Unraveling the mysteries of personal lwa and the blue dress

Last Sunday I went to Mambo C’s house for a met tet reading. For those of you new to Vodou, a person’s met tet is the “master of their head,” a sort of Vodou guardian spirit. At any given time, a number of lwas may be with a person, but the met tet is the one you are born with.

Prior to my reading, the mambo had to finish up an interview with a student from out of town. The student had arrived 90 minutes late, so the interview ran late as well. As it turned out, we had only a very brief time to do my reading. The tarot cards had been laid out and Mambo C had barely begun reading them when Houngan D arrived. She had not gotten a clear impression of who my met tet was, although she had identified three lwa who were around me.

We discussed the reading a little with Houngan D, and he suggested I try working with Azaka, the lwa of agriculture. Houngan D asked me if my family had been farmers. I had to reply that they were not, as far as I knew. However, I never knew my father’s family (the Chinese side), so it’s possible some of them might have been farmers. I thought about Azaka, and did not have strong feelings one way or the other. Mambo C and I  never did get back to the cards that day, but she left them laid out on her dining room table and told me to give her a call later.

By the time we resumed the reading on Monday via telephone, Mambo C had carefully gone over the cards. While she was still not sure about my met tet, she did provide me with some interesting information.

La Sirene was very prominent in the reading, although the mambo did not think she was my met tet. However, this made me very happy, as it meant that La Sirene acknowledged my service to her. Erzulie was also present, although a little less prominently.  Also very prominent in the reading was Ogoun, the warrior lwa. The reading indicated some conflict between masculine and feminine energies, possibly related to the relationship with and between my parents. I found it interesting that the mambo saw this in the cards, as I grew up raised by a strong single mother with few positive male role models around, and certainly none who were around for any significant amount of time. She thought that the Ogoun energy manifested in the skill involved in sculpting, and the Erzulie/La Sirene energies manifested in my artistic abilities. She also thought that Agwe might be indicated, as he is married to both Erzulie and La Sirene. Both Ogoun and Agwe are associated with thunder and lightning, which reminded me of my close encounter with lightning back in December. On one website, Ogoun was associated with solitary predators, including panthers. Erzulie in her darker aspect (Erzulie Red Eyes) was also associated with big cats, which appeals to the therian in me.

She advised me to set up additional shrines for Erzulie, Ogoun and Agwe, so during the week I bought more candles and tried to find items to represent the new lwa in their shrines.

Mambo C mentioned that the Queen of Cups in the Rider Waite tarot deck represents Erzulie well. She is also commonly associated with Mater Dolorosa, a lovely white Mary wearing pearls and gold with a sword thrust into her heart. While killing time before meeting a friend on Wednesday, I stopped by Edge of the Circle Books and found a prayer card of Santa Barbara that I thought would work quite well. Saint Barbara is holding a cup and has a sword, although it isn’t piercing her heart. Her gown is white and her cloak is pinkish red (Erzulie’s color are white and pink).

santabarbara

While the guy was ringing up my card and candles, I looked down through the glass of the counter and my eyes fell on a cool metal pendant of Ogoun. The pendant was made of pewter and is basically a full body relief depicting the lwa as a modern soldier. It appealed to me both for its interpretation of Ogoun and for the artistic quality of the piece. Also, it seemed appropriate that his avatar be made of metal, as he is the lwa of iron. Of course I had to buy it.

That left me with the task of finding a representation for Agwe. Usually he is depicted by images of boats, but sea creatures can be used, as well as Saint Ulrich. I was having trouble finding an image or item that resonated for me. One sculpture that I saw in Pike Place Market of an Inuit man with a walrus face would have worked very well, but at $245 was out of the question. Finally, on Thursday, my girlfriend and I were at a gift shop in Belltown that sold a variety of well-sculpted plastic sea creatures. After pondering various dolphins, sharks, whales and a walrus, I settled on a small but highly detailed sea turtle with an appropriately intense expression and eyes that were nearly solid white, which gave him a mysterious otherworldly appeal. I will place some boat images behind him in his shrine.

So my plan is to set up these additional shrines today, serve these lwa, and hopefully at some point my met tet will identify itself.

Mambo C’s reading also indicated that my path into Vodou would not be a simple one, but instead full of twists and turns. And my thoughts to that were, “Ah. Just like the rest of my life.” Oh well. Sometimes when things come too easily, we appreciate them less.

Lastly, I’ve recently had some insights and ideas about the visitor in the blue dress that appeared to me twice, once on a bus ride and another time during meditation. On the bus ride, my impression of her was of an adult Native American, Latina or mulatto woman with long dark hair. In the meditation vision she appeared as a very dark skinned young African girl. I suspect this was La Sirene because of the similarity of the dress (both times it was blue with a repeated white pattern–blue and white, La Sirene’s colors). On one website I saw artwork of her with dual aspects, represented as two mermaids, one light skinned, one dark. This contrasts her benevolent and more dangerous aspects. The adult woman I saw had some maternal airs about her and may have been La Sirene’s protective, gentler aspect. I think the child represents La Sirene in her darker aspect, but “darker” in this sense would refer to the subconscious desires and instincts of the soul, or the part of the soul that is more spontaneous, unrestrained and childlike.

So with that, I take my leave to continue down my twisty turny path.

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