WHEN IS ORISA INITIATION REALLY NECESSARY?

Posted in Religion, Ritual with tags , , on June 17, 2017 by cheshirecatman

One of my sosyete sisters shared this excellent article by Ayele Kumari, PhD. Check out her blog:

http://www.ayelekumari.com/ifayele/when-is-orisa-initiation-really-necessary5424577

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Learning to walk with the Lwa (the job edition, Part 2)

Posted in Legba, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 29, 2017 by cheshirecatman
Golden Key

© Yanik Chauvin | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Back in February I wrote about a new job that I was very excited about. It was at a young, up-and-coming tech company with great benefits and a friendly work environment. Things were going well and I was happy. Then the rug got pulled out from under me.

In early March, the company unexpectedly lost one of its main clients, and they laid off about a third of their staff. Being a newbie, I was in the group that got let go. It was sudden: we came into work on Monday, got called to an impromptu meeting, and got the news. Some people were angry; I was hugely disappointed. I also realized that I was fortunate in that I did not have a large amount of time invested in the company–one guy I talked to had been there for 3 years.

In such situations it can be tempting, from a magickal point of view, to ask what you did wrong to earn the wrath of your gods. Honestly, in this case I don’t think I did anything. Call it bad luck or bad timing on my part. I did, after all, ask Legba to help me get the job, and he did. No one at the company expected this to happen.

I do think that the Lwa don’t always lead you on a straight path, and sometimes due to various timing issues this is necessary.

I filed for unemployment and began the tedious task of updating resumes, scanning job boards, contacting employers and filing unemployment claims every week. There were a lot of jobs out there, but apparently there were also a lot of applicants. Even though one of my laid off coworkers found a new position quickly, about two months went by for me and nothing. No queries, not a peep.

Then, on a Thursday in early May, I got two text messages from two separate former co-workers who both worked for a Tacoma company I used to work for. They told me that one of their clients was looking for a graphics person. Note here that I sort of suck at networking, and in my entire professional life I can only remember getting a job via networking one time, and that was only for a 1-day temp position. So this was something new for me.

I called the company immediately and spoke with the owner, then sent him my resume. Over the next 24 hours, we e-mailed each other back and forth, and on Friday he invited me to go for an interview the following Monday. As I looked over their website I was amused that 1) the name was very similar to another company I’d worked at for nearly 10 years and 2) the logo design reminded me of the Tacoma company. Were these signs? Again, I asked Legba for assistance, but this time added the conditions that I only ask for this job if it’s stable and good for me.

The weekend came and went. On Monday, I dressed conservatively (for me) and headed out to the interview. Upon entering the building, I immediately noticed a good amount of diversity (as I would find out later, this company is about 50% people of color, 50% female, and diverse in age, compared to the tech company that was mainly young and maybe 25% female and 25% people of color). The owner was a person of color and the manager who sat in on the interview was a biker-looking dude with tattoos all over his arms. I thought to myself, “This could work.”

The interview was casual with no silly HR questions, no “where do you see yourself in 5 years” kinds of stuff. They told me they would let me know no later than Friday.

Two days later they e-mailed me back and asked if I could start on Friday! I was over the moon.

While this does not have the new technology type of excitement of the tech job, this company fits me well, like a favorite pair of shoes. And I am hoping now for a period of calm and stability on the workfront so I can fully focus on other areas of life.

Also, on an unrelated note, a couple of weeks ago I met a member of Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman’s sosyete, a New Orleans native who is living in Seattle. We’d been corresponding for a while on Facebook and he was every bit as kind in person as he is online. Honor to him and to his mambo and his sosyete.

A review of CNN’s “Believer” Vodou episode

Posted in Haiti, Religion, Vodou, Voodoo with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2017 by cheshirecatman

Mambo Sallie Anne Glassman has published a detailed review of the recent Vodou episode of CNN’s “Believer” TV series.

http://thelensnola.org/2017/04/02/cnns-reza-aslan-tries-to-make-sense-of-vodou-and-falls-short/

CNN showcases Vodou

Posted in Haiti, lwas, Religion, Ritual, Vodou, Voodoo on March 16, 2017 by cheshirecatman

CNN is featuring Vodou this Sunday on its show “Believer.” I haven’t watched any of the episodes so can’t vouch for its quality one way or the other, but the preview looks interesting.
http://www.cnn.com/shows/believer

Learning to walk with the Lwa (the job edition)

Posted in Dreams, Legba, Life Lessons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by cheshirecatman
job_key

© Skypixel | Dreamstime.com – Career and Job Opportunities

If you are a regular reader, you may be familiar with my recurring shoe dreams. Some people have nude-in-public dreams; I have walking-around-with-no-shoes dreams.

I had another one recently in which I was walking around in a truck stop rural area with the girlfriend. I look down and I am stocking-footed. It finally dawned on me that these dreams are largely about stability (and the lack thereof). I don’t know why I did not figure this out sooner. I have weak ankles, so good shoes are paramount to my physical stability. So it’s not too surprising that my recent bout with job instability would trigger a shoe dream.

Just over a year ago, I was laid off from a job of nearly a decade and transitioned smoothly into another job. The new company seemed like a good fit, the job was interesting, and things went well for a while. And then things started going bad. The mundane reason: a long commute (Seattle to Tacoma) meant I was often tired and started falling asleep at work and having job performance issues. My confidence in my work skills took a hard blow. The other reason: a long commute meant little time for much else, including service to the Lwa.

They weren’t happy with me and this became clearer and clearer over time. Whenever my thoughts turned to finding a new job closer to home, things would go better at work. But if I thought, “Well, maybe this will work out fine and I’ll stay for a while,” then I’d start having problems again. When they speak and you don’t listen, things go awry. Eventually enough was enough. So near the end of last year, I started sending out resumes and quickly got a call from a staffing agency, who placed me in a temp-to-hire position with a company that processes legal papers.

The paper-pushing job was super-convenient (a one-bus commute to downtown Seattle), but also a little depressing. Aside from handling legal documents all day long, I was very much a production drone who wasn’t utilizing many of his skills. I really don’t like looking for work and was hoping that this job would work out long-term, but after a brief couple of weeks I could no longer ignore the push to look for something better. And then a playfully written ad on craigslist caught my eye. It was for a graphics-related job in the tech sector.

I was hoping for but did not expect a response, but they responded within a few days and requested a phone screening. Now, I hate the telephone and knew I needed Legba’s help on this one. I lit a candle and asked for his help. And he came through. The interview ended up feeling more like a casual conversation over coffee, and the following Wednesday I found myself over on the Eastside for a group interview.

Legba came through again–I aced it. So much so that my interviewers had no additional questions for me at the end because I’d already answered them. Now, I am a very inconsistent interviewee–whether I interview well or not depends a lot on my mood that day and the demeanor of the people interviewing me. So this was no small feat. I liked the feel of the company–it was energetic, forward-thinking and seemed to value its employees. My interviewers were considerate and followed through whenever they said they would do something. Legba’s hand was evident during our interactions and when I wrote an inspired cover letter and the follow-up correspondence.

The tech company told me they’d make a decision no later than the following Monday. I tried not to become too anxious, but this was a job I cared about, and I knew I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t hired. However, they made me the offer the next day.

That day, prior to the offer, I was returning from my lunch break at the temp job. I stopped in the restroom and set my phone and the book I was reading on the back of the tank. I turned to latch the stall door when I heard a splash. My book and my phone had fallen into the john. I am not really sure how; I thought I’d placed them firmly on the tank.

I immediately snatched them out. I was very glad the phone still worked but the book was damaged. It probably was salvageable, but you can’t really wash a book, so I decided to trash it even though I was in the middle of reading it. It was a Christmas gift. Oh well, I’d replace it at some point.

Shortly after that (like, within an hour), I received the job offer. That made me wonder if the book was claimed by Legba as payment for the job. Later I would call Mambo and ask her opinion, and she said that sometimes happens if you don’t negotiate your deal well. And I realized I hadn’t been specific enough when I petitioned Legba. I liked the book, but I wasn’t too upset. It was a small price to pay, and if the phone had been damaged then I might not have gotten the call in a timely manner, and the job might have been lost. So Legba took the book. I just recently replaced it, but felt it would be a good idea to remember this lesson. So instead of buying an identical new paperback copy, I purchased an older used hardback edition. In this way I don’t feel like I am erasing that event.

After a slightly stressful ten days (mostly due to confidence issues left over from the Tacoma job), I am starting to feel stable again. Also, from a numbers standpoint, this is the 3rd position I’ve had since leaving my last long-term job. Three is my met tet’s number. So I am optimistic I will be here for a while.

Thoughts on the afterlife (Part One in a possible series)

Posted in afterlife, Animals, Dreams, Legba, Meditation, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2016 by cheshirecatman

(This is an informal discussion between myself and one of my sosyete sisters.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death and the afterlife since I saw John Edward.  As my sister has had similar topics on her mind, we decided to discuss publicly. Plus it’s a nice way to close out November, when we honor the dead.)

afterlife

©Arbi Babakhanaians, Dreamstime Stock Photos

Cheshirecatman (CCM): My interest in death started at an early age–probably from fear of losing my mother, then later continued when i became suicidal and wondered what would happen if I did it. It’s since grown beyond both into an interest in what comes after this. I don’t consider it morbid. It’s more fascination and interest in a little-studied aspect of reality.

Shibamistress (SM): My mother would say I have always been interested in the trappings of death: I have always been a collector of bones and skulls and skull imagery. Then, it was just something that appealed to me. But I also began to think of it more when I was suicidal, wondering what it would be like. Since my mother has been suicidal most of her life, I had to deal the idea of death for a long time, and I did not believe, like she seems to, that it was just like “going to sleep.” I started getting interested in other people’s ideas of afterlife, though admittedly, I haven’t read as much as I could (I’m sure you’ve read a lot more than me about it). But I started thinking about it a lot, and like you, not in a morbid way, but with real interest.

CCM: My long interest really piqued when I lost Puck. I was working with a skilled animal communicator both before and after he passed, and he continued to talk to me after he passed, and knew things that happened around me. As regular readers will know, the first time Legba appeared to me he was with Puck.

SM: That is amazing! So how do you envision an afterlife? (I’m so curious about this!)

CCM: Having read or listened to various accounts, it seems somewhat subjective.
I believe the reason for this is because, on that side, it’s much easier to manifest things by thought and energy, so you kind of manifest to some degree what you want. Sylvia Browne saw it as a beautiful place with all Greco Roman architecture. Mine most frequently is some sort of alternate reality Seattle. It’s my city but things aren’t quite the same and landmarks are messed up.

SM: Oh, that’s so interesting! This is sort of a side note, (or perhaps not), but I often have reoccurring dreams that take place in alternate reality cities. Meaning, I have many San Francisco dreams that are not in real SF, but are consistent from dream to dream.

CCM: I have dreams in other cities as well. Browne wrote that a version of everything on this earth exists over there. Maybe. I do think that we might easily manifest places similar to what we are used to, especially when visiting from here.

SM: And I very much agree that it is subjective. I also believe we manifest things in that other world.

CCM: Yes. Browne talked about how you could manifest a home to live in, which makes sense.

SM: Yes! I have done this, based on more reading/discussion about building things on the astral plane rather than looking at it as necessarily the afterlife. But my feeling is that building on the astral plane IS (perhaps) building for the afterlife. So I have constructed a small space that is the same space I use for meditation (as much as I do that) astral journeying, feelings of safety, etc.

CCM: I would agree with that. Death seems like a transition to another plane, and astral travel is about other planes.

SM: I was working on a novel in which the main character dies in the opening chapter, and the rest is about her navigating the afterlife (and also helping her sister who is still alive). I don’t know if I will ever finish the novel, but it really helped me think about the afterlife and how I imagine it. Her first task is to learn how to manifest what she wants, to create a home, even create a world. One of the big points I thought of (not an original thought, but something that intrigues me) is that everyone gets the afterlife they expect, because to some level or another, they are manifesting it. Now if they become adept at that, they can change and reshape things there. If they don’t believe they can do that, though, they may be stuck for a very long time indeed.

CCM: That makes total sense to me. It might also explain why some people experience hell. I’ve been a lucid dreamer since early childhood, and one thing I’ve noticed is that in a dream, when you succumb to fear, the dream literally goes to hell. Or, if I become lucid, I can change the dream from a nightmare to something peaceful. It is about mindset and control though.
I think the dream state teaches us some things about the other side, although I think we have more control there than in dreams. And I don’t think all dreams are necessarily visits to the other side. I do think some are just the brain working stuff out, and some are a mixture.

SM: Yes, that makes sense to me. I am not able to lucid dream (or at least my attempts have not been successful) but I do believe that it is the same skill set, so to speak. And I do also believe this is why some people experience hell. They expect to. In my novel-in-progress, the narrator is able to visit some of other people’s afterlives, and some seem to be living in a classic “heaven” with angels and pearly gates and all that crap, and some are in a traditional hell. some are in their private hells. All would be able to move out of those if they chose to and were aware enough. (The visiting part made sense in a novel and the idea of creating what one expects makes sense to me, but I don’t know what I think about actually visiting other people’s afterlives)

CCM: I am hoping you finish that novel now. I do believe in what I will loosely call the angelic realm, but what I think of as different levels of beings including angels, the lwa, and different deities. One thing I did gather from reading various books is that once you cross over into the next realm, you have more understanding of things but you still don’t know all there is to know.

SM:  It may not be a real novel. It may be just me thinking about the afterlife!

CCM: But you could turn it into novelic form.

SM: Oh yes, on the other side you still don’t know all there is to know! My thought is death is a beginning…and the afterlife, which may or may not end in another incarnation for some, is just the beginning! There is much to learn there too!

CCM: Murry Hope talks about it in terms of time and center points. The “godhead” or what people think of as the one God is at the center, the rest of us are navigating inward to that center. So as we get closer (through transitions to closer dimensions) we gain more of the larger picture.

SM: Oh I like that! That makes a lot of sense!

CCM: So if you have wise guides, they are not God but are closer than you to the center.

SM: There was a writer whose name I can’t recall now who I read a while back. I think he may be Australian. Anyway, he talked about there even being “universities” in the afterlife, where people can learn many many things, and I loved that idea! I also very much agree with the lwa and others closer to god than us and can guide us.

CCM: I think the universities are very possible.

SM:  I’ll have to see if I can dig up my reference too. I believe I wrote it down somewhere.

CCM: Sylvia Browne talked about that a bit too. On the other side, she did not see you as sitting around singing praises to god. People could work in areas they were passionate about, to help people on earth (or other similar worlds). There were vast libraries of knowledge you could visit too.

SM: Yes! I think so too!
I also believe we can take any form we choose there, once we learn how to do it. That is so appealing to me.

CCM: Yes, the physical form would be part of the energy manifestation thing. You could take on a form that matched a former life, or something else. I am often very much a shapeshifter in my dreams.

SM: In my writing, I had a scene where my narrator goes to a school to learn and encounters a black jaguar, and asks how the jaguar learned to take animal form, and the jaguar says rather huffily that he has never incarnated as a human! *lol*

CCM: Smart cat, lol.

SM: And the shapeshifter dreams are the best! I don’t think they are entirely dreams…perhaps memories….

CCM: Yes, memories. I am probably dumping human form after this, but who knows how I will feel when I get there. You also have the opportunity to be an incarnated person’s spirit guide, which i think could be rewarding and aggravating. So I could see briefly adopting human form if working with a human. They freak out kinda easily lol.

SM: Oh yes! That makes sense! I was thinking that perhaps my character might work herself up to doing that kind of work or working as a psychopomp, so I was thinking something similar.

CCM: You seriously need to write that book. I probably am gonna bother you about it now.

SM:   Here’s something relatively new. I’ve been thinking on this topic, but it is not all clear to me yet. See what you think. So often I feel as if I am separated from something so close to me, so important, it is stronger than any human bond. And I miss it. And I thought about how when I die, perhaps there is a sort of soulmate I will finally meet in that world. Then I started thinking about Vodou and our two souls. What if we somehow are just meeting another part of ourselves there? A part that did not incarnate with us? And that is the longing that some of us feel?
Or perhaps it’s like Freda, longing for a closer connection with the divine? Who knows. But the two souls things started me thinking.

CCM: There are theories that we live simultaneously in different dimensions or time zones, even though we are only aware of one during our waking hours or during normal consciousness. So part of you (some might say your higher self or possibly your future self) is literally missing from normal conscious life.
I have gone through various beliefs about soul mates and/or twin souls and have not exactly come to a conclusion. I will say that soul mates of that sort do not always incarnate with us. so that is entirely possible.

SM: That’s one way I thought of it too.

CCM: I am thinking mine is Puck, as his loss affected me like no other in this life. The main thing I want when I leave this life is to reunite with him. I know some will poo poo me feeling that way about someone who isn’t human, but I poo poo that sort of limited thinking. I am not sure Puck is “just a cat” even though that is what he incarnated as.

SM: Makes total sense to me. Puck’s soul wanted to be with you, even if it was in the shorter life as a cat. And you will meet again, and have no doubt been with each other for a very very long time indeed in one form or another.

(This is part of a planned ongoing series about death and the afterlife. To be continued.)

Thoughts on seeing medium John Edward live

Posted in Dreams, Psychic with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 2016 by cheshirecatman

During the middle of last summer, when it became very obvious that my vacation plans were kaput, I  decided to buy tickets to see psychic medium John Edward. It was something I’d thought of doing for a long time, but the tickets aren’t cheap so I didn’t. This time, though, I had the money I would not be spending for travel on hand, so I thought, what the heck. Plus, it would give me something to look forward to

For those of you who don’t know who he is, Mr. Edward used to have a show on the SyFy channel called “Crossing Over with John Edward.” I watched the show regularly, and because of the way he received information and the speed and confidence with which he conveyed it, I quickly recognized he was the real deal. Plus I liked the fact that, even though he has a Catholic background, he didn’t filter the information through a religious lens. (He stated at his show that religion is a path to the truth, not the truth itself.)

I purchased two tickets, not really knowing who I would invite to go with me. I asked my girlfriend Anne if she wanted to go, but Anne was noncommittal, even though she also enjoyed “Crossing Over.” A few weeks later I went to a movie with my good friend Joe, and mentioned the show. His interest and enthusiasm were immediate, and so the decision was made.

The show was at the Marriott in SeaTac, and we arrived about an hour and 45 minutes prior to when the doors opened. It seemed a bit excessive, but when we got there, there was quite a line and only one person processing tickets. By the time we actually sat down, there was less than an hour to wait

John took a wrong turn and was about 20 minutes late, but the show was extended by 20 minutes so it wasn’t a big deal. The experience was very much like watching an episode of “Crossing Over,” with John doing random communications on behalf of various people in the audience. I used to wonder what was cut out of his TV episodes, but after seeing him, my guess is not much. John doesn’t believe in “production” or playing up a reading for dramatic effect; he pretty much just relays what he receives. The last reading of the night was particularly moving–the recently deceased young son came through to talk to his family (his mother and possibly some extended family–I couldn’t see too well from where I was sitting) in their time of grieving. John even offered to call the father (who didn’t attend) after the show, on his own time.

The show lasted about 2 hours, with an extended Q&A afterwards for VIP level ticket holders. Joe and I could have stayed and gotten pictures taken with John, but we opted not to because we were both hungry by then, and we would have been in a line of maybe about 300 or so people.

Initially I had thought it might be neat to be one of the people who received a reading from John, but once I saw how much time he was spending with some people, I was glad I didn’t get one. Joe felt the same way. With my muddled knowledge of my ancestry, I might not recognize some blood relatives if they came through. Plus, John really believes that the people who receive communications during an event are the ones who need it the most. The grieving family really needed it. As for me, I have my own mediums to consult with, and I commune with the dead in dreams.

Some people in the audience seemed very hopeful about receiving a reading and disappointed that they didn’t receive one. If you plan to attend an event, I advise that you just go with the expectation of watching John work, which is itself quite fascinating. And the conversations between John and the audience both before and after the readings are interesting. You might think that your chances of receiving a reading during a 2-hour event are pretty good, but in actuality part of that time is spend in discussion and questions with John, and sometimes the readings take some time, so the odds of receiving a reading are not that good. If a reading is what you really want, I’d advise to save the money you would spend on tickets and buy a reading, either from John or from a less-famous, more affordable medium.

Thinking about death and the afterlife of course makes me think of my late cat Puck, and I’ve been telling him over the past 2 weeks since the event that I’d really like to see him. And finally, last night, he paid me an extended visit in my dreams. The memory was a bit garbled by the time I awoke, but I know it was one of the longer dreams I had with him, and that alone warms my soul.