practical project (such as redoing an altar, altering an existing site in the gardens) or with some ritual work I am endeavoring to do for a client.
The rules of a Voodoo practice generally involve colors, numbers, days of the week, specific plants, flowers, herbs, drum rhythms, dance rhythms, chants, songs and invocations, and knowing the relationships of Spirits among themselves. All those learnt and practiced then sifted again and again through the filter of one's intuition, one's relationship with one's Spirits and at the discretions of those Spirits. Voodoo is a science and an art both. Color therapy, numerology, aroma therapy, dance therapy,
energy work, are all things known to Voodoo from centuries past but only now brought out with new age names and marketing.
I myself dress in colors according to the days of the week, the days corresponding to the Orisha. I wear certain stones and gems according to those correspondences as well. I have personal rules of conduct, given to me by my own Orisha. My life has a singular rhythm determined by them.
I've conducted rituals for clients who came to the Temple and I was absolutely quiet throughout, while for others the words came out of my mouth in a flow of poetry - often in French- that just rolled off the tongue and flowed on and on like a river... I have done ritual work and prayer services for hundred of clients, long distance, in my own Temple room. Some are slow, quiet, and peaceful. Some are quite disorganized, nothing wanting to go right at the get go, but end with a very optimistic feeling that all will be well, yet others are requiring much loud drumming and chanting and calling out and maybe even laughter and shouts! Nothing is ever the same...
So all that learning and practice and experience and still it's all moveable and intangible and unpredictable. I've often said that once a ritual begins, I know immediately what energy it will have. That's from experience. I am also able to continue to "conduct' the ritual and keep it flowing while accepting the variations that come into the fluidity of the whole. Again that comes from both knowledge, practice and experience. I'm able to focus and remain aware of the variations within a service and how they fit within the whole, what they augur both for the ceremony itself, its outcome, the possible future. That's knowledge, practice and experience.
No, there is no hodgepodge, willy-nilly, anything goes. But Voodoo remains indefinable in words, untrammeled by our earthly boundaries. The Spirits rule and we are only too lucky to spend a moment in space/time with them.
I once said that I love the Orisha, that they are like Angels..
I also read that the Australian Aborigines tell that long long ago, when our world (universe) was just forming, great great "beings' lived who then left as the world cooled and took its present shape, yet some of their energies stayed behind, in sacred places and spaces and could manifest again, at times, through a living plant, animal, tree, rock..The Dreamtime which they are able to experience through ritual. I had such a jolt in my heart for I recognized my own Orisha - when I am in communion with them, I am in Dreamtime, another space-time and yet I am very much of this world. The world begins to speak then, but what it expresses is not quite of this world. It feels like a great great blessing. It's a mystical time.
The Magician transforms the world to put himself in the center, but the Mystic transforms himself so he may become the center. The Voodoo priest/priestess learns to act as the magician and becomes a
There's a natural mystic blowing through the air; If you listen carefully now you will hear. Bob Marley.
2015 - YEAR OF THE GOAT
In the 8th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Goat or Sheep emphasizes and encourages such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and tranquility, also playfulness. Goats are social animals who live in a pack but can also be quite comfortable alone to ruminate, explore new territories (not too far from the pack) and bask in the sunshine. Similarly influences under the sign of the Goat can lead us to ponder and meditate, seek a stable family group or community and become ourselves a great asset to our group in return. In the year of the goat, we may enjoy being part of a group, but may prefer to remain at the periphery of a party rather than be the center of attention. We may not feel exactly timid or shy but it will be a good year to practice being reserved, discreet and quiet. This year may lead us to contentment or a quieter sort, when we find ourselves spending a great deal of time absorbed in inner thoughts and considerations.
A good year for reflection.
Alone but not lonely is what we may describe our future year best and most likely in and around our own home; our primary dwelling turning out to be our most secure and favorite place. Yet this will also be a year when, under the influence of the Goat, we may excel in personal expression. We may find ourselves attracted to other artists, cooks, poets, writers, musicians, inventors etc, sharing our talents and inspiration with them. But most likely we will not want to travel far to seek those like-minded companions, only through our ideas and dreams we may travel without limitations. In 2015 we may prefer to live simply and will shun artificiality and luxury. Yet we will enjoy group activities as well, particularly if it is an excuse to show off our unique creative style, to mingle with like-minded people and to receive inspiration for further thoughts and artistic endeavors of our own. A year to feel and be grounded while exploring the limitless expanses within.
Therefore the Year of the Goat - 2015 - should be a fine year for reflection, meditation, solitude and artistic expression as well as one for renewed commitment to one's community and worthy goals. It can be the perfect time to seek out like-minded people, to share inspiration and lively discussions. The Year of the Goat will be a great year to simplify your life and your environment, while choosing what truly matters to you as well as what represents the unique you.
At home 2015 should be a year to reflect, rearrange your office or studio, clear out any useless clutter, redefine your style in decor and wardrobe. You may also want to do the same in the kitchen, clearing out unnecessary clutter and setting up a more streamlined and creative approach to your culinary experience.
Goats like to eat! They ruminate, taking extra time to enjoy their fodder, so similarly we should enjoy the abundance of Nature for us, but Goats also eat simple foodstuff and we should think about that and simplify our diet. Pure and simple. Eating slowly, enjoying the products, abundance and variety of nature.
2015 should be a year to seek out what truly defines you and formulate better goals to express your unique strengths. Streamline your goals and projects, putting more importance on those that are truly in your heart.
Goats are very protective and attentive to their kids, protecting them and shepherding them through mountain passes and valleys. Similarly the influence of the year of the Goat can help us to best nurture our children or grand children with great emphasis on their unique abilities and talents.
The Year of the Goat, if well managed by the individual, choosing wise occupation and a natural flow and balance of rest, meditation and relaxation periods, with time spent creatively should be one of good
strong health. Good nourishing simple foods will help with strength, stamina, the immune system and good mental balance.
Serenity is the new tendency this year. Calm, tranquility and harmony should rule the days.
Unusual stresses, grievous situations and sudden dramas if not wisely avoided, will invariably lead to physical ailments and disease. Avoid excitement and feeding into any sudden dramas. Stay close to the support group when threaten rather than rush into battle, verbally or otherwise.
Goats are both private and social animals. So once again we should balance our alone time with carefully chosen social events, those that matter to us with people we genuinely like and care about and that we have common interests with.
Goats are grazing animals so in career the sign of the Goat is one that will follow a path but sometimes discover a new avenue or line of inquiry if this promises some good rewards or retribution. One should be careful not to fall prey to the old "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" mistake. This is where the group influence of the family or community can help. Staying close to the pack and hearing others' advice with wise discrimination will help one avoid pitfalls and dangers.Similarly in the work place, power and ambition should not be the driving factor this year in order to achieve good results. Steady continuation on the path while focusing on oneself and the community at large will bring better rewards. No sprinting to the finish line, no beating the other guy to the punch. Slow and steady should be the motto for the New Year.
In a similar vein we notice that the astrological forecast for 2015, the Year of the Wood Goat promises us a more auspicious period and less chaos in the world. Providing people remain calm and on cue with their goals, balancing the needs of their communities and countries with their own selves, we should see progress both socially and economically. Yet because the Wood Goat favors planning, goals and a dogged attitude towards advancing to these goals, this is also crucial year that will impart the further future. Each one of us should strive for this balance and act reasonably and peacefully in order to create an atmosphere that is conducive for world leaders to also take on wiser and calmer attitudes. The group can signal to the individual what is right and what is to be avoided the same way grazing animals may wander about freely yet stay alert to the signals of each and all for the welfare of the entire group.
We each have a part to play in the whole of humanity staying peaceful and safe from planetary strife and conflicts.
The Chinese New Year, Year of the Wood Goat 2015 will begin on February 19 and ends on February 7, 2016. It is a year which will favor economic growth, stabilization of economies and progress between nations. It can be compared to the period of the year when summer is nearing its end and the people are looking forward to the harvest and the bounty of Nature (the 8th period in the cycle of 12). It is a time of comfortable warmth and well-being when one can enjoy the outdoors and nourish oneself from the fruits of the trees and plants. The hard work of those who harvest and secure the crops is what ensures the community will thrive during the leaner months. Similarly we should strive to exert ourselves in a measured and steady pattern to bring out the abundance we will need for ourselves and our families and communities in the future.
Steady and diligent effort bring prosperity - Abundance is in the sharing. Both of these sayings apply very well to the Year of the Wood Goat.
THE LETTER OF THE YEAR - 2015
This year is blessed by Obatala, supported and assisted by Yemaya. A white goat is sacred to Obatala so is the dove of peace. Under the sign of Obatala one must strive to conduct ourselves morally, in all areas of life. We must exercise calm, fairness, peace and temperance. One may learn to see all others as one's own children and be benevolent and merciful towards them. Those with afflictions and impediments are especially dear to Obatala.
We are all God's children. Under the sign of the great Divine Mother Yemaya, we learn to trust in
miracles and to see the miracles of life emerging all around us at every moment. Each breath we take reminds us of the cresting and falling of the waves in the ocean. Yemaya teaches us compassion for all and if we remind ourselves that at some time every single sentient being has been our own mother and has sacrificed so that we may live, then we give respect, patience and compassion to all sentient beings in turn.
Under the signs of Obatala and Yemaya, we may uncover a very abundant world around us but it will depend not on how wide we open our eyes, but on how far we open the doors of our hearts.
Tolerance, Temperance and Peace are the ruling qualities from Obatala. Compassion and Bountiful Love are the gifts from Yemaya.
THE COLOR OF THE YEAR - 2015 - WINE & WOODROSE
This year the color of the year was announced to be Marsala - a deep woodsy-pinkish red. Of course it immediately brings up images of the various wine colors and we think of bordeaux, burgundy and all those other shades. But the actual yearly color is also known as Wood Rose. Marsala is a wine that is produced in Italy so our new color is indeed a shade of wine but let us think of a golden brown mixed with deep rose. An infusion of the rich sunlight into the brown-pink liquid. Wood Rose has definite golden elements mixed with deep rose. An earthy tone reminiscent of the sun-baked hills of southern Italy.
Being a rather old fashioned color, this will be a great year to indulge in your love of all that is vintage! This is a woodsy and earthy color, quite in tune with the Wood Goat that corresponds. Wood Rose is a warm (and warming) color that entices others to share with us yet is soothing and comforting to the individual alone. A deeper shade of brown-red is none other than Puce, that wonderful deep color brought to fashionable heights by Marie Antoinette.
Choose this earthy color to re-do your decor or wardrobe. This will help you with grounding and solitary thinking, with establishing goals and projects as well as setting time lines and following up on those with calm and dedication. Yet it will keep you from becoming too distant from others and will encourage social gathering. This color sets a welcoming tone to your environment and your personal space.
Wood Rose can also be used in make-up and hair color. Golden-rose hues to be used as eye-shadow and blush, a light wine lipstick infused with a wood or earthy tone is also quite attractive for this year. Hair color could include dark blondes and light browns infused with warm rose highlights. Again the sunlight of Italy is seen through the darker shades of hair and skin.
This color indicates to us that there should be no brashness in our choices this year, we should proceed slowly, in measured steps, in comfort and with care for ourselves and others. Fabrics chosen would include wool, silks, and wood-derived fabrics such as bamboo-rayon. All natural fabrics and environments should be preferred to the jarring effects of plastics and metals. Rich brocades and jacquard fabrics in wood-rose, wines and puce colors will blend well with wood elements and bamboo.
A good year to return to wood, its smell, pliability, reliability and abundance. And excellent year to re-design and plant your garden, with an abundance of rich foliage, variegated foliages and deep woodsy and rosy hued flowers.
IDEAS MATTER - WHEN YOU TAKE A STANCE ON SOMETHING, YOU SHOULD ALSO
CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS, FOR YOURSELF AND FOR THE WORLD - GRACE LEE.
WHAT ST JOHN'S EVE GAVE ME - 2014 - RECIPES FOR A RITUAL
Well, those were some grand rituals once again! In this year of the Horse! But first let's begin a week before St John's. On that week-end I finished two sculptures that had sitting in my studio forever or so it seemed. I thought, well it's now or they go on the burn pile for the Solstice Gypsy fire! Well lo and behold they finished themselves rightly and got hung under the breezeway to greet and welcome guests, Ancesstors' Spirits that they are! See them at www.loupgarouroad.com/mixedmedia.html Pieces are called: Swamp Ancestors & Guardian Spirit.
We always say the Ancestors come first. And so they did. ON the Solstice, June 21st, the sun rose high into the sky to claim its place on this first day of summer - the longest day of the year. There was a big Gypsy fire sacrifice/ritual at dusk and the smoke rose into the setting sun, taking with it all our wishes and prayers.
On the 22nd, Sunday, a public ritual and gathering of souls took place in early evening since St John's eve fell on a Monday this year and not so many people would have come on Monday. I also always prefer to do the more serious and secret prayers and offerings by myself - to hold a personal conversation with my Spirits on Their special day!
So on sunday a group of people came and there was a delicious feast with a serious Caribbean flair! I had cooked up a storm, with serious help from my great-grandson (4 years old) and several friends brought dishes as well and delicious drinks, wild huckleberry tea, mint tea, Cotes du Rhone wine, Queen Marie's favorite of course! There were offerings of poetry and song and the heat was on! Drumming and chants followed in the evening with proper offerings to the Ancestors and
the Spirits. But even before that, I must say that Mother Nature had given us right gifts: rose bushes had bloomed, white, yellow, red and coral roses abounded. Also the Tiget Lillies readily exploded on the solstice, just in time to greet the sun and so did the sunflowers! The prize went to the Echinacea with its magenta blooms that just last and last.. I'm about to
re-steep my echinacea tincture, come winter time I'll be ready with my sure antidote to all that might ails me.
White roses were placed on Obatalas' altar while Queen Marie received Her favorite red ones and Oshun the yellow and coral ones. But the best gifts were definitely on sunday: My friend (and personal attorney) arrived in the afternoon bearing the best and most appropriate gift ever! He had been delayed because he twice diverted his car on the highway, making no less than four U-turns to save two large turtles from the rushing traffic. One was so big that he could only put it in the adjacent marshes but the medium size one he brought over to be released near the Legba/Ogu shelter. It was a very beautiful box turtle with an amazing gold 'checkmark" design on each scale of its back. Just pretty as can be.
The turtle is sacred to both Chango and Yemaya, Queen Marie's ruling Orisha, so it was obvious that She was pleased with the gathering and gifts in Her honor. And just to re-affirm this, a strong storm suddenly appeared from the west, lightning and thunder and sheets of rain, passing just overhead and cooling everything and everyone with the most delightful
breezes! Ah, the pleasures of summer in Louisiana were upon us again. Fragrant flowers, delicious multi-cultural foods, living gifts from the marsh, sun drenched afternoons followed by cooling breezes of a sudden evening storm. The Spirits were pleased and all around us.
Apart from the sculptures, Swamp Spirits & Guardian Spirit, I received a lot of inspiration this St John's Eve.
Inspiration, Guidance, Direction! Just what I had prayed for. I have been blessed with inspiration for more paintings and sculptures to be done over the summer months, Spirits willing. I have also been inspired to delve further into the Gypsy rituals and spells.. The year of the Horse definitely transforming itself into the year of the Gypsy.
I have been compelled to play a lot of Gypsy music (well, the CD player does) and I am being told to do some Gypsy dances... I am just now refurbishing some Gypsy skirts and tops so I'll have no less than three outfits. Well, I could not have asked for mo' bettah (as they say down here), Fire ritual, Gypsy music, Painting and Dancing, Drums & Chants! Good friends and allies in the wings!
Quite a summer to look forward to..Thank you Orisha, Thank you Queen Marie!
RECIPES OF CARIBBEAN STYLE DISHES FOR ST JOHN'S EVE:
CARIBBEAN STYLE BLACK BEANS: I use a very big slow cooker but you can use
a large heavy pot if you soak the beans overnight. Wash a large bag of dry
black beans. Saute a large red onion, 6 sweet red and Gypsy peppers, some
ginger, cumin, mustard seeds, in olive oil until soft. Optional: add some
hot red peppers if you like it spicy. Add the beans and coat with the oil
and sautéed mixture. Transfer to the crockpot and add water (8-10 cups).
Add salt. Let cook until very very tender (may take 8 hours or more in
the crockpot, at least 2 hours for soaked beans in a regular pot). When
the beans are very tender, turn off the heat and stir in a whole cup of
plain yogurt. Serve with rice.
CARIBBEAN RICE & SWEET POTATO: Shred 1/2 to a whole sweet potato. Add to raw Jasmine rice in a heavy saucepan. Cover with cold water (should look like twice the water to rice). Add salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until cooked (about 15-20 minutes). Add butter and salt to taste. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. The color is amazing.
CARIBBEAN STYLE TOFU CEVICHE: You can use a pound of raw firm tofu simply cubed and well drained, but I prefer to lightly sauté the tofu first. It is important to drain the tofu and squeeze the water out with paper towels. Then it can be cubed and well coated in powdered ginger and sautéed in some very hot olive oil. Saute quickly until all sides are slightly browned.
In a large bowl, add one chopped red onion, 6 sweet red, yellow and orange Gypsy peppers thinly sliced, 2 mangos cubed and the cubed tofu. Grate a large piece of ginger and add to the mixture. Add a little salt. Cover with lime juice, stir gently with a wooden spoon, cover with a lid and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours. About one hour before serving, drain
the lime juice and add about a half-can of unsweetened coconut milk. Stir gently. Adjust salt to taste. Delicious!
These were the mainstay dishes served on St John's Eve, with the addition of a loaf of home baked whole wheat & yogurt bread. Try them you'll like them!!
Dessert were some French fruit tarts from La Boulangerie in New Orleans!
OF VOODOO TITLES : MAMBO, QUEEN OR MARABOUT
At the gathering preceding St Johns' Eve I felt compelled to read a poem I had written a very long time ago for my very good friend from Gambia. Bolong and I met in 1980-1982. He drummed for me at a couple of poetry readings in Paris. One day he introduced me to a small group of African healers. I explained about my Sufi studies and my involvement with the Voodoo Spirits as well as my continued practice with the Tarot After our lively discussion and a shared ritual, they declared me "La Marabout".
I saw Bolong again in 1987 when we met in Copenhagen where he had moved to. I believe that is when I re-wrote the poem for and about him. Bolong had arranged for me to visit Isaak Denisen's tomb by having his landlord drive me there. I made offerings to this esteemed Ancestor.
So I am often asked what is the proper title to address me by: Am I a mambo, a reverend, a priestess, a queen of voodoo?? I definitely do not take on the name Mambo which I associate with Haitien Voodoo. I am a reverend and a priestess since I was both ordained and fully initiated by a church and a bona fide spiritual temple respectively. Some clients call me Mother which is also quite acceptable. I definitely shun the term Queen which is reserved for deceased priestesses who have
left their mark on the community and continue to help us and guide us in the Spirit, such as Queen Marie Laveau.
But in my heart at least, I remember my African friends naming me La Marabout. It just fits so well.. I live frugally from the donations I receive for my custom-made products and services, my practice is essentially ecumenical incorporating prayers from many traditions: Gypsy, Sufi, Hindu, Sikh, Native American, Christian, and the old African traditions and I have practiced divination like..forever! I am quite the hermit in my gardens and cottage, working alone in my studio, praying in my temple and spend days in meditation and thought or study. La Marabout is a title that fits me quite well.
I also love birds most in all of God's creation.
2014 - YEAR OF THE HORSE
Quite a few people are looking forward to this new year with a feeling of renewed hope and optimism. Under the sign of the Horse according to Chinese astrology, this year should be excellent for all projects involving ambition, creativity and imagination. Of course there will be obstacles and difficulties in everyone's path. There are risks such as if one gets carried away with ambition and does not prepare adequately for the road ahead. One should plan carefully, make wise choices and not run amok of all rules and common sense since this could bring on negative results. Yet it is also a year where many victories can be obtained by measuring carefully one's option, deliberating one's goals and using wisely the tools and options available. One should look at the Horse as an example of drive, courage, and aptitude in a variety of circumstances.
The Year of the Horse is also traditionally associated with community, creativity, sensitivity, courage and victory. We should display great creativity and optimism in accomplishing our goals. But the horse also displays a certain unbridled wildness, an unpredictability that can lead them to unfortunate accidents or to the wrong path. The horse is a beautiful courageous and sensitive animal that has been man's ally and helper for thousands of years. Even as the Horse denotes freedom and vitality, speed and individuality, we are also reminded that horses live in herds. Community counts.
Horses gave hunters and warriors the ability to go faster, to change course quickly to avoid dangers or to gain a sudden advantage. In the teamwork presented by the horse and his rider, we see the unity of pure energy, strength and physical courage with the riders' cool assessment of any situation and wise choice of direction and a safe path. In the year of the Horse we must remember to let our Spirit run free and strong like the horse but always use our mind wisely to direct our energy and rein in our spirit if necessary. It will be our aim to set right goals, to properly choose the time for speed and the time for rest, the time for action and the time for compliance.
In Voodoo, this year is dedicated to OSHUN: the Spirit /Goddess of Love, Sensuality, Sexuality, Movement, Dance, Adventure, Creativity, the Arts and most of all Abundance and Charity. A year dedicated to Oshun should be a perfect one to increase our creativity, to magnify beauty in ourselves and our surroundings, to amass great abundance but always in the spirit of sharing, not of greed. Oshun has many wonderful teaching stories of selflessness and it is in part because of Her constant willingness to give of herself that She has become the most beloved of all Orisha. Among Her peers, the other Orisha as well as among people She is adored and revered for her giving ways, as well as for Her beauty and grace.
Oshun certainly can give us great opportunities to enlarge and enrich our emotional and spiritual lives during the course of the year. But we should always refrain from selfish motives and make sure that we think of others, their well-being, their feelings and their needs. Our communities and families should be in our thoughts and our actions should reflect our care for them. In all areas of relationships Oshun can help us and assist us.
We can strive for Joy and Love. We should strive to realize all our goals involving the arts, creativity, prosperity, and community. Oshun is the spirit of all the sweet waters of the world. She has many
aspects that span idyllic beauty such as that of a clear mountain spring falling into a spectacular waterfall to that of scavenger and cleanser of soiled stagnant waters. We must learn to see Her in all of Her aspects. She has been synchronized as La Caridad del Cobre (Lady of Charity), and is the patron saint of Cuba. She is best known and loved for her powers of love, prosperity, abundance, beauty and the Arts. She also can heal us with Her waters. And there are other Orisha who can only be attained through Her benevolence and beneficence.
Without Oshun life would be bland and without excitement, without beauty, without inspiration and without emotions. Life would become a tasteless humdrum repeating itself endlessly without joy. Oshun is also the owner and mistress of the Dance (of all dance!). If our goal this year is to become more physically fit, in keeping with the physicality and beauty of the Horse, dance should be our first choice. There are many choices for a person to exercise through dance: belly dance (certainly a great choice to celebrate one's sensuality), modern dance (expressiveness), ballroom dance (precision and grace, agility and partnership), ballet (again physicality and grace), African dance (rhythmic and expressive) etc..etc.. Choose what fits you best or what makes your heart dance and offer your dancing to Oshun. She'll reward you with beauty and healing.
Returning to the Year of the Horse, we are reminded that the horse is sacred to Chango! So between the influences of Oshun and Chango,we can indeed expect great things to come to us in 2014 and we should be very optimistic and hopeful for ourselves. But we should also expect ourselves to do our best, to make
the wisest choices possible and to demand of ourselves that we give our utmost for others. To be our most beautiful, inside and outside, to be our most discerning, to be our most lovable towards others and to attract the most love to ourselves, to give the most and to receive the most and finally to be at our most creative in all areas of our lives. That would surely be a fitting commitment to Oshun and Chango.
In relationships the year of the Horse coupled with the influence of Oshun can be a year of great passion and excitement. The horse is sacred to Chango who favors Oshun most of all and is irresistibly drawn to Her at all times. Chango and Oshun represent the inevitable romance and passion of true loves throughout the ages. In work, business and financial matters the year of the Horse and the influence of Chango and Oshun can bring us great rewards and victories. With the right choices and proper pacing we can achieve all our goals. With careful choices we can become truly passionate about what we believe
and what we do. We can achieve great height of accomplishments. In all areas our actions must reflect wisdom as well as courage and true passion.
Finally both Chango and Oshun are totally involved with the community. This year, as creative as we choose it to be, should be the year of sharing with all around us. One of my favorite saying is: Abundance is in the Sharing. In this year of the Horse, dedicated to Oshun and Chango, we should make this our personal mantra and make sure we view and realize each goal in the light of these words.
COLORS OF THE YEAR OF THE HORSE:
This year is the YEAR OF THE GREEN HORSE (Yang/ Wood): The yang energy is masculine, expressive and outward. Green should speak to our love and care for all Nature. The element associated with the Green Horse is wood. This will be a spectacular year to work in the garden, plant trees, harvest greens and partake of green foods. Conservation of ALL natural resources should be viewed as benefitting the entire community. A community garden would be a wonderful project and resource for anyone to get involved in. Wearing clothes in shades of green can compliment brown and gray which are reminiscent of wood.
The Horse is beautiful and extravagant (yang energy) so we should feel free to be noticed for our clothing and our style. Both men and women can definitely show off their style with accessories and jewelry in wood and green stones. Wooden beads and bangles can be worn. Wonderful stones to wear or display around your home are: green garnet, peridot, prehnite, or if you can afford them green tourmaline and emerald!
Another color for this year will be Magenta, a deep red hinting of purple. A deep Fuchsia, named for the fuchsia plant which was the inspiration for the fuchsine dye crated in 1859, the same year as the battle of Magenta (Italy). Magenta represents artistic and creative energies. It is an outwardly striking color that calls to be noticed. Red is one of Chango's colors and there is no prettier than magenta red to cover or decorate Chango's altar. It is a regal color befitting the kingly aspect of Chango. Fuchsia is also a shade of red favored by Oshun. In Her healing aspect as Our Lady of Lavang She is seen cloaked in a beautiful magenta cape over Her linen dress.
The colors magenta and green are absolutely complementary in the color chart. Finally, the color magenta is used to symbolize anti-racism by the Amsterdam-based anti-racism Magenta Foundation. How more fitting can this be?
The year of the Horse is our year to celebrate personal commitment to creativity, hard work, courage and charity. It is our year to immerse ourselves into the wellness of our Earth community. It is the time to work hard to sustain the Earth for all and to celebrate Earth's living beauty.
Other Suggestions for 2014: Decorate your house with photos or paintings of horses! Wear Magenta and Green colors. Hang tapestries of horses, hang curtains or draperies in magenta and green colors. Chango's element is fire - wood feeds fire! A year to celebrate ALL Gypsies and the Gypsy in YOU! Enjoy outdoor fires and dance around the fire. Partake of a Gypsy reading and a Gypsy spell cast for you! Order a Gypsy kit to do your own Spell Casting!
THE YEAR OF THE HORSE 2014 Begins on January 31st. It is of course the time of the New Moon so make Wise Resolutions and enjoy the Dragon Dances most of all!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ORISHA OSHUN?
Go to the History & Voodoo page and click at the top to access 'How the Orisha came to the New World". One of the many delightful stories of Oshun!
2013 - FORTY YEARS IN LOUISIANA - A LOVE STORY
2013 - This year I celebrate my fortieth year in Louisiana! I first came to New Orleans while traveling by car with a folk musician friend who had brought his 12-string guitar along. We had first planned on traveling to Atlanta but whatever it was we were looking for, we didn't find it there. After a day and a half in Atlanta we decided we might as well push on through the deep south and visit New Orleans, The Queen of the South.
The weather was clear and balmy. I had an enormous station wagon (gas was 28 cents a gallon in New York!) and we picked up every hitch-hiker we saw and drove like mad, all windows rolled down and Janis Joplin blaring on the radio "Me and Bobby McGee". It was a glorious journey and we were young. When we crossed Lake Pontchartrain I remember thinking how wonderful all this water around a city! It was October, the best weather month in New Orleans and obviously I had no knowledge of hurricanes, torrential rains, broken levees and deadly floods. All this would come later, much later. What I saw were vast expanses of water, of marsh lands, palm trees and warm sun in a luminous blue sky.
We arrived into the French Quarter which we assumed was the whole of New Orleans, a torrential rain broke out and soaked us from head to toe through and through and we laughed and took off our shoes to better run through the water. We booked a room in the heart of the French Quarter right behind St. Louis cathedral and I promptly fell in love with the city there and then. For the next week we spent every night listening to jazz and blues and all day walking barefoot around Jackson Square and the streets of the French Quarter to the French Market and back. We had no money to spend but it didn't matter since the sights and sounds of the streets were free!
New Orleans was like a lovely old courtesan, her dress a bit worn and tattered, patched up and slightly soiled here and there, but a delightful inviting hostess just the same in her welcoming and charming manners. People spoke to us in the street, welcoming us and asking where we were from! We were stunned. In the cold north, people passed you by without a glance, here they looked at you and smiled and welcomed you. "Where y'at?" they called to us (where you at= how are you). "Baby" and "Honey" is what they called us; it was the beginning for me of Southern Speak, something which I have now nearly mastered.
After a week we returned north following Route 90 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama, one beautiful white sandy beach following another as they were then, without any casinos to spoil the landscape and pollute the waters. And no oil spills. I was enthralled with those long beaches so close by, the warm waters. Then we crossed through Florida to Jacksonville and up the coast to Savannah Georgia, another southern queen, before returning to the cold of New York. As soon as I arrived home I said, 'I'm moving to New Orleans" and I did.
When I first settled in the Crescent City a few months later I had a feeling of being home for the first time in my life. Of belonging. Of having come home. It felt right - I finally felt in balance with nature
and the life around me, even if life itself was often very hard trying to eke a living for myself and my children in a depressed southern economy. As early as 1974 I had a pet king snake and soon became the snake lady of Willow street. A boa constrictor came and got loose and disappeared into the wall. My son was sent out to warn the neighbors (it was harmless but we wanted it back). Then a young couple brought me a couple of water snakes they had caught and put in a pillow case. "Take them to the snake lady" someone had told them. I temporarily housed them into a big wicker trunk by my bed placing books on top. I awoke the next morning with 2 snake heads over my face trying to bite my nose. They hadn't gotten completely out but were well on their way.
Our backyard was a jungle which we hacked back with a machete. Snakes, syncopated rhythms and luxuriant vegetation were all around and grabbing my senses and my life. A friend had given me a copy of Queen Marie's death certificate and had told me "you'll want to see this", then another friend gave me a copy of the 6th and 7th book of Moses and said "you'll want to read this". I wasn't sure why but I did. And I was dancing, writing, studying, working and widening my circle of artist friends and interests. Drums began to appear about the same time as the snakes.
New Orleans music, its syncopated rhythms and the black Indians' chants, whistles and bells were ever present. I was also working with the Spirits of plants and herbs, reading Tarot and studying (massage, midwifery, yoga, Reiki). Those were very strange things at the time. Yoga was often thought to be an alien religion, something un-Christian. Little by little the city of New Orleans was teaching me all that I needed to know and its Spirits fed me and enlivened me and guided me, no matter how hard the times were. It led me inexorably onto the path of Voodoo. Only I didn't quite know it then. Or I did but I didn't.
By 1978 I was apprenticing with a renowned Obeah man. What I remember most of that early period living in the Pearl of the South was the luxuriant gardens, riding the street car, bicycling and walking everywhere in the city. Everywhere! In many ways it was a lot safer then than it is now. A more gentle city, less touristy and more real. People worked, struggled and were more compassionate towards each other. It seems that every afternoon in the summer a storm came, sheets of cool water cascading down from roofs, balconies and galleries, flowing down the sidewalks into the streets. The heat would return rising steam from the hot sidewalks and the evening would settle steamy hot and absolutely still.
The very first Whole Food market was opened four blocks away from our apartment. It was a co-op then and totally vegetarian and all our friends worked there at one time or another. Good organic foods arrived in bulk and we got our share as a member of the co-op. How that has all changed! I remember the early coffee houses: there were poetry readings and acoustic guitar and plays and impromptu performances and artists were welcome and encouraged and nurtured. The Contemporary Arts Center was a huge dilapidated warehouse with volunteers manning the desk at the front door and a huge dance studio on the 3rd floor which one could use for free. Somewhere on that same floor, the floor went missing altogether and you could fall 3 stories below if you made a wrong turn on the way to the bathrooms yet it was the most creative space in the city!
Robert Borsodi came into town and opened his coffee house on Daneel Street, then moved to Freret street(after his untimely death it was named one of the three best coffee houses in the world!). There was a constant flux of ideas, artistic experiments and discussions. The city was bigger in terms of population (since it has shrunk after Katrina) yet it was a much much smaller city in feeling and it was a much gentler and much less commercial city. I often think of those days, how Bob Borsodi accurately saw the change coming and wrote his famous parody of the Four Penny Opera which he titled "A dolla' Opera" and set on Jackson Square. He re-wrote the songs describing the fleecing of the tourists!!! Early 80s! There were a lot of wonderful people living in the city then, odd and eccentric people. Jackson square was filled with artists and many of them lived in the not too well kept Pontalba apartments then. Now those are owned by the city and leased to out-of-towners who are well connected and only come for big festivals and pay exorbitant rents. How sad!
And there were the Voodoos! It was still very much underground then, only the Voodoo Museum existed in the French Quarter, for the tourists. My earliest memory of a great encounter was with Mustapha on the square. I was just sitting there with my Tarot deck when this black man in a dark suit and a huge cape stood in front of me and exclaimed "Ha! here you are!! SHE told me I'd find you here". When I inquired as who She was, who had said what?? He replied, "well, of course my cousin Marie, in the cemetery". He asked me to go with him and we walked to the Museum where he introduced me to Voodoo Charlie. Then Mustapha took the huge ritual drum and began to drum and I began to dance and the rest just began to flow. Mustapha is no longer with us, neither is Orlando, who was the best fire-eater I've ever known, or Oswan who was a Belizean Obeah man or Iya-Ra or Charles. Neither are Borsodi, Big Chief Jolly of the Wild Tchoupitoulas, Professor Long Hair and James Booker, the prodigy pianist who also was my friend.
In 2005, eighteen hundred people lost their lives in the post-Katrina flood. Today I cannot see images of the city in flood without bursting into tears. We all suffer from PTSD. I will always love Louisiana which has grown roots into my heart strong enough to anchor a 3000 year old cypress. I often think of how I will die in Louisiana and come back here if I must, although I would prefer not to come back at all. I know that I lived here before and came back this time and it was a struggle for the best part. Living in Louisiana is often a struggle, one way or the other. And yet, I love its heat and sultry summers, the shimmery black and green waters all around us, the impenetrable magical swamps and forests, the big river, the brown and green bayous, the flat expanses of sugar cane fields under stormy indigo skies, the small wooden shotgun houses painted in bright colors 'a la Creole", and the huge brick and stucco plantation houses, the slave quarters still haunted today with hushed drumbeats and chants and the townhouses with their cool tropical patios, the iron galleries and balconies and the copper drains and fish-head spouts, even the broken sidewalks that ambush you with every step. There are haunted houses and plantations and slave villages, wild weather events and unpredictable natural catastrophes. We have bears, wolves, armadillos, snakes, huge mosquitoes, and even huger cockroaches, frogs by the zillions, and amazingly graceful water birds like egrets and blue herons to eat the frogs, bald eagles and cormorants and foxes and raccoons and possums and pumas and coyotes and alligators and nutria (although they were imported from South America in the 30s and accidentally turned loose when a hurricane destroyed their cages!) and our state bird the brown pelican, and more fish than anyone can count.
In our gardens we grow camellias, and saucer magnolias and rubber trees, sassafras and elderberry, indigo and palms and a myriad beneficent plants and herbs. Our wild forests and swamps are filled with cypress and tupelo and black willow, red maple and pines as well as saw grass and flowering water hyacinth (imported from Japan for the World's Fair of 1884). We love our plantain trees and our giant elephant ears, our live oaks which grow to extraordinary size and which when old enough we appoint a caretaker for and give a name to, properly recorded in a register. We have entire avenues and thousands of gardens lined with azaleas so each early spring a riot of pinks and coral, white and red explodes out. A bit later we all feel heady and readily swoon when the gardenias bloom during the day and the jasmine bushes scent the night. And the sweet olives! OMG.. the French, Spanish and Africans brought us the knowledge of planting scented flowers to diminish the stench of poorly kept streets and no sanitation. To this day we cultivate these blooms in manicured gardens and courtyards.
The Indians taught us about the medicinal plants and all those people learnt to cook together. What came out was the Great Gumbo that is Louisiana. I could go on and on about what I love here and how much I love it all. In the end the best part of it are the Spirits who inhabit it all, and because they have been prayed to, offered to and thanked with gratitude since the beginning. They are very present, ready to be named, called, propitiated and noticed, then They'll readily dance with you. In Louisiana the Spirits are very close to the land, very close to its people, very very close indeed.
Just this past fall I had a dream of my padrino and madrina. They were instructing me on how to open and cleanse the ritual ground for an upcoming wedding. They were reminding me that none of what we do in an authentic ritual is new or invented. None. It is not a hodgepodge of wannabe's " I'll-make-it-up-as-I-go" stuff. What they said to me was, "there was never a year, a month, a week or even a day that the Voodoo rhythms were not heard somewhere on the levee, carried far and wide by the flow of the great river". Somewhere at some time over the last 300 years a drum was beating the Bamboula, the Okwatta or the Yanvalou rhythms and so when we play these rhythms we are in touch with that spiritual truth that breathes, exhales and pulsates through everything in Louisiana.
We become connected with all that has come before. We, like the river, flow by throughout the course of our lives. The river made up of always different water, never seen before water but yet the same river flows eternally without end. We stand on the Ancestors' shoulders for a cosmic instant and then we are gone and others will stand on our shoulders. The drums will go on and carry the voices from the past through the present and into the future. Soon they will carry our own voices. I was drawn and brought to Louisiana to be in the flow. To be my own little drop of energy in the great current of the mighty river. For good or bad, till death do us part, like in a marriage. And as in a marriage it takes work to keep one's life and work happy and healthy and productive. Sometimes I chafe under the load but then I think how blessed I am to be here, to have been drawn to these shores by my Spirits. Truly truly blessed to be in this Louisiana I love so so very much.
As Brooke Shields said in Pretty Baby, filmed in New Orleans:
"I love you once, I love you twice,
I love you more than beans and rice."
(Pretty Baby, film by Louis Malle, ca. 1980 By the way yes, I am also in the movie! You can even see me if you are quick enough, dressed in a purple velvet coat and matching hat, walking behind Ms. Shields as she stands on the sidewalk.)
THE GIFT OF THE TAROT
This year I also celebrate 48 years reading Tarot!! It's amazing to think about it but there it is, my great love affair with the Tarot cards which began when I was 17 and saw the most gorgeous full-size gold-leafed Visconti deck in a shop on the rue des Tuileries in Paris. The Tarot has sustained me, guided me and blessed me through it all. I now have a good collection of Tarot decks which I have read at times and/or still read. I've been known to say that there is no Tarot deck that I cannot read although some I've preferred to let go to friends or family after a while. Among my favorites have been and still are: Rider-Waite, Marseille, Visconti, Ukiyoe, Herbal Tarot, Medicine Woman, Voodoo Tarot, Feng Shui, Secret Language of Birds, Minchiate, Steampunk. The Tarot I am sure brought me to Louisiana and I am just as sure that I will continue to read Tarot until my last days here.
My Spirits which are of this Louisiana land will continue to guide me and protect me and bless me. This is my most fervent prayer. That I may in turn serve Them and obtain blessings for all and for the living Earth, our Mother.
YEAR OF THE SNAKE - 2013
Let us consider the snake: it is very quiet, having no voice and no ears (hearing), yet it perceives everything around, very keenly through its skin, being in contact with both earth and air through its long slender body. The snake can stay motionless for many hours, seemingly waiting or meditating. Yet it may move exceedingly fast, without notice in any direction it chooses. The snake is slender, beautiful, reflecting the light from its many scales, blending perfectly in its environment, patient in its wait for sun/warmth of food/prey.
The year of the snake augurs a year when things seem to go one way but may change rapidly and without warning. The year of the snake may present wonderful opportunity to the individual as to a nation to make a change for the better, to start on a new path and to renew itself the way a snake will emerge with a new skin, seemingly youthful again. Yet, it is advised for all to be very patient, intuitive and careful. Wait for the right time, choose your friends and allies carefully, do not indulge in running to and fro and discussing your plans with many. The snake is patient, intuitive, self-contained and secretive. So should you. In a similar vein, nations should content themselves with their own affairs and make alliance in a most careful manner.
People and their nations should refrain from invading others' territories and from war and fighting. For this, particular attention may be paid to Obatala and Ogun. Obatala should be prayed to for patience, wise counsel, vision and wisdom in all decision-making. Ogun should be prayed to for protection from war and calamities due to human warfare and fighting. Proper care and nourishment of the altars should be very careful and thorough throughout the year, praying to keep a cool head and a cool house.
Fighting and quarreling may be prevalent among friends and among partners, such as business partners as well as partners in marriage. This should be avoided at all cost. Better lie still like the snake and wait for the sun to shine and warm one's bones than to writhe and fight. Lying to others and angering others through unkind words and deeds should be avoided.
Agitation of mind and spirit should be avoided by controlling one's diet and one's association. A simple balanced and wholesome diet that aids digestion and cools the body and spirit is to be encouraged. Strong, alcoholic and pungent drinks are to be avoided. Cool water of pure quality is to be drunk instead. Good quality milk should be given to children. Good association that bring calm and harmony to spirit is to be encouraged. For yourself and for children whom we are entrusted with as parents or guardians. Excitement and unwholesome activities that encourage violence and hyper activity are to be shunned.
Just as the snake prefers the coolness of the forest, so we should avoid the heat, noise and pollution of the city. A cool and calm environment is conducive to augmenting health, tranquility of mind and clarity of vision.
Through meditation one can increase inner peace and intuition. Gossip and endless chattering as well as spying on others through social media or otherwise is very strongly discouraged. One should mind their own business, think for oneself and wisely make one's own decision by listening to one's inner voice. Pray to the Spirits for truth, guidance, protection and peace.
Damballah-Aida Wedo are the God/dess of the Voodoo pantheon and represent the manifestation of the world creation emerging from the refraction of divine light into the colors of the rainbow. From the act of creation all is possible, all emerges new, in perfect balance and forever flowing towards endless harmony. Space-time exist not in a linear fashion but in a spiraling of healing and creative process. Damballah-Aida Wedo are both heard in the absolute silence of empty spaces
and in the inner silence of our stilled mind as well as in the rhythm of the drum. The rhythm to be played this year is the Yanvalu rhythm (after having played the Bamboula and honored the Ancestors).
A short time prior to Halloween 2012 I was reminded in a dream of the drum rhythms: I was told by the Ancestors who came in my dream that the rhythms we play on the drums are not new, not made up but have been heard on the levees of the great river the Mississippi, every day for the last three hundred years. Not one year, one month, one week, one day passed that somewhere along those levees a drum did not sing the bamboula or the yanvalu to be carried in waves down river and across the seas and the winds.. then Halloween came and I passed these words onto the drummers and the guests and then the snake appeared and proceeded to bite us! And so the seal was set to the changes we sought and to the words we spoke.
The SNAKE can leave its mark when the time is right and the words are true. And so we say that the Seal is set with the Sacred Snake.
The year of the snake may not seem to us of grand importance but make no mistake; the decisions we make this year, the new beginnings we seek, the news path we undertake will certainly set the seal. And so it is with each one of us and so it will be for our communities, our nations, our world.
Beware the Year of the Snake.
Be patient, be careful, be discreet, be concise, be still, be cautious, be modest in wants and deeds, be peaceful, be remote and cool, be intuitive and wise. The snake watches, the snake feels and tastes with its tongue, the snake only strikes when necessary, the snake makes no mistake.
The color to wear will be emerald green and all iridescent shades of green and brown, also white. Wear malachite, labradorite and phrenite in addition to some earthy or grounding stones such as tiger eye, jet or onyx. Jade will bring good luck if worn occasionally when the time is right.
A good year to develop intuitive, psychic or mystical qualities. To study divination and to begin a spiritual practice or a meditative or yogic practice. But it must be done in earnest and in absolute personal honesty.
Because the snake is close to nature and its flora and has a strong sense of smell, because it hides in grasses, plants and trees with which it is symbiotically connected, 2013 is an excellent year to delve into herbalism and herbology. In particular delving into Spirit inherent in each plant and its role as an ally. Meditate on SashaHuerva and Her Pet Anaconda (while I was painting Her I became obsessed with bringing an anaconda in the temple!!). SashaH. can be seen on the Voodoo paintings page at www.loupgarouroad.com
Read the 3 volumes by Dale Pendell: Pharmakoghosis, Plant Teachers and the Poison Path, Pharmakodynamis, Stimulating Plants Potions and Herbcraft, Pharmakopoeia, Power Plants Poisons and Herbcraft.
If you read Tarot, a good year to work with Michael Tierra's Herbal Tarot. If you scry an excellent year to work with a green hued crystal ball.
Most of all, look for the inner quality in all, sip of the essence of all and make sacred from the inside out. Be patient, be humble, be still.
Spirits to be propitiated most particularly this year:
Obatala: for patience, wisdom, calm, wisdom
Ogun: for protection from war, fights, quarrels and accidents.
Yemaya: for the essence of life as shared between the Great Mother and the
Snake God/dess creators. For steadfastness, self assurance, strength and
Oshun: for Her affinity with all life and harmony between water, earth,
flora and fauna.
Eleggua: For opening the veils revealing the essence in all, for
synchronicity, for overcoming the pitfalls of duality.
Damballah-Aida Wedo: for the love of all creation.
IN PRAISE OF THE ANCESTORS - IN LOVING MEMORY OF BROTHER IYAH-RA
A few nights ago, in prey to the evils of the flu and sleeping badly and fitfully I had a dream of Ancestors. In the dream Priestess Rose and Priest Joshua were helping me prepare for a ritual. Obviously we had done ritual work already and we were speaking of doing another ritual (there was a specific reason discussed in the dream), I turned to them and offered Joshua then Iyah Ra their choice of drums to play. This was happening in my own temple room. Joshua chose the dragon drum, Iyah Ra was going to play the turtle drum. Then I woke up.
I immediately wondered why Iyah Ra whom I had last seen a couple of years previously would be among the Ancestors. This was a very strong feeling. I got up and turned on the computer and entered his legal name and an obituary came up, a recent one, for his father. In it it was explained that the dear man was now joining in eternal rest his wife (her name was inserted) and his son (Iyah Ra's name was also inserted). And so I knew it was. Iyah Ra was among them now, in the realm of the Ancestors.
Iyah Ra was one of the people whose house was flooded during Katrina and who escaped treading waist deep through rising water towards the Superdome amidst the gathering refugees left with nothing. He was evacuated with his family, his father, his niece, her child and two nephews, to Houston. After months and months I finally reconnected with him and the last time I
saw him he had finally returned to New Orleans.
I had been driving down St. Claude Ave and he was sitting on a stoop writing on a laptop. I stopped and visited with him for a short while. He had a small but nicely appointed apartment and told me he had a part time job at the Contemporary Arts Center. He was not making ends meet though. He had managed to organize his family in safe places of their own. He was also visibly very unwell. I took him for a ride to visit my daughter who had been very fond of him while growing up. I noticed he had little balance and some difficulty in walking. We spoke of his health and I invited him to come out to the country to visit and spend some time resting and recuperating. I tried to visit him again but he had moved and I was unable to find him.
Now the Ancestors who taught me everything and still guide me today were telling me he is among them. For that I am grateful but I am also tearful to know his grace and beauty is no longer with us. I met Iyah Ra when he was 20 years old, a student of art at Delgado College in New Orleans. I knew his art teacher and was modeling for one of the drawing classes. He wore a jeans jacket with a portrait of Jimmi Hendrix on the back and a button that read "why be normal". He was a very serious young man who applied himself to his art and his studies. He sported a large afro.
The following year I was rehearsing some dance pieces in the dance studio at Delgado and ran into him again. He told me he was now also taking a photography class and I offered him to come and photograph our dances for his portfolio. He did. He also produced a drawing of myself from one of his photographs which I have to this day. Later the same year, we needed drummers and I immediately thought of Iyah Ra who had also told me of his interest and love of music. This is when I found out he was a lead guitarist in his own band. He became our drummer though and thus began our long friendship.
For the next 23 years or so Iyah Ra drummed at every voodoo ritual of any importance, first with Priestess Rose and Priest Joshua and myself, then after their passing with myself and my colleagues and associates. He also danced with me on many occasion, with great passion and energy. Iyah Ra was he most fabulous dancer in our famous machete dance! Together we did rituals outdoors at the Aquarium of the Americas, on the Creole Queen, at the Pitot House, and at many famous hotel courtyards all throughout the city.
The last wedding he attended and drummed at I remember well because we had a new drummer with us and I remember telling the guests how Iyah Ra had drummed and danced with me for nearly 25 years! He and I marveled at the many years we had shared. His guitar playing and drumming are both featured in the documentary "Voodoo in la cite della Jazz", Mercurio productions, Milan, circa 1991. Our friendship went way beyond the drumming and dancing. Iyah Ra was a constant source of spiritual support and wise advice to me as I am sure he was to many others during his too short life. He was a very blessed spirit, a great spirit, a man of wisdom and peace and I am sure he is remembered fondly by all those he touched and cared for.
I am only sorry I was not closer to him in these last few years after Katrina when life became obviously so much more difficult for all. Iyah Ra had been of constant help to his mother and father and younger siblings and after his mother's passing, he adopted his niece and nephews and looked after them and their education. Until Katrina came and wiped out all they owned and uprooted them mercilessly. I remember one of the fist rituals we did, in City Park. We had arranged for the drummers to arrive by row boat on the lagoon, echoing the voodoo calls back and forth between themselves and Priestess Rose and I. Iyah Ra was terrified of being in a boat, he did not know how to swim. I coerced him into going by assuring him the water was very shallow - indeed it is. Mostly mud! Later I would think of this again and again, imagining the terror he must have gone through having to wade chest deep in the swirling waters of the flood, shepherding his family towards safer ground.
Although a man of peace, I know his heart was full of courage and strength. He certainly deserved to wear the dreads of the lion-hearted! We drifted apart over the course of the years but we always reunited for ritual drumming and work. His energy at those rituals was incomparable. You can see more photos of Iyah Ra drumming and dancing by clicking on the photo on the bio page of this website and going through the slide show.
His love and strong spirit will be with us forever and the sound of his drumbeats will carry us forth always. I am thankful to the Ancestors for passing the message onto me and for letting him play my turtle drum. My colleagues and associates at NOVC will always have a place in our heart for Iyah Ra and so his spirit will live on. We will drum again Brother and when the Yanvalou rhythm calls from the levee, please come and join in the dance!
YEAR OF THE DRAGON - 2012
The year 2012 is given to Damballah-Aida Wedo the male/female Grand Serpent of Creation. It is the Spirit of revolution, of going full circle, or transformation and renewal or transcendence into another level, another reality. So however we
overstand the Mayan end of the Long Count, there will be a new beginning, a going full circle and starting over again and how/where we will emerge, individually and collectively as a specie is of course up to us within the reality of our personal
and again collective karma and will be in accordance with the will of Heaven.
In the Dragon Mysteries, the Water Dragon which is lives in the darkest depth of water will nourish himself with a pearl and then at the ordained moment will break through the surface of the great waters to rise into the sky becoming the Sky Dragon.
So meditate on the following:
What is the nature of the Pearl that shall be fed to the Water Dragon by us, individually and collectively? So that it can rise and break through the surface and fly into the light of the sun to the skies above?
What shock and/or catastrophe will befall us as the Dragon awakens and emerges from its secret abode of the depths and stretches out and springs into flight like a bursting of a thousand stars or will it be a continuous roar and trembling
of the whole earth or will it come in a succession of frightening steps around the globe pounding all to dust and debris?
Will the very fabric of the atmosphere and the veils of the skies be rent in one swoop as the cry of the Dragon pierces all the senses as white hot arrows and all life is consumed in its tongues of fire?
Or will the great rising of the Dragon open the skies so that unending yet cleansing rains fall upon the earth in a great ablution of renewal and rebirth?
Find the Pearl you are meant to nourish the Dragon with! That which you must offer from the heart to him that he may accept it and his very heart be nourished from it and be stirred into life from his long long slumber. For the Dragon must awaken! It is time.
What is your Pearl - that which you will offer? What is that constant irritant to your very being which day by day you are oh so weary of and then coating with your iridescent grace and beauty and which you now will generously release for the future to unfold as it must. To give to the Dragon and engender the age of transformation.
Hail the Water Dragon to rise into the Sky Dragon!
May the Serpents Damballah-Aida Wedo encircle this world into their entwined divine bodies and thus engender the healing transformation we seek.
2012 - YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon. The Water Dragon will rise on January 23, 2012 to complete its ascendance the following year, on February 9, 2013. The Dragon is of course a mythical creature and yet.. In ancient China, the celestial Dragon was sacred to the Emperor and represented the Imperial Power. A Dragon was
often featured on the Emperor's brocaded coats. The celestial Dragon is considered a source of great luck, happiness and good fortune. And yet...
The Water Dragon's nourishment consists of pearls which give it its
supernatural power - the power to rise out of the waters and into Heaven.
With great claps of thunder and torrential rains, the storm becomes the
vehicle and the veil for the Dragon to rise out of its watery realms. The
moment at which the Dragon takes flight is as unpredictable as the
lightning that tears the sky towards the Earth!
The Dragon appears in most of the myths and folklores of the Ancients the
world over: We find Dragons in ancient Babylon, Egypt, Rome, England,
Gaule, Scandinavia, as well as the East, India, Tibet, China and Japan.
Here is a poem from ancient Rome relating to the Dragon and most
particularly relating both its transformative powers and its appearance in
conjunction with constellations:
Far off, unknown, beyond the range of thought,
scarce reached by gods, the years' rough haggard mother,
stands a primeval Cave in whose vast breast,
is Time's cradle and womb. A Serpent encloses,
the Cave, consuming all things with slow power,
and green scales always glinting. Its mouth devours,
the backbent tail as with mute motion it traces,
its beginning. At the entrance Nature sits,
the threshold-guardian, aged and yet lovely,
and round her gather and flit on every side Spirits.
A Venerable Man writes down immutable laws.
He fixes the number of stars in every constellation,
makes some of them move and others hang at rest.
So all things live or die by predetermined laws...
When the Sun rested on the cave's wide threshold,
Nature ran in her might to meet him; the Old Man bent
grey hairs to the proud rays.
Claudius (c. 370-408)
The Dragon maybe described as a snake for the snake is also a symbol of transformation and a particularly big snake may have been described as a dragon in ancient texts. The two names were often interchanged in the Bible and other ancient texts as well as in folktales and ancient magical spells.
"Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth." (Revelation 12:7)
There are great revelations concerning divine serpents (nagas) in Tibet and India as well. Similarly the image of Ourosboros as the Serpent who eats his/her own tail clearly is a symbol of transformation, death and rebirth. This motif of
death and rebirth through a snake in a circle is present in ancient Greece, among the Aztecs, the Maya and the Native American tribes of North America.
The Great Serpent eating its own tail represents the great cycle of the cosmos as we know it, the end of a cycle bringing universal destruction so that healing, rebirth and renewal can take place again. Chaos must preceed disaster on a grand scale and the Dragon indeed crates great earthly catastrophes as it stirs then rises from the depth of water
but its rising will permit the fire of thunder to spread and heal all, then as it rises through the air it will engender a period of rebirth then fertility and great good fortune.
So what can we expect for the year 2012? In elemental magic, water nourishes wood, so the Water Dragon is a
precursor to great fertility. Fertility means abundance. Once the initial chaos and attending dangers are passed, we should expect great abundance to prevail if we have sown the proper seeds and respected the necessity for the environment to heal and replenish itself through the waters. And yet??... Can this all take place in a single year, or are we more likely speaking of the beginning of a cycle that will span many many years? Also for proper transformation and ascendance the Dragon must feed on pearls. Are we nourishing our Dragons (inner and outer) with pearls? Or are we continuing to rape the earth for its resources and feeding ourselves with nonsense and illusions?
In Voodoo we should view the recurring cycle of transformation as Damballah-Aida Wedo, the male-female Spirits of creation, revolution and rebirth. For practical healing we can also appeal and make offerings to the Simbi Spirits who appear as Snakes of the four elements, water, earth, air and fire. Indeed this will be a good year to appeal for healing through the power of the Simbi in that specific order; first water (baths will be best at this time) followed by Earth (use of plants and grounding ourselves and our dwellings), then fire (thunder through which the Dragon rises) and Air (sky - peace). Again Chaos must begin the rise of the Dragon - but how this chaos spreads or is contained, how it becomes a tool of destruction or a tool of cleansing and healing is up to us. To our collective will and determination and wisdom.
In Feng- Shui the Dragon governs east/southeast, wealth accumulation & the hours of 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Associated with thunder, lightning and energy. the Water Dragon personifies change, ascendance, creativity, fertility, sexuality and abundance.
The Year of the Water Dragon will begin (technically) on January 23rd and its zenith will be reached on the Moon of the Dragon between May 20 to June 18. This of course will coincide closely with the Feast of St John's Eve which will take place during the new Moon of the Snake and at that time we can only pray for the transformation and revelations to come as they must, with blessings of future abundance.
THE SEASON OF CHANGE - UPRISING
The season of great change has begun - we are here. I know it is customary to celebrate the New year on the 1st of January, to think of a new beginning and new resolutions on that arbitrary date, but the cycle which is coming to an end and the beginning of the new cycle of time and the awesome changes which are likely to come upon us have already begun! I most particularly felt the Great Beginning to augur just about the time of the autumnal Equinox. This strong feeling was reinforced not only by many of my friends who had similar intuitions but also by outside events all over the planet. Uprisings in many different countries which may or may not have been fomented by outside agents (read the west to access rich oil fields more easily), the uprising of young people all over the world to confront the powers and the super rich, as well as continued volcanic and earthquake activities as if the Earth itself was staging a global uprising.
At that time, I also had a very important dream, a dream of warning yet
also a dream of possibilities.
DREAM OF THE TWO-HEADED SNAKE
"I dream of a viper. It is a viper, I know it. It is green and slender and deadly and I have caught it and am holding it carefully, behind the head, showing it to my family and friends, just a few people who have assembled around, telling them it is alright, that I have control over the viper now. Then a second head, which I had not seen, that no one had noticed - how could they??- raises up, turns towards me and bites me on the side of the hand. However it is only a scratch, I notice it and immediately know that although it bleeds a bit I have not been envenomated. I will be safe and so I say to those around me. I now have secured the two-headed snake in a container. I wake up."
I immediately knew this dream to be a caution for the changes that are coming towards us. For the following months and the year 2012 which is both the Year of the Dragon and the end of the great Mayan calendar cycle. 2012 will be - as the snake powerfully shows us- a year of changes, and a year of transformations. Only we can make it positive or negative, but we will need to exercise the utmost caution as we will be dealing with great poisonous (deadly) forces around. Just like the family and friends gathered around me, each one of us will have to think not only of ourselves but of all those we wish to protect. Those who can, who have the know-how and strength and courage may have to step forward and take the risks onto themselves. But there will be unseen dangers, even greater than those we are presently facing. So even with the best of our abilities, we certainly will not be able to foresee every danger. Some will seen totally improbable or impossible, yet they will strike!
Transformation is always a difficult time, a time of great vulnerability. Just like the snake who is most vulnerable when it is ready to shed, we are at great risk. There will be a lot of poison about, deadly forces around us, some we will feel in control of and some we will not be able to see or predict. Yet we must exert the utmost vigilance and not flag in our
resolve and courage. For those unseen deadly forces only our good fortune or good karma will help us avoid the worst. Our willingness to risk of ourselves for our loved ones will also afford a degree or protection, of blessings from God and His good Spirits.
From now on- as I believe that the great changes have already begun - we should place ourselves entirely under the protection of our personal Deity (Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Allah) as well as our Guardian Angel and the Good Spirits who manifest Themselves here on Earth, in the most abundant Nature around us and who are so easy to reach out to if we care to listen and offer of ourselves. Only then we can hope to wrestle the changes without harm and escape the poisonous dangers that will threaten us and thereby move through the complete transformation towards renewal.
This dream and revelation came at the time of the full moon in September while I was in the midst of offerings to the Divine Sisters Yemaya and Oshun. My mind was very active and energized and I had difficulty sleeping although I was not tired in the least. I knew from the dream that the next "year" had already begun, that the transformation - renewal will only come to those of us who can enter into their other deeper selves and let the Spirits guide us to a place of safety.
While we are trying to hold fast onto the head of what we perceive as venomous and dangerous, we are likely to get also bitten by unseen elements but we can still survive this dangerous ordeal. There will be no telling and no predicting as to what comes for us to beware of, to handle, release and be stung by. The degree of the poison released in us will be however a matter or personal karma.
Metamorphosis is always traumatic, seldom predicted in its true form and often brings grave danger in its wake.
May God and His Good Spirits bless and protect us all.
In Voodoo we should view the recurring cycle of transformation as Damballah-Aida Wedo, the male-female Spirits of creation, revolution and rebirth. For practical healing we can also appeal and make offerings to the Simbi Spirits who appear as Snakes of the four elements, water, earth, air and fire. Indeed this will be a good year to appeal for healing through the power of the Simbi in that specific order; first water (baths will be best at this time) followed by Earth (use of plants and grounding ourselves and our dwellings), then fire (thunder through which the Dragon rises) and Air (sky - peace). Again Chaos must begin the rise of the Dragon - but how this chaos spreads or is contained, how it becomes a tool of destruction or a tool of cleansing and healing is up to us. To our collective will and determination and wisdom.
In Feng- Shui the Dragon governs east/southeast, wealth accumulation & the hours of 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Associated with thunder, lightning and energy. the Water Dragon personifies change, ascendance, creativity, fertility, sexuality and abundance.
The Year of the Water Dragon will begin (technically) on January 23rd and its zenith will be reached on the Moon of the Dragon between May 20 to June 18. This of course will coincide closely with the Feast of St John's Eve which will take place during the new Moon of the Snake and at that time we can only pray for the transformation and revelations to come as they must, with blessings of future abundance.
THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE PROTESTERS IN ZUCCOTTI PARK:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’slives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.
To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
A BIT OF NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM
This was taught to me years ago, many years.. At the time I was so much younger that I didn't really think about it, just put it in the back of my mind without much consideration. Later of course I began to realize how important this teaching could be. Quite recently I was re-telling it to my good friend Reverend Kenneth and he was so impressed by its wisdom that he said I should definitely have this on this webpage for everyone to share. So here it is.
In Native American Wisdom, the number 4 has a special significance. There are after all four directions, four elements, etc. Four is considered to be a foundation number, a stable number from which all springs anew to rise up and expand outwardly. Therefore, I was told, the number 44 is the center of a man or woman's life. You get older until you are 44, then when you turn 44 you go back and become younger again!! That's it! Well you may look in the mirror if you are over 44 and think it sure doesn't look like you are getting any younger, but if you examine more carefully the span of your life, you will discover the inner wisdom of this teaching.
Typically a human life consists of cycles of 11 years, more or less. In life nothing is exact. Still, the first eleven years, the child depends entirely on his or her parents. For shelter, food, clothing, protection and so on. After this initial period, the child becomes more independant and is able to move through the landscape or cityscape around the home,
learn skills on his/her own and survive but is still very much helped, surrounded, guided and protected by the parents.
From the age of 22 on towards his/her thirty-third birthday the young person has now moved apart from his or her family, not only physically but mentally and spiritually, developing their unique Self. The process of individuation should begin during the adolescent years and has been more or less successfully completed at the onset of adulthood. The young person now develops socially and establishes links and bonds within their chosen community: where they live and where they work. The young person has become a true adult and moves on to build their life: their career, maybe get married and found a family of their own. These are the college years, or the work years, when one is establishing a career, learning to live truly on their own, moving into their own dwelling.
The next eleven years from 33 through 44 consists of consolidation of these elements: these are the years of building towards mastery and achievement. All that was begun and worked for or towards is now established and nourished so it can grow and become a strong and solid foundation for the person.
So we have childhood: the years of dependance. Adolescence: the years of individuation and the peer group. Young adulthood: the years of work and community. Adulthood: the years of settlement, ambition and power. But what happens after the person is 44 years old?
Well let's see; Let's agree that 44 is the median number and that from now on the person is going to move back into youthfulness. So when the person is 55, he or she should examine what they were doing when they were 33! If we think of the previous years as the years of solidifying one's assets and power, then the years from 44 to 55 are again about a similar endeavor. Again these years are motivated by ambition and power, but not so much in the sense of reaching for oneself, but rather now reaching for others, the next generation and for consolidation of what's been achieved. The person maybe thinking of solidifying the assets towards the children's education and his or her retirement These years are indeed very similar. The raising of the children is winding down yet it is more demanding than ever. These are the years when one can impart the most wisdom to the next generation. Again there can be a sense of mastery and achievement and of building on this foundation yet also beginning to build away from it - in an outward direction rather than towards oneself. At the same time one may begin to consider a second career: plan for retirement and what to do then.
Now let's imagine the person from 55 to 66. At 66 years old one's children have moved out, are established on their own and the person is near or actually retired. So indeed, he or she is in a very similar position as he or she was at 22. Free from dependants, free to travel, to explore all possibilities. This is a perfect time to begin new frienships, to establish or renew links and bonds with peers or with other generations. One can enter a new career or develop a new interest - go back to school even! So at 66, just as he or she was at 22, the person can experience the newness of the world and of oneself in relation to the world. Many people move at this time, settling into a new community and choosing their next career or field of activities.
At 77 the person is indeed similar to an 11 years old! Most likely (we hope) they can move about unaided, have their wits about themselves and communicate well and freely with the world around them. yet they may begin to need supervision or help in some areas of life. Now the children take on the rold of helper, supervising maybe some areas the parent is
having difficulty with. There is less physical activity yet there can be more learning as society is changing faster than the person can absorb. There is a challenge to being 77 just as there was a great challenge at 11.It's a period of emergence into a greater world for which one is more or less prepared and able.
At 88 the person may indeed beomce very much like a child again, with all needs being met by one of their children or assisted living. Yet this should be a time of child-like exploration. Or renewed innocence. Not boredom or regrets or bitterness.
SO..what does this mean for each one of us? Well if we think about this carefully we note that this gives us a lot of
food for thoughts! It gives us great options at to how we want to live our future lives, after 44. It gives us landmarks for our younger years and then options, not only to re-live these years but to add on to them, to repair, rebuild and enjoy fully the waning of our lives.
For everything we do and live through in the early years, the building years, the achieving years, we will get to re-live in the descending part of our life. So it does say something powerful about the choices we make as young adults. But it may say even more for us as we get older. Indeed we have options to re-visit all that we have known before but with the
added wisdom. For instance we may want to make the most of opportunities which we once had but passed by without further exploration. We can choose to have a more fulfilling adolescence and even a happier childhood. It is truly up to us to shape the second part of our lives. Then we will see the whole of our life as a waxing and waning of equal brilliance. Thus we meet death without fear but with the understanding that is is only another birth and waxing to begin anew.
On September 1st, 2011 Ganesha was taken to survey His vast domain at Goose Point in the Big Branch Marsh and Wildlife Refuge. There He bathed in the lake waters, dispersing some of His flowers and summoning the Devas with His conch-shell. He seemed very pleased having received many scrumptious and sweet offerings to celebrate His feast day. Aum Namo Bhagavate Gajananaya Namah!
A RETROSPECTIVE OF THE OLD YEAR -2010:
2010 was a harsh year. So many catastrophes! Millions of people died in earthquakes, floods, landslides, mine explosions etc.. It was a dangerous year, a sorrowful year. Our beautiful marshlands and coasts were
endangered and terribly polluted by the explosion of the BP Horizon oil well. We cried and agonized over the poisoned birds, turtles and dolphins. Even today there is oil under the sands and our beaches are not safe.
There are, many lessons to be learnt here! (for instance, lesson #1, if we were to drill far up north of Alaska into the artic deep, and there was a a spill, how difficult would it be to remedy?? Can you imagine? It was already so nearly impossible to cap this well, think of the added transportation challenges, the cold, the inaccessibility!!)
In my own Saint Roch Gardens the 2010 cold winter was harsh and killed many of our more tropical plants. But we made it and with spring managed to coax our garden back to life and to abundance. We have now achieved
growing nearly 100% of all the "bush" used in our herbal baths! The Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple was kept very busy with the calendar of feast days and ritual offerings. You can see a partial list of the saints'
day and spirits' days we celebrate at the bottom of the Spells & Spiritual
By making offerings over set numbers of days for each of the Spirits as well as for the new moon and full moon days, equinoxes and solstices, I often find myself with overlapping rituals and the temple ablaze with
candles and smelling of herbs, fruits, incenses, flowers etc. Wonderful!! The prayer services and rituals and ceremonies have become the rhythm of my life and although it means never taking a vacation, it is a lovely
rhythm which is in synch with sun, moon and stars! If you ever come and visit the Saint Roch gardens you will see: all over there are suns, moons and stars..Nature is my guide, Nature is my teacher. I am an Activist for the Earth and the Universe!
I am a great believer that this rhythm of spiritual services builds the altars into true working altars, the temple into a true place of Ache (life force) and blessings! I often see altars which remain the same
year after year, covered with dust and grime. Who are these 'practitioners" who never change their altars dishes or altar clothes? How can they claim to have a relationship with their Spirits? Some of these
altars start as magnificent constructions, multi-layered and chock-full of stuff. I have learnt over the years not to aim too high and that big altars demand big work and lots of time cleaning and attending to them. So I like smaller and more succinct altars which are easier to take care of but become more powerful over time because they are attended to daily. Not only I cleanse each and every altar every monday
and re-set all the altar dishes and make new offerings (in addition to the feast days described above) but I also renew all the altar clothes several times a year and make gifts to my Spirits on a regular basis! If I had giant towering structures, full of items, I simply would not be able to do this. SO bigger is not better and I believe there is a lot to be said for smaller and simpler ritual spaces ..This said, I can spend lavishly as well: a few years ago I purchased an inlaid wood cabinet for the Hindu Deities (from India or Pakistan, not sure) and this past year brought a teal colored carved cabinet of mango wood for the Buddhas!
They are particularly fond of mango wood! Like life, the altars' manifestation does not depend on their size but of what they are made of and what you do with them!
The temple room has also become a gallery of sorts as most of the voodoo paintings are hanging there, often as offerings to the Spirits, facing the corresponding altars. The portraits of Queen Marie are right by the door and by Her chair, but Legba and his Rooster and Congo Square Drummer hang above the Eleggua and Warriors' altars. In the same vein, Chango with White Bird faces the Chango altar and several portraits of Oshun and La Sirene face their respective altars.
Spring saw me painting in furious fashion. I was so shocked, overwhelmed and devastated by the oil spill that I began on a form of exorcising those energies through painting. First came "What have they done now?? Ochosi and the Horizon Well Explosion", then "Spill Baby Spill; Mr.Big Oil Poisons Our Lands and Seas"..I also painted 2 self-portraits 'Slightly Demented" and "Sad Summer". The most poignant moment came when I worked on a painting of Blessed Kateri for her feast day (july 14th)as an offering to Her and my prayer and meditation was that a solution come, one way or the other as death was everywhere. She is the patron of ecologists and environmentalists, and the very next day as I had just finished Her person standing in the woods/swamps of southeastern Louisiana, the well was finally plugged.. I was rinsing my brushes in the sink and for some reason the tv was on (I never have the telly on during the day) and I heard it in the background,"Newsbreak - The BP Horizon deep well has been plugged, a spokesman for BP said.." I stood stock-still and wasn't sure I had heard right but then it came on again and I began to cry with relief and sorrow for all the lost lives, the men killed, the spoilt and devastated nature. That productive period also gave two more Above Earth paintings. All paintings can also be seen at www.loupgarouroad.com.
July was also the month we adopted our sixth dog, Rokko (named for Saint Roch) who was wandering along the road and creating a general nuisance of himself. Rokko has one ice-blue eye and one jet-black eye. As soon as I saw him I knew he was 'trouble' and he was Eleggua's dog. He is a rat terrier (how fitting!) and young and full of energy and tricks. How more fitting! Our animal sanctuary is now inhabited by 11 lovely beasts: six dogs, two goats, two birds, and the Temple snake. All animals were adopted or rescued. Most have been ritually given to the Spirits and are therefore spoiled beyond reason. You can see our animals at
www.saintrochgardensanimalsanctuary.com (except Rokko who has not been put up yet, like Eleggua he is an elusive one! Likes to escape and stand at the crossroads!).
The year came to a close with a Vulcan Moon - a total lunar eclipse which gives us a view of a dark red and amber moon. It came on the day of the winter solstice and a monday so it was an intense ritual day. I managed to get a small sweat lodge going in the evening and had a very powerful cleansing with aromatic herbs and smoke. Then went to sleep and woke up just in time for a moon bath, in the glow of the dark red moon, which was absolutely beautiful, straight above in an ink-dark sky and all the stars seemed to have clustered around Her. It was a great blessing to bear witness to the stellar alignment.
THE NEW YEAR - 2011 - ELEGGUA/OGUN AND MAMA OKWATTA
Even as 2010 was coming to an end, I knew this New Year would be under the rules of Eleggua/Ogun and Mama Okwatta.
During the last part of the fall I began to see owls everywhere. Not only in dreams but objects appeared depicting owls and mentions of owls in books I was reading. The owl is a symbol of magic, transformation, alchemy but also of wisdom, of revelations. So let us welcome the Owl Spirit to help us change and renew and welcome knowledge. The owl stands silent in the dark of night, seeing and hearing all, aware and alert. It doesn't let any opportunity pass it by, but it is very discerning as well, very careful and wise.
Eleggua is the opener of the door, the master of the crossroads, the bringer of luck and arbiter of fate. We often find ourselves, after praying to Eleggua with an open door in front of us. We must walk through
the door. Not doing so would be an affront as we have prayed and asked for this new opportunity. But what is beyond the door is not yet known. Most likely it will come with obstacles and our need for discernment and
wisdom. For Eleggua is also the bringer of obstacles! He sets up the steps that will become the lessons we must learn to fulfill our destiny. In his association with Ogun he requires our work, our will, and again our
discernement to choose and obtain the right tools for the work at hand.
For this new year I foresee great difficulties in organizations, such as governments (already a top official in Punjab has been assassinated by his own bodyguards and there are threats of civil war in Ivory Coast after
contested elections), and certainly more political and popular unrest. Similarly families will be tried and pulled apart by inner discord. Every effort must be taken to establish peace and understanding, to keep
dialogues open and maintain unity through mutual respect. Big force should not been used as it will lead to war (Ogun's field). In our daily lives we should minimize the possibility of angry discussions and arguments that will lead to discord. We should shun all fights, and certainly avoid spilling blood and the use of firearms which will only escalate the unrest. Certainly we should NOT support our governments into war actions and demand that peaceful negotiations be used instead - in ALL circumstances.
There are great risks of global war right now. Already a very tense situation exists in the Koreas as well as in the Middle East and in Africa (with the partition of Sudan, South Sudan sits on huge reserves of oil so
expect much trouble there). Civil war might break out in West Africa. Eleggua can bring all opportunities for solutions, but Ogun can bring war, destruction, the spilling of blood. So it is exactly that: the doors open but what we find and what we make of it as we cross the threshold is entirely up to us. Eleggua is the watcher who stands guard over our destiny and laments or laughs! Ogun will hand us the tools of peace (the
plow, technology such as ships to bring food to the destitute, dig wells for clean water in poor countries etc..) or of war. That will be our choice. With disorganization at the top, amidst governments and alliances (such as the European Union which is hardly finished dealing with unrest and difficulties), it will be a very trying period indeed.
Our investment this year should be in personal efforts towards peace. We
should invest ourselves in our work, be extremely alert and use great
discernment in all questions that may bring discord about.
Money should be invested in metals (or mines such as copper, silver
mines), particularly gold (sacred to Eleggua) and silver (sacred to
Yemaya), railroads and transportation companies. Also one may invest in
the technologies of the future and of peace, such as surgical instruments,
prosthetics manufacturing companies, solar technologies and such.
On the personal health front, one should beware of blood and lymph
disease, as well as accidents. The veins and lymphatic systems are the
waterways of the body. Blood poisoning could be a problem such as
blockages, edemas and so forth and the determination, will and instruments
of Ogun should be used with wisdom to remedy the problems as soon as they
The other ruler for this year will be Mama Okwatta.
In New Orleans Voodoo Mama Okwatta is the Spirit of the whole of the great
lake /estuary of the Mississippi (Lake Maurepas, Pontchartrain, Catherine,
Borgne, other lakes and large waterways that form the estuary region:
Barataria Bay, Lake Salvador, Boeuf and Des Allemands). She is the aspect
of Yemaya / La Baleine/ La Sirene who are physically closest to us. La
Baleine and La Sirene are almost always propitiated together, so this
present no difficulty but for the sake of simplicity I will speak of Mama
Okwatta as this is Her name as it would have been used several centuries
ago. Similarly we sometimes refer to MamiWatta to speak of Yemaya/Olokun.
I do not like to say they are the 'same" as in Voodoo the various paths of
Spirits are never the same but do carry subtle differences. However it is
also true that the understanding and practices will differ however
slightly from temple to temple so for the purpose of this text, I shall
overlook them. Mama Okwatta would have been a name very familiar to our
great Queen Marie Laveau two centuries ago.
Mama Okwatta brings nourishment and refreshment to the region. She is our
source of fresh water and seafoods. She filters the silts and sands which
come from dozens of states upriver. She deposits them for us to plant and
grow our foodstuffs. SHe is the great nourisher and the great abundance we
seek for ourselves and our families. During the BP oil spill which
devastated the coastal regions for hundreds of miles (and still does to an
unknown extant), the lakes remained clear and clean and filled with fish,
the currents maintaining natural barriers. I saw many shrimp boats moving
into Lake Pontchartrain at that time. Lake crabs remained unspoiled.
To honor Mama Okwatta, to honor Yemaya and La Sirene, we must honor women
all around the world. We must respect all women, not only those in our
families or those who make up our society, our culture, our countries. We
must respect and honor and demand justice and protection for all women.
Women are the bringer and sustainer of life. We cannot turn our backs and
pretend that a society can be healthy when its women are abused or
disrespected. We cannot expect to avoid wars when we do not help women
elsewhere to achieve equality through education, healthcare and freedom.
Women are the teachers, nourishers and conciliators in all societies. When
women take a greater part in the making of a society, this society is most
likely to thrive and become prosperous and peaceful.
This year however may also see the wrath of Mama Okwatta, through floods
of coastal regions and stupendous rains that will cause major flooding.
Mama Okwatta as the Queen of estuaries is apt to move suddenly and flood
vast regions densily populated with people and animals alike. Already we
have seen great rains and floods in the west coast of the US and in a
large portion of Australia. Expect more such disasters as well as giant
sea storms and possible tsunamis. We should be ready to help and assist
in any way possible. Like water currents, we will see great currents of
migrating people, floods of refugees. This will become more and more
prevalent throughout the world and it is hardly, HARDLY the time to become
xenophobic and see differences among our brothers and sisters but rather
to accept all, as a mother accepts her different children.
Again, we should beware of difficulties in the blood and lymph systems as
these are the waterways of the body. Blood poisoning, edemas and such
must be watched for and attended to immediately. Also proper elimination
of wastes must be encouraged, and we must be very vigilent of water
supplies and our intake of foods and liquids. Already we have water borne
diseases in several parts of the world reaching epidemic proportions.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SPIRITUAL WORK FOR 2011:
I strongly recommend the following to make the best of the new year:
1) Regular readings (such as one per season) to develop awareness,
intuition and wisdom. Through a comprehensive reading one may become
better aware of influences at work and receive cautions directly from the
2) Baths! Baths! Baths! I always recommend regular spiritual baths, but
most particulary this coming year as the influences of Mama Okwatta will
be so strong.
- Cleansing baths are a must to get rid of old unwanted blocks, negative
energies and certainly before beginning any new project. My own
cleansing bath formula consist of over 21 separate herbs and 'bush' grown
by myself in my own Saint Roch gardens and sacred to the 7 great families
of Spirits. I have made and used this cleansing bath (which comes with its
own ritual instructions) since 1986 with wonderful
results for many many clients.
- New Moon and Full Moon baths: these baths are described in more
details in my Life Designs/Reiki page. Each is prepared during a new moon
or full moon ritual and is very easy to use.
- Queen Marie's Flower Essence Bath: This new formula based on the use
of flower heads (rather than leaves or roots or herbs) was channeled to me
by the Spirit of Queen Marie Laveau during the past year. I also make use
of the most ancient "Chinese Emperor" formula for the preparations of this
unique and wonderful bath. For empowerememnt and clarity of
thought and vision. A great bath for the coming year. Use as often as you
- Bath Salts! La Sirena Botanica as always offers bath salts at very
reasonable prices for a variety of purpose. Easiest to use and
wonderful for body and soul. Enjoy the soak!
3) My other suggestion this year would be the use of a Gris-Gris bag which
is very compatible with Eleggua and Ogun as it is mostly made up of herbs
and bush, the domain of Ogun, and works with one's own energy, the
I-me-myself, the domain of Eleggua. La Sirena Botanica offers
individually made gris-gris for a variety of purpose.
4) Because of the presence of the Owl, and of the sweat lodge meditation
which I did immediately previous to the Vulcan Moon, I am offering to do
more shamanic rituals this year. I will be available for Animal Spirit
retrievals, shamanic cleansings, blessings and balancing rituals and more.
These rituals are perfect on a year when we may be standing at the
2011- THE YEAR OF THE (METAL) RABBIT.
In the East the Rabbit is a symbol of good luck and life. So we should
expect good luck for 2011? Well, this is true in the sense of
opportunities, or grabbing our luck when it comes. The rabbit is a good
symbol for Eleggua, running here and there, elusive, hiding in the woods,
burrowing into the ground only to reappear elsewhere. But this year we
also are ruled by the rabbit associated with the metal element. The
element of Ogun, of the earth.
The rabbit is a home loving sign. People during rabbit years have a
tendency to want to stay home and concern themselves with the affair of
their own turf rather than the greater world. So there will be a tendency
to think of our own concerns rather than of affairs elsewhere in the
world. Nations may have a greater tendency to preoccupy themselves with
internal affairs and not so much with foreign diplomacy.
The rabbit is quick and light and can change directions very easily. He is
a symbol of diplomacy, of creativity and of alliances, of sensibility and
aesthetics. We will be tempted to stay home and enjoy our surroundings
and beautify our personal lives and indulge in small luxuries. This should
be a path to improve our spiritual lives as well and to extrapolate these
qualities across the globe, not to act with selfishness.
A good year to protect small animals who may come into your garden! The
presence of small animals in your garden and surroundings are proof of a
healthy ecology and environment. We should not destroy ALL bugs with the
use of pesticides and trap or poison small animals. On the contrary, we
should welcome the signs of life around us and encourage their
participation in our environment. I have many wild rabbits who come to
parley at dusk in the orchard and nourish themselves on the grass and
weeds. This year I will make a special effort to NOT cut the grass so
The year of the Rabbit will begin on February 3rd. Make sure you go and
see your local Dragon Dance for good luck and prosperity.
|A YEAR PASSED - A NEW YEAR DAWNING
2009 - 2010 MADRE DE AGUA SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
SAINT ROCH GARDENS & ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Last year, right around this time, I had a revelation that Queen Marie would be "walking" with Annie Chritmas for the new year (09). Was I right! It augured lots of work, physical work, new projects and very busy times and so it was. Busier and more physical than ever. The year simply flew by.
The ritual ground now extends into a proper orchard with a much bigger bricked-around fire circle in a safe area, away from leaning branches. There was a lot of work done on the outdoor ritual grounds, paving stones put around into a serpentine path returning to Kokopellis' chimenea which overseas the entrance proper. Couldn't be more fitting: the trickster must let us through, then we pass beneath the magnolias, hopefully receiving peace and blessing from Obatala onto our meeting with the Spirits, at the Poteau Mitan in front of the Ogun Altar.
We expanded once again on the herb garden, adding yarrow and vetiver. The rosemary, skullcap and mints are bigger than ever!
We have grown the palm garden and generally everything all around. We also now have added eldeberry, taro, cashmere bouquet and subdivided the plantains to fill in corners. Did I say springtime brought mulching and fertilizing all the beds and about 100 trees and shrubs? Did I mention cleaning out Maman Brigitte's ponds and re-arranging and caring for the 100+ potted plants? Believe me when I say it all was due to great personal physical effort - not a day went by that I did not think of that strong lady/Lwa Annie Christmas!
But, it is really starting to look like something. No, not just something but quite the vision I had several years ago when we moved here to our Native American-Creole village of LaCombe on the edge of the Big Branch marsh and Lake Pontchartrain. I had made a garden-map of the vision and now ten years later I have come across it and it is the same vision, nearly completed. But the work! HA! Did I mention the 5 yards of gravel moved one wheel-barrow at a time into the animal habitat over the summer? Yet all this physical work was fruitful and gave birth to the Saint Roch Gardens and Animal Sanctuary.
This second revelation came just in time for Saint John's Eve ritual! We asked the Spirits to guide us anew, to show us our path and to make it fruitful.
Over the summer we suddenly were called to adopt not one but TWO more dogs, both richly deserving of a better environment and permanent home. Our new Great Pyrennee Kaspar was found in an usuitable home and latched onto us, pleading to be taken away. But first we had to build an additional fenced-in area to the dog and goat habitat, so there came the digging for fence-posts and the hauling of more gravel limestone and .. well, you get it! But even as we were not quite ready for our big boy, there came little Marguerite, a wire-haired dachshund of 5 months also in need of a permanent home. So back to back we had to accomodate two more four-leggeds and brought the total of our charges to ELEVEN animals! Upon reflection on this state of affair and all the responsabilities entailed we re-named the garden a sanctuary and dedicated it all to Saint Roch, patron of dogs and those who love them. A sanctuary for all the plants and animals who have come
to us, in need of rescue and a good home.
Our friend Kelly, who runs a dog rescue operation in the 9th ward of New Orleans, immediately volunteered to put up a web-page for us, so you can find our creatures at:
Take a look at our wish list! We'll be very grateful..All donations made to our Sanctuary program is a donation to the Nature Spirits and will be put to excellent use!
VOODOO SPIRITS IN NATURE:
In the end the life around us is the manifestations of the voodoo Spirits who are elemental spirits as well as Orisha, archetypes, something greater than nature itself, not quite contained within Her but certainly thus manifested. When we serve and commune with nature, she becomes the voice, the instrument of the Spirits and it is oftentimes a much more powerful voice than that of altar work. This is why when we make offerings, they are first given at the altars and then taken out to nature. All comes from nature, all returns to Her.
The Orisha are always spoken of as Ocean, River, Thunder, Winds and so on..Let's see: we celebrated Chango's Feast day on December 4th and we have had storm upon storm, the very presence of the Orisha as well as 22.5 inches of rain for the first two weeks of december. When the Orisha manifest, they leave no doubt as to their strength and their presence. And they do manifest through nature first and foremost.
So a busy year of doing - of manifesting - of physicality and spirituality mixed and blended for the good of all. I can look back and be happy and remind myself of that very favorite Tao:
"The work is done, then forgotten, therefore it lasts forever "
The Spirits are the faithful allies of Olodumare, God almighty. Each is associated with certain paths, colors, numbers, fruits, plants, trees, herbs, animals and landscape formations. When we make offerings to the Spirits respecting and obeying those allegiances, and then bringing the offerings to a sacred place in Nature, we are nurturing a relationship which is as old as the Earth itself. In return we are given signs, guidance and intuition through our observations of nature around us. The flight of birds, the appearance of an animal, the presence of a sudden current, all are messages from the Spirits who inhabit nearby and all around us. It is both incredible and utterly abbhorent to believe that we are alone and sole proprietor in this vast wealth of living, breathing universe. It is utterly wrong to declare ourselves masters of Nature. Nature will have its way, sooner or later, and if we have a role, it should be one of stewardship and
service, not one of ownership and
The service of Spirits through returning the gifts of nature to Them in the appropriate forms and places help us find, understand and make the best usage of our space-time in the vast universe around us. When we communicate with the Spirits and They communicate back with us, we get a glimpse of our Divine Self.
In Voodoo at Cafe Puce I have quoted from Albert Camus, who says that when we understand that all suffers around us as we do, we become liberated.
THE YEAR AHEAD - 2010 - Justice, Harmony, Love and Abundance
Since the end of november I have begun to feel a change - the new year is coming and with it a new inspiration. New feelings and vibrations are stirring air currents.
The year 2010 has numbers that add up to 3 so it should be a new beginning - an opening of the gates of manifestation! Artistic, intellectual and spiritual manifestation.
And we are greatly looking forward to it.
We are soon going to open our totally re-designed ART GALLERY ONLINE :
Some old and new paitings have been added as well as photographs of Louisiana nature and people.
For the new year I am forecasting a year filled with the energies of OCHOSI and OSHUN.
These will manifest as realizations of justice, harmony, abundance, creativity and love. Most interesting is the fact that the Chinese New Year will begin on February 14th, dedicated to St Valentin and the day of lovers everywhere and will be the year of the Tiger, an emblem of great strength and magnanimity.
A great day to renew our service to Oshun and ask Her to bring love and harmony into our lives.
The Chinese year will be ruled by the Tiger, an animal of great power and grace, the ultimate hunter. He can discern from far and is the master of the jungle. The tiger is also the chosen mount of the Hindu Deity Durga, the Demon-slayer and the great protector of Her Servants.
2010 - YEAR OF THE TIGER
This year may well begin with sudden great renewal of energies in all areas.. Certainly conflicts, wars and crisis of all sorts will continue. Tempers will flare up, nourished by the quickness and emotionality of people. But it can also be a bold year for finding one's path, and decisiveness to bring positive efforts and ameliorations where there is chaos. There will be a tendency to carry projects, thoughts and emotions to extremes but with proper grounding and perparations, this again can be avoided or bold enterprises can be carried forth for the good of everyone.
Everyone will have to re-double their efforts to cleanse their hearts of poor ego-centered ambitions and replace them with more altruistic goals to help their communities and find conciliation, justice and balance.
The year of the TIger may test the best of friendships and partnerships, again due to the heat of emotions and sudden impulses. It may not be such an easy year to bring projects to completion, as we may get distracted, impatient and side-tracked by new and more exciting ideas.
On the other hand this will be a great year to gain in physical strength, to increase one's vitality, endurance and health, to bring about a light upon our personal destiny. To begin a physical regimen and to set forth projects that demand bold moves and great innovation of thought. This will be a great year to resolve dilemnas and disputes. A year that will be enjoyed by all those who want to strive forward to eliminate injustice and bring about better solutions for all. A year for great expeditions into all sorts of unchartered courses.
The Year of the Tiger, 2010 can be a great year to go forth to search for one's destiny and to achieve one's goals. But the great dangers are the emotions may overtake the goals and too great self-centeredness may diminish the results and the goals. Yet, if all is done in view of the welfare of the community and the planet, it can be a very very exhilarating year.
YEAR 2010 - OCHOSI and OSHUN
This new year we dedicate to Ochosi and Oshun.
First we dedicate it to Ochosi who has appeared to us shortly after the Winter Solstice ritual, after the offerings were released at the Big Branch marsh. Then he appeared again as first one eagle, then five eagles circling over the temple then over the ritual ground, on two separate occasions.
Ochosi is known as the hunter, but mostly he is the Divine Tracker, and the master (or Magicien) of the woods.
Synchretised as Saint Norbert, we usually celebrate his feast day in conjunction with that of Ogun, on January 17th, as He is one of the Warriors, Eleggua, Ogun and Ochosi.
He is considered the patron of all Justice and comes to assist those who have disputes to resolve, legal or otherwise, as well as in matters of court and jail cases.
Like the Tiger he is quick, intelligent, of keen vision and alertness.
His colors can be black and green (like Ogun) although he has also been attributed yellow and blue and sometimes lavender. He is shown as a hunter, sporting a leopard or deer-skin tunic. His sacred tools are the bow and arrow and on his altar deer antlers are placed. The deer, the goat, the hen, the parrot are sacred to Him.
As the Spirit of the hunt and of the hunted, Ochosi protects and guides those who are suffering unjustly, particularly in the judicial or legal system.. Ochosi is the arm of Divine Justice. He serves Obatala by tracking where true justice is and bringing it to the fore. For this purpose He becomes the tracker and the path he must discover and follow is reminescent of one going into the forest to hunt and to find one's way into wild territory.
As He moves through the forest, he must recognize all the trees, bushes and plants, therefore He is also associated with the magic contained in plants and their use but his first task is to track the JUST PATH.
This is his most important task: Eleggua is prayed to so as to open our roads and give us a vision of our goals. We establish our future projects because of inspiration, the voice of Eleggua. Ogun gives us the tools and the will to go forward towards our goal but Ochosi makes sure that our goal is in accordance with the will of Heaven and He will be the one to track the right and just path for us to achieve our goals.
This is why oftentimes people get frustrated when they feel that "magic" should bring them instantaneous relief and results. They may even have a good idea and a well deserved goal, they may have striven towards these goals with all their will and the proper tools at their disposal but their destiny and the will of God to maintain balance and harmony in the universe must be met as well and so Ochosi will track the right road for the person's goals to be achieved and that may be a slower, more tortuous or different road from what they had expected!
Whereas Eleggua often represents our desires (which is why he's often shown as a child, we want, want, want), our impulses, our visions and goals, and Ogun manifests our Will, Ochosi is our consience, our moral compass. Ochosi will determine the right and correct path for us to see us through to our Destiny. And through Him we will be nourished, healed and His magic will both protect us and move us forward towards the realization of the Divine Will.
Oshún, the Goddess of beauty, love, the dance, music and all creativiy is also the most charitable and giving, owning all the wealth of the world. Remember: Her skirts are made of silk, her purse is a pumpkin, all the gold in the world belongs to Her and Her only!
Oshun, the patron saint of Cuba is the most charitable of Spirit and whenever She appears, there will be no hunger and no want. Her creativity knows no bound and She loves music, dance, beauty which She manifests through Her dance, Her looks, Her clothing and environment.
Oshun lives within all rivers, streams, brooks and running sweet water, coursing and dancing to and fro and nourishing the lands she comes in contact with all the while. She however also has paths who live in brackish waters, stagnant waters and Her dislike of all that is ugly is such that She will help disolve decay and filth in some of Her manifestations. Her joy and gaiety also cover her deep grief - she feels acutely the suffering of the world. That is Her compassionate nature.
We pray to Her for abundance - abundance of "things' of course (foodstuff, means to support ourselves) but mostly for abundance of joy, love and creativity. She is the mistress of all artistic inspiration and creation. She never stops, is never still, always undulating Her hips, tinkling Her bells and/or stomping Her feet. Her colors are yellow, amber, gold, orange, coral and all shades of water-like green. She is the patron of fertility as the river nourishes all that it traverses and therefore She also is associated with the abdomen: the seat of both digestion and procreation.
As the La Madre de Caridad del Cobre, we celebrate Her feast on September 8th. She likes jewelry, hair implements, oranges, perfumes, fans. The bees are sacred to Her as she uses Her honey for magic, and so are peacock feathers.
Oshun is a very good match for Ochosi.
Throughout the mythology we find Oshun helping Her community by tricking or convincing the other Spirits to do what is right. She brings back Ogun who had exiled himself so that civilization may continue through the use of his tools. She retrieves the clothes of Obatala, and flies up to heaven as a vulture to save the earth from a drought.
Having at one time lost all Her riches, She is sympathetic to those who are in want and need more money.
She is also appealed to in cases of love and marriage, fertility, the family. And to protect pregnant ladies and help them through their labor and delivery.
So the combination of the blessings of Ochosi and Oshun for the new year could be a very auspicious and momentous opportunity one who is determined to search for the right path through creativity, joy and benefitting the community. Certainly a great year for ritual and spiritual work involving drumming and dancing and the making of beautiful altars.
The Tiger can be a wonderful emblem for us all and a reminder of courage, stealth, grace and swift power used to track our real and divine destiny.
|PREDICTIONS & OPINIONS for the year 2009.
The end of the year rituals and celebrations begun with the preparations for the winter garden. The last of the mint beds were cut back, so was the sweet basil, lemon balm etc.. Everything that could not survive the sudden cold snaps, the early dawn freezes of southern LA who always arrive suddenly after a rain event, were cut back and then covered with much mulch! The potted plants (all 100s of them ) were hauled at great physical effort into the gazebo which was ready to be hung on the inside with tarps and curtains whenever needed to also shield them from the cold until they could come out again and grace our gardens, ritual spaces and breezeway. And it was none too soon for the cold snaps came early this year - we even saw the first snow in four years! A little ways north of here at Crossroads, there were 8 inches! In LaCombe we enjoyed our 2 inches; I certainly did from the warmth of my room after having taken the obligatory photos! The goats and dogs were much confused and looked at me with heads cocked to the side.
The celebratory rituals began with Xango on December 4th, Our Lady of Guadelupe on dec. 12th and Babalu Aye on the 17th, The ceremonies were fine and satisfying, though they had a feel of finishing the year, of rounding out with blessing and healing that which must be left behind. Of terminating the old year with compassion, understanding and healing energies. The opening of the new year truly began on the solstice Dec 22nd. This happened to be a monday this year, which is altar day anyhow and it was bitterly cold in our little cottage! The salon and living quarters registered a 55 degree temp in the morning while the kitchen and altar room were probably below 40! So it was with the slowness of cold molasses that we began to move about and remove the altar dishes and ritually cleanse the altars, light candles and incense and pray for the return of the sun to our northern shores.
The Spirits who guide us at this time of transition from old to new year are Shilibo No-Vavou, Maman Brigitte, Oya, Chango, and of course throughout all preceedings, as trusted faithful and peerless guide and intermediary, Queen Marie Laveau.
As we were changing the altar cloth for Queen Marie, only one would be; and this one came from a white sack of sugar from long ago - certainly symbolic of the time New Orleans had its thriving port at the foot of the French Quarter and sugar was king! But it also told us that Queen Marie will walk with Annie Christmas this year -that woman-spirit of strength, joy and work! We should be readying ourselves for the tasks and bring resolve into our hearts to meet the challenges with gladness and hope and strength. Annie Christmas can receive an offering of a machete and some good strong drink (rum) and this can be placed on or next to the Ogun altar. Certainly Queen Marie herself will welcome some dark strong coffee (french roast), appropriately sweetened with cane sugar, and a shot of rum. We offered her a new pipe! Perique tobacco is nice for her pipe, or a Native American mix. A small machete might be a good tool for her this year, as well as the proximity of the drums. It may be that Queen Marie will be reclaiming the French Quarter and the port of New Orleans and maybe even the city which certainly needs for some people to get off their collective butts and begin challenging themselves with real work, physical work. Enough already of the committees and panels of experts and planners, what is needed is more willingness to put hard work where the mouth is! You know who you are, all ye 'rebuilders of New Orleans". Some people have worked so hard, gutting their houses single-handedly and rebuilding one room at a time, camping in half-finished dwelling and noxious fema trailers and working, working, working. So we pray that for those, who have exemplified the Spirit of Annie Christmas for three long years now, she will come to crown their achievement and there will be great joy at the completions of their tasks. Some neighborhoods have been rebuilt with love throughout great hardships, may these people find rest now and a peaceful and joyous year ahead.
The New Year will be under the auspices of Shilibo, Oya and Chango. This portends a year of change- of shape shifting : people who are not what they appear as well as events which may seem to portend a given conclusion, only to abruptly change direction and bring startling consequences. These changes can be extremely difficult and perplexing as we are creatures of habit and do not like any form of change, whether it is in our daily routines, diets, places of residence or work. These changes are considered most stressful according to any psychology or psychiatry you wish to consult or read. But they are not stressful of themselves any more than the natural changing of seasons, they are stressful to us because we wish for things to remain as they are, for the status-quo to remain and our lives to stick to established routines. We find pleasure and solace in our routines. So this new year will see many of our beliefs, habits, security thrown up in the air, and we will need to make the constant effort to remind ourselves that it will all come back to a better arrangement, a better state of equilibrium if we use wisdom and foresight throughout those upheavals. This is only the beginning however and I personally believe the changes to come have begun this past year and will continue and indeed escalate in intensity and magnitude for the next 3 years. Indeed the last messages from last year concerned the number four - that we had entered the great four years of change, the same four years which are to become the pillars of the new millenium. For the house to be strong, the foundation must be even and balance and strong and that can only be laid by people who are equally even and balanced and strong. Hence the influence of Chango! Oya is the mistress of change, Chango comes to cleanse, renew and lead the community. Chango is fire, energy, rhythm, victory. Shilibo is the aspect of the four elements who animate intellectual activity, abundance of ideas, clarity of thought, completion of understanding. Whereas Eleggua's number is three, I see Shilibo also reflecting the four as one who wishes to be assisted by this Spirit must be well balanced between air, water, fire and earth. Shilibo has been associated for me with both solstice and epiphany. Indeed the understanding and clarity given by Shilibo often comes as "an epiphany". My La Sirena 9-day Voodoo Bath kit is particularly designed for elemental balance, helping to bring water,earth, air and ether in harmony and that is one of its great assets. This course of 9 baths can be done four times a year, at the time of the equinoxes and solstices for instance. It can be made for improvements in a specific area (love, money, etc.) or it can be custom -made after a reading- consultation. Queen Marie Laveau offered her birthday as December 31st! We all know that there is no birth records for her though many records were kept by the Catholic Church during both colonial periods of Louisiana. It is generally agreed that she was born in 1794, the year of the second great fire in the city. Now, she has intimated to us that her birthday was December 31st, one of the feast days of Yemaya. This would also have made her a Capricorn, and she certainly was a pragmatic and grounded lady who completed her tasks and coupled ambition with well rounded abilities to further the needs of her community. Queen Marie has brought ancestors to speak and show themselves and pass messages of love and protection which were very much appreciated.
On the world scene I also see abundance of changes, sudden and unsettling changes. Pakistan remains a most dangerous place but the thought that keeps coming back is the impredictibility of what is to come! So we are predicting instability of the kind that cannot be seen or deduced from history but rather who will take us by surprise or may not seem to be all that great, only to have awesome repercussions. The great downfall of Pakistan has began a year ago with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and though it seems this day to hold itself together, there will be a fatal succession of great tragedies that will bring more upheavals in this region. Another example of awesome changes that begun last year already: as the housing bubble burst, no one got too frantic about it - only to witness the catastrophic meltdown of markets worldwide. Indeed the housing collapse had been predicted and expected but not its awesome consequences. Banks continue to be on the verge of collapse and there is no amount of money that can obliterate the precipice in front of us. Public works can and must be created but in the present situation, the danger is not in spending or doing too much but in doing and spending too little. And yet as of Dec. 24th the Federal financial system had already pumped up to 1.2 trillion dollars into the economy to no avail and as stocks fluctuated widely. The Feds had promises of another 4 trillions to be printed in the future, but what is backing up all this money printing? Ultimately the people must back up the debt and they will not be able to. Again, looking at history we can see it repeats itself: global conflagrations were preceded by unprecedented economic crisis and the printing of money! But what sparked the conflagrations were improbable incidents that seemed not to be necessarely of such great importance. Again let us look at Pakistan: the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is all but nearly forgotten but it will have been the one single incident to begin the great downward spiral. We need to remember the beginning of WWI was the assassination of the Austrian archeduke , the beginning of WWII the burning of the Reichtag, but when these events happened, no one could have predicted that such awesome consequences would follow that would engulf the entire world in war. I believe that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is such an event, that it will have had the potential of engulfing the entire world again in war IF WE let it. The cup must be emptied before it can be filled again. So what do we wish to fill it with? The cup this time may be emptied through crashing to the ground and breaking in a thousand pieces. So we will have to pick up the pieces and put it back together. This is when foresight and wisdom, clarity of thought and earnest desires come in. Which world do we wish to live in after the great shift of the next three years? Bill Maher in an interview said that he could not fathom why the American people were not in the streets with pitchforks! He was of course referring to the industry giants flying in private jets, and financiers making off with people's monies. Of course to a French woman, the idea of people in the street with pitchforks conjures up quite a few interesting images! But a revolution may not succeed only by outwards means, it can also succeed because of the silent will of the people and through the collective power of what they choose to do and maybe even more importantly what they choose not to do. I have been exhorting people to live simply, to reduce their consumption of unnecessary goods, to boycot the big box stores but to buy locally from the small stores thereby supporting their community, to respect and nurture the environment, to give back and to take less, to live according to better and more honest principles. There is such a thing as critical mass - once the will of the people is strong enough, the scale will tip in favor of positive changes. A momentum can be created but the direction is for us to set and the impulse for us to apply.
President Obama was elected with a solid margin and has been given a solid mandate to lead the nation through these changes. His election certainly portends a return to sanity, and the will of the American people to abandon prejudice and narrow-mindedness, to not be swayed by scare tactics any longer and to choose hope and optimism and wisdom. Certainly he comes under the sign of Chango - Chango the mythic African king who rules with great charisma, is devoted to his children and believes in bringing great prosperity to the community. Sounds familiar? But there are also cautionary tales; Chango finds his kingdom thriving in part because he has place Eleggua behind the door and is taking care of Him. We can only hope that the choice of dresses in black /red motif by Michelle Obama and their two daughters was a sign of such understanding. In time though, Chango the king forgets his duty to Eleggua and the country begins a long downfall into want and scarcity. More ominous are the tragedies which Chango brings upon himself, having become infected with absolute belief in his own invicibility, So let us pray that Mr. Obama give thanx and praises where they are due and watch carefully who is at his back and remains always always aware that he is hardly infaillible. The great tragedy will come if Mr. Obama, instead of serving Eleggua and consulting Chango, believes himself to have become Him and forgets the little messenger behind the door. The election of M. Obama was in itself a great event, when the people chose to elect a man of mixed cultural heritage, who is an islander, one raised in such different cultures and environment as Hawai and Indonesia, not to mention his middle name! This election was a welcome proof of the ability of Americans to right themselves up once in a while and choose a worthy leader, putting prejudice and cowardice behind. Obviously Mr. Obama's unusual background and exposure to various cultures should help him think outside the box and be an open and fair minded leader. Mr. Obama is also an expert on constitutional law and it's been a very very long time since we've had a president with this expertise. So there are many areas where the path can be righted. I cannot say the same for his cabinet which definitely seems "old guard". This is where my greatest doubts lie: can one man with a worthy vision lead a team of stoid politiciens who have been around for so long and lead them to achieve some measure of difference? The developments of the next few years will have been foretold by history and a careful scrutiny of shenanigans past can certainly enlighten many towards possible pitfalls in the future. But the nature of the coming times also holds a greater degree of impredictibility and here the people will have the opportunity to manifest collective wisdom if they wish to change the course of the planet for the future. I often like to meditate in my own Benazir-dedicated garden, the area that has been planted with camellias and where a small statue of a woman in a white pant-dress with her head bowed down stands next to a Chinese rain stool. It is beyond the Maman Brigitte altar and ponds and faces the western sky - the direction of reflection, of the Ancestors. There, I come to think of Benazir as having been a representation of the positive forces of Yemaya, not simply because she was the mother of three children but because she saw herself as a mother to her country and to her people. On the other hand I can quite see Hillary Clinton as a warrior Oya, brandishing the tools and sweeping with winds of change ahead of Chango. Such a pair can be formidable in battle and indeed bring momentous changes for the good of all. But again, will they manifest the necessary humility to keep the Gods blessing them or will they become abandoned by them and see their destiny unravel into chaos? There may well be a period of political honeymoon both at home and abroad and some great strides forward but I am afraid some momentous event will bring this to a halt and plunge us back into political and economic difficulties of even greater magnitudes.
Planetary events are also shaping our future destiny: there is a polar shift in the works, this can accomplish itself over the course of many years - I predict thirty years - and will have serious repercussions upon communications, travel, climate, tides and currents, but of course also the glandular and elemental balances within each of us. Again, using bath kits in a regular fashion to re-balance the elements around and within oneself is most important. As the magnetic forces shift, the elements within and without will be greatly affected and I cannot stress enough the necessity of re-balancing once for each season.
There is also the approaching cosmic object Apophis which is to reach our solar system in 2012. A lot of scientists are asking for world cooperation in finding a way to better understand the risks to our planet and how to best manage these risks. The popular position is that 2012 will allow us to better view the asteroid and study its shape, mass and trajectory and that it will possibly hit the Earth in 2036. I am not so sure this is the whole truth. If Apophis was in imminent danger of wiping us all out, would they tell us? There is also the immense gravitational pulls exerted onto the smaller constallation Sagittarius by the Milky way and the near collapse of Sagittarius. I have written about this earlier and you can read it below on this page (by scrolling down some ways). There is a lot of litterature and internet sites about the great astronomical changes taking place right now . I have posted below a text courtesy of our sister Temple (Temple of our Lady, Star of the Sea), that gives other links for those of you who wish to research on your own. My interest is that this is a unique and awesome time in planetary history and we have amazing possibilities of witnessing changes in the stuff of the universe that will give us better understanding of its nature, its workings, its possible future and also of our own destiny. Who are we, where do we come from, where are we going? These questions are not asked and certainly not answered in times of placid contentment, by people who follow the flock and are content to ruminate old ideas and historical beliefs. We are at the juncture where all things are possible. We are truly at a crossroads of worlds colliding and universes expanding. It is the time for us to remember there are parallel universes, there are unseen (by the eyes) dimensions, they are untold possibilities by the myriads. It is time for us to dream and then to manifest our dreams! It is also time for us to stand on firm ground and to stay balanced with the elements.
The Chinese New Year will be that of the Earth Ox. This emphasizes the need to remain grounded, to pursue our goals with diligence and patience, and to view ourselves as the farmer who works his land according to the seasons but always with the goal in mind: that of a good harvest for himself and his community. The earth ox can be a great foundation upon which the spirits of change and renewal move upon. Air is necessary for the earth itself to breathe, for the vegetation to breathe. The winds of change are useful to carry the seeds, pollen and blow away dead matter. The fire element can be cleansing to the earth and can promote new growth and new fertility in areas previously under-producing. Yet fire must be contained or it will ruin habitats. Water will be a more tricky element, as water can fertilize the land and nourish the land, it can also drown everything in its path. Therefore it will be a year to control one's emotions and impulses carefully and to not allow oneself to be submerged or inundated be it by feelings, projects or new ideas. The year of the Earth Ox will be best if we carefully measure out steps, retain an attitude of constancy in our work and progress and remain steadily focused on the place we wish to attain. We begin the new year with the Feast day of Ogun (jan17th) and so again, let us place some offerings for Annie Xmas, that woman of courage and earthiness and determination! A nice big red onion and a piece of sack cloth can be offered to Ogun and Annie as well next to their work implements. Plant an avocado tree in the garden! For this year of the Ox, our goals should be measured, steady and we should exercise both courage and perseverance. This is an excellent year to work on the house and gardens. A good year to plant trees and veggie gardens, to till and renew our efforts in the area of earth and animal care. However he northeast corner will be unlucky and all efforts should be taken not to have one's desk, word area or bed facing in that direction. Also not a good area to begin work or renovations.
Finally I would like to mention the following books which have been some of the most interesting reading during the past year. I am a passionate reader and often have 3-4 books by my bedside, reading a bit in turn as the mood fits. - Benazir Bhutto: Reconciliation. A good analysis of US politics around the globe up to now. - The Black Swan by Nassim N. Taleb (about the philosophy of the impredictable) - Time on Fire, by Evan Handler (about his battle with leukemia and the difficulties of dealing with the medical establishment, an easy read). - The Tin-Roof Blow Down, by James Lee Burke. Mr. Burke is an acclaimed writer of mystery/detective stories set in Louisiana and Montana. This particular one has some of the best descriptions and most accurate analysis of what happened during and after Katrina and why the city of New Orleans continues to flounder in corruption, poverty and crime. Very entertaining.
| ST JOHN'S EVE 2008 - The Passing of Spring and Advent of Summer
St John's Eve, on June 23rd is the foremost voodoo holiday of the year. Throughout New Orleans voodoo altars are spruced up, offerings are made, drums beat and voices sing and chant, serviteurs rejoice and dance.
This holiday has taken place every year, for nearly 300 years!! For nearly 2 of those centuries, it took place in Congo Square, many of those years with the blessing of the Queen of Voodoo, Marie Laveau. Today it is more discreet, but in many neighborhoods, one can hear the sound of the drums coming from this house or that courtyard.
This feasting corresponds with the end of spring and the advent of summer, with the summer solstice, the cresting of the sun at its northernmost point.
This year, Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple celebrated St John's Eve not for a day but for a week!
We began preparations over the week-end, the ritual day falling on monday which is the usual day for altar work and weekly offerings. By monday, all that was left to do was to set up the plates, bowls and baskets filled with fruits and refreshments on the altars and begin the celebrations. But this year, we were also blessed with a wedding to celebrate on the following saturday so the Spirits advised that we should just continue with offerings and prayers throughout the week until the day of the wedding and then it would be another week-end and another monday coming with its own ritual of offerings so why not make it a whole week of celebrations and prayers and honoring of the Spirits? So we did!
It was a lot of work and a lot of celebration but it was all worth it.
St John's Eve was wonderful, a time of prayer and reflection and giving thanx! On saturday next (june 28th), we united the young couple and had a wonderful wedding celebrationl. Our master drummers Puppi and Iya Ra were there , Iya-Ra coming from Houston for the occasion and we had a wonderful new drummer Chad, who proved himself equally at home with the Bamboula, the Yanvelou and the Afro-Caribbean rhythms led by Puppi.
All week long there had been small signs, encouraging us to keep going and we believe the young couple will be richly blessed.
I was personally enlivened and finally got my new Queen Marie Laveau page ready for this website. Check out her history and maybe make the resolution to set up an altar to her in your own house. You could not choose a better guide. She guided Louis and I to Paris a couple of years ago and helped resolve so many problems and difficulties. You can order a custom made Queen Marie doll and she can be the center piece of your altar to Her and then you can order Voodoo at Cafe Puce and have a nice read, about our visit to Paris and how she brought us there and how we brought her with us!
St John's Eve is when we remember Her most particularly and renew our prayers to our illustrious ancestor that she may bless us for the whole of the following year.
At the Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple, spring and then summer brought on our busy planting and gardening season in the Moon n' Stars garden.
By St John's eve, we had already had 3 harvests of mint, lemon balm, penny royal and basil! Each time the herbs are cut back, they come back twice as strong. The cuttings are laid out to dry on the table (see below) and then bagged for future use in gris-gris bags, wanga dolls, baths etc. When we say we use organic herbs and we make our products ourselves, we really mean it! No wholesale-bought "bath blend" or "herbal blend" used here!
The echinacea has bloomed remarkably well this year and the eucalyptus bush is getting bigger and the huge pot of skullcap is also overflowing , though we have not had to cut them back like the others who threatened to take over the whole garden. The rosemary bush is huge, the lambs'ear is springing up around the mother plant and we have several kinds of salvia blooming: red, black, purple and blue! By April the herb and flower garden is usually in its most beautiful riotous stage, and that is my most favorite time, when all the work of early spring, mulching and cleaning and planting really pays off. By St John's eve we have already dried herbs bagged for our own use and for healthful teas for our own consumption. The hawthorns are also producing much berries to be made into tincture if need be: this is the best remedy ever to regulate and balance one's blood pressure.
Our new plantings this year include foxglove and among the flowers and decorative plants, we have an abundance of hibiscus (sacred to Durga), roses (sacred to Oshun, Yemaya), Gardenia ( Obatala), Confederate rose ( Erzulie), Chrysenthemums ( Oya), Wisteria (Yemaya), Honeysuckle (Obatala), Jasmine (Oshun) and more.. I have counted 98 potted plants (bromeliads, umbrella plants, snake plants, cacti, cigar plant, butterfly bush,)and 21 new trees.. My favorite additions of late are the Jacaranda which seems to be doing so well and the finishing of the camellia garden.. (more on that below). Look, I even manicure the ditches, with several varieties of irises who bloom in fantastic shades of yellow, burgundy and blue in April /May and black magic Elephant Ears!
This spring, also saw me setting up a separate agave growing bed though it already looks like the mother plant will soon need to be moved to the Palm Garden as she is getting so huge! I have also started the mini-orchard behind our house/temple but then the drought came and the young trees, in particular the Louisiana mayhaw is struggling with that. Hopefully it will make it and grow tall and strong and fruitful. Of course the banana grove is doing well, those things just always grow and grow. Our mother banana tree comes from Louis Martinie's house when they lived on 3rd street in the Garden district. Those trees are seen in an Italian documentary film we made in the courtyard, with none other drumming but Louis, Puppi and Iya-Ra, 18 years ago!! Whoa, how time flies!
Now the long hot days of summer are upon us and with the passage of St John's Eve several resolutions were made:
- I was asked to strengthen my practice to Babalu - Aye, who brings health and wealth. I will be working on specific services and rituals to Babalu!
- I will be working on a series of large Earth inspired paintings, as an offering for the future of our planet. These paintings are based on satellite photos of specific areas of each continent and each painting is an offering, a prayer to safeguard and heal our beautiful fragile Earth. In all things we can choose to send thoughts of fear and negativity or love and hope and faith. The tools are always of our choice so we can say prayers or make offerings or offer a dance, drum beats or artwork.
- I will be more active in promoting sensible healthy and simple living through the websites and my work with individual clients and groups alike. My most important areas of input are as follows:
1) Recycle, simplify, conserve energy. This is a lot simpler than most people think. Use little gas, little paper (get rid of that printer!), little food and water (you'll feel better for it). Shop less (save gas and money!). Boycott the big box stores (you know which they are) and buy fresh from your local market or grower. Barter and browse your used-stuff shops..great bargains there and lovely things that have a history.
2) Each One Adopt One! This is my new motto. Not everyone can have a dog (we have two, as gifts to Babalu-Aye, both rescued from shelters, beautiful Louisiana Catahoula dogs!), but you can adopt a bird, a rabbit, a cat, a snake! Let's stop the killing of unwanted pets. Goats are remarkably easy to keep, as long as you have a good yard and a solid fence for them.
Neuter and Spay your animals, or pool with your city neighbors to help neuter and spay the feral animals in your area. If you absolutely can do none of those, volunteer at your local shelter or become a foster family for an adoptable pet.
We should live in harmony with Nature, with the Spirits who can then watch over us and guide us as we return the products of Earth to them in service and offerings.
We should enjoy our homes more and work less and spend NO time at the mall or other unhealthy places (artificial light, bad food!!).
A simple life is a beautiful life. All real pleasures are birthed within ourselves and require no outside source to be nurtured. So, stay home, plant a garden, read, paint, play music, sing, dance, give thanx for life and our beautiful blue planet.
If all our prayers rise together, we can change the tide of destruction and despair and bring about real change. We cannot change that which is without unless we nurture our own inner garden first.
Prophecies -Revelations - Sacred Texts
|NEW YEAR - 2008 - YEAR OF EARTH RAT -
The Chinese New Year came on Feb 8th, with the New Moon.
The rat is the animal that always flees the ship before it sinks. So this should give us pause to think about where our lives are going, our personal safety and that of our communities.
The earth is our larger community and so I am writing now about our Sacred Earth, sharing some of my feelings, views, commitments, suggestions as well as some interesting scientific facts which have surfaced just recently.
Certainly our daily lives often seem more and more perilous and stressful by the day. Whether we are simply pushed by the vicissitudes of life, like the Fool of the Tarot, who wanders on the edge of the precipice, the small dog nipping at his heels, or whether time/space have really being rachet-ed up (sorry I made up that word), this is really how it feels. Oftentimes we feel quite as if we are hurtling forward with less and less control over the circumstances in our lives.
OK, the economic situation is part of it. The wars and calamities that are raging across our globe certainly influence our mode of thinking. The US is in the midst of electoral campaigns. And yet, we also feel that something greater is happening, something we feel but cannot put our finger on exactly and certainly do not feel able to influence ourselves.
I decided this year NOT to write yearly predictions - they might be too vast and too gloomy.
On the other hand there is a huge amount of work to be done, for individuals who care about themselves, their communities and the well-being of our planet as a whole.
Most of us can do very simple things, many of which cost nothing. I am making a partial list below:
1) Get a length of chicken wire (or a garbage pail with pre-drilled holes if you can afford it) and set up a compost pile for all your biodegradable trash
2) Get a chimenea (one of those Mexican clay outdoor chimneys) and burn your paper trash (NO plastics) leaves, sticks etc.. instead of filling more plastic trash bags.
3) Pier I is selling for less than $2, very handy large canvas bags for your grocery shopping. Shun plastic bags. Carry 2, 3 or even 4 or 5 canvas bags and bag your groceries in them. Once you try it, you'll love it. They do not tear like plastic bags, you can put more in each one and they tend to not spill over all over you car either. Other canvas bags are available - and check garage sales too!
PLASTICS do not degrade, they just break down into smaller and smaller pieces but the polymer does not degrade. So this is way more important than it may seem at first.
4) Go through your house and see how many items are made of plastic. You'll be appalled! Try and replace as many as you can with more natural stuff. Ok, you can't do it all at once but each time you need to replace and item, shun plastic and artificial stuff, try a more natural item. Choose wood - bamboo - cloth instead of plastic.
5) Support free democratic societies by buying products made there and boycott products from undemocratic states or countries with poor human rights record.
6) This includes Boycotting All Products From China until Tibet is liberated and until China stops supporting Sudan in its genocide of the people of Darfur. Believe me, it's very hard to not buy anything from China. The laptop I'm working on right now came via Shangai. I know it - can't do a thing about it. But if we try, every little item does count.
7) Write and campaign against the Olympics to be held in China. Public pressure has already convinced Steven Spielberg to withdraw his artistic direction for the opening celebration. Good, we can watch his movies again.
8) Go through your house and replace these light bulbs! Again you don't have to do it at once but when an old bulb burns out, put in one of the new spiral ones.
9) Do not support Big Oil - instead buy from your local refineries. This is a lot easier to do than it seems and you'll save money as well. Plus you will not be supporting unpalatable policies that are only geared to profit and greed.
10) Eat healthy and simply , whenever buy organic or locally grown products. If you do not live in the city, try growing a few things or plant fruit trees etc..
11) Wear natural fibers - cotton, silk, wool. Rayon is not so bad as it is derived from wood, which is a renewable resource. Shun all synthetics in your apparel and your furnishings.
12) Do not abuse your body, which is the temple for your soul, through drinking of alcoholic beverages, smoking or drugs. Shun artificial medicines, instead consult a master herbalist, or a naturopath. When your body is clean of artificial foods and chemicals, it will naturally tell you what it needs, you will be hungry for certain things and if unwell you may have certain cravings which will naturally direct you towards what you need to get better. There are excellent herbal teas, tinctures and homeopathic remedies available today which allow your body to recover naturally while strengthening your immune system so you do not fall sick over and over again.
13) Plant a tree. Think if everyone planted just ONE TREE! Nurture it and look after it. It will give you shade, pride, joy - and maybe even flowers or fruits. So far I have planted a good dozen trees not counting the palms! Refrain from cutting existing trees. Trees have a soul and have a vital part in the greater scheme of things. There is an excellent little book called Hinduism and Ecology which speaks clearly of the historical and natural value of trees.
14) Adopt a pet - again, think if every single person adopted a pet - how wonderful THAT would be. You don't have to have a dog if you are too busy to take care of it. A cat can manage much better on its own, or even a rabbit, a bird, a snake, a turtle.. Do not buy expensive animals from pet shops which only encourages irresponsible breeders, but visit your local shelters until you find the right pet for yourself. Look at websites for adoptable pets.
Rev. Kenneth says that complete devotion to one's pets leads to enlightment.
Our sister temple cares for 3 dogs and 3 birds.
My own Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple now cares for 2 goats, 2 dogs (both rescued), and 2 snakes, plus some fish in the pond..
15) Feed the birds daily - this is a task but if you can be consistent you will be rewarded with nearby nests and lovely birds to watch. Feed the squirrels (they deserve our love too) and let the critters come. It is also nice to plant flowering shrubs for butterflies, hummingbird, and bees.
LIFE DESIGNS - FENG SHUI - REIKI , AT NOVC.
It is my privilege to often describe my work by saying : Voodoo helps heal the individual, the community and the world.
This means that as the individual heals oneself, he or she is better able to make a positive and healing influence upon the community and many such communities is what our world is. So do not discount your small efforts. But as everything changes constantly, we should not expect our efforts to stop suddenly and to rest with yesterday's tasks. To heal oneself is to become more attuned to oneself and our individual relationship with our environment, our planet and our universe. The Spirits inhabit our universe as well. As we center ourselves, we are closer to the world of Spirit.
My healing work and self-healing began with more traditional Native American Medicine - the Earth as the foundation. Blessed by the Great Spirit. Over the years I have added many experiences and teachings from various traditions. So on the foundation have been built many edifices. But they are not disparate or discordant.
At this time, this 2008 year, which a year of great change and great risks, it is more important than ever to strengthen our foundation and pace our journey in a steady and sure way. We need a strong center, clear vision, an encompassing agenda of life and wellness. Only through this steps we can hope the weather the next four years and beyond.
When we are centered and whole and quiet within, we are quite cognizant of our intuition, the voice of the Ancestors and the Spirits. And thus we are guided to the place of light.
So for this year of 2008 I have chosen to offer a new page - new services which however are not new as I have been practicing and honing them to perfection for many many years.
But it is time for me to put those resources out into the planetary community for the benefit of all.
• Through Feng Shui readings, we can help delineate areas of weakness and areas of strength so you can build a more stable and secure foundation.
• A thorough house or office cleansing is often a very beneficial step to change a negative course into one of success and abundance.
• Energies can be reinforced and balanced with the judicial use and placement of certain gemstones or the wearing of gemstone jewelry.
• The judicial use of herbal baths prepared in conjunction with the moon cycles can help the individual with a lift for new projects, or solidify areas that are already well underway.
• Look to the near future for Medicine Bundles and Medicine Woman readings which will encompass your animal, vegetal and mineral totems.
THE COUNTDOWN TO 2012 / MORE ON THE MAYAN PROPHECIES
With talks all over the news about the US possibility of firing a missile to take out a spy satellite that is now on the verge of re-entering the atmosphere and crashing to Earth, it is most natural for many of us to look upward and wonder what else could just happen to be on a collision course with our Blue Planet.
Well, there just happens to be an asteroid named 99942 Apophis and which was just discovered in 2006 by astronomers. It was also discovered that this asteroid has a faint chance of striking Earth in 2029. Then this was changed to telling us that it may pass very near our planet, but without striking it. Yet we were told, don't discount it entirely because as it passes us by, it may be pulled into a a gravitational "hole," and then it will shift its orbit and strike Earth in 2036.
But then it was revealed that it will come very near our Earth, in 2012-2013. Hmmm.. Just in time to tie in nicely with the Maya Prophecies (see below).
NASA is considering firing a missile towards the asteroid to plant a beacon onto it at the most appropriate time. Right! When in doubt - shoot - that's the motto these days.
MORE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE MAYAN PROPHECIES,
You will also be interested in the following:
A recent article in ViewZone revealed a very interesting and recent discovery of astronomers and scientists: whereas we have always believed and certainly been taught that our Solar System is part and parcel of the great Milky Way, it seems that in fact this is all wrong. Our Solar System in fact belongs to Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy!
This conclusion was reached through a major project at the U. of Massachusetts, during which scientists deliberately mapped out the sky with infrared light. The mapping project showed that the Milky Way is in fact devouring OUR galaxy !(the Sagittarius Dwarf - no I am not making this up).
The study has been published in the Astrophysical Journal, showing the entire map of the Sagittarius galaxy which is ten thousand times smaller than the Milky Way. The study shows how the smaller galaxy is being torn and stretched into the larger Milky Way.
This phenomena, now exposed also answers the age-old question of why the Milky Way has always appeared to astronomers as being on an angle, a fact I can attest to from watching the beautiful Milky Way from the somewhere far out in the Atlantic and it did seem rather to be standing sideways. Our vision is simply not equipped to see the interaction of the two galaxies but the new mapping has allowed scientists to view clearly Sagittarius in its entirety. It then became readily apparent that stars and clusters of stars have already been swallowed up by the Milky Way from their original parent galaxy, and our solar system is already within but can be traced back to its original parent Sagittarius parent.
What is even more interesting - particularly in view of the Maya prophecies - is that Sagittarius is now at a critical moment when it is hardly able to sustain itself because of the enormous gravitational pulls which it is being subjected to. We are watching the death of a galaxy as it is being absorbed into a much bigger one. This gobbling up of galaxies certainly has happened countless times in the history of the universe, however what is important to us is that now our Solar System is due to pass through the debris of Sagittarius. Let's make it clear: we are part of the Sagittarius dwarf , but being "eaten" by the Milky Way, we are now in a position where debris from Sagittarius is raining on us.
There are still a lot of calculations and observations to make, particularly concerning the Milky Way and the distribution of its dark matter. Also more research is needed to understand and calculate how this affects our sun - its burning hotter and the increase in temperature in the other planets of our solar system , which cannot be accounted by global warming from human and industrial causes.
Even more interesting is the following quote from scientists:
" This grand turning is possibly the root cause for the discontinuation of the Mayan calendar (the most accurate on the planet) because the 'read-point' of the Pleiades star cluster, which many believe the calendar was based upon, can no longer be a constant as we begin to steer away from the earlier predictable movements."
Many other changes have been noticed throughout our solar system, which are now believed to be caused by this new understanding of our true position in Sagittarius Dwarf within the Milky Way, such as a proliferation of dark spots on Pluto, magnetic polar shifts on Uranus and Neptune, increased force of the magnetic field on Jupiter, surprising and unexpected data coming back from Mars, and many many more.
Again the scientists warn:
"In our movement through space, our Earth has now fully begun to respond to the more powerful galactic energies and electro-gravitational bias of the massive Milky Way. We have reached the higher energy equatorial disc region of the massive spiral arm. We have now been "adopted" by a new system, a stronger and more powerful system, and we can expect changes on almost every level of energy. Whatever these changes are, they are all part of the natural birth, death, rebirth and transformation of the cosmos".
For interested readers, I will be glad to forward the entire article I drew this information from and which also contains additional links.
There is also more about the Maya Prophecies below on this same page - please scroll down.
SO IN THIS YEAR 2008 - YEAR OF THE EARTH RAT, IT IS TIME TO CENTER OURSELVES AND PREPARE AND HAVE CLEAR VISION AS WELL AS TO LOVE OUR PLANET AND OUR WORLD.
SAMSARA AND NIRVANA
BUT DO NOT COVER THE FACE
OF PURE MIND
MIND IS / DEVOID OF MIND
PURE MIND IS CLEAR LIGHT
PURE MIND IS EMPTINESS OF SKY
THERE ARE NOT PAST AND FUTURE LIVES
THE TRIPLE WORLD FLOWS IN EACH MOMENT
AND EMPTY THE DEPTH OF SAMSARA
OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASOM GATE BODHI SVAHA
A VISIT FROM H.H, THE XIV DALAI LAMA
This month of october I was fortunate to be able to travel to Bloomington IN to receive several days of teaching from H.H the XIV Dalai Lama. What a blessed person he is. He is so enlivened and enlivening, often making jokes but always sweet ones and often at his own expense. Very humble he is, which makes him all the more endearing to us. He insists that he does not believe in the term Holy and that there are no differences between him and ourselves. But his accomplishments, travels, and spiritual knowledge and expertise put him far above our puny heads and so we, one and all, remained in awe of his grasp or spiritual matters, which are the keys to ultimate enlightement and freedom, and felt so very blessed to be in his presence and hear his well-spoken words.
From those days came the spiritual treasure, the prayer which I am sharing above, a prayer that came to me and which I feel is a great asset in these days or economic and spiritual turbulence in the world. It is a good thing to read every morning and before retiring also at night and whenever one feels put off balance during the day too!
The University of Indiana at Bloomington facilitated with great expertise and wonderful arrangements for H.H. to speak and we were very comfortable in their auditorium which had been decorated appropriately for the event. (See photo below).
The lectures were very well attended. On the 3rd day, H.H. addressed us from Purdue U. and we got to see him through live-video feed on a huge screen. Both his opening lecture at Bloomington and his speaking engagement at Purdue reiterated his message of compassion as the gateway to clear mind though it is obvious that understanding the absence of "self" (as a distinct and different entity) is necessary for us to exercise true compassion. These two general lectures also were a beautiful and powerful framework to the other four sessions of teachings which were based on the text "Atisha's Lamp for the Path of Enlightement". On the last day H.H. again addressed a huge crowd, this time in a large venue, a sports arena of the U. of Indiana at Bloomington and again he amused us, entertained us, lifted our Spirits and transformed our hearts. What a blessing the whole event was and we all felt changed, uplifted and utterly blessed by his presence.
The little vacation of study and spiritual retreat also allowed me to visit with Rev. Louis Martinie, and his wonderful wife Mishlen Linden whose art work can be seen at www.loupgarouroad.com and we had two enchanted evenings together sharing our impressions of the Dalai Lama's visit to Bloomington, as well as our thoughts on the present world situation, our arts and of course Voodoo. We rekindled our spirits and discussed at length the changes and growth that have taken place in our individual practices. It has been a long time since Louis was in N.O and his expert drumming and spiritual insight are always greatly missed. Finally I was able to drive around the lovely country side, the rolling hills of sourthern Indiana where the foliage was turning colors worthy of Chango and Oya and where the mists and low clouds increased the mystic sense I already felt throughout. Lake Monroe in its misty green hues and the darkened hills beyond were like a treasure-gift of Yemaya, and also reminded me of Chinese artwork, in its subtlety, mystic grace and beauty.
I cannot begin to repeat the many teachings that were imparted by H.H. Only the prayer I can give at this time. My heart and spirit are still digesting the teachings and though I felt instantly empowered and enlivened by his presence and wonderful words of wisdom, it will take months before they are absorbed and translated fully into my spiritual works in some small ways.
However it has strengthened my resolve to offer new services and products, which have been a long time in the works and so look forward to some additional pages to the site for the New Year.
DAY OF THE DEAD:
In Voodoo we celebrate our Ancestors, daily, with prayers and offerings at the Ancestors altar. This is done all over the world in many cultures but seems to be absent in our western civilization where we are encouraged to think we appear out of nothing and have no other aim than happiness through consumerism. Though it is a good practice to live in the moment and be in the present and not worry about the past about which we can now do nothing or the future which is uncertain (the Barons always remind us of the fragility of life), yet it is also a good practice to understand and re-affirm the continuity of our world, our oneness with all others and the planet itself.
If we truly understood that our roots go back to the eternal past and our actions have repercussions in the eternal future, then there would be no war, no global warming, no inequities and atrocities in the world.
Or as we say in voodoo: we stand on our Ancestor's shoulders. And those in the future will stand on our own shoulders. How strong and peaceful and just do we make ourselves for the future?
What we mean by ancestors are all those who have come before us, like a tree has its roots which extend far beyond where the tree stands, and similarly everything we accomplish in this life-time will serve to nourish the future generations like a strong and healthy tree that is well rooted will carry many new branches and buds.
November 1st, the day after Halloween (to make hallow) is reserved each year for the celebration of the dead. In New Orleans and all over Louisiana families visit their cemeteries, often bringing wine, foods and flowers. The small cemeteries in the village of LaCombe on the borders of the lazy bayou, are ablaze with thousands of candle lights in the fashion of Mexican cemeteries and reflect the many passages of the Creoles between Louisiana ports and those of Central America, in particular Vera Cruz.
The tombs are cleaned and beautified for the occasion. The cemeteries take on a festive atmosphere and distant families gather to reminisce on their common ancestors.
In our Temples, we also beautify the Ancestors Altars, offering foods, candles, presents and flowers.
At the Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple we were happy to offer our Ancestors a Balinese Spirit House, as well as candles, French wine, flowers etc.. Music played and a bittersweet celebration filled the house.
The Ancestors' altar is the foundation of the temple and all spiritual work rests upon its shoulders so to speak. It is important to remember that whatever differences existed between our forbearers and ourselves were limited by the consciousness of the 'self" but do not exist any longer. What joins us to our ancestors is the divine spark that exists in all of us, and as such we can include everyone who ever walked on this earth, into our ancestral line. As my madrina used to say "the Spirits are not in the body, and so they do not recognize skin color". They are beings of light and spirits of nature. All colors and all forms of life are blessed by Them. They protect the planet, manifest in waters, rocks, trees, animals and ourselves.
So whereas we may construct an ancestors' altar that is highly personal with photographs of those we have known and lost, the spiritual practice itself, of caring for the altar and making offerings will remind us and carry us to that place where we know no distinction exists between our brothers and sisters the world over, where we revere our mothers the Earth and the Seas and long to reunite with the Light. We are but reflections of higher consciousness as light is reflected through a prism but originates from the true light.
Similarly the spiritual practice that identifies various Spirits (or Gods) serves to open the gate to the yearning we have to retrieve our path to the higher realm of bliss and eternal harmony.
You can read a page titled "Rites to the Ancestors" by accessing the History and Voodoo page and clicking at the top, near the picture.
THE CHANGING TIMES
Our sister temple, the Temple of Our Lady, Star of the Sea also celebrated a Day of the Dead ceremony with prayers and offerings.
And at this time we both were blessed with a "spiritual treasure" in the form of a revelation for the coming "change of time" - the advent of the new year.
We were given a specific "recipe" for a bath to be partaken on for 7 consecutive days, either the last 7 days of the present year or for the 7 beginning days of the new year (08).
As many of you know we are entering into a period of increasingly difficult times, when many natural and man-made cataclysms will occur on an ever larger scale. As I had predicted earlier, Pakistan is on the verge of collapse, politically, there have been earthquakes and floods, while other regions were in severe drought and devastated by fire. There are more political crisis and financial crisis looming as well as grave danger of even more devastating wars.
The Spiritual Bath for the Changing Times which were shared with us by our Ancestral Spirits are specific to help us transition into the level of awareness and strength which we will need to successfully embark and navigate through the coming difficult times which will last for at least the next four years. Then another transition will occur which will test us to the extreme.
We will be offering these Changing Times baths to our clients as well as to those who e-mail and ask for the gracious assistance of our Spirit Guides and Helpers.
SPRING IS HERE - AN UPDATE FROM
MOON N' STARS GARDENS / MADRE DE AGUA SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
Since we moved over to LaCombe, LA about 6 years ago, our daily work has been to render service to the Spirits, at the altars in the temple room and at the altars of Nature. A big plus in choosing our little house was the one + acre that came with it and the lay-out of this land which had already many mature trees of uncommon beauty.
The original layout included a central driveway with a beautiful red maple (sacred to Chango) to the left, directly in front of the house.
Facing out little house, to the left was a huge camellia bush and a row of 3 full grown magnolias (sacred to Obatala). On the opposite side, beyond and behind the house and the carport, 2 more full-grown magnolias and behind the garden and water sheds (the well pump and laundry equipment) stood 3 fig trees. The whole acre was also ringed with tall pine trees, a few ailing pecans and much much MUCH wisteria and honesuckle (sacred to Yemaya and Obatala). Leading to the front and side doors were rudimentary flower beds which had been grossly neglected and had been taken over by monkey grass. In the huge backyard a meadow was spread out with a lovely Ogun shed full of old rusty garden implements, tools and pieces of iron of all sorts.
So we got to work!
A plan was formulated and after 5 years we are well onto our way to complete our overall project. This has been a constant endeavour with many MANY hours of labor and much much money spent on plants, trees, bushes, seeds, mulch, herbs and flowers. Then Katrina happened and we lost many trees (including one magnolia, one very tall white oak, part of our wonderful maple, an elm and a few pines) but the house was safeguarded and the Ogun shed stood still and after months of cutting and cleaning and hauling we are back and better!
The side flower beds are now rioting with colors: zinias, black knight, purple salvia, blue salvia, confederate rose, hibiscus, philodendron, bougainvillier, lillies, hawthorn, miniature holly, jasmine, shrimp plant, vinca, impatiens, snapdragons, marigolds, aloe vera, agave, 5 different kinds of mint, sweet basil, sweet woodruff, 2 different kinds of sage, rosemary, eucalyptus, encircle the huge sweet olive tree and its climbing red rose. The front beds are filled with Mexican heather, a gardenia, a Japanese magnolia (which this year bloomed and bloomed and is still blooming) and lots of English ivy. To the right we have added 3 more camellia bushes but one was destroyed during Katrina. The original one has given us masses of dark pink-purple flowers each winter. One of the new ones gives us off- white blooms which fade to a lovely linen color.
A small pond has been dug between the 3 holly trees directly in front of our front porch , beyond the 2 brick columns that mark the entrance to the house and an altar to Maman Brigitte has been set up there with stones, and bricks and a small concrete pagoda roof. She has been given some old bottles too and an ornamental dragon, which had come
from Louis' altars. A small bench with an arbor and a climbing jasmine is set up facing the pond and the altar so one can meditate on the Ancestors and the passage of time. This is my favorite place to sit after dark in the evening.
On the other side of the driveway we have begun a palm garden in honor of Chango. Yucca are growing , a sego palm, a Chinese lady's fan and a Mexican fan palm. We are looking to acquire at least 2 more palm trees including a Canary date palm.
A vegetable garden has been planted out of recycled containers (old washing machine tubs make great containers for planting veggies). So far we have put in cukes, and peppers and tomatoes and sunflowers and zucchini squash. A pumpkin vine is also started. We are hoping for our own veggies this summer.
Between the palm garden and the veggie garden we have established an Ancestral grove which was in a natural niche in the woods, with a nice clump of pampas grass at its entrance and a small white oak. My mother always said Pampas grass reminded her of funerals! In the ancestral grove which is a little swampy I have put in a Louisiana Bald Cypress and there are some wild star-gazer lillies that grow there every year.
In front of the grove we have put in a plum tree as a gift to Mistress Oya and to the side, on the edge of the property a Juniper was rescued (had been thrown on the side of the road by some barbarian) and is doing quite well now.
Then we have the Oshun orchard: 2 Louisiana satsumas, a navel orange, a Mexican lime and a grapefruit tree.
The landscaping, lay-out and planting of these front and side gardens took 4 years. And then Katrina came but as I said, we have now recovered and can enjoy again our lovely gardens without wringing our hands.
Of course I am skipping the hanging plants, the miniature rose garden (this one is really only just started) and more...bromeliads, indigo, cacti on the front porch and much more in pots ....
This spring, we took on a momentous task: we fenced in about 1/3 of the backyard including the woods out back (have you ever tried to unroll wire fencing through woods full of thorny vines, downed trees and weeds of every kind??) We have put up about 550 yards of fencing and we now have "The Meadowland" . This is our new habitat for our resident goats, Little Deer and Gita.
Little Deer was purchased just a year ago with a donation from a client, who had a ceremony done for Ochosi. She is therefore a gift to Ochosi and was chosen for her name but also because after surveying several goats for sale, she came to me in a dream. So she was chosen. On november 18th Little Deer gave birth to her gorgeous baby girl, Gita, white with black spots and born without horns (I understand this is quite rare). We built them a pen in the back yard but they soon outgrew it so we now have them roaming freely in The Meadowland.
This is where we lost the huge white oak (now cut up in logs for next winter fires) while the Ogun shed stood intact! Happy Goats is the word these days. They love to run and romp and browse through the woods and graze on all the wild clover. We also have some wild bunnies who regularly come out in the evening. They are very tame near us, as they sense that we wish them no harm and they also graze on the wild plants. So we will not cut this area too much but leave plenty to eat for our four-legged friends.
My grand-daughter Mikhail was the generous help in this hard task of fencing.
The fig trees have been rid off the pesky vines which had covered them for so long and are doing well again. We have started 2 different banana groves; a regular plantain grove from small shoots that were brought from New Orleans and a small grove of red banana trees (these are outside the Meadowland as we have found the goats love to eat those big fat red leaves!).
Our next projects:
Continue onto the Container Veggie Garden: we are looking to plant eggplant, gourds, yellow squash, parsley etc..
We are looking to add more camellias to the Camellia Garden, probably 3 to 5 more bushes.
We are going to expand the rose garden - I am looking for a rose called "Marmelade Sky"! Also a white rose.
And we are looking to add 2 more palm trees and one more plum tree (different variety). Also a peach tree should be added between the Citrus Garden and the Veggie Garden.
Also Mikhail has expressed the desire to begin a Bunny Habitat (the rabbit is a very auspicious animal to have around). We are today hunting for a suitable hutch and will begin on fencing a separate habitat within the Meadowland for our domesticated bunnies.
We have also begun planting white oleanders at the very front of the property - between the ditch and the picket fence.
And we will start some avocado trees (at least 2) which will be planted near the Ogun shed of course.
We are also looking for some Louisiana mayhaw trees (2) to plant in the most soggy areas as they do quite well with wet feet. One will go in our dog yard and the other in the Meadowland.
The MOON N" STARS GARDENS is where we have done our many ceremonies over the course of the last 5 years. Lave-tetes, Rogation,
Cleansings, Blessings and Bindings!. We grow our own plants, flowers, and all the altars are there, naturally arranged by the Creator and Mother Nature. As we serve in the Gardens, so we are rewarded by the play of creation and the gifts of the Spirits.
Most of this has been made possible by the generous donations of friends and clients who have sent us small and large offerings towards the purchase of plants and trees and tools and mulch and equipment.
Often times this takes the shape of a donation sent for a specific Spirit and as we purchase an offering for the specific altar, on behalf of the client, we also add a plant or a shrub or a tree to the corresponding nature altar. And so our Garden grows. And you can be assured that your gifts continue to live on and bring many blessings, particularly to those who come to our humble abode for ceremonies.
The Moon N' Stars Gardens is a healing place, a giving place and a wonderful garden born of the gift of others and of the gift of Spirit.
Here are a few photos from the Moon N" Stars Garden.
|TIBETAN MONKS' SAND MANDALA - SLIDELL - LA - March 07 -
Just this first week of march, we were graced. less than 5 miles away from us, by the presence of 9 monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in South India. The monks practice Tibetan Buddhism which incorporates classical Indian Buddhism with elements of the ancient Bons religion from old Tibet. Oh, wait! Where I have heard this before?? When catholicism (and other Christian belief systems) were imported into Africa, they meshed with elements of the ancient African tradition. Sounds similar, doesn' it? It does and it is.
So for all of us who adhere to the Buddhist principles of compassion and spiritual healing, this was a real blessing.
The Drepung Loseling monastery monks are exiled from their native Tibet. Tibet fell to the Chinese communists in 1959 and since there has been a determined and coordinated efforts by the Chinese government to eradicate Tibetan culture as well as overwhelm the very existence of the Tibetan population.
Before 1959, Tibet was a center of knowledge and spirituality. It had thousands of monasteries and nummeries under the spiritual direction of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. In 1959, the Chinese army invaded Tibet and massacred tens of thousands of Buddhists monks and nuns and desecrated, often completely destroying the temples and monasteries.
At that time Drepung Loseling monastery had been the largest in Tibet. It had over 10 000 monks in residence. Of those 90% were killed by the Chinese.
However a few refugees managed to re-create the spiritual center in South India and today the new monastery in exile is the refuge for many beautiful artistic and spiritual traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. At present it houses again hundreds of monks.
The Sand Mandala is a sacred healing tradition.
Over the course of several days, the monks design and "paint" a healing mandala, using millions of grains of sand. The wet sand is first colored with natural dyes, then left to dry. The colors are brilliant. On an altar, next to their painting platform, the monks have an array of small silver offering bowls in which the various sands sit.
They use beautifully designed long and narrow funnels, also silver. A small scoop of sand of one color is used at a time, A special wand is rasped against the top of the funnel and this causes a tiny stream of sand to come out at the point of the funnel, one grain at a time. Thus the monks make fantastic pictures, with brilliant shades of color, graded hues, fine curves, crescents and arabesques, all in the overall design of a mandala.
The Sacred Sand Mandala of Slidell, Louisiana, was created by the monks as an offering for peace and healing. This was only the second time that this particular mandala for healing was done. The first time it was done was in New York City, after the World Trade Center collapse, in order to dispel the negative energies there and promote healing. This time the monks brought their healing to facilitate a quicker recovery from the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This Mandala contains the Eight Auspicious Symbols in its center. This is surrounded by 8 Auspicious Prayers which bring the various stages of healing and recovery.
Impermanence: After the entire mandala, in all its intricacies is finished, all the sand is gathered in one swoop during a closing ceremony. A little while later the sands are given to a body of water to be transported everywhere around. This symbolizes the impermanence of all things in this world.
Again there is a similarity with Voodoo: In Voodoo we trace ve-ve patterns which are mystical designs specific to the Spirits, with sand, cornmeal, various sacred powders. This mystical design contains and attracts the spiritual "ache" of the Spirits that is called upon. We make these veve before a ceremony of offerings. Then the dancers dance upon the design, thus scattering the powders to the four corners and the Ache from the Spirits is carried afar with the drum rhythms and the vibrations of the dancing feet.
The Monks also had a beautiful presentation of their sacred arts, dance and music, during one evening. We were treated to their polyphonic chanting, dancing and ritual making. They have immense grace and elegance in all they do . The dances performed were the Dance of the Black Hat Masters, the Dance of the Skeleton Lords, the Snow Lion Dance, the Dance of Celestial Travelers.
These titles also sound like they could belong in a Voodoo sacred ceremony. All the dances were performed to specific drum beats, sometimes the dancing monks themselves held small drums or bells. The dance steps always seem very grounded. Mishlen Linden volunteered "For me, its the way they 'dance', stomping on the ground, and letting their energy go INTO it-rather like a human stupa...and Tibetan rituals are all about rythum and chanting. That is, really, they do very little else, except for the hands. Which is a lot like voudoun in that they both share the same main ingredients to contact their spirts/gods/loa. They make offerings to them. "
The monks spoke of uniting fearlessness and elegance.
Now, these are qualities to live by!
During the week the Tibetan monks were in residence in Slidell, the Slidell Art League organized an exhibit of mandala made by members of the community and many of the children. A workshop on mandala designs was also offered. I myself designed and painted a mandala "In praise of Tara" which was exhibited during that week and which the monks told me they particularly liked and took photographs of.
Below are a photograph of the monks working on the sand mandala as well as a photo of my own painting "In Praise of Tara".
My painting is for sale. The profit from this sale will go to the Drepung Loseling monastery for their educational fund as the Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple is proud and honored to be the sponsor of one of the monks and refugee from Tibet.
AN OFFERING TO DAMBALLAH - Circa 1978 -
The Ages of Womanhood As Seen Through Her Relationship With The Snake
Childhood is innocence
The Sun rises above the East
The Serpent has not yet conjured up its visions
But is just a snake to chase in the high grass
And to wear around the waist for good fortune
The Sun now just above the South
Has scorched the spirit
And fired up the heart
The snake's coolness, the Serpent's desire
Is the Cloud Serpent of the Milky Way
Womanhood brings Power
And Power requires Wisdom
The snake encirculing her like a mountain
The Lady of the Serpent Skirt
Dances rites of fertility to the Rain
Sky Winds and Earth
For the Sun does not rise to the North
The aged woman knows the rumors
The Serpent is the destroyer of the Dead
Symbol of poverty and want
But as the Sun sets upon the West
She holds now all the secrets
Of the Snake around the Tree
Copyright 1979 - Severina Singh.
ONE SEASON OF STORMS - Comments and Reflections on Katrina, Rita and Wilma - November -05.
This is an update from our season of storms. As you know we fared very well during Katrina, were truly blessed not to lose any property and have only tree damage, though this last one is very extensive and will take me months to make completely right. We also fared well with Rita which did not come here at all. Hardly any wind.
Ironically hurricane Wilma put the website out for over a week, having wiped out West Palm Beach in Florida where the host company was located. They have relocated in Wisconsin (brrrr...) We do apologize to the many clients who searched for us and worried...
I am working on the yard, little by little, cutting trees and raking and piling up the hundreds upon hundreds of branches, sticks and limbs strewn about in every direction and corner. It is a never-ending task. A little while after the storm I came across some photos I had taken of the land, trees and outdoor Temple shrines last april: it had looked superb. All I could think was "oh, it was such a lovely park!" Well, it will be a sacred park again by spring. That's the best I can do.
The news around here are not good. The city was completely devastated. It is unimaginable what has happened here. Even only 25 miles away as we are, it has been difficult to assimilate.
The first time I drove across the causeway from Mandeville (about 10 miles west of us) to Metairie (the immediate western suburb of N.O), I found a lot of damage in Metairie but like here, people were already cleaning up, gutting out wet carpets and walls and clearing debris. And a lot of that immense suburb had not been flooded. Only the parts nearer the lake. Tree damage is bad but it can be repaired. New Orleans itself was still closed. Police road-blocks everywhere, but I was able to cross over on the elevated highway to return to LaCombe through Slidell which is our eastern neighbor. From the road, the city was entirely deserted, dry and muddy and smelled overwhelmingly bad. Like passing over a giant heap of garbage. It was sad. in New Orleans east the giant carcass of a wild boar was rotting in the hot sun. But I was yet to find out how sad it could become.
Half of Slidell also became inundated up to the roof by the lake. In fact half of Slidell WAS the lake. The water receded fast but when I drove through it looked like a war zone. Like carpet bombing. Huge houses gone without a trace. camps built on water vanished. Overturned cars, trucks, sailboats sitting on top of collapsed roofs. I have hundreds of photos but nothing shows the real devastation. South Slidell also had a peculiar and nasty smell. Then I saw why: the ditches alongside the boulevard were silver from dead fish!
Our friend Voodooist Louis Martinie's house is in South Slidell, on the last street bordering the lake. Built 18 feet high, it has miraculously survived the storm and only took in about 1/2 foot of water in the front half of the house. But mold has been growing steadily since so it is also being gutted out and re-built. Louis and his wife fortunately have a second abode in Bloomington Indiana and they are now living there. Of course now they are living in one room and Louis who is a wonderful teacher, has dedicated himself to caring for severely disabled students has had his own health insurance abruptly cancelled. Louis now spends everyday dealing with the business of contractors, insurance, unemployment, red cross, fema etc.. There is much stress involved and disappointment and heart-ache.
Most of our friends have relocated elsewhere. We do not know where, and are still searching for them, trying to ascertain that they are allright.
Our area - St Tammany Parish - has recovered very well. Nothing like a hurricane to bring out all the "good ol' boys" in their pick-up truck with their chain saws, winches, hoists and nail-guns. The roads were opened the day after the storm , crews from all over the country and Canada were working on repairing the electrical grid though it did take 4 weeks to get the power back on. The phone took another week yet. Still this area in a way has been booming! There are roughly 100 000 more people living in St Tammany. Traffic has become impossible. Similarly Metairie is booming. Everything open and doing business. Shiny new cars everywhere.
But New Orleans continue to be a dead city. It opened about 3 weeks after the storm and I have been there about once a week, mostly to try and locate lost friends and acquaintances or checking on their places for them. The French Quarter which was not damaged at all is still half-empty. Bars and strip-clubs and various retail outlets are taking advantage of the many construction workers in town, insurance adjusters, subcontractors etc..
Really only the areas that were not flooded have anything and anyone there at all. These are the oldest areas of the city -those that were built closest to the river where the land is higher. Built before 1878. The French Quarter, beautiful St Charles Ave and its garden district, the Esplanade ridge and Marigny. But to find businesses open is a stretch. Electricity is still a problem. Most of the residential areas are still too damaged to house anyone and so people cannot come back and those who want to work on their houses cannot find anywhere else to live nearby. Rents have doubled and tripled. Property value is soaring in the dry areas and non-existent in the flooded areas.
But the worst part are the news: the mayor has appointed "blue ribbon " committees who are at each other's throats. The Governor has appointed more "red-ribbon" committees. Everyone has a plan but no plan is ever voted on or God forbid decided upon. The city has no money coming in - no tax base, no revenue. The state is broke. The feds are not too keen on sending money down here where corruption and cronyism is rampant. So the dead city waits and waits and people lose hope and patience and make their lives elsewhere. It is heart-breaking. An entire city disappearing before one's eyes.
The worst part of course is the levees: the dikes. They should already being re-built. Next hurricane season begins next June 1st. How depressed will people be then? Right now the huge gaps in the 17th st. canal and the Industrial canal and the London canal are still there, patched up with rocks and sandbags and held in place with temporary steel pilings. Everyone is proposing and studying and meeting and parleying and proposing some more. Lots of bickering and fighting. No money. The Corps of Engineer is in charge of repairing the levees by next June - hmm, they seem to be the ones responsible for the faulty construction already.
The last two times I went to New Orleans were the most depressing. Let's face it, it's been more than 2 months. I expected some life. But the French Quarter was deserted, the streets empty. I was driving through. It became a little late and night fell. I was leaving the French Quarter and driving up Elysian Fields towards the highway. I couldn't' figure out why I couldn't see anything. Then I realized why: not ONE single light in one single house. Miles and miles of dead houses. not a single light. No street light- or traffic signals. Nothing. I might has well have been in some deep dark forest it was so dark! And that's how it is if you leave those few areas that were not inundated. You enter the dark city - where nothing exists.
I returned just the other night - spent the day with a very dear friend who is moving to Oregon this week. Took him back to his little house in Metairie. Made a trip through New Orleans and thought I'd stop by Cafe Flora to get a cup of coffee for the road. Now that's in Marigny where there was no damage. BUT the power was out. Flora was closing and the owner Ali still offered a cup of lukewarm coffee. He explained the power goes out 2-3 times a week Sometimes for a few hours, or a day - nobody knows why exactly. Some have generators, most have candles. Many houses are burning up or rather burning down. A few every week. Suspect fires too - people losing patience.
Even outside of the dead city, the news are not encouraging. Insurance companies are not paying - not even answering phone calls. I can tell you first hand about this. Evil rumors in St Tammany that it's going to close some of its fire stations and let go some firemen - not enough money. Those areas without proper fire protection will not be able to get house insurance.
Most people are incredibly depressed, going through the motion, dazed. Many are incredibly angry too. Tempers flare. No one is happy.
The first week or two after the storm, there was a lot of euphoria. Those who had their house saved. People realizing they were alive at least. But now, it has turned to anger - mostly towards the government and the insurance companies and FEMA. FEMA is the worst.
A big part of why St Tammany and Metairie recovered so rapidly is also because the churches had donations arriving from every corner of the country - from sister churches. Some are still giving out food and clothes 7 days a week. Like giant free markets. Come and take. Help yourself, more is coming.Much much more. Our country is so wealthy and so abundant, its people so generous, it spilled over our way. There were canned foods, and dog food and winter clothing and baby items and free furniture and ....you name it, it was there for the taking. Out of depression people are hogging stuff. Out of necessity too and out of fear - hurricane season is not even over.
The Gulf coast got little attention. Our friend Karin had just sold her little house in Pearlington (about 12 miles east of Slidell). Lucky her. All of Pearlington was razed. More carpet bombing.
So was Waveland and all of downtown Bay St Louis which was an artists' colony. At least once a week, I would drive to Bay St Louis to look at art. It's all gone.I haven't been there yet, but I am assuming it is rebuilding better than New Orleans because again it will benefit from "the good ol' boys" and the churches. People do. People can. Those attitudes I saw right after the storm. The pioneer spirit. We'll make it through. It works in the country but it cannot work as well in the city. It simply cannot make a difference in the city. It works where you can clean the roads and set up a generator - it cannot work under six feet of water, it cannot work where the entire population has been displaced. The greatest tragedy was and remains Orleans, St Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.
Around here men were walking with a gun in holster and a chain saw in hand. I'm not kidding . I saw it. It was like being on the frontier. People were helping each other out too. I helped one of my neighbors out a lot: his truck was crushed under a fallen pine tree. I gave him rides everywhere: to pick up a generator, to get gas etc.. He had no money and no food. He gave us a puppy he had rescued during the worst of the storm. He's our new dog: named Stormy of course. He was offered to Babalu-Aye. He is already extraordinarely spoiled.
The storm also once more delayed the printing of Louis and my new book "Voodoo at Cafe Puce". This has truly been a sisyphusien task. But we are now confident to have a release date very very soon - before the end of the year. Interestingly it will be a record of living New Orleans Voodoo and our love or the Louisiana we knew before the storm.
Environmentally these events have many of us convinced that we are witnessing first-hand the results and consequences of global warming. It is myopic to believe that our country, not having signed the Kyoto treaty will not suffer the dire consequences of climatic changes. For anyone who is aware and has lived in Louisiana for more than 30 years, it is obvious that we are encountering more and more periods of near-draught. Whereas the area was very similar to a rain forest with daily afternoon rains throughout the whole summer, we now see 60 or more days with less than an inch of rain. It absolutely did not rain in St Tammany from August 30th (the day after Katrina) until just 2 days ago. There is a worldwide advance of the deserts, from the sub Sahara regions in a wide band all around the planet, north and south of the Equator and the tropics. As we are now fighting the Oil Wars, we will in 20 or 30 years fight the Water Wars.
But in between we will see more and more violent storms, devastating winter storms, and more and more violent hurricanes. At one point, Hurricane Rita broke all records for the lowest pressure and became the worst hurricane ever. This caused the massive evacuation of Houston and the coastal areas of east Texas and West Louisiana. More people died. More devastation, Thousands of livestock were drowned. In 04, Florida was in the path of 4 major hurricanes. This year Louisiana was in the path of 2 major CATEGORY 5 hurricanes within one month! Maybe it is time for our elected officials to re-think our commitment to our planet. There are many worthwhile organizations who work tirelessly to educate and redress the worst environmental mistakes, It is time to join forces with them and give them our support and let our elected leaders know how we feel and that they are leading us into the path of destruction.
Spiritually, I must say that there are many very very angry Spirits in New Orleans. Not only people were trapped and drowned but thousands of tombs were flooded, desecrated. Tombs were also looted though this was not mentioned on the news. Old houses, houses that were full of ghosts were also flooded, demolished, violated by looters. There is a great spiritual tumult in the city which is not being addressed.
I have received many e-mails from clients who had visited the city and who wondered if the flood was some kind of retribution for work done improperly - for crossing spiritual barriers that are not meant to be crossed. For merchants using and abusing the voodoo tradition for profits and profits only. For those creating meaningless rituals and erroneously according them power. For those claiming supernatural powers or titles they did not earn.
I was asked repeatedly and pointedly for my comments and give my opinions on the matter.
I have made it my philosophy to not comment upon any practices, product or service offered by any of the practitioners or retail outlets in the city or elsewhere. I can only comment on that which I practice, make and provide personally. Only God and the Good Spirits know the cosmic plan which we are all part of. We are in the cosmic play and must respect what we are given to observe with great reverence, awe, and most of all compassion.
Whatever the transgression made, we must address the suffering with real heart. I believe that the Universes are in a constant state of flux and we are all inoxerably driven into the final state which will be that of enlightment for every sentient being. There will be no rest until this final achievement: the liberation of every sentient being. That is the path and the blessing of the Bodhichitta. That is the only viable path I can follow.
So I remain aware of the anger of the Spirits in New Orleans, I am attuned to it and it seeps out and around the city. It permeates all that touches the city and it is there, inexorable, implacable. I continue my spiritual practices, for that is the only sane thing anyone can do at any one time.
May God and His Angels bless you all. God and His Angels bless and save the city of New Orleans and the great state of Louisiana, our beloved land.
KATRINA / RITA STORMS UPDATE September 5, 2005
Dear Clients and Friends,
I wish to address all those I did not manage to personally write to, over the last few weeks. So many of you have written. We had e-mails pouring in from all parts of the world. Thank you!
I want to thank each and everyone for your thoughts and prayers. You all made a real difference. We have been blessed. The village of LaCombe where we live was very close to where the eye of the storm passed, directly north from N.O. There has been much much damage. An estimate of probably over 1 million trees were brought down in St Tammany Parish! The infrastructure was gone. But our house / temple was miraculously spared. Though I have eight trees uprooted and broken all around the house, there was not even a cracked window pane!!
Behind the house, there was a big 30+foot tree that seemed to have been plucked out of the ground but the Legba/Ogun shed was untouched. Not one item out of place. To the front, the maple tree was split down the middle of the trunk but St Francis and Our Lady of Guadelupe nearby were untouched, our Lady still sitting in the wedge of branches in the sweet olive tree. Amazing!!
The Spirits and Deities kept the house intact for us and we are really really grateful.
I came back home 4 hours after the storm had passed and it was very difficult even getting through. I was literally driving behind volunteers chain-sawing through the trees across the roads. Had to fork part of Bayou LaCombe which submerged the road, in a convoy.
Since I had no electricity and no water, ( our water is well water), no internet or phone lines. everything moved at a snail's pace for a while. But again, I was blessed with the generosity of my friends, when one offered the free use of his internet service on a daily basis. After 3 weeks, the electricity is finally back but still no telephone or internet at home. But we are safe and sound and my family is safe and sound. We are truly blessed.
And our service to the Loa and Orisha was not interrupted. Prayers and offerings were and are being made to the Ancestors for those who died during the storms. We pray that their journey into the realm of the Ancestors be filled with light and that they look upon us who remain with the utmost compassion.
During the first two weeks after the storm when services were still incredibly sporadic, we also found ourselves caring for neighborhood animals. The Spirit of St Francis. Thus, we have adopted our new dog: a little puppy we aptly named "Stormy". If he grows big (as we are quite unsure as which mix of breeds he might be) he will become "Storm".
We saw thousands of people from all over the country and Canada, helping in a myriad different ways. God bless them all.
Hurricane Rita turned out to be much less problematic in these parts, but we do ask that you remember all those in Southwest Louisiana, the Texas Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Gulf Coast who were truly devastated by one or the other storm. They will continue to need your help and prayers.
I lived for over 25 years in the Crescent City, I know its neighborhoods intimately having lived in the Irish Channel, the Marigny, Hollygrove, St Roch, the French Quarter and the Esplanade Ridge! Its Spirits embraced me. We are terribly wounded at the loss of New Orleans, our beloved city and our many many friends scattered away from us. We will work together to bring the city and this fabulous area back to its feet as will everyone in the country and abroad.
For those of you who wish to order products or readings, had orders in process, being shipped or just placed an order, please accept our apologies for operating a little slow right now. We beg for your patience. We will put the same attention into your special items as always. I am trying to address each one in turn and will let you know just when I will be able to ship your products. It is always a privilege to serve you.. I do answer all e-mails personally as I have always done in the past.. As always, I do each and every reading myself as well as make each and every product by hand myself, guided only by my Spirits. You can order directly or e-mail me through this website.
Obviously, my unique private tours are not available at this time.
When the bayous clear up a bit, kayak tours will be available again for those who wish to visit our beautiful marshes and make offerings to the Ancestral Spirits.
Finally, our book "Voodoo at Cafe Puce" is at the printer's right now.
The proof was over-nighted to us the day of Katrina, so it took two weeks to get here! But it now has been revised and returned, so you can expect its release date and ordering information on this website very soon..
Thank you again so very much for your generous support, care and prayers.
May God and His Angels and the Holy Spirits bless you always.
New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads & La Sirena Botanica L.L.C.
Madre de Agua Spiritual Temple.
SAINT GENEVIEVE - PATRON SAINT OF PARIS IS WELL LOVED IN LOUISIANA.
St. Genevieve was born about the year 422, at Nanterre near Paris. She was seven years old when St. Germain of Auxerre came to her native village on his way to great Britain to combat the heresy of Pelagius. The child stood in the midst of a crowd gathered around the man of God, who singled her out and foretold her future sanctity. At her desire the holy Bishop led her to a church, accompanied by all the faithful, and consecrated her to God as a virgin.
When Attila was reported to be marching on Paris, the inhabitants of the city prepared to evacuate, but St. Genevieve persuaded them to avert the scourge by fasting and prayer, assuring them of the protection of Heaven. The event verified the prediction, for the barbarian suddenly changed the course of his march. The life of St. Genevieve was one of great austerity, constant prayer, and works of charity. She died in the year 512. Her feast day is January 3rd.
She dressed in a long flowing gown with a mantle covering her shoulders, similar to the type of garments the Blessed Mother wore. One of the symbols of this saint is a loaf of bread because she was so generous to those in need.
XANGO IN THE MARSH
||As the hot July and August weather descended upon us, we also been witness to some terrific storms around here. Xango has made his presence heard and felt almost on a daily basis, usually in the afternoon or early evening.
A few days ago, a lighting strike came very close to our palm garden (Xango outdoor altar) and a transformer blew up so that we were without electricity for about 4 hours! But the most amazing display came on August 12th when a great portion of the Big Branch marsh was set on fire by no less than 4 distinct lighting strikes! I just happened to be driving through the village when my Spirits told me to drive down to the marsh. It was amazing to see the flames coming up from the vast expanses of floating grasses. Water and Fire. Oxun and Xango!
OCTOBER 4 / FEAST DAY OF ORUNMILA
The gift of Orunmila told me: I am the warrior who returns from the crusade, traveling through a country which she knows is both hers and now utterly foreign. Each day she is reminded of the presence of death who is her only companion who knows anything for sure, particularly about her and her life. Two films were the most influencial single events of my childhood: Ingmar Bergman's 7th Seal and Marcel Camus Black Orpheus. Both deal with the single great riddle we try to elucidate throughout our lives, from birth onward, while trying to distract ourselves all the way with a myriad activities and things so we may not face the fact that we do not know the answer. This, we do not know. This, we cannot figure out. This, we will experience only soul first - leaving mind and body behind. And the myriad activities and things only make our souls weaker and meeker. Each attachment of the mind and body, each brick of self-importance stuck to us with the mortar of imperative duty weighs us down. The whole edifice of our life laughs at us. The Baron laughs and laughs. And waits. With a lewd gesture or two. Maman Brigitte dislodges another little pebble and the whole edifice changes again, inoxerably. Without logic. Fate occurs at random and is for the mirth of the Gods. I was given a dream of entering small groves along the way, and resting there in peace, while gathering the necessary courange and tools to re-enter the main way. But the portals to the groves, I never remember quite going through. There is no act of will or will of movement. Suddenly I am there and though from the outside they seem bare dead places of sticks and brown leaves, when I am there, I am wealthy beyond measure. These are my shifts of cousciousness which can be made for the Spirit to refresh itself, for the soul to eat and drink before resuming this weary path. The soul though is heavy as soon as it has re-entered the commonplace. The soul knows this world is a place of suffering. It is the soul who yearns for death to come - it is the ego who plays the game. But in this light and vision of day, the commonplace starves me and the edges are sharp and steely - the price for the gift is very high. It is the knowledge or our singular aloneness in a brillant, incandescent, unlimited universe. But even as death wins each successive game of chess which we play at each encounter, I tumble downward towards the irevocable madness where all personal history is erased. I pray to "un-know" all that I have been programed to think and see and believe that I know. Only then can I really embrace it all. I seek this madness, because only then the Wings of the Spirits will completely and totally take care of me. When ME ceases, I become. But probably I must die. Or not.
When I think of the gift of Orunmila, I think that it describes the path of enlighment and liberation.
( In Voodoo Orunmila is synchretized as St Francis of Assisi. Orunmila is the patron of Divination. St Francis received the call of God through a voice heard that he must repair the church of St Damian. Later he walked to Rome with several of his brothers to obtain the blessing of the Pope . However he was refused admission. It was only after the Pope had a dream where he saw a beggar holding up the Lateran (the Pope's parish) that he recognized that his dream represented the poor monk waiting outside the walls for an audience. Again this is in keeping with the call heard by St Francis. At the time St Francis was busy repairing churches and traveling throughout the countryside preaching, he would often consult and receive directives simply by opening the book of the Gospels at random.)
FROM REV. KENNETH: MORE ABOUT ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI:
He died on October 3rd, 1226, naked, on the earth with no possessions and obligations. Several witnesses report there were huge flocks of birds which spiraled in the air over his body as he lay dying, their songs filled the air. He was thoroughly useless most of his life: left the family business, never had a wife and kids or made any money or built a house or owned anything of value. He constantly associated with the poor, the unlettered, the homeless, the lepers, the criminals and outcasts of his time. Very likely, he was extremely dirty, smelled bad, had bad teeth and looked quite mad. People spit on him, threw garbage and offal at him, and generally wished him elsewhere: even as we tend to do with the poor: "not in my neighborhood". A wandering beggar most of his life, he went about Umbria and other parts of his country, generally disrupting the established order of society: inducing eligible, marriable women to enter monasteries and shave their heads, convincing merchants to give their money to the poor and themselves become beggars, talking WITH animals who were regarded as nothing but means to an end and doing all manner of upside down, crazy things. He had little use for academic learning - although literate, he never owned a Bible or Breviary - and scholastics in general made him very uncomfortable. He prefered instead to sell the books, university buildings and land and feed the poor with the proceeds. His was a non-discursive, direct and pragmatic approach to problem solving. He was madly and passionately in love with Jesus Christ and lived his life in a literal reflection of the person in the Gospels. There are many contemporary witnesses who reported that he had fleshy protuberances - like nails - in his hands and feet and a suppurating wound in his side for the last year of his life. After his death several "noble" men made so bold as to approach his bier and touch these things; one twirled it in it's hole through his hand. No other stigmatic has ever had such a stigmata. He must have been VERY difficult to live with since he was uncompromising in his philosophy and yet gentle and loving in his approach. One really could not stay angry with such a person. There were allot of people who were relieved when he died. What was subsequently erected in his name and continues to exist to this day, has little to do with him as a person. Like he cares!
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience." - Teilhard de Chardin,S.J.
To be quite sure, to be set, fixed, & firm is to miss the point of life. - Alan Watts
Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St. Francis of Assisi
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.
Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.
St. Francis of Assisi's prayer in praise of God given to Brother Leo
You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.
The Meditation Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
My God and My All!
- AN ENCOUNTER WITH MARS SUMMER 2003.
- Mars, the red planet will be closest to the Earth this summer and we will have an unprecedented chance to look at it in the evening sky. Mars will rise in the east to southeastern skyaround 1 a.m. early this month, then as it rises closer and closer to midnight. the planet will go from bright to brighter. It will be seen through the end of June, July and August in the constellation of Aquarius. Throughout these moths the planet Mars will come to its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) but as the Earth will be directly between it and the Sun (opposition) it will also be at its closest point to the Earth. This will be a great time to look at Mars but we should beware of its influences upon Earthly events. Not only because of its closeness to us but also because of the very alignment of Sun, Earth and Mars. Expect upheavals of many kinds. We have already had many of the prophecies for this year fullfilled (and we certainly would love to be wrong). It seems last month, we had an earthquake every day or other day: US east coast, Algeria, Turkey,.. And an epidemic of contagious disease. Interestingly enough, it had been suggested that people take great care regarding foods and possible contamination and it does seem that the SARS epidemic is in fact linked to a virus spread through contaminated foods (the sale of civet meat in China that has been contaminated by the corolla virus).
- Regarding other planets in the skies this summer: Jupiter will be seen in the Western sky, at sunset. in the constallation of Cancer, it will be very bright. You can find it by locating the Twin Castor and Pollux in Gemini (they are also very bright) and then tracing Jupiter to the upper left of them. It will disappear soon after sunset. Saturn is now traveling slowly along the horizon, also at sunset. Look to the west/northwest. It will disappear within a couple of weeks, being to close to the sun to be seen.
- The Solstice or longest day of the year, is on June 21st. It will happen at precisely 3.10 pm. At that moment, the sun will reach its northermost point signaling the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
- This coincides with the beginning of the Feast of St John, the next 3 days (21st/22nd/23rd) are sacred to Eleggua . Strong rituals should be undertaken at this time and kept during the 3 day period. I suggest setting up or decorating the Altars on the 21st, making offerings for the opening of the roads and for protection. The 22nd can be a renewal of the offerings with special prayers for love, peace and compassion - for liberation of souls departed in the recent past. Finally the 23rd should be the great Ritual of St John¹s Eve and all drum rhythms should be played with more offerings made to Eleggua and the Warriors.
- This is also a good time to celebrate Shilibo-Nouvavou (see below) and other Spirits.
- Particular emphasis should be placed this year for protection for oneself, one¹s family, one¹s house and nation in view of the difficult times presaged for the future. Special care must be taken toward purity and integrity within the ritual space and out and an oath should be taken (and kept) to maintain this attitude for the duration . Great courage and compassion will be needed to endure and walk with grace during the next few years as the end of an age is upon us.
- REVELATIONS OF THE LOUP-GAROU
- Last week I received a phone call ffrom Rev. Louis Maritnie who had a very interesting story.
- A while back Louis decided he would save the royalties from the publications of his book ³Waters of ³ and make an offering of them to the Haitien Loa. He felt that if he pledge this sacrifice on his honour, the Loa would bless him in return with their presence. It turned out that last week he had an appointment to meet his friend who travels regualrly to Haiti on various humanitarian causes and Louis felt that this was the appropriate time to put this very substantial offering into and envelope and pass it along to his friend so that it may go where it was destined . Littlle did he know that his friend at the very same time was bringing a very special Spirit to Louis¹ house to present to him. So that the sacrifice that was meant to be a precursor to the Spirit¹s coming really became part of an exchange at the very same moment. As Louis handed the sacrifice to his friend, so was the Spirit handed over to him. Louis was telling me this and I was struck by the words he used. He was speaking of ³keeping his word² and ³a question of honor². He really felt that this was an unmistakable instance of perfect synchornicity, a sign that the Spirit had come to him because he had kept his word and demonstrated his honor.
- So I was listening to the story told to me over the telephone. Louis was asking me if I would come over in the evening and we would make offerings to the new Spirit - a welcoming ritual. I immediately thought ³what an honor! I wouldn¹t miss it for the world!² Then I heard ³She¹s a Loup-Garou². I think I had him repeat that again.
- I did not know what to expect as I drove the lonely dark road throughout the Big Branch Marshland on my way to Louis¹ house friday night. Well, I thought, I probably won¹t take this road back, after I see this Loup-Garou. When I arrived we had some coffee and Louis brought me a drum I could play (actually a mrdnga from India) and we entered the temple room. I had brought a small offering of dark rum and 3 cigars. Louis had a glass of water and some small candles set up by the Spirit which was covered with a cloth.
- We first played the Bamboula rhythm which calls the house to order. Then he unveiled Her and we both took a long look at Her. As I said, I had not known what to expect but in spite of my best efforts, my mind had been running away with anticipation and apprehension. Who was this Spirit ? Was it really wise to go and meet Her so unprepared. Why had She come at this time? But when I looked at Her, my reaction was not fear. Yes, She is awesome, fearsome, terrible but she did not inspire uncontrollable fear in me. As we continued to drum the Voodoo rhythms to Legba and then Mami Watta,,we paused in between to discuss Her appearance in the temple. We took some time now and then to reflect and meditate. Who She might be. Where She came from .
- These are the topics and thoughts that came to us during and between the drum session:
- She is of the nature of an Ancestral Spirit and NOT that of a demoniac nature. At one point I thought ³this is what we all looked like a couple of million years ago, when we had to come out of the cave and hunt a gazelle and tear it¹s neck vein out with our fangs². Louis mentioned the intelligence that can be seen in Her eyes. Louis also was told that the Loup Garou is female - typically a woman who has not borne any children and is angry and vengeful towards the village and the other women who have children of their own. I felt that apart from the intelligence there was also an inner desperation linked with the ever present effort of survival in the natural world. Because I live in the country and so close to the marshlands, I am constantly in contact with birds, insects, lizards, frogs, possums, racoons, squirrels etc.. Our neighbor¹s hen is always in my yard because I have a compost pile that must offer a menu of delicacies for her. There¹s also a wild rabbit that feeds daily near the edge of the woods, because I don¹t use weed killers and do not mow constantly so that there is a greater variety of grasses and plants in my yard than anywhere around. But all these creatures are always hunting, or hunted. Everyone is always on the look-out for the next predator and everyone is always hunting for the next meal. This is the order of this creation. The plight of this material world from the lowliest worm to the mighty bold eagle. This is the intelligence I saw in the yellow-green eyes of the Loup- Garou. As we made offerings, Louis wondered why such a Spirit would have come to him. He was humorous: ³why not a gentle old Legba??² I gently reminded Louis that after all his practice is very much concentrated towards the Ancestral Spirits.
- Louis mentioned that Haitiens believe that the Loup-Garou was brought to Haiti from France.
- Was it meant to dissuade the slaves from running away during the night? Louis mentioned that a barren woman would have been less valuable to the slave-owner than a woman who could produce many children. The fear of turning into a Loup-Garou, of becoming possessed by such a Spirit would have been a great encouragement to women to bear many children. I told Louis I had heard of Loup-Garou in France, more specifically in the Massif Central - the oldest worn -down domes of the central mountains. We used to vacation there when I was a very young child. The mountains are crossed by rocky streams and their waters have therapeutic value. As a toddler there during the summers, I remember riding on donkeys - those stubborn beasts. This is also a country of sheep-raising and sheep-herding. As a matter of fact the Loup-Garou is found in many areas of sheep-herding throughout Europe. There would have always been native wolves preying on the flocks and at times there would have been that awesome wolf that no hunter could catch so strong and cunning was it. So elusive. Those wolves became the stuff of legends.
- These areas : the Massif Central, the foot of the Alps or the Pyrenees are also the areas were ³wild children ³ were found throughout the ages: babies suckled and raised by she-wolves. Rome was founded by the twins Remus and Romulus, raised by a She-Wolf. Could it be that the Loup-Garou sometimes killed a woman as she crossed a dangerous forest but spared her baby and gave it to a she-wolf to raise? As we continued with our drumming and our meditation and conversation, we felt more and more able to look at Her and see Her coarse hair, Her wild eyes, Her small perked ears (not horns but ears perched high and raised in alert). Her face though is quite human with a huge jawbone laden with awesome pointed , almost jagged teeth. Apart from the glow of those yellow eyes, those enormous teeth would certainly paralyze anyone with fear who would encounter the Loup-Garou anywhere, anytime.
- As I told Louis Œno, She is not frightful to me but should I find her one night driving back through the marsh, she¹ll certainly scare me to death². Yet again, in many cultures today there are people with very large strong jaws and very large and strong teeth. Only in the west has man exhibited a steady reduction of the size of the jawbone so much so that today the majority of people must have their wisdom teeth removed at adulthood. There is simply not enough room for them to grow out.
- Again, as an Ancestal Spirit, coming back to us after tens of thousands of years, maybe longer, the Loup-Garou exhibits physical traits that would have been common and extremely useful to survive in the wild. I felt that she wanted an altar of marsh grasses and a bowl of marsh water nearby. I felt she was not in uncommon territory. I told Louis that I had been wanting to plant a bold cypress in the Ancestral Grove I have set aside and which is a little swampy. Coincidentally I was given a gift certificate to Home Depot o that I am able to purchase a new young cypress this very week. I promised Louis and Loup (Her name) that the first new growth would be Hers.
- Finally we both felt that if properly propitiated She could maybe become a fierce protector. Louis said: üthe monks always say that ALL sentient beings will become liberatedý..only then...
- So we did not ask anything of Her - but simply gave our water and rum and lit the candles for liberation - for the road to take Her where she must. So, yes even the Loup--Garou, feared and maligned throughout the ages and the land can be propitiated as an Ancestral Spirit and invited into the temple where the other Ancestors live, the Buddhas reside and Marie Laveau comes to visit and sits for a spell.
- The next day , Louis and his friend conducted another ritual for Her and he was told that the Louisiana Loup-Garou is associated with the Pearl River. Of course, we all live very close. The Pearl River swamp -known as the Honey Island Swamp - is well known for itûs üswamp monsterý. Could it be in fact a Loup-Garou?? Louis and Mishlenûs house is also surrounded by marshes.. all of these marshes are connected and very closely linked by the bayous, the lakes, the Pearl River itself. The small town of Pearl River is directly north of Louisû house, less than 10 miles away. The Pearl runs to the east, Bayou Bonfouca to the West...Bayou Bonfouca, Bayou Liberty and Bayou Lacombe meander across the marshes between their house and mine. Who truly inhabits these forbidding dark lands in the dead of the night??
REVELATIONS ON SOLSTICE DAY 2002 CONCERNING CERTAIN SPIRITUAL FORCES AND THEIR MANIFESTATIONS
Ater a particular powerful reading, I am posessed by Shilibo-Nouvavou who reveals to me his dual attributes , pendulum -like magnetic fields as the sun of Middday and the Sun of Midnight.. The darkness of the deepest watery abyss where death must take us so we transcend into eternal light. The higest of luminescent planes so that our heart must burst in its great fires, be consumed entirely to be contained once again into the tear of compassion of Olodumare and take rebirth !! So Shilibo-Novavou does contain the greatest Mysteres in pure essence. A consciousness shackled to linear thinking cannot experience the phenomenal forces of the Mysteres outside of their essential cyclic motion. That is where Knowledge, Truth is obtained, Omniscience when one gives of oneself with the purest abandon into the oscillating waves of Super Consciousness.
The Veve that has been tranmitted to me at this time is of a FULL SUN, of SouthWestern design. Entertwined through the rays of this sun is Ourosbouros.
Speaking of Ourosbouros:
One should be revealed in all one's splendor but say nothing for all true knowledge is passed on telepathically which is of course why the chief Loa is Damballah! Damballah Ouido and his mirror image/ other self/ female counterpart Aida Ouido is the snake therefore mute and dumb yet the great reservoir of TRUTH,this very truth which is the birth of the Universe in the Archetype of Ourosbouros!! Again because the snake is voiceless we are reminded of the true nature of knowledge only attained and transmitted telepathically - on the astral plane. Again in the twin personas of the male/female Damballah and Aida Ouido we contemplate the necessary fragmentation of all creation into duality which is how we experience all things but indeed NOT as they truly exist.
REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
Of course we all know from childhood the story of the three wise kings who came to adore the Infant in the manger in the small city of Bethlehem. Once again their presence has manifested very strongly at this time of year though they are not by far the most popular or revered in these parts of the world. I found it interesting to meditate on their origins, travels and the esoteric meanings of their historic journey. They were three and rather than kings they were Magi, though at least one of them Melchior was indeed also a King of Nubia (today part of Ethiopia). The word Magi signifies High Priest - one who is called to receive and give the highest sacraments. It is at the root of the word Magicien as well, one who knows and who can overstand and effect changes and makes sacred. Melchior was black skinned, while Jasper was light and Balthazar was of medium hue but is also known as having been the oldest and sporting a long white beard. Their convergence towards the same goal would therefore indicated the need for all races to converge upon the Prince of Peace. This is an awesome thing to consider at this very time - this beginning of a new year which is the first year of the 9 year end-cycle of an era. Just at the time that the military forces are converging on this very part of the world, we can choose to celebrate the quiet and peaceful , serene journey of three wise men, three prophets in their own time, three magiciens and seers, converging on the same hub of religious places, that which would become the birthplace of Christianity in a land also sacred to all Muslims . Here the three races come in peace and bearing gifts !!
We know that though Melchior clearly came from Nubia, Jasper is described as having come from the Empire of Ind or maybe the mountains of Kush. Balthazar certainly came from Arabia and probably was in the position of vizier to the Sultan or King. Looking up the etymology of their names we find that Melchior means king, Balthazar means protector to the king and Jasper means one who holds the treasure. They each departed on a solitary journey after having received a vision and premonition of the appearance of a great shining star as bright as a sun and which would indeed remain in the sky night and day, rivaling in brilliance with the sun¹s rays during the diurnal hours. This star was to announce the arrival on this earth of a newborn child with a very uncommon destiny. All three Magi met at some point during their journey and having compared the messages of their individual visions, they realized that their path must now join and they are called to complete the journey together to visit this child and offer their gifts unto him. Each had had a vision that covered a certain period of the life of this child. Jasper¹s vision concerned the birth and ancestry of the child. He was given the knowledge that the child was of noble descent, both his parents being descendants of King David. Jasper therefore brought a gift of gold, which represents nobility. Being the ³one who holds the tresure² would also make it a most appropriate gift from him. Balthazar¹s vision concerned the fact that this child would grow up to be a leader, a prophet, a visionary, a great teacher, an uncommon spiritual force among the people. Therefore Balthazar¹s gift was that of Frankincense, widely used in the temples to make things sacred, to conduct ceremonies and to cleanse and purify. Melchior for his part saw that though this child was to grow up to an uncommon destiny, he would nonetheless die as a man, bringing great sorrow to those around him who loved him and followed him. Melchior therefore brought a gift of Myrrh, which symbolizes grief and sorrow. Myrrh was also used to anoint the body of Christ and when resurrected into His body of Light, the disciples and his Mother were able to perceive the aroma of the myrrh about Him. Myrrh is extracted from a tree in Africa and would have been readily available to the King of Nubia.
So, although different accounts will attribute this gift to that Magi and vice versa, there is however a very logic which determines who was who and who brought what.
The feast of the Magi is on January 6th, though Jasper should be feasted on the 6th, Balthazar on the 7th and Melchior on the 8th. In Spanish speaking countries, particularly Puerto Rico and Central America, children wait for the gifts of the Magi. They line small boxes with grass as a gift for the camels and on January 6th, they awake to find the gifts the Three Kings have left for them, in gratitude for feeding their camels.
There are also lovely songs in Spanish to commemorate the blessed event.
The gift of this knowledge about the journeys of the Three Magi was brought to me by Shilibo Nouvavou right before the Christmas Holiday. As a matter of fact the posession began right at the Winter Solstice and continued till the whole story was told. It culminated with my making of a Magi doll for a client in Germany.
The story though was not quite finished.... You see, this doll was ordered from me as a gift to a friend of my client. My only clue was that this friend likes music (Brahms specifically). Oh-oh... I worked myself into such a frenzy over this doll, then Shilibo came and took over.. next thing I knew I was making a Magi doll. I wasn¹t sure why. After the doll was completed, I wondered which of the three Magi he was, so I looked up their names and histories and that Œs when I came across the rest of the story:
Many years after the three Great Magi had returned from their journey to Bethlehem, they saw the great shining Star above again and they knew that now it signified the time of their passing. So they gathered together and a hill was chosen in the Kingdom of Hind and agreat tomb was built therein where the Three Great Kings may be buried. After a time, the Great Queen Helene , mother to the Emperor Constantine, came upon the tomb and overstanding the identity of those buried within, she took their remains and placed them into a very richly decorated casket which she further adorned with great jewels and precious incense. She brought this fabulous casket and its sacred contents back with her to Constantinople and placed them in the church of St Sophia which was built by her son Constantine. After the death of Constantine, persecution of Christian was renewed and fearing for the fate of the holy relics, the Emperor Mauricius took the casket and brought it to the city of Milan. But in turn the inhabitants of Milan rebeled against the Emperor Frederick the First and the emperor had to ask for help in his defence of the Archbishop of Cologne, by the name of Rainald. As a token of thanks, Rainald was rewarded with the gift of the casket of the Magi which he carried with him back to the city of Cologne. Thus the holy remains of the Three Wise Kings journeyed onto Cologne and were deposited into the church of St Peter.
And so it is that I should make and send this Magi doll to Germany. How utterly fitting. He turned out to be Jasper, bearer of the gifts of gold and music. I Œm not sure it should be Brahms, maybe the music of the spheres - Holst¹s The Planets or the Symphony of the Three Worlds by Charles Ives!! Next year I am planning on having the Three Magi made and journeying around the world, bearers of gifts of Peace, Understanding, Royalty, Holiness, and the Grief of the World. Meeting up with Shilibo Nouvavou as you see was quite involved and utterly satisfying!! He is welcome within anytime He chooses to come and make his my Abode.
PROPHECY OF ARADIA
The Age of the Daughter is the final age to dawn upon the earth.
The first Age was that of the Mother, when all people worshipped the Great Goddess.
The second Age was that of the Father and the third Age is the Son. Under the Mother there arose the Goddesses and their children. With the Age of the Father arose the Gods, which ruled over the female. Then the warrior ruled the world. The Son brought love and compassion. From the Son came the Christ. Still men clung to their Father.
But when the Daughter comes, reason shall be restored. The world shall be in balance.
To herald the coming of the Daughter, every two hundred years a prophet shall arise. This prophet shall be a great teacher, and shall give life to the Old Religion. As the Daughter grows near, women will awaken. Their will shall be heard. Women will walk in the ways of men. The last of the laws, which persecute and suppress us, shall be banished. Stregheria shall rejoice.
When the Daughter begins to replace the Son, then shall My prophet come. This One shall be called the Silent Prophet. Then changes will be many. The earth will change such that one has not seen before. And there will be great renewal and upheaval.
When the Age of the Daughter replaces that of the Son, then shall She appear. And she will be thirty-six. And She will come in power.
The Silent Prophet will have established Her way. Great trial and tribulation shall befall the people of all nations.And out of the ashes will come a New World Governments shall no longer rule people. Nor shall one people oppress another. There shall be no rulers, but only teachers and counselors. No one shall possess power over another, nor shall another restrict or control any other person. The earth shall be of one people, and all will live under the rule of love, peace, and reason
MAYAN PROPHECY AND CALENDARS
Maya priests observed the positions of the sun, moon, and stars. They made tables predicting eclipses and the orbit of the planet Venus.
The priests also used mathematics and astronomy to develop two kinds of calendars. One was a sacred almanac of 260 days. Each day was named with one of 20 day names and a number from 1 to 13. Each of the 20 day names had a god or goddess associated with it.
The priests predicted good or bad luck by studying the combinations of gods or goddesses and numbers. The Maya also had a calendar of 365 days, based on the orbit of the earth around the sun. These days were divided into 18 months of 20 days each, plus 5 days at the end of the year.
The Maya considered these last 5 days of the year to be extremely unlucky. During that period they fasted, made many sacrifices, and avoided unnecessary work.
The Maya Indians of southern Mexico and Central America used mathematics and astronomical observations to formulate two kinds of calendars--a sacred almanac of 260 days and a solar calendar of 365 days.
Born of Mexican-American descent, the Mayan calendar became a childhood passion for Jose Arguelles in the 1950s during the decade in which astronomers began to realize that Native Americans practiced a sophisticated astronomy. After more than 30 years of research, he is known by many as one of the world's foremost authorities of the Mayan calendar. The overwhelming evidence of Mayan prophecy in the last decade of the millennia supports the accuracy of the calendar and the Arguelles' interpretation of the Dreamspell and Time Shift of July 26, 1992. After perceiving the final sequencing of the Mayan calendar in 1987, the Time Shift in 1992 was an adjustment of the annual calendar's be ginning to July 26, so that the Dreamspell New Year falls on that date each year.
Since the codices of the Maya were destroyed in the European Conquest, the tables of dates and interpretations of codes were mostly destroyed. The few surviving codices are still "owned" by European museums and removed from the Maya, who have the cultural framework for interpreting them. During the 500 years since the Conquest, various Mayan tribes have adopted various new- year dates and interpretations. In 1992, the University of Guatemala identified the July 26 date based on an eclipse of July 11, 1991 and the Dresden Codex. The Arguelles' interpreted that date as the new beginning of the solar year. The month of July has heralded major earth changes and astronomical events since 1992. The most devastating storm season in history started with Hurricane Andrew immediately after the Time Shift in 1992.
The flooding of the American Midwest broke all records in July, 1993. In July 1994, the Comet Shoemaker -Levy collided with Jupiter. In July, 1995, the Comet Hale-Bopp became visible near Jupiter on amateur telescopes.
Photographs of this comet reveal a spiral formation at times and a square in the comet at other times. Reports of this comet were rumored as far back as 1985 from military sources, that it came close enough to be seen by amateurs in July may be a measure of a larger timing cycle. The sheer weight of physical evidence leans heavily towards the accuracy of Jose and Lloydine's July 26, 1992 date as the point when a new sequencing of planetary time and, therefore events, accelerated.
Equating an end-date for the Mayan calendar round with a date in the European-based Gregorian system has been a heartbreaker for astronomers. Since the European and Native American systems are so different, the only truly accurate method of synchronizing the two was to identify a significant astronomical event, such as an eclipse, recorded on both calendars. This has been impossible due to differences in locations and calendars until July 11, 1991. "In 755 A.D. Maya Priests prophesied the total solar eclipse of July 11, 1991 would herald two life altering events for humankind: Cosmic Awareness and Earth Changes. Shortly after 1:00 P.M., on July 11th, the prophecy began unfolding.
Beneath the eclipse of the century, that Mayas had labeled 'The Sixth Sun', a silvery disc shaped object hovered silently above the world's larg est city. 17 different people, unknown to each other, in deferent locations of Mexico City, videotaped the structured ship - Cosmic Awareness had begun.
The wave of UFO activity continued in the skies over Mexico and, due to the video camcorder, became the most documented mass sighting ever.
For months, a team of international investigators from the U.S., Mexico, and Japan followed the trail of the UFO sightings through the volcano zone to Mount Popocateptl, the fourth largest volcano in the world... Once dormant... Now awakening...' (Messengers of Destiny Video, Genesis Ill).
Based on the July, 1991 eclipse, Jose & Lloydine identified the July 26, 1992, Time Shift. Using a day-by-day count, Euro-American astronomers could finally synchronize their calendars with the Maya Priests. The visitors from the sky that Jose called the Galactic Maya in 'The Mayan Factor', had made good on their promise to return on that date and evidenced the reality of galactic culture that Jose prophesied in his 1988 letter to the World Community after Harmonic Convergence.
December 2012 is the end-date projected by Jose & Lloydine for the Mayan calendar. With many astronomers and scientists now paying attention to the Mayan calendar, much debate has brewed over its end-date; this deserves some explanation.
Without diverting to the many internal flaws and confusions of the European Gregorian calendar, neither of these issues are relevant to the Mayan calendar, seventeen solar years on the Mayan cal-endar is seventeen solar years, no matter what name is given the year in the Gregorian calendar.
No matter what the number of the year on the Gregorian calendar may be, a day-by-day count references real astronomical events in solar days, bypassing the problem of year names in the Gregorian system. The only true point for correlating the two calendars is an astronomical event, which was identified by the July 11, 1991 eclipse. It is a fact that major discrepancies in year counts exist in the Gregorian calendar due to its overlapping the Julian calendar. But this has nothing to do with the internal functions of the Mayan calendar.
Sequences and cycles are readily described as spirals in the Dreamspell and sacred geometries. The numbers of the Pythagorean Lambdoma are 1, 1, 1, 1 an 1, 2, 3, 4. This is an obvious sequencing that can be understood in cycles. The Fibonacci spiral is fundame tal to all life forms. The Fibonacci is a simple matrix that starts with 1 then adds 1 to get a sum of 2 the adds the previous number back into itself to get a sum of 3 (I +2=3) then repeats that sequence to get a ne sum of 5 (3+2=5). Primary numbers of the Fibonacci on the number 1 carried to 13 places are: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233.
Solar systems are designed by nature in Fibonacci spirals as are human hands, sunflowers, and shells. This sequencing is a fundamental design tool of Creation Spectacular patterns are found by applying the Fibonacci spiral to key numbers of the Mayan calendar: 20, 13 and 18. The sacred calendar (Tzolkin) uses 20 and 13 The civil calendar (Haab) uses 20 and 18. The common denominator of both is 20. 1 applied the Fibonacci sequence to the number 20 and carried the sequence out to 26 places. Then I multiplied each number of th sequence by 13 then divided it by 18 and discovered that the results of these factors shifted and started new internal sequencing at the 13th place in each sequence. The 12th place completed a sequence and the 13th started a new sequence internally.
The 12th glyph of the Dreamspell is 'Human' and the 13th glyph is "Skywalker". The sacred calendar is 260 days and the civil calendar is 360 days with 5 unlucky days that are not counted. The Maya were well aware that a solar system is 365 days but chose to memorialize the number 360. Their simultaneous use of two calendars with astrology arrayed sets of ratios and sequences yet accounted for each day of the year in a way utterly foreign to the European calendar. The number 360 symbolizes space in a 360-degree circle or sphere. When a 360-day civil calendar symbolizing space is arrayed with a 260-day sacred calendar symbolizing fourth dimensional time, time-space ratios (coordinates) are discovered. The civil and sacred calendars synchronize every 52 years, so 52 is a central fractal of the calendars.
The number 20 used in a Fibonacci matrix and factored with 13 and 18 produces internal sequences and cycles in the 12th and 13th places. With 12 solar months to 13 lunar months, the 12:13 relationship is part of nature's planetary design.
There have been many projected dates for the ending of the Mayan calendar, ranging from 1957 to 2050. The 2012 end-date was defined by the Thompson Projection. Thompson's projection used a day-by-day count to cross -reference the Mayan to the European calendar rather than a count of years. This bypassed the problem of year names in the Gregorian system. Jose & Lloydine agreed with Thompson's 2012 date. More importantly, the 2012 date works with the hard facts evidenced by the accuracy of the July 26, 1992 Time Shift. Terence McKenna and Peter Meyer's Timewave Zero software that graphs time as a fractal demonstrates by graph the accuracy of the winter solstice of 2012 as the correct end-date of the Mayan calendar with graph anomalies appearing in the months of July.
Beyond the stargates of this planet and solar system lies a cosmic scheme of underlying order in which the earth's flow of history unfolds in patterns of time. Galactic travelers have long traversed the corridors of time and space, and peri odically visited this solar system. The evidence of archaeological ruins on Mars and the moon are mute testimony to the presence of intelligent builders in now ancient history. The evidence is clear. Someone with advanced knowledge of astronomy has visited peoples of this planet and left calendars as a signature note. This is discovered in correspondences of world calendars: Mayan, Tibetan, Afri can, Vedic, and Hebraic. Similar calendar schemes are found in each of these cultures.
The European calendar mandated by Pope Gregory in 1583 is the only world calendar that did not intercalate at least two celestial cycles. The Hebraic calendar acquired by Enoch after he was translated in a beam of light intercalated solar and lunar cycles in a fashion similar to the Maya. The Dogon in Africa were given four calendars by visitors from Sirius B: Solar, lunar, Venu sian, and civil. The Tibetan calendar is so similar to the Mayan that traditional scholars now speculate that they share a common origin. The Vedic calendar is based on cosmic cycles, or Yugas. An ancient Hindu astrology used 27 houses of 13 degrees 20 minutes, which are key numbers in the Mayan calendar.
These calendars provided a time management tool that synchronized planetary cycles with visits from the stars. The Dogon calendar identified the 12 or 13th Century as the date of last visit; the Mayan calendar identified July 11, 1991, as an upcoming date of visit. Both of these dates coincided with significant planetary cycles.
The cultures visited by the Galactic Maya were shamanic. Ancient Hebraic instructions for building altars and using precious and semiprecious stones are identical to those used by Native Americans. The ancient Tibetans were shamanic. The Dogon and Maya are shamanic. The Galactic Maya were shamanic.
Ancient Hebraic instructions for building altars and using precious and semiprecious stones are identical to those used by Native Americans. The ancient Tibetans were shamanic. The Galactic Maya were shamans of planetary sciences, Cosmic Shamans who understood and utilized the cosmic flow of events. Their secrets were left with shaman in cultures who held the keys of their sciences. Until now the shaman's craft has appeared as superstition that scattered before the power of European-based science. But that same science has now brought planet to her knees in destruction of the biosphere.
NOW IS THE TIME
The Cosmic Shaman of galactic culture returned from the sky on July 11, 1991 to signal the time. Dialogs with extraterrestrials and those they came to awaken contain many keys that unlock the calendars and heal the planet. One of the keys came out of an extraterrestrial contact when the contactee asked how the craft operated. He was told that the extraterrestrial craft operated on the principles of sequences per cycle. That's a pretty good definition of time and ties into the reports that many ETs are time travelers.
The premise of the Mayan calendar was sequences and cycles in planetary and galactic events. The Dreamspell is a galactic-solar calendar of cosmic relationships as they relate to planets and life forms. The Mayan concept of time was radically different than the European and particularly the Euro-American with its growing perception of time as a digital readout. The Mayan calendar was a self evidencing model of reality that encompassed an array of sequences and cycles. The Dreamspell, evolved from the Mayan calendar, crests the timewave in a magniflcent solar spiral Timeship Earth 2013.
- OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE / THE SAINT JUAN DIEGO
- In Mexico every December 12, it is the FIESTA OF THE VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE, greatest of the great Mexican fiestas. Not only is the Great Mother and Virgin patroness of the Mexican Revolution, but in this fiesta She manifests the continuium of worship of the Aztec Goddess of earth, fertility and corn - Chicomecoatl ( Chico-mek-a-wattl ). Aztec ceremonies persist in Her worship and fiesta. This is how She is adored the world over:
- She changes Her name but Her Heart remains the same.
- Guadalupe's temple is located on the exact site of Chicomecoatl's temple so that when Her children walk in the one they also walk in the other. She is worshiped and adored by millions all over the world and Her Millions of Names will be remembered when ours are dust.
- 1531 -- Appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Great Mother, Chicomecoatl, at Tepeac, Mexico. Having appeared several times before to a Aztec Peasant, Juan Diego who has just become the firs Indian saint of Mexico, the Mother told him to go tell the local Bishop - a Franciscan named Zumýrraga - that She had
- provided the sign he had requested. The Bishop had asked Juan to ask Mother to make roses bloom in December. In the days before global warming, that was a rarity. Obedient to the Bishop, Juan had asked Her and, at the Goddess's instruction, found the miraculous roses growing on the ruins of Her temple exactly where Her new Temple is now located. She Herself arranged them in his tilde - a rough cloth made of
- maguye cactus fibers and woven in coarse strips which the peasants wore for protection from the rain, cold and wind. When Juan Diego obtained the Bishop's presence he opened his tilde and the roses fell to the
- That, however, was not the miracle.
- The miracle was and is the picture which had miraculously appeared on the fibrous, worn, coarse tilde. Painters have never understood the laying on of the colors. Over the centuries they have repeatedly
- deposed, under oath, that the "canvas" was not only unfit but unprepared; and they have marveled at the mediums used in the picture's painting: oil, water, tempera, etc. coloring all in the same figure. They are left in equal admiration by the flower-like tints and the abundance gold. The chief colors are deep gold in the rays and stars, blue green in the mantle, and rose in the flowered tunic. They and other artists find the proportions perfect for a maiden of fifteen. The figure and the attitude are of one Who is advancing. There is flight and rest
- in the eager supporting angel. Sworn evidence was repeatedly given at various commissions of inquiry corroborating the traditional account of the miraculous origin and influence of the picture. 469 years later it shows no sign of decay nor has it been touched during fire, drought, explosions, wars, revolutions and earthquakes.
- She said,
- "Let not your heart be disturbed.
- Do not fear sickness or anguish.
- Am I not here, who is your Mother?
- Are you not under my protection?
- Am I not your health?
- Are you not happily within my fold?
- What else do you wish?
- Do not grieve
- nor be disturbed by anything."
- THE WORSHIP OF SAN SIMON / THE MAYA MAGICIEN
- The worship of San Simon comes to us from Guatemala but has quickly spread throughout Mexico and other Central American areas.
- He is a very powerful spirit and is reputed for his healing miracles and his intercession in the lives of the poorest of the poor. He is the miracle worker to invoke in the most impossible cases.
- San Simon is not a saint in the traditional sense. He is actually an old pre-columbian Deity known as Mam or Mashimon (Maximon). The missionaries while trying to convert the Maya of Guatemala helped transform this ancient pagan Deity (His old name ³Mam² actually means the xancient one²) into a catholic saint by aligning him with Judas Iscariot. Originally the intent had been to discredit him and give him an unappealing image so the peasants would abandon their worship of him. The missionaries underestimated Maximon¹s power and the devotion the peasants of Guatemala felt for him. The missionaries considered Mashimon to be a devilish entity but to the poor peasants of Guatemala the deed of Judas Iscariot who took 30 pieces of gold to ditribute to the poor was a good one, even if it meant he gave up Jesus of Nazareth.
- San Simon is very much adored in Guatemala and Mexico. He is represented as an old man sitting in an old-style chair with a black suit and hat. He is holding a stick and smokes a cigar.
- Next to him stands his bottle of Aguardiente and his bag of gold coins.
- He is given offerings of tortillas, coins, Aguardiente, cigars and black candles. If you are asking for his help in money matters, you may offer him a green candle, and a red or yellow one for love and family matters.
- Contrary to the views of the catholic church, the Mayan understood that the world is necessarely made up of opposing energies and that the xdark² side of Maximon was as necessary to the proper evolution of things as nightime is to the coming of the new day. As in Voodoo, the Mayan did not accept the Christian view of a separate and total evil. It is in this vein that San Simon is to be regarded: as a true Magicien who balances positive and negative energies in order to re-establish order and allow change to take place for the benefit of his serviteurs.
- His altar should be decorated with meso-american cloth and other objects that remind us of his origins: sugar cane, a walking stick, pottery, corn etc.. yet remain simple as he is a peasant at heart.
- Treat him well and make him your friend and he will return the friendship when you need help most.
- You can call him San Simon or Maximon (pronounced Mashimon) or Hermano Simon.
- San Simon is now installed in our temple room as well and we will be making offerings to Him on a daily and weekly basis.
- His altar is not quite finished ; we are in the process of aquiring the proper cloth and other implements for Him. In the meantime we have given him a straw hat as well as images of the pyramids aat Coba and a picture of three beautiful Maya girls from Yucatan. We thought he would enjoy their company and distraction until we are ready to ask him for some serious work!!
- If you should wish to make a special petition or offering to San Simon, please e-mail us.
- More sacred texts, commentaries, prayers, poetry to come soon. Please visit this page again.
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