Archive for the Mermaids Category

A beautiful offering for La Sirene

Posted in La Sirene, Mermaids, Religion, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by cheshirecatman

A few months ago I performed some prosperity wanga with La Sirene on behalf of a friend. Since then I’ve owed her something nice as payment, as the spell has come to fruition.

My friend Slinky made this lovely paquet specifically for the lwa. The photos don’t really do it justice, but the various hues of blue are really gorgeous.

(Note: Click on the photo for a larger view.)

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La Sirene

Posted in Agwe, Dreams, Haiti, La Sirene, lwas, Mermaids, Religion, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2012 by cheshirecatman

I’ve received a request to post some info about La Sirene. This lwa does walk with me, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been a little negligent of her and Met Agwe (her husband) lately. I need to make it up to them, and honoring the request to  post more info about her is a good start. I am also purchasing a beautiful spirit bottle for her from my friend Slinky in the near future; pics will be posted at that time.

I’ll start off with the quoted book info and then add some more personal stuff.

From Répertoire Pratique des Loa du Vodou Haïtien by Déïta:

She is Master Agouet Aroyo’s wife. Goddess of fresh and salt waters…She is the twin sister of “La Baleine” (The Whale).

SYMBOL: Gold comb and Horn of Plenty.

COLORS – CLOTHING: Pink.

OFFERINGS: Rice pudding; vermicelli with milk, corn-heart gruel, sugar-coated almonds, candies, pink cake and the roasted flesh of a white pigeon.

DRINKS: Sweet almond syrup.

(Note: This book also includes an image of La Sirene’s veve, which I don’t see often).

From The Hatian Vodou Handbook by Kenaz Filan:

La Sirene (literally “the Siren or “the mermaid”)…is as changeable as the sea, capable of great love and great cruelty..

In Haiti, many Vodouisants will avoid putting their heads beneath water while swimming in the ocean. They believe that if they do they may be captured by La Sirene, who will take them to Gineh. There they will stay for years, if they come back at all. When they return they will be powerful  magicians….

…La Sirene loves images of beautiful mermaids. If you want to create a shrine to La Sirene, be sure to include some mermaid imagery. Like Agwe, La Sirene also enjoys nautical materials and items. Seashells, driftwood, sea glass, sea floaters , and other things that have been taken from the sea or that are connected with marine or ocean imagery…You should also give her a comb and a mirror–the finest you can afford.

La Sirene likes sweet things, particularly cakes with white and light blue-green icing…You can also give her champagne, orgeat syrup, or other liqueurs.

From The Little Book of Vodou by Leah Gordon:

…a mermaid who possesses the wisdom of the water’s depths. She is said to make an eerie music on the floor of the ocean, and is held to be the patron of musicians.

Colors: Blue-green

Symbols: Mirror, comb, trumpet, shells

Offering: white doves, perfume, mirrors, sweet white wine

Catholic Counterpart:  Nuestra Senora de la Caridad and St. Martha

My own experiences with La Sirene go as far back as I can remember. For one, my favorite number was always her number, seven, and it used to follow me around. I’d look at a phone number and it would be full of 7’s, or I’d be standing in a public restroom and it would have 7 stalls. You get the idea. These days, the number 3 (Legba’s number) is the one that seems to follow me the most, but back then it was all 7’s.

When I was a child, I also had dreams where earth was a water planet, and we could breathe underwater and swim everywhere. As an adult, I’ve noticed her and Met Agwe’s presence is often indicated in dreams by the appearance of beautiful turquoise water. (See Dogs and dreams of water for more details.) She has also appeared to me a couple of times, wearing a blue and white dress. (See Unraveling the mysteries of personal lwa and the blue dress and What is it with the blue dress? for detailed accounts.) And of course, there was the mirror incident.

I also recommend the following link, which includes her veve:

http://www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/siren_balen.html

Shrine Redo

Posted in Agwe, Erzulie, La Sirene, Legba, lwas, Mermaids, Ogoun, Religion, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2010 by cheshirecatman

Our recent move was a major one, and we are still not finished unpacking. But I did finally get my shrines set up, and here are the pictures I’ve been promising to post.

Anne’s mother gave us a beautiful wood cabinet that is perfect for this purpose. It has doors that I can close to protect the shrines from the mischievous paws of Luna, my younger cat.

The shrine cabinet

The cabinet...2 shelves and opening doors

The top of the cabinet belongs to Papa Legba. In the background is his spirit box made for me by my friend Slinky. To the right is a seven-day candle that I painted with his veve (not too bad for a first attempt). To the left is a small statue of a dog.

Legba

The top of the cabinet is dedicated to Legba

Over the summer, I went to an artwalk in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. There, I purchased a beautiful handmade cane for Legba. I’d been wanting to buy him a cane, and when I spotted a collection of handmade canes at the Belltown Barber, I was very excited. A local artist makes them (I’m embarrassed to say that his name has slipped my mind, but I will add it here when I find out*) and I could not believe the price was only $20. It took me a while to choose one as there were several that I liked, but I finally decided on the one below. At first I simply had it in Legba’s shrine. But then, as it turned out, the right-side door of the cabinet won’t stay open, so I’ve taken to using his cane to prop it open, which seems entirely appropriate. After all, it is Legba who opens the door to the spirit world and keeps it open for us to commune with the lwa.

Legba's cane

Legba's cane, holding open the door

Inside the cabinet, the top shelf is dedicated to the Rada lwa who walk with me. From left to right: La Sirene, Met Agwe, Erzulie and Ogoun.

Top shelf shrine

Top shelf: the Rada lwa

La Sirene and Met Agwe

La Sirene and Met Agwe.

Erzule and Ogoun

Erzulie and Ogoun. To the left of Erzulie is a beautiful veve candle made by Slinky.

Erzulie

Closeup of the lovely Erzulie spirit doll from Studio Nocturna (see link on the right under Supplies and Stores).

Ogoun

A new Ogoun spirit doll, also from Studio Nocturna.

Ghede and ancestors

The new Ghede and ancestors shrine (faces in photos blurred for privacy reasons). The painting on the right is by artist Jessica Van Hulle, and is a steampunk version of Brigitte.

Baron and Brigitte

Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte. Figure was special ordered for me through Gargoyles Statuary.

The baron

This painting is by Seattle artist Don De Leva, purchased at Gargoyles Statuary. I saw it and immediately thought of the Baron, and had to buy it.

Puck

And last but not least, a statue dedicated to the late beloved Puck, which sits beside the urn containing his ashes.

Normally, the statue sits inside of Puck’s old dish, but I haven’t been able to find it since the move. I do remember packing it, but it was one of the last things I packed and I was in a hurry, so likely it is mixed in with things where it doesn’t belong. It will turn up sooner or later.

On a final note, Mambo C is planning another Fet Ghede this November. I am really looking forward to it! I’ve always loved this time of year.

* The artist who created Legba’s cane is named Steve Mills.

Two contenders

Posted in Agwe, Divination, La Sirene, lwas, Mermaids, Ogoun, Religion, Spirit Guides, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by cheshirecatman

I am still unsure of my met tet, but at the moment have narrowed it down to two strong possibilities: Agwe and Ogoun. This will not come as a surprise to my regular readers as I’ve mentioned them before. As I reflect on this throughout the day, I constantly flipflop between these two. In the last tarot reading I did for myself, an Agwe card crossed over an Ogoun card in position one of the Celtic Cross layout–Agwe countering or “blocking” Ogoun. Either one could be the met tet; both are powerful influences at work. Both are associated with thunder and lightning, so either one could be responsible for my close encounter last December. (An interesting side note is that encounter happened on December 18, birthday of both Keith Richards and Brad Pitt, both of whom are under the sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. More on this later.)

There is no doubt that I have a nasty aggressive side to my nature, and being Therian makes my relationships with people strained at times. I am also highly empathic by nature, which counterpoints my antisocial tendencies in a way that sometimes strikes me as highly ironic. These traits I would categorize under Ogoun’s influence.

Yet there are some interesting correlations between Agwe and myself. I’ve listed some of the more interesting ones below. These could “just” be coincidences; however, a good medium friend of mine often comments that, in her experience, there are no coincidences.

  • Agwe is sovereign of the seas. My birth sign is Pisces.
  • Part of my full name includes a reference to water.
  • His colors are blue and white. I’ve had dreams where the color aqua blue is highly significant. I also have one spirit guide who announces his presence with the color royal blue.
  • Agwe is said to live in his ship by day and descend into his watery realm by night. I am nocturnal by nature.
  • He is the protector of sailors and fishermen. My mother’s people were traditional hunters and fishermen.
  • His wife is La Sirene the mermaid, his cousin is her sister La Balene, the whale. I sculpt mermaids and, as a child, had a lot of dreams about whales and living in an oceanic world.

I was discussing this via email with Mambo C today, and she wrote: “I’ve seen a possession by Agwe accompanied by actual thunder – kind of reminds me of a very Jupiter energy.” I did some quick online reading about Jupiter and found this page. I’ve quoted a few paragraphs below, with the text that resonated for me in bold:

The sign that Jupiter rules, Sagittarius, is the explorer. On one level, Sagittarius is described as being very good at business and administration. Another level is the freedom of Sagittarius, exploring new lands, cultures and adventures. A cliché phrase associated with it is “don’t fence me in.” On the highest level Sagittarius represents the spiritual explorer, delving into new thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and religions. They are able to take in so many points of view and experiences because the power of Jupiter is working to expand consciousness. In the older systems of astrology, before the discovery of the outer planets, Jupiter ruled both Sagittarius and the sign of Pisces, the energy of the artist and mystic. So not only is it associated with the fire and light of Sagittarius and the sun, but the mystical waters to be explored by Pisces.

Colors associated with Jupiter are blue and purple. Many relate the power of Jupiter to the power spiritual sight and spiritual light. The brow chakra, or Anja, is the energetic center of the body, usually portrayed as indigo or purple. The third eye is not the only place where the energy of Jupiter can be found. In medical astrology, Jupiter rules the liver, since it is the largest planet and the liver is one of the largest organs. Metaphysicians note that liver problems are often created through unresolved anger. When one is in the expanded consciousness of Jupiter, anger can be resolved. Only when you are blocked to the expanded consciousness of Jupiter do you hold anger over the long term. Jupiter rules many of the liver herbs, such as dandelion.

The gods of Jupiter are the sky gods and storm fathers. Jupiter himself is a Roman god of thunder and lightning, highly identified with the Greek Zeus, the leader of the Olympians. Although a third generation deity, he leads his brothers and sisters in victory against the Titans and creatures that roam the world, ushering in a new age. Though Zeus in later myths is painted in an unflattering sexist tone to the modern reader, the ideal of this godform is the wise and guiding king. To the Sumerians, Marduk led the fight against the dragon creature Tiamat, creating the world and a new age. In Egypt, the god Amen-Ra, the embodiment of Ra as ruler on Earth and often depicted as a pharaoh figure, is the Jupiter archetype. Unlike the Greeks, the Egyptians saw the Sun as supreme and elder, giving sway to other figures, such as Amen-Ra. Tarranis of the Continental Celts, relates to Zeus, as being a strong storm god and heavenly figure. Modern Celtic practitioners also look to the good father god of the Tuatha De Dana, the Dagda as a Jupiter figure. His cauldron is ever abundant and none leave it hungry, representing the power of abundance and nurturance in Jupiter energy. In Norse myth, the all father and tribal leader is Odin, though many associated Odin with Mercury images, because he is the magician and traveler. Thor, on the other hand, the God of Storm and Lightning, is strongly linked with Jupiter magic. In fact, the day of Jupiter, Thursday, originates from Thor’s Day. Magic involving the power of Jupiter is strong when done on Thursday.

I am seriously considering asking Mambo Racine of the Roots Without End Society to do a met tet reading for me. Now, some people are skeptical about the accuracy of distance readings, but  for people who are skilled working with energies, distance does not seem to present a problem.

In the meantime, I’ve narrowed my list down to two “contenders” and am at peace with that for now. Regardless of who my met tet is, I am grateful to have both Ogoun and Agwe walking with me, and will continue to serve them as I progress in Vodou.

New Year’s Day: an anniversary, offerings and insight

Posted in Agwe, Art, Divination, Erzulie, La Sirene, Legba, lwas, Mermaids, Ogoun, Religion, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2010 by cheshirecatman

After sleeping through all the New Year’s Eve noise (and this is a good thing, as I don’t much care for the sound of fireworks and screaming from the neighborhood), I awoke to a wet New Year’s Day. It’s strange to think that today is the second anniversary of the day my girlfriend Anne discovered the tumor on Puck’s jaw. I’ve been thinking about Puck a lot lately, although that is nothing new–pretty much a daily thing for the past two years.

The spirit doll I purchased from Studio Nocturna arrived yesterday, and it’s beautiful. I visualized her as being a little too large for my current shrine area, but it turns out she fits in perfectly. I lit candles and offered it to Erzulie today. I also made offerings to La Siren (a small shell-shaped dish to put her food items in) and Legba (a Native American-made fur pouch that I thought was similar enough to a makout that he would like it). I stood in front of the shrines, meditated, and talked to the lwa a bit. The area was energized, and by the time I extinguished the flames, I felt the same ache in my forearms that I felt during the Fet Gede (but a much milder version).

Contrary to what some might think, when I feel this ache I smile, because I believe it is my body’s way of sensing energy. Back in February of 2008, I went to a Zimbate workshop at East West Bookshop in Seattle, and received an attunement. Afterward, when we were practicing techniques on each other, I had wished that I was able to feel the energy more intensely. Now that I have my wish, I’m not complaining about it.

On the topic of energy work, the artist that created the Erzulie doll is a Reiki practitioner. I mentioned in a previous post that, prior to purchasing the doll, I asked Erzulie for her thoughts and drew the Thoth card from the Cartouche divination deck. On the Thoth card is the caduceus. Initially I thought that Erzulie was indicating she would assist a sick friend (and I still think that was part of why I drew that card).  I also think that Erzulie was acknowledging the Reiki energy that the artist infuses into each of her dolls. When I handle the doll (and even when I handle the box she was in), a feeling of peace and well-being passes through me.

Below are some photos of my shrines, per a friend’s request. I doubt my shrines are traditional, but they are set up according to my lwa and my personal ascetics. Ogoun’s candle flame always burns brightest, either because of his fiery nature or the ingredients in the particular candles I buy for him. His area is a little undeveloped at the moment, but I’m hoping to purchase another spirit doll from Studio Nocturna to remedy this problem.

I also want to find a statue or doll for Legba, and an image or figure for Agwe that more closely resembles the way he looks when he appears to me. For now, the Neptune/Poseidon figure is fine, as the image/figure I want for him may take a while to find. I’ll know it when I see it.

My crowded shrine shelf

Legba's shrine

La Sirene's shrine

Agwe's shrine

Erzulie's shrine with her new spirit doll

Ogoun's shrine

A second shrine, a Cartouche card reading and Vodou in Seattle

Posted in Divination, La Sirene, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Mermaids, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by cheshirecatman

A brief note: I may have been misusing the word ‘altar.” Last week I read that a shrine is the area you set up to honor a lwa, and an altar is what you use for ritual work (with whichever lwas you are petitioning for that ritual). So if this is correct, then my ‘altar’ for Papa Legba is actually a ‘shrine.’ Thus the shrine I set up on Sunday for La Sirene would be my second shrine.

Her shrine looks quite nice. I set it up on one of my bookshelves, laying down the turquoise fringed Indian fabric. On top of this I placed the decorative box that I bought from Gargoyles, a blue votive candle in a blue candleholder, and a clear candleholder filled with salt water. The La Sirene figure sits atop the box, which is just tall enough so that her tail fin does not touch the surface of the shelf. Behind her hangs a piece of digital art I bought at Dragoncon last year. The image is of a pale blue-finned mermaid swimming serenely among underwater ruins.

Before dedicating her shrine, I lit a candle for Papa Legba and asked for his assistance. Then I did a quick Cartouche reading to see if it was all right for me to proceed with her shrine.

The Cartouche is a divination card deck that uses Egyptian symbols. I did a five-pointed star layout and got these result:

Point 1, the nature of the problem/question: Card 20, the Twins (Shu and Tefnut, twin lion gods). This card bodes well for partnerships of all kinds and anyone seeking harmony with another.

Point 2, the cause of the problem: Card 19, winged disk, emblematic of the flight of the spirit to higher realms.

Point 3, the factors to be considered: Card 15, Sirius.  This card has both physical and psychic connotations, as it represents all genuine contacts with other intelligences in the universe, and also down-to-earth physical strenghth and energy. Sirius can also be the guiding star of any pioneering project that required dogged determination and stamina. The imagery on this card (the obelisk and five-pointed star) reminds me of where I’ve been (Wicca) and where I’m going.

Point 4, the advice or comment offered: Card 4, Bast, reversed. The description for this card reversed is minimal: “…in reverse it could indicate cattiness and self-contained indifference.”

Point 5, the end result or outlook: Card 14, earth. Industry; thrift, money and possessions; conservations; practicality; all things that grow. Earth represents all those practical aspects of life that concern people so much. Pictorially, it shows the countours of the earth itself, that which grows from it, and the wealth to be mined form it. Apply these principles to the nature of the card and the story is complete. The imagery on the card makes me think that there are rewards for returning to nature/my true nature.

My interpretation of the reading: I am seeking to serve La Sirene, and the prospects look favorable (point 1).  The reason for this is for spiritual growth (point 2). I should keep in mind what this requires, possibly in terms of the obstacles I’ve had in finding resources as well as the long-term implications (point 3). If I persevere, I will get where I need to go. Point 4 may indicate my nature to be too isolated; I will likely need to seek assistance from others. In the end (point 5), my efforts can pay off.

Encouraged, I proceeded to purify and dedicate La Sirene’s shrine. Afterwards, I meditated for a while and allowed the energies to flow through me and around me. (Later in the day, I noticed that some aches that I’ve been experiencing in my lower body have disappeared.)

Later in the day, I found out via a Yahoo group that there are indeed a few people in Seattle who perform Vodou cermonies, including one mambo and one houngan. This is encouraging. Also, Mambo Racine Sans Bout is planning a workshop here in Seattle soon, which I hope to attend.

Watery musings

Posted in Dreams, La Sirene, Mermaids, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , on September 6, 2009 by cheshirecatman

I’ve been trying to wait and be patient about approaching the other lwas, but it’s difficult in the case of La Sirene. I cannot seem to resist buying stuff for her.

While surfing around on eBay late one night last week, I decided to see what types of mermaid statues were available. I’ve done this before simply because I like mermaid art, and on this night there were quite a few nice statues that were affordable. I fell in love with one of them, a statue that is meant to sit on top of an old (non-flatscreen) computer monitor. She was brunette with a pleasant face that seemed to remind me of someone I know (I’m not exactly sure who). Her top and tail were the same blue green as the water in my recent dream (see August post “Dogs and dreams of water”). She was not expensive, so I ended up buying her.

When she arrived this week, I was very pleased with her. The auction listed her as 4.5″ tall which was a bit small, but she is actually closer to 8″ tall, which is perfect. When I removed her out of the box, I found it interesting that the pose of her left hand resembles a pose I’ve seen used by dancers from India. I’ve also seen a similar pose on statues of Hindu deities and Buddhas.  The thumb and index finger tips are touching; the other fingers are fairly straight but relaxed. I’ve been attempting to find out what this hand position means.

One holistic healing site describes this position as a mudra, or a position of the body that has some kind of influence on the energies of the body or your mood:

The Gyan mudra represents the starting place or home. It takes you back to your roots, or a simpler time. Clears the mental facilities.

(Source: http://healing.about.com/od/east/ig/Mudra-Gallery/Gyan.htm)

Another site descibes it similarly:

Emotional / spiritual use

Stimulates the Root chakra, and grounds.
Calms and improves concentration.

(Source: http://www.eclecticenergies.com/mudras/mudra.php?num=1 )

While this doesn’t relate specifically to La Sirene herself, it’s an interesting aspect of the statue. Looking at her, I realized she would need something to sit on. Ideally, a box of some sort that her offerings could be kept in.

So last Friday when I stopped by my friend Gayle’s shop in the U-District (Gargoyle’s Statuary, one of my favorite places), I thought I would take a look around to see what type of boxes were there. I had a hard time finding a box that was large enough and did not have some type of inappropriate imagery or color. Finally, Gayle pulled out a box that I hadn’t even noticed. On its lid was an image of a lovely redheaded woman or goddess, and it was tall enough that the mermaid statue could balance atop it well. I purchase it, along with two blue candles.

On Saturday my girlfriend and I went up to Capitol Hill, had dinner and went shopping afterward. At an Indian store I found a nice turquoise sarong that would work well for an altar cloth.

I think it’s easy to get carried away with sirens. Seriously.

A funny side note: I also found out this week that La Sirene’s number is 7, which has been my favorite number since maybe 7th or 8th grade or earlier. I even made a piece of jewelry shaped like the number 7 years ago. Granted, I haven’t thought about having a favorite number for years, but I still like the number for some reason. Maybe just the way it looks–simple and streamlined.

I also had a brief impression/vision while resting Friday evening. A young dark-haired man (he looked very much like the same man in the canyon/lakes dream) is sitting beside me on a beach. We are facing the water.